So…My children and I have attended regular park days on Mondays since a couple of weeks after moving to New Mexico, with an unschooling group. It was made very clear in the description of the group that “pushing a religious agenda” was not allowed, so we have carefully not done so, rather choosing to simply do our best to live our faith and testimony, and talk about it only if a door is opened. At the same time, I’ve tried very hard to respect different views, whether they be political or religious, by not mocking them. I believe strongly that healthy debate is a good thing, especially here in the USA, but it truly bothers me when those who are adamant about non violent behavior seem to believe there is an exemption for those who choose to be verbally violent (at least in my opinion) in the way they mock someone else’s faith. To quote, for example “I can’t believe that 82% of people in this country are so stupid as to still believe in the rapture”. I believe in it, and at that point, I chose to say so. I was also told (by someone who was being very angrily sarcastic) that it was not Christian to disagree with mandated government-funded health care. It did, in fact, get to the point where I raised my voice right back, although I did subsequently apologize for that. I do NOT believe it’s un-Christian to disagree with forced government-run health care, or even government mandating that everyone MUST purchase health insurance, or be made to pay a fine for not doing so. I think if someone can afford to buy it, but chooses not to do so, then they should not be able to ask the taxpayers to cover their costs if they need medical care. I do wish everyone had access to whatever healthcare they needed, but I believe that the government is inefficient, at best when it comes to running any sort of aid. All that said, again, I believe healthy debate is a good thing. I grew up on it. My parents encouraged it, and we had very lively discussions around the dinner table and elsewhere. I also believe, however, that when one must resort to treating someone like an idiot because of their deeply held faith, they’ve lost the argument,whether they want to accept that or not. I believe that twisting what the Bible says in order to say another person is not acting in a Christian way is not a strong argument, either. I got to the point where I basically threw up my hands and said “whatever…”, and was about to pack up my kids and leave, and probably not come back. I have NEVER done to anyone in this group what was done to me today, no matter how strongly I disagreed with them. I’ve never rolled my eyes when someone refers to the “goddess” as in “if the goddess had wanted me to do (whatever it was) she would have given me (something, I don’t recall what that was)”. I’ve debated, as kindly as I could, the issue of abortion, Obama care, etc, as calmly and carefully as I could. In return, I’ve been yelled at for asking about whether it was the law here to only use call phones hands free while driving, yelled at when I said I hadn’t gotten used to not having to save pop bottles to return for deposit (yelled at that I should be saving them for recycling), and now verbally mocked for my Christian faith, and yelled at because of my deeply held views, both faith wise and political views. This came close to being our final park day, which made me sad, because I’ve come a lot of times because my kids love going, and have friends there. It is one of the few places they have since we’ve been here where they can have an extended, weekly time of fun and play with kids who accept them in spite of all their differences (they are special needs children, with issues ranging from fetal alcohol syndrome, bipolar, ODD, OCD, etc). What changed my mind, you ask? Well, after things calmed a bit and someone got the subject changed, another mom who has only been coming for a few weeks came to me and very quietly told me she agreed with me, and asked me for information about my church. The Bible says we are to be the salt and the light in the world.
Matthew 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world, a city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Matthew 5:15 Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on on a candlestick, and giveth light unto all that are in the house. Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven.
And for those who wondered why, if we’re under grace New Testament) the Old testament is relevent to our lives today:
Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law,, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
I believe this means we are to influence others by our testimony, and living our faith. I do try very hard to show my faith and testimony in the way I live, the way I treat others, and in the ways I react to what others do to me. As a result, unbelievers have told me that they can see my faith, they can see that I do my best to treat others with a grace that appears to be what someone claiming to be a Christian should be doing. I hope that one day, when I stand before Him, the Lord will say to me “well done, thou good and faithful servant”. And I pray that the lady who came to me today will come visit this Sunday evening for our Christmas candle light service. I invited her, after she asked me several questions about our church, and about where it is. And I came to the conclusion that her doing so, even after the derisive, mocking way I was treated for daring to disagree, means God has me there for a reason, at least for this season in my life.