The following article is written by contributing writer Tiffany Pearson. We appreciate Tiffany’s testimony and transparency on the topic of renouncing her sorority.
Everything started my freshman year of college. During various events on campus I noticed a few sororities and fraternities holding events, stepping, and of course, some classmates would wear their paraphernalia to class. Prior to this, the only exposure I had to “greek life” was in middle school and high school. I was on the step team and my coaches were active members of their organizations.
But a good friend of mine, freshman year, knew much more than I did about it. Her older sister pledged and she was exposed to a bit of it through her. While she would secretly call the members of her sister’s organization her own sorors, I wasn’t as gung ho about it. I was interested and intended to apply sophomore year, but it wasn’t a huge goal of mine while I was in college to pledge. I did what I needed to structure my package by volunteering at various locations. The friend’s sister even introduced me to her mentor who wrote my letter of recommendation and groomed me for the interview once I was called back.
The first indication I had that something was odd was on the day of the interview. I was given an address to a duplex that had a yard full of cars. I didn’t understand why it was such an issue when I called my friend to ask her if she’d gotten a call back, too. I received a voicemail from her saying to “never call” her about that. I brushed it off, despite thinking it odd. When I arrived to location, I saw other girls sitting in their cars. One of the active members of the sorority directed me to wait in my car until someone signaled for me.
As I walked back to my car, I saw a girl I recognized from an event the sorority held. It was a city-wide chapter so we didn’t go to the same school. I sat in the car with her and talked to her until it was her turn to go in. She seemed so nervous she could vomit.
Then my turn came. I wasn’t nervous at all, despite the fact that approximately 40 women were on the other side of the living room grilling me on information. I knew some of them. I’d seen others. I left confident that it went well. I didn’t get a call back for membership and the friends that did didn’t mention it. I took the money I had set aside for it and bought a pair of glasses I needed.
A year later, I applied again. Why not? I loved the influence the sorority had. There was a comradery between those within the greek community, and that much more within the same organizations, that I wanted to be a part of. I didn’t have any problem making friends. Most upperclassmen knew me and I was well known, around campus. While I had regular circle of friends, it was nothing for me to link up with other people when I was out and about or just bored.
I didn’t like the idea of “paying for friendship.” Instead of considering as such, I thought of it as a way of becoming a part of something “bigger” than myself. I was big on status. It was an idol of mine. I wanted enough money to buy what I wanted. I wanted people to know who I was. I wasn’t actively running after it. I feigned nonchalance so as to not come across as desperate or “trying too hard.” It worked.
I got an interview, did well, and received an invitation for membership. After paying my fees, I was ushered into participating in the “underground” process. While this isn’t necessary, it carries weight in these orgs. If you “got down” were “made” crossed the burning sands, you were treated as though you earned your “letters”.
Looking at things objectively, it was abuse inflicted by those who were already members. I’m far from bitter about it because I was a willing participant. It was shocking to have a friend try her hardest to shame me, break me, and personally attack me, verbally. Because I felt like I something to prove, I took it. I was called out every single night. This was to my credit once I had crossed. Being the “rock of line” and having been through the worst of the worst, I thought I’d proven something.
Over the course of the nearly three years following that, I was the chapter historian, attended a leadership retreat as a representative for my chapter, attended a sorority conference, went to Atlanta Greek Picnic, road tripped to the next state over and various local colleges for parties, and I even went to the conference of the “brother” fraternity to the sorority with my former prophytes. I was with them a lot, which also fed my ego. Being with those senior to me, with more time in, experience, and status meant a lot.
Some relationships were genuine. Apart from the sorority, they were great friends. Rather than doing things because of being “sisters” in the sorority, they did because they were friends. The vast majority did things out of relationship forged by membership. I did, as well.
Three months shy of my three year mark in the sorority, I came to faith in Christ. Genuine, redeeming, saving faith. I followed the Lord because of His grace and gifting of the Holy Spirit. As a result, He gave the power to repent of everything that went against Him (sin). Some things came easily, like abstaining from sexual immorality (lust, premarital sex), others were a struggle such as struggling to forgive my father who was absent in my life, and some sin went unnoticed an unnoticed for a few months.
I was still in contact with members of the sorority. Just a couple weeks before actively stepping out on faith and following Christ, I’d celebrated founders day with a few girls I’d met via Facebook. I was from South Carolina, where I also went to college, but stationed in Virginia. Something about the chants, songs, and terms we used brought conviction.
How could I sing about giving “all of my love, my peace and happiness” to my sorority??? Why was there a song making Adam and Eve out to be fraternity and sorority members? What’s more, why was this even made out to be the beginning of faith in the sorority??? And where was God in all this??? Sure, we SAID we were “founded on Christian principles” but what did that even mean??? Sure, we went over scriptures one night before set so as not to get in trouble for not knowing them. We recited Psalm 23 but it was while looking up to what was made out to be the position of the sorority while partaking in the underground process. To be more clear, we had to turn our faces to heaven to “look to” the sorority. Why were members of all nine sororities and fraternities said to enter the “omega chapter” upon death rather than heaven and hell??? Why did we operate in secrecy, dressed in the same thing, carrying candles, while singing chants??? Why were we made to wear symbols of the sorority over our hearts during the process??? And why was the sorority characterized as our “first love” in a song sang during incredibly significant events in our lives. More than that, why were there false gods and goddesses being reverenced??? Anything held above God is idolatry. It doesn’t require it to be an explicit deity. But in this case, deities are added in. By acknowledging them, doing things to honor them, and claiming to love them and what they represent, we are in direct opposition to God.
For example, sex before and outside of marriage is in opposition to God. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8. Some may feel as though it is spiritual, permissible, and right in God’s eyes. Within the context of marriage, which He created it for, sure! Aside from it, absolutely not. With idolatry, there is no provision nor permission for it at all! God was clear in the fact that we’re to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind. Matthew 22:37. Not Delta, AKA, SGRHO, Zeta, Omega, etc. We’re to have NO other gods before Him. Exodus 20:3. This includes figurative and literal false gods.
In acknowledging, serving, and following these organizations we attempt to affirm these false gods. To attempt to downplay them one would be saying it was a lie while still actively engaging in it. To say it was legitimate and true, they would confirm the idol worship they partake in. We have examples of the Israelites worshipping the golden calf and God’s wrath being poured out on them as a result. Pagans’ worship of idols and the way God dealt with them is indicative of the way He feels about it and deals with it. He is unchanging, therefore we can trust that He feels the same about this within the context of sororities and fraternities.
Contrary to popular belief, it does not require a bad experience to move one to repentance from this. I had status, clout, and thought I’d earned my spot in the sorority. While drama arose quite regularly, not even this deterred me from going all in, in the sorority. But the Spirit stirring within me, feeling His grief, having my peace disrupted at the consideration of the things of the sorority is what moved me from it.
I gladly took the shirts, pictures, letters, jewelry, and all else that bore the name, letters, connotation of the sorority and boxed them up. If I could burn them without risking setting something nearby on fire, I would. Throwing it away also suffices, though. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 instructs us to come out from among those who practice idolatry. Light has no fellowship with darkness. It is possible to come out from it while sharing the Gospel and standing in Truth regarding former sorors and frats. The Lord has provided me opportunities to share the Gospel with former line sisters and prophytes. Some still gave God’s attributes to the sorority. Stating that it “brought us together” as though it were sovereign. Many are deceived in thinking they have fellowship with God, that they have faith in Christ, and have repented of their sins. Little do they knew they are reveling in it by remaining in those organizations.
This is not a matter that is not sinful here nor there, therefore the mantra of “that works for you but not me” cannot stand. It doesn’t “work” for anyone. It is of satan. Even an objective assessment makes this clear. It’s obvious. However, no matter how much it may seem like common sense, it still takes the Lord to convict the heart and give the grace to be obedient to repent of it. To put it to death in our hearts, in our lives.
In speaking about renouncing, it allows me to share the Gospel. Christ lived the perfect life while dying the perfect death that tore the veil separating us from the Father. Not because we deserved it or were entitled to it. He did it voluntarily out of His goodness and mercy. We spend our lives worshipping something. Our love, affection, and allegiance is to something. This is evident in our thoughts, words, and actions. It’s apparent in the manner in which we live our lives. The things we do and serve. We were created for this to be God, however, the fall and the sin that came from it perverts this. It distorts it and the natural order of things. God in His kindness allows us to draw near to Him, though.
While there is still breath in our lungs, we have the opportunity to believe in Christ Jesus and turn from our sin and to Him. To cease our pursuit of the very things that led Him to the cross and put Him to death. To instead pursue Him. He is holy, unlike anything we have ever seen or experienced. In receiving His Spirit, we are also made holy and called to pursue holiness. The Spirit enables us to.
I encourage anyone in a sorority, fraternity, the masons, or order of the eastern star to count the cost. The only way the Lord would acknowledge your membership on the day of judgment is in holding you accountable for dwelling in it. For persisting in sin with it.
My prayer is that any adversity this is met with is assessed. Why does it stir offense in you? What about it angers you? Do you think God likes this or promotes it? Why? Why not? More importantly, where in scripture do you see this? His Word is sufficient and the men that wrote it are mere instruments to His penning. Hebrews 1. It stands. What’s more, please don’t regard your constitution and bylaws as inerrant but question the Word of the true and living God.
I wish you grace and peace while encouraging you to seek the Lord. Draw near to Him and He will to you. There is nothing in this world worth tightening your grip on that would stand between God and you. Test the very things you indulge in. If they are contrary to Him, let it go. Flee from it. Put it to death once and for all.
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November 21, 2016