How do I reconcile myself with the notion that I do not respect my daughter’s religion, or what she is doing in its name?
posted by timsteil to human relations (43 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
She is 28, married with a son, and living in East Africa as a missionary. Sounds wonderful up front, but I have problems with it I can’t seem to get over, and every time we talk this comes up. I think her religion is hateful, her husband is the worst kind of oily haired Ozark televangelist in the makings, and what they are doing is not far from PTL.
The religion is Southern Baptist. She spent four years in an unaccredited bible college, alma mater of Jerry Falwell, and shortly after graduation she married a fellow student and began this master plan of moving to Africa. They spent over a year driving around the US visiting churches asking for sponsorship, and got many of them to kick in how ever much a month to support them. At the beginning of that, I connected her with some online, and local university resources to learn the local language, which they didn’t bother with. Instead, with all their funding in place, they moved to Africa.
They got a nice house in the capitol city. They hired a “house helper”, a combination maid/cook/nanny whose name they don’t use, instead calling her a shortened version of the city. They hired a driver. They hired a security guard for their front gate. Two years down the road, they have a basic understanding of the language.
They send out bulletins about the great work they are doing, when in reality, they tried to convert one woman, but gave up because they didn’t think she was “serious” enough. They say their maid has now accepted Jesus, but my gut is telling me she is just trying to keep her job. In between the lines of these emails is subtle racist rhetoric about Islam, and Christian Orthodox believers, and how every time the hear a call to prayer from the mosque they know why they need to be there. You can almost hear the big doom music cue.
They have returned to the US for a “furlough”. Nine months long, in which they will again travel around asking for even more money, and at her husband’s suggestion have another kid, then return. This is a cycle they plan on repeating again in a few years. In that time, their staff will still be there maintaining their empty home on the church’s dime.
I have tried to get some sense of what they actually do, as in you know, you get up in the morning and go to the office, the store, or whatever. The only thing that has come up, is the husband is thinking about setting up a website to sell local crafts. Thinking about. He leads a prayer group on Sunday’s for about 10 people, other than that, I have absolutely no idea what they are doing there.
When I mention that this area is going through the worst drought and famine in 50 years, that the border skirmishes are only a prelude to war between their country and its neighbor, and that maybe what the people really need is food and clean water, and maybe some mosquito nets, she tells me “Well, we live in the capitol, that really doesn’t effect us much.
Any discussion of the religion itself is fruitless. She believes the earth is 6K years old, and she’s with Jesus. Her husband has told her she probably shouldnt be in too close contact with me until I get saved.
Yes, it’s her life, and my problem, and frankly I’d rather hear that she is doing this, than when she is up for parole etc, but I can’t get past the notion that these beliefs have detached her from the reality of science and knowledge of the world around her, and that husband might be using the whole “be subject to your husband” crap as a way to control her as he works his way into a cable TV gig.