Trinity United Methodist Church Gainesville FL
Date: October 07, 2016 11:50PM
Hello, I live in an area of the USA known as the "Bible Belt" for the large number of conservative Christian churches. Last year I made the mistake of attending a Relationship Rebuilding workshop at a local church . Since I'm not a church-goer, I did not know a thing about the church, but the workshop claimed to not be related to the church and to only be using the facilities. This has turned out to be literally one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I had no idea that this kind of depth of evil existed. One of the church "volunteers" at the workshop began stalking me on Facebook and discovered the false name I used to post on a private, closed support group for people with pelvic and genital pain. She then spread word throughout the Relationship Rebuilding workshop and the church and then throughout the city that I had a sexually transmitted disease (actually not true--I suggested the disease was such a common cause of pain, with upwards of 50% of the population having it, that everybody in the Facebook pelvic/genital pain support group should try medication and see if it helped their pain).
Anyway, I spoke with the directors of the Relationship Rebuilding workshop at the church who spoke with the woman spreading the rumors and claimed that nothing was going on. I started being shunned at work, and the woman who had been spreading rumors, along with a friend of hers, began showing up at social gatherings where they knew I would be (club get-togethers), stalking me in person now as well as on Facebook. Consequently, with the stalking and the shunning, I wrote a negative review of the church on Yelp (an internet review site) last December 2015. Apparently the church feels extremely threatened by this, as they have not only spread my name and "story" (the false story ) throughout all the churches in my city, they now have all the church members shunning me. Literally nobody at my workplace will speak to me beyond the minimum they have to say to do work. Some people will not even say hello to me. One woman won't even get on the elevator with me. My boss, who is a fundamentalist Christian, has also joined in--I'm the only person in my department who doesn't have a telephone, and if I make even the tiniest mistake, I get an email about it (my last two annual evals have been impeccable, and she is clearly searching for ways to criticize me). The most concerning aspect, though, is that the physicians I see for my health disorders are also apparently conservative Christians and are starting to back off from assisting me. Part of the shunning, of course, is that no one admits they are shunning. One of my former "friends," after I sent an email to her pastor about her hypocrisy in shunning me, sent me an email back with the subject line "Shitfuck" and the one-word sentence, "Working?" I assume that referred to whether the shunning was "working"--and I guess the email could have come from her pastor although I assume it came from her! (via an email anonymizer).
It's hard to believe that these right-wing churches have this much membership in a city of 200,000, but they do. It's amazing to me that EDUCATED, PROFESSIONAL people (I work at a hospital) actually believe they are fulfilling their Christian duty by shunning somebody! The snake pit of evil is breathtaking.
I should add that this church's website is all about how full of LOVE their church is, and that people should come to their church to feel the LOVE of Christ. The truth is, they lure people into their church with a loving message but their practice is shame-and-blame-and-shun.
I am open to suggestions about what to do about all this. The shunning all started before my Yelp review of the church, so I believe shining a light on the evil of the church (rather than trying to run from it) is the only solution. Ironically I became a Christian only about 6 months before this experience. Needless to say, I am not tempted to attend any churches after this experience--thanks be to Jesus that he wants a personal experience with all his subjects and that you don't need a church to come between yourself and God!
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