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How do you deal with the loneliness? The only real friend I have here in my offline life anymore is my husband. The few church friends I thought I had are now refusing to speak to me, since I complained about what happened at church this past Sunday morning. (Just before the service started, the preacher heard about the church shooting inIllinois, and so when he got up to the pulpit he talked about that.Not in any sort of grieving, lofty way, but rather boasting about how if anything like that happened in this church, the people in the pews weren't supposed to run, they should hide under the pews, and he (the preacher) and some unspecified men "would take care of it." He was very jovial and swaggering, and talked about the recent efforts of state representative Beverly Pyle to push through legislation making it legal for people to bring guns to church. And he said he didn't believe in "shutting the barn door after the horses got out."

 

The whole rant was so weird and jovial and blustering. He never explained what he meant -- did he have a gun? did some of his posse have a gun? Or was he saying he was going to start carrying a gun to church? Or what? He never explained. Sitting in the congregation with my husband, I started to cry a little bit (stupid, I know), thinking about how weird it all was, and also I was worried about my daughter and grandbaby, as they just moved last week to a very VERY rural area, close to a major highway, with no neighbors around, as her hubby, my son in law, took a temp job preaching at the little church there.

 

I know I'm a really emotional person, so maybe I was the only one in the congregation who would have appreciated some show of humanity from the pulpit, some soothing lies about God's protection or something.

 

My husband was the only one I spoke to about it, and he felt that the preacher was "having a knee jerk reaction" and "sounded like a cowboy." Basically my husband was consoling and agreed that the whole talk about guns in churches was ridiculous.

 

Doing some research, I discovered that Beverly Pyle's legislation had passed the Arkansas state House of Representatives but then had been struck down in the state Senate. Meaning, it's STILL against the law for anybody to carrying a gun onto church property, even if they have a concealed weapons permit.

 

I sent that link to the Senate news to the preacher, and told him I was really upset about what he had said in the pulpit, and that he needed to be clear about what it was he meant.

 

He didn't write back, and he didn't say anything about it through the week. So I asked him about it.

 

He laughed and said he had deleted my email, and he said, "That solved the problem."

 

I emailed the Senate info to a handful of ladies I thought were my friends at church and posted it to those who are on my facebook page, and along with the Senate link and info I posted my feelings, my emotional reactions, and some quotes from Christians gathered from around the internet to the effect that Christians are supposed to trust in God, not in guns.

 

Now none of the women I thought were my friends are speaking to me. Stupidly, I have managed to alienate them. Now I know absolutely nobody here in real life who is talking to me except for my husband and children and grandbabies of course. This is a very rural area, the church is in a tiny town, and I feel really sad, alone, and whiney.

 

And stupid. I should have just not said anything. I should have realized that all these people are going to side with the preacher and anybody who is pro-gun regardless of the context.

 

How do you deal with this loneliness? There seems to be no solution. We're never going to move from this area, and there are no exchristian or humanist congregations anywhere near here that might provide some social comfort. I feel trapped, and it's my fault. If I had pretended to be one of them and kept my mouth shut no matter what, I'd at least have friend-ish sorts of people to hang out with. I've often thought of starting an exchristian or humanist group but then I read about people in other areas getting death threats and being terrorized by the Christians and KKK types. I don't have the courage to be any more outspoken than I already have been.

 

There seems to be no solution and no way out of this.

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Pope Flippant,

 

My heart goes out to you. It truly does. You always have a bunch of people on here supporting you. Loneliness is such a crippling thing to have and to try and solve. Women can be so nasty and bitchy can't they? It seems friends are far easier to make online, which I am learning a lot about too lately. I hope you find someone over there that you can just sit down and have a good yarn and cuppa with.

:happy_old:

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The only solution I found was making friends outside of the church. In my situation I was at university so it was no problem, but I can imagine it's more difficult where you find yourself.

 

Rise above. They do not determine your life

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The only friend I have here in real life is my boyfriend...feeling lonely and isolated blows. And it's not like I can count on him to relate to me on all issues or share all my common interests. Some days are harder than others. I haven't found a great way to deal with it, but this site at least offers conversation with like-minded people who can relate. Good luck and way to go on standing up to the adversity. I'm sure that was very hard and I hate to see you beating yourself up over it now. You didn't do anything wrong and if something this small is enough to make them all treat you this way, I'm sorry to say they weren't ever your friends and you haven't really lost anything...:( Christians are so fake.

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Go to a bar. Drink. Dance. Be merry. You WILL meet GOOD people! :D

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I feel for you Pope, I'm sorry this is happening to you.

 

I guess it depends how deeply you feel loneliness. Does it hurt bad?

 

The only practical thing I can suggest is a hardcore online search for a freethinker (in ANY camp...deist, agnostic...doesn't matter) within 40 miles of you.

 

The other thing you can do...if you are really hurting, is fake a "rededication" to christ at the next revival type event and get super involved in events at the church for a while. Better would be to have a chat with your pastor that relates a "bad experience" with firearms (nothing too extreme, some kid you didn't know pointed one at you before running off). Tell him some online friends suggested you find someone to take you shooting, and ask if he might be able to help with your fear of guns. And go shooting either with him, or his wife (obviously).

 

Dishonest? Um....yeah. But it's up to you to weigh how much the loneliness hurts against whether or not it would be "worth it" to mend the bridges.

 

It would be easy for me to say "Fuck them" and be satisfied with my books, my SO, and my online friends....but I'm not that social, and have never felt lonely enough for it to be a source of agony, so what works for me probably isn't going to help you that much.

 

Those are the only 2 reasonable options I see. Try option 1 first. Option 2 kinda sucks.

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I'm sorry you feel lonely. You finally learned a good lesson though - "church friends" means friends of the church, not real friends to real people.

 

You haven't really lost anything but the illusion that the preacher drones were real friends. I noticed one thing you said:

 

We're never going to move from this area, and there are no exchristian or humanist congregations anywhere near here that might provide some social comfort.

 

Maybe it's time to look outside the "congregation" concept and investigate the regular and real world. Don't look for a like-minded organized group, but rather seek individuals one at a time. Others who do not carry the Humanist or other suitable label will do just fine. I have friends of wildly varying beliefs (hardly anyone thinks like I do!) but they remain real friends because they don't impose those beliefs on others. There are plenty of people with the "live and let live" attitude out there. You will eventually find them.

 

I wish you the best.

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He laughed and said he had deleted my email, and he said, "That solved the problem."

 

Wow. What an asshole.

 

If the only way not to be lonely and isolated is to suck up to an asshole preacher and a passel of backstabbing church biddies, well - I don't know, but that just seems like too high a price to pay for social interaction. At least it would be for me.

 

But then, I'm also very isolationist, so I don't mind having just a few friends, and I don't mind that most of the people I know are online acquaintances. I know the need for face-to-face interaction is varied. If you need to interact with people like that, florduh's advice seems sound to me. Maybe just looking around and getting to know people one by one, outside of any group thing, combined with online friends or something... I'm not sure, since I'm really not that good at meeting people either.

 

It can suck to be isolated if that's not what you want. I'm sorry it's that way for you now and I hope you can figure something out.

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Go to a bar. Drink. Dance. Be merry. You WILL meet GOOD people! :D

 

Yeah, but is that any way to make actual friends? Maybe it's because I'm on the Left Coast where people are weirder and more anti-social, but....

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Yeah, but is that any way to make actual friends? Maybe it's because I'm on the Left Coast where people are weirder and more anti-social, but....

 

Well, true. It does help if you can meet some people FIRST and then go to the bar.

 

I dunno. I was meeting people through an online "dating" site and somehow found myself grafted into a pre-existing group of friends that regularly go out. Just met one person that kept encouraging me to come out with the group. Every week she'd write or call or whatever and tell me where they were going to be.

 

Now I've totally lost my knack for meeting people online and keep meeting new people while out and about.

 

I think if someone wants to be social they have to MAKE themselves be social. It's not that comfortable at first and can be frustrating, but it sure pays off in the end.

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Hello, Pope Flippant!!! I am so sorry to hear about your loneliness. You've received a lot of good advice in this thread. I really like the - go out, eat, drink and be merry advice!

 

Seriously, I would advise finding another hobby or activity where you can meet people. I am a ham radio operator (as geeky as that sounds) and since I became involved in a local group, I have made some of the best friends I have ever had in my life. Post surgery, my friends have been incredibly supportive. These are true friends who love me because of who I am, not because of what I believe.

 

So find something that you enjoy doing, join a group, and make new, real friends!!! Good luck!

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{{hugs to all}} You guys are the greatest! bleh, I feel better, sorry 'bout the whine. And one of the ladies told me that her friendship for me is "unconditional" even though she knows pretty much the extent of my unbelief. So that was nice to hear. A couple of the others "forgave" me for having an opinion :)

 

I appreciate all your advice and am definitely following up (except for the part about the fake re-dedication, and the part about joining a different church)!

 

Thank you all!

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