Sunday, February 8, 2009

Where is that you'd like me to go?

One of the positives to living in the deep south is the mild winters. Now, in my book, mild would be temperatures above let us just say the freezing mark. I realize when a tour guide is published about an area or region, the temperatures are averaged but that would still only allow for a night or two of outlier temperatures.

I took this picture one morning about 3 weeks ago when the temperature was 25 degrees. The reason for this picture was my complete fascination with the appearance of the little snow flake right above the temperature. How nice for the Volkswagen people to tell me when it is freezing. Ironically, I've never noticed a flame icon when the temperature is hotter than that place down below. And most of the time, it is that hot here. So, you see, there has been no reason to have almost 3 weeks of below freezing temperatures. We just weren't built to cope with that.

Fortunately, today was finally a nice day with temperatures in the low 70s. After just sitting in the yard for a while, some friends came over to visit. And have a drink. Or two. Why are we counting drinks? Carry on. We talked about all kinds of random things. You know about school. Then food. Then pets. Which, of course, led to pet poop. And from there, it was a natural progression to religion.

As we were talking about the Holocaust denier on the news, we started swapping stories about various people who've prayed for our souls. I'm always amazed by Holocaust deniers. Really, there is more evidence the Holocaust occurred than there is that Jesus walked the Earth (I'm not doubting it, just making the point about all the pictures and visual accounts of the Holocaust). Really, it pains me to see so many people have to say their religion is THE right one. I wish everyone could just accept that each person is allowed to have their own beliefs. But I digress. The whole point of this post today was I wanted to share this story with you all.

Once, over a decade ago when I was teaching behavior disordered kids in a middle school, a fellow teacher came into my classroom during our planning time. When I looked up at her, she had tears in her eyes. Thinking one of my students had had a moment with her, I jumped up to see what was wrong. She then said she'd just heard I was dating Mr. Strong.

I was speechless and thinking really, he isn't that bad. I mean, he sometimes runs a few minutes late and often can't remember to put the toilet seat down but nothing is majorly wrong with him.

Seeing the confusion in my eyes, she went on to say she knew Mr. Strong was Jewish and therefore he was going to hell. And if I was with him, then I was going to hell, too.

All I could say was, "Then I'd rather be in his hell than your heaven."

Years later, I still remember this teacher. She wasn't a bad person and her intentions were to "save" me. In reality, I wish it could have been me that saved her. If I could have, I would have saved her from having such a closed mind.

A special THANKS goes out to my mother for teaching me to find the good things about people - no matter what their beliefs.


Kristina P. said...

I cannot wait for spring!

And I am with you on the Holocaust deniers. I just don't understand it. I suspect they haven't been to the Holocaust museums in NYC or DC. Very, very powerful pictures and video.

only a movie said...

I am right there with you on the religion question.

"Then I'd rather be in his hell than your heaven."

Great answer!!!

Oh, and it got to 40 degrees today. Wooot.

Candice said...

Nice post!

Sunny said...

What is the religion that supposes that Jewish go to hell? They're as nice as any other guys.

Beth said...

Kristina - I've never seen the Holocaust museums yet. But it is definitely on my Bucket List.

Only a Movie - It got up to 40. And I'm complaining about it being around 40 in the morning still. Wah!

Candice - Thanks!

Sunny - Most Southern Baptist feel that ALL other religions are going to hell. And by all other religions, I mean Catholics, Methodists, etc. In the Bible belt, there are so many Southern Baptists. I feel for them and thier closed minds. But it is how they've been raised.

Deb said...

oh girl... this is why i haven't stepped foot in a church in a lonnnnng longggg time. it is also part of the reason i have a hard time around my mom. i was raised southern baptist, and i still worry that i am going to hell. at least i'll know somebody there!

Kulio said...

Nooooo! You're kidding. Oh my goodness. I love your response. Interesting to read this today, my 16yo left for school in dress pants, shirt and tie, very seriously telling me he was supposed to dress as if attending someone's funeral. He is visiting the Holocaust Memorial with his history class. He told me that he thought a tie was a good idea. This is from a boy who wears the same two pair of jeans and two sweatshirts to school every day of the year (don't judge me teachers, I can't change him!) I was floored - he looked so good, and is taking the experience so seriously. This is probably due to a great history teacher. Peace to you!

amy said...

the weather here is just nuts. NUTS. i wish it would make up its mind, and i wish its mind decides not to make it 14 degrees ever again.

i wish the usa were like england. they have religious education classes, where kids learn about all the major world religions. when i was getting my master's, i took classes with a girl who probably comes from the same family as the teacher who was worried about your soul.

but then she student taught in england, and had to teach a religious ed class on buddhism. she said it made her really uncomfortable at first, because she'd been raised to believe all buddhists were going to hell. and she wasn't sure whether she wanted to tour the buddhist center they were visiting at the end of their unit.

but then she realized the point of the religious ed classes weren't to convert anyone, or change anyone's mind about what they already believed...just to inform. and so she learned to appreciate different kinds of people who were headed for h-e-double hockey sticks.

except i'm not sure we could do that here. particularly in the deep, bible belt south. we've got too many religious fanatics. i actually am friends with one of these religious fanatics, and we learned long ago not to talk jesus. we're fine if we don't talk jesus. the one time we did talk jesus, the conversation went like this:

HER: but those people are going to burn in hell.
ME: how do you know?
HER: because the bible says.
ME: but what if the bible's wrong?
HER: the bible's not wrong.
ME: but how do you know?
HER: because the bible says.
ME: but what if the bible's wrong?
HER: the bible's not wrong.
ME: but how do you know?

and so on and so forth.

sometimes the really reverent make me smile, and other times they scare the poop out of me. i'm fairly certain jesus would understand what i mean by that.