This post is part of my on-going story that I have been telling through this blog. If you are just coming here for the first time or if you need to catch up, you can catch the earlier parts of the story in Setting the Stage or Act One. See the navigation panel to the right labeled My Story. I hope that my sharing of my story is helpful, encouraging, informative, or at least entertaining for you. Thanks!
I wanted to add some additional thoughts around my last blog post. I realize that this post implies a certain level of sinister intent on the part of my former pastor, his family, and the leadership of my former church. While I do see the structure of the church functioning in a very centralized and exclusionary many, what I do not see in any of the players, including myself, as I was once a part of it, is malicious intent.
Of course, again, I can only speak for myself and my part in all of this, but I never consciously determined a course of action by saying I was going to exclude a certain person or group. My mental framework tending to stem from an intent to protect the pastor’s family and those close to them. In non-denominational church communities like that, the pastor becomes very much the center of the community. Given this, it becomes second nature to protect them from those who present a challenge to them or cause them stress, especially during their down time.
The pastor also has a great deal of unilateral authority in such a church community. Service was encouraged, but it was also used as part of a punishment and rewards system, again, not malicious in intent, but intended to spiritually correct people. A person who behaves in a manner that that pastor does not see as consistent with the Bible might find themselves removed or suspended from the choir, teaching Sunday School, or other ministry duties until such time as they could demonstrate in the pastor’s eyes that they were fit to return to service.
To give you a feel for what the messaging of my previous faith context was like, I’ve pasted below some links to YouTube videos that I assisted one of my pastor’s sons with producing while I was there.
Additionally, this is another video that was produced by a friend of mine who was basically my equivalent on the youth ministry side in terms of coordinating video and media elements of the services for my former church’s teens.
If you have any thoughts, please comment below, reach out to me on Facebook or tweet me at @culbs1138