The Legacy of the Worldwide Church of God

What it was like growing up in a cult and its impact on my life and others like me.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Learning how to express joy and celebrate

Part of being a member of the Worldwide Church of God meant that you no longer celebrated worldly holidays like birthdays, Christmas, New Years, and many other average holidays. The church taught that these were pagan perversions of real holy days and self serving. But even the required church holy days were often somber affairs, subdued, and consisting of many hour long church services. I dont even really remember celebrating baby or wedding showers. There was only one holyday I can really remember as being joyful and fun and that was The Night to be Remembered where we gathered to have a fancy dinner and celebrate Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. But even that usually consisted of a somber ministerial lesson. The Feast of Tabernacles usually provided a few hours of fun after the church services but we were still instructed with church services and activities were monitored and church appropriate. Dancing was formal only and for all activities a subdued, grown up attitude was expected of even small children. I grew up not fully understanding the joy of celebrating.

My family also maintained a subdued/somber lifestyle. We rarely attended any community parties or functions. Home parties were non-existant outside of a rare bowl of icecream for a school achievement or picnic with grandparents or on occasion extended family members. By the time I graduated highschool I didnt even want the celebratory bowl of ice cream. It was wrong to have attention. When I left the church I had a hard time dealing with knowing how to celebrate. My first husbands mother floored me when she threw me my first surprise birthday party at 22 years old. Even now with children of my own Im sometimes embarrassed and afraid of throwing large celebrations. But why is this? Why did the church make me feel that celebrations were wrong?

Supposedly we were supposed to refain from vain things. We werent supposed to seek material pleasures. We were supposed to concentrate on being godly. Somber. Mature.

Then why did God give us the capability to laugh, and smile, hug and leap in joy? Why cant we celebrate the life God gave us? He gave us this life didnt he? We know that these are good things. What is more joyful than a childs laugh? Why cant we express our love in celebration? Why cant we give gifts in appreciation? Why cant we cherish the people we care about? Why cant we have fun and not feel guilty about it. Why cant we celebrate the joy of our families and living?

The answer is....WE CAN. I am just learning the true joy in that.


Post a Comment

<< Home