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What It's Like to Go Back

Yesterday I had a long, lovely conversation with an old friend who also grew up in a fundamentalist denomination (not the church of Christ) but is now a Catholic priest. He asked me if I ever go back to the CoC and what that's like, after being away for so long, and he asked me to blog about my experiences. So here goes.

I do go back to the CoC on rare occasions when I visit elderly relatives who are still involved in it (and who don't know that I've left). As for what it's like, I guess it depends on the day. Sometimes it makes me sad, because my relatives are so unsure of their own salvation, because they believe in an unloving, unforgiving god who is just waiting to strike them down. I really wish they could know the joy and comfort of God's grace. Sometimes it makes me angry, especially when the preacher goes on and on about how all those other churches are wrong about, well, everything, and the CoC is the only church that preaches The Truth.TM

Sometimes, thoug…

A Suit That Doesn't Fit

Imagine that you're a small child, and someone forces you to put on a suit that doesn't fit. The jacket is so tight that you can't lift your arms. You feel strangled because the neck is too tight. The pants don't allow you to move freely. You have no freedom to move and run and jump and play like all the other kids. And it itches.

Now imagine being told that you have to wear that suit for the rest of your life, because God ordained it. God chose that suit for you, and God knows best. God has a plan for your life, and it means wearing that suit every day until the day you die. In fact, if you ever take off that suit, God will cast you into hell for all eternity. Even questioning the suit (why do we have to wear it, why doesn't it fit better, how do we know for sure that God wants us to wear it) is a sin. Imagine how you would feel--bewildered, frustrated, perhaps even angry--over not being able to choose your own suit or at least alter this one so it fits better.

N…

Book Review: Dating Jesus

A few months back, I read "Dating Jesus: A Story of Fundamentalism, Feminism, and the American Girl" by Susan Campbell. It's about her experiences growing up in the church of Christ. She went to a much more liberal church than I did, but I still could relate to her story, for the most part. No matter what branch of the CoC we're talking about, the women will be repressed, to one degree or another. And for some of us, no matter how hard we try to conform, we can't accept second-class status and have to leave. I especially liked her metaphor at the end of the book (I think it actually was her brother who said this) that fundamentalism is like a sword that broke off in her. No matter where she goes in life, that piece is still stuck inside and she can't get rid of it. I completely understand what she means. I suppose it's that way with any damaging childhood experience--you can never undo what was done. In any case, it's a very good book (there is a lot …