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Memorial service

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I was at a memorial service last night for one of the strongest Christians women I've known. Strong in all the good ways (hospitality, empathetic, going out of her way to care for people). The families were close friends for several years, they even named a daughter after my wife. 90% of the service was in Russian, so I could choose which parts I wanted to hear translated over a headset. 


The thing that struck me was that when someone was preaching, the vibe was very different (more proclaiming/smack you over the head with religion) than when they spoke about her. She "preached" through consistent kindness, even to oppressors in Russia. She did her work (seamstress, tailoring) extremely well, and showed strong integrity. 


It was wonderful to see how the kids have grown, and all have degrees. We haven't been in their lives since we deconverted. But they've been emailing and FB posting lately about how much they appreciated our help to their families when they immigrated here. They tend to ultimately see kindness and physically being there to help as the most important "fruit" of the faith. I have always seen that as the most important part as well, especially after leaving the religion part. Being around them again helps me to control my natural snarky attitude towards the religion, and to reframe how I speak to them about being a good human/humanist. They know damn well that we were strong believers, so there is no "you were never really a Christian" thing from them. Only one of the uncles sees us like poison, and he is really the primary reason we didn't keep in contact with them for the last 15 years, because we would be seen as a threat. I recall him "pray-vent" his concerns at one gathering, so we separated from them to protect them from strife since church is fricken everything to them. And it reduced our stress by not having to face that attitude every time we were there. There was a bit of that last night from him, but ALL the others were so happy to see us. 


I wasn't really put off by the preaching from the kind ones. I figure that is the most important thing they feel they have, and it would be remiss if they didn't try to share it. 


Anyway, it was an interesting time. They have a joke about their Russian music all sounding like a dirge, even when it is a happy song. But it's pretty sounding. 

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Sorry for your loss, @Fuego.


Yes, the nice, kind, "there for you" Christians are rather pleasant, for the most part, to be around. But the gist of the bible is not kind, is it? It's more love me or burn for ever and those who do not have this knowledge of the bible either don't read the thing or are in denial.


It's he "You WILL bow down the ME and do as I say and do not question ME!", types that piss me no end and are so dangerous. But it is for them that religions were invented in the first place, eh?


I guess I took the post from acknowledging kind, decent Christians, and there are many, in an anti-religion direction. I'm thinking those kind, decent Christians would be as they are w/out the religion.

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I would hope that they would continue to embody kindness and all that without the faith. It's hard to say how anyone will react after leaving. And given how totally engrossed they are in church culture, it would be really odd for any of them. We helped them for several years with English, getting toys for the kids, eating hundreds of meals together, building computers, watching their kids grow up. 


We've been invited to Thanksgiving, which for me is more a time to reconnect with them socially. But they will want to talk about WHY we deconverted, and I don't really want to insult their beliefs at the same time that I explain how they are not historically valid, that the god of the bible isn't really very good, and that yes we can question when he blesses murder, rape, incest, and so on. I'll let them lead on that. 


It's an interesting social dynamic with them. All other churches I was part of were big on hugging. Russian Pentecostals only hug within the same sex (and sometimes kiss if they really care about you). Only the older mama can get away with hugging me because pretty much nobody questions her, and nobody thinks she's flirting. And the uncle that doesn't really want us around will likely be there. So, we'll see. My wife is not really comfortable being herself around them now, sensing the judgment from him and maybe a couple of others. They are also a bit more in evangelism mode due to mom dying. But I have no problem being there really. I do sense a definite change, but then again we haven't really hung out for 15 years. But the older mama was telling us "I still have the curtains you gave us, and I think of you every time I look at them. We miss you." So, there is still kindness and fond memories. We are quite different people than we were then, so we'll see about Thanksgiving. We can always leave if things get awkward. 


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I can identify with what you are going through, and may face some of the same this year.  Try to stay as far away from the subject of religion as possible.  BEST WISHES!

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