I'm sitting here alone today while my wife, my family, and the majority of the people I have grown up around are at the district convention. My absence is considered a strong statement about where my loyalties lie.
In the last few months I have had a good friend take his life. I have pushed for honest talk with those around me regarding life, death, and the effects of our choices. I want to know if anyone is willing to admit the part that religion may have played in my friend's tragedy.
I don't think it takes a great mind to understand that shunning a person, cutting him off from his family and friends, can deeply damage, maybe even destroy him. But those who care more about their status in their religion, including my family, cannot manage an honest discussion on these things.
They can, however, find the time to condemn me for daring to ask questions. They see my questions as nothing more than an attempt to break their faith. They also see my absence this weekend as hurtful and divisive.
How do you fight against a mentality that cares more about membership in a religious club than life and death? I see families who can't even find the time to share a meal and a hug with their children moving mountains to make sure they don't miss even one hour of this three day, thinly disguised fund-raiser.
My hats off to all of you who have been dealing with loved ones who are on the inside. I don't know if any other part of this whole deal is as bad as knowing that someone you love thinks you deserve to be killed by God.