Questions & Answers
Family: find elusive compromise or break it off?
Hi, Jim! I got introduced to your little shoveling operation just recently by some cousins. I just love it! I'm a 23-year-old, 3rd generation MK, 4th generation "christian", but only recently am I breaking out of "the box" and into the glorious Circle of Life and Love. "Awesome" is a gross understatement when it comes to describing what it means to breathe deep and free after decades of living under the cold, hard hand of Duty. I imagine you can relate. Breaking away from my family and past has been an interesting experience. As you can imagine, it is not always fun to deal with the "do-do" which permeates the lives of my family and my former setting. I still love my family, but I despise the religion they stand for as much as humanly possible. It is, in my miniscule opinion, a system that, while it contains an impeccable theology and irreprehensible performance, it is utterly empty of power, lasting fruit, or anything that resembles True Love. After breathing deeply of the true freedom and the duty-free Love we are invited to enjoy in Christ, the christianity I grew up under smells like an overused, neglected port-a-potty a month after spring break. ;-D >From your writings my guess is that you'll understand what I'm trying to say, unlike the vast majority of modern-day christians. I have attempted to make myself understood, especially to my mother, but I seem utterly unable to do so. I have been painfully honest about the inconsistencies and powerlessness I see in her religion, but I would have better luck trying to explain myself to a grapefruit. She stubbornly believes that I do not comprehend where she's at, and if I would just spend some more time with them, I would understand (i.e. agree with her). (The first two decades, of course, don't count.) However, the thought of returning to what used to be my "home" chills my soul with panic. I know that, whatever happens with my family, I will continue to live life to the fullest, thoroughly enjoying the countless, limitless joys of being a perfectly accepted child of the Father. I know who I am, I know what God thinks of me, and the rest of the world can believe as they darn well please, as far as I'm concerned. However, the unresolved issues with my family ties irk me like a burr stuck in an artery. What do I do? Do I break off completely with those who will most likely never understand? I am loath to cause them unnecessary pain. They are, after all, my family. Do I continue to attempt to make myself understood, in spite of the fact that every attempt flies in my face--shmack!--like when you step on the business end of a shovel? ;-) Do I keep attempting to find the ellusive compromise that will allow both my mom and me to have the resemblance of a relationship without crushing each other's toes? What do I do when I love the people but hate their religion? I appreciate you talking the time to read this. Your website is a tall glass of cool water in the middle of the sun-baked Sahara. Keep shoveling! Out of the box! Andrew
I'm glad your cousins introduced you. :) Out of the box, eh? Yes, yes, I understand quite well. 4th generation MK, however, is far from my own background. We were always religious in my growing up years, though nominally so. I well remember the first major run-in I had with my mom and dad when I returned home from an evangelical winter camp with the news that I was going to enroll in the hosting Bible college. They both flipped. My mother led the attack.
Although at the time I viewed it as a blown witnessing opportunity I began to recognize the guiding force of self-righteousness I had learned especially from my mother. It would have saved me from so much anguish over the whole situation, but it is the reason I truly learned the reality of the mind of the flesh vs. the spirit. No, not that I represented the mind of the spirit and my mother, the mind of the flesh ... but that it controlled both of us. Being right drove both of us (including my father) to act and react in our now-understood-to-be predictable manners. I came to learn more about the miraculous mind of the spirit of God within me through the battles I assumed I needed to win ... in the name of Christ, of course. :)
I don't think you need to break it off with your family. Though you may find that compromises might be made to keep the peace you don't have to compromise the reality of Christ in your life. It is his life by which you will find you don't have to prove anything to anybody ... especially your family. Maybe they will never see it--or maybe they will never see it as you think they should see it--but that doesn't change his life expressing itself through your encounters with them. After all, do they need to understand grace in order for it to be true in you? Are there truly any issues that can block the love of God? Perhaps the issues have created the illusion that there is something in the way. No doubt your mom believes this to be true ... but then again, that is the heart of religion. ;)