I wrote before that I attended an Independent Fundamental Baptist church for eight years. During this time I experienced many different situations and settings that I would look back now upon and totally be awe in over. The many ways that the people in this church were manipulated and controlled by those higher up or those who were "in charge" or who were the "better Christians" or who had been revered in front of the church as doing "their share"(works seen with the eyes and measured out by those among us) seemed to be never ending, subtle and also completely blantant.
I remember one such occasion where the ladies of the church had met in a home for a time of fellowship and a scrapbooking 101, etc. The session was over, we had our refreshments and now we were all in the living room chatting about various subjects. As we were talking, a certain lady's name came up in someone's conversation. This lady used to be a very recent "member" of our church at that time and had left and from what I could remember, not on bad terms and either way that shouldn't have mattered. She had just given birth and had a very difficult time and a friend of hers who was still a member of our church had called and asked some ladies in our church if they could bring her a meal to help her out. These ladies that were asked were now gossiping in depth about their being asked to bring a meal to a non-member. "The nerve of her asking for help right after she leaves our church!" I was completely appalled and stood up for the lady and her kind friend and said that I couldn't believe that they were acting in this manner.
In the mean time, the pastor's wife is in the background giving me hand signals to stop speaking. I guess in her mind I was being inappropriate and went too far in defending this poor former member who had a terrible delivery and her kind friend who was only trying to help her. I didn't pay heed to her hand gestures and proceeded to talk and actually had a good conversation with one of the ladies who was speaking so ugly about this woman. She was sorry she had said those things and agreed with me that we should help anyone in need that we can and not just "one of our own".
Well, the meeting was over and as I walked out to my car someone was waiting for me in the drive way. It was the pastor's wife. I thought, oh, boy, here we go. She proceeded to scold me and tell me that what and when I said what I said was totally inappropriate and she wanted to know why I had not listened to her when she had signaled me to stop talking. I told I could not tolerate that kind of gossip and that we ought to help all people and not just church members. I felt like I was in the principal's office. I didn't listen to this one acting like my mother, my principal, the police officer, the judge, oh, you get my drift. I think she even alluded to the fact that she was the pastor's wife and that I ought to listen to her for that reason.
No words about the uncharitable nature of the women's speech were brought up, only that I should be listening to her and how inappropriate I was.
And all I can say now is beware of others coming in the name of "Jesus" who want nothing more than to control you, that want nothing more than to use their power over you, and try to manipulate and shut you up and down and all around. Beware. This web of control comes often with subtlty and many smiles and cordiality, but it remains the same, not theirs to dole or have or use or wield. Not no way, not no how and the real Christ has nothing to do with sort of dictitorial control over others.
If it feels oppressing it is. If you feel controlled, you are. If something is missing it is. God gave you your gut...go with it when it comes to diciphering and escaping the great web of control over you. Word up.