Hey there friendly– and not so friendly– readers and posters!
I am still around… still kicking… but I haven’t even looked at this blog for over a year! However, I do see the comments that come in via my email. I just posted many, many of these comments, positive and negative, some from many months ago, some from as recent as today (see pages: Misogyny?, Mars Hill, Discoveries; and posts: 15, 21, 33, 42, 44). If you were ranting and don’t see your comment, it’s probably because of just that: you were ranting without saying anything substantial. Some comments I did post were borderline… uh, not the personality disorder, but I posted them anyway. I’m hoping that those of you who understand cult like tendencies and unhealthy control within the church will respond to those who are less informed in such matters as I simply do not have the time.
And as to those of you who have shared heart wrenching stories of your experiences of church abuse, including at MH, my heart and prayers go out to you. If/when I can manage it, I will try to post in response to your stories. All I can say for now though is seek healing! Get counseling from a healthy, balanced biblically based counselor (not a Bible Thwacker, my phrase for Bible Thumper who thinks he/she is a counselor, but really only damages people further by throwing a Scripture on every problem the injured person presents). You might want to call New Life Ministries at 1-800-NEW-LIFE. They will direct you to a good Christian counselor in your area, one whom they have thoroughly screened.
Again, I really recommend doing an Amazon search for books on spiritual abuse, especially for those of you who are so closed-minded and want to put on a Polyanna mindset that as Christians we are called to always be accepting, validating and loving without ever calling anyone out for harmful, unbiblical behavior. I’ve written a post on this blog, using an author’s outline for his wonderful book about spiritual abuse, I think his last name is Martin, but it’s been so long, not sure. I’ll look it up and find it on here later, anyhow, he wisely differentiated between: gossip, slander and warning.
Gossip: telling the truth about someone else with dysfunctional, hurtful motives–oftentimes to trash the other and make oneself look better
Slander: telling a lie about someone else with the purpose of trashing them
Warning: telling the truth about someone else with the purpose of warning and protecting others from their damaging behavior
Even Paul the Apostle warned folks in his pastoral letters about “Alexander the metalworker” who “did [Paul] much harm.” He tells people to stay away from folks like him. But I suppose from some of the detractor’s comments here, Paul should have perhaps only focussed on and written about “Jesus’ love” rather than saying anything negative about Alexander, hence, allowing Alexander to spread his poison and to continue harming others… all in the name of “Christian Love.” (What if parents behaved this way in re to their children??!! Unfortunately, some do… it’s called negligence and abuse!)
In addition to Christian books about spiritual abuse (Johnson & VanVonderen’s, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church, is a classic!) some of you might want to consider reading Boundaries and Changes That Heal, by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend. You might also look at Leslie Varnick’s The Emotionally Destructive Relationship. I’m recommending these books for both the wounded survivors out there and the Pharisees (who call me a Pharisee for warning others) and for the blind and devoted defenders of Driscoll’s. The latter probably won’t check into these wonderful resources though… too bad, so sad.
I’m slightly, only slightly, apologetic for my apparent attitude in that last bit… but I am tired… major surgery 2 months ago, and having recently found myself in the position of needing to leave a church I had begun to grow fond of, not because of spiritual abuse, but because of spiritual stupidity. People were encouraged over and over again to just “let go and let God,” to “leave it in the Lord’s hands,” to “Leave your past behind you, you’re a new creature…” to “keep hoping, praying for that miracle” to “Let God break depression off of you” and to “Let God deliver you from addiction,” meanwhile, from what I could hear, these people were not being encouraged to be responsible and to take the steps toward their own healing process, to work with God (“Work out your own salvation/sanctification/healing with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you to will and to do of His good pleasure…”). These people were not encouraged to seek counseling, and to join 12 step or Celebrate Recovery groups… After a time it was so clear to me that most of these people were not just getting “zapped” by God, despite “holding on to the promises,” but were remaining stuck in their woundedness and their sinful/dysfunctional patterns. I saw aspects of this bizarre behavior/belief system even from the beginning of my sojourn there, but it took awhile to see how pervasive this was and how entrenched that church culture is in “Bible Only” theology, Bible Only for everything.
I need to emphasize here that I love God’s Word, and I believe everything must submit to God’s word (including philosophies, ideologies, psychological theories, etc), nevertheless, Bible Only does not work for many things in life, including but not limited to: brain surgery, fixing your leaky roof, developing good nutrition and exercise plans, healing from adultery, attaching well with our spouse and children, healing from trauma, recovering from depression and/or anxiety disorders, etc… The Bible simply does not have everything we now know about physiology, stress, brain research and healthy psychology. The Bible does not even contain everything the apostles and disciples knew and experienced of Jesus (see gospel of John, last chapter).
Sigh… Ah well, I need to get going… see, this is why I stay away from this site, it’s time consuimg and then I get going on all this and the ideas flow as I type along.
Thanks for reading and posting. May Gal 5:1 be yours!!
“It was for FREEDOM that Christ set you FREE! Therefore stand fast! And do NOT be subject again to a yoke of bondage!!”