Sunday, August 31, 2008

Response from a Reader on "The Necklace"

Sometimes you receive comments about an article which needs a response. It would be nice to respond directly to a human being and not someone who felt it necessary to hide behind the name "anonymus." The following was sent in response to the story of "The Necklace" published last month. Our Reverend T. Wade felt an answer was needed further explaining the story and it's intended purpose.

ORIGINAL COMMENT from "Anonymus"

"Man did you ever miss the point of the story.The story was a metaphor...We are the little girl...We work and work and waste our lives on junk. We are so afraid of giving it away...and eventually most of us die with crap that was always worthless...When our savior Jesus died for us, he was the pearl of great price.This little bit of crap that I hold in my hands keeps me from loving Him because I love it more.When I let go...He, Jesus, my savior replaces all the worthless crap of my life with true riches, with true life, with true hope. (What kind of minister are you anyway...(apparently not one that reads her Bible)"
August 27, 2008 11:55 PM


Dear Anonymous,

Perhaps you should have constructed a story which was less sappy than the one which I received to be passed mindlessly along to others. Yes, I know quite well that this was a metaphor, although very poorly conceived and constructed. I also know that any religion, which has as its mission a conversion aspect, constantly offers stories to lead one in a direction, but this story was a metaphor of Daddy "coercion" at its worst. It's a story of a relentless attack on a tot with no rhyme or reason, just submit, submit, submit or disappoint Big Daddy. Surely this reached you at some gut level? Or perhaps not.

There was no junk in this little girl's world. She had a treasure. No one explained anything! You evidently want the message, which you perceive as being portrayed to be recognized, while ignoring the damaging aspects of the other metaphor in the poor conception of this tale. From my observation this was clearly a misguided dad (god) and his subject (the tot) was being harangued relentlessly without any idea of why.

It sort of reminds me of that story (now where was it?) where this couple eats a fruit from a tree, when told specifically not to do so. Two supposedly innocent first people with built-in exploration chambers in their fresh new brains who had never been corrected for anything and knew no dangers awaited them, and low and behold, ate the whole thing! Wow, then the "know little or nothings" learned what Big Daddy was all about, when hell was unleashed. Does that sound like a metaphor for the old rabbis who needed a tale to wow the masses and keep them in tow? You bet it does!

I am not a Christian, yet I recognize clearly when a story needs scrutinized. For God's sake, do not insult a loving god with such trite stories as "The Necklace...A Beautiful Story." Please learn not to give credence to everything that seeks to be instructive, when it's clearly diminishing. You pointed out your beliefs in a few sentences much more than the writer of the beautiful story, and without a metaphor, and without dragging a child into the valley of sin.

Had the story not been presented to me as a plea to pass it along, as if I agreed with it in totality, I would not have commented. You may feel free to circulate such mixed messages in your arsenal of conversion techniques, but there are messages which need considerably more thought in what is actually striking the reader. This story falls into the genre of “child abuse.”

Most of the Bible is a metaphor, but that will not set well with most fundamental literalists. The first book is a marvelous metaphor. Most Jews understand this, while most Christians take it literally as fact. There are literally hundreds of men and women who teach at bible colleges who do not understand metaphor at all. It doesn't exist in their bible. You might spend some time educating them with some direct remarks.

If you are going to portray a loving, caring God, then don't kill the dreams of a little girl (meaning all children...that's a metaphor) with or without reason. Pick another route to exercise deliverance. Use a grubby adult who has, as you repeated, so much crap in this life. Not an innocent child who from my perspective is sinless, but won't know that she was born full of it… until this Big Daddy works his ways.

I am delighted that you personally have found something or someone, in this case, Jesus, to provide your life hope. There are indeed some grand precepts attributed to Jesus, words which Thomas Jefferson tore out of his Bible so they could be isolated and appreciated without the babble which reduced the impact of the messages.

Perhaps you will get the point of my reaction. Tell your story, allow it to resonate where it will, tell it without insulting your God and yourself, and quit allowing coercion as a major instrument in your tool box, especially toward children or adults who are child-like. The weakest link in the Christian chain, and some other religions, is the constant repetitiveness of coercive techniques of their children, who will rebel in due course upon bringing reason into their lives, and after years of exposure to the multitudes who present hypocrisy in daily doses.

There is a precept which still rings with me from many years ago, and it is borrowed from Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the world's most respected religious leaders. It is certainly not a precept which finds favor with Christian parents, yet it is an honest appeal. It reads, "Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education. However, through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness."

Bring a little more kindness into the stories of your God, and walk the walk. Perhaps the actual "walk" will begin to reduce coercive techniques upon the children, because the talk (and so much written materials) is too corrosive.

Thanks for the note. Sincerely....Reverend T. Wade