Saturday, June 30, 2012

Spiritual Abuse Blogs: Christ-Honoring?






Flowers in my neighborhood


This has been an interesting week or so, none like we've ever had before on this blog, that is for sure.   (If you are just coming to the blog for the first time, we had some great discussion in the three previous posts which are linked at the bottom of this post.)  Because I had already dealt with Mr. Butler on this topic on his own blog, I had an idea what responses to expect from him when I made a post highlighting his comment.  I thought long and hard before doing it. 

During that time, I received a handful of e-mails from people expressing strong emotions and opinions, some even asking me to move along to another topic.  Other e-mails from people said they were very uncomfortable and the blog did not feel safe anymore.  Some even told me that the condescending attitude and harshness was triggering them - reminding them of their painful experiences.  I intentionally allowed the topic to continue and did not put up more posts for a purpose (also allowing time for Fred to answer questions).  

Some of you have not exposed your spiritual abuse story to anyone.  It has remained private.   I used the dialogue between Fred and me to illustrate a point.    One aspect I hope you have been able to pick up is discerning who you can trust.  It's so important to have support, but clearly, some people are not willing to to hear, do not want to hear, do not want to believe your story.  They instead want to focus on other side issues unrelated to your story:  sin in your life, where was your husband, why you weren't in the Word, etc.  

Let your speech always be with grace,
as though seasoned with salt,
so that you will know how you should respond
to each person
Colossians 4:6

Those grumblers and complainers Fred spoke about probably do have sin issues that need to be dealt with.  But in cases of true abuse, the abuse was not incurred because of our sins, but the sins of the perpetrator.  People who believe that we are the cause of the abuse are not safe people.   It will be a risk to share with them and we will have to decide if it's worth the battle.  For others, who suffered deep abuse, dealing with someone who rejects their story could be devastating emotionally and can cause symptoms of PTSD (flashbacks, very bad memories), so those folks need to be very prudent in their awareness of what is happening in conversations, looking for clues to determine if a person is safe or not. 


The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
Pride and arrogance and the evil way

And the perverse mouth I hate.
 
 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom;
I am understanding, I have strength.
 
 By me kings reign,
And rulers decree justice. 
Proverbs 8:13-15


I want to open it up for discussion, but with a couple rules and this might prove to be challenging.   But it's worth it and I think a lot of you will agree with me.  Fred Butler is absolutely right about one thing (and I'm actually thankful that he underscored this very loudly and clearly for me).  If you search the internet and read spiritual abuse blogs, a lot of them are complaining and whining and seem to wallow in misery, getting nowhere.  I do not see the fruit in that.  Can our blog be an exception?  I think it can.  Can we keep our comments honoring Christ, yet speaking the truth in love?  I would like to issue that challenge for this blog.   Sharing our (your) stories is truthful and sometimes it is not pretty.  I'm not saying we cannot discuss truthful stories at all.  What I'm talking about is personal attacks on people.  Here's an example of how we can define that fine line:


"Mickey Mouse is a bully" = personal attack
"Interfering with someone's life to that degree is treating them like a bully" = not a personal attack
"I feel threatened when being around this person:  = not a personal attack 
 


In light of the last few posts, I want to bring some closure.  There were some important lessons to be learned and you might find it helpful to skim over the last three posts.  What can you take from those conversations (in the posts themselves and especially the comments) that will help you and others here?    We will run into people who don't believe us, want to accuse us of being the cause of the problem, etc.  So what can we learn from this?   What are some clues in determining who is safe or not?  What knowledge have we gained that will be helpful in the future in dealing with people who don't believe us, who don't want to hear us?  

Additionally, we can use this time to discuss what happened to you personally during this time?  Were you bothered by the conversation?  Some people shared their feelings with me privately.  Would you be willing to share them publicly (of course with an anonymous name if you prefer)?  Chances are, you are not the only one and by sharing your comment, others will be able to relate with you and discover they weren't alone.

And finally, feel free to discuss the parameters I suggested for blog discussions.  Is this the right direction for our blog?  Do you have any other ideas how to keep this place Christ-honoring?  I don't know if you caught it, but I'm using the pronoun "our" with blog.  The blog is not here for me.  It's here for us. 

Here are the previous three posts up for discussion:






If we have enough participation, we can use this info for the Spiritual Abuse Help area above. 







38 comments:

  1. Julie Anne

    I vote - Spiritual Abuse Blogs “ARE” Christ honoring.

    This blog, and other Abuse blogs, are part of something glorious... And much needed...
    Exposing the darkness of “Spiritual Abuse” by bringing light and truth.

    And allowing folks the freedom - to talk - to share their pain - to rant...
    To hear from others who have experienced similar hurts and pains.
    Even the rejection, ugliness, from those who blame the abused.

    Seems Jesus didn’t have a problem exposing the ugliness of “The Religious System” of His day.

    When I left “The Abusive Religious System” in the early 90’s thru much
    pain, tears, and “Spiritual Abuse.” Even my friends would hint - It was MY fault.
    I was rebellious - NOT - willing to submit to authority - a Lone Ranger...
    All that nasty stuff “The Abusive Leaders” teach in order to control the sheeppies. :-(

    I had NO one to talk to. No internet. I had lost friends - everything...
    And yes - I was angry, feeling guilty - And feared ever walking into...

    BUT - I now see the benefit - ALL things “DO’ work together for good...
    I had NO place to go - but - to Jesus. And found out - Jesus really loves me. ;-)

    This seems to be ALL part of the healing process from “Spiritual Abuse.”
    And - When so-called “Religious Leaders” are “complaining and whining”
    about the “complaining and whining” from folks who have experienced “Spiritual Abuse”

    “If you search the internet and read spiritual abuse blogs, a lot of them are “complaining and whining” and seem to wallow in misery, getting nowhere.”

    I would dis-agree with - they - “seem to wallow in misery, getting nowhere.”
    They are - “getting somewhere” - getting closer to Jesus. Even when they don’t see it. :-)
    And, along the way, they expose the ugliness of “spiritual Abuse” rampant today in the
    501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax $ deduxtible, Religious $ Corporations, most today call church.

    The Abused are going thru “The Loss of ALL things - Php 3:8.” we experince when what
    we loved, cherished, and depended on, is lost - Ripped out of our lives.

    And we learn we can NOT trust in man - Or - The Man made systems we depended upon.

    Psalm 118:8-9
    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

    Jeremiah 17:5
    Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man,
    and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD

    There is an appointed time for everything. Ecclesiasties 3:1-12 NASB
    We can Trust God will let us know when “There is an appointed time” to move on.
    Until then - complaing about abuse - warns others - and confronts the abusers. ;-)
    Seems - Anger - Depression - Complaining - Speaking truth - is part of mourning loss.
    And so is healing - Jesus came to heal the broken hearted. Ps 147:3, Lu 4:18.

    Jer 50:6 KJV
    *My people* hath been *lost sheep:*
    “their shepherds” have caused them to “go astray”

    1 Pet 2:25 KJV
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

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  2. Very good, Julie Anne.

    Let your Lighthouse, here, exceptionally shine!

    let me know if i cross any line

    my utmost desire is to glorify God and honor Christ in my world and in yours. .

    and thank you for making your blog ours

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  3. The way our Lord combined strong resolve and fight with grace never ceases to amaze me. Even his interactions with the pharisees are filled with love. The way he describes the older son in the parable of the prodigal son is a clear example. I strive for that same balance but frequently find myself being either harsh in attempts to be firm or indulgent in attempts to be gracious. I can only step back from my own weak attempts and praise the name of the One who is truth and grace.

    Thank you Julie Anne for all your time and effort in creating a place where we can strive to love one another with that balance.

    For those who find that pride gets in the way (as I do) I've found a paraphrase of Paul helps me keep my focus. If I write the most brilliant comments, and there's no love in them, it's just noise.

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    1. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! Thank you, Craig, for your comments.

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    2. I completely agree, Jess!

      And this!!! If I write the most brilliant comments, and there's no love in them, it's just noise.

      so good!

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  4. Julie Anne -

    Your responses to me, especially in private, have made this a safe place. Thank you.

    One thing I noticed in my own interactions in these comments was this: I recognized Fred as a 'type', if you will, immediately, and was mostly just irritated and saddened by his comments. What caught me a little off guard was my reaction to those who began defending Fred's comments. That triggered some strong emotions.

    And, although I am well aware (from past dealing with people both online and in person) that there really is no reasoning with people who take the stance Fred has taken, I felt the need to engage in some rebuttal - things I have learned through my own ongoing healing process - so that those wounded reading and not engaging would here hope and not just condemnation.

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    1. *sorry for typos - that should be "those .... would hear..."

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    2. Jeannette - Same thing happened to me. These are deep issues that rattle us to the core. It makes sense that there are going to be strong reactions.

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  5. Amos, what you wrote was so absolutely beautiful and true!

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  6. Julie Anne,

    Christ is honored when people stand up for those who are downtrodden by religious charlatans. This is a Matthew 25 ministry. Keep up the good work.

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  7. Of course a "spiritual abuse" blog can be Christ-honoring. Jesus had a heart for those abused by the religious system of his day.

    Also, somebody mentioned a Tim Challies post on spiritual abuse:

    http://www.challies.com/articles/spiritual-abuse

    It is clear from both the post and comments that the idea of spiritual abuse is something new to some people. Maybe this place can be a place of learning.

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  9. Considering that your blog is somewhat new compared to other survivor blogs, I can understand if you're still writing posts that may sound like you're grumbling or complaining. Honestly, I would expect this. I truly think that it takes time to get over the hurt that is experienced by one who has been abused. Anger, sadness and fear are acceptable responses to what has happened and every person responds differently to what has happened to them. To mask the pain is not an honest way in dealing with the experience.

    That being said, I think it is appropriate to also tell someone who has dealt with abuse that it is prudent to seek healing and to come to a point of viewing the body of Christ in a healthy way. Again, though, this is different for everyone. I would never go on to someone's personal blog, especially when it is most likely being used as a tool for healing, and tell them that they just need to get over it. The blog is a tool. Writing down experiences and feelings helps in the healing. I would hope that people reading your blog would answer in love (kindness, patience, not keeping record of your wrong). If a person cannot answer in love, they should not be answering or even continue reading. Why even bother reading if it angers them so much?

    I would expect that over time, your blog will change. You will move past the hurt of the experience and you will find healing. Your posts will become more positive. However, you're still living the story. The story must be told. If not for your own healing, but to help someone else as well.

    As for my own experience, it has taken me almost three years to move past the anger of my experiences in church. We still have not joined a local congregation. We have given our children the choice to attend a local youth group with friends, but my husband and I are not ready to be back in a local congregation. We have Christian friends that we share meals with and we enjoy our time of "church" then. Some in my family find us to be "outside of God's will." We have found it very healing and honestly, we have a better relationship with God right now than we ever had. We are no longer angry at God or at the body of Christ. This is just our experience and how we have chosen to deal with the hurt. I would never assume that it would be the right way for someone else.

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    1. Kathi - Thank you for sharing part of your story here. I've been thinking about the progression of the blog. I think the reality is that there will always be new people who stop by and people at various stages of processing what happened. So the blog will progress, but then it will take a step back.

      Even in my own home, we are at different stages even though we were at the church the same time. My husband didn't see some of what I saw until months later. This is not negative in any way, as we all process things differently.

      As far as not going to church, Kathi, you are certainly not alone. For some reason, last week I received a handful of e-mails from people who aren't ready to go back to church, but still maintain a relationship with God.

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  10. Anything can be empty. In fact everything is arguably empty if you are not getting a deeper, more complete understanding of the actual word of God, and getting parts-in-relation-to-the-whole understanding of actual biblical doctrine (unwatered-down, un-negotiated-down to the demands of our fallen nature).

    Biblical doctrine is armor of God. If you have real armor a church pastor (and not knowing your former pastor I am not referencing him) acting in some common authoritarian way will be like meeting a puppy on the road compared to what the world, the flesh (our inner fallen nature) and the Devil can throw at us.

    I recommend:

    The Bible (my preference, KJV)

    Manual of Christian Doctrine - Louis Berkhof (a smaller version of his big Systematic Theology, though complete and written in a way where, for instance, credo-baptists and infant-baptists and people with different church polity inclinations will not be put off). Don't mistake it for his even smaller Summary of Christian Doctrine.

    Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan. This is on-the-mark *visual* doctrine. It is, in many ways, empowering and enlightening for a Christian.

    Human Nature in its Fourfold State - Thomas Boston. In it's time (the 1700s) as popular a folk classic as Pilgrim's Progress. A remarkable and remarkably on-the-mark treatise that uniquely structures all biblical doctrine on the complete plan of redemption and based on human nature in all parts of that plan. Kind of hard going for beginners, but once you know Federal Theology, which is classical Covenant Theology, which is the most hard truth, Biblical doctrine, it is a desert island book.

    The Christian in Complete Armour - William Gurnall. Because it is the bible for the subject of spiritual warfare, and spiritual warfare is such a foundational activity for all regenerate Christians. A massive tome, though.

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    1. thanks, ct

      just did a search for any available pdf copies for myself.
      here’s what i found:

      Manual of Christian Doctrine - Louis Berkhof
      http://www.biblestudyaids.net/ref/lb/mcd.pdf

      and

      The Christian in Complete Armour - William Gurnall (two volumes)
      http://www.ccel.org/ccel/gurnall/armour/files/armour1.pdf
      http://www.ccel.org/ccel/gurnall/armour/files/armour2.pdf

      for Palm eReader (both volumes) go here:
      http://www.ccel.org/ccel/gurnall/armour/files/armour.html

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  11. Thanks, monax, for finding that pdf of Berkof's Manual. I didn't know it was available. Berkhof is valuable because he is a very clear and concise organizer of doctrinal material, and really gets to the heart of each subject.

    The Gurnall can be read like a devotional book, rather than straight through. Obviously it's too massive to read cover-to-cover, yet it's divided up with chapter headings so well that you can just find a subject and read that section. It's all based on Ephesians 6:10-18, the Bible's main passage on the armor of God.

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  12. monax (and anybody else reading this that is interested) there is a little book called The Embattled Christian, by Bryan G. Zacharias, that summarized Gurnall and the Puritan teaching on spiritual warfare in general. It is a unique and very well presented book. I don't like recommending books that are no longer available, but I see there are several used copies available at Amazon starting at $1.56. Just on it's own it is one of the very best books on the subject of spiritual warfare. He studied under J. I. Packer and wrote the book as a thesis under Packer where he was teaching. (Packer's Concise Theology is another five star goldmine of a book for a person beginning to be interested in biblical doctrine in a systematic way. Packer has a genius for summing up concisely each subject of systematic theology. It's a book you'll reference over and over.)

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    1. you know, ct, i really love J.I.Packer’s Concise Theology

      every topic is so concise he breaks it down for us in one or two pages

      i’m using it now as a devotional

      . .

      ct, i’d like your email. if you're ok with that, send it to me. you can find mine at my site, see ‘Jerubbaal’

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  13. I agree with Kathi.

    I believe Mr. Butler noted in his own blog that he felt we should "just move on." But that's not Biblical or healthy: we have to deal with spiritual abuse and all of the emotions that come with it. I'm not saying we should allow our emotions to take precedence (but we're human, and sometimes they do), or that we shouldn't trust God. However, in order to come to a better understanding of what we've been through and gain a God-view of it, we all have to process one way or another.

    I am a writer, and so I process through journaling and blogging. I used to have a super-personal blog. (I recently got rid of it, simply because I'm facilitating a ministry blog at this time and don't have the time). I detailed a lot of my spiritual abuse situation in it without giving specific names. I wasn't particularly afraid of using specific names (if you knew me, you would know who the people were anyhow, because I gave pretty specific details), but because my parents were also involved, I didn't want to add grief to their already heart-breaking situation. Somedays, I was angry and it showed. Somedays, I was depressed and it showed. Somedays, I was able to God's gracious hand in removing me from a situation and it showed.

    I was told by a lot of people that I should not have blogged some of the things I did. I should count it all joy and "move on." But I had been doing that all my life, and all that happened when I would push it down is that it would come back in an uglier form. (Like I'd be angry at something or someone and the next time something similar happened or someone did the same thing, I'd be insanely angry). Is that healthy? I certainly realized when the church thing came down that it was not.

    Eventually, (like over the last year or so) my blog became less and less about the abuse I had encountered and more and more about Christ and His healing work in my life. If I hadn't worked through those emotions, though, painful as they were, I don't think I could have had healing.

    I have been back in church for two and a half years now, and the spiritual abuse I went through was three years ago. Honestly, though, it's still hard for me. I have trouble trusting God when I see little things happening that make me uncomfortable (not bad things per se, just things that are going to take me far and away from my comfort zone) - "God, are you leading me towards another spiritual shipwreck?" A few weeks ago my pastor told me about the respect he had for me and he emailed my mom and told her something similar, and all I could think was, "What do you want from me?" Am I wrong for not trusting God fully? Yes. Do I have any reason to think my pastor might be manipulating me? No. Am I a human in God's perfecting process, and just not all there yet? Absolutely. You see, I trust God more than I did three years ago, 2.5 years ago, and even a year ago. I am less gun shy about Christian relationships than I was 3 years ago, 2.5 years ago, and a year ago.

    If you look at the Psalms, a lot of them start out with a crying out to God - a focus on the circumstance. By the end of the Psalm, the author is usually praising God. There is an emotional process that needs to be worked through. We need to be gracious with ourselves and with each other ("speech seasoned with salt") as we work through these emotions, even if we do stumble in what we say or do.

    Yes, we need to honor Christ in everything we say and do. We need to not give Him a bad name. But He was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53): He can handle what we're going through, He's walking through it with us.

    This is what I see in the blog, Julie Anne. You working through what you've been through in a productive way. I really do believe that's the general tone of your blog - you seek to help people who have been through the same thing.

    Continued...

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    1. I really loved reading this, Lydia. And I can tell you are a writer. You express yourself beautifully.

      I'm glad to see you are making process in trusting. That is a tough one. I tend to hold pastors at arm's length and tread very carefully, too. I had two different experiences with pastors this weekend and it was so refreshing to see these men truly act like shepherds - shepherds who care for souls.

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  14. ...That being said, some of the things being said about Mr. Butler were just as ungracious and incorrect as the things he was saying about survivor blogs (and bloggers). He has not encountered spiritual abuse (and I pray he never has to), and perhaps has not experienced depression or any other negative emotion as a believer. People who deny emotions (i.e. do not believe they're important)often believe these things are un-Christian. They fail to realize that we as believers are in a perfecting process and grace is not in their theology. However, grace IS in my theology and that means that however little Mr. Butler deserves my defense or sympathy, I will not accuse him of being sexist, or a wolf in sheep's clothing, or question his position in Christ based on what he says or does simply because he clearly just doesn't get it and belittles emotions. I don't agree with his general sentiment, but the refusal to deal with negative emotions is the rule, not the exception, with the Christians I've dealt with my entire life. So I just pray for those people and live my life in such a way as to prove them dead wrong.

    I did not feel safe commenting (although I did anyway), not because of Julie Anne, but because I thought others might think I was playing devil's advocate and I might be called a wolf or an unbeliever, or it might be implied that perhaps I just don't "get it." I genuinely just felt that focusing so much on Mr. Butler was just as distracting from the issue of spiritual abuse as Mr. Butler's choosing to focus on all of the negatives of spiritual abuse blogs.

    Sorry this is so long. I hope it makes sense.

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    1. "If you look at the Psalms, a lot of them start out with a crying out to God - a focus on the circumstance. By the end of the Psalm, the author is usually praising God. There is an emotional process that needs to be worked through."

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    2. Echo - your name is so appropriate and I appreciate you echoing Lydia's wonderful thoughts on Psalms.

      I'm glad Lydia brought this up because she beautifully illustrates that if David can cry out to God, even be angry at God, then are we not doing the same on this blog? Friends, this is not wallowing, and I want to make sure that my comments are not misunderstood. This is part of the emotional wrestling we sometimes go through as we work through this pain. It is okay to cry out to God and even get angry. These are emotions that God created.

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    3. Lydia - I, too, had difficulty with some of the comments directed to Fred. I think I could have done better at moderating and trying to refocus on the subject instead of allowing personal attacks. It's difficult because as you all know, I value the right to free speech and don't want to censor, but also want to try to keep this a place where Christ is honored. I'm a work in progress.

      What I appreciate about the participants here is that there are those who will challenge others on their comments. It's all good. (For a moderator - it's great when a group self-moderates! Love that!)

      BTW, 11 days until court hearing. I need to find a new countdown gadget to post on the blog!

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    4. We are all works in progress. :) And I am behind you when you say it is good to challenge others in a Christ-honoring way. Proverbs says that, "Iron sharpens iron, and a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."

      I am in prayer about that upcoming court date!

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  15. 56 years a Baptist, mostly SBCJuly 2, 2012 at 7:05 AM

    Lydia
    The issue with Mr. Butler is that he was denying the spiritual and social abuse took place, challenging Julie Anne's right to point out the abuse and to name the abuser, and challenging her as a Christian for speaking out in any case. His comments were excusing the conduct of the abuser and blaming the victim. All of that is inappropriate and contrary to what Jesus taught. He did not have to come onto this blog and assail the blogger, which he did, which compounds the abuse.

    This is a pattern in the broader evangelical community, to pillory those who point out the sins of a "leader". It attacks the victims and excuses the abuser. Such encourages abusers and results in more abuse. Heaping abuse on a victim is not appropriate and not the act a Christian should be involved in, and that is what Fred Butler did. And his wrongs should be named and pointed out to him and to the community. He has neither confessed nor repented of this sin.

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    1. If you read carefully Lydia's comments, it's clear that she doesn't say that all of the comments about Mr. Butler were inappropriate. She actually lists them as being that he is sexist, a wolf, or not a believer.

      I believe her point is that while it was wrong of him to heap abuse on the victims of spiritual abuse, it is equally wrong to do the same to Mr. Butler by name-calling. To me, that isn't the same as excusing his comments or even pointing out where he is wrong. I believe her further point was that we should focus our energy on helping others heal, not on him. Amen to that.

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    2. I was responding to Julie Anne's question of what we thought of the discussion, and that was genuinely how I felt about many of the comments concerning Mr. Butler. I am not here to defend Mr. Butler, just here to contribute to the conversation ... because the journey to victory through spiritual abuse is so difficult, and I want to encourage/exhort Julie Anne on her path.

      I will say this...

      Just like all of us, Mr. Butler falls short of the glory of God. Just like all of us, he needs grace, love and compassion. And I believe very firmly that Jesus' blood covers all sin. Not just my sin, but the sins of my abusers, accusers, and their excusers.

      I am in no position to throw stones.

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  16. Jullie Anne & friends,

    IMO = In My Opinion

    I have followed this bog for awhile now. Maybe 3 weeks. I am no newbie to Spiritual Abuse, however I have not had much experience with blogs. Back in 2004 I was involved in a NACR forum on this subject. I was just another voice, not part of the staff.

    I want give an honest answer to Juile Anne's question above. I have tried to find all those blogs that Fred Butler IMO says are just people crying in their beer. (paraphrased) But in reading other blogs have found some very good examples of real Spiritual Abuse. Not cry-babies as Fred seemed to imply. (Are we looking at the same blogs?)

    IMO, Mickey Mouse is not a bully. (lol) IMO, Fred Butler just likes to debate. Some people just like to argue and if you say it's black, they say it's white. Fred has a blog article about "Food Pharisees". IMO, he thinks a bad diet is no problem because of a scripture he can take out and twist. A reader did a good job of pointing out that she chooses a good diet for her health sake and it has nothing to do with religion. He seems to want to argue (debate) with her. It seemed that his reader won the debate. If Fred is really trying to say that Christians should not tie food choices to the faith, then I agree! If I force you to eat all Twinkies and no meat, on religious grounds, then I may be causing you SA. Oops, there's that darned elephant again!

    IMO, Fred has never seen the elephant but some of us have rode the elephant. IMO, he has missed the elephant and even though I stand crying because my foot is under the elephant's foot, he does not see my pain, nor the elephant and seems to believe that we are all a bunch of whiners. (Ever had a horse step on your foot? I have! Sometimes they stand there until you make them move. Ouch! A horse shoe is bad luck when it is between your foot and the horse's foot. )

    I spent hours yesterday visiting various blogs. I learned of the Patriarchal Movement for the first time ever. I saw new forms of abuse and read one sad story of a young girl molested by a man from their church. Some of the church leaders wanted downplay it all. Go figure!

    I also saw the sheep skins being torn off the wolves. And these stories need to be told! I believe to sweep dirt under the rug and give a free pass to abusers is NOT Christ-honoring. I suppose that there may be some who really are complainers. But you're not talking about them here. You're talking about real abuse, mainly Spiritual Abuse.

    Julie Ann: My conclusion is that indeed Spiritual Abuse blogs can be Christ-honoring!

    Don't hide the elephant! Keep on blogging. You're doing fine.

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    1. Churchian_Not: I have to concur with your observations about Fred being a debator. It's interesting that he had no more to say to me after this comment of mine, yet created 2 more posts on the subject on his blog, in addition to posting a comment here and further discussion.

      His agenda seems to point out the inappropriateness of spiritual abuse blogs, even coming to our blog where hurting people are gathering for support. Sadly, in doing so, we see little validation of the sad results of spiritual abuse and that makes me wonder: is there no compassion?

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    2. Sadly, there still is no compassion. The circular "reasoning" is exhausting and never gets to a point. Some people could argue with a fence post. I'm interested in real, challenging debate, which is very different from arguing for the sake of arguing. Thank goodness the fence post is there, because that means I don't have to be.

      Pardon me as I shake the dust off of my shoes.

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  17. I believe that speaking out in defense of our faith and of our precious Savior, is the right thing to do. This blog, Julie Anne has been such a blessing to me, and to think that i primarily came here because of the scandal- kind of like watching a train wreck- Voyeuristically, that's the word i'm looking for. But as I'd happened to have left a spirtually abusive church in march, i stayed. I've heard things like what this person has posted, and it all comes down to playing by the "rules" This is an idea so ingrained in conservative Christian culture that there's no room for deviation from that- even the kindest Christian brothers or sisters you will meet may hold to that perspective. Its alienating and frustrating. I have a friend whom i'm currently waiting on the verdict of whether i'm being cut off as a friend because of my speaking out against the particular "pastor" who's church i used to attend. But i'm not willing to stand by while this person throws others under the bus when I know better, period. And i'm not willing to hide, hence why i'm not anonymous :) Anyway, my one concern with these types of blogs, is that even the right thing can be done in a way that is wrong- i see most of these blogs with hurt people who have largely abandoned Christ and sound doctrine and theology and are being swept away by false doctrine- that turns me off, i'm glad to have not seen that in this blog. Its such an amazing blessing to me! thanks so much JA! OH and i wanted to share this free podcast, i found it today- there's 2 sessions on spiritual abuse which are REALLY good! she even talks about the brain chemistry of church vs college, check it out. scroll down down down and you'll find it in 2008 http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/thatmom/id270641018?mt=2

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    1. Hey Rebecca - who ever would have known that my experience with a podunk church in Beaverton, OR could touch the lives of strangers who have walked a similar path. And immediately when you shared a little bit of your experience, I felt an instant connection with you (ok, I also admit that I clicked on your name and stalked a bit - beautiful family!! - - haha - gotta love technology). So, we're no longer strangers and now sistahs :)

      I admire your strength and resolve to stand firm even if it means that you might lose a friend. Your message will speak loudly - maybe not yet, but some day.

      Thank you for stopping by and hangin' :) I'm going to check out that podcast now.

      Hugs!
      ~ja

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    2. HAHAHA! that's too funny, glad to be your sistah :) thanks for your sweet comments! I'm totally waiting for that "someday" because truth be told, the "today" kind of sucks, all this on top of the regular stuff that weighs us down...

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  18. It has always baffles me when I see serial abusers within the church attempt to stifle dissent and reduce exposure by re framing the discussion. Within the Sovergn Grace "denomination" / franchise like church business that comes as re framing PROVEN accusations such as child molestation, financial irregularities, blackmail, and incredible cult like control and abuse as "slander" or "not believing the best." At Jacksonville Baptist they actually passed legislation within the church that made publicly disagreeing with leadership and criticizing their decisions or actions SIN. Literally they have created a special category of sin just for their church. Then there is the most famous, dropping the "personal attack" whine as if that is supposed to magically keep people from speaking the truth. Anytime someone says something about you that you don't like (even if it's true) just scream personal attack !

    That really is very much the same technique that created this blog in the first place. If you say something about me or my rinky dink church that I don't like I'll file a lawsuit OR maybe JUST WHINE ABOUT IT BEING A PERSONAL ATTACK.

    ReplyDelete

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