Sunday, April 21, 2013

Our Neighbors and Christianity

Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a life and a living process. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In September of 2009, our next door neighbors moved in as renters. (Perhaps renting to own, but we have not asked them. They were thinking about moving twice but have not mentioned it since.) I wrote about our first meeting in New Neighbors and Old Ones Returned and how she asserted that she was pro-choice within the first five minutes of our conversation as we talked about homeschooling. I did not ask what she believed then, but it is obvious her oldest, who is younger than my daughter, is an atheist. The mother used to say "hello" to us, but most of the time I saw her on the porch she was smoking and talking on the phone while her children were either inside or in the backyard on the trampoline.

Our husbands have conversed often, but the most the mother has ever talked to me since the first day we met was about a year ago when she was complaining about how much work she had to do to prepare for the party they were having...and then they had another party two weeks later! Actually, they have several parties every year that last long into the night and are not quiet. There is quite a bit of drinking and people and children spread out on the front porch and front lawn picnicking until they end. They used to have a burn barrel in the front yard all the time, but now they only use it when it is cold. In its place is a moveable grill that is never moved.

Most days it seemed as if their homeschooling was done well before noon. It was obvious to me, although she never said anything to me, that she was emotionally spent in the afternoons. Later her husband told mine that she was having increasing difficulty homeschooling all three. Part of it was arguing, which is the boy's nature, and the other part was them just not doing their work. Since the mother also had some major dental work to be done this year, they decided keep the oldest, the boy, at home using an online curriculum, probably the virtual public school program, and place the two girls in public school.

My daughter has continued playing with the boy and two much younger girls outside as we have not allowed her to play in their house. The boy often starts debates in favor of evolution and when you die you just "blink out", while my daughter voices her opinion on creationism and the afterlife. In the last year, it got to the point when they got started, the mother would give what my daughter called "the look" and more lately would have all the family go inside the house.

Quite recently, my daughter, out of her deep love and concern for the girls' souls, told them about what would happen when they die if they did not believe in Jesus. Ever since then they have not played with my daughter, although we see another Christian girl and boy in the neighbor playing over there quite often still. A couple weeks ago, it came out that the children next door were no longer allowed to play with my daughter.

This week, when she again asked, the mother said she could play with her long as she did not talk about anything religious.

This is a very difficult time for us as her parents, because the Princess really likes the little girls, but she also really loves her Lord. After some prayer, we felt the Lord tell us to let her make this decision on her own and that we need to trust Him to guide her. Honestly, we cannot see her not talking about God, it is just who she is, so we are thinking that she will eventually be banned even if she does continue to play with them and that is what she said she will do. Yes, she had been praying about the situation.

There can be good and bad in this, I am just not sure which will win out in the end. This is the part that concerns me: She is willing to be banned from speaking about her beliefs in order that she can play with the girls. Will she later be willing to compromise her beliefs by marrying a husband who is not Christian?

I also noticed that the boy is not banned from playing violent video games or listening to loud and profane rap music, but then my daughter has been leaving on her own whenever that starts, so I am continuing to trust my Lord to guide her.

~ My Lord, please guide my daughter to please You in all she does. Also, my Lord, lead these people from out of the deception and darkness to Your Love and Light. ~

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.