Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday - I'm not in Church

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I was raised in an oppressive household and strict German religion where the Brotherhood watched out over every family in the church. I was afraid of these men.

I asked my mother, not long ago, just why, if these men weren't sanctioned by the church, how did they function within it.
She explained to me that they were founders and sons of founders. What? So I asked again. She has been immersed within the religion all of her life, so she felt that was enough explanation. Not.

Anyway, this group of men might come to a parishioner's home at any time of day, on any day, to notify them of changes needing to be addressed by either the family (as a whole) or with a child (say, a 16 year old son was seen drinking beer).


I haven't gone to church there in about 14 years, right after my daughter left the church for the same reasons. Too oppressive, too demanding, to organized, and too greedy. There, I've said it.


Still, I am contemplating joining a church with the same problems. Why is that? Why do I feel the need to be directed, scrutinized, and herded thru my life like an animal. Probably because I'm used to it, it's familiar.

I'm confused.

Last weekend, I read the book, The Shack, by William P. Young. It was a great inspiration to me in that I no longer feel that I will go to Hell just because I am not directed by a profit or other organized religion. I truly believed there for a couple of years that being a good person, and doing what I can for others was not enough. I believed that enrollment, that baptism, that association with a certain religion was my way into Heaven. I'm not so sure anymore. I think I still have some soul searching to do.

My upbringing has a fisted grip on my heart and my head. I can't seem to let it [organized religion] go. So strong is its hold, that after talking to friends who have these great experiences, I go home and cry because I feel left out.
Being left out is not a new concept to me, but I want desperately to experience what they experience. For some reason, they all believe it's because I don't pray enough. They have no idea how much I pray but that is how they think: If something bad happens, you haven't prayed.

But I have prayed. All it has done is make me feel betrayed (again), neglected (again), and left to perish (again) in the world I've been abandoned in.

So, today is Sunday. I'm not in church. I keep watching the clock and I know exactly where I'd be at whatever time it is, if I'd gone. But I didn't. I seem to isolate myself when I hate being alone and I reject others when anyone gets too close, yet I long for a relationship with someone who cares about me.
Struggling,
Ivory

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5 comments:

quacks like a duck said...

I'm having similar struggles I think.
I feel a sort of longing for something... something that I think I might have had before as a part of organized religion.
But the institution itself feels so oppressive and judging... I can't bring myself to go.
-else

Ivory said...

Ducky,

You said it. I never know where to go with this feeling of religious inadequacy...

Thanks for stopping by!

Ivory

beauty said...

No no--there is NO guarantee (and certainly not by God) that if you pray bad things won't happen. In fact, Jesus plainly said, "In this world you shall have tribulation..."

He never sugar-coated anything. Believing that you can keep bad things at bay by fervent prayer is akin to superstition, or the appeasing of man made gods.

You are pulled towards organized religion, I would guess, because it's all you've ever known, and your heart cries out for a connection with God. In this too I understand perfectly what you're struggling with.

I've recently decided I can no longer subscribe to the belief system of the religion in which I was raised. I'm 55 years old--this is how long it's taken me to take this giant daddy step.

Having made this decision doesn't mean I'll never again be influenced by the distorted concepts taught to me by this religion. I'm going to have to struggle and battle them probably for the rest of my life...but there is liberty in Christ--not in praying, or obeying the letter of the law, but in Him.

I just want you to know you're not alone in this.

Please try to remind yourself to not simply absorb like a sponge whatever religious people say to you, especially if it's something (like "you should pray more") that causes guilt, and results in pushing you farther away from God. He doesn't use guilt to guide us. Any time someone dumps guilt and condemnation on you, be sure it is NOT from God.

I hope this helps even a little.

Ivory said...

Beauty,

You addressed a big part of my problem - about someone dumping guilt and condemnation on me. Because of what I experienced, I was conditioned to believe I was made for that kind of abuse: it was ritualistic.

Even now, I am so quick to believe I am some how guilty - even tho I realize a child could not have gotten away, a child can not be held accountable for what happened - I still willingly take the blame. I can't seem to stop it.

I revisit this issue several times a week and you bring up other good points. You are very insightful, I appreciate your thots.

Kate said...

Hi Ivory,

I'm sorry that you are struggling with this. I'm sorry that people are so flawed that instead of explaining that rather than love you and accept you right where you are, give to you the time and effort that you need in your life from others, they cover up their own inadequacies by blaming you for it all. I'm sorry. That is just wrong. They are judging someone to cover up the are bad at being good to others. Shame on them.

This is not your problem. This is their problem. It is always easier to pretend to be a good Cristian than to be one.

Good and healing thoughts to you.

Kate