Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rainy day

It is supposed to be a pretty bad day here for rain today and we already have some wind going on. It will be slow getting to school and I wish I was staying home. Steve is home today because the rain stopped his construction work and that makes me REALLY wish I was home.

Things are going pretty good. I'm a little sore in the boobs right now and that is supposed to be normal. No morning sickness so far and that is really good! Yay!

Macy is doing a lot better. It is hard to explain how she is doing better it is just something you kind of know if you know her.

I have to go real soon but I did want to ask a question. One of my friends mentioned someone thought my church was a cult. Is this something anyone else thinks? I am just curious because I can try to write about it if I need to.

Sorry I have not been on here a lot. There has been so much homework and then at home I have been spending a lot more time with my family than with my computer esp with the baby on the way. The part about the baby on the way is so cool!!!! Yesterday morning I sat in bed before I got up and just went WOW! that I have a whole another person inside me! I can't wait to meet him/her!

I hope you all have a safe and warm day!

19 comments:

  1. The word 'cult' is going to have different meanings to different people. The word typically conjures up images of a small group lead by a nutty but charismatic leader who believes he has 'special' revelation from God. Being a polygamist blog, I might offend a few people if I suggested that such cults can become popular and evolve into fairly respectable religions, so I won't do that. Ahem… anyway… my point is, size and respectability have NOTHING to do with truth. But some people will look at the fact that your church has a radical view of marriage (radical compared to most Christian churches), and that it's a relatively small and isolated group, and label it a cult for those reasons. Very shallow, but that's what cultural ignorance does to people.

    I would ask you… Who is the head of your church? Jesus Christ or Pastor Jeff? If you can laugh at that question, you're probably doing okay. ;)

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  2. Oh BTW, many people would have considered Christianity a cult in the first century! That reminds me of C. S. Lewis's famous quote about Jesus, being Lord, Liar or Lunatic:

    "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg - or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us." - C. S. Lewis

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  3. Today, the word cult is a loaded word. Some people claim Christianity as a whole to be cultish. I grew up in some Southern Baptist churches, and they considered Catholics to be a cult. Some people only think these fanatics who will kill themself for their religious cause to be cultish.

    With that said, at times, I admit what you have revealed about your church concerns me some. However, I do not have enough information to really draw any conclusions. It concerns me that your pastor/church seems to control the lives of its members. The church tells you when you can marry, defines that certain things need to be accomplished financially before you can marry, decides clothing, even decides how long a single woman can stay at a certain family's house before she muct move on to the next family, decides internet usage among other things. Why were you also encouraged to marry so quickly instead of given plenty of time to really think about it? I also find it strange that your church either does not have a name or it just is not given out to people. Why the secret? It also seems that quite of bit of money in enolved. When I search the scriptures, I see no where that God gave the church authority to rule our lives in this manner, so this becomes a concern to me. I do not know if I would call this a cult because I tend not to label churches or religions in this manner nor do I have enough information. However, I will say, it does bring me concern, so I worry for you.

    I pray I have not upset you or offended you because I cherish you as a dear friend.

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  4. I agree with the comments of Steadfast, word for word. So I will skip repeating her entry, and alter only the closing sentence to suit my own standpoint, and that is "...because I have been reading your blog long enough to respect you as a very level headed person."

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  5. I kinda agree with Steady in the sense that I worry about your church. But I do not at all think it is a cult in any way at all.

    I do worry about you and how the church seems to be controling, but I do respect that you know what is best for you and if it wasn't working for you, I'm positive you'd leave.

    Ulitmately, I'd say when it comes to your church or any church for that matter, don't just shut up and follow along if you feel it is wrong. Speak up, ask questions, and be informed about it and what it covers.

    Question: Macy seems to be staying with your family for a long time now, is the church gonna make her leave or marry Steve? I do know you said she isn't with your family for marriage and that there will not be a 4th wife, but you also said that single woman can't stay for long without marriage or leaveing.

    Heather

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  6. Rainy days make me want to stay in bed with a good book, so I understand where you are coming from, especially when everyone else including Steve, gets to stay home.

    As far as your question about your church being a cult, I had concerns at first when you started this blog, but you seem happy and make it sound like you have a lot of control over your decisions and are the one making the choices about the ideas and thoughts presented to you. My feelings are that as long as you know you are in control of the choices about your life and the church does not take those choices away from you then it does not matter what others think. When freedom of independent thought and choice is discouraged or taken away and a person feels they cannot walk away without severe consequences if they don't agree with the teachings, that is when I become concerned about a church being a cult.

    I do have some questions for you though if you decide to explain more about the structure of your church. It sounds like there is a communal living arrangement among the church members. How does that work specifically. Is property and money held by the church or by the individual church members? What happens to their property if someone leaves the church or disagrees with some of its teachings? Are you free to question and have discussions about the doctrine of the church? Are you segregated or forbidden to associate with non-church members? What happens to the children or family members of the church members who decide this church is not for them? How are they treated by family and friends that are still in the church?

    I really liked the question Donald asked in his first comment and I especially liked the CS Lewis quote in Donald's 2nd comment. The most important criteria about a church is does it help (not force) its members grow closer to God? If not, what is the point?

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  7. Those are some great questions CM. They've been on my mind too, but I didn't dare ask them.

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  8. Megan, I don't think of your group as a cult...because if y'all are a cult then what I'm apart of must be one too lol.

    So long as people are seeking The Living God (and no one's getting hurt!) I tend to leave the cult thing alone...

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  9. Megan,
    I agree with Stead, but then again on the other hand, I understand a large group of people, who have a community/social tie that goes back a few generations wanting to stick together, AND since you have some practices (like polygamy) that are considered weird, immoral and down-right illegal by many, I can totally understand some rules about internet, who you visit with, and how much the outside world knows about what all of you do.
    As for rules about what you need to accomplish before you get married, I wish EVERY church would do that!
    The only things in my mind that would make it cult-y were if there is one single (human) leader of the church with a very big ego (or saying he has special revelations from God) OR if you are NOT allowed out in town by yourself, and YOU feel that you could not "get away" or call the police if you needed to.
    If you feel trapped, or there is anything weird going on (for instance child molestation) then that's a warning sign.
    I say this because there was a cult for several years that lived about 20 miles from here-the Nuwabians. (Pretty crazy stuff!)
    But you all sound pretty normal to me.

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  10. Una,
    Yep, that's a cult. Since "cult" is so hard to define, maybe we should just establish a unit of measure, "the nuwaubian" as being equal to one. So the strength or weakness of a cult would be defined by a certain number X nuwaubian. (Moonies would be, maybe, 1/3rd a nuwaubian?)

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  11. I do agree with Steady as well. Personally I view most if not all organized religions as cultish, but that is my own personal viewpoint.

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  12. The question of 'control' has been mentioned a number of times, which I agree is at the heart of this issue. But I think we need to distinguish between the motives behind any teaching. There is nothing wrong with someone teaching people to live a certain way, if the motivation is genuine — that is they really believe such teaching will benefit people. If it's about leaders controlling people for personal gain (power, honour, wealth, sex, etc), that's a different thing altogether. That is what Jesus saw the religious leaders of his day doing (seeking personal power and honour) and it made him angry.

    How can you tell the difference? How do you know if leadership is motivated by the love of people or the love of power?

    CM asked some very good questions. She said, 'Are you free to question and have discussions about the doctrine of the church? … What happens to the children or family members of the church members who decide this church is not for them? How are they treated by family and friends that are still in the church?'

    If a leader is all about protecting his own little empire, you won't expect to find much humility or accountability there. Such a person lives in fear of losing their power. Fear is what they know, and fear is what they try to manipulate in others. As CM said, independent thought is discouraged, because it is seen as a threat, and all sorts of negative consequences await those who step out of line.

    I think it's worth looking back at the first century Christian church here. From my reading, I believe the early church did not have quite the same division between leaders and laity as most churches today. (In that sense I think Swinn may be onto something when she said talked about 'organized religions' being 'cultish'.) Yes, there were recognized leaders, such as the apostle Paul, but they didn't seek to be a one man show. All Christians were supposed to be functioning members of the church, using whatever their gifts were — be it teaching, hospitality, prophecy, whatever.

    Now whether you love or hate Paul's teaching, it's clear that he was not in it for the power. He did not see himself as deserving special treatment or privileges because of his position. Just look at his life… When he became a Christian, he left a life of respect and honour and chose a life where he suffered a great deal — he was flogged, he was stoned to within an inch of his life, he spent many years in prison, and when he ministered to the churches he preferred to work than to be a financial burden on anyone. And whenever people tried to idolize him, he said no. Look at what he wrote to the church in Corinth:

    One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow [Peter]"; still another, "I follow Christ."
    Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?' …
    'When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.'

    That is the kind of humility you ought to see in your church leaders. But sadly, power games creep into many churches when people lose sight of this attitude of serving others. I'll finish with some of Jesus' own words to his disciples:

    'Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.' (Luke 22:24-26)

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  13. Oh one thing more… Una and I both mentioned 'special revelation from God' and I realise that is probably worth clarifying. I have nothing against genuine prophecy. There are honest to goodness prophets of God walking around today. I can say this with 100% certainty, because I've seen it. But anyone who claims to be a prophet must be able to demonstrate it. Their teaching should be tested against scripture, and any prophecies about the future must come true. They too should not 'lord it over' anyone. A genuine prophet is God's humble messenger.

    What I pictured when I said 'a nutty but charismatic leader who believes he has "special" revelation from God', is a cult leader who claims to have some kind of new and exclusive teaching — something that God only revealed to him and no one else. See, as soon as someone says that kind of thing, they are setting themselves up as someone special — someone whose words are not to be questioned, even if they seem a bit odd. Dangerous stuff.

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  14. I have to agree with Steady and the others here.

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  15. I've been thinking. When I was your age, I followed everything that was taught to me by our church. The pastor told me I needed to stay with my husband even though he abused me brutally. He felt my submission to him would eventually bring him to Christ. He only got worse. Eventually, he left me. I look back now, and I feel that I should not have listened to the pastor: he put my life at stake. I praise God that He protected my life. I now question everything that is told to me about scripture from the lips of others. I always research it myself. I allow the Holy Spirit to teach me. I always talk things over with my husband because I respect him; however, I must always see it myself in God's Word.

    Are you allowed to question the church's doctrine or beliefs? Are you allowed to disagree? Do you have to follow the rules that the pastor and the church set for you, or are they just merely suggestions that they believe would be best but you can still make your own decision?

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  16. In our group (since we're all talking about it or whatnot) we are taught to question everything.
    "We do not hold to any doctrines of men, and we are not affiliated with any religious denomination or organization."
    What we are taught to go by as a moral compass is the Word of God. If it goes against the Word of God then you probably won't find us promoting it. If you find us doing it then know that we know that whatever it is is against the Word of God. Let God Himself deal with us on the matter individually...
    1 Thessalonians 5 - TEST EVERYTHING. And we do. You have to show it to us. Most times we (the people in our "group") come to an agreement on an understanding or a translation; sometiems we do not agree.
    People may consider us a cult because we are not mainstream, we are not under the label of Christianity, we don't celebrate the holidays that the majority celebrates. But the fact is, I am FINE, my family is fine, everyone around us is fine, (we are firmly AGAINST suicide in any arena so) there will be no drinking of cyanide-laced kool aid from us.

    We are WORKING on not looking at our morehs (teachers/rabbis) as having an understanding about all subjects; the truth is they are just men and can be as wrong as any of us in regards to relationship or financial counselling. They should stick to scripture; the things of this world we should each account for in our own dealings (unless we need an OPINION)...

    But it irks me when people suggest that we are a cult just because we are not a part of the mainstream Christianity... which is why I'm saying something on the subject because I've been questioned about it before...

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  17. Great comment dreamgyrl360. When you say 'mainstream Christianity' I assume you're talking about the big denominational organizations. Why is it people put so much faith in these institutions? If the hallmark of a 'cult' is a controlling person who is above questioning, which is more cult-like — a little community like dreamgyrl's, or the Catholic church with it's Pope?

    Please understand, I'm not attacking anyone who goes to a Catholic church. I'm just posing a question. I think that's more than fair, since everyone is equally free to ask these questions of church communities like Megan's and dreamgyrl's.

    I liked SteadFastLove's last comment too. That's a really good warning against following the advice of church leaders without question.

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  18. Thank you, Donald!
    Steadfast's comment was good; because these "leaders" will tell you who you can and cannot marry, who you can and cannot get involved with, what you can and cannot buy, while having no intentions on following the same rules for themselves.
    If I can't tell you how to live your life, then please do not tell me how to live mine.
    My sister's fiance's (!) pastor is telling him not to marry my sister so quickly. So they are walking around unhappy...meanwhile the pastor goes home to his wife every night...

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  19. Dream, it makes no sense that he would make them wait to marry. Would he rather them burn with passion?

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