Sunday, March 16, 2008

There will be no church service for our family this year,

there will be no green palms waving in the air,

no songs sung about the donkey that carried in our king,

no palm crosses to fold and place into our bibles,

no Easter clothes bought and ready for next week,

no tears shed in memory of a savior slain on the cross.

This Sunday will be like all the others.

We are recovering born again Christians.

This is a controversial subject to most people that we love and even to strangers but it is a subject that NEEDS to be talked about.

We are survivors of spiritual abuse.

As a child I attended the THIRD CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH every Sunday. Jesus was a friend, heaven was beautiful, Christians knew each other by their love. There were holiday rituals like palms on palm Sunday and beautiful dresses for Easter.

Life in Jesus was good.

I loved the Lord with all my heart, soul and mind.

When I was about 13, I had a friend named Cindy who lived across the street. She attended a local baptist church. I didn't think anything of it until one night while sleeping over she had a small paper thing with a comic strip that talked about "needing to be born again". I now know this to be a "tract". So with her, I said a prayer of salvation; a magical incantation that was the key to enter heaven.


It was an extension of what I already knew to be true; Jesus was Lord and I loved Him.

The last church that we were members of is where I experienced spiritual abuse.

While sitting in a small group that they called "home groups" we studied cults. My husband and I were being trained for leadership and had to prepare the lesson on cults.

Like the blind that began to see, so were we.

There were many things that we were doing in our church that were defined in the writings about christian cults.

We started to have questions, many questions.

What we learned was that in a dysfunctional, controlling, authoritarian church environment; questions are not welcome. Questions are in fact a sign of rebellion, a lack of faith and of Satan's deception over your mind.

We prayed. We felt compelled to leave. Abusive dynamics increased. We stayed another year.

Obedience to our leadership became our idol. As we submitted to their authority in trust; our emotional and spiritual lives began to die.

The hope for our own ministry was robbed as we served another man's ministry.

Loneliness grew as we realized that our relationships were created ONLY for the context of being part of this group.

The pain in our lives became overflowing and started to drown us as we stayed and tried to serve Jesus but in truth were only serving man.

There is a lot that I want to speak on regarding this topic so I will try to write in small segments appropriate for blogging.

If it offends you; ask yourself why. If you don't want to be bothered; pass over my blog and move on.

I will not leave this topic unspoken any longer for if I don't speak, others will be abused.

So I will write and pray that through that process, healing and hope will return.

but for today, I am again hurting, because my sweet children are not waving palms...and rejoicing in the memory of the day a man/god rode on a donkey....towards the ultimate sacrifice for human kind.


Sherry at the Zoo said...

You are so right on...if a church does not encourage questions, and is not open about its finances, or if all it wants is YOUR finances, then it's not a church about Jesus. It's a cult, or a business, or something, but it's not about Jesus.

My prayer for you is that you do not let "church" get in the way of your love for Jesus. I know so many others who are hurting because of exactly what you have experienced. Many of today's churches will readily change their doctrine/beliefs if it brings in more people and hence more money.

They are willing to compromise biblical truths so as not to offend others.

But, it all goes along with Revelations. It's all because Eve ate that apple, gosh darn it!

Go browse through my friend Andy's blog.
He has alot of good (and long) posts about subjects such as this.

My prayer for you will be that you find the peace you seek.


AndrewG said...

Hello! My friend Sherry, who posted the last comment, stumbled upon your blog and said I should come visit and offer some encouragement. I don't know what kind of encouragement I can offer, except that our Savior, as you know, is a gentle Shepherd, not a dictator. And that's the trouble with many of today's churches, that they don't seem to understand that pastors and leaders are supposed to model that kind of Christ-focused leadership. There is a WONDERFUL book the addresses this subject in lenght that I would recommend for you, entitled, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen. I think it will help.

If you have any questions or just want to talk, feel free to contact me.

Jayne said...

(((((Tera Rose))))) I offer my warm hugs and understanding. I started my faith journey later in life, due in part, because I had not seen a faith demonstrated which allowed for people to be in different stages of their journey without somehow making those people feel as if they were evil. I would never be comfortable in ANY church TELLING me what I should believe. I am a questioning believer and will always be. To me, the mystery of it is what is so beautiful. It was not meant for us to fully understand or comprehend. No one really has the answers. Faith is just knowing, not being told what to know. I will keep you and your family in my prayers as you heal and hope that you can find a place which welcomes your faith and allows you to stretch and grow. BTW, you have not left your faith. He is still very much in you and with you... always.

Tera Rose said...

Thanks for posting-
church has definitly not gotten in the way of my love for Jesus.

but there are many issues from our experience that make it difficult to objectly find the right church for us.

and it wasn't an apple that eve ate, it could only have been a tomato (LOL)
see, apples, I can take em or leave them.

But a tomato might tempt me to sell my children for one!

thanks for the prayers and the blog-
I'll be posting more about what we went through.

thanks for finding me.
I am VERY familiar with the book by VanVonderen. There is a wonderful forum where many come to vent, chat and heal together.

I've only just started to post about this so there is more to the story :)

thanks for your encouragement. I hope that we do find a new church home as well.

Barb said...

I have my ear to the ground on google blogs for spiritual abuse. We too spent our first Easter outside a 'church' last week.
Thanks for writing about this. There needs to be many more voices out here to catch those who have not asked the right questions yet or who are beginning to ask them.