Casseroles and Religious Oppression
You know when you’re sitting in church and the pastor or some other important person announces an upcoming church potluck, and you think “crap, am I on main course or dessert this time? I hate cooking!”
I’ve never done well with church potlucks. They are the epitome of a welcoming incubus for germ laden children that sneeze all over the buffet line. I became rather well known in my church, not only as a worship leader, but also as the one who would slip into the kitchen and get my food BEFORE it was introduced to the bacterial hosts of the congregation.
I’ve attended church my whole life. Literally. My parents went to church, so therefore I went to church. Many of us who grow up this way just sort of organically became enmeshed in the church culture, customs and way of thinking. For instance, you don’t sing at a volume louder than the person next to you. That is unless you are that one lady who always goes for the high notes in her trademark yodel. We all love her and accept her, but nobody wants to sit next to her.
Another example of unspoken church culture is that the behaviour of the unsaved in church is excusable, even somewhat indulged. Whereas if you grew up in church and you knew better, heaven help you if you stray from the imposed straight and narrow of the unwritten rule book.
You shall not pierce your nose. You shall not get a tattoo ( have you not read the book of Leviticus! ), you shall not speak in tongues, dance, or sport a mohawk. Especially not a wicked cool lime green one. You shall not have dreadlocks…
As you can see, I started rebelling with my appearance…an outward sign of an inwardly rebellious and wicked heart? Or me saying “wait, no, why can’t I? Why can’t I express myself and learn who I am. Why do I have to conform to what you tell me I have to do? Why do I have to live this way?”
I got my nose pierced when I was 26. Oh the sacrilege! My father told me he would disown me if I did a stupid thing like that. I told him I would see him for coffee the next day, and I went and got my nose pierced. And it felt good.
At the age of 22 I had already been married for 4 years, and was a mother to two little boys and a foster child. I was tired of following the rules, but still far too afraid to do much of anything besides make a few changes to my appearance. After all, if you get in trouble for leading worship with your shoulders showing, you sure as heck aren’t going to raise the issue that your husband is addicted to pornography and you’re slowly dying a bit more each day as you live feeling so alone and rejected and utterly worthless.
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