Monday, August 14, 2006

One of the things bugging me

There are many things upon which Mr. Pop and I agree and some of course that we do not. One of the most important things we agree on is we do not cheat on anything. We do not fudge our tax returns or anything else. Keeping everything honest and above board allows us one less thing to worry about. Life produces enough worries, as you told me in your comments this weekend.

Okay, why did I wake up at one o’clock this morning and was unable to go back to sleep? It was because of a matter in my family. It was because, due to past experiences, I know that I cannot trust members of my own family. That’s just so damned sad. I would trust any one of you more than I am able to trust the people related to me. Because of this present matter I am forced to deal with them, but I have to watch my own back at every move. I have to be sure that I am not falling into a trap. Not so long ago they almost caught me in another trap. They boldly lied to me, but thankfully I relied on good advice and they did not succeed with their plan.

This is like some sick freakin’ game I am having to play with them right now. That’s not the way it should be within a family. But greed seems to trump everything in this particular game.

I have stated before that I am in no way a religious person but I try to be a good and decent person. I try to be honest and fair. I try to live by the Golden Rule as much as I possibly can. If there were a Jesus, I think he would probably like me. Yet the “born again”, highly religious members of my family are the very ones who seem to have no principles when it comes to honesty, fairness and decency. I don’t know what transpires in people’s minds when they are “born again”, but from my personal experience, it isn’t good.

35 Comments:

Blogger spadoman said...

You can pick your nose. You can pick your friends. But you can't pick your relatives. And you can't pick your friends or your relatives noses.

Hope you're smiling PoP

People get blinded when their intoxicated. This intoxication can come from the bottle for the alcoholic, the next hit for the junky and the bible for the born again. Spiritual intoxication is a hard habit to break because unlike alcohol and drugs, the "word" is viewed as the right way to be involved with society.

Since it's viewed as right and good, born agains want to tell you about it and tell you you're wrong if you think any other way. Problem is, their own spiritual intoxication has them believing everything someone else interprets for them to be right and good.

I get my messages from my heart and hold them within myself. What you think of me is none of my business. What you have in your heart is none of mine as well.

August 14, 2006 4:52 AM  
Blogger BrotherCurmudgeon said...

Thanks for usurping my thought, spadoman. Now I sit here at the keyboard without a thought to share with pop. Anyway, good morning and stay strong.

August 14, 2006 5:24 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Pop, I have relatives who are both the kind of "born again" described here and the ones I view as truly Christian. While I may not agree with any of them, they are vastly different people. The description of one group as alcoholic is very apt. It is simply their brand of addiction and they will lie even to themselves to maintain the fiction. It is mean, close minded, and not worth your concern other than to protect yourself and your family.

There is a group that are almost saintlike in their commitment to others, the desire to always do better, and who embrace the world as a way to reflect their belief. In some ways they can be even harder to take, because you almost feel guilty for not agreeing with them simply because they are so good. Fortunately for us all, that kind of goodness while rare can be found in all religions or even no religion at all.

August 14, 2006 5:40 AM  
Blogger Walt said...

One of the principal reasons I discarded organized religion was the fact that there was a disconnect between peoples' professions of faith and their actual conduct.

A local pastor was arrested back around 1989 for lewd behavior (he fondled an undercover deputy and offered him money for sex) Another preacher is doing time for bad checks and wire fraud, and a preacher's son is doing 45 years for masterminding a swindle that bilked churchgoers of their life's savings.

If this is the best "Christianity" has to offer, I'll stick with Wicca or just drop it altogether.

August 14, 2006 5:44 AM  
Blogger Keir said...

People who believe in absolutes without a shred of emperical evidence cannot be trusted.

Hey, maybe this will cheer you up.

August 14, 2006 6:14 AM  
Blogger an average patriot said...

POP
I have to agree with you! I have never had a good experience with these so called born again christian fundamentalist's. Quite the opposite if fact.
Like Bush, the majority of them seem to have gotten into it in order to justify their own lying and inequities. It has nothing to do with wanting to be a true Christian!
one more thing! A bit of a rant I know but Bush has perverted Christianity the way the Islamists have done to Islam!
As a result we have perverted unbridled Religiosity on both sides of this misnamed war on terror.

August 14, 2006 6:37 AM  
Blogger fallenmonk said...

PoP peoples actions speak for who they are and not what they profess. Relatives or not, people whose actions distress you or tempt you from the path are vexations and are to be avoided like roadkill. There is a world of meaning in the phrase "To thine ownself be true."

August 14, 2006 6:46 AM  
Anonymous rebellious renee said...

PoP...there is a side of Rick's family that are big "holy rollers"...
if you listen to them...they believe that they are saved by accepting Jesus as their personal savior...good deeds mean nothing...
the post above that relates their behavior to alcoholism is right on, IMO...
as for your family situation...I don't know what it is....your mention of greed is very telling...
if it were me...I'd walk away...
no amount of money would be worth it...but of course, you must make your own decision...

August 14, 2006 7:05 AM  
Blogger Peacechick Mary said...

Sounds to me like you have accepted them for what they truly are: untrustworty. You are an intelligent (brilliant really), thoughtful person, so I think you are up to this. If you can't deal with it, then no one can.

August 14, 2006 7:26 AM  
Anonymous Blue in SC said...

My brother-in-law and his wife are "born again" and I could not list all of the awful things they had done to my husband and me. Lying, cheating, stealing...and he wonders why my husband wants no connect with him. Believe me, I understand what you are going through.

August 14, 2006 7:48 AM  
Blogger betmo said...

pop, my thought is- family is where you make it. i have friends who are more family than actual blood. i walked away from both sides of my family many years ago- because i asked myself- would i associate with these people if i wasn't related? if not- then why am i obligated to have anything to do with them now? i don't have anything in common and i don't even like them. so- bye bye- and guess what? no worrying about being lied to, gossiped about, taken advantage of, etc., etc.

as for organized religion and what it does to folks- i have posted endlessly on this topic- i am against religion of any kind. it sets up an elitist mentality- "we're god's chosen ones- so we must be better than you and have the answers since god left them for us in his bible." simpletons believe in religion because it's the easy way out. no personal responsibilty for anything- 'it's god's will' and hey- you can do whatever you want and pray for forgiveness and all will be forgiven. some of the worst acting humans on the planet are the most religious. that is no accident.

August 14, 2006 7:49 AM  
Blogger Darius said...

Maybe I'm simple minded, but to me, being a good person IS being a religious person. Imo the robes, statuary, beads, incense - and belief systems that each institutional religion, especially in the west, claims to be absolutely true while being unable to demonstrate it to anybody else - are all optional features.

August 14, 2006 7:55 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

That's the thing about families - they really can't be 'born again'. They are who they are and I'm sorry some of yours are not living with integrity.

It is odd how character comes through blogs, isn't it? Because I know that you are a good person and that you do live with integrity.

I'm also pretty sure that if there was a Jesus and if he's still around somewhere (in the ethers or living in Brooklyn or whatever) - he would like you.

August 14, 2006 8:40 AM  
Blogger enigma4ever said...

POP: I send you many ((((( ))))) ...okay Hugs...
because this is indeed a hard AWFUL situation..and now the whole country is learing what it is like to have Born Agains That Ask to be Trusted in their daily lives...and it is awful....( ahem -1600)... Good post... I am so sorry...Hang in There...

August 14, 2006 9:21 AM  
Blogger Chancelucky said...

Pop,
best of luck with the relatives. I know from personal experience that for a country that values family so much, families often don't value one another all that much.

August 14, 2006 9:49 AM  
Blogger The Pagan Temple said...

I don't know what your situation is, but if I were you I would avoid them, cut them totally out of your life. Make sure you aren't misreading them or misinterpreting them, and once you are at peace with yourself in that regard, let them go. You don't need them. The only reason this is bothering you so much is probably due to the blood ties and old memories. You have to realize that those old ties have already been cut and totally severed-not by you, but by them. As for the blood ties, that means little if anything.

If it would make you feel better, write them a letter. A form letter, copied and sent to each member of the family to whom it is appropriate, and tell them exactly how you feel, and then tell them quite simply that you wish nothing more to do with them because of this. If this involves a legal or financial matter, file a copy with your attorney.

But it would probably be better to just cut all ties to them, and ignore their calls or approaches from here on out. Don't even open your door when they come knocking.

Oh, almost forgot. Don't try to reason with them, or argue with them. That's a lost cause. You'll just bring more unnecessay stress on yourself if you follow that route.

August 14, 2006 10:38 AM  
Blogger Blueberry said...

I value a friend (any friend) more than the entire pack of people related to me.

August 14, 2006 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Knox Rover said...

I can symphathize with you, PoP. I'm not close to my own family, but I don't live near them, either. My boyfriend's family lives in town, but I don't trust them. They'll hug you, smile at your face, and then rip you apart as soon as your back is turned.

I've been fortunate over the years to cultivate friends who became my family. I have more "families" than I can count back East. It's funny how so many people cling to "blood kin," even if they don't get along with those people or have been abused by them.

I think you're a good person.

August 14, 2006 10:55 AM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

The one thing I have learned in this lifetime is that although most of the time prejudice is bad, it's OK to stereotype Jesusistanis-you never go wrong.

Way too many of them I know personally smoke, drink, gamble, fool around, and like underage sex partners. I have come to believe that they scream "Jesus!" to try to suppress something evil within themselves, or at the very least to try to hide it from the rest of us.

My in-laws have learned very quickly that preaching to me is one of two things you do not want to do, the other one being reciting talking points (also common to Jesusistanis, who tend to worship the Chimperor.)

August 14, 2006 11:11 AM  
Blogger JM said...

I've always found it ironic when people who make a claim of possessing the higher moral ground find the need to be judgmental and involved in other's affairs when their own house is built on a shaky foundation. Hang in there.

August 14, 2006 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Liliana said...

Pop,

Hang in there, chickadee. We can just do our best to live the way we think is best and must put our energy there. If other people require us to invest energy into protecting ourselves from them, there must either be a very good reason to put up with it or we should avoid them as much as possible.

There are times in life where we all tolerate people or behaviors we dont like for many reasons: peace, kids, so we can see others we do care about, obligation, loyalty, empathy. Etc.

Its a question of whether the good that comes of it it outweighs the hurt we endure. It does not sound like it does for you.

Have not been able to read blogs alot lately (travelling) so I am not up on whats going on for you but clearly lots of people care and think you are a good friend. Stick with people like that.

August 14, 2006 1:36 PM  
Blogger windspike said...

I don't know PoP,but it always seem to me that those who profess the loudest that they are deeply religious seem to be the ones that most grossly violate the principles of that religion. Those that are quite and humble tend to lead a more values driven and congruent life. Which one you claim to be says a lot about a person, no doesn't it?

August 14, 2006 2:11 PM  
Blogger glenda said...

In the past, I often worked with people who were unlucky to be born into crazy double-dealing what I call "betrayer" families. Some of the choices that they get to make is how much contact they want, or whether the ongoing contact is so painful,that they actually choose not to have contact. I think it's painful either way, but it is an individual choice.
you do not have to stay in "relationship" with those who consistently harm you.

August 14, 2006 4:53 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

Sister Chittister

August 14, 2006 5:37 PM  
Blogger The Beltway B@stard said...

OK - you got me - I'll omit your family from my Sunday post ;)

August 14, 2006 7:22 PM  
Blogger The Future Was Yesterday said...

You Wrote:
"......the “born again”, highly religious members of my family are the very ones who seem to have no principles when it comes to honesty, fairness and decency."

This does you little good, but you did me mucho good. I am in the same position. I have absolutely no solutions to offer. I "solved" my problem by moving a thousand miles away and just cutting them off. That's not a solution at all, but it was the only course left to me. Even that's pretty impractable unless you're single as I was at the time, and you're not. I'm sorry you're in that fix; thank you for helping me not feel so alone.

August 14, 2006 7:42 PM  
Blogger shutterwi said...

The whole world needs an answer to that question.

Isn't this the same group that has our young kids fighting and dying in Iraq.

August 14, 2006 8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think if Jesus were around, he and you would get along just fine.

Stay true, and honest, and never give up . . .

And good hearts will find you.

August 15, 2006 12:54 AM  
Blogger sumo said...

So sorry you are having these kinds of worries. What you said at the end about religion...I have to agree with you.

August 15, 2006 2:05 AM  
Blogger Sothis said...

I know just how you feel, PoP. I come from a family like yours--people who lie, cheat, betray, steal, and also commit physical violence against each other. When I turned 31, I decided to cut all ties with my family my for mental and physical well being. Unfortunately, if people insist on acting in such a way, I've found that they don't change (and I agree that most "born-agains" and "holy roller" are using it as a front to cover up some streak of evil or disfunction in themselves). Sometimes walking away is the best you can do.

Something similar happened when we moved to Belgium and we moved in with my in-laws for a few months before our apartment became available--they were nasty abusive liars who went back on all their promises. When my husband demanded that they treat us with a modicum of decency--they threw us out of the house (three year old granddaughter and all). My husband refuses to have anything to do with them now. It is so sad that this happens so often in so many families.

August 15, 2006 2:10 AM  
Blogger Turtle Guy said...

I have some thoughts and figure it best to reply point-by-point, if you'll indulge me for a ramble... In fact, as I write this I think your comments are worth a post. Thursday, I think. Yes. I will post on Thursday. Your words have inspired me!

August 15, 2006 2:29 AM  
Blogger L>T said...

Well, you sorta know my situation growing up.
My mother is a crazy fanatical Christian who takes the scriptures to heart & puts GOD before her family, always. People like that are ignorant, they see everything thro religion. My mother never saw me as anything but a sinner that needed saving. I had to emotionally shut myself off from her.

August 15, 2006 9:29 AM  
Blogger JBlue said...

This seems disturbingly familiar to me.... Glancing over the comments, I see we're not alone, PoP.

August 15, 2006 3:43 PM  
Blogger troutsky said...

i feel like an outcast here ,having a semi-functional non religious family.

August 17, 2006 9:09 AM  
Blogger The Fat Lady Sings said...

Your post struck a chord with me also. I am sorry you are having to deal with a situation like this. You weren't specific - but I definitely got your drift. We all did, unfortunately. I completely and finally divorced the remainder of my family when my mother died. I should have removed myself completely long before then - but it is a hard thing to do - no matter how badly you are treated. I think it was maturity that led me to a better place. I finally realized ‘they’ would never change. I had tried, for years to establish meaningful relationships with them - only to be rebuffed each and every time. Surface piety was all that was valued in my family. Did you make it look good. A shiny veneer over rot so complete it could never be resurrected.

So let me tell you, from experience hard won - there will eventually come a time when it will be you and your nuclear family or them. For god’s sake - choose you. Because if they cannot see you for the wonder that you are - then they don't deserve the benefit of your love or your forgiveness.

August 18, 2006 12:32 AM  

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