Last night, while sorting through pictures of my childhood, I unearthed poison in page form. Correspondence from the Fellowship to my father.
It showed the control and manipulation of its people, from head to body, and brought it all up to brush against my brain like flickering tongues of the past — making me shiver; making me sick.
“The wife is a reflection of her husband’s glory.”
She’s a reflection. Not a reality.
Phrases diminishing womankind to image, not substance, were everywhere. And even then, only if the woman’s married. If not, she’s nothing at all.
According to the Fellowship, as that reflection of my husband, everything I do and say should be to glorify him. And in so doing, my service to him reflects his service to God.
I see this as nothing more than How to Control and Cower your Girl. Misogyny in a nut sack 101.
I went on to read the following: “Wives can bless or hinder.”
(With the fellowship, the onus was always on the woman.)
It drones on. “As the body is responsible to the head in all matters, even so a wife should respond to her husband, fulfilling his desire.”
I was to serve without thought. I was to be all action. Fulfilling his desire. After all, isn’t that what we were created for? Cisterns to be filled by him.
Brains were unnecessary and even repellent in the Fellowship. Definitely damning. Just look at what Eve caused when she thought for herself…
The “head to body” analogy didn’t stop at husband and wife, though. As husband is to wife, so is pastor to congregation.
They demanded servant’s hearts from all.
And what of it, some may say? Isn’t that what should be expected of God’s people? Scripture says so.
And on paper, it looks okay. “Our service should be proportionate to the degree of honor that we have for one another.”
Problem was, Fellowship servitude was one-sided. Congregation to leadership. Wife to husband. Never reciprocated. Indentured servitude. We had no identity, no rights, our thoughts were dismantled and destroyed. We were the body, moving according to the head’s desires.
Serve or sever. That’s the point I was at. So I severed ties and left those snakes with their fangs and their poison far behind.
Or so I thought.
The brood of vipers I uncovered last night in my basement are still dangerous. Like a head poised to strike after the body has been hacked from the source, fangs still present, puncture still potent, poison still a threat.
All those words unearthed have left me reeling with nausea and insecurity.
Reading them, I see the shadowy ghosts of my past reflected in the present day. All around me are charismatic outreaches pulling children into their frenzy. I see seemingly sane adults lining up to follow snake-oil salesmen with thick orange scales.
That’s how it all began way back when, in my painstaking past.
A servants’ heart with no semblance of sense is a recipe for dictatorship.
Trust nothing that tells you to follow blindly. Trust no one who demands you serve without question.
I refuse to subjugate myself ever again. I will enter into partnerships willingly. But I will never, ever enter into subjugation again. Ever.
I am not a mirror. I am a person — an individual with hopes and dreams and desires of my own.
As a wife, I can bless or hinder? I have so many problems with that statement. So I reject it in its entirety.
As a woman, I bless myself by using the brains the Good Lord gave me to break free from any hint of hindrance through diseased dogma.
It will never get its fangs in me again.