A Reply to 'String Bean'

By Ex Christadelphian Joseph Strong

A Reply To A Moderate Christadelphian.

This is a post from our Christadelphian commenter known as "string bean."

"John seems to have deleted another post while I was in the middle of composing a devastating riposte to it. So I'll post it here instead...

John - yes I am indeed for better or worse still a member of a small fundamentalist sect which you left many years ago. That's probably accidental, it's the community I grew up in, and rather like any tribe or extended family I am well aware of some of its faults and embarrassing mad aunts. I do not however feel responsible for any and every CDn website or Facebook post, just as I am not responsible for any UK government statements or indeed for the lamentable performance of the England cricket team, just because I am also a member of the British "tribe" . You will not goad me into revealing more personal information than I choose to. My points remain:

1. There are a lot of things wrong with many corners of traditional CDia, both in doctrine and practice, and people are right to challenge this and sensible to escape if they can't change it locally. This can be very traumatic for those whose whole life is wrapped up in a very strict cult-like atmosphere, and they deserve support 

2. Other (small) parts of CDia offer a more open, more tolerant place to be, which some of those escaping may find a refuge instead of leaving altogether (or perhaps en route). It is possible to ditch the worst aspects of cultishness and attempt to find a better way, often embracing more social involvement, not being afraid of modern science, using the talents of all members, not insisting on every clause in the BASF, learning from and working with other mainstream churches. I would like people to know that this option is potentially available to them, depending on geography, and object to the entire denomination being stereotyped by its extremes, even though stereotyping and mockery can be amusing.

3. Everyone needs a sense of purpose and vision in their life, and all we can do is offer to support one another along the road with understanding and try not to be hampered by bitterness. Some may find that even though they have ditched 90% of the doctrines the example of Jesus continues to nag away at them as having something worth clinging onto. All the best to everyone in their journey".
Dear Mr String of Pearls, String Bean, String Vest,G-String or other String related object you are today.

None of us should be embarrassed by having mad aunts, mad recording brethren, or indeed any barking mad member of our groups. It's just that your particular sect seem to like to put your mad aunt at the steering wheel of the bus, let her choose the route, and handed her a megaphone to lean out of the bus window shouting through, while the rest of you take your hearing aids out and put your blindfolds on.

 Of course you are not responsible for for any action of the UK government, it is against your religion to take part in the choice of that government, the running of that government,or get rid of it when you feel it is doing wrong. It is for the rest of us to do that. Your group have neatly placed yourselves outside of any of that responsibility, and left it to everybody else to deal with it.

I like your idea of Christadelphian support. You tell us that that those whose lives have become traumatic by being wrapped up in a cult like atmosphere where both doctrine and practice are wrong should......er......leave.....no sorry, ESCAPE!! and that they need a place of REFUGE from their brethren and sisters in Christ. I note that you feel no responsibility to change that situation from within. The common name for this is "blaming the victim".
Dare I say it that this is like telling people that live in a high burglary area that it is their fault and the best answer to it is to move?

You tell us two things, firstly that just a small part of Christadelphianism is an open tolerant place to be, and embraces social involvment and science. What does this tell us of the majority and how it follows Christ's teaching?

Despite your wanting us to know about these pockets of tolerence you are not brave enough to tell us where they are (I do know of a couple in the UK). What, or who,  is it that you fear?

You object to your denomination being stereotyped by it's extremes and yet yours has been calling the Catholic denomination "The Great Whore" for the best part of 170 years, and your leading publications continue to do so. Your writers do the same for every other denomination too, and do it on a regular basis. As a group with no leadership you always have the get out clause that it is not you as a whole, just one individual, or individuals. It is never your business. You can pass by on the other side.

I heartily agree with your final paragraph. That is where I find myself. Please stay with us here, and despite the above, keep offering sanctuary to those traumatised brethren, sisters and young people who have walked away from the cult like atmosphere that they have escaped from. They need it like you could never know.

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