Originally posted today as a comment on Isn't Christ's love wondrous? on the Main Blog of exC.
It's good to hear from others of similar experience. I'm from horse and buggy Mennonite, very similar to the Amish. I didn't know much about the Apostolic church. I think perhaps that is the kind of church my aunt and uncle took me to visit last fall. They had a special speaker. He preached a very convincing sermon on the need to get saved. I had already committed myself to not seeking further in Christianity. I went with them for no other reason than to get to know them.
My uncle left the old church when he was young and married a woman of similar situation. Their family and our family seldom saw each other. At the time they invited me some of my immediate family was pulling back because they could not handle my deconversion. Thus, it felt really good to do something with relatives.
Had I still been seeking, the sermon I heard that night would have been torture. The preacher sounded like getting saved was the single most important issue in life. But he did not even address the One Big Question of my life i.e. How does Jesus' death benefit human souls? In other words: How does it work?
Immediately after the sermon was over, my aunt started talking theology to me. She could not have chosen a better topic. It allowed me to learn more about their beliefs and also to talk about the beliefs I had been raised with. Suddenly she said, "I think you're okay." She stopped the conversation and started chatting with friends.
That's when I understood the reason behind her questions. Not once had she asked me about my personal beliefs or position. She had only asked about the things I had been taught. I could answer those things without a problem and not say a word about my personal convictions. However, when she said "I think you are okay," I realized that she thought I had been talking about my personal beliefs--as though what I was taught and what I believed were one and the same thing!
I felt like I had lied to her. On the way home after church they chatted about many things. I felt I should confess that I was not a Christian. I couldn't do it. As I was getting out of the car at my place, they said, "We'll do this again sometime."
That's when I told them. Their friendly voices changed. They wanted to know what I believe. I left the car with warnings about a short life ringing in my ears. I am not sure what "short life" has to do with anything but that is what they said. I have not heard from them since.
These two people KNEW what it was like being ostracized by friends and family yet they treated me exactly the same. They could invite me over for supper even if we didn't go to church. They most certainly know that I did not try to convert them to or from anything.
Apostolic or whatever their church is called is very strict. I don't understand why they had to leave the old church if they want such a strict religion. I do know that I will rather be without flesh and blood relatives than go to their church.