Leaving the Church, Recovery Process, Spiritual Abuse, SPIRITUAL ABUSE RECOVERY

If Being Hurt by the Church Causes You to Lose Faith in God . . .

 

This meme was posted on Facebook. For those who have been harmed by church leaders/people, what does this message say to you?  I’d love to read your first impressions of this meme.

 

 

 

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138 thoughts on “If Being Hurt by the Church Causes You to Lose Faith in God . . .”

  1. Shy1 said,

    I have felt like for years and years the church has it’s mission backwards. The church should be for Christians. A place of support, comfort and friendship, a place where needs are shared and burdens are lifted.

    But the church sees itself as the mobilization center for evangelism.

    I totally agree.

    With a lot of the big-name celebrity mega church pastors, this is very intentional.

    A couple of years ago, I saw a video online of mega church preacher Steven Furtick yelling at his congregation about this very thing. He was yelling at them that their church was all about winning new converts, not meeting the needs of the already-Christian.

    Furtick said if you come to his church a Non-Christian this week and become a Christian, then next week, this holds true for you to: he expects you to get off your duff and win even more converts.

    Furtick conveyed in the audio I heard that his church will not be about YOU or FOR YOU (that is, the ‘Already Christian’ person) , but only about reaching the un-Converted. (He’s just one example of this: I’ve seen other Christians and preachers who hold the same view.)

    This goes against this verse in the book of Galatians:

    Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

    It doesn’t say “especially to those who are un-converted,” but a lot of Christians these days are behaving as though it does.

    Why would anyone be attracted to a church where they are told up front (or can plainly see on their own) that if they are hurting or in a crisis, the church people will refuse to help them?

    Funny enough, I’d say that one appeal of belonging to a church from the perspective of Non-Christians (as well as the AC (already-Christian)) is to see a church where it’s obvious if you are in a bind, they will help you out.

    Why would I, or any Non-Christian, or any AC (Already-Christian), want to attend a church where, if we are undergoing a trauma or heartbreak, the reaction of the pastor and other members is basically, “Screw you, we’re only here to try to convert more newbies to the faith, Get lost. Go deal with your problem on your own.”

    (I actually got a lot of that attitude from various church going people when I approached them seeking emotional support after my family member died.)

    Jesus Christ told Peter to “feed my sheep,” not, “entertain the goats, cater to the goats, and hope the goats convert.”

    The incident of the church with the construction paper fish and fishing reel/rod made me cringe. I’m sure that the people at that church didn’t mean anything bad by it, and it was probably only meant to motivate the members to evangelize more, but to the recipient of it, it comes across in a bad way.

    It just sounds so tacky. It’s like they’re more concerned with driving numbers up, and not about you as an individual.

    (continued in Part 2)

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  2. (part 2)
    Shy1 said,

    Once you’re in, you don’t count. Well, after all these years as a Christian I look back and I don’t see much value that I got out of going to church. There were a couple times we lucked out and had an excellent pastor who really taught the Bible, and that was worth it. But a huge percentage was just basically a waste of time.

    This has been my observation for a few years now.

    A lot of churches act like once you join them, or become a Christian, you no longer matter. They cease showing you kindness but only want to move on to a new “target.”

    Looking back on my more limited time in a handful of churches I’ve been to, I didn’t get much out of it. It was a waste of my time.

    A church should be like your second family.

    But in the churches I’ve gone to since re-starting in my mid 30s, people don’t really take note of me. (I’ve read similar accounts by other people as to what I’m about to share about my experience.)

    Oh sure, during the “meet and greet” time at the start of the church service (which is a typical practice in most Baptist churches), people I don’t know will come up and shake my hand and say hello, but beyond that, church people didn’t bother getting to know me.

    Nobody asked my name, if we could trade phone numbers, nobody said, “Hey great to see you here, will you return next week?, I would like to see you again.”

    Nobody invited me out to lunch or coffee after the service.

    At one church I went to in my mid-30s, for like about two years (and I went alone), I went to many Sunday morning services, but I went to every single Wed. night service.

    Only after I had been attending every Wed nite service after like a year and 3/4th did the preacher bother to walk up to me one night and say, “Hey, I see you here every week, how are you?”

    Well, good on you for saying hello to me, but pastor dude, it took you over a year and a half, and he was the only one to ever talk to me at those Wed. night services.

    I went to one of their church- sponsored holiday picnics. I went alone. Everyone else at this shin dig was with their family (mostly married people with kids, etc).

    One church guy waved at me as I walked up in the church parking lot to the fair ground area – and that was it.

    Even though it was obvious I was there all alone, not a single person hung out with me, offered to sit with me, to ask me to join their group…. and I was there for like two hours.

    It was so difficult for me to go to that church event alone. Back then I was incredibly shy and a total introvert (I’m still an introvert).
    I had to get out of my comfort zone and swallow some anxiety to go to that church social function on my own. I felt unwanted. I felt so deflated after having gone to that thing, and while I was there.

    As soon as it became obvious to me none of those church people seemed to notice or care I was there at their church picnic/ entertainment thing, and nobody invited me to come sit with them, I was just appalled. I still am. I was also pretty hurt (and disillusioned).

    I thought that Christians are supposed to be welcoming and make people feel included. That was not my experience at all.

    I’ve read similar experiences from other Christians and ex Christians – mostly by never married adults, but also divorced folks who show up to a church alone, and by newly widowed adults.

    Sometimes Christian women marry atheists who refuse to attend church with them, so these Christian wives go to church alone, and they feel excluded by the rest of the church.

    Many churches seem to be doing a lousy, lousy job of making people feel valued, noticed, or wanted.

    I’d rather stay at home on Sunday mornings than walk into a place expecting to be included and loved but instead go ignored and snubbed.

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  3. In my post above I said,
    “But in the churches I’ve gone to since re-starting in my mid 30s, people don’t really take note of me.”

    That wording is a little strange.

    I meant – that was true when I was in my mid 30s. I am in my 40s now.

    I started re-going to church for a bit in my mid 30s (I had only attended very spottily, hardly at all, while in my 20s), then stopped going to church for a bit, then re-started in my late 30s (two different churches) and haven’t been back to church since then.

    My Mom used to force me to go to church every single Sunday when I was a kid.

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  4. There is this guy who is a “mystery church shopper.”

    Here is a page about him:
    _Rating Church? ‘Secret Shoppers’ Helping Pastors_

    He brings to light some of the problems with churches some of us have brought up on this blog.

    Snippet from that page:

    “There have been occasions, honestly, where I have entered the worship facility excited and no one has spoken to me,” he added.

    ….With that in mind, Harrison always pays close attention to how church members greet and treat guests. After all these years, one story still stands out.

    “During the fellowship time where everyone is shaking hands, a woman behind me leans over past me to shake the hand of the woman in front of me, and in the process doesn’t say hello, you’re in my way, or anything,” he recalled. “So I feel abandoned and while everyone else is shaking hands, I’m just standing here. And prior to that I had been bumped from my seat two times.”

    Harrison urges churches to make reaching people who are new to the church experience a top priority.

    I’ve seen that guy, or one similar to him, discussing churches on other sites (and he’s been interviewed on TV about this).

    He walks into churches alone and rates the churches afterwards, on various criteria, including how welcoming they are to new-comers. He says a lot of churches are horrible at including and greeting adults who walk in alone.

    He says he’s been intentionally overlooked and ignored many times when he shows up alone to new churches, even during the “meet and greet” thing.
    This has happened to me as well.
    You do not want to return to that church, or to any church, any more after this stuff happens time and again.

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  5. I thought some of the stuff on this page was relevant to things that were brought up here:

    Interview with a Christian preacher who became an atheist:
    _Why a Pentecostal preacher gave up on Jesus and became an atheist activist_

    This is a question/comment to that preacher from the interviewer, named GC:

    GC: Reading your book, I’m struck by how easy religion makes it for one person to dominate and control the people around them.

    When a preacher has convinced people he speaks for God, there’s no way to prove him wrong.

    You were terrified when Brother Goodwin told you that you’d be possessed by the devil if you left his church.

    Even fairly ordinary churches can have a very cult-like quality. And yet, obviously, people do leave churches, or ignore their teachings, or find churches with teachings they like better. How did you reconcile that when you were a believer, and how does that work for other people?

    Another quote:

    GC:
    It sometimes seems to me that the believers who become atheists are often the ones who took religion most seriously: the ones who really thought about it at length, until they couldn’t reconcile its contradictions anymore.

    That certainly seems to have been true for you. Do you think that’s true? How has that played out in your experience working with the Clergy Project?

    Another part I found interesting:

    GC:
    I was surprised to learn that, when your ministry shifted from focusing on religious doctrine towards simply helping other people, you got so much resistance from so many of your congregants. When you wanted your church to help Katrina victims, you got serious pushback from people who thought Katrina was God’s judgment.

    Do you think a focus on doctrine and supernatural belief often interferes with people’s impulse to help each other?

    Or is it just human nature—some people are more compassionate, and some are more judgmental, regardless of whether they’re believers or atheists?

    And:

    GC:
    What do you say to people who say that people only become atheists so they can be selfish and ignore God’s rules?

    JD: I say, they don’t know what they’re talking about, at all! There is just as much selfishness within religion as there is in the secular movement or any other movement.

    Human nature is human nature. For some, there may be even more selfishness hidden behind the piety of religion.

    Secular people are at liberty to express their desire for pleasure and happiness without having to cloak it with twisted biblical justifications. One extreme example is the Prosperity Gospel movement.

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  6. @Daisy:

    Furtick conveyed in the audio I heard that his church will not be about YOU or FOR YOU (that is, the ‘Already Christian’ person) , but only about reaching the un-Converted. (He’s just one example of this: I’ve seen other Christians and preachers who hold the same view.)

    From my experience with the attitude in the Seventies, it’s for selfish reasons worthy of Ayn Rand. The idea back then was that the ONLY thing you’d be rewarded for on J-day will be “How Many Souls Did YOU Save?” And the ones with the best sales records (most notches on their Bibles) would get the high positions at God’s Right Hand. (Like getting to the Top of the List in a Pyramid scheme.) The more Fire Insurance you sold, the more brownie points at the Bema. “SELL THAT FIRE INSURANCE!! WITH THE COMPLEMENTARY RAPTURE BOARDING PASS!!!! DON’T BE LEFT BEHIND!!!!!”

    And once you’re Saved, the only thing you were permitted to do was Save More Sheep who will only be permitted to Save Other Sheep who will only be permitted to Save Other Sheep… The resemblance to an MLM Pyramid Scheme is obvious; the more downline generations you have, the higher you get up the List.

    Additionally, for a mega-MoG like Furtick (who has one of the biggest mansions and estates in his state), the more “Un-Converted are Reached”, the more butts in his pews and tithes to expand the Furtick Mansion. And spread his VISION(TM). And more Tithes.

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  7. HUG, what’s really funny is that I read about 4/5ths of your post, logged in, and was about to comment on the whole “butts in the pew” thing, when I saw this last part of your post, after I logged in:

    Additionally, for a mega-MoG like Furtick (who has one of the biggest mansions and estates in his state), the more “Un-Converted are Reached”, the more butts in his pews and tithes to expand the Furtick Mansion. And spread his VISION(TM). And more Tithes.

    That is what I was going to log back in to say, if you hadn’t said it!!

    I suspect that the driving motivation (by Furtick and others) behind wanting more rear ends in the pews is that people in the pews tend to tithe more (based on a few articles I’ve read, and Lydia has said so – she’s worked in mega churches and knows how this stuff works), so these preachers are driven by greed.

    My mother was a very loving, giving type of Christian. She would not only give money to people who were financially strapped, but she’d run errands for them, or clean their homes for them if they were sick, and that sort of thing.

    That was my example, so over my life, I have done the same thing. I have helped people when and where I can. (I’m not in a position to help people financially now, though.)

    Anyway, doing practical gestures of help for others was one picture of Christianity my mother painted for me.
    So imagine my shock after she died, and I went around looking for emotional support from other Christians, and I was smacked upside my head (figuratively speaking) for it, and none of them wanted to help me.

    And the ones who brushed me off? Some of them are into treating people like projects, or about evangelization (winning souls), or they care about digging water wells for orphans they’ve never met in Africa.

    Ever since my mother passed away, I have really, really had my eyes opened to how awful or hypocritical some Christians are (which would sadly, include people in my own family).

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  8. Daisy, I don’t like that atheists guys comment that the people who turn atheist are the ones who ‘really think about religion’. Bah. People can think about things and come to different conclusions.

    There is this guy who is a “mystery church shopper.”

    I think that’s great. I have had probably both experiences, too much attention and not enough, but I think what they need to teach is not just chatty talking to newcomers but something proactive like inviting newcomers to sit with them, come to Sunday school, etc. sometimes I get annoyed if too many people bother me 🙂 but the reverse is not good either.

    I just decided to go to my family members church, so I sit with them and am meeting people gradually. Someone who works for the church wants to have lunch next week so I can pick her brain about the church before joining…

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  9. P.S. HUG said,

    “And spread his VISION(TM).”

    That’s not all he’s spreading.

    I’ll try to keep my language clean, but he’s also spreading a lot of Fertilizer. If you know what I mean.

    Fertilizer, as in,
    Britney Spears, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand

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  10. Oops. The letter “S” in the surnames in my post above were supposed to be bold too, like Bruce Springsteen, for instance. 🙂

    Lea said,

    Daisy, I don’t like that atheists guys comment that the people who turn atheist are the ones who ‘really think about religion’. Bah. People can think about things and come to different conclusions.

    I don’t know if I agreed with everything in the guy’s interview. There were a few points I disagreed with, maybe a lot or a little.

    I just found some of what he said resonated with me, because I’ve noticed some of the same things too, or have been through them too.

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  11. In our last-ditch effort to stay in church we went back to one that we had helped start up several years prior. Our last Sunday there was when the elders were talking about the financial situation at the church and how they were addressing it. They ended the talk with asking people to invite others to church because “statistics show that when people come to church they’ll stay. Then once they’re plugged in they’ll start tithing.” I couldn’t believe that all they could do was equate people to money. Such as sad commentary.

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  12. “I suspect that the driving motivation (by Furtick and others) behind wanting more rear ends in the pews is that people in the pews tend to tithe more (based on a few articles I’ve read, and Lydia has said so – she’s worked in mega churches and knows how this stuff works), so these preachers are driven by greed.”

    About 3% of mega church members “tithe” regularly. And they can’t operate on that.. It is not like it was years ago for churches. People used to tithe weekly or monthly. They brought their checks in envelopes or mailed them in. (I have a few aunt’s who did books for churches around while also being music Ministers). People don’t tithe anymore so many pastors have dropped the language. It is about giving now.

    They know that people will give IF THERE. It is a peer pressure thing when the plate is passed. And it works. Nickel’s and Noses is the name of the game. And they rake it in. You are paying for the show. It is all emotionalism whipping it up with music trendy vids on the IMAG, a self help sermon delivered by the cool guy sitting on a stool.

    And when you are in a decent zip code the average amount per unit giving is much higher. Therefore, you open satellite campuses in an empty Walmart in those zips and put the celeb on an IMAG. Presto.

    Millions flow through monthly. Its a racket. Most mega churches have vaults. The money is counted on Monday with armed guards there then the Brinkers guys haul it to the bank.

    Everyone should remember that next time you see someone in need. The local mega needs another building or more staff pastors making 6 figures.

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  13. Daisy, your posts really resonate with me. It seems like we’ve had some similar experiences. I’m so sorry you lost your mom. We each have one mother in this world and no matter how old you are when you lose her, it is hard. I wish your fellow Christians had been there just to sit with you and listen and comfort you. I got a picture of your mom from your description as being a gentle and kind hearted person.

    My curiosity was piqued when you mentioned some people look at others as a project. I’d like to hear more what you mean by that.

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  14. I have read about half of the comments so far, and I’m encouraged by all various views expressed here. This is why I like reading this blog. Thank you, Julie Anne.

    With that said, this meme sounds very much like something I used to hear Christians say when a person turned away from the faith: He/she must not have been saved in the first place. Such a viewpoint is based upon a certain theological belief system, and does not take into account the reality of persons who had genuine faith actually turning away from God. Such a viewpoint is quite arrogant in that it assumes to know the inward motivations of a person’s heart, and it dismisses their experience, no matter how abusive their experience might have been. Let’s hope this person IS NOT a counselor!

    Another thought that comes to mind is that the person posting this meme really doesn’t strike me as one who is interested in communicating with victims of spiritual abuse. Rather, their rebuke comes off as telling those who have been hurt to man up (or woman up if that is the case) – basically get a stiff upper lip and stop wailing. I’m familiar with this kind of delivery because it was the way members treated each other in the Christian cult to which I once belonged. If anyone had legitimate complaints about leadership, or requirements that were laid upon us (supposedly from the Bible, but which I later found out was not the case), one would hear one of the following mantras: You’re complaining against God. You’re just acting like a rebellious sheep, because you don’t want to submit to the truth. You’re either working or wailing. There were many pious slogans and catchphrases that came down from the leadership and which we then used on and against each other. This meme reminds me of those slogans that were devoid of compassion and loaded with condemnation.

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  15. Sad indeed. On top of that the church refuses to show where the money goes and what the Pastor, and staff, get paid. If finances are such a secret no one should give to that church, or ministry. There is no excuse for not letting donors know where the money goes. Pastors are getting 6 figure salaries and still pressure wealthy members of the churches to give a “love gift” to him. Considering the Pastor gets many perks like free housing, cars, expense accounts and even clothing allowances all that money is free and clear. Pastors also get tax breaks as well. Where there are secrets there are no checks and balances.

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  16. @Mark You have articulated something chronically deficient in the church. We need to understand hope better. We need to stop reducing sanctification to mere purification (or toxic purity culture). We need a better teliology. I’ve a half-written blog in my head that criticises holding up Jesus’ self-denial (exercised for the purpose of fulfilling his mission) as the goal to which we are to aim. It isn’t. Our aim is the weight of glory, unspeakably wonderful. Our hope is for resurrection, the complete salvation of our identity – body, soul and history. If we do not understand our hope HOW will we ever share it in its fulness? And how will we ever console those who suffer?

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  17. @ChrisW, I don’t mind the idea of giving things up as an aim, but I do have a problem with giving things up based on what other people expect me to give up. The same people who claim that their position of authority is really to be understood as an incredible sacrifice. It’s amazing how much the modern evangelical church parallels “Animal Farm”. The pigs eat the best food and live in the farm house, but have everyone convinced that they are doing that only in the spirit of sacrificial service. Meanwhile, the farm animals work longer hours nearly starving, because they are deluded into thinking that the pigs really have their best interests at heart.

    “Servant leadership” is, as far as I’m concerned, the buzzword of the pigs and our authoritarian Christian leaders.

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  18. I think what you are describing is being a Christian leech. We need to be wary of that mindset. Another buzzword I have found among leaders is “iron sharpens iron” which really means you scratch my back and I will scratch yours. I don’t think God meant for His Word to be used for destruction.

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  19. Daisy wrote: (5/19 2:07 pm)

    “I think it’s fair, to a degree, to judge Christ based on how those who claim to his name behave and treat other people.”

    So, if the church is Christ’s body, then it is part of Christ? If Christ is “in us” and we are “in Christ,” and the church is Christ’s bride and the two shall become one flesh, then I think you might have a point.

    Another thing to think about is that those who claim to lose faith in “God” because of the church might actually be losing faith in the false idol that the church worships (i.e. a god whose people neglect and abuse their own). The one who leaves the church becomes a wandering sheep. If you read Ezekiel 34, you might notice who God blames and doesn’t blame for wandering sheep.

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  20. “Servant leadership” is, as far as I’m concerned, the buzzword of the pigs and our authoritarian Christian leaders.

    Servant leadership makes (some?) sense as a business type contract, because there is no question that the President/CEO/what have you is actually the boss. It’s just about how they be the boss.

    Jesus did not call pastors to be the ‘boss’ of a company. They are supposed to be actually servant like, not servant leaders. A church shouldn’t be run like a business. That’s sort of the bottom line here, I’m thinking. All this other stuff is meant to mask that it’s all a business, and money is the goal. That’s not how it’s supposed to be at all.

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  21. @Lea, the thing that is interesting is that leadership in the workplace works the same way. When managers think that they are better equipped to make decisions than their employees, then bad things happen. Instead, the manager has certain input, but their employees are often better situated to make the decisions.

    I think the underlying problem is that we equate position with ability. So, the manager believes himself to be superior in all ways to his employee, just as the church leaders believe themselves to be superior. This leads to the idea that those who are underneath you are inferior, and that leads to the “submit to every command” thinking that is prevalent in church today.

    I have more education and management/leadership training than any manager I’ve had, and generally know more about their job than they do, but I just don’t have the desire to be a manager.

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  22. Christian magazine has this deeply empathetic, sensitive advice for any of you who have ever felt hurt by church or Christians:

    We’ll make it simple: Grow up.

    Yes, that is what their web page says.

    What to Do When You Stop Liking Your Church

    by Tyler Edwards.

    We’ll make it simple: Grow up.

    Based on his tiny profile photo on the page, Edwards (the author) appears to be pretty young, like his 20s, -MAYBE- early 30s. His profile blurb says he’s pastor of a church somewhere.

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  23. I always found this argument strange, because the type of people to make this argument are never actually the type of people who are okay with rogue Christianity. They wouldn’t find someone saved if their faith was 100% percent based on God a reading of scripture and nothing more. If you have beliefs that deviate from the norm of American Christian culture (or a particular church’s Christianity) then of course you’re not saved.

    And people rarely mean their church when they say these things, they always mean vague, broad-scope, capital C Church (as my former pastor liked to say), because that’s soft, and that allows people to think that the problem always exists at all those other churches. If you were hurt by the church of the person who posted this meme, it would then be that you have a problem with God because their church only speaks the truth about God.

    It reflects a problem I see an awful lot in Christianity, which is the tendency to make problems in Christianity broad stroke problems, that always exist in some other church, with some other people, and those churches are probably not saved anyway, so it doesn’t real count. Meanwhile, the Real Church would never have those problems, and of course, every single Christian believes themselves part of the Real Church. So problems are always out there, over there, somewhere else.

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  24. We’ll make it simple: Grow up. (Based on his tiny profile photo on the page, Edwards (the author) appears to be pretty young, like his 20s, -MAYBE- early 30s. His profile blurb says he’s pastor of a church somewhere.)

    Of course he’s a pastor. That sounds just like Jesus, right? If you stop liking your church, leave. Hopefully find one you like better.

    Also, I don’t think I’ve ever thought a church was ‘to[sic] deep to reach non- believers’.

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  25. Daisy, I’ve read the article. What a mess.

    First, the guy says ‘Community is not just a suggestion: It’s a command for all Christians. We are expected to engage in the community of the church.” [A command! Typical.] And apparently the point of community, is a mission. And he’s decided what the mission is of course: “Non-Christians or immature Christians are our mission.”

    Wrong. That’s not the mission of church, imo. That’s the great commission, maybe. But it’s not the point of church.

    And honestly, why do all these people think ‘loud’ music will draw in unbelievers? Have they heard non-Christian music ever? Has a non-Christian ever been brought to church by the rockin’ three-four chords played loud, with repetitious lame lyrics? Do they really think non-Christians spend a lot of time listening to k-love? I kind of doubt it. This is all about their personal preferences, not what brings people to Christ. Some people, non-Christians even!, appreciate well written, beautiful music like hymns. Amazing grace will be around long after the latest loud fad is gone and it’s because it’s beautiful and inspired.

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  26. @Lea, I think you have a point. The church I left sang psalms only. That was a huge reason I stayed for so long, because the psalms have an amazing breadth and depth of emotion. It was frustrating that people, myself included, sang them like robots and didn’t really appreciate them. The church I attend now has the rock band and happy songs with no depth.

    It’s so out of keeping with the messages, which are amazing – that we don’t have to hide our anger and other “bad” emotions from God, and that we are called to HELP others in a broken world. That God’s heart is for us to reach out and pull people up, not stand there and tell them all the wrong things they did to deserve what they got. But, then we sing some Chris Tomlin and David Crowder. I think they work harder to pick appropriate songs, but there just isn’t much to pick from.

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  27. @livingliminal

    “That’s funny, it was the fact that I did grow up that made me realize how toxic churchianity can be.”

    Amen! Drinking from the cup/chalice of religious poison can be intoxicatingly deadly as far as one’s faith in Christ goes. Do the lives/behavorial patterns of the ‘churched’ look any different than the lives of those we label as unbelievers? It was extremely difficult to live under the rules and regulations of authoritarian leadership when in fact, the pastor/his family and the leadership/their families could not even abide by their own lofty, pious, religious standards. When double mindedness/double standards combined with wicked hypocrisy rule the church, the lower laity folks like me, become the Old Testament standard of the ‘scapegoat,’ for false religious lords loves to have someone else to blame instead of taking responsibility for their own sins. I no longer call those who have left organized Christianity ‘scapegoats’ or ‘goats’ in general as some wicked pastors love to call these individuals (to my own shame, my tongue was also used as a sword in labeling those hurt by church attendees as ‘goats’ – may God forgive me) , but have adopted a more compassionate belief system as the Gospels come alive in my faith, but instead, now call out these precious souls as “scapesheep.”

    In fact, the most trustworthy people that I can confide in and that actually PRAY for me and my family, are “unchurched” people who love Jesus as their own, and actually desire my/my family’s well being. There was not one single trustworthy person in the last church that I attended, not a one, that I could confide in confidence, without it being discussed at the church board meeting as well as whispered around the whole congregation. The burdens that we are to bear, for and towards one another, here again, come from those I formerly labeled as “unbelievers”
    for they are more loving, caring, and actually lend a compassionate ear and lift a hand to help me when I have needed help in many areas of life. The churched folks in my former abusive church, actually worked very hard to destroy what God, the Holy Spirit, does in the lives of believers, myself included, because folks like me have chosen not to have another human being be the lord of my life.

    I find it shocking how men and women in most churches desire to become that mediator between the believer and our Father, who art in Heaven, instead of allowing Jesus to fill that position of Mediator/Savior. It is a form of antichrist (in place of Christ) system. I love how Jesus came to set the captives free, free indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Katy, I love your word, “scapesheep”! It’s perfect 😀

    It’s sad to think that you also experienced abuse and betrayal in the ‘church’, but it sounds like there are some true and loving people in your life. I hope you remain free – free indeed! 🙂

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  29. Thank-you livingliminal for your kind words. One would think ‘the c’hurch’ is supposed to be the safest place for rest for the soul. In my youth and college years, there was this event called “Lamb Lead” to promote the wool/sheep industry. The contestant was to sew/model an outfit made out of 100% wool as well as stitching/designing coordinating blanket placed on the back of the animal while leading the haltered lamb around the show ring in the presence of the audience and the judges. Prior to the contest, we spent hours training our animal to follow obediently. It took some time for the sheep to become comfortable with the halter on its head as well as being led by a rope, for like any other animal, they too, have a mind of their own. And some days, it was not uncommon to find our sheep a quarter of a mile down the road eating grass because we lost our ‘grip’ on the rope; feisty wooly critters! Having grown up on a sheep farm, I love the analogy of Jesus and
    and His sheep.

    It is He, Jesus, that is supposed to be leading and guiding us, making us lie down in His green pastures and leading us beside quiet waters. It is He that is to restore our soul as the Psalmist quotes. But instead, churched men and women come along, throw that cumbersome halter on our heads (mind, body and souls), and pull and tug on that stiff rope, guiding us by force to follow their vision/ways, leading to that animal pen/prison of religion done their way (hence the reason for so many denominations….they all have the market on a jesus of their own pet doctrines cherry picked from Scriptures.)

    I am thankful that you are free too, in Christ, and that you can freely minister to those of us on this site who are enjoying the freedom that only Jesus can give us in daily living.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. It’s interesting that you chose this meme for your blog post… I was really bugged by it and had written the following (private message) to a friend who “liked” the meme: I’m going to push back a bit.on that quote you liked. The quote seems to absolve the church of all responsibility if they behave in an unChristlike manner and cause more hurt to wounded abused women who are looking to them for help. The church is to represent Jesus and when they drive people away with their cruelty, they will be held accountable. Yes, the person who loses faith is also accountable for their choice. But Jesus had pretty harsh things to say to religious peeps who tied heavy burdens on people and didn’t lift a finger to help. Sorry for the rant!

    Liked by 4 people

  31. To be honest, to my great discredit I once used a similar cliché when I was a Bible study leader in my ex-church’s youth ministry, eight years ago now. It was when it was revealed that South Australian AOG pastor & worship leader Michael Guglielmucci had basically tricked the collective Australian Pentecostal community with a fabricated tale of his terminal cancer and imminent death, which racked up huge sales in copies of his album and saw him speak at many huge conferences. Some of my husband’s family and friends knew Guglielmucci through their involvement in the huge Youth Alive ministries here. We were in a non-denominational Pentecostal church that is similar to AOG, known locally as ‘Australian Christian Churches’ and under the headship of Hillsong’s senior pastors, but our church was autonomous (and proud of it!).

    Very long story short, when it came out that this pastor was a fraud and my youth group girls expressed sadness, I told them to stop engaging in the sin of idolatry etc etc. Now I look back on it, I should’ve listened to their concerns. I should’ve been one of the voices that called on our own church’s pastors to be more diligent in who they allow to speak… Though I did, eventually, start speaking out in subsequent occasions when toxic guest preachers came to our church and found myself not deliberately shunned or excommunicated, but most definitely pushed to the margins as one of the dissenting troublemakers.

    I now think that memes like this is just one of the many cruel and creative ways fundies silence reasonable discussion and questions.

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  32. I will also add that a year or two ago I started really noticing just how much mine and my friends’ worldviews were shaped by memes. Any topic that deserves thoughtful, reflective and intelligent analysis simply can’t be condensed to a meme without losing the nuances and complexities of human interaction.

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  33. This book can help you heal for church hurt and show you a fresh & encouraging way to connect with other, like-minded Christians: ONE: Unfolding God’s Eternal Purpose From House To House by Henry Hon. Give it a Google.

    Like

  34. This is precisely why fundamental theistic religions are basically fronts for incredible mental/emotional abuse. Just another in the long list of paradoxical ideas that create the most intense cognitive dissonance the world has ever known… and why out of pure survival the human race won’t allow it much longer.

    Like

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