Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"You're Fired" & "I'm Tired"


Who would have ever guessed that two episodes of "The Apprentice" would cause such disharmony between best friends!

For those of you who don't watch/didn't see tonight's episode, a previous subject matter resurfaced: observation of the Jewish holiday. Both for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, one or more of the contestants were unable to participate in the challenge due to the observance of these "high holidays." This began, as I assume it did for many viewers, a "discussion" of whether or not these individuals that were members of the losing team should be brought into the board room to risk being fired just because they chose to acknowledge and observe their religion/holiday rather than...work, essentially.

My best friend felt they should be subject to scrutiny and/or termination - that it was their choice to observe the holiday...so they should just deal with whatever comes as a result of that. She stated that there was no law saying that you had to obeserve the holiday and that the individuals weren't going to go to hell if they didn't go to synagouge. (Of course they won't because they don't believe in "hell" per se...but that's a whole other subject)

I, however, strongly disagree. I believe that it is immoral and unethical to persecute someone because of their religious beliefs and/or practices. I also believe, and failed miserably at getting my friend to truly understand, that what some might view as a "choice" others view as a "way of life" - unwavering and uncompromising. So...if they are not seeing their religious beliefs/practices as a "choice" - who is anyone to stand in judgement of that?

To have "feelings" regarding their religious decision is one thing. To "judge" them based on their religious decision is something TOTALLY different.

This diatribe, of sorts, lasted for about an hour. Voices were raised, sentences were cut off and drowned out by the other person's point that had to be made. It was heated, it was passionate...it was everything that causes companies to enforce the "unwritten" rule of refraining from any and all discussion regarding religion.

Eventually I just gave in...mostly because I was tired of the whole thing, but also because I realized that it was my fault that the discussion traveled the path that it did. See, this was not the first time that we have had conversation about religion and/or spirituality. This was, though, the first time that it has been as intense as it was. I say that it was my fault because I made, what I consider to be very serious, assumptions about my best friend (that has been such since our freshman year in college).

I assumed that she was a Christian.
I assumed that she was raised in the church.
I assumed that she was God fearing.
I assumed that she had a personal relationship with God.
I assumed that she had faith.
I assumed that she believed God created, planned and orchestrated our lives.
I assumed that she prayed and believed in the power of prayer.
I assumed that she believed that God has a purpose for our lives.
I assumed that she believed in the Bible (regardless of the various intepretations).
I assumed that she held religion/spirituality in very high regard.
I assumed that she had respect for religious institution and practices.

I assumed A LOT! Now I say this as a DISCLAIMER: I am in NO WAY saying that the assumptions listed above are totally false. She made a great point last night when she asked why I would assume anything about her spiritual life since we never worshiped together, prayed together, etc. Although they don't take the place of a heart-to-heart conversation, I made my assumptions based on little things she has mentioned/things I noticed throughout the years: she is Baptist, she went to a Christian school, her family goes to church, she prays, she owns a Bible, she listens to some gospel music, she got married in a church, her Mom sends her pages from the "Daily Bread", she recognized that couples that worship/pray together have strong relationships, she's talked about going to church...stuff like that.

I guess because of all that, I didn't see any need to ask any type of direct questions regarding the matter. Partly because I thought I already had the answers and partly because, in actuality, it doesn't really matter what she believes. What she believes and what I believe don't have to be the same thing...not only in religion, but in any aspect in life. This, however, does not take way the fact that it was quite alarming to discover that there were things that I didn't know about my best friend of 12 years, as well as assumptions that I made that might not be 100% accurate.

Case in point: She mentioned that she realized that religion is a very sensitive subject for me and that when we discuss it I get rather...well...sensitive. I had no idea that she hadn't realized how much religion and spirituality meant to me. And this entire post is on what I didn't realize about her...or rather, my assumptions of her.

What I also don't think she has noticed is her apathy towards religion/spirituality...the snide comments about organized religion, her indifference towards my spiritual opinions and growth, her distrust in spiritual servants, her disbelief in divination, her incessant challeging of what other's believe. This is slightly upsetting and disappointing to me - especially because it usually manifests itself due to something that I have said, done or watched.

Although I can respect her feelings and beliefs (while at the same time disagreeing), it sure would be nice to have your best friend on the same spiritual/religious accord with you when you are going through a valley. Of course it is possible, as it is very much so in our friendship, for one to receive support and love and kindess and concern from a friend regardless of religious orientation. But I guess that part of my Journey Back to Joy includes reconnecting with my spiritual self...and I would like to feel comfortable sharing that with my best friend and vice versa.

Throughout the discussion, my friend said some things that really made my skin crawl...made me want to get up and leave the room. But I didn't...because come hell (no pun intended) or high water...she is my VERY BEST FRIEND and I love her dearly. I would trust her with my life and what we DO have in common far outweighs what we DON'T. This has just been a learning process encompassing a very touchy subject...but I will not (nor do I believe will she) allow this to change/damage our friendship.

What is funny is that you might think, based on this post, that I was a Bible-totin', Scripture-quotin' kinda gal...but I'm not a religious fanatic. I do, however, have a very strong and personal relationship with God. That is a very important part of my life. I don't go to church every Sunday, but I acknowledge God every day. It is not something that I take lightly. It is something to which I show great reverence.

For me, it is not a "choice" - I have read books, I have debated, I have researched, I have considered, I have listened, I have witnessed, I have learned, I have questioned - and at the end of the day I stand firm in what I believe...

...unwavering and uncompromising.

* An Aside: Donald Trump is a very saavy business man...I kinda wonder whether or not he scheduled his show around these holidays on purpose...to shake it up a bit and force people to take a side. Since he firmly believes that one should be allowed to observe religious holidays without penalty (his right-hand-man George was even absent these days for cryin' out loud), he could have very easily filmed before or after this holiday season...or even gave everyone the day off. The whole thing was so blatant that now I'm thinking that this could NOT have been an accident! Things that make you go: hmmmmmmmmmmm...


At 9:53 PM, Blogger Boy From The Bronx said...

Actually there is federal law that employers must give reasonable time off for religious holidays. Many companies give personal days for that purpose. I work for a very religious jewish firm and we are closed for many jewish holidays (it could be as many as 13 days during the year). we also closed for the usual federal holidays. Ask your friend how she would feel if she was refused a promotion or was fired for taking Xmas off. Many Christians object that Jews want "their" holidays off too. I wonder how they would feel if the shoe were on the other foot


At 9:30 AM, Blogger TTD said...

I dont think they shoulda been punished for taking the day off (i dont watch the show, so i dont know what happened)

as far as your girl, i can understand the questioning of the church servants.. look @ the media.. priests and pastors being locked up & accused of sexual abuse... although i wouldnt use those small (count-wise) incidents to change my entire view of the church..

but ur right, just b/c ya'll dont agree on EVERYTHING, doesnt mean that she cant still be ur best friend..

At 10:44 AM, Blogger Darbs said...

Points well said and taken!


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