Mark is new to the blog and left a comment on another post yesterday and I have decided to make it into its own post so we can focus on these issues. Maybe some of you have experienced some of what he is going through and can share how you dealt with these issues. ~ja
Hi, someone from RecoveringGrace recommended that I check this blog out, and this question was very close to mine. I’m still, technically, a member of a authoritarian and legalistic Reformed denomination, but I left it for a so-called liberal church. I feel like I was abused for decades because I was smarter and more knowledgeable than many of the leaders. When I questioned things, they resorted to their “superior gifts”, the church culture, and even poisoning the well with other members so that I wouldn’t become too influential.
I feel like I am in a good church, which is still Reformed, but they have a completely different view of the role of leadership, and, in fact, have been stressing lately that our spiritual leaders are not those in some church position, but are instead the people that we recognize, in the Spirit, that God is using to help us.
That said, my old denomination is very ingrown, and it’s hard for me to escape it. My wife recognizes my need to heal, but she was not abused in the same way I was, and she really values her friendships. So much so that I’ve gotten roped into a few church retreats. I dread the retreats because I feel like someone is going to try and win me back (I think it’s more a phobia than something realistic). Interestingly enough, my wife is the last remaining member of that denomination in her family, and I am the only one in my family who isn’t.
I struggle with how to heal. I feel like I can’t heal when I get sucked back into conversations with people who are still at the old church. I feel stuck with my relationship with God because I can’t disconnect him from those who represented him so poorly for so long. Yet my wife and children still love to go to the old church when they can and see their friends and are upset that I don’t go with them. I have some friends there, but even seeing them reminds me of what I went through. I started blogging, but so far writing articles about how screwed up my old church is more like ripping off scabs than healing.
I’ve thought about professional counseling, but I don’t know where to start to find someone who has the necessary skills.