A few months ago, I attempted to cut ties with the pastor and his wife. Their way of trying to “understand what I believe now” felt like harassment. I couldn’t be blunt and tell PW that I had no desire to be her friend, so I told her we could text and chat as long as it was not about the Bible. I should have cut ties with her completely but I felt guilty because my husband still adores the pastor.
Then, a few weeks ago, a friend from that church began opening up a little on Facebook. I could tell she was on some sort of road to freedom from evangelical Christianity. I started a dialogue with her where she informed me that she too had to “cut off” the pastor’s wife.
This is what Christianity does its followers. It strips them of their intuitive common courtesy. It turns them into invasive violators of personal space and conviction. But who can blame them? They believe unbelievers are destined for Hell. This doctrine alone is the cause for so much spiritual and mental abuse.
Maybe I was predisposed to having anxiety and depression. Who knows? But I do believe that attending a Southern Baptist Church, hearing about the end times, judgement, and damnation played a significant role in my mental illness manifestation. The sad part is, people who I loved and trusted, who saw me at my lowest points, ended up writing it off to my unbelief.
“If you had been a true believer, you would have needed those pills.”
Funny since there are tons of Christians who pop pills daily. Are we to assume those people aren’t true believers either?
But I did believe. I believed it to my core. I believed it so much that I wanted whatever it was God had for me. If he wanted me to stop eating pork – I would. If he wanted me to celebrate the wandering in the wilderness by building a tent in my backyard – I would. If he wanted me to worship him in spirit and truth by getting back to the roots, abandoning Pagan customs – I would.
What is sad is that the leaders in my church only cared about their already established doctrines. They encouraged Bible study, Scripture memory, and personal prayer. But the moment you discover something that went against their ideas, you faced rebuke, mockery, and judgement.
I remember at one Bible study during the Holidays, the pastor’s wife provided us with ideas on how to celebrate Advent. She warned us of the evils of “Elf on the Shelf.” I spoke up and asked, “How is that any different than Santa Claus?” I was looked at as if I had horns coming out of my head.
It’s ok for her to tell us not to do Elf on the Shelf. But if we chose not to “do Santa” don’t judge others who do. It’s ok to say alcohol is bad, but don’t say the same thing about pork or the seasonal Southern Baptist buffet. How dare someone cut the church’s grass on Wednesday night or Sunday afternoon. But why would you dare think keeping a Saturday Sabbath is necessary?