It has been about 3 weeks since my post on 9 Reasons Why City Harvest Church Was the Devil To Me and till this day I’m still receiving messages & emails from readers.
And while some were super encouraging, with the occasional hate mail here & there… I was more drawn to those who shared with me their own traumatic experiences.
Ahem. I’m not a sadist ah…
Some of you shared your own similar experiences in CHC:
To be honest, I was quite consoled when I read it – because it meant I wasn’t alone. At that time it felt like I was being the difficult one; being rebuked all the time & all that. 😛
However as much as I’m not alone… You guys aren’t either. 🐻
So many people went through similar experiences; so many people understand first-hand what you went through as well. You are not alone here. You weren’t some rotten fruit that deserved to be mistreated, you were’t some suay (unlucky) person that was singled out to be picked on.
…Okay, actually maybe there was a certain level of suay-ness here. I consider myself quite suay to spent years of my youth there. Sigh. No refund, y’know. *heart shatters*
But you’re not alone. You’re not a rotten fruit, you’re not that suay… Haha! You just gathered some interesting experiences and you had the brains & guts to say, “Enough of this shit, I’m out.” And for that, you’re super awesome in my eyes. 😉
Some of you shared your own similar experiences in other megachurches:
I was quite depressed when I saw this.
People say I’m quite an idealist…
But the fact is – the world is beautiful. 🙂
Sure, there are weeds in the garden, but look at it this way. After sharing my story, I received tonnes of encouragements to stay strong, be happy & maybe even go back to God. See? There are more lovely flowers than weeds here.
Sure, I received the occasional hate mail – but they totally pale in comparison to all the encouragement & love I got from readers.
And I tried my best to pass it on by replying each of you when the message had something for me to say. 🙂 Stayed up till 4AM for a few days for you guys y’know… 😛
Some of you said you’ve turned your back on God:
Honestly I’m no one to say anything holy… I don’t have a church I really attend, I’m not baptised, I curse & swear, I sometimes really hate people… So if you turned your back… Then oh well. Can’t blame you.
I did as well, somewhat.
However the Old Dude (yes, God) stood by me through some trying periods, so He’s pretty real in my books. But this is entirely my own thing.
Turn your back on God – okay, fine.
But don’t turn your back on your own life.
You still have a life to lead. Take it as an expensive & painful lesson and gear up with the skills you learned. So you learned that even religion can be manipulated; that ‘holy’ people can be tempted; that you cannot buy into everything people say.
That’s why you have eyes, ears and a brain – you understand what’s going on.
And that’s why you have a mouth – you speak up.
I’m not one to shut up when I feel something not right is going on. To me, inaction is an action of advocation in itself.
Some of you reminded me of some ‘extra’ CHC features:
They’re actually quite amusing.
Looking good for God: Haha! Some ladies shared how they were expected to doll up to attend church. I remember this as well! Makeup and nice clothes – must look good for God. And make the church look like town. Very smart, create a ‘happening’ environment which will encourage people to return.
I understand some churches would like presentable-looking attires; fully understandable. But I got rebuked before for not being ‘as dolled up as the week before’, as it seems like I don’t care about how I look for God. HAHA. Oh gosh.
Money-saving lessons: My favourite. They would teach you ways to save money like don’t eat out so often, don’t shop… (Oh, but must show up in nice clothes and makeup!)
During fellowship (meal times) I was also told not to order drinks, so I can save money to give the church.
Because apparently the Ribena juice served during holy communion will quench my thirst or something. *shrugs*
Financial tier giving: To give due credit, they did take into consideration people’s financial limitations. So if you’re a student, you give $xx; if you’re retired, $xx; if you’re working & earning this much; $xx…
GIRO your tithe: Can’t believe I didn’t write about this one; guess because I didn’t use it. But yes, you can GIRO your tithing to God when you’re in CHC! They say you cannot be late when giving to God, because that shows lack of sincerity. So the church helps you along by automatically deducting money from your bank account every month to give to God, or whatever god-worthy-status-thingy.
Think of it like insurance – except for this, you pay for your entry into Heaven rather than your potential accidents etc.
Must SMILE when putting your offering/tithing/pledge fund envelope into the bucket: Apologies – I wrote ‘pouch’ the other time. CHC actually uses buckets to collect the envelopes.
So yes, must SMILE ah! “God loves a cheerful giver!”
Seriously, people. What the royal f**k.
Giving an amount that’s beyond your comfortable amount is good: Because you need to get out of your comfort zone in order to grow – this I agree with in some aspects, not this though!
But yes, you must show God that you love Him so so so much that you’re willing to live uncomfortably so that you can give money to the church.
You – child of God, yes. Live uncomfortably, because that’s what your Father in Heaven wants apparently. For you to live uncomfortably.
All the money you give us goes to Heaven, waiting for you: Y’know at that time I was still thinking, “Hmm! If like that, how will the money I give in this lifetime be enough to sustain me for eternity??” Then I wanted to give some more. -_- So clever, I was.
No reason not to give when there are solutions and not to forget the generous payment options available!
BAH. I’ll be fully honest here – God’s love is FREE-OF-CHARGE. If you believe in God; then you’re pretty much insulting Him right here. Jesus died for you – but you still need to top up cash to gain entry into Heaven? So you’re saying that Jesus blood not worth enough? And I really don’t think there’s anywhere in the Bible that says something along the lines of – “Thou shall present money to gain entry into Heaven.” Got express line, not?
The best work of the devil isn’t plotting you against God; it’s making you think he isn’t anywhere near you. Think about this for a minute.
All of the experiences might seem funny & ridiculous right now – but it really hurt people who went through it personally. People; who are supposed to be children of God. Why would you hurt people like that? Really, why?
Sure, you say that you don’t force them to give – it’s entirely out of their freewill. Is it though?
If your definition of force is to hold a gun to their heads and make them give money or else you’ll shoot – then yes, you didn’t force anyone. And in my opinion, you didn’t force them because it was an illegal method. Not to mention, people will stop returning. Why take a big sum once from them; when you can take small to medium amounts for a long time?
My definition of force is that you created an obligation that resulted in negative consequences when not met. It’s only natural that a person would want to avoid negative consequences – so therefore they do their darnest to meet that obligation you set.
It saddens me to see people like this. 😦
Anyways – there are some readers who have shared some innermost feelings & experiences with me. I’m really honoured that you decided to trust me. 🙂 And don’t worry, my lips are sealed. It’s your story to tell/share – I’m honoured enough you trusted me enough to open up. 🐻 Super glad that I’m able to listen & maybe ease your hearts that little bit. 😉