Monday, June 25, 2007

You're Not Supposed To Talk About....

Religion.

So before I go and lose all my readers (hope not!) let's start with
Massage Monday:
Another seated stretch.... As always, you want to take these into a stretch, not into pain. Sit with your back in the chair and both feet on the floor. Take you right ankle and cross it over your left knee ("sittin' like a man" as my gma used to say). Now just lean your body forward (you want to lean from the waist, not from your shoulders). You should feel a great stretch on the outside of your hip, going into your butt. This can also be done standing, just lean on a wall, bring your ankle to your slightly bent other knee and lean forward. As always, rinse and repeat on the other side. I love this stretch!

On to our subject.

I got a lot of cool mail last week. First there was this...
That's one skein of Knitting Notions Sock Yarn (420 yards in Midnight Blue) and two skeins of Knitting Notions Lace Yarn (388 yards each in Thyme color). 726 yards of laceweight, wtf am I gonna do with that?? That's what happens when you shop at midnite! Don't worry, I already have ideas for it. Do you see the needle in the Midnight yarn? The war against my knitting ennui has begun.

Then I got this big box from my swap buddy at a yarn swap I signed up for over at Swap-bot...

There's two skeins of Lion Brand Wool-ease (which is perfect because I was going to go get some to make my MIL some slippers) and two skeins of Red Heart SuperSaver. She also put the yarn in a lovely basket and added a big tea bag of sorts (I'm guessing it's tub tea, it's huge!) and these books...

Best. swap-buddy. ever!

Then I received another big envelope....

Yarn Pirate, Rain color. Gorgeous!

Then there was this....


The yarn is some hand spun/hand-dyed yarn I'd won on a blog contest. It was a blog I'd never been to and I found it through a link from a blog I adore. Truthfully, most new blogs I read, I find through other blogs linking to contests.

So the woman sends me the yarn and a book about Jesus. I can't begin to express how much that Pissed. Me. Off. And before anyone starts gettin' on me about talking behind someone's back, I've already emailed her. The email I sent was, I think, very diplomatic. It went a little something like this: "Thank you for the yarn. It's very pretty and I really think you did a good job with it. That being said, I was rather upset and very disappointed with the book you sent with it. We ARE NOT Christians. My husband's an atheist and I follow Taoism. I can't help but wonder how you would feel if you'd won some yarn on my blog and I sent it along with a copy of "The God Delusion"?
I'll probably be talking about this on my blog come Monday. I won't be linking to you or using your name. Just giving you a heads up.
Again, great job on the yarn. I hope you keep doing that and knitting. Don't really know what else to say. By for now, Ruth"

So here's my thoughts. I don't care what religion you are and you shouldn't care what mine is. I grew up baptist. My family went to church three times a week. Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night was youth night (anyone out there remember AWANA? It's like boy/girl scouts for church). I loved it as a kid, and that's not belittling anyone that still loves it. I'm just saying, some of my best memories are from vacation bible school, AWANA olympics, and church summer camp!

When I was around 12, things started happening in my life and at my church that made me take a different direction. I never understood the philosophy that God had this unconditional love.... unless you were gay, unless you had (or thought about having) an abortion, unless a hundred other things that made the love so conditional. At church I was seeing a lot of hypocritical people who would say one thing at church and then go commit criminal acts. Or just plain exclusionary acts against new members that made them uncomfortable (like the young couple with a baby - she had lots of piercings in her ears and he had a mohawk and the ice cream social the church had been pumping for weeks was not even mentioned that day).

I started doing my own research. That, a divorce, and a mom smart enough to realize that if I did my own research, I could make my own decisions. My decision was that church and Christianity as a whole were not for me.

I've had people of faith (many different ones) ask how we will raise our children. DAMN that's presumptuous! I tell them all the same thing. We will teach them right from wrong. We will show them by the way we live. We also have an entire shelf on our bookcases that's devoted to religion. There's a Bible, a Book of Mormon, a Koran, books on Eastern and East Indian religions, and many others. When they are old enough and have questions we can't answer to their satisfaction, they can do their own research and make their own decisions.

It's like tattoos. The only people who care if you have tattoos (of which I have six) are people who don't have them. I agree with Whoopi Goldberg, "Organized religion is bad for you. It says we are and you are not." But I don't push my views. And I won't allow others to push their views on me. I find it offensive, rude, and unbelievably presumptuous. I understand that a big part of Christianity is testifying, spreading the word of God. (Acts 9:15 " Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel." That's from memory.) I've always held the belief that the best way to spread the word of god (any god) is to live the best life you can. To lead through example is better then a thousand words, even those in books sent through the mail.

Hoping you all stick around, Ruth!

P.S. Incidentally, she hasn't emailed me back and her blog is gone.

10 comments:

Tammy said...

Okay... with very gentle steps... I'm joining your discussion of things we're not supposed to talk about.

I think that in a "community" such as ours, it is very important to be respectful of each other. The Yarn Harlot had a great post on this topic last week. As far as I'm concerned... you and I are both fiber loving, yarn obsessive knitters. That's why we "meet" on these pages and "chat" through our comments... not because of our religion (I'm sure there are other places for that). And I agree with you about the "pushing". If I had entered one of the mega-swap things and started receiving religious or political material, I would be greatly annoyed and find it totally inappropriate.

However, please consider one thing ... you did visit her blog (or her "home" as the Yarn Harlot said) and enter her contest. I think that she has the right to send what she pleases as a prize. It was afterall her giveaway. While I wouldn't do the same (unless I knew for certain the book might be of interest to the particular winner), I have to say I don't think she was totally out of line. If I entered a contest somewhere and received a book on, well, something I didn't agree with... I'd (hopefully) just roll my eyes and move on... however my initial feelings would probably be much like yours.

I hesitate to even write this because you've been around my blog enough to probably know my beliefs... but please know that I write this as a blog buddy only... trying to encourage you to not be too upset and look at it from another perspective (and most certainly not in defense or condemnation of any religion).

Still "friends"? :)

knitnzu said...

Ugh! I count myself as a christian (small c) but for reasons that would make most church goers go into apoplectic fits (starting with sex with christ-ok, now I'm sounding like a nutcase!). ANYHOW, I'm so far out on a limb, that I'm about to fall off...along with, oh, taoists, gays, people with tatoos, etc. My thinking? If we all lived by what christ basically said (love each other-note no conditions attached!), we'd be better off. Max Lucado? UGH!

Chris said...

Delicate subject indeed. Tammy makes a good point about visiting her blog and participating in her contest... but if I visited someone's house and they presented me with gifts and one of the gifts was a book such as that, we would probably be having a conversation very similar to the email you sent...

Nell said...

That's pretty shocking. In general, I leave that part of my life out of the conversation as I regard it as deeply personal. I suppose it's true that you did enter her contest. But unless she expressly stated you'd be getting a book about religion, you couldn't really have known what you were getting yourself into. I find it presumptuous as well. And frankly, I'd send the whole thing back. I don't think that's necessary but I can understand why you are upset.

sophanne said...

I agree with you and admire the way you handled it.

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to write such an even-handed email-stating the facts without making it personal. Much as I'd like to think otherwise, I would have either gone over the edge in reply or let it drive me crazy for a while without saying/doing anything.

How can people know their assumptions are incorrect or that they are even making assuptions unless we face them head on. Well done.

knitnzu said...

OK, found you! I need to add you to my list of blogs I read, but I'm slow to update that. I had another thought on my way into work...maybe you could make a donation in her name (and tell her) to Seva Foundation???

Susan said...

The yarn was a great prize but the book? That's sort of awkward. Sending you a book like that makes a lot of assumptions about a person....which were clearly wrong.

I think you handled it well. Like Chris, if I'd been in her home and she'd handed me the book, we'd have a little chat...not unlike the one you sent her.

Marti said...

Ruth,
I sent you the book as a gift. From my heart it was a gift. I didn't mean to offend you or anyone else. I havent emailed you because I didnt know what to say. You are mad and I am sorry for that. I didnt send it to you to make you angry. If you dont want my gifts and want to send them back I will gladly pay postage.
My blog is not gone...just moved it to a place that might serve my needs better.

5elementknitr said...

Marti,

Thank you for your response. I know it was meant that way, but religion is a deeply personal thing.

I was anticipating yarn and happy to get it! I'm not trying to look a gift horse in the mouth but I wasn't expecting a religious book. I've already given it to the library.

Good luck in all your future endeavors!

Ruth!

uberstrickenfrau said...

Wow. What a painful and awkward post and situation for everyone. I felt awkward reading it and reading the comments. I guess its one of those 'sticky' areas that bloggers have to wade through in getting to know each other.But even saying that sounds hollow and trite to me. For what ever its worth( nothing) I read a ton of blogs that are the exact opposite of what I believe, but I read them because I don't want to live in a bubble where everyone agrees with me and I never stretch or learn or nothin. And never being stretched kinda defeats the purpose of this community. To me,anyway. OK, I'll quit blabbering ....;o)