Things that were once preached as bottom-line Biblical changed every so often. Maybe not big things in the grand scheme of church life, but still...if a church takes a stand for or against something and that stand changes, there should usually be a reason...Christian growth perhaps, an enlightening of sorts, a nudge from The Lord to alter the current direction. Those sorts of things are often acceptable to the majority for a directional alteration.
The whims of folks usually aren't. A lack of any understandable reasoning usually isn't. Just plain 'we do things differently now' usually won't fly.
Some little things changed over just our few years there. One thing was the pro-homeschool, homeschool is the only Biblical direction change. The idea to start a school at the church came up and voila -- a church was born, desk units built, curriculum purchased and families teetering on the fence of homeschooling vs "solid Christian education" were prompted real fast to change their wayward lives and come get a church...er, Christian...education.
Then, of course if you have a school, you gotta have sports. Afterall, preacher's family is big on sports, most the deacons are sportsy folk. You get the idea.
And VBS. Hey, don't miss VBS. Sister so-and-so is taking charge and it's a great theme and we spent money to really ensure everyone has fun.
And Junior Church. C'mon now...we have candy, games and prizes. So what if your children can't actually recall what Scripture they might have heard? They got a chocolate Wonder Ball.
And the list just goes on, in directions that I suppose larger churches wouldn't even bat an eye at, being all wrapped up in activities, entertainment and fun to woo those teens and children into the fold. Hey...a profession of Faith is a profession of Faith. It'll stick sooner or later.
There were youth group activities...let's go play laser tag, we're taking a weekend to go sledding and skiing, how about a rousing game of water baseball at the music leaders house, he's married to the preacher's daughter so it's got to be ok, right? Sure thing...shoot, what teenager wouldn't want to play water baseball with mixed co-ed teams and a slip-n-slide? Just because I sort of saw "teenage wet t-shirt games" just means I'm old fashioned and unBiblical. How can you question the preacher of all people? He's a good man.
Well, we've been out of that church for several years now, moving down South. It's funny how little things change, even with changes or course directions, altering all the time. Tight-knit families that buy into that church mentality without questioning it are sort of like cults. Outsiders who rock the boat are sent packing in short order. No wave-making allowed in the ranks.
And over time, you sort of separate yourself all together. You aren't even having the casual chat with a friend there, because well, you know where the conversations end up. Remember the game Telephone -- where you have a long line of folks and you whisper something to the first, who then whispers that to the next and on it goes. By the end of the line, the original message is way removed from anything it might have been.
That's what happens in a lot of tight-knit, small churches. And often enough, those still there forget the way things were or that the changes made had no real reasoning to them. And those who left, well, that game of Telephone has a way of catching up to them now and again and the stories change very little. Neither do the sources of such nonsense tales.
Right now, the stories passing around wrap around us, having no contact with anyone from the church there in close to 5 years now, we are the topic of conversation. I suppose that's understandable...Baptist preachers are a bit taken aback by vocal, opinionated, anti-line following women. And we did up and move, taking a great portion of future marriage stock out of the church (leaving with 8 children as we had at the time). But, you have to wonder why the stories flowing now? What spurred along the gossip wagon of the wagging tongue Baptist guild after this length of time?
What irritates me the absolute most is the tales being relayed. Well, and the fact that they felt the need to send one along on the mission of friendship to my children to see what sort of intel they might dig up.
Just in case you know this church, it's ridiculous tongue-wagging Biblically-schooled banshees, or my family on any personal level, let me make one thing abundantly clear: meek and quiet doesn't play into the role this momma takes when you spread false stories about one of her children. It's just sour grapes as far as I'm concerned. Perhaps a church so 'solid and Biblical' ought to concern themselves with the spiritual lives of their congregation, and the circling weaknesses of their elders and families, and speak less on the fiction created for no reason except amusement for the busy-bodies in the congregation.
Summer's coming...perhaps the time would be better spent deciding who will marry whom next, and the planning of the next VBS week. Surely someone new has gotten their belly pierced, or wants to join in on the co-ed dating games of a small Baptist church.