Monday, August 19, 2013

Been on my mind lately......

I have a vent about churches.  This is something that has been on my mind for several years now.

But before you read any further, please understand - I KNOW that not all churches are like this.  I'm sure there are wonderful churches out there, with wonderful people in the congregation.  But also please know this - I am NOT interested in going to church, so PLEASE do not send me info with your church name and location. 

When I was younger, I was not taken to church, most likely for a number of reasons, and that's besides the point.  I had a negative view of churches, mostly because the few I had been to in college seemed to be all about who wore what, and what clique you belonged to, and things that I knew didn't matter in the grand scheme of what should have been important in a church.

When my first husband, James, and I moved back to Georgia, we checked out a few churches in the area we had moved to.  We tried out a church near where we lived, and the pastor seemed to have an issue with racism and politics - he made it quite clear that he wouldn't support any organization that supported the NAACP, and he used to regularly call our president at the time (Clinton) "that lesbian loving president of ours".  I'm all for folks having the right to have their own opinions about race, homosexuality, politics, etc., but I didn't feel that the pulpit was a place for any of that.  (Yes I know that in many Christian churches, homosexuality is an issue, but the way this preacher talked of it was shameful in my opinion, and quite judgemental).

Anyways, we tried a couple of other churches, spent quite a bit of time at one that is now called something other than what it was named when we attended, and while I didn't realize it at the time, James always found something "wrong" with the churches we went to (they didn't preach the message enough, they were too money hungry - always something), so we were always searching for another one.  I hated changing churches - the kids needed stability in their lives, and I absolutely hated change and having to adjust to new people. 

So we finally found a church where I felt welcome, wanted, and where I thought we fit in pretty well.  As I stated in the beginning of this blog - I will NOT be naming this church, the pastor, or any of the members.  We attended this church on and off for a few years, and got to know a lot of the members there.  I noticed that if we were attending regularly, and missed a couple of Sundays, we sometimes got a phone call from someone in Sunday school to check on us.  Folks at this church knew things weren't perfect in our household, and that we - mainly me - needed all the love and support we could get - I was working full time in Atlanta near Smyrna, we lived all the way out in Mount Zion (the one in Carroll county, not Clayton county), having to deal with both kids pretty much by myself when I got home, and that James was a prescription drug addict that was in and out of the hospital due to chronic bronchitis and pneumonia from his nasty smoking habit.

I didn't dare share the abuse that the kids and I suffered at his hands, but I'm sure it was written all over my face, and some of them knew from things that were said (or not said) that things were pretty crappy in our relationship.  But I digress.....

The church was gracious enough to offer their assistance in getting James some rehab help, in a Christian program, but he ended up refusing help.  I was about to share his excuses for not accepting the help, but I caught myself - they weren't really excuses - he was determined to stay on the drugs and cigarettes, and had no interest in getting help.  Dang, I keep with the digression.....

So, throughout all the time we were members at this church, they would occasionally call on us to see how we were doing, asking if there was anything they could do for us or help us with, and telling us that they missed seeing us in church.  As time went on, I opened up more and more with certain members, letting them get a glimpse of some of the things I had to deal with, but obviously not telling them everything for fear of how I might be judged for staying in what was a loveless marriage that was filled with abuse and sadness.

When I finally decided to divorce James, I didn't dare call anyone or tell anyone, other than family, what I was planning to do.  I was terrified someone would slip up and say something to James, and it would have made my life hell until I got out.  James had even mentioned in the month before I had him served, that some of the deacons and perhaps even the preacher had come by the house to check on us and ask us to come to church (it's been a while, so I'm not sure who all may or may not have stopped by).  I remember looking forward to having some emotional support from some of the church folks once the day came that the news got out we were getting divorced.

On the day of our first hearing at court, there was a lady from church in the courtroom, I assume she worked there.  She walked down the aisle and I swear she looked me right in the eyes and just kept on walking.  I don't know if she knew what I was there for or not.  I don't blame her for not speaking to me that day, she was likely working, and probably didn't want to get involved in whatever was going on in the courtroom. 

The reason for my vent?  Not a single person from that church has EVER called me to check on me or the kids.  Not one single phone call, in 7 years.  I chose to divorce a drug-addicted man that was beating me and the kids, not just physically, but emotionally and psychologically, and not a single person at that church reached out to me to check on me or the kids.  Perhaps I can thank my ex-husband for making the folks at that church distance themselves from me and the kids?  I really can't say I blame them for not wanting to get involved - I almost lost a very good friend over my marriage to James, due to my self-absorption of all my woes when I was with him, and it has taken time to get my family relationships back in line with where they need to be, all due to that man. 

If you know which church I am speaking of, whether from anything I've said to you previously, or you know you are part of the church I am talking about - please DO NOT call the church out, or any of the members or staff.  I don't want to call attention to them, I just want to unload my thoughts about my experience.  If you are a member of the church I'm talking about - just an FYI - I will be moving back into the area in the near future at some point - if you see me around - feel free to say hello, just please don't invite me back to church.  I'm not angry at anyone, just a little disappointed and perhaps disillusioned.  And by the way - my last name is no longer Wilkins, it's Buxton.  I'm happily married, and Steven is quite well adjusted for all that he went through.

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