Sunday, January 17, 2010

The problems with my culture.

I live in America. I am a catholic. I am female. I am in my 30s. I live in the south. I am college educated. I am married. I do not have kids. I do not have pets. I rent. My biological parents are married. I have experienced divorce. I have risk factors for heart disease. My favorite color is red.


Those are my labels. The pieces of my culture that you may be able to easily see. Except for the whole color piece, I thought I would throw that one in for good measure.

Living with someone from another country (not just that their parents or even "ethnicity" is of another culture) - I am talking truly "just off the boat" foreigner - is an interesting experience that makes me hyper-aware of my country's culture.

This blog is going to be very judgemental. I warn you now. I am judging the people who share the space with me. People who - for whatever reason - cross my path and cause my life to shift this way and that.

My first complaint of my own culture is religion. This one is going to bother many of you. My apologies. This is simply my observation. Nothing more.

I saw a Facebook status yesterday that said: "I'm also tired of hearing Haiti, help Haiti. Folks as a Christian I'm all for helping "anyone". God said love brothers and sisters but hate the sin. At a minimum, we know God allowed this for a reason. Study up on what they believed and it sure wasn't Jesus."

Then this person went on to say Christians need to stand together. He defended his post by saying:
"XXXXXX let me correct you on my "stupid comment", first of all what country do you live in? Is it America? If it is then act like it. If not, you are free to leave anytime you get ready, thats American for you sister! I dont want to live anywhere else but America, you understand that? Second of all I care about Haiti and other... countries as well. I have heard testimonies from missionaries that I know my money went to and I still support as we speak. So as I Christian, I support missionaries to teach and preach the Word of God to these people. Do you support them? I know the truth hurts people who are not accustomed to hearing it. There killing our missionaries down there. I cant type you everything I need to say to you but this is America, if your husband or whoever lost their job, home, ect., do u think Clinton would visit you, like they are right now in Haiti?No!!! They could care less about you and me. I will give u the last word b/c I know liberals have a hard time digesting the truth! Amen."


Some religious stats on Haiti -

  • According to 1998 estimates, Roman Catholics represent about 80% of the population.
  • Most of the remainder belong to various Protestant denominations, the largest being the Baptist (10%) and Pentecostal (4%) churches.
  • Other significant denominations include Methodists, Episcopalians, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Adventists, and Orthodox.
  • Other religious groups include Jews, Muslims, Rastafarians, and Baha'is.
  • Voodoo, a traditional religion partially derived from West African beliefs, is still widely practiced, often in tandem with Christianity. Voodoo became an officially recognized church in 2001 with the establishment of the Eglise Voudou d'Ayiti (the Voodoo Church of Haiti) and has had a growing attendance since then.

The comment made by the person that stated Haitians do not know Jesus - could you please show me where those stats add up?

Another comment this person said was - "Hey folk, this is just a start Matt: 24, dont forget 9/11, new orleans, Cali, ect. its not over. Keep removing God from our homeland."

For my none Christian readers, Matthew is a book in the Bible - New Testament, in a group of books known as the Gospel. Matthew 24 (feel free to read it.)

Interesting this person would pick Matthew 24. Because this chapter could refer right back to the person who said the comments above. If someone were to trust this "person's" word, then you would have to judge the people of Haiti and turn your back on them - and this person, is saying this all in Christ's name. Interesting.

This is what really got me angry. I know I should stop and "pray" for this person, but I am not that spiritually developed.

This is the problem I have with my culture. Specifically the culture where people mix politics and religion and judge people (all people) based on these labels.

I have friends of various ethnic backgrounds, religions, etc. I am married to an Arab who is a Muslim. My sister is a Celtic pagan.
I could go on and on.

I am just so frustrated with the ignorance I am surrounded by. People who HATE Obama, and for sometimes.. really odd reasons. (This comment goes back to some of the ridiculous things I have read by "said" person. It is perfectly okay to dislike the policies of the President. But some of the items are ridiculous.)

People who HATE the victims in Haiti- because they believe them to have different faiths. SO WHAT???

I am just so done with the foolishness of the rednecks that I come into contact with on a daily basis.

I am done with people who have never left their own circle/bubble.

I have choices. Cut this ridiculousness out of my life - or dig my heels in and show people a different way.

Perhaps this is where I should stop and pray for guidance.

Dear God... help.


Nicole Thurston Abdou said...

This comment was left by my friend, Kaprial, on Facebook:
I LOVE IT!!!!!

After living away from Ga. for 11yrs. I have had a hard time being back here. I want to be around my family but I honestly dont like my kids beng raised around so many people full of hate and fear. I am an atheist and I homeschool. Imagine trying to find friends. All of the groups want for you to sign a form saying you only accept a man and woman as a married couple and so on. My brother is gay and one of the kindest people I know. A divorced person needed to have and interview to see if they were "acceptable." I joined a "secular" archery group and they discussed politics and the good christian women felt that "all of those muslim countries should just be blown up." We never went back. My husband was in Iraq at the time and I all but cussed her out.
I was raised a Jehovah Witness and know first hand how damaging the cult mentality can be but I dont remember them being so full of hate. Judgemental but they would never say those Haitians got what they deserve but many religious leaders have no problem with saying it.
Living here and trying to raise kind loving children has broken my spirit a bit. I have a harder time seeing the good in these people and I find I dont want to socialize like I use to.
It was similar in Texas. We were only there 2.5 yrs but I knew I had no desire to settle there. I couldnt even go out to eat with my black friends without the stares. I mean like we were on tv. Walk into Olive Garden and everyone turns around. Listening to people bash mexicans while I am holding my half puerto rican baby. Homeschooling groups in that area were the same. There was the town "Bowie" and the exchange students were told that if their cars broke down there they should walk to the next town. They still burn crosses there. Paris TX. refused to let people of color into the bars and they also called the base to tell them "if you send anymore niggers to our town we will kill them." It was the honor guard going for a funeral. Hell the public schools had people outside handing out bibles. We own a bible, I have no issue with its existance but the arrogance of thinking you can hand anything to a persons child as long as it is religious infuriates me. Here it is bags of candy with religious pamphlets on Hell or church info wrapped around a free coke. In this country god is for sale. It is making it harder and harder for me to have any respect for religon. I feel christians are breaking into two groups: the ones that are kind and loving and try to be christ like and the hate mongers that use religion as an excuse for hate. I am glad to see you posting about it because I think the kinder christians have put up with the hate mongers for too long. It makes you all look bad when no one speaks up.
The fact that I have to keep quiet about being an atheist because I saw my ex-sister-in-law and my niece threatened because she was openly pagan and it terrified me. Threatened to burn her.
Keep posting. We need more honesty.

Oh yeah. I recently blocked an old friend because she was posting anti-semitic comments. I made sure to comment and let everyone of her friends know that by being quiet they were accepting her hate as truth and agreeing. I messaged her about it but she is now a super christian that believes the Jews are out to get her. She sounded crazy. So sad.

Nicole Thurston Abdou said...

This comment was left by my friend Chris Mullis on Facebook:
Nicole, you have cover quite a lot in your blog. I can't post a comment directly on your blog as I don't have a profile to login with (or I just don't understand how to do it). However, I did want to share some of my thoughts.

Today in church I preached about how Christians should be opening people's minds. First of all, we should be open-minded ourselves and I believe the Gospel of Christ calls us to open the minds of those around us. Jesus opened people's minds and hearts by the way he lived and what he taught. He opened minds through his sacrifice and his ressurection. He sent the Holy Spirit to lead us into the Truth. I don't believe God wants people to be closed-minded. If Christ's followers truly follow the Great Commission to go and make disciples of all nations, I believe this must necessarily include opening people's minds.

"Open-minded" is defined as being receptive to arguments or ideas. Unfortunately, Christians and the Church have a reputation for being closed-minded. There are too many closed-minded "Christians" in this world who are unable or unwilling (or are too afraid or who feel too embattled...) who have slamed their minds closed as if we need to protect what we have been taught (or thought we were taught) from corruption. (How's that for a sentence that's way too long?)

Christians do not have a corner on closed-mindedness though. There is plenty of closed-mindedness outside the Church. I would point out that some of the greatest "mind-openers" of history have been devout Christians. Think of Martin Luther King, Jr. whose Christian faith compelled him to not only fight for equality for African Americans, but also to free white America from the ignorance tha he said actually enslaved them too. He loved humanity (whites also) too much to leave them enslaved.

I have witnessed ignorance in many ways by all types of people--red, yellow, black, and white, conservative, liberal, republican, democrate, male, female. Ignorance is an equal opportunity affliction. I stand against it. I believe God gave us a brain and intends for us to use it. I believe Holy Spirit of God is available to lead us to Truth. We must be willing to submit and accept Truth even when it is cha;;enging or different than we expected. We must not tire of the search. We must refuse to take the easy route by settling for certain arguments or ideas that have already been worked out for us so we don't have to think. Ephesians 4:17-18 says, "With the Lord’s authority let me say this: Live no longer as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him."

I think the most challenging question for all of us is, "How am I being closed-minded?" And a follow up, "What am I going to do about it?"


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