2/22/2009                                                                                       View Comments

Dialogue with a school friend


Singing, originally uploaded by comingstobrazil.

Sent in by Elizabeth

The Following is a snippet of dialogue between adult survivors of a missionary boarding school in Brazil:

MY FRIEND'S LETTER IN ANSWER TO A PREVIOUS DISCUSSION:

"Ok, now I"m finally going to settle down and pick up our earlier interaction. My time at *** was very mixed. You called me self-contained, and that is probably true, in the sense that I don't tend to show what is going on inside of me to the outside world. I think that the boarding school had a lot to do with that. Since then, I have never really confided in many people, and especially not my own family. It is amazing the things my family does not know about me. In my case, I lived a double life until I was about 38, would you believe it? And I had returned to being a missionary during that entire time. I wanted to be a Christian, but I never felt that I measured up. I remember sitting in church on a Sunday night, you know, when they would try to get people to come up to be saved, and I would think: well, no one can be saved here tonight, because I am here, and I am such a bad person, that there is some sort of curse on this room. I was having relationships and doing things that I'm not proud of now, but I sort of got hooked in the sense that I needed them in order to get a sense of 'high', but then I'd be miserable afterward. So, at some point, I decided that I would give up the farce, and call both my Christianity and my missionary life quits. A friend of mine, who I only partially confided in, talked me into seeing a counselor. I agreed, because I wanted to come to the US, and not go to *****, because I didn't want to be around my family. While here in the US, I went back to school, and then things sort of developed from there. (About the age 38 thing). My observations have been that a lot of MKs don't face up to (or maybe don't really understand) the pain of their childhood until they hit 40. I like philosophizing :)."


MY RESPONSE:

LOL Yeah, I'm an armchair philosopher too!!!

This is great! Now I am sure you won't turn away, I can say what I really feel.

It is so very sad to hear that your family would not be able to accept you for what you are. My parents have had to face up to either accepting us or losing us and I am glad to say that they have accepted my choice in life as MINE and therefore not theirs to call. It took a while... I remember finding Christian tracts on the dining room table after their visits, which is funny to me now but was quite off-putting at the time. As if I didn't know all about their faith since childhood!!!

One thing that strikes me is that my parents must experience a great deal of cognitive dissonance, because of the doctrine in Matthew 10:35,36:

35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.


This tells them how they should act if they want to follow Jesus, and that the natural human love for their unbelieving children, they should be denying. Never-the-less, they have not turned against us for being unbelievers, but they are disobeying New Testament scripture. On the other hand they are obeying the Ten Commandments, so maybe that is how they settle it in their conscience!! Too much, too much!! To follow the Bible you have to cherry pick, I guess.

I am very interested in how you managed to stay a missionary whilst all the while not believing you were saved. Maybe that happens more than I realized, and it begs the question, how many of the missionaries I grew up surrounded by could admit the same? Some of them must have had doubts...but I am told that is normal. Perhaps one way to rid oneself of doubt is to launch a campaign to reaffirm the faith - preaching - proselytizing - make it real for others, hoping to confirm that it is real for oneself - etc.

I am also very sorry that you felt so bad about yourself. I can relate to that too, because all my life I was taught that I was unacceptable without Jesus in my life; that I was born that way and only Jesus could make me pure. Of course you probably have guessed by now how disgusting I find that idea. We are learning new things about human development all the time. We now understand that human beings are born without a fully developed brain, they have no thinking processes because the brain is primitive. A baby's brain doubles in size in its first year. It is life experiences which mold their minds and shape their values and gives the ability to make positive choices. To hold a baby responsible at birth for the sins they will inevitably commit in the future is to inflict a kind of child abuse. To claim the doctrine of Original Sin as the work/word of God is heinous. Anyone who cannot see this is just not paying attention. For me, trying to believe in Jesus is like putting a band aid over the gaping wound.

By now you may have understood that I reject the Bible as the Word of God. I don't doubt that there are some great bits in it, but I have to accept that the Koran must also fit the same category, along with every other book which claims this for itself.

Well, for myself, the pain I felt in childhood was a different kind of pain to that I experienced as a result of revisiting it. There are nights I still cry remembering my childhood, but I don't remember crying back then (except the first day at boarding school - when I cried myself to sleep in the lower bunk bed of the room I shared with ******** - only to discover that I had wet the bed - shame and horror) I don't think I gave the right signals to my parents or maybe I didn't shout loudly enough to be heard over the voice of God...

If all this feels to you like I am trying to de-convert you, I can understand why you would feel that way. I have experienced how it feels the other way around and it is not nice, and there are few people I would feel comfortable doing this with. If this exchange is to be valuable to either of us we must both feel free to express our thoughts without fear of causing offense. We are both big girls now and I am looking forward to hearing from you - HIT ME!!!



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