Jump to content

Why Does This Bother Me?


R. S. Martin
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm all torn betwixt and between. Talked with my other sister just now. She thinks she's found Christ. Her motives are good--she can't handle the way the church hurts people but she's not leaving it. Yet she thinks she's got The Truth. I can't tell her a thing. The Spirit tells her from moment to moment what to do, how to live. She is reading all these books. The books spell out in black and white what is The Devil and what is The Spirit. She told me she is so absorbed in The Spirit that she is barely aware of the weather. She considers that a good thing.

 

I tell her she is barely in contact with reality. She says the Spirit is reality. I tell her that I've gone through this, too--I've tried this route and it doesn't work in the long haul. I can't tell her a thing.

 

I don't understand my feelings at all. She's happy and she did not try to convert me. Why does this bother me? Anyone else ever experience this kind of reaction?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would chalk it up to a nurturing response that we have when it comes to our loved ones. It is very hard to explain to someone just how wacky they sound when they say things like "living in the spirit". I guess all you can do is continue to love your sister, and let her find her own way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super Moderator

Second what Kyle said.

 

You care about her and don't want to see her live life as a crazy person. I know that feeling. If you weren't concerned there would be something wrong.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She told me she is so absorbed in The Spirit that she is barely aware of the weather. She considers that a good thing.

 

Could it be that you sense an unhealthy extremism in your sister? For instance, in men at least, people will try to mask feelings of depression/despair through one of two processes: 1. elevation (inflated sense of power or giftedness) or 2. merging - relaxing the boundary's of one's self in order to experience "oceanic bliss." (Terrance Real, I Don't Want to Talk About It, p. 63).

 

Perhaps there is a similar dynamic at work with your sister that you can intuitively sense, but not quite put your finger on. I'm no expert, but we can sometimes get a sense when something is not quite right with someone , although we cannot put it into words or describe it right away. Maybe there's something going on with which your sister just doesn't want to deal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Second what Kyle said.

 

You care about her and don't want to see her live life as a crazy person. I know that feeling. If you weren't concerned there would be something wrong.

 

Thanks so much for saying this. Coming from you it means a lot. After talking with her, I came onto these forums and read what people said about getting out of religion, and they described the very thing she just "found." It's very different from the horse and buggy religion. I felt like I had to *shake* her into seeing what she is doing.

 

I told her by letter and on the telephone about the deception of evangelicalism. I told her how the other sister, who lives with her, had used trickery and arrogance in an effort to convert me. (I wrote about that in this thread.) I hoped to show her what this "spirituality" does to people. She divorced herself from evangelicals and excused our sister saying "We're still weak in the flesh."

 

I talked about the danger of not taking responsibility. She then referred to discerning the Spirit and the Devil.

 

After about an hour, it seemed we had covered all there was to say. I found myself getting angry and wanting to address the god question head-on so I knew it was time to hang up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She told me she is so absorbed in The Spirit that she is barely aware of the weather. She considers that a good thing.

 

Could it be that you sense an unhealthy extremism in your sister? For instance, in men at least, people will try to mask feelings of depression/despair through one of two processes: 1. elevation (inflated sense of power or giftedness) or 2. merging - relaxing the boundary's of one's self in order to experience "oceanic bliss." (Terrance Real, I Don't Want to Talk About It, p. 63).

 

Perhaps there is a similar dynamic at work with your sister that you can intuitively sense, but not quite put your finger on. I'm no expert, but we can sometimes get a sense when something is not quite right with someone , although we cannot put it into words or describe it right away. Maybe there's something going on with which your sister just doesn't want to deal.

 

I think you're right. She is not exactly happy. She has been unsettled for several years. I know from experience that the only antidote the church has is to "submit to one's lot" and to "learn to be content." I think she would be happier if she would allow herself to get more education and possibly to train for a career in the line of counseling or teaching, something that is more people-oriented and possibly more challenging than running a home baking and gardening business.

 

The other sister is the perfect "house wife" type of person who can work in the same job for thirty years on end and still love it. That's what that church is geared for. People who don't fit...simply don't fit and the problem is diagnosed as insubordination; it is dealt with accordingly.

 

The "oceanic bliss" is akin to what I understand mysticism to be, or the feeling mystics strive for. What she described is mysticism, in my understanding. At first, she rejected the idea when I told her that's what it is. She told me she read about mysticism a few years ago and mysticism means to feel at one with God. I told her she could do that with Christ, too; I know that every religion has its mystics. I forget what all I told her but she accepted what I said.

 

She has such very limited information. She assumes, because she was told, that all the denominations put too much emphasis on rules. She has no real method to discern truth from untruth, or fact from fiction. She is one of the brighter ones and could learn if she dared let go of the old superstitions and was prepared to pay the price.

 

She knows where I am if ever she is willing to investigate that route.

 

At one point she mentioned reading the value of fasting. I asked whether she realizes that it, too, is a rule. She realized it but somehow still felt it was what she needed to do.

 

There are no children in this situation.

 

Maybe I just want this to go too fast. The mere fact that they are opposing church authority is a major step in and of itself. :shrug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

*Hugs*

 

Maybe they will eventually realize the falsehood of this church.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This could also be looked at from the angle of the likelihood that this is largely a last stage dynamic. It could well be that she is throwing herself into the only dead end alley she hasn't yet gone down. As many of us, including you, can attest, the most natural result of the process of grasping at successive straws in order to find the "true" connection with God/Jesus/Christianity is the elimination of the final straw as being viable. As she gives it her very best effort and finds that her mystical connection is more and more often undeniably wrong about an increasingly long list of things, she'll find that she has fewer and fewer justifications for belief on which to hang her faith. Until she has explored that dead end thoroughly enough to satisfy herself, any voices from "outside" the tiny circle of her and god who are trying to tell her about reality are going to be just another case of unverified information which "some guy" (or sister) said.

 

I suggest that you settle in for an indefinite period of being gentle and emotionally supportive with her while you wait patiently and watch for those rare windows when you can point out how illusory her view of things really is. In doing so, it may be best and most healthy for both of you if you do this pointing by way of asking questions instead of overtly pointing, and by gently referring to your own experiences with this mindset. People can be very defensive of their "last straws of hope." To the person trying to disabuse them of their reliance on that straw, the point is to get rid of that damned, stupid, flimsy straw; The straw is seen as nothing other than an impediment and is understood to be very separate from the person. To the person who's placing their hope in it, the straw is almost literally their life. An attack on the straw is seen/felt as being equivalent to an attack on their life, no matter how gentle it may be. It's good to keep this in mind.

 

Good luck, dear lady and stock up on tea.

Loren

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Amethyst and Loren. Loren, I think your analogy may be a really good one. Since I never was able to really fully believe like most people do (I was born with the curse--blessing?--of a critical mind), it is really difficult for me to fully identify but your analogy makes sense. I know what it is like wanting for dear life to find a way to hold onto Christianity simply because the cost of not doing so is extremely high. Maybe the best I can do is be available but not impose my ideas. Better to let nature take its course.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.