So I'll be the first person to tell you to ask someone for help but of course I never listen to my own advice...until now. I'm a little lost on what to do about a family friend and having mainly christian family/friends, I thought maybe I could ask for help here! So if you'll allow me to add in some (hopefully) short back story, I'll get to my predicament.
I spent the last week as a camp counselor up at Camp Quest Texas and the day before the kids were going home, I fell and cut my knee up very badly on a rock. I ended up in the ER where they cleaned it out best as possible and applied durabond. Not wanting to miss saying goodbye to my girls, I headed back up to camp a few hours later. There must have been some dirt still left in because it became infected less than 24 hours later, unknown to me. On my 6 hour drive home, I started hurting again. By the time I pulled in the driveway, I was in shock after having driven the last hour and a half while crying, hurting, running a high fever, & suffering minor delirium via the fever; it only got worse from there. My parents rushed me straight to the ER again and I stayed there for 36 hours, give or take. I had cellulitus (for the 10th time...I should be used to it by now) that required IV fluids, morphine, and terrible hospital food.
Anyway, my mother is the type that panics when any of her kids are hurt and so she sent out a prayer request to a family friend who is a pastor. Now she knows I'm an atheist and that I would certainly not appreciate the thought but I figured if it'll keep her calm, then by all means I guess she can do whatever. Until I got multiple emails from said friend, whom I'll just call Wayne. So Wayne sends me an email that is nothing but prayer...and then a while later, I get another one that contains excerpts from an email he recieved from Billy Graham saying he was also praying for my swift recovery. Yeah, THAT Billy Graham. It seems they're very buddy-buddy and BG had been praying for me. Alright, whatever. Annoying still but I was too worried about the infection in my knee right then to care all that much. Until...he sent another email saying that he had let some of his friends know about me and they proceeded to "ask for the healing hands of the Lord to heal" me over the radio BY NAME and just in general in various states and on some Navy ship in Saudi Arabia. Now I'm kinda creeped out and rightly so I think. Of course when he spreads the news that my kneecap isn't broken (like the docs thought it might've been), that the bruising and swelling is down, and my infection is fading fast, it's automatically likened to a miraculous intervention by God (because you know, a group of dedicated/concerned doctors & nurses, 3 IV bags of VERY strong antibiotics and a mix of morphine and other drugs doesn't help at all....).
I confessed to my mother that I was extremely annoyed and was thinking of telling him to say that I no longer wished to have him email me anymore (he sends out a weekly devotional and he put me on it without asking if I even wanted to read it. But I'm an introvert, I don't really like confrontation unless it's absolutely necessary to protect someone or myself. I proceeded to tell my mother I wasn't quite ready to say anything right away because I was too busy dealing with my knee. What my mother heard was "I don't want to say anything so will you do it for me?" And that's exactly what she did...I woke up this morning after leaving the hospital yesterday to see an email from Wayne talking about how he heard I "hated being prayed for". This was news to me and I certainly didn't hate it...annoyed, certainly but after all, he's free to pray to whatever. I know it's not going to make a load of difference so pfft, go for it right? After figuring out my mother did email him, I told her I understood why she had but that it was an unwelcomed gesture and to please not get involved to that extent again.
So this is where my predicament comes in...His last email had some things in there that I really want to reply to (things about homosexuality being a choice, theologians in science, and other scientific topics he obviously has gotten wrong) but I have the feeling anything I say will bounce right off and it'll be a waste of my time. However, he has stated he's interested in hearing my reply so I'm just not sure what to do. Should I say something or just delete his email and move on? I'm very on the fence about this and I've been weighing out the pros and cons of both sides...needless to say, I've gotten nowhere and I'm looking for other viewpoints on this whole ordeal.
Wow, sorry this is so long! I don't think I meant to make so wordy but once I got to typing, it all started pouring out. Anything you have to say about all this will be greatly appreciated and thanks so much in advance!
EDIT: It was suggested I just post the emails so here y'all go:
#1: Heavenly Father, giver of life and health through Jesus Christ our Lord: Be near Devin in her time of weakness and pain; sustain her by your grace, that her strength and courage may not fail; Comfort and relieve your sick servant Devin, and give your power of healing to those who minister to her needs, that she may be strengthened in her weakness and have confidence in your loving care;; and help her always to believe that what happens to her here is of little account that you hold her in eternal life, my Lord and my God. Amen.
#2: I was thinking late last night...yes...I do that occasionally...I started a prayer chain early, early yesterday morning. I know for a fact that 29 folks from here in N.C, to Mnnesota, to Canada on both coasts, Florida, Missouri, Germany, and on a navy ship somewhere off Saudi Arabia (I think), not to mention it was heard on the air of WECR AM1100 in Newland N.C. prayer time (yes them mountain folks) had Devin, by name, in prayers yesterday...Sunday...Yes, Yes, I hear that thought... "it's chance or silly, or stupid" as Atheists might say, Maybe we are all deluded ole fools...BUT.....by the end of the day...your leg is found not broken, your leg is not "black anymore", the swelling went down, and you are getting ready to go home. I contend prayers were heard...AND YES...GOD LOVES YOU DEVIN!!!!!!!!!!!
HE has not let you go.. To put it in good Baptist terms: "Brethren can I get ah GLORY?!!"
OK I'LL HUSH NOW...
#3: Devin: I decided to write you just to talk. First, I am told you hate that I had you prayed for. I am sorry you do, but I will continue too. Why? Well, It’s my Faith…What’s that? Faith is an all encompassing belief in something that others may not believe is possible or provable. I have currently a list of folks that I know I can just ask any time to raise a person or thing in prayer and I know they will. Not because they’re better then anyone else, but because they like me have failed in parts of their lives too. I know none of them would hide their faults either. Like me I will answer ANY question asked me, so long as the answer will not hurt someone else. They know that they are not here nor guided by someone’s theories or things in a test tube. I have questioned my belief’s so many times. I’ve been broken up inside so many times. I have been reading what you and your friends say and some of the writings and things you refer so reverently about. I will say some of the readings you talk of are interesting opinion pieces. I admit I’ve had to hold back from saying things…Like to the boy referring to a “G. D. Jackalope” or the young lady referring to why theologians jump into science…I CAN answer that…but I did not want to interrupt or be a problem. He cartoon about gay life, is filled with inaccuracy, supposedly quoting groups like the A.M.A. and others. If you read the whole statements made you’d find they actually are individual opinions and not fact tested. I have spent quite a bit of time looking for the things mentioned. The part about multiple male children…Well that makes me and several cousin’s as well as friends gay…I can assure you that’s not true. There is no scientific tested fact to that, just opinionated reasoning or excuses. Also it refers to animals being gay…I am sorry…that’s a lie. Anyone who has ever owned animals will tell you that males will fight for dominance to the point of death…Horses especially. You can’t put two studs together. I’ve owned many. Bulls as well. That is very common in wildlife as well. I have taught youth groups for years that they should never accept what people tell them as absolute truth until tested or proven.
That said…I don’t expect you or anyone to except God just based on what I say alone. I can and do testify seeing God in my life…Why? Because I have allowed myself to see the things that He has put in my life…So many go through life with blinders on refusing to see. No I’ve never heard him speak words to me. Still I’ve heard him speak to me in other ways. I listen to things going on around me. For instance, did you know you can physically feel sound? Think about it. When someone bangs a drum behind you. You feel the wave of sound and jump. ”No I don’t. I just hear it.” A deaf person still feels sound like percussion. You hear God most often by feeling. Science calls that conscience, because they can explain it no other way. You must learn to feel God’s sound around you. A blind person hears and identifies sounds of a person’s step, breathing, or simple movements that identify them. A person who is nervous, angry, sad, or happy breath differently and can be sensed by what you hear if you let yourself. I hear in things going on around me, simple things like birds and wind. It’s amazing the things you learn from things, people and life that most people never listen to. God speaks to me that way, letting me know things to pay attention too.
I’ve gone on longer here then I intended. If your still reading…Know this. I expect you to question. I will not quit praying for you…Not because I am an old fool…But because I have faith and love for our God and Father. Also because I believe in you. I do not believe you are truly an Atheist either. If you were you wouldn’t care if you were prayed for. God’s love for you is unconditional. I offer that to you. PLEASE show me that, offered you by anyone’s thoughts or words…anywhere. The key is the word Unconditional…Agape…
Send me any questions or statements you care to; they will be answered without being judgmental or put down. I have worked with criminals, youth groups and sexually abused children for many years. I do not believe there is much you can say or do that I have not heard or been exposed to, literally. Know that you will be prayed for and loved as it was found in First Timothy 5:1-2, by this old man and any others who will for HIS lost lamb.
You are loved young lady……….
I hold a notion that people who go out of their way to spout bullshit beliefs at people they know are contrary to them are asking to get their small little ideals shattered into bits.
So i say open up full bore on his ass and let his bronze age ideals feel the full brunt of 21st century reason.
you could just post the emails he has been sending to you. we'll probably be able to whip up a reply pretty quickly.
I'd let him have it with both barrels.
That's what I would do, too! But that's me. I'm one of those vociferous anti-religionists, the type that puts my face up to the freaks shouting bible verses, (I'm from Oklahoma--lived next to Oral Robert's hideous University). The goal in those cases is not to convert them or even get through to them. But to dispell their belief that everyone is a Christian in a Christian Nation.
Of course, if you have your homework handy, you can wrestle him to the ground with evidence, just for the fun of it. But that may not sound all that fun to you.
Boy, uh..you know, my knee is really giving me trouble, to. I would sure hate to accidently get on someone's prayer list. ;)
Even though I am at war with religion, I'm not at war with the people who are under it's spell. Many times--perhaps true in your case now--people are truly putting forth the best of their good will. They are merely under the spell of religons' promises.
I agree, you can be corrective without being mean (might even get through some if you show the facts to back up what you say), but it seems he has a lot of misconceptions on...a lot of things. Who knows, perhaps you can shed some light on them for him, not that he may necessarily listen, but you can try. ^_^
I like that idea being sweet but biting. Good luck