Saturday, November 08, 2008

Ugly truths about people I thought were my friends

And that I thought were Christians.

When my "friends" on FaceBook -- people I went to CHURCH with in Korea. People I attended BIBLE STUDY with -- were celebrating Obama's win, I was crying in a hotel lobby. I told my friends why I was crying. I told them about my friend who watched her baby die in an abortion clinic toilet because staff refused to call an ambulance for them. I pointed out that Barack Obama had voted four times to stand in solidarity with refusing babies care. And I asked for some sensitivity, that not everybody saw this as a reason to celebrate.

This is a response I got:

Janice sent you a message.

(no subject)

Alright Christina, so my political decisions are none of your business. I'd suggest to you that you stay out of discussing politics with your friends, because I have pretty much lost all respect for you as an individual. How dare you write that on my page and then lauch into a debate on MY PAGE with my friends. Do that in forums Christina, where people entertain that inconsiderate garbage. And, enjoy bantering with you. I for one do not!

If you have an issue with it then you send me a message to my inbox. And, let me tell you in a more pesronal way that if you don't like the fact that I support whatever political candidate, then you don't need to be my friend. How unfortunate that a friendship or a christian sisterhood can be ruined because I think that a particular candidate is a good one.

In case you have forgotten also, I'm not American, I'm not voting. I just happen to think that historically, this is monumental. You don't have to agree, but neither do you need to throw YOUR opinion down any one's throat, or go about leaving heinous messages on people's pages. At the end of the day, there is NO candidate that will ever satisfy everyone's wishes and personal opinions. So, what are you going to do about it? NOTHING!!! That's right, the American people have voted, there's nothing you can change now. Take your anger to picket lines and rallies and try to educate people, leaving stupid messages like that on my page, are not the way to go about it, especially because you have now isolated someone who had no issues with you. In my opinion you are suggesting that you are the ONLY person in the world who cares about baies dying. It's not just from abortions Christina. There are children dying all over the world. Some from the very same war that McCain support!
s. You
are so one-sided. You focus on the next best think that will make you miserable. How sad that is that you STILL DON'T GET IT!!!!! This is why you are unhappy and miserable. But, I know that nothing that anyone says will make a difference to you. Obama could decide to pass a law in your favour tomorrow and you will find something negative to complain about. Every email, every post on your page, every rant, is about how someone somewhere, is distraught again. How sad. This is not what God created you for.

Don't bother to send me back a message, because you will be deleted as of right now. Your gall is an insult and a shame, and I'm going to pray for your soul because you are clearly a mess. You are really quite an interesting individual. Drama and issues follow you because you either create them or you build them up into something they are not! Every message, every note on your page is about some drama that's happening to someone you know. I don't think I've ever heard a positive remark come from your mouth such as "I am happy to be alive today, regardless of how the world is." You try to bring others down with you and that's unfortunate, because you clearly need positive influences in your life.

All I asked them for was a little sensitivity, to realize how much pain my friend is in, how much I'm hurting for her, and how much it's hurting her and the people who love her to see such celebration of the man who held out so often that what was done to her and her baby was right and just.

That's it. I tried being gentle and "sensitive". I tried to gently and gradually introduce them to the idea that women are being browbeaten into unwanted abortions, that they're grieving and sometimes killing themselves over it.

This woman has seen me worried, crying, and asking for prayers for Angele. This woman has heard me celebrate when Ashli McCall's book came out, and has heard me tell Ashli's story. This woman knows about my annual phone call to comfort the Cardamone family, on the anniversary of the day their daughter died from a botched abortion she didn't want and had been browbeaten into.

None of that softened her heart at all.

And she babbles about babies dying from other causes -- I was the one, not her, who spearheaded the effort to raise money for a well for an African village, to keep babies from dying from lack of clean water. We needed $3,000. It should have taken us a couple of weeks to raise that kind of money, given how much discretionary income we all had. None of us was hurting for cash. And it broke my heart every Communion Sunday, when we took up the special offering for the well, and the offerings were paltry. I bit my tongue. I didn't scold the congregation after opening those envelopes. I didn't say, "I know full well that three of you went to Seoul for hair weaves this month at $120 to $220 a pop, and the biggest donation that wasn't MINE was for $20. Are you honestly telling me that these kids' lives aren't worth as much as your hair weaves? I know three of you who get manicures every week that cost more than the biggest donation in here that wasn't mine. You can't forgo one manicure a month to save children's lives?"

The combined contributions from the 30 other congregants -- 20 of whom were well-off English teachers such as myself -- was often less than what I was putting in myself. I would put in an amount equal to my biggest discretionary purchase the previous month, the biggest purchase I made that wasn't ordinary groceries or paying my utility bills. If I'd given myself a big treat, I gave an equal treat to the kids in Sierra Leone who were waiting for a well. I wanted to give more, but the pastor counseled patience -- to let them be convicted on their own, and give on their own. He counseled patience, to share the opportunity to be generous rather than hogging it up and denying the others a chance to give. It was this counsel that kept me from saying, "Screw it. I'm not waiting for these people to wake up while babies are dying for lack of water," and just donating enough to put us over the top.

Maybe I should have done that. Maybe I should have stood up for the Well Update and said, "The donations we get are less than what many of you are spending a week on IMAX tickets, manicures, or purses. These kids are dying for lack of water. I'm putting in the rest of the money myself, and y'all can have another fund raiser when you find a cause more important than your hair, nails, and wardrobe." Because being gentle and patient did squat but leave that village in Sierra Leone without a well for months longer than necessary.

We had a donation jar on the snack table. I wanted to forgo snacks on Communion Sunday, and donate the earmarked snack money to the Well Fund. I was voted down. We met for pre-service prayers, and for Bible Study, in coffee shops, spending $5 to $8 each on a beverage. I wanted to forgo that on Communion Sunday, to donate the money instead to the Well Fund. I was voted down on that, too. It was asking too much, it was putting MY conviction on others who were not similarly convicted. So I'd be in those coffee shops, drinking my $5 cocoa, telling myself, "I'm buying a spot in a coffee shop so unbelievers can see Christians excited about the Bible" and trying not to think of how much better it would be to put that $5 in the Well Fund. I bit my tongue. I went with what the majority wanted. I let those kids go months longer than necessary without water to drink so I wouldn't make well-off Christian teachers uncomfortable with blowing all that money on beverages.

I wasn't asking anybody to take a vow of poverty. Just to once a month fast from luxury beverages and give that money to kids who were drinking filthy water. That was too much to ask. Just as some sensitivity for Angele and Rowan, to stop dancing on a child's grave, was too much to ask.

Being gentle and patient didn't work. I tried it and it was an abysmal failure. It led me to put being sensitive to the comfortable ahead of whether or not children had safe water to drink. It led me to put being sensitive to the comfortable ahead of comforting the mourning.

I don't need to fill my life with people who want me to remain silent about life and death matters while they gush over a man who lets his brother languish on $12 a year, and is okay with wrapping babies in towels and leaving them in a closet to die.

Matthew 25:40 applies to George Obama and to impoverished children in Sierra Leone and to Rowan and Shanice. And I"m not going to let anything stop me from putting the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable FIRST. I'm no longer going to leave them on a back burner until the well-off and comfortable are ready to set aside their nail buffers.


Kathy said...

I'm so sorry. You have our support. Someone has to speak up, and you do it well.

Your story about raising the money reminded me of a story I read years ago. This family who was having rough times (father died or abandoned the mom & kids), but they had enough for their needs, heard it announced in church that there was a family in the church that was having tough times financially, so they were going to take up a special donation every week between then and Christmas, and then give it to them on Christmas. Well, this family was so moved with compassion at the sad tale, that they started cutting corners and joyfully contributed money every week to the fund to help someone who was in even worse financial straits than they were. Long story short, they found out on Christmas day that *they* were the poor family; and when they opened the envelope of all the money that the church had raised, discovered that they had given the lion's share.

We as Christians should be ashamed of ourselves. You are right to point out what you see is wrong; people don't like to see their faults, and often turn on those who would show them. Remember what they did to Jesus. Take heart. Be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. God sees, and will give you your reward.

Anonymous said...

I hear your pain, I hope you will not take offence by my honesty.

These are my personal opinions, from my personal experiences; my personal truths. Others may disagree.

1. The only person I call a 'friend' is someone who is willing to be BRUTALLY 100% HONEST WITH ME... Anyone who is willing to lie to me, to be politically correct, or to use 'civil' language, when they dilute or make 'nice' what they really mean; cause they don't have the courage to tell me THEIR EMOTIONAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SPIRITUAL TRUTH, is NOT MY FRIEND.

2. People who lie to me, ARE NOT MY FRIENDS. If I choose to prefer to consider LIARS, and deceivers as my friends, becuase they lied to me, pretended to be my friends; I did that because I was insecure; I wanted to be loved, I wanted to be accpeted, I wanted to be popular, I wanted to be 'cool'... etc... I WAS NOT BEING HONEST WITH MYSELF; I WAS NOT BEING A TRUE FRIEND TO MYSELF. HOW CAN I EXPECT ANYONE ELSE TO KNOW ME, AND BE A FRIEND TO ME, WHEN I DON'T KNOW MYSELF AND CANNOT BE TRUE TO MYSELF? Do I want to be a Human being, or a Pharisee Chamileon Reptile?


4. They have done you A FAVOUR by proving to you they are not your true friends. VERY IMPORTANT: They are not your true friends, beucase they say things you do not like; BUT BECAUSE THEY ARE WILLING TO CUT YOU OFF AND OUT OF THEIR LIFE WHENEVER THEY DISAGREE WITH YOU. Instead of being willing to 'fight out your beliefs, to get to where you can agree to disagree and understand each other better' THEY ARE TOO COWARDLY TO DO THAT, AND WILL NOW CENSOR YOU WHENEVER YOU SAY ANYTHING THEY DON'T LIKE.

Such actions are the actions of individuals PETRIFIED OF CRITICISM, AND PETRIFIED OF TRANSPARENCY....

Be open to those who are willing to have a REAL HONEST CONVERSATION, EVEN IF YOU DISAGREE; and build a relationships, not based on agreement, but on challenging each other to grow, to learn; and you will find very few friends, but rather one real friend, than a hundred pharisee two-faced hypocrits!!


Lara Braveheart

Christina Dunigan said...

Thanks to both of you for your kind comments.

I realize that I've not lost any friends; I've just been taught who my real friends are.

And I've been disillusioned. I thought that their faithfulness every Sunday was a sign of ... I don't know. I thought it meant that they really were seeking God. I now have serious doubts about that. Not because they supported Obama. I can understand how somebody can believe what he said and ignore what he did and really conclude that he is a good man and a good choice. But because the basic charity of comforting those that mourn was too much to ask.

The security guard at the hotel -- an Obama supporter, may I add -- showed me great kindness in my grief. More kindness than my alleged "friends".

I had hoped that being gentle, by telling them just a little bit at a time, I might crack the walls of ignorance and denial and get them to if not oppose abortion, at least recognize that many women are very much hurt and are in need of our love and support. That was all I was asking. And it was too much to ask.

Anonymous said...

Christina, did all of this occur in Korea? I'm amazed by how many people in other nations were imparting their views on our election. Perhaps we should do the same thing with them.

Christina Dunigan said...

Ya know, I looked at Janice's accusation that I never posted an upbeat Status on Facebook.

Nov. 3: Christina is rejoicing that she found the travel check, but still searching for the lost wallet.

Oct. 24: Christina is weatherproofing her house.
Christina is learning cool new tricks in Excel.

Oct. 20: Christina got to spend her first day cleaning junk out of her new office.

Oct. 19: Christina is starting her new job tomorrow.

Sept. 25: Christina starts her new job October 20!

Sept. 20: Christina is sorting and uploading Eastern State Penitentiary stuff!

Sept. 19: Christina be celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day, Matey!

Sept. 17: Christina is sorting her pictures of Eastern State Penitentiary

Sept 15: Christina is going to the Mutter Museum in Philly tomorrow

Sept 6: Christina serindipitously learned how to make porridge!

Aug. 26: Christina just had her first ballroom dance lesson. Party tomorrow and I meet my partner!

Aug 23: Christina is home and safe.

Aug 11: Christina is tracking her granddaughter's flight to see her other grandma. What a big girl!

Aug 10: Christina is celebrating her granddaughter's 4th birthday!

July 17: Christina had a good day at work.

July 9: Christina spruced up the living room with "new" curtains.

June 29: Christina got greenlighted on FARK!

July 27: Christina had a great weekend!

Now, in all fairness to Janice, I did post a PR for a lost wallet, a PR for my daughter, a PR for a friend, and one gripe that I needed a new job. And one celebration was that the guy who killed Eileen's daughter got indicted.

Since the election I've been posting bitter status updates -- because my "friends" were offended that I asked for comfort in a dark time. But I also posted about looking forward to getting my beautiful new Down syndrome calendars from Down Syndrome Association of Houston.

I recognize that I do attract tragedy -- because people who have suffered tragedies know that it's safe to talk to me. I don't project, "I don't want to hear your crap. If you can't be all happy, don't drag me down."

But going back over my posts:

June 25: Christina is going to see her Scotsman this weekend!

June 13: Christina announces: Her sister's cancer is in remission! Who-HOO!

June 8: Christina is learning to enjoy the new job.

June 6: Christina had to change her snake's name from Ambrose to Loki.

May 17: Christina thinks her snake's name might be Adrian.

May 15: Christina is getting to know her slithery new friend.

Apr 22: Christina is gonna start a new job soon. Yay!

Apr 18: Christina is getting her car back tomorrow. Yay!

Mar 26: Christina has the car, now needs the job.

Mar 5: Christina is chilling in Hawaii.

Feb. 7: Christina is cleaning out her apartment. Anybody want my stuff?

Jan 1: Christina is hooked on Kiva.

Dec. 25: Christina had a wonderful Christmas.

Dec. 1: Christina is pleased at how much she got done today.

Nov. 17:Christina is much better since she started wearing her SARS mask outdoors

(a lot of bland updates about getting packed or having a cold were in there)

Nov. 17 (a busy day!) Christina is enjoying the antics of Harvey and Edgar.

WAIT! HERE IT IS! THE WHINING AND CONSTANT DRAMA! NOVEMBER 16: Christina is lonely for an age mate.

Nov. 14: Christina is getting in touch with her inner Hulk.

Two for Nov. 13: Christina is looking for java content management tools. Anybody?
Christina is staring down too much ddok. Come help me eat it!

Yeah, I'm a constant whiner in my FaceBook status updates!

Christina Dunigan said...

BMMG, these "friends" were other expats who attended the same church with me. Janice the snotty one is a Jamaican by birth but raised in Canada.

Kathy said...

I know this blog is about abortions and particularly the women who died from them. That's not an upbeat topic! But it is an important one. I'm sure the OT Israelites got tired of the doom-and-gloom prophets -- but they were real, and they had a message the people needed to hear.

Yet even with this, well, downright depressing topic, you still post several off-topic and upbeat posts (occasional YouTube videos, all those pro-Palin posts, etc.) I certainly have not gotten the impression that you were a complainer or were not upbeat, although the majority of what you post is of necessity depressing. Perhaps I'm just better at separating the message from the messenger? :-)

Christina Dunigan said...

It may be in part because when she met me, I was suffering severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, so I wasn't exactly Susie Sunshine.

But I reflected today on her dismissal of me as some sort of Gloomy Gus who never has anything to say but drama and disaster. I was in the supermarket and caught myself, as is my habit, looking for somebody I could pay a compliment to. ("That hairstyle is really cute!" "That outfit is very becoming on you." "What a nice handbag!" "Your children are so well behaved!") I thought, "What kind of Gloomy Gus can I be if I have this ingrained habit?

Yeah, I attract people who have had tragedy in their lives -- because I don't shun them. One thing that I've seen is that people who suffer tragedy lament that they also lose their friends, because so few people can tolerate reminders of loss. I have a friend whose sister was murdered. He said it was very difficult for him to ever relax with other people because he had to be careful never to mention his sister -- not even to tell stories of when they were kids -- because people get all uncomfortable hearing about "the murdered girl". Whereas with me, he could tell about when they were kids, he could talk about the murder, he could talk about the aftermath, and I'd just hear him out.

I spent two hours on the phone with Angele this morning. And, Gloomy Gus that I am, the conversation was punctuated with laughter. We find a lot to be lighthearted about together. We can be lighthearted together because each of us knows that the other can share her real self and not be rejected as "a real downer".

I consider my own sufferings to have been a blessing because of how they enable me to be there in a very real way for people who are facing sufferings of their own.

If I end up with nobody but suffering people in my life, I'll be blessed.

I really don't need people that I have to tiptoe around lest I offend their political sensibilities. Or people who want to pretend that the only evil in the world is George Bush. Who, by the way, has probably saved their sorry asses from terrorist attacks a thousand times over. God willing, Barack Obama will learn toot-sweet what a thankless job being President is, especially when the people who elected you think they've just elected Santa Claus and that their gas tanks will magically fill up.

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for you in your pain, Christina. Obama stands to push through legislation that would make it even more dangerous to both preborns and their mothers.

It seems your "friends" were more concerned with being unconcerned with major issues. Having a space strictly for petty chit-chatty talk to build friendship seems to be pretty admirable, but thoroughly chewing someone out because they brought up a serious topic because they're hurting...that's just uncharitable.

Anonymous said...

So sorry Christina for the way you were treated. My friend Christine is also going through similar attacks from her own family who are all die hard Dems. They would vote for Hitler if he had a D in front of his name!

She has come to the same conclusion as you. You MUST continue to speak the truth in love! Anyone who cannot handle that is not you friend. What good is it to have a friend that you cannot share your heart with?

I have family who are pro-choice and we often talk about abortion. They would never treat me the way your so called friend did. And I would never treat them poorly for disagreeing w/me even though being pro-life is a part of who I am.

This "friend" has revealed much more about herself than anything else. She is so weak that she cannot handle her friend kindly expressing a different opinion than hers. And in response, she has to personally attack you! She seems like a cruel closed minded person. I say, "Good riddance!"

Jesus said in Mat 10:34-39 "I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword. For I came to set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother.....and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake will find it."

God bless you and comfort you. And thank you so much for always speaking up for the mamas and babies no matter what the cost to you.

Jesus also said in Mat5:11-12-"Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in Heaven is great."

In Christ,
Kris Miller :)

Anonymous said...

Your friend Janice is right.

It's wrong of you to try to make her feel guilty for celebrating Obama's historic victory. She hasn't done anything wrong. She didn't kill any babies. She didn't even vote for the man. What on Earth were you hoping to accomplish by berating a friend who isn't even American? You need to find a healthier and more productive way to deal with your disappointment.

Anonymous said...

Anon, Christina didn't start this with her "friends." (She now knows better than to refer to them in that way.) THEY started it when they began celebrating and assuming that everyone they knew must agree with them. If someone comes up to me and says, "Isn't it great what happened on Election Day?" I wouldn't pretend I agreed, just to keep the peace. If that person wants to reveal a political opinion, fine, but then I'll do the same, and if a confrontation ensues then it was that person who began it.

Anonymous said...

By the way...


Christina Dunigan said...

Anon, I was just asking them to comfort me. Something the guy at the hotel -- an Obama supporter and a total stranger -- was doing. I just wanted comfort from my friends.

If McCain had won, and somebody had come crying that their friend's mom had died from a criminal abortion and this felt like a celebration of illegal abortion deaths, I'd have set politics aside and comforted the person.

But if you've seen the ugly posts from trolls that I've been having to nuke... there are some real assholes out there, and I foudn out that Janice is one of them.

Ladybug said...

A word to anonymous trolls. If you're going to disagree with or insult Christina at least have the balls to sigh your real name instead of hiding behind anonymity.

Ladybug said...

A word to anonymous trolls. If you're going to disagree with or insult Christina at least have the balls to sigh your real name instead of hiding behind anonymity.

ashli said...

Christina, I read the message from your Korean "pal," and my first thought was "HOLY MOLY, dive off the deep end much?!" That chick went apenuts! Sounds like she has had some type of beef with you for quite a while and just used this as an opportunity to unload. Her response was full-blown overboard. No offense, girly, but it kind of made me laugh. It was so off the freakin wall. I know it got to you, but she's crackers.

People who don't understand your grief right now just don't understand and/or care what life in the ObamaNation means to lifers or even Christian lifers. I for one appreciate your sensitivity. It's comforting after being told last Tuesday that my child, a's child, Gianna...all of the children affected by abortion, just don't matter to our country as much as money. Nice. I'm wildly offended on behalf of our military too, but that's another story.

To conclude, Christians are called to admonish one another, you should have paid for the well and made your speech, and your Korean buddy can blow it out her hair-weavin, coffee-drinkin, Llama-lovin rear.

Christina Dunigan said...

Like I said, when I met her I was in a really bad space with the depression and the PTSD, and she was of the opinion that one does not "burden" one's friends with stuff like that but save it all for a professional counselor.

I had simply pointed out that since I had PTSD I also had flashbacks, and one of the key components of flashbacks is that you're tremendously upset but not sure WHY, and asked if they see me all crying for no apparent reason they just ask me if I'm having a flashback, and that most of the time this is enough to help me get grounded again. HER opinion was that this was asking far too much.

She also didn't like that sometimes in Bible study I'd answer questions honestly. Like when the discussion was about trusting God, I'd talk about my brother's death and the (I didn't get into specifics) abuse and neglect I endured as a child, and how these things often surfaced during times of trouble. This, too, was "inappropriate" in her eyes -- not that she said it aloud, but her posture and demeanor and how she'd quickly change the subject.

It was okay to say you had trouble trusting God because of ordinary bad life circumstances, but to bring tragedy or horror into the picture was just "dragging drama in all the time." Well guess what? That's my life. I got to see my brother die in a freak accident before I was even three years old. I was left then with a sister straight out of a Stephen King novel and two parents whose coping strategies traumatized a preschooler who was already reeling from her brother's absence. Excuse the hell out of me if this is something you just don't want to deal with! We're to "bear one another's burdens". Not just the superficial ones.

With friends like that, who needs enemies?

Anonymous said...


I agree...who needs "friends" like that...oh and Ashlis last sentence pretty much sums it up!!!!

Love you both!


Anonymous said...


This Obama stuff just seems so *cultish* to me. I'm in a very blue state, and the couple of times I tried to talk to people I knew well who were Obama supporters, when *they* started the subject, it was like we were from different planets, making me feel I didn't know them like I'd thought I did. I have more I could say about it, but won't on a public board. I wasn't happy when Clinton was elected, either, but the Obama thing feels qualitatively different.

Palin 2012, the campaign starts now.

Wishing you peace.

Christina Dunigan said...

I know what you mean.

When Clinton won, it was, "Damn. Now we'll be years trying to undo the damage." I knew the Clintons were ruthless, with an agenda to promote abortion and try to ration health care, but I didn't think they were a threat to the Republic.

It's like the difference between frat rats holding a bender at your house, and a tornado bearing down. You can repair the damage the frat boys do. But with a tornado, you only pray that you can salvage a few items and realize that everything you worked so hard to build has been destroyed.

I've woken up every morning since the election just sick with grief at what this means for our country and for the world. I need to get some of Deitrich Boenhoffer's writings and see to what degree he realized what was heading down the pile.

John said...

I don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said, but I appreciate your pro-life blog. Few (including me, I think) would have the courage to do what you do, but I'm grateful that God has given you this task. And I'm also glad we're FB friends. Thanks for all you do, and keep up the good work!

Christina Dunigan said...

Thanx, John.

I'm hoping I'm low profile enought that I won't be targeted by the incoming administration. But Judie Brown, Father Pavone, David Reardon, Mark Crutcher, and so forth, are probably going to get the combined Sarah Palin/Joe the Plumber treatment.