Showing posts from April, 2007

Always Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

Last fall I went to the doctor for a routine check-up. Everything was fine, and my blood test results were excellent--no signs of anemia, diabetes, or thyroid problems, and my cholesterol numbers were perfect. I should have been happy to be in such great health, right? Wrong. Instead, I fell into a deep funk because I was worried that this good fortune would soon be followed by something awful--like, I dunno, inoperable cancer--either as a punishment or test by God.

When I was growing up in the COC, I was taught that true Christians cannot possibly be happy on this earth, because it's not our true home. We won't be happy until we're dead and go to Heaven to be with God. So if things are going well in your life and you are happy, then just be warned that it won't last. If you're living your life right, then God will test you to see if you remain faithful during adversity. If you're doing something wrong, then God is going to punish you--just you wait.

But what if …

Is the Church of Christ a Cult?

I recently watched the PBS documentary about Jonestown. It was extremely disturbing and brought back a lot of equally disturbing memories. I was a kid when the mass suicide occurred and I remember being freaked out when I learned that it was the parents themselves who gave the cyanide-laced Kool-Aid to the children--many of whom were my own age. I also remember that it set off a wave of anti-cult hysteria and accompanying sermons at church. Preachers denounced Jim Jones as a false prophet and outlined mind-control techniques used by cults, so that we could recognize and avoid them. The funny thing is, when they would talk about the mind-control techniques, I remember thinking, "But our church does some of those same things!" I never voiced my doubts to anyone, of course.

Here are the ways in which I believe that the COC is like a cult:

1. The COC claims to be the only group in the world with The Truth and to have special, secret knowledge about it.

2. They try to get people …

It's Like A Funeral Every Sunday

In a previous post I noted that the church of Christ does not officially celebrate Easter, although many people let their kids dress up and have Easter baskets and Easter egg hunts after church. Some people even object to that, however, and at the church where I grew up, we were treated to an anti-Easter sermon every year. We were exhorted not to celebrate it because it's based on a pagan holiday, and the Bible doesn't tell us to celebrate Christ's resurrection just once a year. Instead, true Christians celebrate it each Sunday when we observe the Lord's Supper.

I was trying to explain this to an acquaintance of mine recently, and when I mentioned the weekly celebration of the resurrection, she asked, "So was each service something joyous and celebratory?" I replied, "No, actually it was more like a funeral. We were told how evil and sinful we were and how we should be ashamed and guilty that Jesus had to die for us in the first place." She mentioned…