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2/23/05                                                                                       View Comments

The Dirt Under the Rug

sent in by anonymous

I'm 22 years old, and have just recently found the freedom that had long awaited me. I was born into a church of Christ cult, and I accepted everything I was taught until high school. Upon entering high school, I sensed that something just wasn't right about the atmosphere at church. The youth group excluded me because I wasn't breaking the rules. They were basically one big clique. There I was, following the rules, being a good little Christian girl, while the other kids plunged into the world that we were taught to avoid. During my freshman year in high school, I joined a Christian club where I was told that the coC was nothing more than a dead church. At that time, I still believed in the Christian God, but not the coC version of God.

I noticed something quite inconsistent: While at Sunday School, I found that I was the only youth member who was interested in the Bible, who actually read the Bible every day and fed my ears with Christian/inspirational music. I asked questions that no one else dared to ask, like "What about all the starving people in the third world?" The answer I got was, "They are just as culpable as we are." The other youth members treated me like an alien because I actually pursued God! So, in my hunger to fit in, I tried to hang out with the adults, only to discover that they were hypocrites too.

However, on school days, I noticed that the students in the Christian club were excited about God. No one had to tell them to read the Bible or worship; they had hearts for these things. They treated me like I was one of them, and of course, that gave me a sense of belonging. During my junior year, I took the charismatic route, falling down, shaking, etc.

It was during my senior year that I decided to drop the bomb on the youth group at church and tell them that I didn't believe the teachings of the church. They were shocked. They told their parents, who told other members. The members told the deacons and elders, who told the preacher. How do I know that? I saw the looks; I sensed the hesitant attitudes people had when they spoke to me. None of the parents or leaders confronted me. They just gave me the usual fake greetings. All the while, I felt burdened by the arrogance, racism, and hatred that came from these people. Whenever they talked about people they considered "lost", they laughed. Although it was an all-black church, there was reverse racism.

The minister occasionally preached sermons about black pride, about how he wished segregation was back so that black people would be separated to themselves. I couldn't wait to go off to college; that was my first opportunity to leave the church. I entered a college founded by the United Methodist church, and soon made friends with religious studies majors. By the end of my freshman year, I felt completely free from the legalism of the coC. Nevertheless, things changed for the worse during my sophomore year.

The "Christians" at the college whom I had accepted as friends began to pressure me with alcohol and revealing clothing. I resisted, and they tried to distort my image by spreading rumors with snide insinuations, calling me staunch. Aren't Christians supposed to be loyal to their Lord? I lost my friends that year, and transferred to a public university, where I made friends with a nonreligious woman, Pamela.

Although we had different backgrounds, we got along just fine. She didn't pressure me to violate my conscience, nor did any other student. Looking back in hindsight, I believe that professed Christians are really pitiful because they lie to themselves, making up elaborate stories to cope with reality. Not a single nonChristian has ever purposely mistreated me. That's not to say it won't happen in the future, but so far in my life, the only people who have burned me were "Christians". So I don’t know if Christians really exist anymore. I know one thing though. Since I’ve been at the university (almost 3 years), I’ve had peace of mind, healthy relationships, and more mental and emotional freedom than ever.

Became a Christian: 10
Ceased being a Christian: 22
Labels before: Church of Christ
Labels now: none
Why I joined: I thought it was the thing to do.
Why I left: Hypocrisy in the "church"