Thursday, December 5, 2013

Religious Differences Between Siblings Lead To More Than A Difference Of Opinion

Dear Tazi:

My brother is very religious. I am not. I respect his views, but he does not respect mine, telling me that it is his "duty as a Christian to bring the word of Christ" to me - which he attempts to do quite frequently, which is why I try to limit our contact with each other. (The operative word here is "try").

"Joshua" is my only sibling, so in spite of our differences I do try to be there for him when he needs me - which is also frequently. Apparently, following the word of Christ has not led him to a steady job with a paycheck high enough to cover his debts. When I mentioned this to him once, in jest, he got upset and told me that his "rewards are in Heaven". Have I painted a clear enough picture for you?

A few weeks ago, Joshua's car - which was pretty run-down to begin with - finally died on him. It was a day that he actually happened to have a job interview for a good paying job in his professional field, so I loaned him my car. When I got it back the gas tank was empty (I was not surprised) but there was an addition to my dashboard - a small crucifix on a stand had been super-glued directly under by rear-view mirror. The crucifix is made of pewter, so it is not some cheap plastic chotchkie that cost him  a dollar at the religious relics store.

I am very upset with Joshua for a) defacing my vehicle. Super-glue can do some damage and b) spending gas money on a decorative item that I don't even want! When I explained to Joshua that what he did was wrong, he gave me a new reason to be upset with him: he told me he'd had my car blessed for me while he was out. WHO does this sort of thing to someone else's stuff? The blessing does not bother me; it is the fact that he felt the need to have my car blessed - like it is the Satanmobile or something!

I have told Josh that I don't appreciate his spending gas money on decorations for my car and that I would appreciate it if he didn't drive it all over town when he is only supposed to be going to a job interview (his church, where he had my car blessed, is across town). Joshua's feelings are now hurt, and our mother has asked me to apologize to Joshua "in the spirit of the season". I understand her request but feel that it brushes aside my feelings on the matter, as if Joshua's feelings are more important because they coincide better with her own (she is religious, but not super-so). Should I apologize to Joshua for offending him and just never loan him my car again? Or should I stand my ground, and never loan him my car again? (Either way, I am never loaning him my car again!).


Dear Unapologetic:

I think that you and Joshua both owe each other apologies. Joshua was very wrong to use all of your vehicle's gas and not replace it. He was also very wrong to use money that should have gone for gas to buy you a present that he knew you would not appreciate. Finally, he was wrong to super-glue a statuette of anything to your dashboard without your expressed permission. For this he owes you a big ol' mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

Although it could have been worse than an innocent crucifix!

On the flip side...are you certain that your brother got your car blessed because he viewed your persona vehicle as some kind of "Satanmobhile"? Was it possible that he felt blessing the vehicle was his way of asking God to watch over you and keep you safe while you are driving? Have you never heard of the annual Blessing of the Bikes? And honestly, if Joshua thought your vehicle was Satan's Caddie he would never have asked to borrow it in the first place!

It is possible that your mother has chosen to get involved and ask you to apologize to your brother because he has been bemoaning his case to her and she believes an apology received will be the quickest way make him stop. It is wrong of her to take sides in an argument between her children; however, if you both wish for her to moderate the issue than you may want to print out a copy of this letter and show it to both your Mom and your brother. There is a dreadful lack of clear and peaceful communication between you and Joshua that can only lead to further problems down the road - regardless of the path either of you choose to follow.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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