Fugitives from Fundamentalism

The Musings of Adult Missionary Kids (MKs) & Former Born-Again Believers

‘Prayer Partners’

Posted by prb3 on October 28, 2010

Now I know this may seem somewhat inappropriate of me but I simply can’t resist the urge to share this. The ‘prayer email’ I received today (included below) is a perfect example of one of the many reasons Christian missionaries drive me crazy! In an attempt to be somewhat sensitive, I’ve removed the names of the couple responsible for this prayer letter:

Kay, please pass this on to our prayer network. thanks!

Dear Prayer Partners,

About two weeks ago our car was broken into and ****’s passport was stolen. Aside from the headache of replacing the window and filing the police report, we tried not to worry and started the process for a replacement. Today **** went for her appointment at the Consulate and was told that she might not be able to get a regular replacement (good for ten years). Since she has had her passport stolen in the past, they would only issue her a one-year replacement. In order for us to get permits to stay here another year we need a minimum of two years on her passport and this needs to be before December!

Please pray!!
-That the Lord would provide **** with a normal passport.
-That **** would not worry or grow distracted by this.
-That we would move forward in ministry despite small setbacks.

As we move forward we see that the enemy is always looking for ways to get to us. Ask that God would not distract us from why we are here.

love and blessings,

**** and ****

WHAT THE @#*$!!!! This moronic way of interpreting unfortunate life events just makes my blood boil!

While I will concede that having a car broken into is extremely annoying and losing a passport (twice!?) is inconvenient to say the least (my heart goes out to them), I don’t understand why all unfortunate events or setbacks are attributed to the ‘enemy.’ How pompous of them to presume that the devil is waging some sort of a cosmic battle against ‘God’ to disrupt their mundane lives.

Secondly, why didn’t they simply interpret these events as a sign from ‘God’? That he no longer wants them to work as missionaries in X country, or that he wants them do something completely different with their lives? The spiritual interpretations are endless.

Far be if from me to have a comforting answer as to why these sh**y events happen (other than ‘c’est la vie!’) but I do wish Christians could show a little more restraint when attempting to explain away life experiences.

15 Responses to “‘Prayer Partners’”

  1. Bob said

    You are right, the spiritual interpretations are endless, and they seem to follow the believers’ interpretations of the moral value of events in their lives. For instance, theft is a sin, so what happened to them must appear to be a bad omen. It must portend of doooooommmmmm!!!!! Note that the woman has lost her passport before. It is kind of important lady! Keep the damn thing on your body somewhere!! It’s not the devil–you’re just a fuck up!!!
    To me, what is saddest is the self-centeredness of it all–as if the whole world revolves around them. Give me a break! You are a speck of insignificance in a vast universe. Have some respect for your blip of a moment of self-consciousness, and flex the power of your existence by using your mind to the fullest of its measly ability: realize that normal people wrote the holy books, folks don’t walk on water, you can’t fit all the creatures on the whole earth into a boat, you don’t live to be hundreds of years old, a virgin was never impregnated by a god, and you can’t stop the sun in the sky. Okay?

  2. Paulo said

    All of the sudden this blog just became way more funny. Lol! I have the exact same problem with my forwarded missionary newsletters…

    • prb3 said

      I figure since we can’t join ’em, we might as well laugh at ’em…its the only way to win (stay sane).

      • Ann said

        Laughter, combined with empathy, keeps me sane. From my perspective, without empathy, laughter alone has the potential to be harmful (to me as well). What psychological research indicates, anyway. Good post by the way! Glad you have joined us on the blog.

        • dsc01 said

          I’ve always felt empathy to be vital, as well, but I do confess that I often neglect to reserve any for Christians. I show more compassion towards Muslims than Christians, even though both religions are pretty equally abhorrent.

          I suppose that there are a number of reasons for this. I don’t think that I should ignore bitterness from my upbringing–mainly from my time in boarding school–but I think that the Christian dominance in our culture is the main contributor to my mercilessness.

          I mean, if I were to openly explain my feelings on the Bible’s historicity to a Christian family member, I would never say, “I find it just as likely that Utanapishtim herded up two of every animal species on his cubical ark and lived to tell Gilgamesh about what capricious little douche-bags the gods are.”

          That is, however, a direct quote from something I wrote to a Christian. Considering that this is same comment in which I alleged that Christian sheep aren’t even fully human, it’s fair to say that I was being a touch too harsh.

          But was I really? I don’t know. I can’t say that I feel at all guilty for offending people who feel free to gush about a nonsensical fantasy world all day long, when they would ostracize me for politely explaining my views and leaving it at that.

          • Ann said

            There’s no reason to feel guilty about offending people. I’m frequently repulsed by other people’s beliefs and ideas. And when it comes to my non-belief, their condescension. I understand. Why empathy is important to me (a perspective, not a feeling). I’m reminded of the suffering in the world caused by people who act on those feelings of repulsion, often influenced by rhetoric of hate (hate I find can also influence or become a kind of perspective).

          • JN said

            But what’s the point in offending people? It seems to be about establishing some sort of hierarchy or playing a power game. While it’s sometimes entertaining to poke fun at people, it’s not exactly the most effective way to get a point across.

            Slamming a person with a boatload of evidence, or a shipload of Bible verses (yeah…shipload), isn’t going to change anything. It may make the holder of the “truth” feel superior, but that’s about it. A fundamentalist and an atheist can enter a battle and both walk away feeling triumphant, when both might have failed to accomplish anything.

            The most effective approach is often a less direct, or sideways, approach. Maybe it’s better to pose a question that makes a person think rather than react or to present evidence in bite sized chunks. How are people going to get anywhere when they’re swinging clubs at each other like a bunch of cavemen?

            This is my frustration. It’s not really aimed at anyone in particular.

            • Ann said

              JN, simply telling people I don’t agree with their opinions offends them. Telling an atheist to be non-offensive is pretty much the same as saying, “Don’t be yourself when we talk, but you have to let me bash you over the head with my opinions and beliefs”. And fundamentalists won’t stop–it’s built into their religion to be vocal. My Facebook friends’ walls, and my newsfeed, is littered with offensive crap, mostly religious. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using a hammer, it’s the person using it and for what that counts.

              Plus, speaking for myself, this site is my place to vent publicly. Too often people promoting humanity are silenced by their own humanity. Yet, fundamentalist Christians only need walk next door to find someone sympathetic to their God beliefs. Non-fundamentalist believers, their neighbors on the other side.

              • Ann said

                Of course, no fundamentalists have asked my opinion on their Bible or their beliefs in a long while. Just saying. If they asked I’d say something like “I don’t agree with them, or like them, because they’re make-believe and harmful”. Probably wouldn’t use the word manure, or the like, to be polite. lol.

              • dsc01 said

                As JN says, you can exit a battle, feeling triumphant, having accomplished absolutely nothing; but as you point out, no flaming is necessary to offend some folks we know.

                Naturally, it’s all about context, and I think that the nature of our lives as TCKs, along with the emergence of the Internet, has left us living in multiple worlds. The tone I take here is not the one I use on Facebook, nor is it the one I take when participating in discussions on other blogs, etc.

                Real-life discussion is yet another, wholly different context. In real life, I rarely bring up my beliefs at all, and when I do, I am generally respectful and non-confrontational.

                The only family member I have ever discussed my views with is the older of my sisters, and it was difficult to strike the proper balance, tone-wise.

                The fact is, I know that her beliefs dictate that her brother, who she loves, will suffer in Hell for all eternity for his convictions. The hardest thing for me was to explain my beliefs, knowing that the explanation could only hurt her and that nothing I could say would ever make her accept my views as valid.

                • Ann said

                  “The fact is, I know that her beliefs dictate that her brother, who she loves, will suffer in Hell for all eternity for his convictions. The hardest thing for me was to explain my beliefs, knowing that the explanation could only hurt her and that nothing I could say would ever make her accept my views as valid.”

                  Yes, that was hard for me too.

  3. dsc01 said

    My parents interpret EVERYTHING as an attack of “the enemy,” to the point that it even annoys my fundamentalist sister.

    It always makes family gatherings awkward when someone inevitably brings God into something completely unrelated to Him (you know, like everything one could talk about that has any connection to reality).

    I couldn’t find any entertaining prayer letters in my inbox, but I’ll certainly share if any turn up.

  4. Please pray that, that, that, that… typical evangelical jargon. It sounds so cloyingly familiar. Blessedly, I no longer receive too many emails like that.:^)

    Yes, everything that confirms what you already believe, that you heard God’s call correctly to be doing what you are doing, that’s the LORDS’s work. And anything opposing what you think you should be doing, that’s the ENEMY. And it could all be a big test from the LORD anyway, to see if you will persevere. It seems strikingly like reading tea leaves. So crazy. And nice to see it properly mocked a bit, a breath of fresh air in my christianized existence.

    • Ann said

      It’s exactly like reading tea leaves. Or like some kind of Voodoo witchcraft bone throwing.

      Possible prayer outcomes:
      1)Your prayer is answered because you are doing God’s will and he is rewarding you for your service/faithfulness.
      2)Your prayer is not answered, not because you aren’t doing God’s will but because He knows more than you and your request doesn’t fit in His Master Plan (like when babies die).
      3)Your prayer is not answered. You are being tested for your faith. Stay faithful and you will be rewarded eventually.
      4)Your prayer is not answered. You are sinning and need to repent. Quickly, soul search and weed that sin out (greed, covetousness, pride, anger, bitterness, lust, laziness, etc, etc, etc.)

      • dsc01 said

        Remember that, “no,” is an answer too!

        Did you ever hear that preached at you? I always thought, Of course I know that, “yes,” is only one of many possible answers to a request! You’re the ones who continually use the term “answer prayer” as a stand-in for, “What happened is what I wanted God to make happen!”

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: