I have been a part of two churches in my life: One was a toxic church which drove to seek fundamentalism in my teens as my parents insisted in being of part of it. The other was a perfectly decent and kind church that was pleasant for me, but this experience drove me away from church due to my family’s drama. At the former, my parent’s excuse was that they felt like they were “missionaries” to that church.
I am starting to realize more and more that my parents’ determination to be the “true Christians” in their churches is a way for them to bond in an otherwise dysfunctional relationship. Of course, the fact that they were/kind of are still participating in such a strange mission is quite a dysfunctional act itself. Although it was hurtful at the time, it’s been fascinating in retrospect how they would twist bad behavior of my dad sometimes into attacks of satan through people in the church. While it was annoying my mom stayed with my father, I am grateful she would call him out on most of his shit. But sometimes, things went very awry...
As silly as this sounds, I have a hard time sharing this story with my husband because he already has such strong opinions about my parents, but I remember my ex at the time was a lot more sympathetic to my family and he was astounded at this situation: My dad apparently was checking out a woman at church (no surprise). This took place at the good church, the one I went to as an adult with family. So my mother thought the only logical explanation for this particular situation was that...
the woman is a witch.
I know. The most embarrassing part? I believed it for a minute. Now, this turned into what is an almost 4 year long battle. I quickly realized what bullshit it was after the first couple of months, but I have since been neutral in appearance and intensely skeptical on the inside. I once even went to my church’s parking lot in the middle of the night one night to “anoint” a place the woman would usually stand with frankincense and a prayer so she would leave the church. Oddly enough she didn’t come to church for several months. Anyway, it’s all completely ludicrous and I am ashamed of my brief participation of what is basically an out-of-control coping mechanism for my mom. But things kept getting worse: my mom believing this gal put curses on people in the church, how she would not walk past the woman so she herself would not get cursed.
One time, service was over and I was in the front of the sanctuary talking with the only other person my age in the entire congregation. My family have always been backseat people, and they were gathering their things there and talking with various folk as everyone filtered out. I noticed my parents come and sit towards the front, a little ways from where this girl and I were standing. They both looked annoyed, so I ended my conversation to see if they needed to talk with me (my brother and I drove separately from them most of the time so there was no need to leave together). No, the “witch” was standing by the exit speaking with the pastor, and they did not want to walk past her. I KNOW.
Now, I do not care for this woman in the first place. She does come off as ingenuine and there is something that rubs me the wrong way, but I do not possibly think she is witch. What I disbelieve even more than that is the power she could have on folks in the church if she was. I quit attending regularly after an incident that deserves it’s own blog post took place, but I have gone periodically since. One time during one of these visits I was in
line for food talking with a family friend and the gal was standing near me, so my mom comes up behind me and puts her hands on me and says “I’m protecting you”.
No, you’re not mom. You’re protecting your false sense of security by demonizing this woman. And you wonder why I won’t go to church with you.