Cult Life

     Things are different since we joined.  When I say "we," I mean my younger sister Elizabeth and me.  My parents are either so old, or (more likely) so enamored with middle class life, that they can't see what's best for them.  And my brother is in his third year attending a private religious college (I don't recall the denomination) and tried to talk us out of our alleged misguidedness.  He's studying to be a reverend.
     My sister was still in school, and she tried to make it work for a while.  It was tough for her, having been a star athlete and an honor roll student.  But by the end of it, she was accepting and not sorry to go.  She'd been mocked and jeered, even by her supposed best friends.  One of her teachers had a talk with her after school, and said he was worried that Liz was risking her scholarship opportunities and that she appeared to have been brainwashed - that this thing was taking over her whole life and causing her to alienate herself.  My sister tried to explain things to him, but the teacher wouldn't hear it.  He called her a fanatic.  She told me how mad he was as he slammed his door and drove off, the sun reflecting off the luxury badge and the small gold fish on the back of his new car.  I've got to hand it to Liz; she repeatedly suffered misapprehension but still kept it together and stayed true to us.  And two of her classmates actually listened to her... two, out of two hundred.  They were of age, so leaving didn't present any legal issues.  That was a relief.  And both of them (one boy, one girl) had pretty mixed up parents who were probably just as glad to be rid of them.  It's interesting; I've noticed that we often tend to attract people who come from such backgrounds.  Not always, but often.
     I don't mean to imply, by the way, that it wasn't tough for me.  It was just tough in a different way.  My sacrifices were those of a man in his mid-twenties, but they were still sacrifices, and sacrifices are required of us.  It would hardly be worth being a part of otherwise.  That's the nature of seeking the greater good.
     I'll never forget the look my girlfriend gave me:  head half turned, eyes sideways and suspicious, a bit of a sneer.  Suddenly I was plainly unworthy; undesirable.  She moved to the other side of the couch, but we were already much farther apart.  If only she had understood, what a life we might have had!  But I've come to realize that some don't desire enlightenment.
     My dad said I was crazy to cancel my insurance and cash in my mutual funds.  "Six years of patient investing, wasted!"  he yelled.  "And what if you have some kind of accident?  What then?"  I told him that we're in unity and we all take care of each other's needs, and that there were sometimes amazing healings.  He called me an immature fool.  Well, he may have helped me pick those funds, but the money was mine, and I believe it belongs with my people.  Everyone contributes what they can to our communal cause, and what I was able to contribute was money, along with some nice furniture and other things for our homes.  And I certainly didn't need to lease a sports car anymore.  I suppose the most difficult oblation for me so far has been the two times I was thrown in jail (on allegations of public disturbance).  That was more of a shock to me than was giving up the material things, but I got through it.
     As far as my job goes, I don't miss it much.  It just didn't mesh with the Teachings, so I knew what I had to do.  I can still pick up money here and there if it's needed, working odd jobs.  But there's plenty of work to be done for our fledgling group anyway.  If anything, we need more hands!
     And we do get them.  For instance, a couple of us were at the airport, and we met a guy in the terminal.  We all started talking, and before long he was one of us, too.  Some are like that; they recognize the value of what we offer right off, and find peace and fulfillment.  Some take a little longer; more ties to break, I suppose.  And of course some are flat out against us - violently, even.  That's their choice and we don't try to drag them by the hair.  If we did, we'd just have to try to hang on to them by it for ever after.  We hardly have the time or energy for that.  There's a new age of harmony, love, and equity coming, and we're right on the edge of it!
     Yeah, things are different.  I've never supported change just for change's sake, but I'm still pliable enough to not resist a change that's plainly for the better.  It's a hard life in many ways, but I wouldn't leave it for anything.  It's worth it to be a Christian.

(Luke 14:33, Luke 18:29-30, Acts 4:32-35)