Thursday, July 21, 2005

Chapter 9

I suppose I should thank my daughters for our leaving the Messianic Movement. They were very very young, thank God, and I simply couldn't imagine them growing up in all this weirdness, as if being a member of my family wasn't enough of a burden.

This became very clear after a conversation with a couple who, so far as I know, are still at this congregation. They adopted a child and like many adoptive situations, there were issues. So they did what you do in those situations, they went to a woman who could "discern demonic activity". Apparently this took the form of a bunch of loopy adults sitting around a five year old, with their hands outstretched and praying over her........ The mother assured me they knew their little girl had demons because she kept looking over at the door.......

Um...correct me if I'm wrong here, but maybe she was looking at the door because they were freaking her out? At least they didn't put her in a bag and try to "rebirth " her, but it's stuff like this that made me realize just how close to the edge we had come.

So we stopped going. And we wrote a letter to the "Leadership" about some discrepancies and lies we were told. I really don't remember the specifics, but I do remember one of the elders looking at us with sorrowful eyes and acknowleging that Rabbi Rich had lied about something, but... he was the leader and there was nothing he could do.

And then I got a great letter from Rich, which I sorely wish I had kept. (I also wish I had kept the letter I once got from Cardinal Law, but did I mention I was stupid, and I threw it out?). I had once shared some information with Rich about my mother's very sad and abusive childhood, and there is was, right in the letter! Only he'd got it wrong, and thought it was me. He'd done that thing he did, where he'd pull out the most awful confession he'd heard, or thought he'd heard, and try to rope you with it.

I laughed myself sick about it, and that's when I knew our involvement with these people was well and truly over. Of course we'd get calls every once in awhile from well meaning members wishing we'd return, but after a time we never heard from any of these "lifelong" friends again.

Many years later, on my way to Israel, I saw "Rabbi Rich" on my flight! I decided to say hello, and we chatted for a long time. He was on his way to meet with, as he put it, "Vatican Types in Abu Ghosh". I said, "You mean Bishop Jean-Baptiste Gourion?". "Abbot Jean-Baptiste is a Bishop?", he replied.......typical. But I thought it was the Lord's sense of humor. Here I was, on the way to Israel, to which I am viscerally attached, and also on my way to "Rome", and whom should I meet but the one person I really need to forgive. So, that's what I did.

Back to the distant past:

We went through all the stages that you go through when you leave a cult. First we were numb, but soon we got angry. How could we be such idiots? How could we waste seven years? For me this took the form of, "How could I have ever believed in the Christianity garbage in the first place?" I would rant at my husband that this was a religion based on fear. That St. Paul was a manipulative S.O.B., using psychological tools to keep people in line. I also looked at my children, now five and seven, and realized if they were going to be Jewish, I was the only one who could teach them that.

I got involved with the local "Temple". Reform Jews have "Temples". Orthodox and Conservative Jews have Synagogues, because there is only one Temple. I didn't have much choice, because where I live Jews are as scarce as Bailey's Irish Cream in B'nai Brak. Friday evening services were usually deserted and for good reason, there was a complete absence of anything spiritual. People joined so their kids could learn a few phrases of Hebrew, and maybe have a party when they turned 13. I have determined that Jews tend to go to the temple because they "should", and Christians, even nominal ones like Episcopalians, go because they actually like it.

I suppose I have offended enough people today. Tune in tomorrow for more.