About 40 years ago, my husband and I were excommunicated from a cult because we had joined a singing group. They said we were heretics, though we are still believing and practicing Christians, and broke up our family.
We have since moved to another province and contacted a childhood friend of mine who is still in the cult. We are friendly with her and her husband and when we have to visit their city will attend the service, though we have to sit at the back, and then we go to lunch.
A mutual friend who is in the cult, came to our province to visit. We were visiting their city for a doctor’s appointment and invited my friend and husband, the mutual friend and her friend whom we had never met, to come and have dinner at our hotel. We provided the dinner. Immediately after the church service, we went and had coffee. During coffee, the mutual friend said, and I quote, “Why are you not in fellowship?” I replied, “I had enough trouble getting out of it, why would I want to get back into it?” She said, “Oh, well, they had a lot of silly rules then, they have changed.” They have NOT changed, they have got some different silly rules now. They went to their Bible Study and we went back to the hotel.
We served homemade spaghetti and meat balls, home made penne pasta with chicken and Alfredo Sauce, Salad, French Bread, Red and White Wine. Dessert was Jeanette’s left-over birthday cake with strawberries.
We reminisced a great deal and then the mutual friend started to attack us again, even worse. She told us we were wrong for going to the Baptist Church because they don’t have communion every Sunday and that is the one thing Jesus has asked us to do. I riposted by saying that Jesus also asked us to wash the disciples feet and your church doesn’t do that. I must go back by saying she started the conversation again by the, “Why are you not in the fellowship, you should be in the fellowship.” Finally, my husband said, “Just don’t go there!” She kept it up and finally he said, “This is my house and I will not continue this conversation.” She then said, “It is a hotel and NOT your house.” Then my husband said, “I have paid for this room and it is my house until tomorrow morning.” She finally stopped.
Can you believe this? I knew I had to be blunt over the exchange in the coffee shop because these people do NOT take NO for answer. My answer to normal people would probably have been, “Well, we have now joined the Baptist Church,” and a normal person would have left it at that.
Your thoughts would be appreciated. 0406-11
First, there will be people commenting on this post advising you to cut off all ties to anyone associated with this “cult”. It doesn’t appear you are in any danger of being kidnapped or damaged in any way by continuing a civil relationship with your friend and her husband. (Note to readers: Comments will not be approved if they focus on religious differences, rants, insults, instead of the etiquette of the situation.)
If your religious convictions are strong, you could view your continued association with friends still in the the church as a way to help them see the errors in their church’s doctrine. People firm in their religious beliefs are rarely rattled by someone else having a different religion or theology. It does not threaten their faith to hear something that differs from their beliefs. You, your husband, your friend and her husband can have a pleasant friendship because both couples are comfortable in their beliefs and being near someone different doesn’t shake that whereas the mutual friend is behaving as if she was threatened and must reconcile the conflict she feels. I would view her aggressive questions and hostility as a chink in the armor that I might exploit for her edification. Continued demands for answers is clearly an invitation to address the topic with her but perhaps with calm answers she may not expect to hear.
If the topic of why you left that church is not open for discussion with anyone, I would have bean dipped like a fiend every time she asked impertinent questions about it. Yes, there will be an awkwardness to the conversation when she asks and get utterly ignored with a conversational redirection but she’s creating it. You are merely being the good host and conversational gatekeeper by keeping the conversation on its original track. This is one of those times when a stunned, icy stare comes in handy when someone has the audacity to be nosy about matters that are none of their business.