10 silent rules and expectations that finally get you in the end!

"Rules and Expectations" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Rules and Expectations” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

  1. You can ask benign questions as long as you never disagree with the pastor.
  2. When you’re given advice, they’re actually instructions.
  3. If you are encouraged to confess your sins, it’s really information gathering.
  4. The invitation to repent is actually a command to accept the blame.
  5. Meetings at the church aren’t optional. You’re expected to be there.
  6. Offerings are spiritual excise taxes. They guess your income and estimate what you should give.
  7. Them encouraging you to think is actually them expecting you to memorize.
  8. The closer to the center you get the more subservient you must become.
  9. Don’t gossip means about the leaders. They do want information on regular members though.
  10. Unconditionally loving you forever means as long as you’re an obedient member of their group.

I know these from experience. I was actually fired from one ministry in 2002 for not acquiescing to #4.

But I’ve been a part of communities where none of these are present. And they’re wonderful.

Our online community The Lasting Supper is growing steadily. We’d love you to come join us. We’re very open!


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12 Responses

  1. Tim Chastain says:

    Yep, I am familiar with most of these unspoken rules–and others as well. Except that in some cases, some of them are not ‘unspoken’.

  2. That’s true. And the closer you get to being dismissed or corrected or whatever, the more explicit they become.

  3. laura Beth says:

    also been nailed by #4. Nice to know I’m in good company.

  4. Ducatihero says:

    Yes, I see this.

    I read an article once about children not being told stories about dragons because dragons breathe fire and you wouldn’t want children around fire, for their protection. However, children already know dragons and fire exist metaphorically speaking, they need to not be afraid of them and know they can be slayed!

    It seems to me “unspoken rules” can happen anywhere where there is a gathering of people. Families, among friends, in the workplace, etc as well as in church. Perhaps there might be more of a sting when it happens in church because of the principle of love in which by rights would be a core value of the church if it were healthy.

    So, I would perhaps suggest being on guard against such whether it be in church, or any human institution or gathering as being healthy.

    No human institution or movement can offer real security, but dragons can be slayed?

  5. Robin Janney says:

    Yep, been burnt by almost all of them.

  6. Teague Frawley says:

    This was the case in every church I was part of and I must confess, before becoming disillusioned (freed from free religious illusions) I was not just a victim, but often one of the perpetrators. Unfortunately IMO these issues are built into systems. I have also had similar experiences in nearly every non-religious institution I’ve been part of. Which IMO, just confirms that the church is not the ecclesia that Yeshua Bar Yoseph is building. It is instead of just another human institution with all the same tendencies as every other institution that is built by to give an elite few power over others for monetary gain. This is why Churches, Governments, and Big Business have so corruption in common.

  7. Yasmin says:

    Every now and then, I give my pastor a hug and thank him for being himself, rather than any of the leaders I read about here and in other places. In the very first place, he’ll deny he’s our leader, he’s just better educated in Bible-related studies than are the rest of us. We’re Congregationalists and have no recognized leader. If anyone here is ever in or near Milwaukee, Wisconsin over a Sunday, let me know, and I’ll invite you to our church (we’re north of the city, but easy to get to from there). I learn here to be more grateful for them all the time.

  8. I’m glad there are exceptions. I’ve seen and experienced them too.

  9. Gary W says:

    So that’s what hit me.

  10. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Regarding #4:
    Admitting to anything is not only Accepting the Blame for that thing, you have volunteered to Accept the Total Blame for EVERYTHING back to Eve biting into the apple. Permanently. And all the others will be only to eager and happy to transfer All the Total Blame for EVERYTHING onto you (and not them).

  11. Pat O'Leary says:

    I don’t trust anyone anymore. The unspoken rules would be anathema to Jesus.