I remember the strangest fucking experience to going to church for me is them saying Ialdabaoth. This in combination with really weird lyrics to hymnals I talked to you guys about before like "please LORD consume me utterly."
I actually think it was a pretty damn hard experience for me to describe to a foreigner but let me put it to you this way, I'd previously only had passing experience with Catholicism and Presbyterian social gatherings the presbies are basically just Unitarianism with less God and more 50 year old ladies gossiping over browniesit at least taught me delayed gratification and patience as a kid because it taught me if I could suffer through an hour of these boring as fuck sermons on uncomfortable wooden benches I'd get cookies and brownies at the end of itthis was largely a lie there are no cookies and brownies and no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow when misery is pointless
and so had largely held my experience of Christianity as being in muh bibble. That, and whatever cultural traces of it.
So here I am, surrounded by all these fucking people in literally the way back woods, I mean you had to actually drive past God's forgotten villages to get to this church. There was no cellphone service. It didn't exist. Which at least was refreshing getting so far off the grid.
Meanwhile this is a nondenominational church which had in it a combination of some real salt of the earth folks along with born agains, some real fanatics, probably a couple of Baptist tier "look good on Sunday and be depraved on Saturday," and a bunch...odd, folks from the hills. By and large they were good folks but the most striking feature, to me at least, was the absence of Christ on the Cross. It just struck me personally as a bit peculiar to have this big wooden cross as the centerpiece and with no Jesus on it nor images of Jesus around, and they kinda tended to spend about 90% of their time on Romans and a few choice OT books like Leviticus. My one pastor who I actually liked and trusted and was I think a born again who led some sketchy life of crime out on the other end of the country before being Saved and coming here tended more towards the Gospels, which really now that I think of it a lot of the people who call "cultural Christianity" and I privately call them trailer park Jews are raised that way whereas from what I gather basically all the born agains get drawn in by the Gospels. I hadn't thought of this until now but now that I do it's really striking.
Meanwhile I am convinced the other dude may have been a bit closeted and sonbasket tier, and his mother definitely struck me as unfriendly. They'd do things like organize trips to evangelize in South America and have a food pantry although in retrospect I mostly knew that pantry as now that I think of it a bit Communist in spirit in that it really seemed to just serve as free food for members where you gave according to what you could donate and members took when they needed it.
One of the things always privately amused me was the fact that some of it was unintentionally sexually graphic. I knew at that point a lot of these people really weren't psych major tiers, would not have analyzed themselves like that or thought like this anyway, and that it was all really unwitting, but it was super, super conservative. And I mean like, way beyond even I had in my worst puritanism and fanaticism. So much as hugging or holding holds was frowned upon. God help you if you cohabited with anyone you weren't married to. For reasons I am not going to get into that are ultimately either too identifying or too much everyone else's business the whole thing struck me as wildly dysfunctional towards the end, and ultimately less about the Scriptural than the rules this subsociety deemed important or not with open hostility sadly not towards gov at all, but solely whether the person was a fatposter or not. I am convinced the majority of those people made excuses for Trump's wanton depravity in Scriptural contexts, and I warned them repeatedly because they had a penchant for taking that "obedience to earthly authorities and politicians because God put them there" thing that God allowed even the devil himself his season upon the earth and that the antichrist itself would be allowed to be the global political power, but I digress. Former point being, that they would do things like bless a person, and start talking about things like "heavenly father please enter her, please fill her mouth and fill her up with your spirit oh lawd" and I could tell nobody was really even consciously aware of how that sounded and the way they'd sublimated their sex drives.
I'd had a great many amusing or alien experiences with that church regardless the fact it's the one I liked the most, partly because it was so sincere. But at the same time, it really forced me to step back and think about what I was doing and saying and believing and how unhealthy it was, particularly seeing the coldness and cruelty of one of its more fanatical members to a kid and I'm like you know what you don't follow your own damn rules. This involved other amusingly inaccurate comments like telling me the Indians smoked weed to worship the demonic spirits. I don't think a lot of them understood that those pipes are for tobacco.
But like I said they largely were sincere people with real faith and I appreciated that over all the other stuff, but your Ialdabaoth comment sticks out because we had hymnals worshipping that name. Like literally, I was given some sheet praising Yaldabaoth. I'd preciously understood the name only from Gnosticism so it took me for surprise. It also ended up having a lot of Islamic tier feels, like we are ultimately all the slaves of Yaldabaoth and should be happy about that because faith and obedience are the highest aspirations of man and so on. Really I think my main problem with it at the end was ultimately I did not see it bringing a lot of light and joy in people's lives and they tended towards extra-Scriptural things while flatly ignoring Scripture including even verses on the very same page to push the church more towards embracing an aspect of the kulturkampf I had no interest in, and it felt pretty cultish but I didn't sense a ton of that charity or an internally loving and loyal cult.
Maybe this summer I should try and find a black church to go to. It's also been on my wishlist for awhile now to check out an Orthodox or slav one but well then the pandemic hit so so much for that.