Some people probably think that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy applies only in the military. In reality it applies in several places in our lives. One of those is our local church. That is if you are a member of one of the churches that demand a high level of compliance to their beliefs. I was up until recently a member of one of those churches. They dictated what I was allowed to believe. Any variation of those allowed beliefs sometimes had consequences.
That gets us to the title of this post. Most everyone is familiar with the term “Cafeteria Catholics”. This term is used to describe Roman Catholics who pick and choose which Catholic doctrine they want to believe. Most Cafeteria Catholics are pretty safe in this practice as long as they don’t actually admit that they are picking and choosing among church doctrine . If they don’t directly tell others of this fact then the church authorities usually don’t ask them about it.
Is this practice limited to Roman Catholics? I think it takes place in many of the other Christian denominations. As long as you appear to go along with all the doctrine you are safe. I believe many in a congregation either are ignorant of the purity rules or choose to just ignore them; many more than their leadership could imagine. But, if you publicly admit that you don’t believe something then your might be “asked” to leave or at least stripped of your membership status. I know this personally happened to me. I suffered the consequences of publicly stating that I believe the earth to be more than 6,000 years old and therefore the Bible is not totally inerrant.
Being expelled from membership in a local Christian church, or any other club type organization for that matter, has its consequences. I am pretty much like other Christians in that the vast majority of my social life was based on my church membership. When that membership ends the social fabric of my life suffered a severe tear. I regret that consequence more for my wife than I do for myself. She is collateral damage in this holy war. I deeply regret that. That tear in the fabric is mendable but it will take some time to do that. Since we are older it will be even harder to repair.
If I had it to do over again would I be a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” person? When it comes to Jesus Christ I believe I must follow where my heart and soul lead me no matter the consequences. But I do regret the collateral damage. That saddens my greatly. The morale of this story might be “Be careful what you say; your church authorities might be listening” 🙂