Thursday, August 9, 2012

Here's the church, here's the steeple . . .

One of my readers sent me a couple pictures of her former church she labeled as abusive.   Here is the church as it used to be.

View from front

Strong winds recently came through the area, knocking the steeple over.  A number of former members have been discussing this "act of God":  

God may be trying to shake those people up?Is God trying to wake up the dead in our churches?

Here is the church now.  Is this a sign of what is to happen to spiritually abusive churches? 

Side view

 Abusive pastors, BEWARE!!  Your church may be next.


  1. Wowzers ... before I read the story, I skimmed over the first photo and knew it was a church and then focused on the second picture and thought, *Wait ... what's that church doing with a gigantic microphone on the entrance way? Is this the next big thing to prove they "teach the Word" there?*

    Sometimes it takes more than just a first and second take to get the message ...

    1. looks somewhat like a gigantic fancy torch too

    2. Brad, it took me a while to get the orientation of the picture. I, too, thought it looked like a giant old-school microphone.

  2. JA asks: Is this a sign of what is to happen to spiritually abusive churches?

    I wouldn't assume as much.

    “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Jesus in Matthew 5:45b).

    ‘As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him’ (John 9:1-3).

    “Those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No!” (Jesus in Luke 13:1-5)

    1. You're a party pooper, David.

    2. Sorry.

      You know the term ‘Act of God’ is a legal term employed by insurance companies. The high winds were either directly or indirectly responsible for toppling the steeple and subsequent damage. I think: if the claims adjuster determines that the steeple wasn’t anchored properly to begin with that might release the insurance company from paying for damages, and even if not some policies actually exempt coverage for Acts of God. I don’t know the ins and outs of all this, I just know that ‘Act of God’ is an insurance term.

    3. "that the steeple wasn’t anchored properly"
      I think that could be said about all abusive churches…. ????

    4. You know, AL, when I do that thing with my hands: "Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the doors and see all the people." When I open the doors the steeple becomes my people!

    5. While I understand the irony, I agree, I don't think I would go there.

      A couple of years ago, a tornado hit the ELCA church that was debating whether to allow gay clergy. A rather well known pastor in the area proclaimed that it was a warning from God.

      Another pastor in the area decided to look at the damage the tornados had done and decided that Oklahoma must really be being warned.

  3. Actually, most insurance policies use a different term these days, and most no longer exclude a general category like that, but list specific exclusions (sometimes they read like everything that might damage a building is excluded!!)

    Folks, keep in mind that there are many, many pastors of abusive churches that believe that all of the tragic events are from God and are because of the sin of humans who are being punished. So a shunning church is leveled by a tornado could be God's punishment for their mistreatment of fellow Christians????

    Not that I believe that way.

    1. Good point. And "signs" can be interpreted in so many ways!

      Back in the mid 90's, “a loud cracking sound jolted the audience. At the same instant the church’s acrylic pulpit split in half and fell on the carpet with a thud.” The Pastor of Christian Tabernacle in Houston was thrown back and the congregation responded with fear and trembling. The guest speaker—a Tommy Tenney—claims he sensed something bad was about to happen and stepped to the back of the auditorium as if to get away from someone who was about to get struck by the lightning of God.

      Tenney saw this split pulpit as a sign from God and got a book deal out of it—God Chasers. He made a bit of money from it and became a popular preacher for the publicity the split pulpit provided. .

    2. I don't care what any of yous say. I only want to hear what Pat Robertson has to say about this.

      *just kidding*

      But what does the anointed prophet of god have to say on other issues:

      "I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you, This is not a message of hate -- this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It'll bring about terrorist bombs; it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor." -Pat Robertson, on "gay days" at Disneyworld

      "It may be a blessing in disguise. ... Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. Haitians were originally under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon the third, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you will get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal. Ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other." –Pat Robertson, on the earthquake in Haiti that destroyed the capital and killed tens of thousands of people, Jan. 13, 2010

    3. We used to live in Virginia Beach - 20 min. from the Pat Robertson country. I heard enough of that man's nonsense. All of the crazy talk about how God protected the Tidewater area from hurricanes because that was God's territory. Give me a break.

    4. I thought all of God Bless America was Pat Robertson country. Go ahead, turn your television on, see if he ain't there in the PNW.

    5. Oh boy - look what I just found on Pat Robertson. It just never ends.

  4. Good point and warning An Attorney. Even in relatively healthy churches I get that creepy feeling when I hear talk of sin in the camp. I also was ashamed at some of the responses early on to the AID's epidemic. God calls us to compassion.

    It's hard not to speak for God when we see an abusive church building in such a state, but it's wiser to leave the interpretation and the joke to God.

  5. I agree that we should not speak for God. But I do think that we should all be open to some laughter. When our soul has been damaged by an abusive church and pastors, we need something to laugh about. It took me a long time to find joy and laugh again after leaving the church I was in so long.

    Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds… so I think my God understands when I got a good laugh out of the pictures. Thank you Julie Anne, for sharing.

    The pastors always said that satan/the devil was always present because he didn't like all the good things that he/the church was doing. That was how the pastor explained the drop in tithes, people leaving the church, anything going wrong at the time. It was always the devil. That is easy to do. But I know since leaving the abusive church that blaming the devil for everything we don't like is an easy out; sometimes all we need is a mirror.

    So I got a chuckle out of my mental picture of the devil up there knocking the steeple off of that church.

    Monax, what a thought! The steeple becomes the people. I've prayed so many times since leaving the abusive church that my eyes 'see' and ears 'hear' truth and that I not be again deceived by false teachers. It bothered me for quite a while that I influenced several others to attend that abusive church. I thank God now that most of those that I got to go to that church have also left now.


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