Monday, March 09, 2015

Double F*ck Church

There's a cartoon at The Oatmeal that perfectly suits my yesterday and today and the crazy that is now my mainstream church. I cannot find it or I would post it, instead I'm going to have to use my limited simian vocabulary to try and impress the wonder that is The Oatmeal's  Godzilla cartoon. In the cartoon Godzilla sees the ginormous hornets of Japan, turns around to trudge back into the ocean while he flips double middle fingers and mutters 'Nope, Nope, Nope'

That's me leaving church forever...Nope, Nope, Nope!!

Last week I talked about in my blog how I was coming to the conclusion I was completely 'done' with organized religion This week it's no longer a conclusion, I am done. The last few days have clinched that deal.

Way back in September I wrote a post called 'Shake It Off' talking about a situation involving the worship team leader Sam that I had been oh so unwillingly drug into. Short version: Sam did a mass Facebook private message to a total of 22 different women in the church asking for prayer for his marriage. He also shared quite a lot of personal information about his wife Stacy and why she was 'Worst Wife EVER!'

I replied on the mass pm that a) this wasn't appropriate venue to share that information because in my past experience at my old church sharing like this just led to gossip not prayer, b) he could ask for prayer without bashing his wife (who is a friend btw) and c) I was pretty sure his very shy wife would be hurt and shamed if she knew he was sharing like this. The response I got was pretty awful so I removed myself from the conversation by clicking on a button to leave the pm.

I decided that at some point in the future when I wasn't triggered over the stuff at the old church I'd try talking to Sam one on one. Ultimately I decided against that after watching his fawning horde of ladies from the church and that list and experiencing first hand yet again that if you don't go along with everyone else you're going to be subjected to ugly remarks and snubs.

Since September I've not been at church as much. Starting in late November I stopped going at all. Not one person from church has bothered to ask where I've been and what's going on.

And then this weekend happens. Someone I used to know very well from the conference circuit friended me on Facebook and proceeded to give me the business, telling me I was never really a Christian because I've stepped away from the revivals and conferences and fundagelical church movement. Condemning, blasting, not much love of Christ. FFS I've been away from all that since November 2007, nearly eight years and folks are still trying to beat me back into the fold?

That same day I was out shopping and had another nasty encounter with one of the ladies on Sam's list that has been acting like assholes since the prayer list. I was standing right behind her at the counter in Walgreens, I said hello and asked her how she'd been and she replied that she was 'too busy' to talk to me.

So typical of the bullshit that's been thrown at me since I told Sam his request wasn't right. I shrugged, mentally tallied up how many times this stupidity had happened since then.

Sunday morning started off on just the wrong note. Jim begged me to go to church with him. I did and it was okay, except the only person curious to know why I hadn't been there was the pastor. After the service one of the ladies in that clique said something very ugly to me right in front of the pastor and walked off. He asked me what that was all about and I told him about the prayer list and what happened. He knew about the Facebook mass prayer request because someone else on the list had complained about it to him and the pastor had spoken to Sam about it months ago. So apparently someone else also thought it was a very bad idea but didn't speak up. Likely she knew it was church social suicide to do just that.

I felt better after having spoken to our pastor and took courage in some of the things he said, he had some suggestions about how to reply to those ladies.

Let me say that I'm not 'mad' at Sam, disappointed with his immaturity yes, but not angry.

So imagine my surprise when Sam calls me this morning in an extremely offensive and hostile mood, telling me he completely disagrees with me on the appropriateness of the prayer request mass Facebook thing. We talk and it's pretty clear everything I'm saying is not going in at all, he's defense, defense, defense. I ended up the call. He kept telling me that I shouldn't tell the pastor he called. Screw that! The pastor had no business telling him what I said, what I said was in confidence, or I thought by telling him he was not to share what I said. Nothing I said blamed Sam at all, just said that these silly women were treating me like the devil's red headed stepchild since I spoke up on the list.

Several hours ago I sent the pastor an email telling him I knew he thought he had my best interests at heart but that sharing what I told him in confidence just upset me and I didn't appreciate the hostile phone call I got from Sam.

I am done with the lot of them. The next time one of those Good Christian(tm) women from this big mainstream church pull their passive aggressive hostility towards me out and about I'm going to give them an earful and I'm not going back to church. I am beyond done at this point. Let's see what a year without church looks like.


Karen said...

Good grief! These people will raise your blood pressure and shorten your life expectancy! The next time your husband asks you to go to church, just point out that it isn't your thing anymore, and be firm.

Kathleen Schwitzner said...

A year without organized religion looks lovely. Several years looks better.

I am done with organized religion. Personal faith is just that - personal and people are entitled to it. But the organizational piece is too much.

Hang in there.

KAthleen S.
Normal, IL
(first time poster)

Kalieris said...

I have to say it's not just in Christianity that this happens. I was a conservative Catholic, a Wiccan, a Druid, and then belonged to a metaphysical church for a while. Every single congregation was like this after I got anything more than superficially involved. I've experienced similar things in secular meetup groups, but never to the toxic, enmeshed dramatic degree that I did in religious fellowship. i would love some fellowship and group spiritual practice, but I just don't have it in me to go through all that again. Gotta say, reading here and at Patheos has been helpful. I was stunned at how similar some of my experiences have been, and it really helps to not be alone and to have some context. Thanks for sharing your experiences and how you've been processing them.