In fall of 1983 I married my best friend and partner in Evangelical Christian ministry. We had spent the entire year before our September wedding preparing to go to Uganda, East Africa, with a ministry called Campus Crusade for Christ. Our task would be to go to small remote villages and show the Jesus film a movie based on the Gospel of Luke. The process to apply, be accepted and then plan to go was incredibly rewarding and we were so eager to go together. We began to raise financial support for the trip in the spring and received hundreds of dollars from friends and family eager to see us succeed until sometime in April when the financial faucet turned off. With our time limited, we had to make a decision. We realized that we had enough money for just one of us to be able to go and determined it would be Dean.
That summer I stayed home with my family and got my old job back for the summer. Having not planned on being there I was eager to meet up with friends and one day an old high school friend and I got together for lunch and caught up. She also had a wedding that summer and as fate would have it she was marrying a good friend of Dean’s from his fraternity in Lincoln. It was a small world. Maybe I should have known that serendipity can be incredibly deceptive at times and that no matter how the stars align, they should always be put through some good scrutiny, but I didn’t know that.
Maybe I should have known that not all friendships have to be reconciled even in the Evangelical Christian world.
Maybe I should have known that what my parents and others had told me would happen if I got together with her or anyone in her church would in deed really happen.
Maybe I should have known that it is often the most insecure among us who need to feel and experience the constant reassurance that we are the most unique and special.
Maybe I should have known that when other church members were sharing stories with me of those they considered highly spiritual with degrees in finance, engineering, microbiology and medicine were choosing to leave the world’s prestige behind them and taking basic jobs just to move there to participate in the church, that the human ego can masquerade as the Holy Spirit and create loads of dysfunction.
You see, the thing about getting involved in a cult is this…you really just do not know.