Parent is a member of crazy church, what and how to say something

My mother and her husband have been members of a church for sometime about 8 to 10 years, on a shallow level, and about 2 years in REAL deep (weekday meetings, and every sunday for service) and this church scares me. From everything I have heard & overheard, the church seems like a charismatic church, and having had one grandmother who was pentecostal, I fear for her being a part of this church.

This is the about page from their website:
http://www.ccirricana.ca/page8.php

A site from the parent church includes a GREAT event, the Darwin was Wrong Conference: http://www.calvarychapel.com/events.cfm

The founder Chuck Smith, also sounds like a nut bag!
http://calvarychapel.pbworks.com/

The church attacks other denominations and seems dogmatic. According to my step-sister they also hold an anti-homosexual viewpoint. They have a bible college, and also believe in witnessing.

And to top it off, they align themselves with TV money grubbing “churches” - From here: http://withchrist.org/cchapel.htm

Another site has many scary testimonials:


It seems since my mom’s involvement with the church, there has been a growing distance between her and I, while she spends more & more time on her church.

The church scares me, and I would like to talk with my mom about it, and see where she is on a fanaticism scale, but I am afraid that if she is too deep, the rift would be too big to heal, but if she is not too deep, this may be the wake up call needed.

Now many people may think I should just keep my mouth shut, but I would prefer to first try to help and at least try to plant the seeds of doubt, and if that fails, I would then drop the subject for ever more.

I would like some advice on how much to say and whether to write it, or say it in person.

My mom & I don’t talk frequently in person but I would be willing to save this for a visit with her.

Your mother is presumptively over 21, and thus entitled to choose her own church. Afraid I don’t see a happy ending to you trying to talk her out of it. People that buy in to that kind of thing aren’t going to be persuaded by reasonable argument.

Although I doubt I can talk her out of it, I think I can at least plant seeds of doubt.

My mom remembers my grandmother on my dad’s side well enough, and I am sure she is more in a state right now where she needs the community & the fellowship of the church, but has yet to see how this church resembles the church of my grandmother.

She has been through an emotional time the past few years, and she has always been a bit depressive, and I think for her right now the activities of the church are keeping her busy, so she doesn’t have to deal with her emotional issues.

Psychologically, this church seems to me to be her current “addiction”, and I think she has not researched her church and although she is way beyond 21, many people of every age get sucked in by the community of groups such as this, and don’t realize the cultish nature until they are stuck for fear of losing that community - I fear she may be at this stage, not the all out fanatic stage.

Well, they definitely look like a very conservative - maybe fundamentalist - church, but I’m not seeing the danger signs of a cult. As far as

many of these are not my cup of tea but the only one that really raises red flags is if they are really attacking other denominations. I didn’t see this on their website, but didn’t look too deeply.

The other stuff is typical conservative evangelical/charismatic stuff. You may not like it but your mom and stepdad are grown-ups.

I did some more reading about Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel on Wikipedia.

Again, not where I’m at as a Christian, but I’d say within the continuum of legitimate Christian churches. There is also this discussion of whether they are a cult:

Are you sure that’s a good thing to do? Your mother has found something that apparently makes her happy in some way. That something is legal, and appears to do her no harm. Why would you take that away from her?

It’s definitely not my cup of tea. I’m an atheist, and I’d rather drink bourbon. Still, different strokes for different folks…

I agree with Oakminster. My parents are pentecostal Christians and raised me in the same fashion. Ever since I ceased to identify myself as Christian, we have had a very difficult time discussing anything having to do with religion.

The last time we had such a discussion was when mom announced that she was boycotting Pepsi because of its “homosexual agenda.” I told her the only organization I know of with a homosexual agenda is one she supports: Focus on the Family, who had recently published an article in one of their magazines (Citizen) including support for Referendum 71. I explained that because Senate Bill 5688 had nothing to do with marriage but rather domestic partnerships, any attempt to deny homosexuals the rights granted them by Senate Bill 5688 was undeniably bigoted, even from a fundamentalist Christian point of view.

My mother’s response was that I had better change the subject lest she throw something fragile across the room.

How about start by asking what activities your parents are doing as part of their church. See if these are things you have problems with people doing. If they are not involved with the parts of this church you find scary, say something like “Oh, good, I’m glad your part of X, I know you’ll enjoy that and help many people, as well as give glory to the Lord. When I heard you were getting more active in this church I was worried you were part of Y, which scared me, because you had always taught me that Y was inconsistent with Z.”

Y Anti-homosexuals politics Z The church and state should be separate or God created every human just the way He wanted them or All people deserve respect

Y Pushy witnessing Z Not forcing my views on others or All people should think for themselves or You catch more flys with honey than with vinegar.

Y Attacking other denominations Z God guides the entire Church not just one part or Prov 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall or God’s truth is so big no one denomination can hold all of it.
If, on the other hand your mom is involved with a part of this church you radically disagree with, point out how it is inconsistent with something she had taught you. Don’t attack her choice in getting more involved with the church and don’t attack the church as a whole – both will be perceived as attacks on your mom. Keep your talks about this loving and low key, stressing you don’t understand how she had always taught you Z and now she is going Y, not that she or her church is wrong or bad or evil.

As others have pointed out your parents are adults and can make choices for themselves. You can always find other things to talk about, that have nothing to do with the church, in future talks with your parents.

I wish it was that easy, and that we had a normal parent/child relationship, where those separations could be made. Since I was a teen, I have been her sounding board, taken care of her emotionally, and helped her through decisions. I am nearly 40, and she is nearly 60, and although both of us are adults, I have felt protective of her most of my life, and these feelings are hard to change.

Her husband, who although I like him, he’s far too young, and came around far too recently to be called stepdad. They make a good couple, but it would be too much of a giggle to call a man only a few years older than me a step father.

Perhaps I am over protective of my mom, and it may be time to let go, but I have not seen her more happy from the church, only busier.

She still seems just as sad & lonely as before the church, and there has been less frequent contact with the family because of the busywork she does for the church, and this just sparked my protectiveness into action, as well as a possessiveness from feelings the church is taking her away from me.

It may be better for me plan it out so she can’t change plans and get her to visit and talk, and if her church comes up in discussion (by her choice), I will be patient and ask her questions, and although I may bring up the affiliation of her church with its leader and what I see as potential issues with the leader and other dogma, I will try to remain focused on her, her own beliefs, and her own feelings so I can better understand her.