Friday, October 17, 2008

Flashback...Church 13 years ago

You know this process got me to thinking during these last couple of weeks and I had never thought about it before.

For 8 years I went through the same thing I am going through now, only one, I was younger, and two, it was much worse. At the age of 10, my mom married a pastor who became my stepdad and he had just started a church.

The church I just left, wasn't controlling or abusive, but still the teachings, emphasis on feelings, and small aspects of church structure were damaging. But my former stepdad's church was very controlling.

There were very few charismatic aspects to it but my stepdad had a very controlling personality and basically wanted to control everybody. This caused people to leave the church over the 8 years I was there until ultimately when I left for college in 2003, the church had moved from the building that my stepdad bought, into his house with him and 3 other people.

I couldn't tell you how happy I was to leave for college. I could tell even back then that there was something wrong in the church because of his controlling personality. Being the pastor's kid, I was at every single church event and I even had to do the sound for the church.

Church eventually became a chore and if you knew me back then, you would not be able to tell as I was a christian. I was cussing like crazy and could care less about church. Oh I believed in God and thought I was a good person and being a "good christian", but was far from understanding what true christianity was all about. This was in itself a testament to the condition of that church.

I know even my mom had discernment about some things because a "prophet" came to the church and he was going around trying to heal everybody and make legs grow longer, etc. And my mother told him beforehand that she didn't feel right about inviting him to the church.

People who left were told that they were going to come under the judgement of God or whatever and in the end he still could not see that it was him that was damaging his own church that he started. Eventually it started taking its toll on our household as well and the year I left for college, they separated and ultimately recently divorced.

After that fiasco I didn't go to church until my fourth year in college which is when I started attending said church in this blog. But the year before that I had went through a bout of depression as a lot of my friends transferred colleges and again that feeling of loneliness was a lot to bear. But in that, I feel this is when GOD started reaching out to me. Sure I started to read my bible more as the depression I felt drove me to desperation and the only one I could turn to was God. But I'm 100% confident God was moving upon me Himself even for me to start seeking after Him.

As I look back on it, I can see first off why I wasn't as "excited" as everyone at times (at my most recent church). I mean just by the title of this blog implies the type of personality that I have. But the point I'm making is that I had been through a lot of the experiences before. The speaking in tongues out of order, the apostles (my dad called himself one and everybody in his church called him that), slain in the spirit, etc.

A lot of my friends at my former church come out of traditional baptist or catholic backgrounds where the church seems dead and it's very religious. For them to come out of that environment into the church they are at now is a whole new experience and with the excitement, activities, and "spiritual stuff", of course people are going to flock to it. It's new and the church seems alive and not caught up in denominational tradition yet I think that non-denominational churches are just another denomination just without a name.

And even my former pastor acknowledge that the reasons listed above can be harmful at times and he plans to educate people about some of the things that go on. My problem is not the education of the things but the notion that you will educate people on the things, only to continue to allow them to go on.

But looking back, I feel that God has always had His had upon my life and the situation with the church in my youth, I think was preparation for these recent four months.

Imagine if I had come into the stuff all new like most people, and not knowing why I may have had checks in my spirit about certain things or not know. And it's funny how you can see how God works His purposes out in your life. I keep bringing up the fact that my church in college wasn't controlling or abusive because if it was, I would've been out of there swiftly. And I look at it now and I believe God knew that that church would be a good covering for me for my last two years. Just enough so that I wouldn't get any further into any foolishness because I believe I was really headed that way. He knew if I saw any signs of what went on at the church in my youth, I wouldn't have stayed.

He put me there to get me started on the right track towards Him, and at coincidentally all this stuff came out right after I graduated and has ultimately led me to truth and simple faith in His Son and knowing why I have faith.

Interesting huh?

God bless


getting there said...

Wow that is quite a life story, having a step dad who is a pastor..

I always think of Jer29:11 (i think) where God knows the plans he has for you. He knows where you are going and his hand is upon you. Even when we dont actually see it. Like the footprints on the beach sand.. its times like this that God carries us.

Every experience is like life's college or university.. constantly learning and growing to the next grade! I think I was in that toxic church for a reason.. it made me see things more clearly now. If i had not experienced this, I might still be the happy clappy that based her 'religion' on experience..

There is so much I still need to learn but through it, God's hand is on my life and Yours!!!
It's so cool that God is There!

G.W. said...

Our family left a controlling church over a year ago so I feel like I can relate to your post. We started blogging about it recently.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.