Being Hopeful, In Spite Of…

Hope doesn’t have to be found immediately but if I wait, I can FIND possibilities instead of dead ends

One of the scriptures that comes to mind during my struggles is Romans 5:3-4:

 knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

Continue reading “Being Hopeful, In Spite Of…”

Single and Stuck: Spiritual Authority and the Dating Game

As I’m working on additional interviews from adults who suffered under authoritarian spiritual leaders, I want to address singlehood under this type of leadership. For some time, I’ve wanted to write about the wrongs our young people face in the area of matrimony. images (7)

My oldest son, before he left for College, said, “Mom, I want to ask you something about your church?” Knowing my son, I knew it was not going to be an easy question. He’s one of those people that doesn’t say much but sees a lot. “Why are there so many single women unmarried? We’ve been there for nearly seven years at this church, and they are all still single? Are they not allowed to date anyone outside of the church?”

Continue reading “Single and Stuck: Spiritual Authority and the Dating Game”

Be Yourself

download 5Life’s journey is not always comfortable. Sometimes it’s challenging to learn about who we are, but it’s one of life’s highest goals.  

 Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote,

“to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to turn you into someone else is one of life’s greatest accomplishments.”

I’m taking a short break on this blog from talking about dysfunctional religion and the damage it can do to children only for a moment.  I just want to stop and celebrate my journey.  Recently, I got an opening to write a guest post about children in dysfunctional religious homes for the Child-Friendly Faith Project website. This organization works to help children who have suffered religious maltreatment.  I will continue to interview and research this subject and the results I see in my own religious circles.  I am glad that I’m able to help others whatever way  I can with my experience. Continue reading “Be Yourself”

Story #4 Continued – Live Interview-Story of Recovery from a Church of God childhood-Part 2

Well, we’re back with another portion of an interview conducted this year.   This is another portion of an earlier interview.  This person, who grew up in a fundamentalist Christian church, talks about why it was difficult for children in this performance-based religion, the church politics that created such a system,  the disruption caused by this system to her relationship with her family, and shame-based church disciplines.  I know for me and my family, it was damaging to hear over the pulpit that there is no favoritism in God’s church and that partiality was a sin, and then to see it all around you not from the lay members but the leadership.

Approx. 16 minutes, voices have been altered.

UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS CHURCH STRUCTURE

downloadI began to wonder as I looked around my church if I was in an episode of  Upstairs/Downstairs?  Is there a servant class and an upper class.  There are the ministers and then the lowly people who can only speak a certain way to the leaders etc.  We went one day when our pastor was sick to visit and one person exclaimed  in wonder and awe of his position, “how do I encourage my pastor”.    I bristled at this ( not visibly) but I thought “the same way you would anyone else who was sick”.  Somehow we’ve got it twisted that a Pastor is someone other just a man or woman who are kept by God like we are by the same Spirit.images

A reader of this blog reminded me of another essential reason abusiveness happens in our American churches, and that is an incorrect church structure. The church is supposed to be comprised of many members who make up the body of Christ. I Corinthians 12 gives us a picture of God’s church and the balance that’s supposed to happen in the body. This is the opposite of pastoral authoritarianism.  I think incorrect church structure is a breeding ground for corrupt leadership. Whenever we fail to follow scripture in any area, we’ll suffer some negative consequences. If the Pastor constitutes all the decisions and all of the leadership, then that is not the scriptural definition of the body of Christ. Continue reading “UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS CHURCH STRUCTURE”