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The Behaviour of a particular church

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  • The Behaviour of a particular church

    Not sure where this belongs. I'm seeing at the intersection of a church and society. However, if mods feel it belongs somewhere else, shift away!

    A true story:

    Some years ago, I lived in a small country town. I grew to like a man I met, called Graham. I taught his daughter, we went on a school camp together, he played guitar like me. He was an engineer with a very bright enquiring mind.

    As I got to know him, I found he was very involved in a small Christian denomination. It took the Bible VERY seriously and they had Bible studies that I regularly attended. They had quite conservative theological views. I enjoyed the discussions. My wife and I considered joining.

    We moved to another town. The church there mowed our lawn before we arrived and were very welcoming. After due consideration, I decided this wasn't the church for me. I heard no more from them ... at all.

    Graham and his family moved over to the same town. We did not socialise much at all, however I can clearly remember one evening of 'deep' conversation at our house where Graham was in tears worrying that if he strayed from the mark, God was going to 'get' him in some way. This group called it 'processing'. God would 'process' you ... like lunch meat.

    A few years pass. We hear Graham had left his wife (who always seemed fiercely neurotic to me) and the church. I contacted him on FaceBook. He was delighted to hear from me. He seemed very happy, and explained that after much soul searching he had left that church. The only alternative his wife gave him was to leave as she could not be yoked to an unbeliever.

    Another year. Graham grows to like a lady in Dallas who he plays scrabble with on the internet. They meet and fall in love, eventually marrying. I meet Graham during this time. He looks years younger and is the happiest I have ever seen him. I am delighted for him.

    His grown children in the church will not speak to him. He is not invited to their weddings. Money from an inheritance he lent to the church is never returned. He is not allowed to see his grandchildren. Graciously, he sadly accepts this, saying he is responsible for taking them to this church in the first place. He has long term plans for a slow reconciliation.

    Less than one year after he is remarried, Graham is suddenly killed in a car accident. His new wife, a christian from a progressive baptist, church is bereft. His daughters do not come to his funeral. Only his son does. No one in the church of which he was an active member with deep friendships attends.

    I can barely contain my rage. Those hateful, small minded people. They don't want to be 'stained' by association with this good man, this reprobate. They mumble among themselves that God killed Graham for leaving. It is very hard not to hate, I struggle with it.


    These people are FERVENT. They are committed. They study and study. They are doctrinally conventional in most areas. How can they get it so wrong? Are they wrong? Are they Christians?

  • #2
    Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
    Not sure where this belongs. I'm seeing at the intersection of a church and society. However, if mods feel it belongs somewhere else, shift away!

    A true story:

    Some years ago, I lived in a small country town. I grew to like a man I met, called Graham. I taught his daughter, we went on a school camp together, he played guitar like me. He was an engineer with a very bright enquiring mind.

    As I got to know him, I found he was very involved in a small Christian denomination. It took the Bible VERY seriously and they had Bible studies that I regularly attended. They had quite conservative theological views. I enjoyed the discussions. My wife and I considered joining.

    We moved to another town. The church there mowed our lawn before we arrived and were very welcoming. After due consideration, I decided this wasn't the church for me. I heard no more from them ... at all.

    Graham and his family moved over to the same town. We did not socialise much at all, however I can clearly remember one evening of 'deep' conversation at our house where Graham was in tears worrying that if he strayed from the mark, God was going to 'get' him in some way. This group called it 'processing'. God would 'process' you ... like lunch meat.

    A few years pass. We hear Graham had left his wife (who always seemed fiercely neurotic to me) and the church. I contacted him on FaceBook. He was delighted to hear from me. He seemed very happy, and explained that after much soul searching he had left that church. The only alternative his wife gave him was to leave as she could not be yoked to an unbeliever.

    Another year. Graham grows to like a lady in Dallas who he plays scrabble with on the internet. They meet and fall in love, eventually marrying. I meet Graham during this time. He looks years younger and is the happiest I have ever seen him. I am delighted for him.

    His grown children in the church will not speak to him. He is not invited to their weddings. Money from an inheritance he lent to the church is never returned. He is not allowed to see his grandchildren. Graciously, he sadly accepts this, saying he is responsible for taking them to this church in the first place. He has long term plans for a slow reconciliation.

    Less than one year after he is remarried, Graham is suddenly killed in a car accident. His new wife, a christian from a progressive baptist, church is bereft. His daughters do not come to his funeral. Only his son does. No one in the church of which he was an active member with deep friendships attends.

    I can barely contain my rage. Those hateful, small minded people. They don't want to be 'stained' by association with this good man, this reprobate. They mumble among themselves that God killed Graham for leaving. It is very hard not to hate, I struggle with it.


    These people are FERVENT. They are committed. They study and study. They are doctrinally conventional in most areas. How can they get it so wrong? Are they wrong? Are they Christians?
    It is because they have forgotten about Grace.

    It is by grace alone that I am saved. It is grace that covers my stumbles and my falls. Had the churches (and the family) in the story remembered that, then Graham would have had a very different experience.

    There is way more I could say, but I'm meant to be working so will leave it for now.
    "If you can ever make any major religion look absolutely ludicrous, chances are you haven't understood it"
    -Ravi Zacharias, The New Age: A foreign bird with a local walk

    Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
    1 Corinthians 16:13

    "...he [Doherty] is no historian and he is not even conversant with the historical discussions of the very matters he wants to pontificate on."
    -Ben Witherington III

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    • #3
      Thanks, Raph. Respect.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
        I can barely contain my rage. Those hateful, small minded people.
        Are they really hateful? From the way you describe it they sound more like they're trying to avoid contagion. I wouldn't call someone trying to avoid catching a disease hateful. Paranoid might be a better fit. Callous at worst. Also, considering how well insular, fundamentalist religions do in terms of retaining their values, traditions and ways of life I'd say you're the one being small minded. Do you believe in evolution?

        They don't want to be 'stained' by association with this good man, this reprobate. They mumble among themselves that God killed Graham for leaving. It is very hard not to hate, I struggle with it.
        I'm surprised they'd share these kinds of thoughts with you considering you never heard from them again. Are you Christian?
        Last edited by Darth Executor; 11-05-2014, 02:29 AM.
        "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

        There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Darth Executor View Post
          Are they really hateful? From the way you describe it they sound more like they're trying to avoid contagion. I wouldn't call someone trying to avoid catching a disease hateful. Paranoidn might be a better fit. Callous at worst. Also, considering how well insular, fundamentalist religions do in terms of retaining their values, traditions and ways of life I'd say you're the one being small minded. Do you believe in evolution?



          I'm surprised they'd share these kinds of thoughts with you considering you never heard from them again. Are you Christian?
          They didn't, but when I was on the edges of the group before I'd heard them say similar things. It's not a huge extrapolation. And no, I'm not a Christian. Used to be, but not now. Yes, I know I wasn't a 'real' Christian.

          Comment


          • #6
            Lots of small minded or pusilanimous (small souled) people, Christian or otherwise, especially if one defines 'Christian' in terms of doctrinal beliefs. Christianity is first and foremost following a way, a way of life, a way of love, a way of courageous and moral vision.
            Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

            If you believe and practice that, you are a Christian. Unorthodox perhpas. Heretic maybe. All heresies will be forgiven. But Christian in the sense which matters more than any other.
            βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
            ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

            אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by robrecht View Post
              Lots of small minded or pusilanimous (small souled) people, Christian or otherwise, especially if one defines 'Christian' in terms of doctrinal beliefs. Christianity is first and foremost following a way, a way of life, a way of love, a way of courageous and moral vision.
              Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

              If you believe and practice that, you are a Christian. Unorthodox perhpas. Heretic maybe. All heresies will be forgiven. But Christian in the sense which matters more than any other.
              Interestingly, my thoughts have continually gone to the parable of the Good Samaritan. As usual, robrecht, you strike a chord in my heart. Let's be heretics together.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
                They didn't, but when I was on the edges of the group before I'd heard them say similar things. It's not a huge extrapolation. And no, I'm not a Christian. Used to be, but not now.
                It's not an extrapolation at all, it's a lie.

                Yes, I know I wasn't a 'real' Christian.
                I'm thinking that maybe you'd have fit in with them after all.
                "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

                There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

                Comment


                • #9
                  It almost sounds a bit cultish, Pman - maybe they practice "shunning"? It sounds like it. I am very sorry about this, because this kind of thing gives Christ a black eye, so to speak.
                  "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You're really not helping, DE.
                    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Raphael View Post
                      It is because they have forgotten about Grace.

                      It is by grace alone that I am saved. It is grace that covers my stumbles and my falls. Had the churches (and the family) in the story remembered that, then Graham would have had a very different experience.

                      There is way more I could say, but I'm meant to be working so will leave it for now.
                      This. All the knowledge won't help a lick if it never produces a change in the heart.
                      Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                      Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                      sigpic
                      I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Darth Executor View Post
                        It's not an extrapolation at all, it's a lie.



                        I'm thinking that maybe you'd have fit in with them after all.
                        One of your great qualities is your predictability. One of your great flaws is your predictability.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by pancreasman View Post
                          One of your great qualities is your predictability. One of your great flaws is your predictability.
                          I knew you'd say that.
                          Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.--Isaiah 1:17

                          I don't think that all forms o[f] slavery are inherently immoral.--seer

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think only God can judge who is and isn't a Christian.
                            A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
                            George Bernard Shaw

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                              You're really not helping, DE.
                              Could you elaborate? Not helping with what?
                              "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

                              There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

                              Comment

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