Etiquette School is in session! > "Have you tried the bean dip?"

When the "God Squad" won't take no for an answer. (Minor Update - Post 51)

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magiccat26:
I have a deliema and bean dipping is not working.

I live in a small town (approx 3,000) in the heart of the bible belt.  I was raised by parents who were very open minded about religion and allowed me to choose my own path, just as they had done.  After exploring various religions, I know that organized religion of any denomination is not for me.  I'm very comfortable with my decision and have no interest or intention of changing my mind.

Now, I am also a GS leader for my daugter's Brownie troop (3rd grade).  This year, my co-leader asked me to allow a new girl to join us.  She is the youngest daughter of the pastor in our town's largest church (probably 500 people attend service at this church).  She is a sweet child and a wonderful addition to my troop.

The problem is that my co-leader, who also attends this church, has recruited the pastor's wife to try and strong arm me into joining the Wednesday women's worship group, Sunday services, etc.  Her reasoning is that I have done so much for their child that they want to return the favor to our family by bringing us into their church family. 

A nice thought, if I had any interest, but I don't.  This specific denomination is one that I truly do not agree with philosophically.  If I had to choose a religion, I would never select this one...there are other denominations that I find are more in line with my own beliefs.

I have tried bean-dipping to no avail.  If I change the subject, she finds a way to bring it up again, while always adding "No pressure!  But we just really would love to see you more and worship with you!"

I do not want to lie, because I will get caught if I claim to attend a different church.  (Everyone seems to know someone who attends every church within a 100 mile radius).  I'm afraid to offer explanations because I cannot see them understanding that I am quite content as a "heathen".  ;). Telling them other plans is not working because she then invites me to be next event (Currently its Easter and an Easter carnival when the children get to study the crusification through craft stations.). I've even tried just saying, "Thank you for the invite, but I'm just not interested." this only causes her to give me a 15 minute disertation on why I would love it and should give it a try.

I'm hoping the wise people here have some ideas on what else I can do.  I don't want to offend and I don't want my actions or words to result in their daughter leaving our troop...because she really is a sweet girl.

Thank you!

Jones:
I have two tactics that you could use, the first things that occurred to me (can't say I've been in your situation before, so I don't know how well they will work):

"Sorry, I looked into that religion and I have to disagree with some of the philosophies. I don't want to hurt our friendship by getting into a religious discussion with you about them, but I just don't see how I can tuck that difference into the back of my mind and attend this church. Please don't pursue this because it will only end in hurt feelings for us both."

"Thank you for inviting me, but really, I am not interested at all. NO, really, not at ALL. Please don't make me repeat myself."

Best of luck to you on this situation! I'm interested to see what other people have to say.

HorseFreak:
I don't have much to add, but I'd love to hear the replies to this one! I also live in the bible belt and having moved from New England it's quite the shock. I am not religious in any way, shape or form, but haven't had a huge amount of trouble with this topic yet. My problem is people wanting to set me up with men I KNOW are very religious and I don't see that working from either end. Religion can make things very awkward, huh?

I have had to use some variation of, "Please, I don't want to talk about religion." It stopped them flat when paired with a smile and a firm tone of voice. I won't talk about why I DON'T believe what you do, if you don't talk about why your religion is the One Perfect Faith. It's a two-way street and I prefer to avoid it all together.

O'Dell:

--- Quote from: Jones on March 23, 2012, 10:51:05 AM ---
"Thank you for inviting me, but really, I am not interested at all. NO, really, not at ALL. Please don't make me repeat myself."


--- End quote ---

I'd go with something like this as a way to soften my technique when someone won't take no for an answer: Silence. No subject change for them to ignore. No excuses or reasoning for them to argue with. I'll walk away if I can, but keep up the silence for a bit if I can't.

Although in this woman's case I'd be tempted to at least once tell her "I don't think 'no pressure' means what you think it means." :P

Reason:
Counter invite them to worship the purple elephant three headed dragon god with you in the woods in a private ceremony at 3:00am?

Actually, you can try being honest and saying something like "Lately, every time we speak I feel like the conversations always end with you proselytizing at me and it's really making me uncomfortable. Could we talk about something else?"

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