Jason's Blog

Where I remember why I stopped going to mass

by on Oct.31, 2005, under General

This has been a fairly long weekend for me, in many ways… Friday night was the yearly Newman hayride, which I attended. Then, Saturday night was a halloween party, again with mostly Newman folk. I’m not going into all the details of the weekend, but I wanted to mention a few things – specifically, the things that reminded me why I stopped going to Newman. First with regards to Friday night, nothing was too unusual – went out with a bunch of people, hung out, had some hotdogs around the bonfire. However, it’s more what didn’t happen that bothers me. At first, I didn’t really know what it was, nor understand what bothered me about Friday night. It wasn’t until Saturday night that I really understood, and remembered why I stopped going to Newman.

For me, going to church, following Christ includes several important details. First of these is community and love. That means that anyone is welcome to the community. When I first went to Newman in 97, I felt that – I hadn’t understood it at the time, but the Newman center of 1997 was very much about community and love. The Newman I went to this weekend wasn’t about that. I showed up, and felt tolerated. Not welcome, but just tolerated. Now, don’t get me wrong – some of those who were there were cool and welcoming, but they were definitely on the “rare” side. NO church of Christ should ever make someone feel barely tolerated. That’s not a church of Christ, but a church of self interest, and wrong indeed. Then, Saturday was even… more interesting.

Saturday was the Halloween party. I provided the music as well as helped with decorations. I already had a vast array of halloween decorations and this allowed them to avoid having to buy decorations. This all seemed simple enough to me. Show up, drink, relax, play some music. This night was even worse than the previous night – I realized how much the attitudes that I encountered at Newman disgusted me. Let me exlpain. Lots of people at the party was drinking and me having alcohol, I was helping with this endeavor smile A very cool girl – definitely enjoyed meeting her – was one of the ones drinking. The thing was, she wasn’t part of the Newman community. She was visiting one of the hosts of the party named Kristen. Shortly after this Kristen showed a lack of ethics that was an additional reminder of why I don’t go to Newman. This host was one of the “leaders” of the Newman community, who from what I’ve seen takes a pretty self-righteous point of view. My views on Kristen are only relevant to the discussion that occurred in that I want to make sure people realize I might have a certain bias when I relate the events that occurred.

With that background out of the way, let me go into the details of what bothered me so much. First, the girl who was visiting was getting on the more intoxicated side. After a bit of time, Kristen comes up to me, and says to stop giving her drinks. Now, my initial reaction is ok, no biggy, I don’t much care either way. However, my general view on this is such: if a person wants to drink, that’s their choice. If I’m asked for a drink, I won’t hestitate to help out. Now, I didn’t offer anymore, and just sat and talked. However, after a while, I forgot, and offered the girl a drink again. Not a big deal, as it had been quite a while since the last offer, and the girl seemed to have been sobering up. Regardless, it’s a party, people are drinking, and guess what – that’s a normal thing at a party. What happened next though, is what REALLY left me pissed the rest of the weekend.

After the second drink, Kristen comes up to me, and says if I give her friend another drink, I have to leave the party. This is when I get REALLY pissed. First – guess what – drinking at a party is normal. Someone coming up to me and telling me that I have to leave if someone at a party is drinking? Just because they’re getting a drink from me? Now, I realize she was her guest. This guest was also on the drunk side, and being a massive flirt. The guest having a boyfriend at home probably was not behaving the best, but hey, it’s a party, and nothing unusual. Guess what – you’re at a party. You know there’s drinking at this party. You invite her, and you know she’s going to be drinking. SO, asking me to leave because her guest is drinking? That’s NOT right. But, what isn’t right about it is this:

It’s about responsibility. The responsibility to monitor the girls drinking was her own responsibility. Now, as her host, if Kristen wants to mention something to the girl drinking, that’s fine. But, by asking me to stop giving her drinks, she’s asking me to be the jerk. Kristen doesn’t want to confront her friend so she asks me to do it. At that point, I tell her guest that Kristen asked me stop giving her drinks. She then has a talk to Kristen about it. Kristen gets all really pissed off at me. At that point, I walk away while Kristen is upset. I said my goodbyes and headed home.

There are several things that pissed me off about the whole situation. First is Kristen in her actions, felt she had the right to control her friends actions and make decisions for her – without her being aware of it. In my view, that’s utterly disgusting – people should have the right to make their own decisions, even if they’re bad decisions. Second, because she didn’t want to confront her friend about getting drunk, she decided to try and use me to control her friends drinking. She wanted to avoid the confrontation that would entail. I do NOT like being used, by anyone. Particularly by someone who doesn’t have the honor to do what they think needs to be done themselves. Instead of talking to her friend about drinking, she decided to try and use me. Third, throwing me out of a party for the actions of someone else? And because I choose to allow people to make their own choices??? That’s as disgusting as you can get. Let me explain this further, in what I think should have happened.

If Kristen had wanted her friend to stop drinking, instead of trying to get me to refuse to give her drinks, Kristen should have talked to her friend directly. If her friend wanted to continue to drink then it was Kristen’s responsibility to deal with the situation. That gives her friend the option, and also leaves the drinking issue with-in the parties that are at conflict. If Kristen chose to push the issue then she had the option to take her friend home which is what happened later.

Instead of this, Kristen got all pissed off at me, and threatened to have me thrown out of the party when I refused to play along. This is the kind of self-righteous, I think I know what’s best and will make your choices for you, kind of attitude that pisses me off, and makes me realize that this is not a community I want to be a part of. I believe firmly in free will, and in letting people make their own choices, and own mistakes – and then loving them regardless. Trying to make those choices for someone else is wrong in my view – even worse is trying to use someone to do such a thing. That’s disgusting, and NOT the kind of community I want anything to do with.

[update: had to add this in here to clarify. What bothered me, in the end, about the whole weekend was this: I’m annoyed with the lack of personal responsibility I saw and someone blaming me for things that are their responsibility. What’s worse, this was without asking me to assist, but instead demanding it through force (i.e. threatening to kick me out). I’ve never reacted to force at all willingly – I fight back. That’s why I told the girl about her friends trying to prevent me from giving her a drink. That’s also why I left shortly after that – someone who acts that way is someone I want nothing to do with. ]

SO, overall, a weekend of learning – of seeing what kind of people call themselves Christians. Of finding out where I fit, where I belong, and where I’m not welcome. A place where people think they have the right to make decisions for other people is NOT a place I want to be.


2 Comments for this entry

  • Stephen

    Jesus! That sounds very much like it sucked. I will say though, that there were more than a few people at newman circa 1997 who acted in that very same way – the fact that these gatherings are all supposedly under the umbrella of “christianity” is probably the absolute height of hypocrisy.

    Maybe its time to move to St. Louis? Or Florida?

  • doug

    Hmm, well I agree with Stephen ‘bout St. Louis.  And I agree that it soudn slike Kristen was rude and did nto handle the situation properly.

    However, I alays like to argue and I think that you might agree at a party, the at times can bear some responsibilty for the behaviour of the guests including their drinking and it is not solely the reposnibilty of the perosn drinking.

    But regardless, Kristen should have handled the situation differently.  Perhaps asking to you help her in teh effort to limit her firned drinking adn appealing to your desire to help others.  Her thrat to throw you out was entirely inappropriate.  And further her reaction to you telling her friend about her actions, makes her look really bad.  If controlling her firend drinking was something she thoguht she should be in control of, she shoudl have not problme be open about her desire in the situation.  But I think these are issues that happen with all groups of people.

    BTW, long time no chat, hope all si oging well,you need to visit st. Louis soon.

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