I live in a small enough town, where I keep running into people from the IFB where I attended for year. Even 18 months later, they are coming up to me. They walk up to me almost glad to see the woeful sinner who is "skipping church" imaging some great tales of falling away or perhaps total apostasy. It makes me nervous. I am one of those shy type people that doesn't like being interrupted in public. More have talked to me coming up to greet me in public as a would be out of control sinner then I was able to talk to at the church.
Most of the time when these people approached me, I just nodded and smiled and made boring small talk and made my escape but on the fourth go around, I thought, maybe I should tell one why I left. So I did. These may not be my exact words but I will basically paraphrase.
"I am done with church. Sure I may go to some community secular events or need a soup kitchen or do a non-pastor led bible study to meet Christians, but I am no longer attending church or any services.
I walked out hearing the Middle Eastern wars praised. You know the ones Bush started that have bankrupted America? They didn't get the memo yet he lied. I got sick of hearing more wars cheered for from the pulpit, whatever happened to pray for peace? I felt like the god of war, Mars was the true god there"
At this point she questioned the pro-war speech, and my husband walked up after getting something from the grocery store deli counter, and backed me up saying, "I heard that man too speak of how wonderful war was, and talk about killing and 'fighting for freedom', so she stopped arguing with me on that point.
"I am tired of Republican bots and brain dead Fox news brainwashing and no this doesn't mean the left is great either. I am tired of pastors who are incapable of independent thought, and who follow the status quo. Also praising war and putting down poor people and defending the oppression of the system is not of God.
She quibbled a bit on my comment about poor people, but my husband backed up my claim there, reminding her of how the pastor railed against the poor, and how those who don't work, should not eat, yes that is in the Bible but so are dozens of verses against the oppression of the poor. At that point I got a little irate, and said, "Look we are both college educated, look what happened to us, we are going to soup kitchens at times, and you think we want to sit there and listen to that guy rail against the poor?" We spoke of our uncomfortable time there being poor and how we were shamed and blamed. I mentioned to her how my husband had a career in which the field had been vaporized.
I also discussed more mundane issues, regarding the fact the church had no personal time among members. "I went there a year and everything was so centered on the pastor, I only got to know one nice lady who talked to me a few minutes after services". This was the most impersonal church I ever have gone to. She kind of surprised me here, saying something like people are too busy and I told her, "Well I think church is supposed to be more then just listening to a speaker at a lecture hall and then going home." and told her how my other IFB was far more personal.
She conceded my point that the bible studies being pastor led were boring, and involved no real discussion with him at the forefront. Here I was able to tell her I questioned the system of everything revolving around one man [the errors of the Nicolaitans] while conceding at least the church had a few elders in it. I questioned why was there so little personal relationships among the church body. She agreed with this part. She agreed the church had no activities outside of the sermons, and the pastor led bible study on Wednesday night.
What gets me, is before I started attending this church for that year, is I did meet with the pastor. I told him, "I don't agree with Dominionism" and defined what I meant. I told him, I want you to consider what some people warn of online about the "new world order", yes a lot of conspiracies are lies, but the Republican party is doing much against God. He nodded and smiled at me and seemed open to my opinions, and I thought, "Well maybe this guy will have a few independent thoughts".
I surely didn't expect the man to rail against the Bilderberg Group from the pulpit but the mainstream Republicanism got to me. It rankled. Sometimes I got the feeling this guy was kidding us all. It's like he hadn't ever seen an alternative view in his life and lived in a cave circa 1985. He praised a future war with Iran, ranted against Islam [yes it is a false religion but these were more political rants then religious discussions], praised war with all the Middle Eastern countries--Obama continued it all, ranted against the poor, went on elegant soliloquies where he desired the 1980s would be brought back and said Reagan was the best president ever.
His and his wife's Facebook was full of Reagan worship. I suppose you can see why I didn't belong in this place. There was open and overt support of militarism with videos of marching soldiers.
I hadn't gone to church in 6 years and had a few months visiting a Calvary Chapel before I left and exposing that church on here. I was lonely for Christian fellowship. It was just more of the same.
These churches and these sold out pastors support the OPPRESSIVE system. You know the one where people are losing jobs, and losing their livelihoods? You know the one that is seeking the destruction of our souls and minds? Probably now this guy is busy praising Trump from the pulpit. When more people lose jobs, and end up in the gutter, I wonder how long the rants against people on welfare will play out. He may find himself preaching to an empty room. I predict this church will fold when he dies. He is the only one holding it together. He is over 70 and at least one fourth of the church was related to him, so it won't outlast him. It will die like my last IFB did when the pastor left.
These churches have no salt. They support the system of oppression. They are elite boot-lickers. They support the Pope in all the war plans. They bow at the altar of mammon and false appearances. This lady was ready to clutch her pearls. I don't mind speaking out. I hope she goes back and tells other church members what I said and why I left.
Leaving the IFB churches has changed me and coming out of the church system. I have had more thoughts lately about all the authoritarianism, the unity with the system these churches have in forwarding certain agendas. They never speak out for the abused, or powerless or poor. In fact they support those overtly who work against them as the powerful elite. They support the world system openly and overtly that is crushing us all. They tell us to "forgive" seared abusers, and to bow before our oppressors. Some of these guys surely look out among congregations where the working class has been destroyed, and still preach the same oppressive rhetoric. If anything they are helpers to the system in it's physically and emotionally crushing people.
The desire for POWER and CONTROL seems paramount in these church systems where they desire people to conform. Otherwise why are all the pastors absolute conformists? Outside of a few shills like the deceased Last Trumpet Ministries guy who mixed numerology in with his sermons, I never have met or found one IFB pastor who was not just another spokesman for the Republican party.
I never fit in IFB culture. I tried to, I wanted to be a "good Christian" especially in my early days. Obviously if you have read this blog long enough, you know I am not going to fit in a liberal church either. I see through their lies as well. So there's no church place for someone like me. I believe we are being called out of the church system.
The IFB wanted absolute conformity. Even my past seemed to count against me. My rural church was friendlier about that but I felt it even there. This one, seemed wary of me like I was "tainted", I had not been "born into" the church like most of them. They deemed me wicked for not having a family too. Meeting other fundamentalists online, and elsewhere one had to be cautious, I wrote about experiencing spiritual abuse with betrayers. It was all about the rules and control to people like this.
I don't regret telling that church lady what I did. Sometimes I regret not writing the pastor a letter and telling him why I left but I felt like God had warned me against this and/or told me to wait. I suppose I got tired of being silent, and being "dumbed down" not to offend anyone. I figure at this point when I told this lady what I did, there was nothing to lose.
I don't call myself a fundamentalist anymore. I have realized while some of my beliefs are traditionally "fundamentalist" in believing in the Bible and being against the ecumenical movement, I don't want people to mistaken my beliefs for being the same as the IFB because they are not anymore.
IFB Churches: Are they Daughters of Rome As Well
Articles on the IFB