Just some background information: while I was not in the bible belt technically, I might as well have been, given the details of my home life. Outside influences didn't matter anyway since I was only really allowed to associate with people from my church. Time spent with kids of the neighborhood or from school was strictly controlled (and sometimes forbidden). In fact, I was taken out of public school right before I would have started high school (I was starting to sprout those sinful little boobies ... and you know where those hormones can lead you!) Since I was a 'strong-willed' child, as my mother called me, she thought I especially would do well away from those worldly influences. "I am her parent, why should I let the world educate her?"


When I met a nice boy at work (my first job) rather than the church, she made me quit. She also took my cell phone away since she wasn't able to control the amount of time I talked to him. Daniel and I remained 'friends' and tried to stay in contact anyway (he mostly met me at church because that's the only place we were able to be together). I was 17 at the time, and due to the emotional distress involved in trying to make my own decisions/think for myself in a home where it was God's way (aka my mom's way) or the highway, I ended up moving out not long after turning 18 to be with him and to learn what life was like on the outside. He kind of served as my guide and 'protector' during that time, since I was very naive from living such a sheltered life. We are not together today, but were for about 5 years and remain great friends. He was my very first boyfriend, so it's not surprising that it didn't work out, but being with him gave me the strength to break away from a lifestyle that was getting in the way of my personal growth - and for that, I am forever grateful.


My mother is of a strong southern Baptist background. She actually raised me
in Baltimore, MD (lol farrrrr from being the 'Bible-belt') - but most of the family on my mother's side still live down south (and then there is her immediate family - they moved to southern Delaware, but trust me - that area might as well be the actual 'south'!). Anyway, the following is an e-mail sent to me from her uncle (someone she strives to be like) some time after my moving out, over 5 years ago:


(Names have been changed for privacy concerns)



***



Hi Tai,

Your father, mother and brother Jeb visited with us (Uncle Jim and Aunt Em) for a couple of days recently. It truly was a joy to have them and
fellowship in the Lord with them. They were obviously hurting for you and we are
disappointed to hear that you have left home and are living with a boy friend.
Of course your parents, as any Christian parents should and anyone who knows the
Lord, disapproves of your decision and now your lifestyle. I would like to
encourage you to break off that relationship and return to your parents for the
following reasons.
While it is hard for a young person to do, please read
these reasons careful and objectively, i.e., don't respond to them from a
subjective and emotional disposition.

I think it goes without saying, since you know something about your uncle Jim and aunt Em, but I say it anyway: I write truth in love for you even as I love your parents and brothers (Eph. 4:15). Before you read my
reasons please consider my credentials: I am 77 years old and speak from a lot
of experience (many many more years than you have) and that you need to consider
if you find yourself disagreeing with my reasons. Also since my reasons are
Biblically based I speak from a Biblical worldview. I graduated from Bible
College as well as VPI and have been studying the Bible, daily, for over 50
years and teaching and preaching it (but not as a senior church pastor) for at
least 45 years. So I think you should give my reasons for encouraging you to
return home much more weight than your reasons, no matter what, for not
returning.

Reason 1.

Dishonor: To dishonor someone is to consider their advice as worthless and go contrary to that advice
in spite of all they have done good and one owes them; to bring dishonor to them
in the eyes of their friends and the public.

The lifestyle you are in is very dishonoring to your parents. This puts you in a precarious and possibly a dangerous situation, particularly if you
profess to be a Christian. While honoring parents does not always bring long
life, dishonoring them is in direct defiance of God's command and could well
forfeit the general promise that goes with honoring them. Honour thy father
and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be
prolonged, and that it may go well with thee,
in the land which the LORD thy
God giveth thee.
Deut 5:16 While this is true whether one is a
believer or not I can testify that I know of someone who was a believer and
someone else who was not a believer, both died at a young age very likely
because their lifestyle was dishonoring to their parents. Also I have been
talking with a young couple that was living together unmarried. I say were
because he is now in Hospice dying of cancer. When he was first diagnosis with
cancer I visited them in the hospital. Both professed to be Christians and
acknowledged that the cancer could well be from God because they were living in
fornication and refusing to quit. The mother of the man (his dad died a few
years ago) has been a member of my church for years and is a dear sweet Godly
Christian. There is little doubt that she is sitting by the bedside of her son
watching him die because he has dishonored her for years. The Lord shall
judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living
God
. Heb 10:30-31 A Biblical example of a son dishonoring his
parents (though only the father is mentioned) is in Luke 15:11-24. It's obvious
the son is dishonoring his father even though his father let him have his
request without warning him of the consequences. Eventually things did not
go well with him after he left home; however, after … he
would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no
man gave unto him
. Luke 15:16 he came to his senses and repented
(returned home).

With 40 years of ministry experience I could go on and on but this should suffice to make the point to every one who is dishonoring their parents, parents
who love them and had taught them better.

Reason 2.

Living with a boy friend as if you are married is living in fornication and no fornicator is going to heaven when they die. Biblically,
fornication is a word that covers all sexual relations that are sinful; adultery
being a special category of fornication and is committed when one are both
partners are married to another person. God called someone who was a professing
Christian and living in fornication a wicked person. But now I have written unto you not
to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or
covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with
such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are
without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God
judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

1 Cor 5:11-13 There is a difference between committing the act of fornication
and being a fornicator. The first will be repented of and forgiveness sought but
the second is continuous.

Reason 3.

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Heb 13:4 In God's eyes
marriage (we sometimes call it as Holy Matrimony) is a sacred union of a man and
a woman. The scripture makes it clear that there is no marriage in God's eyes or
the states (government) eyes apart from the exchanging of vows within the civil
law. In fact in some states a man and woman living together as if they are
married are breaking the law and can be punished for doing so. Thus the state
commissions/ordains men to hear marriage vows from a couple after seeing a
marriage certificate they have obtained from a state magistrate. Usually church
pastors, chaplains in the military, ships captains, etc are so commissioned.
Once those vows are said the God of heaven joins the couple and tells us
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Matt 19:6
This is true whether one or both parties are believers or not.
While sexual intercourse of a married couple is a consummating act of marriage
it is clear that God accepts their vows and joins them as husband and wife when
those vows are made. This we see throughout scripture and I point to Jesus'
mother Mary and legal father Joseph. They were husband and wife when contractual
vows were exchanged maybe as long as a year before Jesus was conceived of the
Holy Ghost and before they ever took up housekeeping. In a Jewish marriage they
did not come together until after a betrothal period (somewhat like engagement
period in our culture) but were legally husband and wife in that period. In fact
the consummating act of the marriage of Mary and Joseph did not take place until
after Jesus was born, (Matt. 1:18-25) however, they were bound as husband and
wife in God's eyes when they made their vows. God tells us that it’s the law that
binds
couples in marriage and there is no marriage apart from a legal
proceeding: Rom 7:1-4 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know
the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For
the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he
liveth;
but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her
husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man,
she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from
that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another
man.
Some have tried to escape this truth by referring to Adam and Woman in
Genesis. I'll deal with that in Reason 4.

Reason 4

Marriage is an illustration or type of Christ, the bridegroom, and the church (universal, only the saved) His bride. This is clearly illustrated with
Adam and Woman in the Garden of Eden. The taking of the Woman from Adam's side
while in a deep sleep and then bringing the Woman to Adam and joining them in
marriage pictures Christ's death on the cross, the piercing of His side and from
that death came forth the church which the scripture clearly teaches is Christ's
bride. Eph 5:22-33 For a couple to live together outside of the marriage bond is
to make a mockery of this beautiful type and of Christ Himself. As every true
believer is joined to Christ and is part of His body when saved, so at the legal
vows saying a man and woman are joined as husband and wife. Eph 5:30-31 The
joining at salvation is a legal act known as "justification" and so it requires
a legal act for a woman to be joined to a man in Holy Matrimony.

But some have said Adam and Woman did not have a magistrate or preacher to hear their vows and likely did not make such vows. Possibly but I remind them
Adam and Woman were living at that time without sin. It's for sure they were
joined by a direct act of God and it was that they walked and fellowshipped with
God until they sinned. So it was God's law and He was the Magistrate Who
performed that wedding ceremony (brought Woman and gave her to Adam). Genesis
2:21-25 To try to justify a couple living together without marriage vows by
pointing to Adam and Woman (as some have) is ridiculous beyond measure because
you would have to be sinless to even try such a thing and you would also have to
ignore the rest of the entire Bible.

So Tai, I could go on and on speaking the truth in love showing why a couple living together as if they were married are living in sin.
And God does not overlook sin because He gave His own Son to die the death of
the cross that sinner may be redeemed. If I were you I would not play around
with God for He is definitely not playing around with sin. And we must never
take His longsuffering with sinners as His approval of their sin or that their
sin is not sin.

Those who are saved are always aware of their sinfulness and the need of repentance (turning from sin back to God) and confession when they sin that they
might have cleansing and then sweet fellowship with the Saviour. How often I
have run to 1 John 1:9. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk
in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is
in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ
his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive
ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful
and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
.
If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in
us
. I Jn 1:6-10

Tai, if you have any questions about what I have said above I will be glad to answer them but I have no time for arguments against
the truth.

Sincerely,

For His Majesty's glory!

Uncle Jim

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Comment by Ella E on January 17, 2011 at 3:19am
Love the replies, pity all good xstian people aren't spared cancer...........
Comment by Sarah Bova on October 15, 2010 at 5:52pm
Thanks, everyone, for the replies. ;) I've shared this letter many times before, and almost everyone so has had the dire urge to type up a little reply of their own. It's always entertaining.

I'm 23 now - this e-mail was sent quite a few years ago, but I never did reply myself. I think it would have been pointless (someone THAT blindly pompous and set in their own ways is hopeless, sad to say) but perhaps even a quick little reply "lol - fuck off and die" would have been sufficient, and just the therapy I needed at the time. Luckily, I've found other ways to deal. ;) Throwing it out on the internet is one.
Comment by Loren Miller on October 15, 2010 at 2:43pm
Tai, I hope you don't mind, but I couldn't resist. I started writing and....

------------------------------------------

Uncle Jim:

I am in receipt of your email asking me to break off my relationship with my friend at your behest and to return home. Before I give you my answer, I would like to rebut the reasons you expressed for me to take such action.

Dishonor: If I have, as you allege, dishonored my parents with my action, then I am equally dishonored in that my opinions, beliefs (or lack thereof) and desires have been dismissed without consideration. Perhaps you assumed that, being Christian yourself, that I would automatically emulate that example without question. In this regard, you are mistaken. I have evaluated the bible on my own, and I do not assign to it the value that you do. Indeed, I have read more of it than you may have; found its not-so-pretty underbelly, from Psalm 137 to Judges 19, and I find that it is a work I cannot and will not subscribe to without considerable scrutiny and discrimination. My own judgment, while admittedly young and needing more experience, is sufficiently equal to the task, and I have my own sources of help as regards living apart from the bible, from my family, and from you.

Fornication: I have to believe you use this term purely to attempt to shame me into giving up my independence. It won’t happen. If it is any comfort, we are using birth control consistently and do not have outside partners.

Marriage: The choice of when or even if I marry is mine to make, not yours or any god’s. Please understand this: I no longer take the bible as any form of absolute authority over my life. Quoting it at me does not serve your purpose in attempting to dissuade me from this path. Insofar as I am concerned, I am committing no harm against myself. I am acting in a responsible manner toward myself and my partner. I do not recognize “sin against god” as you see it. That would be a transgression against something which, from my perspective, does not exist and as such is utterly foolish.

You say that you have no time for arguments against “the truth.” Sadly, that means you cannot see past the blinders of your own faith, nor can you deal properly with the fact that your niece is no longer bound by it. That does not mean that I intend to act immorally or without judgment or consideration for myself or those I interact with. It means that I am the arbiter of my own actions. Certainly, I may make mistakes, but they will be my own, and I will not foist the blame onto someone else or vainly expect a non-existent god or his putative prophet to aid, praise, or damn me for them.

This is my life, Uncle Jim, not yours and not my parents’, and being 18, I am of sufficient age to live my life independent of you and them. No, I am not coming home. If you have any respect for me at all, you will respect my desire to live as I see fit. If you wish to persist in continued attempts to persuade me otherwise, you will only drive a wedge further between us. And please know: this is not some devil or untoward influence talking; this is your niece, who has grown out of the need for a god, as hard as that may be for you to believe, yet who still intends to live a good and positive life for herself and those around her.

Love always,

Tai
Comment by Jim DePaulo on October 15, 2010 at 1:25pm
now I know why I have so much gas... it's those stupid Christians!
Therefore, it's probably the presences of Xtians that is causing AGW - that;s my new argument.
Comment by Jim DePaulo on October 15, 2010 at 12:43pm
Holy shit! Does your uncle live in the attic ? I have a few bible thumpers in my family but none that are even close to your "praise Jeebus" uncle. Sounds like he would fit right in 17th Salem Mass. stringing up a few witches.
if you have any questions about what I have said above I will be glad to answer them but I have no time for arguments against
the truth.

Real open minded ain't he.

Write him off as dead already - dealing with him any any way will just cause excess stomach acid and embarrassing gas.
Comment by Sarah Bova on October 15, 2010 at 12:08pm
Nice to meet you, Brian.

Also, don't worry - I am not at all offended by your comment. :)

I have actually 'sexualized' much of the religious abuse of my past. I was an extremely 'curious' child - but fear caused me to suppress a lot of that. I'm sure you're aware of the build up that can cause ...

That said, I've already thought along those lines, for a reply. ;) Of course I never planned to actually send it (I decided it wasn't worth it - he'll be dead soon anyway) ... but yea definitely don't worry about crudeness with me. :)
Comment by Brian J Geisler on October 15, 2010 at 11:36am
If I were you and if this guy wasn't 77, and more like 47, I would have sent him a picture of you taking from behind from the devil...pardon my crudeness, but the next time a family member wants to question your faith you should openly question theirs

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