Today I got a very disturbing email from one of my husband’s friends. Wayne has known this guy, who I’ll simply refer to as Big J, for years –since the mid-90s when we lived in Phoenix and they worked together for a company there.
Big J and his family are EXTREMELY devout Christians. That’s cool. It’s not my bag, nor Wayne’s, but we try to be the peace we’d like to see in this world. Meaning, we think discrimination for any reason pretty much sucks so we try not to do it. We may not always agree or believe the same as those we’re friends with, but we’re not going to let that stop us from liking them!
However, sometimes we run across those ambitious friends who want to convert us to their beliefs, be they political, spiritual or otherwise. Like today. Here is the email Big J sent. Thank heavens I read it this afternoon and not first thing this a.m. so my entire day wasn’t spoiled!
It was good seeing you guys on Saturday…I got a bonus ‘viewing’ of Wayne on his Sunday morning jog when I was dropping off some of the kids that spent the night on Saturday…too funny!
On another note, I wanted to reach out to you concerning the HauntJaunts.net link below…[My wife] and I were quite concerned when we followed this link to the website and saw the emphasis on ‘paranormal’ activity…as you know, we are both Christians that attempt to assess the world from a Biblical perspective…in this case, that leads us to classify to ‘spirits’ reached thru ‘paranormal’ activity as demons in disguise…which is pretty serious stuff.
I don’t know how much you are pursuing the ‘paranormal’, but am concerned even if you are just dabbing into it.
If you would like to discuss this further to assess our concerns, please feel free to contact [Big J’s wife’s name]…I have copied her on this as well.
Sorry to be so direct…I apologize if I have assumed too much or have jumped to any conclusions…we care for you and Wayne and wanted to express this concern.
That was my initial reaction. (That and, “Where the BLEEP! do they get off thinking they’re better than me?”) But a quick lap around the living room with a stop to play with Tabby cat and pet Murphy cleared my head.
No sense flying off the handle. I live in America. I can believe what I want to believe. There is no right and wrong. There is only what’s right for me.
I realized this could be one of those issues that creates a turning point in a relationship. The last thing I’d want to do is feel responsible for being the demise of Wayne and Big J’s friendship. It was time to dip my diplomatic nub into the ink and craft a neutral, yet still true to my beliefs, reply.
This is what I came up with. What do you think? How would you have handled the situation differently?
Hey [Big J],
Thanks so much again for having us over. As always, we had a blast seeing you and chatting with all the wonderful people you pull together.
And you know, I certainly appreciate you reaching out and expressing your concerns like this. It means you care! I definitely respect that and appreciate you saying something. Again, it’s kind of like a Hallmark card…you care enough to send the very best!
I really hesitate to give a reply because the last thing I’d want to do is offend you in any way and drive any kind of animosity into your relationship with Wayne. So…I hope to be as diplomatic as possible in my response, but I also have to stay true to my beliefs. I hope you can appreciate that!
I remember when we went to Knoxville back when you guys lived there and [child 1] and [child 2] were little. I asked something about Halloween and [your wife] explained why you guys don’t celebrate that. Which is totally cool. We certainly have other friends who feel the same way about ghosts, the paranormal, Halloween, etc.
But with that said, I am on the other side of the spectrum. Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year. (Well, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but Halloween is a fun one.) My blog is for people who believe in Halloween, the paranormal, and go ghost hunting (not so much to get in touch with evil spirits as because they’ve had unexplainable experiences and are seeking a way to explain them). It’s actually blossoming into its own industry. (Paranormal tourism. State, county and city tourism offices are even incorporating it into their travel sells. Kind of like how some people want to know the best shopping or food or fishing spots when they travel, they’re starting to realize people also travel to see this sort of thing….and that it’s a money maker.)
So, I pretty much have a feeling you and [your wife] would not approve of this, and that is totally cool. It doesn’t jive with your beliefs. But I believe that’s the great thing about friends: I don’t always share the same beliefs and I don’t have to. We just agree to disagree sometimes. Plus, it lets me see the world through a set of eyes I normally wouldn’t glance it through.
I know you and Wayne have had some great debates about religion and all. I think it’s wonderful you care about him like you do and want him to see things from your point of view. In the end it boils down to you wanting to see the best come to him. And now to me, since you reached out like this. I appreciate it very much. I would hope I’d have enough strength of character to reach out to someone if I ever saw them doing something I had doubts about! It’s a very commendable example of how devoted you are to your faith.
Again, I respect that very much. I just come from a bit of a different place. I don’t believe that makes me a bad person or evil or anything like that. I’m just…different.
But I do appreciate you looking out for me/us like this. I hope with all this said that it won’t affect your relationship with Wayne at all. I will respect it if you want to ban his nutty wife from your lives, but I sure don’t want him to suffer because of it. (Even though, heaven help him, he already does suffer from my nutty ways anyway!!! =)
If you read all this, thanks for letting me vent. I needed to get it off my chest!