Sunday, April 21, 2013

O is for Orar

Orar means to pray.

It's really quite hard to escape the fact that if you want to interact with other people in many places in South America, you'll end up at church with them, or at the very least observing a grace with them before you eat. People are very religious in the south, and if you want to make friends it doesn't help if you go around shouting that believing in God and believing in Santa are equally as ridiculous. You probably just won't have any friends and that will be lonely- unless you are living in a metropolis that is.

I actually had American Jehovah's witnesses KNOCK AT MY DOOR in two different locations when I lived in S.America. Seriously! Now, I'm one of those people who hates asking people for things. I never ask people to lend me money, for example. Let me go off on a will never see me selling Mary Kay because I'd never want to oblige my friends to buy stuff. I just went to one of their parties last night because I felt badly for a friend who was selling the stuff- here's how it went. My sister and I were the only people there. We tried hand stuff. They put make up on my sister (I don't like having products on my face). Then they pulled us over to a little corner separately to discuss products that would be good for us. They tell you their story about why they are selling the product. Then you are given an order form and some snacks. I mean, how do you say- well that was fun but I'm just going to go now (after you've been invited into their home, applied free product, shown an inspiring video about their charitable foundation and fed and watered for the last 1.5 hours- especially if you are the only guests)? I am never going to another one of those things again. Might I add that the product is super expensive. So, as you can see, I hate pushing products and I hate when people push me to buy stuff. I was the girl guide who offered to stay behind and count money, or clean, or basically do anything so as not to have to sell overpriced trans fat infested cookies to my neighbours and friends. Anyway, back to my story. We had these people on a mission who speak English knock at our door. I hadn't spoken English for a while so of course I let them in to have a good old conversation which ended up with me having to pray with them and me being invited to visit their church even after expressing dislike for their religion. I'm too polite for my own good.

Of course, I never went. But I did have a chance to see their church some time later and I hate it. I hate it because it's the most modern, cleanest, richest looking building around. I hate it because it has high gates all around it to lock people out. I hate it because while in the centre of a city where many people are very impoverished, it looks incredibly rich. I hate it because they spend their money bringing people from America on "missions" to push their product (religion) on people who don't need or want it. They could be using their money to help people in the community instead. That would actually be a bigger seller. I'm more likely to believe in the goodness of somebody who builds a well than someone who comes to my door to preach to me. And, I hate that the Americans who came probably went back home and everyone praised them for "saving" so many people by showing them the way to their God when actually they didn't do anything tangible for anybody. They didn't offer anybody jobs or teach anybody how to read.

I love learning things, and religions are very interesting. But, don't go and tell people what to believe in and call it a mission. Also, even if I were interested in following the religion, the fact that I'd have to go around bothering people to sell it like them is a major deterrant for somebody like me.

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