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Nicole Paradigm: ALL MEDIA-ALL THE TIME

With April Nicole
Monday, November 02, 2015 7:12 PM

Gang-Banging on Holy Ground: Jumped In With No Escape Route

By: April Nicole

When she walked down the aisle to finally become a member of the family she was welcomed with open arms along with about 100 others that were grinning like Cheshire cats. She had taken a plunge and from the enthusiasm of the crowd she felt like she belonged. So many people had encouraged her to weigh her options and visit other places. The place that she now called “home” and the people that she now referred to as “family” were nothing like the brigade that had been described nor the cult that everyone had compared it to. There was no David Kuresh, no kool-aid and she could come and go as she pleased.

For the next 11 years she and her closest friends fully adapted to the gang life. They never missed Sunday and Monday meetings nor the monthly week long mandatory events. Missing these was frowned upon and meant that you were not serious about growing in the family. Eventually some of her closest friends became weary. So was she but she was convinced that if she chose to leave that surely her lifespan would be cut short.

One of her friends met a nice guy during one of the weekly meetings. They dated for two years and eventually decided that they wanted to be married. They were considered to be leaders and had to get permission to date and marry from the head of the family. Dating was frowned upon and in order to find a suitable companion approval was necessary. Needless to say the young couple did not meet the approval of the necessary individuals. They soon left the family and never returned.

There are surmountable stories, I could go on and on. The many years that these individuals attended but never advanced financially nor changed their marital statuses, never missed paying their dues was equal to the number of years that the government has been searching for Jimmy Hoffa. Attending the meetings with sick kids, elderly parents and hearts that longed for more-leaving always wanting greater.

I wish I could only give an account of this story through the eyes of someone else but unfortunately I witnessed this first hand. While I learned so much, became more disciplined and made great connections I lived in fear. I walked a straight chalk line that had boundaries. I learned all I could and when I had questions I was told by the leader to bury them. That meant I wasn’t mature enough to make any decisions on my own. When I met a guy that was compatible we had to sneak around and date because he was too fearful of the rejection that was guaranteed from the leader

I finally left the “gang” in 2011 and opted for a smaller “gang” that seemed to have less restrictions. However after being there for a year and sitting in a “meeting” with my two children while my lights and water were off at my home , having only enough money to either purchase  gas or food, with tears in my eyes I decided I was done. This was not what life was all about

As you may now know this “gang” that I am referring to is the church. Not just any church but a mega church. I dedicated my time, my energy and my resources and though I gained so much I left with so little. There was a clear way in but no way out. The spirit of liberty and love was stifled with many rules and regulations.

I still have friends that are trying to get out. Fear coupled with intimidation keeps them bound.  The greatest step that I ever made was a step in the direction of finding Jesus for myself. Be clear: I do not believe in forsaking the assembling of believers but the church is in need of a refreshing and it is crucial to the movement that lies ahead.

Meanwhile I am trying to build an Underground Railroad to let me people go…….

Check out my past podcast show “All Churched Out and Nowhere to Run So I Ran to YOU”

http://spiceoflyfe.podomatic.com/entry/2012-09-12T17_10_22-07_00

 

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