Monday, January 03, 2005

Disadvantaged Families

I did take a bit of a break from writing after my class ended in December, but I have an excuse. Apparently I am a Disadvantaged Urban Family.

So says the Campus Crusade for Christ, which sent four young evangelists to my door bearing gifts of canned new potatoes, dried kidney beans, sushi rice and a four pound bag of dried milk.

In my confusion over how they had found their way to MY doorstep, I caved and agreed to do a survey in which they asked me what I liked about my neighborhood, what I wanted to change about my neighborhood and if I regularly attended church. Unfortunately I went on to explain that I attended the Quaker Meetings here.

I say unfortunately because as part of this explanation I covered the Quaker testimonies including the testimony on peace.

Had I not just finished telling them how peaceful Quakers are, I might have been tempted to kick their asses when they told my two-year-old that

1. God loved him more than his mommy and daddy did
2. When he didn't listen to his mommy when she said to go to bed that was a sin and it made god mad.
3. That Jesus died for him and the blood of Jesus washed him clean of sin until his sould was white. And wasn't it great that Jesus died for him.

They said some other stuff too, but I was sufficiently angry that I didn't pay much attention.

I didn't care much for their theology, and I have a philosophical problem with missionaries in general, but now that I've had a bit of time to cool off I've realized my main bone to pick with them has to do with what is appropriate information to give to two-year-olds.

I doubt that Owen was scarred much by this encounter. Hopefully there won't be too many future encounters where I don't have the foresight to halt the conversation. It hadn't occurred to me that there was a different consequence to being polite to missionaries now that I have a child.

At Meeting the other day I shared with the group that I was struggling with religious tolerance. I value religious tolerance and I like to say that people can believe whatever they want. However, I have found that it is much easier for me to be tolerant of other religious liberals.

Someone suggested that I could be tolerant of beliefs, but not so open about specific practices. I have trouble disentangling faith from practice. How can I say it's okay for you to believe that it is your duty to spread the gospel as long as you don't actually go around spreading the gospel? It makes no sense.


Blogger fresca said...

Hi, Kiara--
I sometimes find it is useful as I thrash about with the "tolerance" question to substitute the concept of "love" for tolerance. As in, I do not have to tolerate everything people do, but I do have to [desire to] love them anyway.
And sometimes that means saying, "I do not tolerate this action--at least in my living room"!
The bit about tolerating beliefs but not practices made me laugh--reminds me of a bit of nonsense from my own lunatic religion--Catholicism. The Vatican currently holds the incoherent point of view that it is not a sin to be gay as long as you don't act on it. And of course you can't act on it because you can't get married if you are gay. One can see why Mr. Fox went elsewhere for his Spirit.

4:54 PM  

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