19 March 2008

Really, though?

So says my sister in New York when she wants to point out that someone's being ridiculous.

This is apparently the week for letters, because the following handwritten missive appeared in my mailbox today. I find no fault with grammar or sentence construction, and I'm pleased that all the proper forms have been observed, the date, the return address, the body, the closing, the signature. Well done, indeed. I'll spare you copying the address and date info, because it is the contents of the letter that upset me so.

Dear Ms. Arin

My husband and I live in the area, but have been unable to speak with you personally. We have some important information that we want to share with you. A sample of it is contained in the enclosed
(I'm unable to read the next word...fact? tract? Anyway.)

In over 200 lands people are being invited to benefit from a free program that helps people learn what the Bible says concerning some very important questions. Such as: Why do we grow old and die? What is the purpose of life? How can you find real happiness?

We are genuinely interested in our neighbors. It is our hope that someday soon we'll talk to you personally. Please feel free to get in touch with us at the above address.


Jane Doe

The last time something like this happened was in the first apartment that DH and I shared as newlyweds. The church across the street from the apartment building somehow managed to gain entry to the building (which was supposed to be secure) and they hung little message tags on our doorknobs. And then about a year later, they left CDs of Christian music on the windshields of our cars. Which were in an enclosed carport. Awwww, wasn't that sweet of them? I was so offended that I called the church and gave them an earful. Both times. The first time, the tags said something about, "since you don't have a faith of your own....blah, blah, come to our church, blahbidy blah blah." WTF? How the bleeding hell do you know I don't have a faith of my own? At the time, I was a practicing Catholic, and I was beyond infuriated at their presumption.

The second time, I asked them if they would consider entering a garage on someone's property, if the garage door was open. Because entering the carport was the same thing. B&E, or unlawful entry, anyone? That, and this: DON'T TOUCH MY FUCKING CAR. EVER. Ahem. Sorry. I was raised by a gearhead, whadda ya expect?

This time, I'm left wondering if this crappola works on anyone. Do they gain a multitude of new followers from this technique? Sure, a hand-written note is sweet, shows sincerity, and the letter certainly wasn't written with the intention of offense, quite the opposite, in fact. The letter-writer is probably a very nice person, with a deep, abiding faith.

But I find this sort of thing offensive in the extreme. If I want to know about your faith, your church, your personal belief system, I'll ask. I promise. Don't witness to me. This is what I hear when you do: "Wah, wha, whaa wahh wa wa." The same thing that the kids in the old Charlie Brown cartoons heard each time an adult spoke. I don't care about your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If that offends YOU, then I am sorry for causing offense, but I am most assuredly NOT sorry that I don't believe in a higher power.

No, I don't want to come to your church. No, I don't want to talk to you about what a difference being 'saved' has made in your life. No, I don't want to pray with you. No. Thank. You.

Yes, it is their right to distribute these materials. I've said before and will say again, freedom of speech means that you must protect that speech which offends you as much or more so than the speech that you favor. No doubt, they can write all the letters that they like.

I want to write back to this woman, and ask her to please not contact me again regarding religion, but that's just like waving a red flag to some of these people. Also helpfully enclosed within this letter is a list of meetings, bible study sessions, ministry school (um??) times, dates, and locations. Thanks. Really.


Random me said...

Hi there, really enjoyed looking through your blog (which i can across accidently while doing a search to see if my blog shows up on google yet...)

Anyhow, (without wanting to seem too Voyeuristic) I've enjoyed your style of writing and humour.

Just regards this post I have had a great experience of being harrassed by the local priest because i made the mistake of politely telling him I wasn't interested in going to a prayer service... he now appears at my house weekly with gifts such as rosary beads and holy water, I almost feel like converting just to reward the effort! So I can sympathise, seems things are the same the world over since you are in the USA and I'm over here in Ireland!

(Hope you don't mind the comment)

Lucy Arin said...

I welcome comments! I love comments! Getting feedback on my writing is wonderful, so thank you. Very much!

The priest with the presents is hilarious. Hmmm, that could be a good mystery novel title. The Priest and the Presents LOL This is what too much caffeine too early in the day does, makes me a lil' silly.

Thanks again for your comments. Please stop back again soon!

John said...

Lucy! I promise not to leave any leaflets...Just dropping by to wish you a blessed Resurrection Sunday. The testimony remains unchanged, from those who knew Him best to those of us who "believe but have not seen", He is risen!


Lucy Arin said...

Thank you.

Hope you had a nice holiday with your family.