Showing posts from 2014

Book Review: Leaving the Fold

I'm in the middle of re-reading Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion by Marlene Winell. My first read of it was about a month ago, and now I'm re-reading it because it's so good and has been extremely helpful. I really wish I had read it 20 years ago when it was first published, because I think it would have helped me get over some of those huge emotional hurdles of leaving the COC much faster. It would have helped me realize that I wasn't crazy and that I certainly wasn't the only person facing the challenges of leaving a toxic church.

It has also helped me better analyze the dysfunctional dynamics of my family. For a long time, I thought my family's problems were unique, but they really aren't. One point that Winell makes in the book is that children of fundamentalist parents often have psychological problems and profiles similar to those of children of alcoholics. Whether the parent's addition is alc…

Sunday Night Was the Worst

When I was growing up in the church of Christ, we had to go to church three times a week: Sunday morning for Bible study followed by a worship service that included communion, Sunday evening for a second worship service sans communion (some congregations do offer communion at the Sunday night service for people who have to work on Sunday mornings, but the congregation of my childhood was hardcore and only offered it once each week), and back again on Wednesday evening for another Bible study.

Sunday night was the worst for a couple of reasons. First, it meant we always had to miss "The Wonderful World of Disney," which was an awesome TV show. At the time, it was a source of great frustration to me that on Mondays, all my friends would be talking about whatever great movie had aired on Sunday night, and I would be sitting there like a lump and feeling angry that I had missed it.

Second, it was exhausting to go back to church on Sunday night after enduring 2 or more hours of c…

Why Would Anyone Convert to the Church of Christ?

When I was growing up in the COC, there were very few people who had converted from the outside. Everyone else was born into it like I was. As a kid who was neck-deep in it and perfectly miserable, I used to wonder, "Why would anyone come here if their parents weren't forcing them to?"

Most of them converted because they wanted to marry someone who was a member of the church. The COC teaches explicitly that marrying a non-Christian (which, of course, means anyone who isn't a member of the COC) is a major sin. They refer to it as being "unequally yoked with an unbeliever." So getting your fiance to join the church is a big coup.

The other group of people who converted were those going through some trauma--adultery, divorce, drug or alcohol addition, or a major illness--and they were looking for answers. And if there's anything the COC loves, it's giving answers for everything and telling people how to fix their lives.

I guess this issue is on my mi…