One of the most difficult things for a Christian to learn when they join a cult, or when they belong to a factious sect emerging into a cult, is the Amish practice of shunning. Of course the Amish are those radical Anabaptists well known for their stylish sixteenth-century hats, hook & eye clothing, and horse-drawn buggies — you could never mistake them for postmodern. They don’t even have cell phones. Anyway, this cutting-edge Christian culture gave birth to shunning, which in its elementary form is the religious ritual of intentionally avoiding someone to show your allegiance to your sect. In cults, however, the rite oftentimes takes on various nuances unique to the particular sect.
For example, in the Christ Church Cult, they practice shunning in coordination with imprecatory prayers because, as the Cultmaster said, they really want those people (i.e. the “targets”) to be their friends. And we all know that the best way to befriend someone is to treat them with contempt and pray that God would kill them. It really says that somewhere in the Bible. But these things are beside the point. As noted, shunning is not easy to learn, so here are some important tips to remember as you grow in your shunification:
1. First, if you see your neighbor — whether driving on the road, walking through the neighborhood, or nose to nose in the market — then make your face like flint, stern & unforgiving.
2. Second, look away and be as mean as possible. You must remember that you do not approve of this person and they must know it. More importantly, your Cultmaster rejects that person, and the Cultmaster’s opinion carries more weight than God.
3. Third, ignore them. Do not say “Hello” or offer any kind of greeting. You must resist the temptation to be kind — especially if you see them in need. You are superior to them, so let them know it. And if you succumb to temptation or if your natural reflex overwhelms you so that you initiate a greeting, then make sure you grunt it with a begrudging tone. You’re a miserable soul, don’t hide it.
4. Fourth, if you feel awkward, you should. The practice is unnatural, unbiblical, and it makes you look like a jackass. But don’t worry about it; you’ll get over it as your conscience erodes with further indoctrination from the cult. Pretty soon you’ll learn to like it.
5. Fifth, teach your children to be as mean and nasty as yourself so that the world can be a better place for everyone.
6. Finally, don’t forget that the Cultist Bible says, “He that shunneth not knoweth not God.”
If you do these things, your heart will continue to harden and you’ll enjoy the rich fellowship provided only by your cult. So carry on and dread naught.