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Showing posts from July, 2013

When Dysfunction Is the Norm

I try hard not to lay all my psychological and social maladjustment at the door of the Church of Christ, because there are other issues at play, but one thing I can definitely blame on them is my tendency to get involved in dysfunctional organizations and relationships and stay much longer than I should. This has happened to me in several different contexts, including civic organizations, book clubs, hobby-related groups, friendships, homeowners associations, and even jobs. I'll get involved, realize that it's dysfunctional and toxic and that I'm not happy, but I'll stay in hopes that if I just work hard enough, I can change things and make them better. In fact, I'll labor under the delusion that I can change the other people and their behavior and make the situation better, until finally something really horrible will happen, and I'll "hit rock bottom" and realize that I have to leave. And even then, I'll feel terrible guilt about it, like I'…

There Is No Joy in Church of Christ-Ville

As you might imagine, I can't help but compare my current experiences at an Episcopal church with the ones I had growing up in the COC because they're polar opposites--and because sometimes I can't believe my good fortune in escaping. This past Sunday, two things happened that reminded me of the joyless rigidity of the COC.

First, right before the service started, a little boy was skipping around the sanctuary, and no one reprimanded him or yelled at him. In fact, everyone who saw him smiled at him. I turned to the woman next to me and said, "Look at that little boy! At the church where I grew up, he would have gotten yelled at or slapped for not showing the proper respect in the church building." I don't think she entirely believed me. Then, during the communion, we sang a lively African-American spiritual, complete with hand claps, and when the song ended, a small child in the back yelled, "Yaaaaay!" and applauded vigorously. Everyone laughed fond…