I wrote back in my post about secular mental health options that all of the divorce support groups that exist in the entire Omaha metro area are faith-based. I was very hesitant to attend any of them, but was encouraged by several friends to at least go to one to check it out. At the best, they said, I might get something positive out of it. At the worse, I’d have something to write about on my blog. Since I’m writing about this here, you can probably guess how things went.
Before I begin my review of the meeting, I must say something about the people who ran the meeting. These people are truly trying to do some real good for people in need of help. They are sincere, caring, and supportive, and some of the information they had to offer is good, practical advice.
They gave me a workbook titled Divorce Care. The book had a lot of different sections such as Facing my Anger, Facing my Depression, New Relationship, and Kid Care.
We started out the meeting with a video titled Financial Survival. It contained a lot of good advice about how to manage a budget and how to prioritize your expenses. It discussed the importance of accepting the life stye chances that inevitably come with divorce, especially about doing what you have to do to meet your and your children’s basic needs first. They explained that this requires making a lot of sacrifices. You may have to sell your house, car, unneeded belongings like T.V.s, stereos, computers; get rid of the cable and internet, possibly even the phone if absolutely necessary. All of this makes sense because these are choices that very well may have to be made to keep a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and food in your stomach. They mentioned how there are state services that can help you out if you need it. They also mentioned help from the church, family and friends. Never be afraid to tell people you are in need, we were told. Good advice. I just did that very thing by borrowing money from family to buy a car I needed.
Up to this point I was feeling pretty good about things. Sure, there were plenty mentions of praying for help as a way to help you cope, but I felt i could overlook this since I was getting what seemed like good, practical advice. And then came the the last part of this section. Tithing.
They said, “Tithe on top of your budget and God will take care of you.”. WTF!? You just told us that we’d have to give up all these “unnecessary” things, even a phone (employers always love it when they have no way to get in touch with you). Now you tell us that we absolutely must continue to tithe to the church even though we may be facing foreclosure, eviction, lawsuits, and having to go on welfare?!
I almost walked out at this point, but I decided not to be rude. That and I realize at that this was great blog fodder and I was sure there was more to come. I wasn’t disappointed.
Most of the rest of the video was just giving out information which was mostly practical. Then came the last section, God wants to help. Yes, we were told, you are not alone. The magic sky man is always watching over you. No mention of why, if he was always watching over me, I was in this position to begin with, except to say that it was part of the continuing creation. Huh?
Now came an avalanche of testimonials one after the other until we had a veritable Grand Canyon with walls filled with strata after strata of confirmation biases.
“All I had was Christ. You cling to it!”
“I prayed and I saw the results as things got better”
And this strange quote, “God is the father and the husband in this family.” Well, hell, what about may family? Is god going to be the mother and the wife? I’m pretty sure that almost all Christians agree that god is 100% male and he sure as hell isn’t gay.
Then came time to wrap it all up.
“Look beyond people to God”
“You can’t get through a divorce without Jesus Christ”.
Fucking hell! This was exactly what I feared would happen. In the end, it would be all about putting your faith in god and damn the consequences, because with god, there would be none!
The final take away item that different people in the video repeated again and again:
“God (or Jesus, take your pick) is faithful”.
I don’t think I’ll be going back. Although, I am tempted to go for the section, Single Sexuality. That one ought to be a hoot!