Wednesday, October 30, 2013

When We Were on Fire, pt. 2

I don't want to make Campus Crusade for Christ all bad.  It did help me in some ways. I had a great group of friends.  We ate together, lived on campus, and met together a lot.  Some were even my roommates.  My first year of college I was not in Campus Crusade for Christ, and had a horrible roommate.  Not only that, there were female bullies on my floor, which was a new experience for me.  I thought bullies only came in the male persuasion.  I was sadly mistaken.

Also, Crusade helped me leave a particularly legalistic church that I had been going to.  One that I went to in my middle school years, and then came back to after I quit drinking and decided to live a Christian life, whatever that meant.  This church had no name, could not be called a name, and definitely no denomination.  There was no pastor, but three or four men would stand up during "remembrance" meetings and either read from their trusty King James Version (KJV) Bible, pray in KJV, or suggest we sing a song from either of two hymnals, which sounded more like funeral dirges.  Women were not allowed to speak.  Women were not allowed to be leaders.  They could only teach Sunday school to little kids. I was not allowed to partake of the bread and wine.  I don't know why, a coherent explanation was not forthcoming.  We learned that this was the only RIGHT church, and if we left, we were headed straight for hell.

When I was in college the local branch of this church had only four members, including me.  It was even more boring than the one I went to growing up.  My Crusade friends were going to a local Evangelical Free church and they loved it.  I thought they seemed pretty spiritual, they must know what they are doing.  So I started to go with them.  At first I was in a panic state, worrying that I was doomed.  The songs, the preaching, it was so different.  But I stuck with it and after a while, I felt like I was going in the right direction. 

How sad that this "church" and others like it still exists.  My parents feared I was being brain-washed.  In a way I was.  As an adult I realized it was more like a cult, and I had experienced spiritual abuse. I really don't know the intentions of the people there.  I think most of the members just want to do the right thing.  The church may preach about grace but it certainly didn't seem to live it.

As with Crusade, this church wasn't all bad.  I had friends and families who loved and accepted me.  I felt a part of something bigger than me, which was nice for this lonely, introverted girl.  But I learned that I can have both.  People who love me and a church that doesn't abuse me. 

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