The Horror of the Good Looking Family

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About Mark

I was raised in the conservative non-institutional churches of Christ and attended Florida College in Tampa, Florida. I served as a minister for 8 years in the non-institutional churches of Christ, and 4 years at a mainline church of Christ in Vermont.
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15 Responses to The Horror of the Good Looking Family

  1. coxhulgus says:

    Brilliant! Thanks Mark. This very thing has troubled me for years. I grew up at Harding, where everyone was really good looking and obedient. I remember church members commenting on how cute our family was – how angelic and obedient we seemed at church. They had no idea the emotional stress we dealt with at home.

    • garycummings says:

      Yes, I saw quite a few of those cute families. They were living in the real world. Then came Vietnam and washed a generation away. They came back from Vietnam with PTSD, addictions, shattered lives, and Agent Orange in their bodies.

  2. garycummings says:

    I tend to agree with what you wrote. I went to Christian college.university. These polished and good looking types were like a movie fascade. It looked good on the outside, but many were empty shells. I grew up in an ordinary non-Christian working, ex-military family. My father were very strict with my sister, and she was forced to conform. She went on the marry money, have perfect kids (?), and they look great today. They are right-wing conservatives (Tea Party types) who owuld be the first to send their sons or daughters off to war. Me? In many ways I raised myself. I had to raise my own “self”, like the psychologist Erik Erikson. I never had kids, but if I did, I would have tended to raise them more liberally. Now at 70, I try to relate to the weird kids: weird hair and the such. They are the seekers. They will fail at times, but that is okay. Freedom is messy.

  3. Mark says:

    At Harding, people had façades. What happened outside of Searcy or off campus stayed there. The show of a perfect family is almost false. No one knows how much the members are hurting and few care. Even cofC funerals failed to take into consideration that there may be people who aren’t sure who will love them now or give them a meal. What the grandchildren saw who were no longer living at home was not pastoral care, but questions of if and which cofC you were attending.

    • garycummings says:

      Are you COC: “Yes”. You may get help.
      “No”. You will not get help.

      • Mark says:

        At the time, I was though I did not agree with them and knew they did not want me. I am no longer.

      • garycummings says:

        Mark, even if you or I were still with them, if they knew we did not agree with the whole 9 yards, then we we marginalized and ignored. We could be there, just keep our mouths shut abaout racism and war and irrelevance. That was ny experience.

  4. darlakearce says:

    You are very hurt, Mark. I am not COC. I am not a Fundamentalist, but in the Wesleyan tradition. I did not experience what you did. My kids did not experience what you did. We are a church going family and I will not apologize that they look good and are not a mess. They are compassionate and missional adults. I care and they care. I care about you.

    • garycummings says:

      Hot all ggod looking families are as good as they. Wait till the kids get on their own They will be challenged and many of the answers given to them by their fundamentalist pr strict religious tradition will not provide the answers to the life questions they will face. In most evangelical churches THE BOOK OF PAT ANSWERS is handed out with cherry picked Scripture to back up the assertions made in the book. If this is not your case, great and praise God. This is the common experience, I believe, of the American church. It grinds out cookie cutter Christians with cookie cutter answers to live a cookie cutter life.
      That is my take , as I have been a Christian since 1964 and have been a minister in 3 different churches, and an informed observer of American Christianity.
      Thanks and God bless you Gary

  5. Lorie Tackitt says:

    Wow you just described my childhood. I am a PK. A almost 50 year old PK. I have not been a practicing member of any Church of any type from the day I graduated high school. That’s the day I moved out. I have not lived around my parents sense that time until now. My dad retired and moved here this year. 6 months ago infact. I have yet to see him. My parents abbondend our relationship after my 20 year marrage failed. I have lived with my boyfriend for 10 years now. I’m a shame to them. I will agree I have lost the morals I was taught. I never felt the depth of spiritual reverce they posses. I often wonder why and never have turn to the Church again to fill that curousity. I have though found a comfort in myself and who I am without them in my life in the past 10 years. Confidence I never had before. This past summer I had almost drown. If not for a friend I would not be here. It has effected my soul just not sure how yet. I had 3 uncle’s and aunt visit me at work recently. I have had conversed with my aunt via email a few times sense. I love her dearly but feel as though I’m a pitty case again in need of rescue in her eyes. I’m not saying I don’t need my family but as my parents, if we have no relationship they really don’t know me. Any advice?

    • Mark says:

      Hi Lorie,
      Glad to be able to share stories. It takes a long time of being separated from parents before we can feel safe and strong. And then we may still decide to stay away from them because there may be nothing there for us.

  6. Lorie Tackitt says:

    Christ like means something else to me. Influence of Christ by association is how I raised my children. I tried to be the kindest person in life which comes easy for me. But sent kids to Church with their grandmother whom is Baptist. I just feel the need to feel a part of something like I know a Church community can fullfill. I just instictually procrastnate.

    • Mark says:

      You may have Church PTSD. Whenever you think about going to church you are paralyzed, or angry, or afraid. It might help to face more and more of the spiritual abuse you have gone thru.

  7. Lorie Tackitt says:

    Judgement is not easy for me!

  8. Lorie Tackitt says:

    I never have express these thoughts to anyone. Nice to not feel alone. No one can really understand unless they experienced this type of up bringing. I really need counseling. Im still not completely ok with this topic. I guess not feeling confident that it’s ok for a 49 year old woman to have a mind of her own and not feel guilty for it. Don’t know if I will ever get past not being the prodical child.

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