1. Ed has a new post about exodus stories. Many of us take non-linear paths out of the church, some with a loop or two back in, for various reasons. But the guy who returned to the LLC to party? That had me SMH, as the kids say, shaking my head! Did you leave and return, and if so, why?
2. Another reader forward this link to Post-Cult Trauma Syndrome. Perhaps you recognize some of these symptoms? (I often feel "out of it" but have accepted it as my normal!)
- flashbacks to cult life
- simplistic black-white thinking
- sense of unreality
- suggestibility, ie. automatic obedience responses to trigger-terms of the cult's loaded language or to innocent suggestions
- disassociation (spacing out)
- feeling "out of it"
- "Stockholm Syndrome": knee-jerk impulses to defend the cult when it is criticized, even if the cult hurt the person
- difficulty concentrating
- incapacity to make decisions
- hostility reactions, either toward anyone who criticizes the cult or toward the cult itself
- mental confusion
- low self-esteem
- dread of running into a current cult-member by mistake
- loss of a sense of how to carry out simple tasks
- dread of being cursed or condemned by the cult
- hang-overs of habitual cult behaviors like chanting
- difficulty managing time
- trouble holding down a job
3. If you happen to be in Stockholm in June, check out the International Cultic Studies Conference. Surely religious scholars in the birthplace of Laestadius will be eager to discuss his legacy? Or not. I think Laestadianism may be the Rodney Dangerfield of religions and cults.
4. Did you ever wonder if Laestadians are similar to Mennonites? Not enough, as I discovered in this hilarious memoir by a Mennonite who left, became a poet with a PhD, divorced her bisexual atheist husband, moved in with her parents, wrote a book and fell for an evangelical biker (with a nail necklace!) after concluding that "nice is better than smart," while exhibiting neither. She's very readable, if not always relatable, but you'll fall in love with her Mennonite mom, and may even get nostalgic for cabbage rolls or fruit soup, if not head coverings, patriarchy, intermarriage, or pat answers for complex questions. But Mennonites rock inclusion, apparently. Go figure.
5. And finally in celebration of the holiday, here's a dark little gem by one of my favorite poets, LOUISE GLÜCK.
ElmsAll day I tried to distinguish
need from desire. Now, in the dark,
I feel only bitter sadness for us,
the builders, the planers of wood,
because I have been looking
steadily at these elms
and seen the process that creates
the writhing, stationary tree
is torment, and have understood
it will make no forms but twisted forms.
Life gets us twisted, yet we yearn for the linear. Silly us.
Okay, that's enough from the peanut gallery; please leave a comment below and get the conversation started. Thanks!