Showing posts from 2010

Giving Thanks Today

Hope y'all are enjoying the holiday. I'm getting ready to go to a friend's house for dinner, so this post will be brief. What am I most thankful for this year? Well, among (many) other things, I'm thankful I have friends who want to see me and spend time with me because they actually like me, not because we get together and play church 3x weekly. I'm thankful to have a job, especially after being laid off for most of last year. I'm thankful for my family's good health. And I'm especially thankful for the freedom I have in Christ--the freedom from the destructive legalism of the COC. It's been almost a decade since I decided I had to leave, although it took me a few years to actually escape. I'm so much happier and life has been a lot easier since I stopped judging and started loving. The freedom to love others without constraint--that's one of the greatest blessings of all. Happy Thanksgiving!

Front-Row Seats in the Theater of the Absurd

Once in a blue moon I attend a COC, usually when I visit elderly relatives who are deeply involved in it. Now that I've been away from it for so long and have had a taste of the calm beauty and reverence of a liturgical service, the COC services just seem weirdly absurd to me. It's as if they're playing at church, checking off a list as they make their way through the Five Acts of Worship (sing, pray, give, communion, and sermon) to punch their heavenly time cards. It's rushed, chaotic (I addressed the underlying chaos of the COC in an earlier post), arid, and Spirit-less. And in the end, it's all futile, because they really don't believe that anyone will get into heaven, because getting into heaven requires perfection, which is impossible. So why even bother? Why go through those motions thrice weekly just on a 1-to-million shot that god will be in a good mood when you die and NOT condemn you to the eternal flames? Why not just enjoy your life and be happy? It…

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

The title of this post pretty much sums up my policy with regard to my family and the COC. I've never told them that I left the COC, and they've never asked me about it. I think they just assume that I'm still going, possibly because I've never criticized the church in front of them or expressed my doubts about it.

For a long time I felt weird about this, as if I'm deceiving them. But where is it written that full disclosure is obligatory with your family? If I'm an adult living on my own and paying my own way, then aren't I entitled to a certain amount of privacy? Also, am I not allowed to make my own decisions regarding church and faith without explanation or apology? My conscience is clear in that I know what I believe and why I believe it.

Furthermore, what purpose would it serve to tell my family, especially the elderly ones who are deeply entrenched in the COC? It would just upset them, and it's not as if there's even a remote possibility of hav…

...But Do Not Have Love...

I used to do daily Bible reading when I was in the COC, but after I had read the whole book cover-to-cover about a dozen times, I was more than a little burnt out. Now I pretty much limit my Bible reading to the lectionary readings each Sunday. So this year, instead of giving up something for Lent, I decided to add daily Bible reading to my routine for the 40 days leading up to Easter. I found an online lectionary and downloaded daily readings specifically for Lent, and I've really enjoyed it so far.

Yesterday's epistle reading included the first 3 verses of I Corinthians chapter 13:
"If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain…

Conditional Parental Love

In recent, separate discussions with both of my siblings, they have mentioned the fact that it makes them sad that our surviving parent's love for us isn't unconditional, which is the ideal for parental love. As is often the case, unfortunately, the "good parent" (i.e., the one who DID love us unconditionally) died far too young and left us to deal with a parent whose judging of us usually gets in the way of loving us.

Ideally, your parents will love and accept you no matter who you are or what you do. But in our family's case, love and acceptance are predicated on adherence to the COC's rigid rules. If we were to let our true thoughts and beliefs (and the fact that we've all left the church) be known, we would be cast out and disowned. In fact, that has already happened with one of my siblings, so the rest of us hide our true selves. Our parent will never know who we really are, because our true selves would be abhorrent.

I won't blame the entire situa…