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Apr 29, 2009

Oh My! Church

Hi All,

Well now I am back: I would like to announce I visited Brisbane....for week to see my baby brother! I would have told everyone, but I wanted to keep it reasonably quiet....my time out space... :)

I also did something else extremely shocking: I went to church! Oh My! A conservative church at that....so much for never going to church again! lol...I went back to our old conservative church that my family attended when I was younger... Grace Bible Church . Lets just say it was a very interesting experience.....

First off, Michael came with me...now as an avowed atheist, that was a whole bunch of hilarity on its own. Particularly as when he met the minister he acted very interested in the whole re-conversion thing....poor Dave (an assistant pastor/deacon, that remembered us from when we had originally attended)! He got quite most excited....invited him to attend course entitled "Introducing God"....I didn't point out the irony of the fact that Michael didn't really need to be introduced to 'God': he had, after all, attended church from pretty much birth till mid teens: and he had attended Dave's church as a child.

But to be honest, I didn't go to have a joke on anyone...It served a far more important purpose: to stress how dangerous my father was: and that he had been using their messages to him as a basis to attack my/our mother over her decision to divorce him. And that by doing so, they were giving him a way to cling to our mother....and just how unfair it was: and how dangerous a situation it created. I can only hope I made my point.

Now to his own attempts to 'reconvert' me: his pitch to Michael was that God has all the answers, and he attempted to use the same to me. I countered that, with the fact I didn't need to know all the answers, and that why do I need to know them? I have a happy fulfilled life without them: and that he must remember I had all the answers for 17 years of my life...lol... He countered that with that I couldn't remain happy forever ('without the answers') and that the Bible was the clue into the moral code. Hmmm...he almost made the point that you couldn't be happy and good without the miracle book, the bible. Well, I see morality as a choice, as perspective...that to be moral on the most basic level, means not hurting/harming anyone...that you don't need any particular religious belief system to be moral...you can be moral in your own right (see here and here for some more arguments on morality/Christianity). He disagreed and then attempted to use my own life experiences against me: enough said...grasping at straws: in a very big way...And come on! It wasn't like I hadn't legitimately tried being a Christian! lol... He gave me up as a lost cause, I think when he found out how unsubmissive I am in my relationship with my husband....no last name change :-O : living together before we were married :-O....lol.... yep I had definitely turned to the dark side... his attitude was that I had given up on God and now God had given up on me (interestingly enough something mentioned in his aforegiven sermon)...lol....Even though he had expressed hope that I would beg God's forgiveness and return one day....and overlook my "past experiences" (with the church etc) as he put it...Highly unlikely....

The whole thing was interesting to say the least: and made me ever so thankful that I am no longer part of that lifestyle. Imagine virutally telling someone that they are a bad person because they don't follow your belief system/lifestyle choices! I guess I find the whole thing very very repulsive to me now....I am glad to be free....to no longer be looking for answers to questions that don't really matter (to me, anyway). I am happy to live with the unknown...I am content with my spiritual life...Isn't that what the ultimate goal is, anyway?



Finbarpurpleton said...

Hi Jo,

As you know I do believe in God, but I don't believe in organised religion. I don't believe God gives up on people just because they don't go to a particular church or follow their believe systems. Like you said I think God would pay more attention to following basic moral codes, which ironically I think derives from religion abit and social norms, but I digress being moral doesn't have to come from the Bible per say, it can come from the individual what they believe in their heart and how they see the world.

My mom keeps pressuring me to attend church with her and it always irritates me. She keeps asking me if I believe in God, but because I don't go to church apparently in her eyes I don't. She really lays on the religious guilt, saying how "when it comes to the end of times I want you to be in heaven with me and if you had to chose between the devil or God I'd hope you chose God, but I don't know if you will because you don't go to church" and so on and so forth. What part of I have my own seperate beliefs that I am comfortable with does she not understand?

Anyways, what I am trying to say is I think you raise a good point and as long as your happy with your spirtual life it shouldn't matter to anyone else.

Lidia said...

Hey Jo :-) HOpe you had a good time in Brisbane, at least it may have given you time away from everything! An interesting thing about attending your church... and I agree with you on basically everything you said. Although I don't think all churches are like this - if you went to the church my dad goes to, they are not as pushy as that.

I agree with what Melissa said about organised religion. I believe in spirituality and i respect all religions. I don't believe in one over the other, i don't know how i ever could. Anyway, hope you are well!


Sharon said...

Joanie, I am so disgusted by Dave's hypocrisy. As an ex-GBCer on an amazing journey, I empathise completely. We've experienced it first hand. I'm amazed when I look back at how much we were willing to put up with because we were so forgiving and 'nice'. Those elders!! I was so deceived!

I'm dead impressed you attended at all. I haven't darkened the doorstep for many a long year. I'm over legalism and control. Not over Jesus :-) but I get where you are coming from.


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