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Showing posts from October, 2006

Don't Hold Me Back

I know that everyone has their struggles and problems, but growing up in a cult-like church really puts a stranglehold on your development because pretty much everything is forbidden. For example, my siblings and I weren't allowed to take swimming lessons because swimsuits are immodest clothing. We couldn't watch a lot of popular TV shows because they were "dirty" or "immoral." Same thing with popular music. Surprisingly, they didn't censor our reading, which was good for me. I never would've learned anything about sex otherwise. (Speaking of sex, that's going to be a separate post entirely. I still haven't gotten past the negative attitude the church has toward sex and the human body and struggle with a lot of guilt.)

We couldn't participate in school activities on Wednesday nights because we had to go to Bible study every Wednesday. Sundays were a total wash because we had to go to church twice, for a grand total of 3 hours (or more): …

Life In a Fishbowl

In my hometown (population 3500), everyone knows everyone. They know all your business, sometimes even before you do. So there was no hiding the fact that my family was involved in a crazy cultish church. The funny thing is, my hometown is dominated by another crazy cultish church that broke off from the Mennonites about 100 years ago. People who are involved in that church run the show, because their ancestors were the ones who first settled that area and founded the town; thus, they own all the land and pretty much everything on it. People who aren't members of that church but are members of the mainstream denominations and the Catholic church aren't the pillars of the community but at least they're accepted and not treated as outcasts. Not so with my family's church. We were the weirdest of the weird. To make matters even worse, there was a church of Christ in our town, but it wasn't "scripturally sound" enough for my dad, so we had to travel 15 miles …

Definitions

The church from which I escaped is the Church of Christ. We're not talking about the United Church of Christ--that's a liberal mainstream denomination. I wish I'd been brought up in a church like that. Maybe I wouldn't be such a mess. We're also not talking about the International Church of Christ. They're closer to an outright cult.

The church into which I had the misfortune to be raised is the nondenominational church of Christ. Within that group there's a wide spectrum of beliefs. Most CoCs are fairly close to the mainstream and do things that normal churches do: they have food pantries and community outreach programs, they have Christmas and Easter programs for the kids, and they support institutions that help people in need (such as orphanages and homeless shelters). Churches like that account for about 80% of the CoCs. I grew up in one of the remaining 20%: the "anti" churches. They're called "anti" because they're against e…