and it only gets harder from here.
It Wasn't Easy
A long time ago in a place far away from here, I was a parishioner at the First Denominational Church of Smalltown, Missouri. (This was before my "Reverend" days.)
I was made aware of some shenanigans at the denomination's HQ somewhere on the East Coast: it seemed some of the mucky-mucks decided to have a special, private meeting about the denomination's official doctrine. They decided to change it up, just a bit.
At their private meeting, they decided that God's name is Sheila or Gaia or something, and that SHE was to be accorded all the honor and praise - and more importantly, the denomination's offerings - previously given to that "old school" God, Jehovah.
I'm NOT making this up.
I was literally aghast when I found out, and decided that the denomination and I must part company. I wrote a very thoughtful, heartfelt letter to the Smalltown pastor explaining what I'd learned about the national hierarchy, giving as many facts as I had available at the time, and expressing my desire to depart post-haste. I also pointed out that since a portion of the local offerings went to the national organization, I couldn't support that. Therefore, I had to leave.
He wrote back that the local congregation hadn't done anything of the sort, so what was I talking about?
That was a non-response to something I hadn't said or implied, so I saturated that place with my absence well over 20 years ago, now, and have never looked back. There are
people at that church today who would sooner spit on me than speak to me, simply because of shudder "THAT LETTER" hack, ptoo ... even though most of them have no idea what I wrote. None of those folks have forgiven me.
I hear you asking, "That's different ... but why are you telling us about it, now?"
I'm glad you asked.
That episode cost me people whom I thought were friends, and soured my relationship with one particular in-law for a couple of years, but didn't endanger my life. But take note of this: not one of them ever asked me what the letter was about. They all believed whatever they were told, by whomever told them.
I was "convicted" in the court of public opinion on the basis of gossip ... and the truth was (and still is) irrelevant - just ask them.
I'm telling you because we've entered a time in this nation's history when viewpoints have diverged widely, and there is little common ground among many of its factions. Heck, we don't even have common music anymore. That one likes hip-hop, this one likes rap, another one likes rock, or country ... how could you have a community sing-along? There's a reason why nobody does that, anymore.
But my point is that sooner or later, most of us are going to have to take a stand for what we believe, and it could be a very unpopular position. If you're acting in good conscience, you can't do otherwise.
Are you prepared for the societal response to your stand? Have you thought about it. Many bloggers say they have ... but have you considered that it may not be just friend against friend? Members of your own family could well turn on you ... or turn you in.
We talk about prepping for hard times; make sure your preparations also include stiffening your resolve. It could well get a lot harder before things get any better.
You'd better know who you are, and have the courage of your convictions. If you're a child of God, then it's going to be a LOT easier than otherwise. Am I recommending a personal relationship with God, through His Son, Jesus?
You'd better believe it! :)