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Official Coming Out Facebook Statement


jblueep
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While I was outed accidentally by a friend on face book several weeks ago, and have been posting obvious non xian statuses since then, I haven't made an "official" public statement on my unbelief.

 

After hearing about yet another sermon at our former church that was explaining why we were now "enemies" (without actually naming us but leaving little doubt as to whom they were referring), I felt compelled to post something that came directly from me. I know it probably won't do any good, but I feel a responsibility to accurately represent my new community.

 

Here's my statement:

 

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Nice. How's that saying go about heaping coals on their heads? You should love when they won't, and they are the ones who claim love as the center of their lives?

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Nice. How's that saying go about heaping coals on their heads? You should love when they won't, and they are the ones who claim love as the center of their lives?

 

Funny, I used the "heaping coals" phrase to describe to 2honest why I am considering showing up at church next sunday. I won't make any trouble if I do, but I relish the thoughts of seeing their reactions if I do go. And, I do want to represent this community in a positive way if I can.

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Nice. How's that saying go about heaping coals on their heads? You should love when they won't, and they are the ones who claim love as the center of their lives?

 

Funny, I used the "heaping coals" phrase to describe to 2honest why I am considering showing up at church next sunday. I won't make any trouble if I do, but I relish the thoughts of seeing their reactions if I do go. And, I do want to represent this community in a positive way if I can.

 

Do it! They might ask you to leave...

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While I was outed accidentally by a friend on face book several weeks ago, and have been posting obvious non xian statuses since then, I haven't made an "official" public statement on my unbelief.

 

After hearing about yet another sermon at our former church that was explaining why we were now "enemies" (without actually naming us but leaving little doubt as to whom they were referring), I felt compelled to post something that came directly from me. I know it probably won't do any good, but I feel a responsibility to accurately represent my new community.

 

Here's my statement:

 

My family and close friends know that I have a passion for truth and authenticity. Those passions compel me to make this statement. In September 2011, those passions led me to a major life change. In short, after more than three decades of devotion, I am no longer a Christian. This news is likely not a surprise to many of my Christian friends given my recent posts and statuses.

 

Regretfully, it has come to my attention that there have been many uninformed private and public speculations as to my motivations. In my opinion, these speculations are almost entirely without merit for the simple fact that almost all of those who are speculating have not spoken to me even once. Some cut off all communication the moment we stopped attending church, before there was any knowledge of my apostasy. Others severed all ties the moment they found out. Most are just ignoring us, perhaps out of hurt or fear. Perhaps I’ll never know.

 

For what it’s worth in a public form, I’ll simply say that my decision to leave the faith was a very well considered one and a long time coming. It was not rash and did not arise out of pride, anger, bitterness, hurt, deception or from any single issue. I know that is difficult for some of you to believe but it is the truth. For now, it is my simple wish that you know that I live in the greatest happiness and peace I have ever known. I am the same man you knew in that I believe and practice living my life with love, compassion, and generosity.

 

I am truly open and willing to engage with any of you privately if you so desire. If not, then I still love you, I wish you best and I’ll leave the light on for you in case you change your mind.

 

Nice letter but I personally would rather leave them speculating as to my reasons...might suggest to others you worship satan now just for giggles.

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Nice. How's that saying go about heaping coals on their heads? You should love when they won't, and they are the ones who claim love as the center of their lives?

 

Funny, I used the "heaping coals" phrase to describe to 2honest why I am considering showing up at church next sunday. I won't make any trouble if I do, but I relish the thoughts of seeing their reactions if I do go. And, I do want to represent this community in a positive way if I can.

 

Do it! They might ask you to leave...

 

I considered that TF. In one way, it wouldn't surprise me if they asked me to leave. In another way, it would totally violate their message I heard for four years (acceptance, grace, etc).

 

I posted this addendum to my facebook statement:

 

To my Christian friends that I have not talked too much lately (***I tagged all my estranged xian friends here so I was sure they would see it as most have probably excluded me from their news feeds***)

 

I appreciate you remaining friends on facebook. I take my part in the responsibility for leaving you in the dark. This was to me a bit like coming out as gay (or at least what I can imagine) :)

 

I want to say specifically that I love you. Some of my recent post have been provocative and I can see how some could be considered offensive to your faith. I admit that there was frustration in some of the posts but I never meant to offend.

 

You know that I am an evangelist at heart. When I found something I consider to be truth, I have a deep down need to share it. At any rate, I love you and I hope to continue our friendship because I was friends with you for reasons beyond faith. I may come this Sunday just to hug your neck if that's OK with you :)

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The pastor talked about you in a sermon? What is this with all the drama, Dallas?!??

 

Oh yeah...you live...anyways.

 

When a fundy is presented with evidence contradicting their beliefs, there are two roads that can be taken. One is to come to terms with the new knowledge. The second is to bore ever deeper into fundy Middle Earth. You drew a dividing line (in their minds at least) and I'm sure mr preacher man has the minds of the sheeple locked up like Lindsey Lohan. Fundys and atheists just don't run on the same circles, dude. I wish you the best, but don't hold your breath.

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The pastor talked about you in a sermon? What is this with all the drama, Dallas?!??

 

Oh yeah...you live...anyways.

 

When a fundy is presented with evidence contradicting their beliefs, there are two roads that can be taken. One is to come to terms with the new knowledge. The second is to bore ever deeper into fundy Middle Earth. You drew a dividing line (in their minds at least) and I'm sure mr preacher man has the minds of the sheeple locked up like Lindsey Lohan. Fundys and atheists just don't run on the same circles, dude. I wish you the best, but don't hold your breath.

 

I hear you, but fifty years ago black and whites thought they couldn't truly coexist. Twenty years ago, the LGBT thought they would never be accepted as mainstream. I know we still have a ways to go with these two groups, especially the LGBT group, but there is progress because the minority refused to be quiet. I may be naive, but I have hope. I will give it my best shot :shrug:

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The pastor talked about you in a sermon? What is this with all the drama, Dallas?!??

 

Oh yeah...you live...anyways.

 

When a fundy is presented with evidence contradicting their beliefs, there are two roads that can be taken. One is to come to terms with the new knowledge. The second is to bore ever deeper into fundy Middle Earth. You drew a dividing line (in their minds at least) and I'm sure mr preacher man has the minds of the sheeple locked up like Lindsey Lohan. Fundys and atheists just don't run on the same circles, dude. I wish you the best, but don't hold your breath.

 

I hear you, but fifty years ago black and whites thought they couldn't truly coexist. Twenty years ago, the LGBT thought they would never be accepted as mainstream. I know we still have a ways to go with these two groups, especially the LGBT group, but there is progress because the minority refused to be quiet. I may be naive, but I have hope. I will give it my best shot :shrug:

 

Here's the thing though, and it's a BIGGIE:

 

They would have to be like JESUS.

 

and we know that ain't happening.

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The good news is the friendships you guys build now will be glued together by more than just the way you come down on the answer to a really rather simplistic question.

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People who leave the faith are treated like jesus was. Xians decide you are bad and they nail you to the cross. Everything they say they are is actually the opposite in reality. There is no love of you turn on a friend and then trash them in public as your enemy. They are so grade school click.

 

In other news, I'm waiting for you to report the dork who misread your post and thinks you just came out as gay. That's gonna be funny. :D

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I appreciate where you are coming at in hoping your church friends can rise above their beliefs to see you as a person beyond them. This says something of your depth that is truly admirable. My biggest disappointment in leaving the church was really not so much that what I believed in previously I no longer accepted, since that had been weighing on me anyway, but that those who I felt that family bond with were just suddenly no longer able to be my friends.

 

Since you mentioned this on Facebook, I'll share this rather long post I did on Facebook as well in a group for former members of the church I was part of - many in that group are still active Christians in other denominations. I offered this in response to a friend of mine who shared exactly what we're saying here, how no one bothered to talk with him after he declared he no longer believed like them. Here's what I said in response:

I actually hadn't heard you say that before Kenny. That's the same experience I had, especially never hearing one word from my pastor after sending him a 66 page letter detailing why I couldn't continue with their organization. Not one person ever cared to talk with me as a person. I experienced the same thing with the other more 'mainstream' churches as I found where I was at didn't really fit with their views and I simply never came back. It's of course fine that we may not have a meeting of minds and live our separate lives, but to never once even call or write to dialog at all? That says something informative.

 

I believe the reason why lays in their stage of development. The sphere of those they can extend genuine compassion towards exists only within those of the group they can directly identify with. It follows the stages of growth the developmental psychologist Piaget laid out which holds universally true. That also extends to cultural and social development. The seat of self identity moves from ego-centric in early childhood, to family identification, to peers, to groups, to communities, going further then as in Maslow, to nation, to planetary, etc. In where they are at is more rooted in group identification. Those outside that are "the lost". The 'reaching beyond their doors' they do is not a genuine empathy with others for who they are, but rather in the interest of making them part of their group so they can find a means to identify with them.

 

So as a former 'group member', to leave them makes you beyond their 'salvation', since you already had that identity with them. It's not simply a case of you supposedly 'backsliding' as they like to call it when one falls back into 'sin'. But a case where with eyes wide opened you made a cognitive choice to leave them. You know what they believe, you studied with them, fellowshipped with them, prayed with them, etc, and yet you don't see what they do? They cannot relate to that since they themselves are entirely embedded in that way of thinking as reality.

 

We cracked the lid on reality just enough to see the sphere is slightly larger for us, or some may even have blown lid right off the container altogether to identify ourselves beyond any confines or definitions. For myself, I say "I am all religions. I am none." I can identify with them, as I know what that was like to be embedded in that reality, to see myself, others, and the world through those eyes. They however can't see this, as they have never experienced it as reality yet in their lives. It simply doesn't exist to them, and they have to try to understand it in ways they can relate to; i.e., "lost, backslidden, deceived, etc".

 

And that to me, understanding that, allows me to see where they are at, and genuinely have compassion for them for not being able to see beyond their own limited reality to see me. I am happy they are able to find something for themselves where they are at, and hope they continue to build upon that in their growth. But I am able to let go of my anger and resentment to them at their lack of response, and that allows me to 'love others as myself'. I chose to walk alone, and learning this was part of that path.

 

I hope that might help put things in perspective for you if you too find that what you hope for doesn't rise to that level for you from them. There is a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson I love which says this so well. You may find how well it fits when they simply can't understand where you are at now. "What we are, that only can we see".

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People who leave the faith are treated like jesus was. Xians decide you are bad and they nail you to the cross. Everything they say they are is actually the opposite in reality. There is no love of you turn on a friend and then trash them in public as your enemy. They are so grade school click.

 

In other news, I'm waiting for you to report the dork who misread your post and thinks you just came out as gay. That's gonna be funny. biggrin.png

 

I'll just show up in a rainbow shirt with Barbara Streisand blasting on my truck radio to really confuse them ;)

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I hope that might help put things in perspective for you if you too find that what you hope for doesn't rise to that level for you from them. There is a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson I love which says this so well. You may find how well it fits when they simply can't understand where you are at now. "What we are, that only can we see".

 

Thanks Antler. I appreciated and relate to that story and I appreciate you sharing it with me. Great Emerson quote too :)

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People who leave the faith are treated like jesus was. Xians decide you are bad and they nail you to the cross. Everything they say they are is actually the opposite in reality. There is no love of you turn on a friend and then trash them in public as your enemy. They are so grade school click.

 

In other news, I'm waiting for you to report the dork who misread your post and thinks you just came out as gay. That's gonna be funny. biggrin.png

 

I'll just show up in a rainbow shirt with Barbara Streisand blasting on my truck radio to really confuse them wink.png

 

I'd either choose Lady GaGa or The Sound of Music soundtrack, it's way more gay! :D

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I appreciate where you are coming at in hoping your church friends can rise above their beliefs to see you as a person beyond them. This says something of your depth that is truly admirable. My biggest disappointment in leaving the church was really not so much that what I believed in previously I no longer accepted, since that had been weighing on me anyway, but that those who I felt that family bond with were just suddenly no longer able to be my friends.

 

Since you mentioned this on Facebook, I'll share this rather long post I did on Facebook as well in a group for former members of the church I was part of - many in that group are still active Christians in other denominations. I offered this in response to a friend of mine who shared exactly what we're saying here, how no one bothered to talk with him after he declared he no longer believed like them. Here's what I said in response:

I actually hadn't heard you say that before Kenny. That's the same experience I had, especially never hearing one word from my pastor after sending him a 66 page letter detailing why I couldn't continue with their organization. Not one person ever cared to talk with me as a person. I experienced the same thing with the other more 'mainstream' churches as I found where I was at didn't really fit with their views and I simply never came back. It's of course fine that we may not have a meeting of minds and live our separate lives, but to never once even call or write to dialog at all? That says something informative.

 

I believe the reason why lays in their stage of development. The sphere of those they can extend genuine compassion towards exists only within those of the group they can directly identify with. It follows the stages of growth the developmental psychologist Piaget laid out which holds universally true. That also extends to cultural and social development. The seat of self identity moves from ego-centric in early childhood, to family identification, to peers, to groups, to communities, going further then as in Maslow, to nation, to planetary, etc. In where they are at is more rooted in group identification. Those outside that are "the lost". The 'reaching beyond their doors' they do is not a genuine empathy with others for who they are, but rather in the interest of making them part of their group so they can find a means to identify with them.

 

So as a former 'group member', to leave them makes you beyond their 'salvation', since you already had that identity with them. It's not simply a case of you supposedly 'backsliding' as they like to call it when one falls back into 'sin'. But a case where with eyes wide opened you made a cognitive choice to leave them. You know what they believe, you studied with them, fellowshipped with them, prayed with them, etc, and yet you don't see what they do? They cannot relate to that since they themselves are entirely embedded in that way of thinking as reality.

 

We cracked the lid on reality just enough to see the sphere is slightly larger for us, or some may even have blown lid right off the container altogether to identify ourselves beyond any confines or definitions. For myself, I say "I am all religions. I am none." I can identify with them, as I know what that was like to be embedded in that reality, to see myself, others, and the world through those eyes. They however can't see this, as they have never experienced it as reality yet in their lives. It simply doesn't exist to them, and they have to try to understand it in ways they can relate to; i.e., "lost, backslidden, deceived, etc".

 

And that to me, understanding that, allows me to see where they are at, and genuinely have compassion for them for not being able to see beyond their own limited reality to see me. I am happy they are able to find something for themselves where they are at, and hope they continue to build upon that in their growth. But I am able to let go of my anger and resentment to them at their lack of response, and that allows me to 'love others as myself'. I chose to walk alone, and learning this was part of that path.

 

I hope that might help put things in perspective for you if you too find that what you hope for doesn't rise to that level for you from them. There is a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson I love which says this so well. You may find how well it fits when they simply can't understand where you are at now. "What we are, that only can we see".

I know that wasn't put up their for me, but it really helped me today Antlerman! Thanks!
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That was a classy letter. I've been toying with the idea of posting something similar, but I don't think I'm ready to "come out" to my family yet. My grandmother is 82 years old, and I hate for her to spend the last few years she has on this earth thinking I'm going to burn in hell for all eternity.

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That was a classy letter. I've been toying with the idea of posting something similar, but I don't think I'm ready to "come out" to my family yet. My grandmother is 82 years old, and I hate for her to spend the last few years she has on this earth thinking I'm going to burn in hell for all eternity.

 

What If she lives to be 105?

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I thought about waiting for all of the old people in my family to go ahead and die too. LOL. mainly grandma. sorry grandma.

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...I'll share this rather long post I did on Facebook as well in a group for former members of the church I was part of - many in that group are still active Christians in other denominations. I offered this in response to a friend of mine who shared exactly what we're saying here, how no one bothered to talk with him after he declared he no longer believed like them.

This is wonderful Antlerman. I am trying to better understand the in-group/out-group mentality (of which I too was a part when I was a fundy sad.png ). I find it both fascinating and disturbing.

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We received several positive responses from our former church, all of them from people the leadership would have labeled as "less mature". Funny enough, the "mature" people didn't respond.

 

We also received one response in an email from an older couple we were closest to in the former church. They were basically like parents to us.

 

Their email:

 

Hi, Jason. We would like privately to respond to your FB post from yesterday. First of all, we want you to know how much you have been in our thoughts and prayers since you walked away from [the church]. And our hearts continue with you Blues in your new found religion. As you well know, during the days we were together at [the church] we loved you as dear brother/sister/children…and still do.

 

The conundrum for us and others, we assume, is we have been processing and unraveling this situation for ourselves, i.e., recovering from the unprecedented experience (for us) of having part of our family who loved Father God as you loved Him come to the conclusions you have reached. You know that when you made your decision to reject faith and Father, you were rejecting family as well. It is not a matter of friendship status, but of family relationship. And we realize from your new perspective of your truth, that statement may not hold water for you. But from our perspective it’s the heart of the matter. We are absolutely your friends, but you have chosen to disconnect from the family.

 

As you quoted Robert Frost a few months ago, our paths diverged and your choice has made a difference for you and for us. Our paths may cross from time to time…as they did at Rosas last week…and we will be so glad each time we see you. But in all the issues of life that matter to us, we simply pray for a re-convergence of paths as you all trek the one you have chosen.

 

In the beginning of your divergence, you said you would contact people when you were ready. We would love to “cross” paths with you on purpose when you are ready. We so appreciated the personal email exchanges with you which began our own processing. Except for the one occasion when we had lunch with you on a Saturday at your suggestion, you have not made any effort to talk with us face to face. Now we are at the place where you have unfolded your story in the public forum of FB…replete with provocation on occasion! Honestly, we have not known what we could say to you or do…concluding the answer is “Nothing, but hold you before the Lord.” So that’s what we do.

 

You are posting quotes and thoughts from avowed atheists, humanists, philosophers and evangelists of human kindness about how people in this world should interact. Many of the thoughts are good, and we actually agree with some of them…but the messages they convey for you and for us is totally different…because the purported source of the message is different. We say purported because … from our view … all thought is from God. Many years ago we stopped trying to discern “good and evil” and began to see through to God/good – to “life” – in all things. We believe every selfless thought comes from Him…regardless of the perspective of the one who says it and claims it as original thought.

 

To let you know where we are now…we believe the Word on the story of the Blues. I.e., you were born again by the Spirit into God’s family, and then He adopted you as sons by the same Spirit. In most legal perviews, a child born into a family can be disinherited by a Father. But a child adopted by a Father can never, legally, be disinherited. The only way the adopted child can get out of the relationship is to make a legal declaration that he desires to be out…to reject the relationship. The Father cannot make such a claim. But even for the child-prodigies (like yourself who have declared that the very life and all the good within you with which He has gifted you came from some other source)—even for that child, the Father is always the Father…from the Father’s point of view. The brothers and sisters are left to make their decisions individually as to whether they view the prodigy as family or alien.

 

So, our conclusion is this … Father has not and will not let you go. You may be out there in your prodigious life – being your marvelous Elvis-self, displaying your extraordinary talents, exploring new thought, searching for truth, saying what you want to say (in original language, prodigy means “I say”)… looking for evidence. Being yourself … being who you are … being the person we and everyone loves so much! Your Father is OK with you. We are OK with you. We are your brother and sister, and we have decided you are still our family. Daddy’s got you, and He will not let you go. And we told you in the beginning of your divergence, we will not let you go.

 

So you go on with your good self…be, display, explore, search, say. You are looking for evidence…we don’t know or care where you’re looking…but do stop and take a look at yourself in the mirror often. Man, you are the evidence! Just like Nate and Liana are evidence that you exist…well, you get it! Daddy is not shaken. And, like it or not … we are waiting on the porch with Him.

 

When and if you want to talk about real stuff with us privately, we are now ready! Come to us when you are ready. Thank you for allowing us the space and time to walk for ourselves this new road in our own lives! It’s all good!

 

We love us some Blues!

 

B&D

 

My response (tempered greatly by the wisdom of 2honest):

 

B & D,

 

I appreciate you taking the time to respond, and I fully understand the context of your conclusions because I lived in that same context for more than thirty years. The last ten years of my Christianity were spent fully in the kingdom/grace context, free of religion and all about relationship. I believe that the evidence of my genuine love and faith was clear to you and to everyone. The evidence of that in your lives was clear to me.

 

Honestly, I found it difficult to reconcile the two parts of your letter. I know that you are NOT judgmental and manipulative people. You never have been, but the first part of your letter struck me in that fashion, and I’ll explain why below. The second part of your letter was very loving, but in context with the first part was difficult to assimilate.

 

So, I guess I need to respond to the first part of the letter since I did not understand it. I realize that parts of this letter may seem like I’m wounded. The hurtful events I describe below happened after we left the faith. I say that to assure you that those events were not a factor in our loss of faith. I’ve had time to process these events, and I am no longer wounded. I am still at times befuddled and frustrated, so I am determined to see this process through for my own good and the good of the ones I love, namely you! So please read this imagining my peaceful smiling face with an occasional puzzled look upon it!

 

The most difficult thing to get past is your stated context of family. I could not disagree more with your statement “You know that when you made your decision to reject faith and Father, you were rejecting family as well”. I perhaps naively did not know that. Friendship and family are virtually one in the same for me. Like you, when I give myself in friendship to someone, they are my family, period. Nothing can change that. Well, almost nothing; there are exceptions to every “rule”, but I’m pretty radical about this one just as you are J

 

This is not the first time this “Christian=Family” concept has been introduced to me in the last ten months. My dearest friend rejected me based on your exact reasoning. When I told them that I was no longer a Christian, they replied that “…the kingdom of God and friendship are one in the same…and as we end this chapter of our lives…”, letting me know in no uncertain terms that because I was no longer a Christian we could no longer be real friends. I immediately implored them to reconsider such a drastic position, but they cut me off from all communication immediately. It was a drastic position to me because I had spent countless hours counseling and consoling them through their pain of rejection by other Christians. Yet they could not see the hypocrisy.

 

I know that I shouldn’t project my thoughts and principles on anyone else in an expectation to see the same behavior, but I can’t help but do it at least a little. When other people left the church over the years, I made a point to track those people down and tell them that I loved them and that they would always be my friend, even the people I wasn’t close friends with. When my sister in law divorced my brother in law, I tracked her down to tell her that I loved her and that she would always be my sister. That is what I think family does. Virtually no one, outside of you, for which I am very grateful, made that attempt with us. That is not what family does.

 

Let me give you an analogy. What if a child in a family revealed to his parents that he was gay? Should they tell them that he chose to leave the family because he realized a truth about himself? Should they say that everything would be ok if he would just return to the family by giving up his homosexuality? Should they withhold their relationship with him until that time? Should they tell him not to influence other people by sharing his sexual orientation? Of course not! He has to be who he is and he is family no matter what. Our situation is not any different in my view.

 

The reason I didn’t tell you or anyone about our situation sooner is because I knew it would be like “coming out” as gay. That has proven to be terribly true. Everyone “loves” me, but no one will talk to me. I know that if I would just “go straight”, everyone would take me back. I submit that is not family. That is conditional relationship based on a shared belief system. I no longer have the context of Christianity, but I have been far more Christian than most Christians I know.

 

It seems to me that when Christians wrap family in the sole context of Christianity, then there is by definition no love outside of that context. I cannot accept that, but I do understand it. That is why I sent an email in January to several dozen Abbey people taking all the blame for the relationship breaks. That is why I wrote the status yesterday, again humbling myself in an attempt to acknowledge my own mistakes and reconnect to a group of people that left me far more than I left them. I did those things with hope in my heart that the truth of love and family will prevail.

 

I understand that you see greatness in humanity as a reflection of God. I do look in the mirror often, and what I see for me is that life works exactly the same with or without a belief in God. The difference is that I now take responsibility for my own actions. I accept that this life is the only one I have, so I’d better value it greatly and make every moment count. That mindset has caused our marriage to go from good to great. It’s caused our relationships with our children to go from good to great. It’s caused the relationship between our children to slowly but surely improve. It’s causing me to pursue relationship with you if it’s at all possible.

 

We love you and we consider you family. You two were parents to us in many ways. I do not doubt your love for us, but I do wonder whether the delta in our contexts of family is too great to surmount. If so, we may never be able to return to the wonderful relationship that we had with you. I truly hope this is not the case and I believe that you share the same hope.

 

Finally, I hope that none of my thoughts here were offensive or hurtful. That is certainly not my intent. My desire is to speak my truth to you so that there remains a chance for the restoration/continuation of the Blue/[them] family.

 

I love you very much,

 

Jason

 

Their response back to us:

 

Hey Jason,

 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. We have come to the conclusion that we don't want to do any more emailing ... none of us can read the heart between the lines. We're glad to know that we conveyed that we love you Blues and, yes, we continue! Look forward to face time when you're ready!

 

B&D

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i wanna jump through the screen and cyber slap that fool. but i have to remember that they are OBLIGATED to do that.

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