During my sabbatical, I listened to lots and lots of podcasts. A new favorite is one entitled: Sounds Like a Cult. The two hosts – one a comedy writer and one a linguist – explore modern-day organizations and experiences that have things in common with cults. Each week they have a new focus and ask the question: It sounds like a cult but is it really? They have looked at Crossfit, the television show The Bachelor, cheerleading, a Capella, true crime shows, SoulCycle, Disney adults, etc. It just so happens that I’m not drawn to any of the things I just mentioned. Then they did an episode on Trader Joe’s. I quickly realized that I am a card-carrying member of the cult of Trader Joe’s!
As you may have guessed, the podcast is pitched more for laughs than deep insights. But it got me thinking about the negative and positive things about being a part of a cult and the ways in which the church is cult-like.
My hope is that we at Broad Street avoid the worst qualities of cults (punishing dissent, controlling information, charismatic and manipulative leadership) and capture some of the best qualities of cults (a sense of belonging, a culture of invitation, a sense of shared purpose).
What do you participate in that has cult-like qualities?
In what ways is church like and unlike a cult?
-Written by Rev. Amy Miracle
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