I have had a lot of bad roommate experiences, some worse than others. One interesting thing that one of my roommates did was that, as the time for her to move out drew near, she began to treat me like I was some kind of villain. She would find reasons to be angry with me, reasons that often made no sense. I went on vacation and came home to find the trash in the middle of the floor with a note that said, "It's your turn to take out the trash." Considering that I was the only person who cleaned the house every week and regularly took out the trash as well as a number of other household tasks, this behavior was simply absurd. It got worse and worse until I finally realized what was going on. My roommate owed me some (a lot of) money for unpaid bills. I had been firm about her owing money, but not a nag or unfair about it either. She was not going to be able to pay it. She knew it. I knew it. And in order to not feel bad about moving out and never paying me back, she was trying to find a way to hate me. This would make it okay then because at least then I would be a horrible person who deserved it. The next time she picked a fight with me, I politely informed her that I understood that this was what was going on and it wasn't necessary. That was the end of picking fights with me, thank goodness. Two days after she moved out, she called to inform me that she would never pay me back because she didn't like me and there was no way I would be able to find her (she left no forwarding address). I ended up not pursuing a legal case against her, although it would have been easy since I did know where she worked, but a kind person in my church heard about this and gave me the money that she owed me. I decided to let it go. Also, fuck her.
Because of this knowledge, I am also aware that it may be a defect within us humans to want to do things like this. I have seen in a number of deconversion stories, people who felt the need to demonize the churches they attended in order to feel better about leaving and ending friendships. For those of us who have abandoned faith, there is a certain amount of anger there because we do feel like we were lied to and duped for so long. I must temper this anger with the knowledge that these people truly believe these things and are not willfully being misleading. Quite the opposite, they believe they are pointing their way to truth.
This morning, as I sat in service, I tried to remind myself of the good things about this church that I have attended for nearly four years. Although I have not made any deep friendships here, there is not a single person in the church who I believe speaks ill of me or has treated me badly. The church culture does not put up with things like gossip, a blessing both personally and for the church as a whole. People don't speak ill of one another and see the community as a team. I wish there was more of a culture of outreach, but I will take what they are doing now over some of the churches out there that are completely against outreach, ministry, and helping others. Give me a church who prays for refugees over one that spouts "America for Americans" any day of the week. Like all churches, there are problems, the biggest being our inability to hold onto worship pastors or even pastors in general, but I am proud of how this church handles crisis.
There are frustrating things about Christianity and religion, but these are not the fault of the people who attend this church. I will not turn them into villains in order to make myself feel better about leaving, even now when they are in a bit of a worship leader lurch. No one is making me feel guilty about leaving and there is no reason for me to put that guilt on myself.
I have spent four years with a wonderful group of dedicated people and it wasn't a waste of time.
This is a personal, but secret, blog archiving my deconversion from a Christian to a non-believer.