Wednesday, August 04, 2004

The More Things Change,...

We had an overall enjoyable visit with my parents from last Friday evening thru last night. It was long enough to be relaxing, Mom & Dad each/both got quality time with(and pix of) Rebekah, we got Rebekah to the Middlesex County Fair(at least once, anyway), etc.

But I couldn't help but notice how difficult it got to talk with my dad over the last day - day-and-a-half of the trip. He kept bringing up topics where he knows(or should) that I/we differ from him, and/or he kept making statements that were phrased or said in a tone of voice that suggests/assumes that "We ALL agree here; we ALL KNOW THIS(to be true), right?", when he knows(or should) that we do NOT all agree here!

He KNOWS that both Katrina & I are pro-life; that we both believe and affirm that life begins at conception. Thus we are both ANTI-abortion(tho not necessarilly anti-death-penalty, "strange" that that topic never comes up tho), we're both ANTI-embryonic stem-cell research, etc.

He also KNOWS that Katrina & I are complementarians, and that we've already left one church over this issue(tho there was a 2nd issue there that would have resulted in our departure, sooner or later, God just chose to end that "season" sooner, rather than later) and would leave another one over it if need be. He KNOWS that we're both _conservative_ Christians, who take a skeptical view of most recent Biblical "scholarship(aka "higher" criticism)" the vast majority of which we consider to be ISOgetical, agenda-laden manipulation(aka "Chubby Checker hermeneutics"), rather than honest, open-minded/open-ended, respectful(and respectable) EXEgesis. Yet he still insisted on continually bringing these very issues and topics up, or just making "blanket statements" about them.

And it's not just prior conversations or prior actions by me/us that have me thinking that he should(and, almost certainly, does) know how we feel and where we stand on these or other issues either. One of the FIRST discussions of this past weekend was about the DNC convention and it came out quite clearly during that conversation that both Katrina & I fully intend to vote for Bush in November, even tho we're not entirely pleased with him or some of his actions/priorities and we're more than willing to admit many of his faults, flaws, and shortcomings.

But it didn't just come out THAT we'll be voting for Bush in November, WHY we'll be voting for him also came out, and VERY plainly and explicitly too. By the end of that conversation, ANY passive/silent observer(aka any "fly on the wall") would KNOW that where we stand on embryonic stem-cell research and abortion(if not other issues too, definitely these 2, specifically) differs from where they stand. We were very open about where we stand, about the fact that it differs with their stance, and about the fact that we've been very aware of that difference since at least the '00 election, if not longer.

I distinctly remember Dad saying something that would indicate his becoming aware(from what was being said) that we're anti embryonic stem-cell research. I also remember mom replying to my saying that we're closer to the GOP stance on these issues by saying "Well, we're closer to the Dems/Kerry on them". Which is fine, but it indicates that they KNOW where we stand.

They should also know where _I_ stand(if not Katrina as well) cuz we've NEVER voted for the same Presidential candidate in all the Presidential elections I've been old enough to vote in('84 and since). And every election-night dinner that I was living at "home" for, the subject of how we voted - and why - came up.

They should also know where we stand cuz they once asked us, point blank, "What would you do if you showed up for church at Calvary/Vineyard one Sunday and they had a woman preaching?" To which I replied, "Well, that'd be the last Sunday we attended there then". And to top it off, that's _exactly_ what later happened, and it's _exactly_ how we responded to it too. And they KNOW all about that(our church switch and what was behind it - at least the major/primary issue, anyway).

It was bad enough when, about halfway thru the trip, my mom asked me/us if we'd ever read anything by Elaine Pagels(aka Elaine Pagan). I'm not much of a reader to begin with, but does she HONESTLY think I'd be interested in reading that type of stuff? Does she HONESTLY think I'd waste my time(and/or money) on it? I said that I hadn't read it, AND I said that I've NO intention of doing so either, explaining that from what I know of her, "that type of thing/stuff" isn't of interest to me; isn't my "flavor".

I don't recall what reply, if any, my statement got. It's quite likely they see that as the "close-minded, head-in-the-sand" type approach. Well, if they want to read any of several books I could suggest(or have friends suggest, many of whom have already made suggestions of books I should give my dad or have him read), I'll be more than happy to endure my way thru Pagels' latest "Beyond Belief(an apt title if ever there was one)". But until then, when it comes to the "close-minded, head-in-the-sand, don't confuse me with the facts,..." approach, "Mr Pot, meet Mr Kettle"!

As all of this should make quite evident to any reader of this by now, I'm not quite sure how to respond to this; how to react/reply(if at all?) when Dad starts off on one of these topics, either with one of his blanket statements or one of his baited questions. I'm giving serious consideration to IGNORING it/them/HIM when he does this from now on!

And it's NOT that I want to avoid(much less deny) differences of opinion or areas of "conflict". But I don't want to go looking for, or "majoring on" them either.

I'm more than willing to discuss them. BUT only in a mutually-respectful type of environment. NOT one in which anyone who differs with him is a fool, or - as he once said about Rush Limbaugh - knows the truth(aka agrees with him, in private), but says otherwise for political or financial or prideful gain.

I just don't see the point of discussing any of these issues with him, certainly not beyond the "basics(of the fact that "we differ here")". He's NOT gonna change my mind/position and I'm NOT gonna change his, so what's the point(other than to let him know that I/we "still haven't caught up" or that type of thing/thinking)? Even if neither of us approach it from the perspective of potentially changing(or even modifying or altering) the other's thinking or position on any of these issues, he's gonna get frustrated, and/or discouraged(about me/us), and/or perjorative, etc. So, again, what's the point?

By now, he DEFinitely _knows_ where we stand on ALL of these issues. And he should know that NONE of how/where we stand on any of them's changing anytime soon. So, why not just "assume" that we still feel the way we do and go on to OTHER topics of discussion?

But there's no telling him this. I'm more than sure that he'll continue in this pattern of behavior around me for the rest of his life. It's not as though it's anything new from him; he didn't just start doing this type of thing this week/trip.

I more than know that we'll never see "eye to eye" on these and/or many other issues. And I've more than known that for quite awhile now; I identified with "The Living Years" - and very strongly too - when it first came out('88). And the part of that song that gets cut out for the "short version" is the most on-target part of it, for us, too:

"You say you just don't see it. He says it's perfect sense.
You just can't get agreement, in this present tense.
We all talk a different language, talking in defense."

But, ok, so we'll never agree, we'll never see eye-to-eye. Why make a point of manifesting that as often as possible? Why make an issue of it whenever the chance arises, or whenever you can MAKE an(other) opportunity to do so? We can't discuss it in an environment of mutual respect and I doubt we'd change or even modify either one's position on any of them even if we could, so let's just let it be, let it GO, and move on, right?

Apparently not. And I'm not quite sure how to deal with, handle, or react/reply to it WHEN it happens from now on.

I'm at such a loss here that the thought(of the possibility) of NOT reacting/replying - at ALL; IGNORING these type statements/questions from him is looking/seeming VERY appealing right now! And maaaybe that's the best(or best available) way to handle it. I somehow kinda doubt it, but maybe.

Of course, even if it's not the best way, but it is the best way that I can think of, that still kinda makes it the best then, no? I'm not saying I'm not or won't try(ing) to think of other/better ways, I will. But if that's the best one I've come up with WHEN the next time he does this occurs, it's prolly what I'll do. Cuz, as this tome of a rant of a post evidences, if he notices he's being ignored and asks why, I've got PLENTY of answers/reasons at the ready.

Gee. And to think that I almost changed the title of my blog, to _remove_ the word "rant" from it? ;)


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