It was a Wednesday night like any other. Most people were rushing home to feed their kids or running to the gym. Some people might stop to have dinner and drinks with friends, or stop and pick up dry cleaning before heading home for the night. Not me, and not the group gathered together that night or every other Wednesday night, because Wednesday night was Church night. It was probably more important than Sundays even, because it was the night that the body was fed with spiritual nourishment. It's where we dug deeper in the scriptures to learn how they were meant to shape our lives - how we could grow as followers of Christ.
The pastor said that the elders wanted to address the body. There was a serious issue that had to be presented to the body. There was a wolf among us in sheep's clothing. They even named the wolf. Her name was Amy. She was my friend. I knew Amy well. She was one of the first people that I met when I came to the Church. We were in separate parts of the Church then though and didn't get to see each other much. We were told that Amy had sinned on several occasions and had been forgiven because she had promised to change. But, darn it, she had done it again and she just wasn't repenting to the satisfaction of the elders. Her repeated lapses with this particular sin had proven she wasn't repentant. The only thing that would save Amy now was if she was turned out into the world to wallow in her vomit. We were told that she was marked, that meant we as members of the body were to not talk to her, to not help her in any way. If we did, if we went against the directives of the leadership, we would be considered in sin. We could risk being marked ourselves. I began crying. Tears were streaming down my face as I listened to the scriptural basis for their judgment. My heart was breaking for what I felt in the deepest part of me was not right, was not loving, was not true. But, I left that night and never talked to Amy again. It was biblical after all. They had laid it out before me with scriptures after all as to what I was to do, what I had to do if I was to be right with God. Amy was not right with God. She was a homosexual.
This wasn't the only time I had disagreed with the leadership or the tenants of the Church. I had questions. I even raised them from time to time. However, I learned early on to keep my mouth shut because my questions were always met with scorn. I, or anyone else who spoke out about something was labeled as divisive. We were shown scriptures of how in the body of Christ we were called to be united. Questioning meant you were not united, you were being divisive to God's word.
Eventually, I left that Church. To do so was the most difficult decision I have ever made in my life. I had to be careful what I told people when I left for fear that I would be marked as divisive and lose the relationships I had spent years building. I didn't want my questions to create enough doubt in others that they would question their involvement and leave. After leaving, I studied about cults, about brainwashing, and about mind-control. The deeper I went into my studies I realized that I had been part of a cult. There are many things that go into making a cult. The symptoms are insidious. Cults aren't limited to religion. They can develop in any group where information is controlled, where outside input is blocked.
We have been called to unite as a country. Does that mean those who aren't in agreement, the losers of this election, must shut up? That they must stop questioning the direction our country is moving, the decisions the administration are making in our name. I say: Hell No! Now is when our voices must get louder. We must demand to be heard.
When someone is called to unity it doesn't mean they must shut up, it doesn't mean they must concede their beliefs. It doesn't mean that the victor is right. The victor needs to work as much for unity too. Unity means finding a compromise in order to work together. It doesn't mean blind agreement.
I express my feelings here sometimes. It's my journal, my forum. So far, I still have that right in the United States. I will fight for that right. I will fight to be heard. But, in the name of peace, love, and yes, unity, I will also listen and hopefully learn.
"Whoever kindles the flames of intolerance is lighting a fire underneath his own home." ~Harrold Stassen (b.1907) U.S. politician