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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Kicking out the Crutch

I got this email today from my Aunt, its the lastest in a series I've been getting for years:

(Note: I edited this email to maintain their privacy - names changed, dates removed, etc.)
"Prayer Alert,

Tomorrow is time for 's Katie's next MRI. She has an appointment within the following few days with the Neuro oncologist to get the reading.

Since the news last time was so encouraging, we are asking you to trust with us all that this test shows a continuation of the healing process.

Katie is feeling very well and recently had the opportunity to give a testimony to the healing power of our great God and the outpouring of love which she has experienced from so many of His people. She told her story in a church service at the Church. She and George [Katie's husband] and Kim [Katie's 7 year old daughter] also shared some of praise songs Katie was moved to write in some of her darkest hours of dealing with complications less than a month after her initial brain surgery. God was certainly glorified as Katie witnessed to His love and care for her.

Thank you again for showing your love and care as you continue to pray and trust with us.

Blessings on your day"

The backstory: My cousin "Katie" was diagnosed with brain cancer years ago and was basically told she would die within months. However, she received excellent medical treatment and now appears to be cancer free. She and her whole family rely heavily on faith to get themselves through the stressful times.

These email updates always make me feel frustrated. First, they never acknowledge the doctors or Katie herself but I've blogged about that before. Mostly I feel frustrated because my hands are tied in having to tolerate this spewing of religious gibberish. I care very deeply for Katie and, while she is now healthy, her life is very tenuous as the cancer could come back anytime, and she is relying very heavily on her faith for support.

I know that even the most tactfully worded request of mine to my Aunt to keep me abreast of Katie's health minus the mumbo jumbo would be viewed as me maliciously kicking the crutch out from under Katie in addition to betraying the family as a whole. Also, I know that Katie would have great concern about my spiritual health if she found out I was an "unbeliever" and I really really don't want her wasting energy worrying about that. And lastly, I feel like an arrogant jerk thinking that I should just let them be because I don't want to take away their hope; how condescending of me that I think "I'll just let them have their faith undisturbed because they need it" and I'm so much more enlightened that "I don't need no stinking God."

So what the heck do I do? There's no law against sending religious emails, right? Its not like they are forcing me to pray or anything. While the emails are infrequent they have been continuos for over five years now so I do feel that my lack of objection is at least a minor act of approval.

For right now, I think I'll just remain silent.

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