Lightbulb Moments: Small Glimpses, Part 2
CC image courtesy of Flickr, Ryan Hyde.
Some of us, when thinking about our “lightbulb moments”, didn’t have long stories to tell. Maybe there wasn’t an exact moment we could pin-point. Maybe it was one, very simple event. Maybe it was a decade of dominoes, falling one by one, each knocking over another piece of our former belief systems. We compiled some of these comments here, no less important stories merely due to brevity. Small glimpses into the journeys of the people who told them.
Continued from Part 1
I was struggling with depression and looking for answers, so [a friend] took me out to lunch. He was the first person who understood when I told him my background. He was able, in a very gentle, kind-hearted way, to cut right to what my doubts were. “The problem with ATI and the Basic Seminar, Levi, is that in that system you would never have to have an intelligent thought for yourself. You just ask the next authority what to do and never do any thinking for yourself.” That statement was the beginning of the end for me.
I asked one PCA pastor some questions about communion and Sunday services not being in the Bible. He said, “Oh, we made it up.” And I could accept that because there is something calming and safe about an organized time to grieve, which is what services were for me. Then I asked other pastors later and they bullshitted about how I just didn’t understand and their way was in the bible.
If it’s honest, self-awareness that church is made up of, then I can participate and get something out of it. If the leaders are bullshitting themselves that their way is prescribed in an ancient, divine book, then I can’t participate.
When Debi Pearl spoke of their daughter, Rebekah, it was with much adoration — she is a musician, composer, author, missionary, etc. Debi attributed Rebekah’s passion and drive to the fact that R. had never been sexually molested. She then followed up by stating that no one who has been sexually molested can live up to their spiritual potential.
After I was raped, I realized with great clarity that this was an enormous lie. A lie so large I couldn’t even see the end of it. Then I realized that the entire premise of their teachings was a lie. Finally, I came to the conclusion that my entire belief system was based on lie after misconception after hypocrisy after more lies… and I needed to throw it all away.
But in many ways it was my bully father himself that made me question things. There were certain people I either liked, thought were nice or intelligent, or at the very least good people, and then I would hear him tear them apart, either behind their backs to whatever family member or audience he was addressing, or to their face in quite a few instances.
His unchecked rage and hatred of seemingly paltry details and character traits or actions made me double-check my unquestioning obedience.
I am writing this from the mind/viewpoint of who I was then, not necessarily who I am now.
I was a senior in high school sitting in my first “Worldview Academy” with Bill Jack. He was doing one of his infamous “Q&A with a Non-Christian” sessions, and this one was him pretending to be a “gay guy”. As soon as he started talking the entire front row of teenage boys jumped back and moved their chairs, to get away from him. Everyone was laughing at Mr. Jack’s over the top interpretation and “effeminate” behavior. When he finished I expected him to scold the boys for reacting that way, but instead he applauded them and told them that was the right response. I felt sick to my stomach. Sure, it was a “sin” to be gay, but that didn’t mean we had to treat gay people as gross or vile or make fun of them. Did we?
I remember this was one of the first times I started to think that maybe we had it wrong. Maybe Jesus didn’t act like a conservative Christian.
There were definitely many moments over the next 13 years of my life up until now, but that was one of the first times I looked at an adult who I was supposed to respect and take his word as “truth”, and I just knew in my gut he was WRONG.
It was my parents. They were hypocritical and abusive. They had impossible standards for me to meet and didn’t even meet the lowest of bars for themselves. My dad sexually molested me as a pre-teen and into my teen years, but that was no big deal according to my Mom, because “God Forgives!”. Yet I held hands with the man I was in love with as a 20 year old, “Shock and horror!!”
My dad would watch porn, and he would make lewd comments about actresses bodies while we were watching movies, but I wasn’t allowed to “give my heart away” because that was emotional impurity!
As a teen I jumped through all their hoops and followed all their rules, and they still didn’t trust me, didn’t respect me, didn’t believe me. My word was mud and yet I had never given them a reason not to trust me. I was living under a microscope. My father told me he could see my Heart (funny, I remember reading in the Bible that only God sees the heart?)
When I met my husband and fell in love with him, they were so angry because I didn’t submit to their will to marry the son of their long-time friend. They tried to control everything, including my heart. They thought they could tell me when to give my heart away, and to whom.
I remember watching The Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship of the Ring and Arwen says (about her necklace) “It is mine to give to whom I will. Like my heart” and I suddenly woke up from the courtship crap I had been fed for years. A movie taught me that my own heart belonged to me!
While I was growing up, each of my older siblings in turn would have strained relationships with our parents because of “rebellion”. My parents would badmouth the “rebellious” sibling and I resolved to never be like that, never be rebellious. Then I grew up and it was my turn to be the Black Sheep and I realized “rebellion” was code for “Becoming their own person”.
I was in my 20’s when my mother turned my entire family against me, because I was in love with a man my parents didn’t approve of. I wanted to make my own decisions in life and I was an outcast for it.
After my wedding, I got pregnant and my child was born, and I fell in love. How much I loved my child made me realize how little my parents cared about me. They didn’t ever care about me, not really. They liked me when they could parade me in front of their friends at church, how respectful and useful I was, how devoted I was to my faith. I was their trophy daughter, the one that followed all the rules. They liked me when they could control me. But once I found my mind, and my spine, I was less than nothing. So if Christians, who are supposed to be the Salt & Light, can’t even treat their own children with any respect and anything resembling real love, why should I look to them as being morally superior? Everything I experienced in my childhood and teen years has shown me that they are not. I would be willing to believe that my parents were an isolated case, if I didn’t know for a fact that they told many others in our churches about my father’s abuse, and nobody lifted a finger to help. They had lots of grace for the molester but not so much as a second glance for the victim. And Jesus wept.