There is one thing the WCG – quite unwittingly, I might add – trained me to do that is proving itself very useful in this culture.
They taught me how to stand in the face of some pretty awesome pressure without flinching.
See, the WCG culture was in opposition to the dominant culture of the world in some very specific and immediate ways. Since we did not celebrate most of the holidays that everyone else did – in fact, thought them evil – we had to answer for our faith in ways that sometimes approached actual persecution.
(of course, in the American culture, the word persecution is greatly misused, which is why I say sometimes approached. Ask the Apostle Paul what he would think of our persecution and he’d laugh in our faces).
But we had to answer for our faith. Every time we sat out a birthday, or a Halloween party, or a Christmas celebration, it cemented the fact that we were different, and we were faced with a choice. Give in, or stand our ground.
We stood our ground.
It was not easy sometimes. With the benefit of hindsight, I’d say we did a pretty crappy job of picking our battles most of the time. But you can’t get that kind of training in a school. I learned not to care what other people thought, and I learned that some things are worth standing up for, even if everyone else in the world believes you are insane.
The things the WCG stood up for were, generally, not these things. But it’s the principle of the thing, as Little John said in “Robin Hood, Men in Tights”!
I am center-right. I am not in any way liberal, though I don’t agree with many of the things that conservatives believe in either. But this culture puts a tremendous amount of pressure on people like me to “tow the party line”.
I don’t care what they think. I mean, I literally, and with no exaggeration, give no concern whatsoever to what they think.
I don’t care what they tell me about the social issues of today. For example, the idea that men can be women is laughable on its face, and I don’t care what they think of that! The only thing they can do to me is maybe (maybe) impact my livelihood or make life a little more inconvenient for a short time.
On balance, I consider this perhaps the most invaluable thing that the WCG taught me. Because most people seem to be under the delusions that most social activists (and, frankly, on both sides) have their best interests at heart.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I was trained to stand for what I believe in. By a cult who believed in things not worth standing for. That’s how it works, isn’t it?