Give Him A Chance

It’s getting cooler around here. The fall colors are slowly coming out. I’m savoring the last few weeks of warmth in the air while I can. Usually, come November, it gets too cold for me to wander around outside much. Today I took a wander and my friend’s mom and his dog were outside. For whatever reason, his dog practically worships me. I don’t get it. She’s old, and has very bad arthritis, and apparently I’m one of the very few people she’ll even get up for. I feel bad. I suspect she’s coming to the end of her rope.

I hadn’t intended to, but I ended up talking to his mom for quite a while. I’m teaching three CCD classes this year, and she suggested I consider teaching as a career option. Truthfully, I’m better at it than I thought I’d be. This is my third year doing it. One of my classes is fourth grade. I’m realizing it’s hard to translate a lot of what Jesus taught into kid language, but the experience is teaching me stuff, too. I could be a teacher. I’d prefer to teach high school, though. The thing is, becoming a CCD teacher was initially a spur-of-the-moment decision, and then I discovered that I’m fairly good at it. I would have to get certified as a teacher, and I just don’t know what’s involved. I don’t want to go back to school–at least not yet.

After I left there I called my grandmother just to talk. When we hung up, I headed for home. Before all this, though, my mom and I had taken one of our neighbors out to lunch. Without saying too much, she has some serious mental health problems, and isn’t exactly well liked. She’s a perfectly lovely person, but she’s very strange. She was telling us about some of her problems and I said, “I don’t mean to be pushy, but you could try praying about some of this stuff. I know from experience that God is a very powerful friend.” After I hung up with my grandmother this conversation came back to me. I thought, “I just wish people would give you a chance, God.”

That gave me two ideas. I don’t know a lot about “safe spaces” and the problems and arguments they may or may not cause, but the point is, they’re supposed to be “all inclusive.” Everyone is supposed to be welcome, at least from what I understand, and that led me to wonder if, for one thing, Catholics are welcome in those spaces and, for another, if God is welcome. The other thing I thought of is an analogy. I do think of God as a very powerful friend. He’s like a very influential friend who has a lot of power, but likes to do things behind the scenes. People kind of know who he is, but they’ve made up all kinds of gossip about him and his friends, so they don’t invite him to their parties, even if his friends are invited. I just want people to give my friend a chance to show them that he’s not the freakozoid that people say he is. Really he’s a very nice, creative, helpful, loving person.

8 thoughts on “Give Him A Chance

  1. Poor puppy. I wish dogs could live forever.

    I obviously disagree with your religious viewpoint. I struggle with the idea of teaching children without teaching them critical thinking skills and skepticism. I’m also all about free speech so where do you draw the line?

    I don’t know and my opinion continues to evolve on this subject.

    1. I’m not exactly sure what you mean by your free speech question. I’m teaching them about a belief system. I went to public school my whole childhood. Religion wasn’t part of those classes, and I learned critical thinking skills from English and science classes, so really this is just kind of an extra class for them. That’s my thinking, anyway.

      1. Teaching children or indoctrinating them into a religion vs free speech. Some people would equate it to child abuse, but being a free speech advocate, where would or should the line be drawn. I don’t know. I know there are studies that show religious indoctrination does harm to children and persists into adulthood.

        1. Well, put it this way, our program is leading up to the sacrament of confirmation. At the end of the program, each student is asked, “do you believe this?” I said yes, and one of my best friends said no.

  2. FGP, I don’t always agree with your POV, as you know. But you do, and that’s what’s important. and there really is no call to start assuming that you will do this or that because of what you believe or disbelieve. Be well.

  3. Give who a chance? Your version of some divine casual intervening creative agency for which there is not one whit of evidence? An idea that causes ongoing real world suffering to real people in real life when they are expected to believe in the unbelievable?

    You don’t even know what it is you’re teaching… other than a pernicious misogynistic paternal concept. You are indoctrinating kids. Good job. We wouldn’t want them learning how to think critically, now would we? They might not believe in the unbelievable, and we can’t have that. It would make believers think poorly of themselves for being so incredibly credulous and gullible.

    Oh right, you say, rolling your eyes at this non believer’s audacity to question your ‘loving’ god to whom you attribute positive power and beneficent effect…entirely of your own wishful thinking, of course, but let’s pretend otherwise.

    So what if you believe this stuff, right? So what if you wan’t to spread the Good News! around a bit. What’s the harm?

    Let’s see.

    We take someone who is having problems. You suggest they give your god a try. Two outcomes. Either nothing changes, in which case you’re not going to blame your god, now are you? Blame the victim.

    Or something does change. Two possibilities. The change if positive you’re going to attribute to your god. Confirmation bias. So powerful and loving and all that jazz, see? Or the change is negative and you’re not going to attribute that to your god, now are you? Blame the victim.

    One of the first principles in therapy is to recognize what the problem (dysfunction) actually is and why it’s a source of dysfunction. The next step is to OWN it. If you don’t own a problem then a) it’s not your problem because b) you don’t have the power to correct it. So taking ownership is key. Handing it off to some god is not therapy. It’s selling religion to a vulnerable person. It’s harmful for just those reasons.

    This is how you’re screwing people up who dare to believe you and who do try on your god. Either your god wins or that person loses. Either way, you’re not providing real help. You are actively interfering with contraindicated religious advice it is a health care issue and not a harmless religious opportunity that you are using it to be.

    But it makes YOU feel good, doesn’t it? And isn’t that point of helping someone else? Oh, wait…

    As for indoctrinating children, does that make you feel good too? May, just maybe, you’re not the most important person in any of these situations but the harm you’re doing is real enough. If you could think critically, you should already know this.

    1. You are obviously not willing to give him a chance, so I’ll make my response brief.

      1) Generally, the kids don’t want to be at CCD. Their parents make them go. I am teaching them what their parents want me to teach them.

      2) I would not blame the victim. I might blame her unfortunate living situation, unfriendly neighbors, or other external issues, but I would not blame her. I am perfectly willing to say “I don’t know” when it comes to the question of why bad things happen to good people. I am also perfectly willing to admit that believing in a higher power can be psychologically helpful.

      3) I have plenty of reasons to believe that my God is real and that he is who he says he is and who I believe he is from personal experience, but I gather you’re not interested in hearing them. I do not disregard science or history. I am not ignorant. I am also not in the business of proving God exists. I’m also not particularly interested in taking this conversation any further. Have a nice day.

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