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Goodbye Jesus

Xtian Culture: Now That You Left The Church...


Mongo

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We are told that xtians should be "in the world but not of it".

 

When I think of "in the world but not of it" I imagine Bhuddist monks walking around Tibet. Well... that's what "I" think.

 

Probably, the most "in the world but not of it" people around us are the homeless and the dropouts of society.

 

Comparatively, going to some churches today is like going to a rock concert.

 

So now that you've left, do you feel life is faster and more worldly or slower and more vital?

 

Word definitions are hard to establish so please don't get hung up on the inadequacy of the poll but I would be interested in any other questions this causes you to ask.

 

If the topic sparks your interest, let's share.

 

Mongo

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I can't really say more or less "worldly." I just have more time for the things I always liked since I'm not wasting it on Sunday school, sermons, prayer groups, Bible study, fucking pancake breakfasts, goddam men's retreats. Arrrgh! Thanks for reminding me!!!!

 

Shit, I sure wasted a lot of time (and money) with those fools!

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Hey now, I rather like pancakes. :yum:

 

:HaHa:

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Interesting question Mongo. I have always felt a bit "unworldly" as far as I can remember. Probably that was because I had quite a sensitivity for art and aesthetic matters and I felt like my parents never understood me. It seems that most people are interested deeply in matters that I don't care about and that is a factor of separation or unworldliness. I guess it matters how you define "unworldly'.

 

Being a Christian is supposed to make you separated from the world but it didn't really work that way for me. Christianity is the majority view in this southern U.S. culture where I live. It is really tied in with American pastimes like sports and keeping up with others in how well-dressed or what a fine car they drive. These things are immediately noticed at church. I am not interested in that. That is like a herd mentality to me. That it isn't scriptural isn't really relevant. It happens. At one time I tried to get away from that by reading all these Eastern Orthodox writings like "The Philokalia", it did not work for me because everytime I went back to the church I was still confronted with this worldliness. It isn't acceptable to spend your life in spiritual contemplation in the U.S.

 

I never much cared for making money until I was forced to by life circumstances (divorce). I am most interested in ordering my mind and my internal world. The study of Buddhism and Hinduism has helped me with that. Now that I have left that Christian environment for good I feel even more unworldly.

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Interesting question Mongo. I have always felt a bit "unworldly" as far as I can remember. Probably that was because I had quite a sensitivity for art and aesthetic matters and I felt like my parents never understood me. It seems that most people are interested deeply in matters that I don't care about and that is a factor of separation or unworldliness. I guess it matters how you define "unworldly'.

 

Being a Christian is supposed to make you separated from the world but it didn't really work that way for me. Christianity is the majority view in this southern U.S. culture where I live. It is really tied in with American pastimes like sports and keeping up with others in how well-dressed or what a fine car they drive. These things are immediately noticed at church. I am not interested in that. That is like a herd mentality to me. That it isn't scriptural isn't really relevant. It happens. At one time I tried to get away from that by reading all these Eastern Orthodox writings like "The Philokalia", it did not work for me because everytime I went back to the church I was still confronted with this worldliness. It isn't acceptable to spend your life in spiritual contemplation in the U.S.

 

I never much cared for making money until I was forced to by life circumstances (divorce). I am most interested in ordering my mind and my internal world. The study of Buddhism and Hinduism has helped me with that. Now that I have left that Christian environment for good I feel even more unworldly.

 

Me too but in a different way.

 

When I picture church I remember putting on your Sunday best and chatting about who got a new car, or the latest movie on TV. I was in my 20s and times have changed but there was a lot of excitement about things.

 

If Televangelism is any measure, xtianity is about everything cultural. Just take some activity and put the phrase "for the Lord" after it and you have xtianity. Dancing "for the Lord", Rock Concert "for the Lord" and one event mentioned on a documentary even had wrestling (WWF style) "for the Lord", socializing "for the Lord".

 

On the few occasions I've been to fundamentalist church, there is always someone saying, "It's OK to have things as long as thing don't have you". I guess preachers find it helps pay the bills when christians focus on making money. It is also a commentary on fundamentalist mindset.

 

When I left the church I spent more time outdoors hiking and camping. Now I spend my time with family.

 

I can't imagine getting back on the church treadmill which to me seems so wrapped up in activities and events that have a "pop" flavour.

 

Maybe "worldly" isn't the right word but it seems to be the right word.

 

Anyway, the xtian culture seems to have taken on so much of popular culture that it is almost a support structure for it. So much so that pop culture must ensure it caters to the xtian audiance that is so caught up in it.

 

My thoughts anyway.

 

Mongo

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The question this brought up for me is:

 

If you tithed, what do you do with that money now?

 

My wife does not know of my deconversion so I still go to church. However, she is disgusted with the new building addition to our church and feels like they already have too much money, so she does not want to tithe. We recently decided to give the money that we would tithe to other charitable causes such as the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, Cook Children's Medical Center (Fort Worth), Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, and Lone Star SPCA.

 

I answered more worldly since I am now more concerned about real-life problems and how to solve them. Since I deconverted I have resumed my education to work on a master's degree and started working on my old car more. My life is so much better since I got rid of the cognitive dissonance of trying to balance a bronze age bullshit story with the current state of knowledge/science.

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I decided to define "worldly" as "being obsessed with the appearance of clothing and material posessions and fitting in with others." All of those items were No. 1 requirements in the Old Order Mennonite community.

 

They would disagree with me but that is what it amounted to for me. Conformity to the group was a requirement. Anything short of conformity was seen as a rebellious spirit, pride, etc. They would watch the fine details of how dresses were stitched (women make all of their own dresses from scratch) and how hair was combed on men, women, and children, and exactly where sideburns were cut off on men (it had to be at the top of the ear--WTF, that's not a sideburn! that's shaving clean), to determine a person's spiritual condition.

 

I was able to sew a dress a lot faster after I left the church because I no longer had to watch every stitch so carefully. I'm sure that outsiders who watch us on the road with our buggies and talk about our "simple" life style have no idea of the extreme complications and complexities required to maintain this illusion of the "simple life."

 

An example re possessions. My father had no pride regarding his outward appearance or his possessions. But he loved building things and took great pride in doing a perfect job. He built a new buggy. And then he had to use it before anyone had time to paint it. So he went on the road with this unpainted plywood buggy. In my mind, this was just another example of his sloppy, slip-shod way of doing things. Buggies are supposed to be black. It was the light colour of plywood.

 

He passed the school playground during recess time. "George Bowman is going fancy!" shouted one of the other kids. I knew she was half-joking because everyone knew how little Dad cared about how things looked. All the same, someone had to comment on the drastic out-of-line behaviour this normally very plain and conservative man was demonstrating.

 

I think the fact that sloppy, slip-shod behaviour could possibly be translated as prideful and fancy shows how much emphasis was placed on the appearance of material possessions. Every decision one made had to be made in light of "What will the church think?" It was easier to hide a big item like education than something like a dress. An activity is done, and then it is over and done with. A dress is worn and seen for years until it wears out. If anyone along the line takes offense you have to be prepared to answer for it. I am not sure how this can be seen as other than an obsession with clothing and material possessions.

 

They would preach that "We're supposed to have our things as though we did not have them." Yeah right.

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I would say that I appreciate the things I have more now, instead of just considering them a temporary possession to tide me over until heaven. I have not become more materialistic.

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If Televangelism is any measure, xtianity is about everything cultural. Just take some activity and put the phrase "for the Lord" after it and you have xtianity. Dancing "for the Lord", Rock Concert "for the Lord" and one event mentioned on a documentary even had wrestling (WWF style) "for the Lord", socializing "for the Lord".

...

Anyway, the xtian culture seems to have taken on so much of popular culture that it is almost a support structure for it. So much so that pop culture must ensure it caters to the xtian audiance that is so caught up in it.

 

 

I remember hearing a sermon about , basically, "stay away from the culture of this world. Christianity is not a culture, is is more than a culture"

 

And at the time, I thought, hey, christianity is and has a culture! They have a culture of how to dress, what music to listen to, how to act, what is cool. You really notice it at Hillsong, a big church in Sydney, Aus, where the culture (expounded from the pulpit at women's events) is be pretty, dress well, get a boob job if you need, look nice for your husband. That is "of this world" regardless how you spin it.

 

The culture of wealth, too.

I stopped tithing well before I left church, b/c I couldn't get over the terrible "worldliness" of the messages used to extort money from people.

"Give and it will be given back to you" "As you sow, so shall you reap, so give big and you will get big!" - how is this any different to a "worldy" investment scheme, except in church, you never get your money back?!

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You should'a put an 'equally as worldly option out there, because I feel no different when I was a believer, except then I had to rationalize my behavior a little more.

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i'm definitely more worldly now, because as a christian i was trying to avoid worldly things. i didnt watch TV or movies or listen to secular radio, and i only read christian books. i'm enjoying watching movies these days, and reading. i'm not going out getting drunk or anything, its a more subtle change. like someone else said, i enjoy things now because i no longer see myself as a pilgrim only passing through this world, on the way to a better place. i feel i want to make the most of what gives me enjoyment, rather than how i used to feel guilty about enjoying non spiritual things. i appreciate other religions now, and i appreciate all kinds of people, now that i'm not worried about the fact that they're 'not right with God'. i enjoy not having to spend half of sunday at church. its good.

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You really notice it at Hillsong, a big church in Sydney, Aus, where the culture (expounded from the pulpit at women's events) is be pretty, dress well, get a boob job if you need, look nice for your husband. That is "of this world" regardless how you spin it.

 

Boob job???!!! I've never heard of **that** before.

 

Strangely, I'm quite hesitant to proclaim that to be a new xtian low.

 

Mongo

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You really notice it at Hillsong, a big church in Sydney, Aus, where the culture (expounded from the pulpit at women's events) is be pretty, dress well, get a boob job if you need, look nice for your husband. That is "of this world" regardless how you spin it.

 

Boob job???!!! I've never heard of **that** before.

 

Strangely, I'm quite hesitant to proclaim that to be a new xtian low.

 

Mongo

 

Here are a few choice quotes from the ever wise Bobbie Houston...

 

“You might be happy with your weight but is your husband happy with your weight? … How are you going to do anything that might surprise your man when you need a hydraulic crane just to turn over in bed?†"Have plastic surgery, if it makes you feel better and it is for the right reasons" and what would be the right reasons? B/c your husband said so?

 

All this and more from the Hillsong "She Loves and Values Her Sexuality" CD set.

But of course none of this is meant in the same "spirit" as when people "in the world" say it!

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Guest eejay
You really notice it at Hillsong, a big church in Sydney, Aus, where the culture (expounded from the pulpit at women's events) is be pretty, dress well, get a boob job if you need, look nice for your husband. That is "of this world" regardless how you spin it.

 

Boob job???!!! I've never heard of **that** before.

 

Strangely, I'm quite hesitant to proclaim that to be a new xtian low.

 

Mongo

 

Here are a few choice quotes from the ever wise Bobbie Houston...

 

“You might be happy with your weight but is your husband happy with your weight? … How are you going to do anything that might surprise your man when you need a hydraulic crane just to turn over in bed?†"Have plastic surgery, if it makes you feel better and it is for the right reasons" and what would be the right reasons? B/c your husband said so?

 

All this and more from the Hillsong "She Loves and Values Her Sexuality" CD set.

But of course none of this is meant in the same "spirit" as when people "in the world" say it!

Just curious, but what does your former church say about the woman who would prefer to not have a whale in bed with her?

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I consider myself less worldly because I am not of the dominate culture, ie Christianity.

 

I am more of the world, because I am not focused on securing an golden parachute when I leave.

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Here are a few choice quotes from the ever wise Bobbie Houston...

 

“You might be happy with your weight but is your husband happy with your weight? … How are you going to do anything that might surprise your man when you need a hydraulic crane just to turn over in bed?†"Have plastic surgery, if it makes you feel better and it is for the right reasons" and what would be the right reasons? B/c your husband said so?

 

All this and more from the Hillsong "She Loves and Values Her Sexuality" CD set.

But of course none of this is meant in the same "spirit" as when people "in the world" say it!

 

OMG... don't want to hijack the thread but WHAT!? Oh my dear god! Is my husband happy with my weight? Xtianity is so fucked up when it comes to sexuality! I'd love to hear this whole CD set... I'm sure it would make the top of my head blow off, but we need to know that this shit is out there. I've decided to blog about women's sexual issues. And this has fuelled my decision so much more! Jesus Fucking Christ on a Stick!

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Just curious, but what does your former church say about the woman who would prefer to not have a whale in bed with her?

 

I was lucky and got born in a family and church where there were a LOT of single women. Marrying outside the church was verboten. Absolutely and strictly forever and ever amen. One women tried it and was automatically excommunicated. Given that there were far more women than men in my generation, the church really had no choice in the matter but too sanction single women.

 

As I write, two items click in my brain: 1. a fetus is automatically female unless certain biological interventions occur 2. extensive in-breeding can intervene with the natural process of things. CLICK CONCLUSION: Maybe the Y chromozone or whatever it is that makes boys is simply exhausted in this community.

 

Bottom line: I didn't have to get married.

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Just curious, but what does your former church say about the woman who would prefer to not have a whale in bed with her?

 

I was lucky and got born in a family and church where there were a LOT of single women. Marrying outside the church was verboten. Absolutely and strictly forever and ever amen. One women tried it and was automatically excommunicated. Given that there were far more women than men in my generation, the church really had no choice in the matter but too sanction single women.

 

As I write, two items click in my brain: 1. a fetus is automatically female unless certain biological interventions occur 2. extensive in-breeding can intervene with the natural process of things. CLICK CONCLUSION: Maybe the Y chromozone or whatever it is that makes boys is simply exhausted in this community.

 

Bottom line: I didn't have to get married.

 

 

 

An intriguing question to ask is whether there is a chemical link to the increase of female births in your former community.

 

If memory serves correctly, this is a world wide trend.

 

Do OOM farmers use a lot of chemicals? Do they use protective gear?

 

I'm sure some bio-geneticist would be curious to study this phenomenon.

 

Mongo

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My hobbies generally have not changed. I enjoy reading science fiction books, playing computer games, doing digital art, listening to music on the radio, and watching movies. It's just that the people in my church disapproved of my hobbies since the more geeky hobbies tend to require use of one's brain.

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Guest Freepagan
i'm definitely more worldly now, because as a christian i was trying to avoid worldly things. i didnt watch TV or movies or listen to secular radio, and i only read christian books. i'm enjoying watching movies these days, and reading. i'm not going out getting drunk or anything, its a more subtle change. like someone else said, i enjoy things now because i no longer see myself as a pilgrim only passing through this world, on the way to a better place. i feel i want to make the most of what gives me enjoyment, rather than how i used to feel guilty about enjoying non spiritual things. i appreciate other religions now, and i appreciate all kinds of people, now that i'm not worried about the fact that they're 'not right with God'. i enjoy not having to spend half of sunday at church. its good.

 

 

This may sound crazy....I just feel at ease not having to examine every thought and action. I am just glad to exist in the moment and know that if I tell someone to fuck off, there will be no eternal retribution.

 

 

I am more worldly now for these same reasons. When I was a xtian I followed the church rules to a T. I took extreme conservatism very seriously. Looking back I can see how that cost me quite a bit. I would probably have better social skills had I not taken xtiantity seriously. However, I'm learning to relax in this world. I used to allow the fear of sudden death and eternal punishment to keep me from exploring what the world has to offer. As a xtian I thought I had this world figured out, and so I had little to no interest. Now I'm more interested in what the world is really like, almost like a kid in a candy store. Most importantly, I have accepted myself for the person I am, realizing that I don't have to conform to anyone's preconceived notions of who I'm supposed to be.

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Guest Freepagan
i'm definitely more worldly now, because as a christian i was trying to avoid worldly things. i didnt watch TV or movies or listen to secular radio, and i only read christian books. i'm enjoying watching movies these days, and reading. i'm not going out getting drunk or anything, its a more subtle change. like someone else said, i enjoy things now because i no longer see myself as a pilgrim only passing through this world, on the way to a better place. i feel i want to make the most of what gives me enjoyment, rather than how i used to feel guilty about enjoying non spiritual things. i appreciate other religions now, and i appreciate all kinds of people, now that i'm not worried about the fact that they're 'not right with God'. i enjoy not having to spend half of sunday at church. its good.

 

 

This may sound crazy....I just feel at ease not having to examine every thought and action. I am just glad to exist in the moment and know that if I tell someone to fuck off, there will be no eternal retribution.

 

 

I am more worldly now for these same reasons. When I was a xtian I followed the church rules to a T. I took extreme conservatism very seriously. Looking back I can see how that cost me quite a bit. I would probably have better social skills had I not taken xtiantity seriously. However, I'm learning to relax in this world. I used to allow the fear of sudden death and eternal punishment to keep me from exploring what the world has to offer. As a xtian I thought I had this world figured out, and so I had little to no interest. Now I'm more interested in what the world is really like, almost like a kid in a candy store. Most importantly, I have accepted myself for the person I am, realizing that I don't have to conform to anyone's preconceived notions of who I'm supposed to be.

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Great responses.

 

As I originally feared, the definition of "worldly" is fairly broad but alot of interesting points were raised.

 

Thanks a bunch and that may lead me to another poll... with "yes"... another flakey word! :grin:

 

Mongo

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  • 8 months later...

I think it was when I opened my mind up to more of the world around me that helped lead to me becoming an atheist. As a Christian, you are forced to reject anything that is outside of what Christianity views as being natural, so everything thing else is wrong. My activities have not changed since becoming atheist.

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