Reflections on being a member of a church

“Once a member, always a member.” “The door is always open.” I believed at the time I heard this that this was Gospel truth. Why? Cuz they said so. But it was a lie.

Oh, it does hold true for those they “like.” They didn’t like me. So I got the boot. I notice they took me off their membership list. I notice that just now.  I feel very sad.

I don’t know how to fathom this. I was never honored there. I was never asked to do anything for their church except give money. I had a lot to give but that was denied. I was kept off the greeters list.  I was told this was an “oversight.” But two years in a row? And no apology?  They denied that I had any human worth except what was in my bank account. Beyond that, they stressed silence and compliance.

I never spoke at Joys and Sorrows. Oh, once I did and was immediately put own for what I said. That it wasn’t a joy. Yep, that’s what she said. “That’s not a joy.” I had no clue what to say to that except originally I didn’t think the church believed in censorship. Clearly, they did.

A lot of people got put down for what they said at Joys and Sorrows. I began to notice the same people went up there again and again. I felt that to allow congregation members to speak aloud to the congregation was a good thing. Then, I guess the minister didn’t like giving up his absolute power, so he made restrictions on Joys and Sorrows. It was like a totalitarian regime.

They said they needed Chalice lighters on a certain date. I volunteered. I was happy to contribute something besides fucking money. But immediately, I could see the minister panicked. “Keep your word count down.  Remember it must be appropriate for children.” Wow, did he terrorize everyone in that manner when they did the reading for the Chalice? I was so insulted. And when I came to do it, they were ready with their “substitute.” I was suddenly painfully aware of the reality: I wasn’t wanted there. They were hoping I’d forgotten to show up.

Yep, they claimed to be welcoming. For the few. For the elite. For those that give money. But they routinely pushed out those they didn’t like or those they couldn’t get money from.

They’d do it in sinister ways. I’ve seen people belittled there. I’ve heard insults and discrimination. They claimed anyone could join a committee, but that wasn’t true. If someone they didn’t like joined, they’d gently push them off, convincing them to drop out and at the same time, making it look like there was no coercion.

At the time that I joined, I yearned for spiritual connection and community. I thought I’d found it. But that wasn’t true. I’d go to “feel good” church, come home, then spend the week in isolation. One member even ordered me, “Never contact me outside of church again.” So began the long list of Sunday Only friends.

I might as well have had “Facebook only friends.” Same deal. Don’t call me and don’t talk to me.  I believe you are worthless shit, but I want to add to my friends list so I’m including you. I’ll only come to you when I need something because I don’t value your company.

No, I wasn’t valued at church. I wasn’t loved. I tried so hard, but every Sunday I’d come home after church and cry all afternoon.

After I left Watertown, I noticed they were “allowing” letters to the editor in their monthly newsletter. But have i seen one letter “allowed” in? Nope. That, too, is domination, control of the press by the very few elite.

Yeah, they want more members. More members means more money. You bet that’s what they are thinking. But they didn’t keep me. Sorry, dudes. I don’t want to be valued for my bank account, money I didn’t even have, and then censored and silenced.

In my letter to the UUA in Boston I explained how the church had discriminated against Rachel Ann Klein, and others, too. I sent that letter at the end of December 2013, maybe over the turn of New Year’s, since I was alone as usual and had nothing better to do.

So it was two days after my birthday, nearly a year ago, that two church bigwigs came barging into my home accusing me of plotting to kill the minister. Seriously! They brought a cop with them.  I am not kidding! The two church bigwigs, especially the guy, were shaking all over, like they were scared of “dangerous” me, accusing me of having weapons. It was all speculation, completely unfounded. Based on my letter, which didn’t once state I intended to do anything violent to anyone.  To barge into my apartment building without ringing my bell was illegal, cop or no cop. They had no warrant, no evidence, and they admitted it was all a hunch. I challenged them, telling them they would NEVER do this kind of thing to a person who didn’t have a “diagnosis.” And then they said that all this was being kept secret, only one committee in the church had any knowledge that they were doing this.

I realize now why they didn’t let the rest of the congregation know. First of all, it was yet another act of discrimination. An inside job. Get rid of the unwanted by terrorizing me. Don’t tell anyone. That way, if I speak out, I’d be told by most that they’d never heard of this, and therefore, it had never happened. I’d be accused of being delusional. This left me defenseless and terrified.

I am speaking out now, loud and clear. There is no place in my life for being bullied by any individual nor institution. I won’t be a member of any group where I am not even valued, not wanted nor recognized.

I wish, after that incident, that I’d contacted Rachel Klein. No way would Rachel have called me delusional. She would have known the serious offense the church committed. She was demanding, too. She would have approached them I bet. She had guts. I guess they never liked that, nor appreciated how smart and insightful she was.

Was Rachel squelched by them, too? I’m sure they tried their darndest to silence her in some way. I’m sure she was fully aware of this. Aware people get killed, or bullied into committing suicide. Organizations such as that church only love those that have plenty of money and are silent and compliant. But I can only speculate, and I sure know the feeling of “Nobody loves me.” You bet I do.

 

 

Feedback and comments welcome!