12 January 2015

Update: It Wasn't Easy

and it only gets harder from here.

It Wasn't Easy

A long time ago in a place far away from here, I was a parishioner at the First Denominational Church of Smalltown, Missouri. (This was before my "Reverend" days.)

I was made aware of some shenanigans at the denomination's HQ somewhere on the East Coast: it seemed some of the mucky-mucks decided to have a special, private meeting about the denomination's official doctrine. They decided to change it up, just a bit.

At their private meeting, they decided that God's name is Sheila or Gaia or something, and that SHE was to be accorded all the honor and praise - and more importantly, the denomination's offerings - previously given to that "old school" God, Jehovah.

I'm NOT making this up.

I was literally aghast when I found out, and decided that the denomination and I must part company. I wrote a very thoughtful, heartfelt letter to the Smalltown pastor explaining what I'd learned about the national hierarchy, giving as many facts as I had available at the time, and expressing my desire to depart post-haste. I also pointed out that since a portion of the local offerings went to the national organization, I couldn't support that. Therefore, I had to leave.

He wrote back that the local congregation hadn't done anything of the sort, so what was I talking about?

That was a non-response to something I hadn't said or implied, so I saturated that place with my absence well over 20 years ago, now, and have never looked back. There are people at that church today who would sooner spit on me than speak to me, simply because of shudder "THAT LETTER" hack, ptoo ... even though most of them have no idea what I wrote. None of those folks have forgiven me.

I hear you asking, "That's different ... but why are you telling us about it, now?"

I'm glad you asked.

That episode cost me people whom I thought were friends, and soured my relationship with one particular in-law for a couple of years, but didn't endanger my life. But take note of this: not one of them ever asked me what the letter was about. They all believed whatever they were told, by whomever told them.

I was "convicted" in the court of public opinion on the basis of gossip ... and the truth was (and still is) irrelevant - just ask them.

I'm telling you because we've entered a time in this nation's history when viewpoints have diverged widely, and there is little common ground among many of its factions. Heck, we don't even have common music anymore. That one likes hip-hop, this one likes rap, another one likes rock, or country ... how could you have a community sing-along? There's a reason why nobody does that, anymore.

But my point is that sooner or later, most of us are going to have to take a stand for what we believe, and it could be a very unpopular position. If you're acting in good conscience, you can't do otherwise.

Are you prepared for the societal response to your stand? Have you thought about it. Many bloggers say they have ... but have you considered that it may not be just friend against friend? Members of your own family could well turn on you ... or turn you in.

We talk about prepping for hard times; make sure your preparations also include stiffening your resolve. It could well get a lot harder before things get any better.

You'd better know who you are, and have the courage of your convictions. If you're a child of God, then it's going to be a LOT easier than otherwise. Am I recommending a personal relationship with God, through His Son, Jesus?

You'd better believe it! :)


eiaftinfo said...

Something about a tower and people babbling comes to mind . . . :)

Churches are interesting critters. Dogma can, at one point be simply fixed in concrete - and at another seem flow across the landscape like water . . . while the parishioner is simply told to "follow". It is stunning how many "sheep" of the "flock" trudge behind the fellow on the pulpit rather than the Son on the Cross.

My favorite response to a "religious" person (completely out of context here BTW) when they share how much they are praying for a specific thing is . . . "What if He's at a ball game today?" My meaning is that He's not a "wish machine" but a guide. He's given us everything we need to make it in life . . . it's up to us to use our time, talent and treasure to the best effect. Let's just say responses vary.

I'd enjoy a nice quiet meal sometime with you just to chat over the "bigger picture" sometime.

Have a great week sir!

Rev. Paul said...

eiaftinfo, I certainly hear that. WAY too many "Christians" treat prayer as if it were a cosmic credit card which works sometimes, and they don't understand anything at all.

That quiet meal sounds nice to me, too.

PioneerPreppy said...

The "turning you in" question is the hardest.

I am prepared to be the hated one. Not like it hasn't been that way for about 25 years more or less and getting steadily worse. I am used to it and have adjust accordingly so it effects me at minimal levels.

But that turning you in part is something you cannot contemplate until it happens. Once the government get's to the point that turning you in can be profitable or even stand a chance of really harming you it will become a different ball game. My biggest fear about that is by the time it becomes a reality I might not be young enough to respond accordingly.

I live mostly under the radar but I can envision a time when the public pensioners are so pressed that they become a mob looking for so called tax cheats so they can continue to get their cash each month. That could very well turn family against each other.

Rev. Paul said...

Preppy, it's not hard to see how the >50% could turn on those who resist the higher taxes. After all, we'd be threatening their free goodies.

Either way, it could well get very, VERY ugly.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

But my point is that sooner or later, most of us are going to have to take a stand for what we believe, and it could be a very unpopular position. But if you're acting in good conscience, you can't do otherwise.

Wise words, Rev. Paul.

Cathy said...

Rev. Paul . . I lost a friend over our spit on Obama and my stated desire that I hope he failed in his efforts transform this country.
Your sad and frustrating experience with the members of your former church elicits this response: Human nature . . . when people behave badly or stupidly . . . Be 'amazed' - but never - 'surprised'.

Cathy said...

Now 'that' was an amusing typo:

"spit" rather than "split".. :)

Rev. Paul said...

Thank you, WSF.

Cathy, LOL! I decided you must have meant "spat", but that could be interpreted the other way, too. :)