My kids have been having fun this week tracking their mama around on the internet and have been greatly amused that they can type "Julie Anne lawsuit" in their Google search field and see their mama. I'm not sure what I think about it. Not only has the mainstream media picked up the story, but other groups as well: civil rights, atheist/agnostic, Huffington Post, liberal groups, women's lib, etc. We've been reading through many comments. There are a lot of people who say: why not just go find another church. Many, many on these more liberal sites expressed: "And this is why I left the church".
I find it interesting that the man who accused me of profanity against him and the church has publicly accused me of waging war against God and the church. Really?? I'm waging war against God and the church? No, people are abandoning churches because of hyper-authority and spiritual abuse . . . . some never to return. Now tell me who is waging war?
think on that thought for a little bit . . . . . . . !!!!
Those who have commented: "why not just go find another church". They are thinking in very simple terms - if you don't like the church, move along, without understanding that it can have similar psychological issues as someone in an emotional, sexual, or physically abusive relationship. The end result is sometimes the same. Universally, abuse survivors will tend to have trust issues and control issues they will have to work through.
This reader expresses the problem so well. What now? How do you find a new church? How can you trust a new pastor?
Anonymous speaks for so many people in that comment. And please note once again - the son is obviously having a crisis of faith, too. People . . . . . this is happening in churches?!?!!!!!
It is very difficult to find a church after spiritual abuse. Let's open it up for discussion here. What are signs of a good church? What do you look for in a pastor? What do you look for in the congregation? I think the opposite is good to point out, too: signs of an unhealthy church, spiritually abusive pastor (although I probably have a lot of that listed in the blog, but if you think of others, please post a comment). Let's talk. After we get a good list going of both positives and negatives, I will save the list on the blog. This is something very practical to do and can help a multitude of people who are struggling at this point. Who wants to go back to an abusive church? Some people may not be able to risk it emotionally.
I want to let you know that each week, Pastor Wade Burleson offers an eChurch - a pre-recorded church service which is posted each Saturday at the Wartburg Watch blog. Take a look at the new service here. There are praise songs, prayers, and a video sermon. I've watched two services and found them very good and uplifting. Wade Burleson has a blog and has posted about spiritual abuse and pastors who abuse their authority. He has a sensitive heart for people like us. If you are one who has no desire to go to church after your experience, give this a try. It could just be the balm to soothe your soul for this season of healing.
I have been so touched by the personal e-mails of support and especially for those who have reached out to me to tell me your personal story. Some of you have not told your story to anyone before and for you to reach out to me shows great strength and a desire to get healed. I'm honored that you trusted me. Keep telling your story. Make up a name here and start telling your piece by piece as things come to your mind. We will rally around you and offer support. The stories of abuse are all so similar whether in my church on the West coast or someone's church on the East coast.
And there are also those who have e-mailed me telling me that you have contacted our former pastor. Good! We must speak out when we see wrongs being done. Thank you for being proactive!