|Countdown: 3 days until court hearing. Drawn by Resident Artist, Age 9|
This is a fairly new blog, but there are a lot of new readers recently and I would like to welcome you! Never in my life would I have imagined this. But as my new pastor told me: it is what it is and I’m rolling with it.
AnonymousApril 30, 2012 9:50 AM
We were never sought out after we left either. I am certain that the reason given for our absence had nothing to do with the real reason we left. Suffice it to say that the pastor/elders did not want it widely known that they had discriminated against a disabled child.
AnonymousApril 10, 2012 10:05 AM
Intimidation is one of the main tools used by the leadership of this church. Over the years I watched them intimidate and oust single mothers, widows, the mentally ill and families of disabled children. It doesn’t surprise that after these “successes” they turned their rage to more powerful and spiritually strong individuals (like you!).
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
|The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
Drawn by 9-yr old Resident Artist
We no longer live in the Portland area, but I have a lot of friends from around the area who have been sending out notifications on their Facebook wall regarding an event that is happening in Portland tomorrow. The Pregnancy Resource Centers of Portland sponsor a walkathon “Steps for Life” each year to raise money for their organization which helps pregnant women in real practical ways. Each year, our former church has participated in this event.
My family used to attend this walk. This is a special day in which we celebrate life: the life of the born and the unborn, the young and old, the healthy, and people with special needs. All life is precious, designed by God for His purpose and to be respected.
However, the last time I attended this walk was not such a celebration. I was there with my kids. It was about 6 months after we had left the church. Let me tell you about our last time at the Steps for Life event.
The event is opened with a prayer. The person leading the opening prayer was my former pastor. As we walked around Pioneer Square downtown Portland, my children spotted children from our former church.These children used to be among their closest friends. But we were being shunned.
I told my children that although their former friends may not talk to them, we were always to treat people respectfully. I told them that being respectful means acknowledging people with a greeting when they see someone they know. This is common courtesy. My children did just that. I hung back at a distance. I knew how I would be treated by the adults, but figured I would not prevent the children from talking to them if they wanted to. I had prepared them ahead of time. It felt awkward.
The adults didn’t turn and walk away, as they had earlier, yet it seemed they were uncomfortable with our presence. So odd – Christians not liking other Christian’s presence? What is that? Their expressions showed it all. They purposely kept their eyes diverted away. The mothers of the children at first let our children meet, but then gently tried to guide them back. They were not rude, thankfully. We’ve been treated worse, but still.
I eventually went toward the group to get my children. I tried to look into the eyes of my former friends. I addressed them by name and said it was nice to see them, but they kept their eyes from connecting with mine and continued to look forward. I did not want to play that game, so I just greeted them and then walked away. I do remember one lady (who has since left) who slightly nodded. I think she was struggling. I have a hunch she will e-mail me after reading this to see if it was her.
Very soon, after my former had finished with the opening prayer, he returned to the group and they began the 2-mile walk together. It was such an odd feeling. Balloons floating, families together, happy people, and this group from our former church, people I had sung with, played with, prayed with, eaten with, and camped with continued their ridiculous shunning. I still had no clue as to why we were being shunned. Nobody had told us we had done anything wrong or why we were in “church discipline” or being excommunicated.
What strikes me now is how hypocritical this was. This church says they honor and respect life, yet they treated my children and me like dirt. The pastor prayed about the value or life and respecting life, yet disregarded ours as rubbish by the way they treated us.
I suspect they will be there Saturday. It’s a tradition.
It’s easy to get up on Saturday morning with families, meet at the church for donuts and caravan the 20+ minutes to downtown Portland. It’s easy to watch your pastor lead the opening prayer. It’s easy to walk the 2-mile trek wearing signs saying that you respect and value life.
But what about during the rest of the year? How about walking in the trenches with a family with a difficult case of special needs, or a family who has mounting medical issues requiring childcare and transportation. Sadly, since beginning this blog, I’ve read more stories than I was aware of.
Was that same respect shown to elderly, widows, children with special needs, families with financial burdens? I knew stories of when I was there, but now . . . since this is in the media . . . more stories are coming to light of being abandoned, neglected. My heart aches.
This kind of false religion – showing a public image of respecting life, yet neglecting the true needs of the hurting, needy at your own church is a big problem in many churches, not just my former church. It is a common sign to look for in churches. Pay attention to your church. Are they walking the talk?
And He delights in his way.