Sunday, February 14, 2010

In the Name of God?

I'm a bit torqued off lately.

I have an uncle who has been in the hospital for some time, and tends to slip back and forth from doing well to doing poorly.

My aunt regularly posts updates of his condition on Facebook. Reading her posts, I can tell she is having a really rough time of it, and I wish I lived closer so I could actually do something. I would like to be able to go over once or twice a week and just give her a day off of caring for him. A break. A minute or two of freedom.

Unfortunately, I live too far away to be of regular use to her.

What bothers me is the comments left on her posts by the members of their church congregation. These supposed "friends" who actually DO live in the area. Do these "religious" people offer to help? Do they offer to pitch in for even one day? An hour? Do they offer any sort of physical, tangible help?


They say "We're praying for you."

They say "You're in our hearts and minds."

They say "May God give you the strength you need during these trying times."

Goddamnit, my aunt has plenty of strength. What she needs is not prayer. What she needs is a hand now and then. There area a hundred-something members of their church. If one a day stepped up to help, they would only have to do so once every three months.

But no. These people are so fucking full of themselves that they can't be bothered to provide any sort of physical assistance to their "brother".

Remind me again why I haven't gone to church since I was a kid...


TheBronze said...

You should say something to them!

That's wrong and not Christian of them.

BlogGirl said...

First time poster here.

Just wondering, what religion are you talking about? Because I live in a religious epicenter (Utah...) and they do the exact same thing.

scott said...

i have read your blog for a while and this is the first one i disagree with. i'm sorry to hear about your uncle and that youre aunt is having a rough time with it. but don't group people who go to church like that. my father almost past away last year nd the support from the church was amazing. and when my uncle passed away a few months later again the church was there even though my uncle didn't attend the church. i'm sorry you're aunt isn't as lucky with help recived as my family but so that christians or whatever organization youre aunt belongs to are "fucking full of themselves" because as a whole we are not

Brett Allen said...

Could be worse, could be the 700 club you see on TV.

"Give us all your spare money and your life will magically get better..."

To me it's just fake kindness which is worse to me than indifference.

Same reason I'm not a church going Christian. My grandmother even stopped going because all the older women do is gossip behind each others back and she isn't into that.

Moose said...

I'm so sorry about your Uncle. I hope things resolve quickly.

I think what really horrifies me about people who say things like "I'm praying for you" is that these people really think they are helping out! Prayer is fine but it's not a physical solution.

I suppose you could be slightly passive-aggressive and post something like "I wish I were closer so I could help you out in person, maybe someone close by can do so." But, well, my cynical side says that people who think praying is "real help" won't get it.

the observer said...

Officer Smith

This really needs to be addressed in a full manner (like a blog post) but for now here's this--

I am really sorry that your aunt is only getting prayers and not hands-on help from her church. Jesus would not approve.

The Observer

Mad Jack said...

Remind me again why I haven't gone to church since I was a kid...

Probably because you've got enough pain and agony in your life and don't need more - which would include an entire congregation of good Christians who don't dare go outside when it rains for fear of drowning (Rain in the nose, you see) and who, individually or collectively, want to tell you just exactly what it is you're doing wrong with your life and how best to correct it.

How close am I?

Here's what you might try to help the situation. It's likely that your Aunt's Church is either elder led or pastor led. Find out what kind of government the Church has so you'll know who to get in touch with. If it's elder led, write each of the elders and include the pastor. If pastor led, write or call the pastor. Explain the situation and your Aunt's needs as gently as you can without beating around the bush. Explain your own frustration at not being able to help. Before you've finished explaining, help from the congregation should be enthusiastically offered.

When my father was bedridden from a series of strokes, the Church did everything for mom (both sons were out of town). When dad passed away we had six elders, two pastors and an entire congregation offering to help us in any way they could.

For my own part, I have stepped up to the plate as needed and each time I've helped out my work has made a difference. Mind you, these are generally small things to me, but evidently my efforts have made someone else's life a lot easier.

Sorry to ramble on. The bottom line is that your aunt's Church should be helping out. They may not know that help is needed.

Sad Me said...

Have you asked your aunt if they have offered her help that she has turned down? Also, speaking from experience, they may not think there is anything they can do and so they offer prayer. Prayer is a big help to those on the receiving end. (again, speaking from experience)

That said, I am truly sorry to hear about your uncle's failing health.

Ann T. said...

Dear Officer Smith,
I know just what you mean.

An afternoon of different attention for the uncle, giving an afternoon off for your aunt would do so much for them both.

She could do groceries, get a haircut, take a nap.

They could mow the lawn or shovel snow off the walk.

For those that can't spend the time, buying a tank of gas or also goes a long way.

Ann T.

Front Porch Society said...

Sorry this is happening to your aunt. :(

I quit going to church as soon as I left home at 18. And just started going to a local nondenominational church off/on again this year.

The reason I left church was because of all the legalism I experienced and the crap they tried to feed the people about what was "wrong" and "right." Basically, they just made up a bunch of rules and tried to make everyone at that church abide by them. Rules that had nothing to do with christianity. *snort*

If I lived closer, I would gladly help your aunt out. :)

Anonymous said...

This is my gripe also.

Hegstrom said...

Good point ... however ...

Who are you taking care of in your area? Who are you giving a hand to?

Be careful of righteous indignation ... it cuts both ways.

I'm not trying to be holier-than-thou ... I understand the frustration ... just be careful :-)

Officer "Smith" said...

Blog Girl,

They are Evangelical. Not that I really think it matters.


My post was aimed specifically at their church. Not all Christians. I consider myself Christian of a sort.

Sad Me,

She has not been offered any help to turn down.


I have done my share of taking care of relatives and others. And I'm sure I will do so again in the future. Don't try to turn my post back on me.

kchesney said...

Officer Smith,
I think that there may be some help you can offer. Help comes in many forms, calls to other family members, contacting a support service in the local area, or discussing her needs with personal friends in the community. I know nothing about where you live, or what your family situation is like, but I live in the Raleigh, NC area with few relatives that are close by. My wife has cancer and it was very helpful when a close friend stopped in to take her to the Dr for chemo. If you have a friend that lives near by, they might be willing to help you out.
I do hope everything will be okay. I am not a regularly attending Christian, but I do believe in positive thoughts and will be praying for your uncle.

*Goddess* said...

I take care of elderly people as my job, and I think they need to learn that it's ok to ask for help. So many of them shoulder the burden themselves, and when they need something done around the house, that I can't do, and I suggest they ask their grown children, they're reluctant to do so. because they say the kids "are busy with their own lives".

The truth is, regardless of religion, people aren't mind readers, and I'm sure if your aunt reached out and ASKED for help, they'd be glad to give it, but in the meantime, they might not know what to do.

*Goddess* said...

BTW, I've even called a person's church at times and suggested to the pastor that they need help, so you might want to try this in your aunt's case.

Sasha said...

I see your point, but do you know for a fact that they don't help her and only offer condolences online? Besides that, most of the "friends" people have on FB is people they have had a conversation with while they were in line at the supermarket-just sayin :) Some peoples days are brightened just by knowing that people are thinking of them and taking the time to pray for them aand that they care....

chilledmac said...

Hey Brother!

I've been a police officer for about 23 years and a Christian only the last 5 of those 23.

Though prayer is a vital part of any Christian's life, there is also a responsibility to act. A cord of three strands is not easily broken. The sharing of one anothers burdens.

Most definitely there should be people from the church helping them out, whether it's sitting with, cooking for, etc.

As hard as it may be, please don't let the inaction's of others affect your walk as a Christian. Being connected to a body of believers, who come in agreement, is an important part of growing in our relationship with Christ.

Please don't think I'm judging you, I am not, but only wish to encourage you in your journey.

Please stay safe! Try and get connected!

You got a brother on the east coast!


Marjorie said...

I would agreee with the suggestion to contact the chrch or pastor direct (If you're sure that your aunt & uncle wouldn't be embarred by this).

People often want to help but are worried about how to approach the subject, and an unambiguous request saying "we could really use a helping hand" may well have excellent results.

I know from experience when a neighbour of mine became that it can work best if someone offers (or asks for)very specific help - it's easier to say 'Yes please' if someone say 'can I cook you a meal / take the children for an afternoon / run to the shops for you?' than if they say 'let me know if you need any help' and equally, if you need help, it's often easier for people to step up if you can say 'I can't leave Tom, it would be helpful if someone could keep him company for an hour so I can get some shopping / get my hair done / take a nap' rather than simply saying - 'Tom's sick and it's hard work'

Of coruse, the folks at your Aunt's church *could* make the effort to ask specifically if she needs help, but they may simply not want to intrude, or be unsure as to whether practical help is needed or would be acceptable.

(If you, or she, does ask specifically but no-one steps up, then yeah, be as mean about them as you like!)

If you don't like to contact the church direct you could post on facebook something like "I wish I were closer - is there anyone from the neighborhood, or from church, ho can help you with the shopping / cooking / cleaning /driving?" It might do the trick...

FroneAmy said...

Smith - one of my personal gripes with a lot of church-going folk is on a basic level. People need to be told (and threatened by a higher power) to love thy neighbor.

I hope someone does step forward and help out your aunt. It's upsetting to not be able to help out a loved one because you are too far away.

KA159 said...

Your Quote: "But no. These people are so fucking full of themselves that they can't be bothered to provide any sort of physical assistance to their "brother".

Remind me again why I haven't gone to church since I was a kid..."

My Response: What I want to remind you of is that you belong to a bretren that in many ways can be stronger than a church congregation. That's the brethren of the badge. By what you and your brothers and sisters of the force go through on a daily basis and the fact that you put your lives on the line every day, creates a bond stronger than most can even begin to comprehend. There are those of us who understand the brevity of your jobs and truly appreciate what you do. Stay safe.