Loony Roommies and Flying Gargoyles–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–March 1995, Part 8

On probably Friday, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, Cugan came to the apartment for a date.  He tossed two cute, stuffed baby gargoyles on the chair, and handed me a St. Patrick’s Day card that he originally planned to mail.

I soon found out that one of the gargoyles was for me.  I didn’t know what kind of name a gargoyle would have, but he suggested Dido, and named his own Liko.  We decided mine was a boy and his was a girl.

Cugan said dust bunnies were Dido’s food.  Well, then, he had plenty of food at the apartment and, especially, under the beds.

My roommates called Cugan into the office.  I listened from outside as Pearl said with a laugh, “We want to know, what are your intentions toward our roommate?”

Their little “interrogation” didn’t last long, and may have embarrassed Cugan a bit, but it also made us laugh.

This was probably when we saw Forrest Gump, which we liked.  Of course, we had no idea that one day, a new variety show called Mad TV would mix together Forrest Gump and Pulp Fiction in a sketch, and have Forrest say, “We’re going to get medieval on your butt-ocks.”

(I don’t know how long this Mad TV lasted.  We only saw the first episode, because the Forrest Gump sketch was the only good one, so we figured it wouldn’t be around for long.)

I came home that night to find my “stash”–my own cupboards, which held snacks and chocolate–taped shut.  My roommates did this as a joke.  I just pulled off the tape and opened up the cupboards.

My roommates were so strange that night, making weird noises on the couch and laughing to high heaven, that I could only attribute it to the full moon.

I don’t remember what Tara thought of Dido, but Pearl thought he was cute.  I kept him on the back of the couch during the day and evening.  That’s how stricken I was with Cugan and his gift.

Sharon, however, whenever she saw it, would say, “Eww!  It’s ugly!”  She or Pearl said, “If it flies, it’s outta here!”

So, naturally, one night he fell off the back of the couch onto the cushions, and Pearl or Sharon cried, “He flew, so he’s outta here!”  He wasn’t, of course.

Unfortunately, after all the years of hanging around our various dwellings and sitting on the beds with other stuffed animals, Dido and Liko got lost in our latest move in 2003.  One bag or box held them and others of our most precious stuffed animals; one bag held rags.  Naturally, the rag bag made it just fine.

We searched everywhere and even called people who helped in the move, but the bag was nowhere.  Also lost were Cugan’s Animaniac dolls and my Halloween witch cat, which looked just like a Halloween decoration I named “Pirate Samantha” back when I was around nine years old.  I used to write and act out all sorts of stories about this Pirate Samantha.  But now she was gone, too.  🙁


The first time I went to Cugan’s tiny apartment in M–, its contents impressed me, though the mess did not.

The outside walls of the two-story apartment building were typically German: white with brown half-timbers.

The living room, with a big picture window, was small and crammed with stuff, which lay all over the floor and on plastic shelving units, though I think he had made some attempt at cleaning up before I came over.

A chess set was laid out on the coffee table, which was off to one side.  Two big, square pillows, which also went on the big, round, papasan wicker chair, formed the “couch” because, as Cugan said, a couch was often a luxury.

On top of one of the shelving units lay stuffed versions of all three of the Animaniac siblings.  That’s when I discovered his love for Animaniacs.  I think other stuffed animals were here and there.

A Celtic harp stood in one corner, books on the Celts (including the same one by Nora Chadwick which we read in Celtic class) were in a bookcase, a Bible or two sat near the “couch,” and Luther’s Small Catechism lay on the floor by the “couch.”  Had I found the kind of man I didn’t dare dream of finding–one with interests similar to mine, one who actually liked the Celts and the Bible?

Not only that, but based on his name, he believed himself to be Irish, and had a plaque with What Shall I Say About the Irish?  He fit the traits quite well.

(I’m not Irish, rather Scottish, but took an Irish Writers class which got me interested in the country.)

Though many years later his family discovered that, through his father, they were most likely Scottish, it has not been confirmed one way or the other about him being Irish, Scottish, or perhaps both.

In any case, I can’t help noticing that all my lovers (Shawn, Phil and Cugan) have been Irish….

And the best thing: Unlike Phil, he bathed AND brushed his teeth every day! not just once every several weeks after lots of nagging!

Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:


On Spiritual Abuse

Is your church infected by spiritual abuse?  The Apologetics Index has all sorts of links about this.

Also see Churches That Abuse and Recovering from Churches that Abuse by Ronald Enroth.  These are full books on PDF.  The guy who runs this website has a signed letter from Ronald Enroth giving him permission to scan these two books, both of which are out of print.

One practice, now widely discredited because it easily becomes spiritually abusive, was often used in the 60s and 70s: shepherding.

It’s giving yourself over to someone else, your “covering,” who makes all your decisions for you–even who to date or marry, how often to have sex, or what music to listen to.

If you disagree with your shepherd or suggest changes to the group rules, you just might find yourself out of the group, since the leadership makes all the decisions.  Congregations may find themselves with no vote or voice.

In groups which decided the “shepherds” must be the opposite sex, shepherding has also led to adultery.

It has also led to broken people.

Unfortunately, shepherding seems to have re-emerged in many churches and Christian groups–ones which seem orthodox on the outside, so you must watch out for it.

I’ve heard of accountability groups, which seem to have come from this practice; take care that it does not match characteristics of shepherding.

I’ve also noted that talks about wifely submission sometimes use the same terms used in shepherding: i.e., the husband is the “covering” for the wife and she “submits to his decisions” no matter what.

Webpages on shepherding, what it is, how it’s abused:

Shepherding Movement

Christian: Who is your covering?  A Christian look at the Shepherding Movement by Steve Coleman

Shepherding Movement–Discipleship Movement–Christian Growth Ministries–Advanced Information

National Shepherding Movement–Discipleship Movement–Promise Keepers Warning

Article by Don Matzat about this and other issues

The Shepherding Movement Comes of Age by Lynn and Sarah Leslie describes the practice of signing covenants, which exists in many groups and churches.  It also implicates the Purpose-Driven Church model.

Willow Creek charges Promise Keepers and Willow Creek Church with shepherding.  The writers are rather fundamentalist and I disagree with them on many points, but they still make interesting charges.  Whether the charges are true or not, you be the judge.

Here and here, you can investigate whether Willow Creek practices shepherding.  And here, you can check out Saddleback’s FAQ.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot on these sites.  I’ve heard of restrictive covenants and the like, but don’t have proof of them.

Nowadays, you can also find blogs about spiritual abuse, on which you can share stories, find comfort and validation, and learn which churches to avoid.  My favorites:

The Wartburg Watch

Spiritual Sounding Board

Healing from Complex Trauma and PTSD/CPTSD (includes posts about a spiritually abusive pastor)

Written between probably 2005 and 2007

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

End Times and Christian Zionism 
God’s Purpose/Supremacy of God Doctrine 
Cat and Dog Theology 
Raising One’s Hands in Worship 
Christian Music 
On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts
On church buildings 
The Message Bible 
The Purpose-Driven Life 
The Relevance Doctrine, i.e. Marketing Churches to Seekers 
Republican Party 
Abortion Protests 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation

Page 2:

Name it and Claim It Doctrine, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith-Formula Theology, Word-Faith Theology,  Positive Confession Theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, and whatever else they call it
More about Pat Robertson
Dr. Richard Eby and others who claim to have been to Heaven
Women in Marriage/the Church
Spiritual Abuse 
Other Resources 

Page 3:

Why do bad things happen?
Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts?  Or, how should we evangelize, then?
Angels: Is “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti a divine revelation or fiction?
Halloween: Not the Devil’s Holiday!
Hell and the Nature of God 
Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? 
Is everybody going to Hell except Christians?
How could a loving God who prohibits murder, command the genocide of the Canaanite peoples? 
What about predestination?
Musings on Sin, Salvation and Discipleship 
An Ancient View which is in the Bible, yet new to the west–Uncreated Energies of God

Page 4:

The Didache 
Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 
Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?  (also in “Life” section, where it’s more likely to be updated) 
Does the Pill cause abortions, or is that just another weird Internet or extremist right-wing rumor?
What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?
Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?
What is Worship? 
Evangelistic Trips to Already Christianized Countries
Fraternities, Sororities, Masonic Lodge 
Was Cassie Bernall a Martyr?
Some Awesome Things heard in the Lamentations Service (Good Friday evening) during Holy Week

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church


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