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Unread 05-11-2016, 09:27 PM   #1
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Friend who hates Christianity

Hi all,

I'm in a bit of a conundrum with a long-standing and formerly very dear (why 'formerly' will become clear) friend.

I have this friend - I'll call her B - who round about 2013, tangentially, helped me see through the positively nasty atheism that I grew into round about 2010, that a lot of you CGR old timers on this site witnessed (I was a really unpleasant person back then. Sorry, guys I can't really apologize enough - hopefully I'm less of a dick now!). The thing is, even though she helped me see that the nasty, angry atheism I maintained wasn't actually working and was really pretty much a lie, she's everything the average conservative Christian would wrinkle their nose at: she's a transwoman, she's a neopagan, she advocates a particular kind of feminism that boils down to encouraging sexual libertinism in the name of liberation, her spirituality is profoundly anti-Christian (she's not just a neopagan, she worships a demon who is mentioned several times in the Talmud - Lillith, understood in that tradition to have been the first wife of Adam, who refused to submit to his will and on account of whom God created Eve).

It's coming now to the point where she makes me deeply uncomfortable every time we see each other. And yet, I know that none of the spiritual forces she invokes are capable of harming me (St. John Chrysostom puts it poignantly when he says that the Cross of Christ, and the tracing of said cross on one's body, means that the demons who were once fearsome are now contemptible!) and furthermore that, as with all friendships I have entered into, I am bound to them in two ways - first, to bear their burdens in whatever way I can (cf. Gal 6:2), and second, that, as St. Maximus the Confessor says, 'the friends of Christ love all truly and to the end, the friends of the world love only until some worldly thing causes them to abandon each other'. In other words, Christians are not free to abandon their friends (I recognize St. Maximus won't necessarily be authoritative to Protestants, but his 400 Texts on Love is highly influential in Orthodox spirituality). If their friends abandon them, then that is fine (immediately preceding that quote he says 'the friends of Christ love all truly but are not themselves loved by all'), but the Christian must persevere in love to the end - whatever the end looks like.

The problem is that although we get along famously along every other one of our common interests (mostly science fiction, fantasy, and game nerdery - she hosts and DMs a D&D campaign I participate in and is a phenomenal storyteller and DM - one of the best I've ever seen), I no longer know how to bear her burdens in any way other than in prayer. I wish I could understand and she would allow me to speak to whatever it is that has so wounded her (I know a little bit of what that is - there's some incredibly profound trauma there), but I just can't.

Maybe love, in this case, consists of actually confronting her and saying "I don't know how to be your friend anymore, B, with this vast gulf of worldviews - literally night and day - between us. How can I love you?" We've grown apart, especially in the last year or so as I left the incredibly wishy-washy church I was attending and started the process of becoming Orthodox. There are a bazillion things about Orthodoxy I know very well she'll find issue with (no women in the (ordained) priesthood is just the tip of the iceberg, unfortunately).

This situation is heartbreaking. She's visited me in the hospital twice, she's sat and consoled me when I was having severe issues with family - I didn't really have any deep Christian friends in town until I met a few people at my current church. But something has got to change.

I will not judge and I will not condemn - what I am vowed to in Christ is to love. But I'm at a loss for how to do that.

I've spoken to my pastor about this before, but I'm going to need to speak to him again, probably this Saturday. In the meantime, any thoughts of y'alls would be appreciated.

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Unread 05-12-2016, 07:18 AM   #2
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I wish I had the perfect answer for you.

I think you keep on loving her. That's essential. I also think you should lay it all out on the table. Tell her exactly what you've said here. Let her know that she is important to you and that you do care deeply. I would have to assume that she is seeing the transformation you are currently going through. Don't cut her off unless she becomes hostile or violent. Find ways to continue to be her friend and to love her in spite of your obvious differences. Don't put yourself into situations that you know you shouldn't be in but continue to reach out to her.

I wish I had more to say. I will be praying for the situation.
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Unread 05-12-2016, 09:59 AM   #3
and you were wondering??
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I think the hardest thing would be intimating these things to her and not making her think that either some sort of ultimatum is on the scope of the near future, or that you are trying to convert her.

Prayers are with you, man.
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Unread 03-07-2017, 08:13 AM   #4
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I think you are correct in that you need to be honest with her about how you are feeling. I've had to let some good friends go for the exact reasons that you are describing. "I have come to set a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." Certainly it will set friends at odds.
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Unread 03-07-2017, 09:12 AM   #5
and you were wondering??
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Since this has been brought back up, I wonder, how are things with your friend?

I know you two still have contact and everything, but have things gotten better? Since you become officially a part of the Orthodox community, has there been increased tension? What about being more vocal about abortion issues and other things? Has that made it harder?
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Hello! Come visit my blog! http://taylormweaver.wordpress.com/

Yes... I am the official "Knight Who Will Write Something On Derrida".
Bask in the wonderful glory.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demon_Hunter View Post
Taylor, you just got drive-by theologied.
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Unread 03-07-2017, 11:39 PM   #6
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Things are about the same? We don't really see one another apart from game night and we definitely don't discuss faith.

There's an event that I might be going to with my godfather, Fr. Kaleeg (for those who don't follow my blog, Fr. Kaleeg is an Orthodox Christian priest, hence why I call him 'Father') on identifying mushrooms. She might be there. So we'll see how it goes.
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Unread 03-08-2017, 10:51 AM   #7
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Just keep loving her.
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