“And here’s a cool church with a diverse, mixed group of parishioners, young and old, black and white, where “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
“Great! I like what I see and I want to learn more about this!
Wellllll…after being love bombed for a couple weeks (check that phrase out online) they finally integrated me into a sharing group or something. This sharing group was a circle of adults, young and old, including some pensioners and people living off nickles and dimes.
“But the purpose of the group wasn’t bible study or growing closer to the Word or whatever. It was to hold each other ‘accountable’ for this really atrocious, userous amount of money each congregant pledged to raise for the church at the first of each month, and was supposed to have in hand by the end of the month.
“This is the first I’d heard of it. There’s a reason why they waited weeks.
“We’re not talking about a tithe here. We’re talking about STUPID amounts of money.
“Several hundred for people living hand to mouth. Even more for people doing slightly better. More than health insurance. More than food.
“One little old lady of color was sitting in her chair crying because she’d just held her 4th or 5th yard sale and didn’t know how she was going to come up with the money, but she was just going to have to have faith the Lord Jesus would come through. Upset, fearful, distraught, and struggling as if this was for a kidney transplant or for a sick grandchild.
Oh. I got mad. I got sooooo angry. Because not only did no one defend her, or say something like “let’s take this to the deacon” (as in the church won’t hold you to that this month), but they asked her what she was going to do next, what she was going to do better, how she was going to try harder. People in no better circumstances than she was. Abusing her, and each other. In this insane mutually abusive financial accountability group. They say the most effective form of control is when you can convince the victims to exert control on each other, and I saw it that day.
“I noped right the fuck out of that shit. Double time fast. I never went back to services again or set foot near the place.
“Lo and behold, all the prayer group people I’d been meeting for bible studies (not the same as that sharing group), started calling me, harassing me, trying to call me out, telling me the debbil had a hold of me, telling me I needed to submit to authority, and other even craaaazier cray cray shit.
“I noped the fuck right out of having anything to do with them as well. Block. Block. Delete. Ignore. The last thing one of them told me was that I was going to hell and that she felt really badly but couldn’t associate with me. And I could tell she believed it when she was saying it.
“Head trippy. Head fucking trippy.
“Culty ass scammy fucking so-called ‘church.’ Well, I lived and I learned. And I got a small taste of how people get drawn into that, what happens to them once they’re there, and what happens when they try to escape. I got a bit of life education that has proven invaluable. So I don’t regret it. But it still makes me angry when I think about that lady.”