I missed the bus this year. Christmas sneaked up on me. I wasn't really feeling the Christmas spirit. Add to it that my girlfriend and I were both working Christmas, and since we work at the same place, we alternated shifts for the two days leading up to Christmas, Christmas day, and the two days after Christmas, effectively meaning that we saw each other just in time to go to sleep and repeat the cycle over.
Anyhow, this post is more for the conversation I had with my family on Christmas day. After I got home from work, I threw dinner into th crockpot and decided to tackle the phone calls I needed to make. I called my mom, chit-chatted for a bit, and then she passed the phone over to my dad, who is hard for me to talk to, even on the best of days.
All is well for the first few minutes, then he asks me if I am getting enough hours at work, whether I'll have enough money for bills at the end of the month. The frank answer is no, not even close, and I told him as much. He said, "Well, I can't help at all, I'm in the same boat."
Which, you know, is expected, but it still pisses me off. I don't ask for help, you know, and I don't expect it, so don't sound so long-suffering and condescending when you inform me that you are as strapped for cash as I am.
Anyway, he then asked me if I was paying tithing. And I said, "No, I am not."
"Well, you need to."
"Dad, let me spell this out. My last paycheck was under $200. Between paying the school and paying rent alone, I need $600 at the end of the month."
"Well, tithing works. It just does. You need to pay your tithing."
"Dad, as an adult, I am making the decision to not pay tithing."
"Okay, just listen to me. Every time I've gone to the Lord and said, 'I've done my part, I've paid my tithing, now it's your turn," the next day--the very next day--I've gotten the help I've needed. A check in the mail or whatever it is, it helps. Tithing works. And you know, I got the feeling like I needed to ask you how you were doing with money, just this deep feeling that you weren't okay."
There are many things I wanted to say at this point, like, for instance, maybe he got the feeling he needed to ask me about it because I make it no secret that I don't work enough, the very last conversation I had with him was discussing how I was only scheduled to work 9 times last month, and money is pretty tight. So, it's not a freaking miracle that his subconscious mind put two and two together and he decided to ask me about it. And, really, if tithing worked, he wouldn't be $90,000 in debt right now, would he?
I hate being preached to, and I especially hate it when my dad treats me like I am a child, like he has patriarchal, God-given authority over me to direct my life. I so badly want to tell him that I cannot in good conscience donate 10% of my hard-earned income, which is hardly sufficient as it is, to an organization which will not tell me how they've used my money, and, to the point, has a very good chance of using my money in ways which directly contribute to me living as a second-class citizen with my girlfriend.
At the very least, the next time he brings up tithing (which has happened a few times already, I fully expect it to happen again), I really want to have the balls to tell him that doctrinal teachings states tithes come from increase, and that as soon as I have an increase, or surplus, I will be more than happy to donate 10% to a charity of my choosing.
Anyway, all this is exacerbated by the fact that I cannot come out to my parents, either as a lesbian or as an apostate, while my mother is fighting cancer. I just can't do that to her. Now, more than ever, she is relying on her faith to get her through hardship. I can't take that from her, not when there is a decent chance she could die.
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