I was recently reminded of the Community of Jesus’ attitudes towards family members who do not live as members of the Community. In their attempt to be super-spiritual, the leaders have laid down the edict that no family members can come onto the property during “Enclosure”. Enclosure is a time of spiritual retreat for the community, when they can concentrate on spiritual refreshment and take a break from ministering to the needs of the people who come to them for help. Sounds ok so far. (Except that my experience was that the exhaustion came from over-work. There weren’t that many people who came onto the property) The timing of these periods of enclosure, however, are at Christmas and Easter, typically family times. All the children who have been born in the year are baptized at Easter vigil, the night before Easter.
What this interprets into is that if you have a child who has married and lives at CJ, and they have a new baby, come Easter time when your grandchild is going to be baptized into the Church of Christ, you are told that you are not allowed to come and celebrate in that baptism with your family because it is “Enclosure”. You will be told that it is for the spiritual good of your children and your grandchild that they stay within the confines of their spiritual enclosure, and you are not welcome to come and share the blessing with them.
I ask you – IS THIS CHRISTIANITY? I have never read of Jesus teaching us to do this. If the Community of Jesus would allow themselves to be accountable to the larger community of believers in the Love of God and the Teachings of Jesus, I believe this would not be happening. This kind of behavior to family members who are trying their best to be loving and supportive spreads hurt and anger and is wounding to the soul and spirit. It is not in the spirit of Christ to behave this way.
It hurts me to hear of good people being treated this way. It reminds me of the hurt my husband and I endured because we were instructed to cut off visiting with his parents. They wanted very much to be involved with us and their grandchildren, and because the leaders decided they were too sinful, and that my husband was in “idolatry” with them, he was told to tell them to not visit anymore. It hurt them very deeply. I am not making this up. The leaders talked with us about how sinful they were, naming specific sins, and told us that we should not associate with people who were so deep into their sin, even if they were his parents. They loved to quote, and often did, Matthew 19:29, “And anyone who gives up his home, brothers, sisters, father, mother, wife, children or property, to follow me, shall receive a hundred times as much in return, and shall have eternal life.” They used this scripture to justify cutting off all contact with family, unless of course they had money to give. After years of separation from my parents, per their direct order, they wanted me to break the silence to fundraise. I couldn’t and didn’t, but I was made to feel guilty that I didn’t.