Pressure Points, Session 1: Fuggeddaboudditt

fugeddaboudit

By Marie Armenia

Fuggeddaboudditt

“ARE YOU IN THE MAFIA?” the woman asked as we stood in the lobby. I was the featured speaker at a women’s seminar. She was as serious as a hit man and continued: “All Eye-Talians are in the Mafia, aren’t they?”

For one of the rare times in my life, I was speechless and wondered, Is this woman seriously asking me, “When you’re not being a Christian speaker, do you and ‘Uncle Tony’ throw people wearing cement shoes in the East River?” Yes, she was.

I replied in my best guest-speaker voice, “Everyone in my family is a Christian. I don’t know anyone in the Mafia.”

She replied, “Well, I could tell you were Eye-Talian because of that bump on your nose. When I heard your annoying New York accent, I was sure you were in the Mafia.” Then she walked away. I imagined running after her, hitting her with a hymnbook, and whispering in her ear, “Uncle Tony sent me!”

“When you’re not being a Christian speaker, do you throw people wearing cement shoes in the East River?”

Stereotyping definitely stifles a more loving existence. I’d like to dispel a few stereotypes some may have about New Yorkers of Italian descent:

  • All New Yorkers are bossy. I prefer, “Many of us fully use our spiritual gift of administration and are not afraid to assume responsibility.”
  • All Italians eat pasta at every meal. Not really. Every couple of months, when the boat from Naples is late, we might eat an apple.
  • All New York Italians say “Fuggeddaboudditt!” 75,000 times an hour, 24 hours a day. Well, we do sleep a few hours a day.

Sentences describing stereotypes place emphasis on the word all. God is the only One whose stereotypes are accurate:

  •  “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
  • All “are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).
  • The Lord does not want “any to perish but all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

One Sunday, while visiting my home church in New York, I heard a man named Gus speak about his conversion. Gus would have answered “yes” to the question the woman in the church lobby asked. He finished his testimony by saying, “I kept reminding God of all the bad I had done, just to be sure He knew who He was forgiving. Then I heard Him speak to my heart, and say, ‘Fuggeddaboudditt!’ I knew my sins were gone forever.”

My personal vocabulary doesn’t include the word Fuggeddaboudditt. But as I looked at Gus’s glowing face that day, I knew the Holy Spirit had communicated clearly to Gus, in just one word, God’s amazing grace.

 Marie Armenia is a gifted writer, songwriter, and speaker who may one day write a book about the weird things people say to her at women’s conferences.
 

Comments

  1. Evangelist Debra Akins says:

    Sister Marie this story is in our Sunday Lesson for September 22, 2013. Loved this short
    story….continue to be a blessing to us.

  2. Bill Shepherd says:

    I loved this story! I will share this with my SS class tomorrow! God bless you and I know sometimes it’s. hard to “Fuggeddaboudditt”!

  3. Donna C Kikgore says:

    Wow! Just when I wanted to say that I’m amazed at the things people say, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to remind me that I am one of those folks at times.

    Thanks for sharing this story in such a delightful way. Hopefully, it will be one of the aids that I use to help me use words with more wisdom and gentleness.

    Keep working to knock off the rough edges of those you minister to “Iron sharpens iron!” Use it wisely. :). God bless!

  4. Charles Russo says:

    To whom it may concern,
    My name is Charles Russo. I was raised in Brooklyn NY. I have been a Sunday School teacher for about 30 years, a deacon for about 25 years, chairman of deacons for about 15 years,served on two Pastor search committees,and various other ministries. I tell you this not for credential purpose but to inform you that I have served the Lord with the Southern Baptist Organization for over thirty years.
    My concern is regarding your article “Fuggeddaboudditt”. This is not the first time I have seen something negative either written or verbally expressed about New York people of Italian descent. I have spent time in Virginia, North and South Carolina and in jest listened to comments about Northern Italians. Although your article is supposed to express a point about James 3:1-!8,you are giving a poor example. The 3 stereotypes are extremely exaggerated and I find them to be offensive. If they are fictitious, I suggest you read and follow James 3:18.
    I would appreciate a reply.
    In His Name,
    Charles Russo

    • James Jackson says:

      Hello Charles–

      Thanks you for your comment. We are sorry you were offended by the post. However, the writer is an Italian American from New York, and she was not writing to perpetuate stereotypes, but to refute them. As she says in the article,

      Sentences describing stereotypes place emphasis on the word all. God is the only One whose stereotypes are accurate:
      “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
      All “are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).
      The Lord does not want “any to perish but all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

      Again, we apologize if that was not clear from the article.

  5. Well, it was loud and clear to me, and I thank you for sharing such a funny story to illustrate the very problem many nice, “Christian” people have with their speech. And although this isn’t something I would say, I have my own sins of the tongue, which I often need reminding of!

  6. I had a simular experience. I am from Alabama. I was carrying a conversation with someone from Chicago, and as I was talking he interrupted and said , “oh! You’re not stupid at all.” I asked what he meant by that and he said ; ” He thought people from the south was slow and stupid.” I was greatly offended. All I could do was walk away.

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