Cultic religion offers us occasional example of how a faith system can become bondage. But, often this phenomenon of “cultism” can subtly creep into faith systems that aren’t readily described as cults. A faith becomes cultic when he does not trust the spiritual presence that permeates this world we live in and resorts to power, manipulation, and emotional brutality to capture its children and to win converts. The leaders of this type of faith will be firmly confident of the nobility of their motivations but the behavior of what they are doing will be apparent to anyone looking on from the outside. One simple example is the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, which btw must have crawled back under the rock from which they came as I haven’t heard of them lately.
This morning a young woman who was raised in a fundamentalist Christian church and culture shared in Huffington Post about her captivity in a family that was involved in the “quiver full movement” which emphasizes the importance of parents producing many children. This verse comes from the Old Testament where it is written that fathers whose “quiver is full” of many children will have “arrows” with which the world can be captured for Christ. This young woman, Cynthia Jeub, describes the emotional/spiritual brutality that she was subjected to in this family until her late teens when she finally had the courage to escape.
In a closely-knit family, or a closely-knit group, there will always be someone who escapes. T.S. Eliot described this individual as the dysfunctional family’s “bird sent flying through the purgatorial fire” to find what I would call the redemptive Grace of God which the family had forbidden. Eliot furthermore, described this individual as the family’s “unhappy consciousness” that has been assigned this torturous task. For, in any family or group any individual who dares to “think out side of the box” will be venturing toward consciousness as those who spend their life confined to the “box” of group think will never be able to know the delight of exploring the mystery of being a conscious human being. This brings to my mind the famous line from Martin Luther King, “Free at last, free at last. Praise God, I’m free at last.” While King was speaking of escaping from the bondage of racial oppression, Ms. Jeub is now writing about her escape from familial, cultural, and spiritual bondage. Check the link out and then check her blog out. (http://cynthiajeub.com/}
A caveat is in order. Those confined to rigid veins of thought, those who are orchestrating this bondage, are not necessarily bad people. They are people whose good, noble, spiritual intentions have been hijacked for the purpose of ego; and all of us have an ego. This is just the way it is. This is life. It is easy to heap venom upon them, but we must realize this is how human culture operates. My remarks here are to commend one individual who has been graced with the courage to break out of the fetters that imprisoned her and speak of what I like to call, “The Grace of God.” See the Huffington Post article at the following link.