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Coffee With The Taliban


Franko47
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So, this is kind of the flip-side of "Citsonga's" recent thread.

 

 

An old friend of mine finally figured out who I was from "Facebook" (having second thoughts about that now) and Emailed me to tell me he was back in my area again after many years and wanted to have coffee together and "catch up".

 

About a dozen years ago, when I was starting to slowly come out of my Christian "daze", we worked together on a music project. At the time he was also involved in a local church (I was an Anglican) that was more of the "Bible/Evangelical" bent and was pursuing higher education with hopes of even becoming a pastor.

 

At the time, he was quite receptive to some of my "progressive" Christian views, including my "heresies". He in fact seemed to be the kind of person who just wanted to help people and agreed with me about many of the harms done to people by religion in general, and Xtianity in particular.

 

One thing, though. When we parted company, I noticed that he was getting more and more "pious" by the day. I actually began trying to avoid him (my spouse at the time didn't care for him, either, and she had always been a good "early warning system" intuitive chick) so we hadn't talked much by the time he moved to another province.

 

Now, twelve years later, sitting in a local coffee shop last night for an hour or two, it was difficult to tell him where I was now at. He's a full-fledged "Christian musician" now and a part-time pastor. Choc full of zeal and enthusiasm for Jesus, and here, his former "mentor", telling him that unfortunately, I'm now working the other side of the street.

 

The highlights for your amusement:

 

Me: "I'm really sorry, Dave, but I came to a point in my life years ago where I began to realize that the whole Christian/Bible trip is just so incompatible with the way I think."

 

Dave: "I know it's hard, Frank, but there comes a time when we must conform ourselves to faith and not what we want."

 

 

*gasp*

 

 

Me: "The other thing is that if there really were an order of celestial beings and such, and they were interested in our lives, don't you think it would be more obvious? I mean, what would be wrong with a little proof?"

 

Dave: "This is where you're wrong. I've seen so many miracles with people at my (former) church in Calgary (Alberta)...people turning their lives around from drug addiction, and pornography, and...."

 

 

Me: "Yes, but Scientology can do that too. Any organization with a "support group" can help with such problems. It doesn't necessarily mean there are big miracles going on. And by the way, what's with the hangup about porn ? You keep referring to it as though it's behind the evils of our society."

 

Dave: "As a Christian man, I'm offended by the constant temptations that our culture presents with sex. You see it everywhere. It's causing the breakup of the family, and leads to all sorts of sex-crimes. I really think that we are entering into the last days..."

 

*gasp*

 

 

After a while, I diverted the conversation to hockey, music, and stuff about people we used to know. When I finally figured that I'd honoured him with enough time to talk, I got up from the table and paid off the waitress.

 

"You know," Dave said, "I've noticed that you're pretty happy-go-lucky these days, Franko. You seem to take the sins of our world pretty lightly, and you just don't seem to realize how bad things are."

 

Me: "You're disturbed because I"m happy and at ease with my life ? WTF ? And by the way, things aren't that bad, the future is friendly, and there's no point dwelling on the big bad world, because it's always been big and bad. I mean, really, man...."

 

Dave: "Well, nice to see you again. I'll pray for you, and hope that you'll consider some of the stuff I've talked about tonight."

 

Me: Sure. Bye, and good luck with your new church."

 

 

What was interesting to note when I got home later and thought about it, was his constant "condescending" nature towards me while we talked about certain stuff. He may be a part-time pastor and all, but at times I got the impression that he was really role-playing. He really thought that I was one of his dumb-fuck, dumb-struck cows wanting to hear more silly stories about Satan's plan to destroy us through......porn.

 

This wasn't the guy I used to know at all, who could see the big picture and be fairly skeptical about religious fads. He'd completely been assimilated by the fundy Borg, and kept wanting to dwell on popular fears that are useful to use on religious fundamentalists. That was the saddest part. There was hardly anything left of the creative, humorous guy I used to know. And it was obvious he resented my display of personal confidence. Not that I was no longer a Christian, but that I seemed immune to taunts and threats based upon Fundy/Bible/doctrinal BS which has now become his hammer.

 

I don't think we'll be talking or seeing each other again. You see, my old friend is gone. Replaced by a meta-clone of the neo-fundamentalist continuum, self-absorbed in his own bullshit, and spewing forth a vanity that I reckon would even be offensive to the angels.

 

Sad, really. The silver lining though is that I wasn't rattled by anything he said, nor did I feel that old lurking feeling of being afraid that some of his stuff might be true. For the very first time, I just laughed and shook my head as I drove home, looking forward to logging on to this site and taking a whiff of the sanity here.

 

Just in case.

 

Thanks for listening, and feel free to comment.

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So, this is kind of the flip-side of "Citsonga's" recent thread.

 

 

I don't think we'll be talking or seeing each other again. You see, my old friend is gone. Replaced by a meta-clone of the neo-fundamentalist continuum, self-absorbed in his own bullshit, and spewing forth a vanity that I reckon would even be offensive to the angels.

Thanks for listening, and feel free to comment.

I used to think idealistically that in time, with education and exposure to more ideas (via TV, the internet, college, etc.), everyone would become atheist - or at least not "fundy."

 

Now I see humanity as having some lemming like characteristics. If we see the last days, it will because of someone that thinks it's what God wants.

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Franko47...it is disappointing when this happens to a friend, and you are right, your old friend is gone.

I am truly amazed how fundamentalism can totally change someone, its frightening.

 

I can fully appreciate the condescending tone you were subject to. It used to really make me angry, but now I view it as a symptom of some underlying pathology.

 

Glad you weren't rattled by any of his crap, but it is sad to see a friend so deep into the grips of such a screwed up world view.

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Frank, its sad to read about how your friend has changed. He seems to be a sad, fearful person. These fundy types I think are afraid of the world and want a safe refuge. They want something they can cling to in the midst of a constantly changing world.

 

The worst thing is the way their fundamentalism won't allow them to see their fellow human beings as humans. Instead, the world is divided into believers and non-believers. I am afraid the non-believers are seen as less than human. We are "sinners".

 

I experienced a shock a few years ago when I tried to re-connect with one of my old high school friends. It was not about religion---she had many mental health issues that I knew I didn't want to deal with.

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Franko,

 

Recently met up with an old girlfriend and her current hubby.

 

We were a hot number twenty some years ago. I walked away from Church and State then, in turn was cut off from her affections. That hurt, but in retrospect the "best thing that coulda happened".

 

She found me via the IntARWEBb and invited me to meet her new squeeze. She got married soon after we broke up, to some fool who treated her poorly and in turn put his hands to her. After that and subsequent split, she went "full xtian missionary woman", spending time doing GoHwdsWurk for years.

 

Recently found time for a guy in her life, and married him..

 

Meeting up with them was like Back to the Future. She still looks good, as pretty as back then, and as religious.

 

Tough to think that folks are so wound into that life that they'd not even consider that folks such as myself want OUT.

 

Talked for a few hours, loaded up on coffee, and parted company with a scant "We'll see you later, meet your family" on our way out.

 

I've often considered "what if" things had gone different. Now Ive seen some of that, and not unpleased that I got out...

 

kL

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Who wants to bet your friend is probably watching BDSM porn in secret behind his church's back while he goes around condemning everyone?

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Who wants to bet your friend is probably watching BDSM porn in secret behind his church's back while he goes around condemning everyone?

 

 

 

Heh. I was talking to another friend today who used to be friends with "Dave" and knows a little more about the "stormy marriage" he's been involved in over the last few years. (See Nivek's post).

 

Apparantly, wifey supports this guy financially quite a bit; she's got a good career as a legal secretary while he just usually does Church and part-time stuff. They've struggled with a lot of debts over the last few years, most of it racked up by his expensive tastes. I thought it odd at the time that he was remarking on his "financial struggles" yet slid into a late model BMW when we left the restaurant.

 

I've seen this pattern before, and perhaps I'm judging prematurely, but I'm beginning to suspect he's another one of these "let the wife bring in the cash" while he does the "work of God". Funny, I asked about his wife a couple of times but he didn't seem to want to go there.

 

I'll be perfectly honest. He creeped me out. Not just with his pious rhetoric; but his whole persona. Kept getting the same vibe throughout our conversation, despite my discrete and casual comments.

 

"It's all about me".

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"Dave", eh?

 

Sounds just like my Notorious Bible-Thumping Ex... right down to the quotated name.

 

I gotta wonder if that built-in condescension is a job requirement for evangelical pastors. It's like they just can't conceive of anyone being happy and content without Jeebus, so they've got to pity us no matter how well we're doing. The NBTX had the same attitude. And yes, he was heavily into porn behind everybody's back too. I wouldn't be surprised, either, to learn that he'd married a gal for her income, or had the BMW and "financial problems"...

 

Do these guys all go to the same school or what?

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Do these guys all go to the same school or what?

 

 

It starts to seem that way, doesn't it ? The same thought patterns, the same wierdo method of their own empowerment; and of course the way that this guy seemed "irritated" by my apparent "happiness" outside of his gloomy, dark, yet self-serving domain.

 

It's easy to see how it likely wasn't too much trouble in centuries past enlisting these types for the "Inquisition".

 

No problem at all. "Dave" would love that line of work.

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