Jan 302014
 

wolf eatingThis morning as I scrolled through my Facebook feed I was confronted with yet another old and dear friend who has pretty much left the faith once delivered to the saints.

She’s gone not because of weighing all the eternal verities and reaching reasoned conclusions about spiritual matters…but because the church as she’s known and experienced it are too damn dangerous and deadly to her soul.

We did not protect and defend her from the wolves among us….we defended the wolves and demeaned her.

Now, a nicer wolf has taken her in.

She has already been rejected by many former friends, some of whom have contacted me and asked me to call and correct her doctrine…as if her doctrine was broken before her heart and spirit were.

That is the lie we tell tell about people we break and dispose of in the church…that they were simply apostates in waiting who are now simply showing their true colors.

That lie enables us to keep believing that “sound doctrine” covers wicked character, that if your words are straight, your walk can be crooked.

It screams the unspoken lie that Jesus died for proper pedagogy and not for people…and if people are wounded by the practitioners of proper pedagogy, it’s an acceptable sacrifice.

It denies the reality of how badly we break the hearts spirits of people in favor of protecting power and position.

My Facebook feed is littered with these living sacrifices to ecclesiastical authority and idolatry, some of whom have told me that they have been waiting for me to “unfriend” them for their “heresies”.

I won’t do that because I don’t think Jesus has.

I have been accused of not caring for their souls because of that.

It’s not their souls I’m worried about…it’s the guys being fitted for a millstone.

  95 Responses to “An Untitled Rant”

  1. 🙁 Well said Michael … Very sad but all too true.

  2. I know I have rocks in my head, but who are the “we” and the “us” in the article – because I try really hard not to break people’s spirits.

  3. “We” in the culture of American evangelicalism who value position over people and refuse to deal with wolves in the church in a responsible manner.
    I realize that you will disagree with this article and know before you comment farther how little I care that you do.
    This stuff breaks my spirit.

  4. WOUNDED AGAIN …..

    I have had more than one “Christian” friend Unfriend me and write me off …..

    because they disagreed with something I said or did,

    or because of some difference in doctrine or theology,

    or over a difference in political views.

    After all, that’s what Jesus would do, right?

    YOU ARE SO WRONG!

    ABOUT EVERYTHING!

    Just how many will you drive away?

    I am glad that Jesus will NEVER “Unfriend” me.

  5. Today I watched the Jonathan Martin interview conducted by Tony Dungy. Martin was the player who left the Dolphins mid-season because of the toxicity of the Dolphins locker room. Martin finally came to the place where he realized he was being bullied, harassed and disrespected, causing him to remove himself from the situation. Yet, throughout the interview I felt Dungy was putting the burden on Martin, the victim, to convince America that he really was the recipient of mistreatment. It reminded much of how, in the church, people are harassed into finally making a drastic choice, then blamed for something like not having their doctrine straight, or that they never were a believer.

  6. “I realize that you will disagree with this article”

    I don’t disagree with the article. I just will not allow myself to be included in the group guilt. I am the one here who usually comments that American Evagelicalism is pond scum, in theology, substance and action.

    When others follow my lead, then perhaps things will change.American Evangelicalism is broken and cannot be fixed. Even those who think they are the good guys in the movement fall whoa fully short.

    I feel really bad for you lady friend – but she has not left Christianity – she may have left evangelicalism… now perhaps she should go to Christianity.

  7. The only peopleI’ve ever unfriended, and it is very rare for me to do so, are toxic, judgmental, cruel Pharisees.

  8. This takes me to the article on the 2nd century church and how those who ‘rejected’ the one true God under the pressure of torture or even death were deemed apostate with no remedy. Later as the article stated doctrine evolved and solutions were instituted.

    It’s difficult to comment on your story above as details are missing. I will say you are privvy to a ton more information as people contact you routinely and it seems they’ll contact you about most anything. I don’t know if I’d want that burden.

    Again, I wonder how those who ask you to unfriend people etc. would have fared in the 2nd century if they faced what the ‘apostates’ of those times faced. As it is the church has done a great job letting the world know we’re all apostate through their impeccable research and sensitive spirits. I hope this woman knows there are people who care about her and that she will not abandon her faith.

  9. PH,

    Exactly…

  10. Could you please continue this rant for about another 300 pages?

  11. Working on it… 🙂

  12. Ps40 . . . . Agree

  13. I can remember my Grandfather, from way back in the fifties saying, “The church has the only army who shoots their wounded”.

    I was just a kid then, and I had no idea what he meant.

    I do now.

  14. Parker, I can’t figure out why we can’t break the chain of shooting the wounded.

  15. Hmmm…I agree that there is a problem.

    I am unsure on the diagnosis.

    I am completely clueless on the solution.

  16. Michael, e was right when he said we have no details and cannot accurately understand what you are writing about. The general principle you are making can be understood. But the details matter. Without divulging any more than you can or being too personal, what would you have done differently? I always wonder why you are so quick to accept the testimony of one while rejecting the testimony of many. As you know, I am a pastor and I care deeply about every single man/woman in my church. But some just cann/will not be helped. Jesus’ words, ;do you want to get well’ ring true much of the time. What should have been done to rescue this person in your opinion?

  17. I am sorry to hear of yet another wounded saint…. but I just have so much confidence in the Spirit of God. Very few of us were seeking when we were saved. We were the Spirit’s work then and now. Whoever this soul is, God sees. God knows. God has a plan. God doesn’t need me or the organism called Church to “leave the 90 & 9” to seek and round up one who belongs to Him. It just isn’t over til God says it’s over…. and even then, He is vast and Sovereign.
    IMO

  18. Thank you Paige! That is true, and encouraging.

  19. fyi,

    You have framed your question in error.
    The fact that I accept the testimonies of those abused (after as much consideration of the facts as possible) does not mean that I reject the testimonies of those who have had positive experiences in the church.
    That is ridiculous…I certainly hope that the people under my pastoral care feel nothing but love for their church as I’m sure you hope the same for yours.
    So let’s clear that up from the get go here.
    This person (and a couple others who have “strayed”) have watched one train wreck after another happen to them and to those who they love with absolutely no accountability demanded of the engineers of those trains.
    They began to lose trust in leaders and then they began to lose trust in what the leaders taught… and then they left.
    Expecting sound doctrine from the spiritually abused is like expecting good posture from the victims of car wrecks…
    What should have been done?
    We should have held the first engineer accountable and cared for the damage done instead of the reputation of the group, that’s what.
    These things are almost always progressive…

  20. Michael, I did not make my question clear. I wasn’t speaking about accepting the testimonies of those who have had positive experiences in the church. Not at all. I meant (using your article) the friends (plural) who contacted you asking for help with her. I hope that is more clear. It is painful when people we care about depart but who is holding them? Jesus or people in the church? True faith cannot be shaken or rejected as easily as you sometimes make it appear. That is all I was asking. How can one person be held accountable when the one who is hurting may or may not be holding on to genuine faith? I am NOT being difficult; I am really trying to ask what would you have done (or could you have done if you were the church leader) to prevent this woman from taking this path? I have a lot of people who try to place blame for their pain on others, inside and outside of the church. Is it not our responsiblity as leaders to get the people to deal with Jesus directly? He alone can heal their pain. My job is to walk with them to Him. I am really asking for help in understanding what can/should be done differently.

  21. fyi,

    My job is not to determine whether or not a person is or was holding on to a “true” faith.
    I simply don’t have that sort of spiritual insight.
    When I read the NT I see people experiencing their faith in the context of a body of believers…not as individuals alone.
    When that experience turns toxic, when that “true” faith is represented in the leadership of someone abusive…then people in pain will turn to other alternatives to stay spiritually and emotionally safe.
    What would I have done?
    I would have publicly defrocked the FIRST wolf and saw to it that those abusive and irresponsible actions were declared as wrong as they truly were…while doing all I could to assure the victim that they were the ones wronged, not the leader.

  22. My spiritual health is not dependent on “Jesus alone”.
    He has delegated my care to my fellow church members, my pastor, my close friends…the fellowship of the saints.
    I need them and they need me…and whenever one of us suffers we all do.

  23. P H

    I don’t know the answer.
    I think it starts with putting people first in these kinds of situations.
    I think it starts with showing a little compassion.
    I think it starts with hurting along with those who are hurting.
    Many of us have a hard time relating to someone going through something that we have never experienced ourselves.

    I don’t think it helps to be flipping pages in the Bible, thumping on scriptures, telling someone how wrong they are and they better get their act together.

  24. It’s always been true that it’s ‘the kindness of God that leads to repentance”(and by repentance, I’m thinking ‘change of heart/mind’). Is there a place for hellfire and brimstone? Sure, but I still believe that continuing to love a soul who has wandered off is an effective way to draw them to Jesus…not necessarily church, but to Jesus.

    Church is a collection of sinners. Sinners sin, thus the church is full of sin & sinners, like a grocery store is full of foods. Some food is better than others, and some saints are better behaved sinners than others, but we’re all sinners. Forgiven sinners. We can only boast in that and magnify the Lord.

    Romans 14:4… ‘who are you to judge another man’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him/her stand”…. This is my hope; that our Savior Jesus Christ is the One who will keep us.
    (Yes, I know that chapter is primarily about day keeping and food rituals.)
    We are instructed to ‘keep ourselves in the love of God”…. this is a huge challenge considering how quickly other sinners are to point our failings in others. …

  25. “some saints are better behaved sinners than others, but we’re all sinners.”

    Well said, Paige. 🙂

  26. Paige is knocking it out of the park.

    I choose to remain persuaded….

  27. One more genuine question: without detail, can you say how the one described as the first wolf was wrong or abusive? Not just what the accusation was, but what he did or did not do that could

  28. Oops. Could have contributed to ship wrecking this woman’s faith?

  29. The above failures were fro FYI. Don’t know why I keep getting stick.

  30. fyi,

    It was a well publicized case that destroyed not one, but two churches amidst allegations of sexual and financial wrong doing.

  31. Sad and much needed, Michael. The church often forgets how fragile our faith can be.

  32. We shoot the wounded because they are much easier targets than the one who comes to cheat, steal, kill and destroy. And it makes us feel like we are doing something. #sad

  33. Bill,

    “it makes us feel like we’re doing something”…too true, my friend.

  34. Personally the opinion of Christians*, especially evangelicals, means little. The Group has proven itself intellectually dishonest and just as good and evil as any other Group and subset of the human species. Not “transformed”, not enlightened, not “spirit filled” unless that means just as human as anyone else.

    Defining salvation and Christian-ness by doctrine is also a fool’s game. It can proven so to the those who are intellectually honest, not so much to those who deny logic and reason in lieu of really wanting their particular schism and sect to be true.

    It is…as they say…what it is.

    Yet, God very may well exist in some form and Jesus may be the messiah in a form we don’t understand fully. Hope the part of the bible that says they’re love and mercy is true vs. the part that says they aren’t love and mercy.

  35. “toxic, judgmental, cruel Pharisees.”

    Nice turn of phrase.

  36. Just for this weekend, does anyone here, rooting for Seattle understand that Pete Carrol is a dishonest abusive coach? Look at the condition he left USC under 4 years of very hard probation (probably 2nd to Penn State) and what it did especially to all of his freshman recruits.

    Do you feel bad rooting for him in the SuperBowl? Isn’t that the same thing as turning a blind eye to an abusive pastor?

    So, who here is rooting for Seattle?

  37. MLD,

    Comparing the NFL to the church of God is not helpful.

  38. Michael,
    I did not compare the NFL to the Church and I find it odd that you would think so.

    I compared supporting crooks and abusers. Your example blew up a church – which if it is the one I am thinking of, I don’t know that it was ever a “real” church. , so to speak, where my guy blew up a football program and tainted the name of a fine institution.

    So, are you going to ignore his faults and root for him?

  39. First, it’s well established that I’m a Vikings fan, thus the irrelevance of playoff football.
    Second, there are no ethical standards for coaches in the Bible, nor am I anywhere commanded to watch over them.

  40. At the end of the day tho she is responsible for her actions and for walking away from Christ. Many of us have been hurt by those in power in the institutional church but some of us know that Jesus is still good.

  41. What was that sound that I just heard? Was it the noise made when one speaks out of both sides of his mouth? I don’t want to be disrespectful but the conversation in the recent past about a 1 minute rant by Sherman , 1 minute mind you – caused you to say that it was of great cultural impact – you said it represented our culture and was something we all needed to apologize for and that it was SIN (your word) – so there must be some Biblical ethic going on there.

    I bring up Pete Carroll’s 9 yrs of cheating, abuses and lack of regard for an institution (that is still reeling from his actions 4 years later) much like a rogue pastor, and you say there is no biblical ethic going on?

    I think you may owe Sherman an apology.I for one warn of dishonest, abusive behavior no matter where it rears it’s ugly head.

  42. btw, I don’t have a dog in the fight either. I am a Rams fan … I know pain. 🙂

  43. MLD,

    As usual, you bring obfuscation and mockery.
    When discussing Sherman I was speaking very clearly to agreed upon CULTURAL and SOCIETAL values of civil discourse.
    The biblical issues were secondary, but supportive of, my primary point.
    When we are discussing the church we are discussing an entity created and set apart by God with eternal standards and ramifications.
    If you don’t understand the difference between that and any earthly institution, you’ll have to wait until I get the felt board out of the washer.

  44. I will repeat – my point shows how easy it is to turn a blind eye to corruption if the corruptor is of favored standing – church or football.

    So people will rail against a rogue pastor but root for their team led by a rogue coach.

    Simple

  45. I really don’t follow college football that much, ‘crept for the Utah Utes. I had to research why so many were off-put by the scalawaggery of Pete Carroll. Seems he’s a bit like the Skip Heitzig of the NFL. (Kinda looks like Skip too!)

  46. It’s funny as I was talking to someone last week about the Super Bowl and who I’m rooting for. I want Denver to win but I told my friend that I couldn’t root for Seattle after what Pete Carroll did to USC and the timing of his departure.

  47. The more I think about it, Pete Carroll did exactly like the rogue pastor when he was caught … went up the street and hung out a new shingle.

    But then look who else is complicit … the Seattle Seahawks organization – they knew his reputation and took him anyway.

    And what about the fans? There they sit with a crook for a coach and applaud his every move. Because now they have the celebrity pastor – oops, I mean coach.

    So whoever roots for the Seahawks Sunday are guilty of supporting abuse.

  48. I just want to be clear: walking away from *a* church or the poisonous way most churches “do church” in America IS NOT the same as walking away from Jesus. It’s not even the same as rejecting the fellowship of the saints, because in my experience what we call “fellowship” usually bears no resemblance to what I see when I study the Bible.

    And if we are to be the hands and feet of Christ, to let Him be alive in us, how can we justify *not* going after the one that wandered off? Especially if that one is sick and wounded?

    Jesus DIED for these people that have been abused by those claiming to follow him. HE DIED FOR THEM. How can we be so cavalier about their pain? How can we abandon them when they need us the most?

    My “church” abandoned me. I was wounded by those that were charged with shepherding me, and when I got so depressed I could barely function and was suicidal every day, not once did my pastor call me. Worse, he had an elder tell me I was in sin because I wasn’t in church more, serving more on one Sunday when I actually managed to make it to church.

    I’m not telling you this story so you will feel sorry for me. I’m telling you because it happens every day all over America and it seems like almost no one is willing to wonder if maybe the flaw isn’t with those that are leaving “churches”, but rather with the thing we have turned “church” into.

  49. Rachel,

    Well said!

  50. “I try really hard not to break people’s spirits.”–MLD

    ??? This statement doesn’t make sense coming from MLD.

  51. Yes, well said. However, Michael, you said the person in the article has “pretty much” left the faith and is now with a “wolf”

    I understand 100% what Rachel is saying..I get people who choose never to go to church again. My grandmother was such a person and she loved the Lord.

    I don’t understand someone who DOES walk away from Jesus – having already an understanding that He died for them and rose again – because of a horrible local church leadership. Which it seems like you are describing here.

    However, given this is a real hurting person you know, and not a theoretical idea to bandy about, I’ll just say I am confused as to what exactly has taken place as the article now stands

  52. Rachael, I watched several go through the same experience you are describing. My own story includes being abandoned by the church. The pastor was finally exposed, but no one restored those whom he’d creatively had shunned.

  53. Man, where do you people go to church? I have been a practicing Christian for 40 years and I have never seen this behavior. I have been involved in four hella church spilts, pastoral adulteries, outright theft, you name it. My family continued in a toxic church environment for months where we were vituperated from the pulpit. There were still people in the congregation who were kind to us, spoke with us, and prayed with us.

    Maybe I just got lucky.

  54. Chile,
    You would think with copy / paste features you could at least quote me correctly – or was the misquote intentional?

  55. There are a lot of lovers of Jesus Christ who dwell in the safety of their own caves away from what was for them a toxic church environment. I myself had to leave the “holy Huddle” to seek out the still waters of my own cave to lick my wounds and try and recover as best as I could from the damage done to me as a person by others.

    I did visit a church or two to test the waters now and then. It has been years since I have participated in any church at all. Such was my experience that I found more peace and safety away from the community of the saints.

    This is not a great position that I find myself in. And yet I do come here and I find the honesty and the willingness to address the issues by others who are willing to comment on some of those issues refreshing.

    I can only wonder how many others like myself are sitting on the side lines. I know of one man of God, a musician/drummer who loves to surf who has abandoned the community of the saints because of what ever, just as I have.

    The bottom line is what would it take to welcome and draw the cave dwellers out and back into community beyond just the internet contact with others?

    I do have an affinity for other cave dwellers and have done my best to reach out to them, knowing just a small portion of what they may have suffered. I have even gotten out of my own cave to meet with them face to face that I might touch them in prayer and fellowship to the benefit of myself and them also.

    When just one person with genuine concern, not just feigned, reaches out to those wounded souls, it can do a lot of good. The cave dwellers are generally very aware of the realities around them. They know when someone is sincere or not. I think that is what has drawn me to this blog. There are some very sincere people.

    And there are a lot of wounded.

    The interaction and the underlying tone of this online community is one of much grace and much attempt to solve some of the issues. This stream is a good stream with a lot of actors sitting on the banks dangling their feet in the water who drop into the stream to comment now and then. There are more on the banks then in the stream at any given time.

    And yes some jerks do pass by and toss a rock into the stream with a big splash and disturb the flow momentarily. The persistence and the patience of the participants here is what keeps this place alive. But more then that it is reaching into the caves and touching those who are hurting or just plain fed up with Church.

    The ability to reach into the caves and impact cavers is a unique ministry that none of the Biblical characters could have ever dreamed of. Who knew that there would be keyboards and screens of community way back then?

    Gene Scott had a lot of cavers whom he reached out to by TV. But Michael has a whole lot more reach with the internet, and so does anyone else who takes the chance of jumping into this stream.

    What I would like to do is have anyone who is a “caver” to jump in just now and say something here to verify that I am not just typing nonsense. Let me know that you are there and that you are wounded and that you know that somehow by coming here you are getting some sort of temporary relief as it were.

    Won’t you let me know? Won’t you take a chance?

    Someone who cares and understands, a fellow caver…

    David Sloane

  56. david,
    I’ve been vilified more online than I have in person/at church. I have retreated into a cave online but not at church. I searched for years and found a great church which my wife and I have been involved in since 1985. I’ve invited some here to come. So far no takers.

  57. Mo,
    Yes, online can be that way, but not as much impact I would think as being in a face to face environment of a Church. I could be wrong. Reading words vs actually hearing words are not the same for some as they are for others. Your point is a great one. Thanks for stepping out of your online cave. I am so blessed that you found a great Church. The fact that you have been there since 1985 speaks well for that community.

    My own Church that I first attended way back in 1967 turned into a toxic place for me personally at one point in my life. It deeply impacted me.

  58. Steve, It is painfully simple to understand. People represent Jesus. Jesus becomes a defined mindset that people want nothing of. Jesus is represented by corruption and hate. Jesus is represented by Conservatives and war. Jesus is represented by Mark Driscoll and Chuck Smith. Pat Robertson and duck dynasty guy. George Bryson and Bob Grenier.

    I know I want nothing to do with the picture that all paints.

    In the minds of most, Jesus is a picture painted by our experience. We have never met the guy in person, so we create images of what he looks like, how he acts, things he would do…

    Since the Driscoll Jesus yells and fights and mocks and condemned everyone from here to Thailand, I imagine those Jesus paintings are not life more abundant.

    Since the Pat Robertson Jesus blames everything on how horrible everyone is, that Jesus painting is hopeless and depressing.

    I will say that for myself, I don’t get Modern American Evangelical Jesus. I don’t believe in him.

    When people get sick and tired of asking the real Jesus to stand up, in the midst of thousands of clouded representations, one loses patience and looks for something else.

  59. Well said Reuben. I can only wonder what my own Jesus looks like in my skin to others. Good thing the grace of God through the blood of Jesus washes me clean. I saw you step in way above and here you are again. I kind of miss you in here dude!

  60. Off to work. Been procrastinating…
    I heard someone say yesterday that Thursday is being called “MiniFriday.” TGIF!

  61. Jesus is revealed in the Bible. It is a mistake to go beyond that. Period. Either the God-Man died and rose for one’s sins, or He did not.

    There is no “evangelical’ Jesus or ‘Catholic’ Jesus or ‘Calvinist’ Jesus. Anyone who even remotely ties the One who hung and died for them, who showed such great love, with sinful actions or words from his followers is greatly in error.

    My one word of encouragement would actually sound a lot like G. Focus on the Jesus of Scripture – as has been said (and as I added about my own grandmother) He has many, many who believe and trust Him who have left the local church scene.

    I would prefer one find a totally different denominational structure than the one where they were hurt, because I do believe that corporate fellowship is crucial.

    But if we are being asked to affirm and celebrate the choice of a person who abandons Jesus Himself, blaming Pat Robertson, Mark Driscoll or the always-mentioned Calvary folks for rejecting the Savior….

  62. I’m just a Calvary Chapel attending Seahawk fan. And I know by virtue of this I shouldn’t have much to say here. But in my limited capacity I think 1 Corinthians 13 may speak to many of the issues brought up here. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  63. Steve,

    When people are trained to believe that the man in the pulpit speaks for God and that man misrepresents God (as Moses did) it creates emotional and spiritual problems that are not addressed easily or well with theological dictums.
    What I see more and more of is not that wounded saints abandon Jesus…they redefine him.
    They also tend to shed a lot of orthodoxy on the way…

  64. Reuben – you nailed it.

    Steve – continuing in compassion and friendship with those struggling with doubts, or even abandoning their faith rather than shunning and condemning is different than celebrating and affirming. Although celebrating and affirming that they are still beloved is not a bad thing either.

  65. JoelG,

    It would speak to these issues, but it doesn’t work well in an American corporate environment where success trumps ethics.
    I’ll be rooting for Russell Wilson to do very well…

  66. I feel foolish trying to explain something to someone who has all the answers. I apologize.

    G, that ^ is why.

  67. Anne – I never said otherwise. Shunning and condemning??!!

    There are a LOT of people who are hurt by professing Christians who are not pastors. I mean HURT. And these people have many of the same “Why would the God I have been believing in allow this from some Christian”

    The most pastorly thing I can do is to keep pointing such people to Jesus only. Of course, I don’t “shun and condemn” them!

    If a church environment is so established that the belief truly is that the pastor or elders actually ARE Jesus’ mouth, hands and feet – then I believe in years to come the person will see whatever it was that caused them to leave such a toxic environment as a blessing in disguise. no matter the present pain.

    The most loving thing we can do is point people to the Jesus of the Bible.

  68. Oh Michael, repent… 🙂 The sea chickens are going to feel the wrath of Denver.

  69. Michael, agreed. I am witnessing that in my church, who I love very much. We recently have had a change of head pastors. Lately it seems like the focus has been on “effectness” and “success” of ministries, with some being dropped, and I think many being hurt in the process. So I am torn because I love the people in our church but not so thrilled how leadership has seemingly treated some folks lately.

    Thanks again for your site. I’m obviously new here and have learned much from you and the folks at Imonk. God bless you and all here.

  70. Reuben,

    Don’t get frustrated…you’re doing well.

  71. Thank you, JoelG…we’re glad too have you here.
    Chaplain Mike is wise…I enjoy reading him too.

  72. Covered,

    Wilson reminds me of Fran Tarkenton like no one else ever has…and I’m the biggest Tarkenton fan that ever lived.
    I have no choice in this matter… 🙂

  73. I have had to choose between keeping a hurting backslider on my fb friends list and protecting vulnerable friends from being further injured by the former’s murmuring and heretical ideas. No matter which way I decide, one or more people are hurt.

  74. Jackie,

    Been there…those are difficult calls to make.
    Really difficult.

  75. Please forgive me, Steve, I did not mean to infer you personally are a shunner and condemner. But rather clumsily, point out that our response to the confused and hurting need not be one of extremes in either direction. My apologies for framing it in a way that seemed like a personal reproach to you.

  76. Ruben @58; your response to Steve is also painfully simple to understand. Over the years on this blog I have read/listened to you misrepresent Jesus many, many times. You have, at time, behaved badly, thrown tantrums, and used terrible language. How is it that you can so easily point to others and blame them for the same sort of behavior that has been consistent in your life? We all need to be more careful about how we represent (or mis) Jesus.

  77. Hi Anne, no need to apologize to me. But thank you.

    (I agree with you about the extremes)

    Bless you.

  78. Glad you got that off your chest. You can consider me lost.

    You have mail.

  79. Reuben,
    All who wander are not lost.
    You are approved of Jesus and represent Him well.

  80. Anyone with a sandwich named after him can not be all that bad…

  81. Re: davidsurfer55 said, “What I would like to do is have anyone who is a “caver” to jump in just now and say something here to verify that I am not just typing nonsense. Let me know that you are there and that you are wounded and that you know that somehow by coming here you are getting some sort of temporary relief as it were.”

    I was not able to sit out for a period when I needed to. I have, however, walked with many others who have and currently are recovering outside of the local church. Between watching them and reading others online who’ve been damaged by the church, I’ve been able to glean much and be okay with my new church.

    At one point I thought I had worked through it all and felt it was behind me; but it really is a long process. I don’t expect it to resolve and become normal anymore, just that I will become okay with dealing with those who “rise up from within” to do damage in the church. It’s an issue that has been with the church since the beginning, according to Paul in Acts.

    Lately I’ve read some of Matt Redmond’s thoughts that have really encouraged me. He gets it. I’ve noticed over the years that when a person takes a break from ministry (missionaries, pastors, volunteers …) and sees life from the “other side,” their eyes are opened. It really takes letting go of the title, the position, the applause, and all the vain-ambition that has crept in in order to truly see what’s going on. For those who then return to the ministry, they are totally changed … for the better. They don’t forget.

  82. Re: @53 asinusspinasmasticans

    I went to a Calvary Chapel. The pastor had effectively surrounded himself with yes men and the expectation was made clear to the congregation that everyone was expected to do as he said since he spoke for God. After his corruption came to light, people didn’t know how to think through what to do. I don’t think it was a congregation of very mature Christians. At least, that is my impression looking back. Independent thinkers and older wiser people tended to leave quickly. We missed some obvious clues that we will never miss again.

  83. Re: @54 MLD

    Martin Luther’s Disciple says:
    January 30, 2014 at 12:35 pm
    I know I have rocks in my head, but who are the “we” and the “us” in the article – because I try really hard not to break people’s spirits.

    Cut-n-paste

  84. See, now doesn’t that make sense now that you read the whole statement?

  85. ” and the expectation was made clear to the congregation that everyone was expected to do as he said since he spoke for God.”

    and surely everyone in the audience laughed when he said that … right?

    Chile, surely with your long church experience, you laughed at him didn’t you?

    I laugh at people when they say stupid things like, “I speak for God.”

  86. Personally I do not consider an “unfriend” on facebook a denial of friendship. The few times this has happened to me it hurt a bit but it was not devastating. I had one very dear friend that wrote me a message that was concerned for my soul because some of what I wrote was “false” and “offensive”. So I “unfriended” that person because I did not want to make him feel that way. This is my life in the spiritual community, I get challenged, I apologize, usually for such offenses as being human, having a need, being weak and other such despicable disgusting human traits. I think facebook is sort of a fake “real” world.

    On my facebook feed I posted a few posts where I said Im going to say somethings that might offend and post some things that would make people mad but I was just trying to find a way out of the dark. Few people read my long diatribes, facebook is like most of modern communication quick blurbs of emotionally charged posts and pictures of family. That is fine, it is not conducive to long conversations. I used facebook because I did not want to take my truck load of pain to any local church thinking that it might stumble some other person. I agree that is pathetic and retched on its face, such nonsense is beyond irrelevant. But it is relevant why would I join a church, knowing how I think just to lead to a point where they may have to ask me to leave. Say I pulled into a bible study and went into my evolutionary rant, could I damage another followers faith, it troubled me, shame on me for that and I totally understand that. but it is why I chose to just ask those questions on a maybe one or two blogs and kept it to vague issues. I dont trust my memory and my perceived hurts that much to name names.

    So I actually wanted to protect my friend from my questions because I loved him more then I loved my questions or their hopeful answers. Granted that makes me even more pathetic and even vile because I lacked the intestinal fortitude to take no prisoners and take out any perceived or actual enemies. Do you want to hear something that is even more vile, I dont see these people as enemies. I just want to find God in the fog.

  87. brian,
    You are exactly right. The internet is a place where you can put your best foot forward, even if you’re lame. Facebook is the place to do that. I had a Facebook page. It lasted about 2 weeks before I removed it. I ‘met up’ with many from my past. What a farce! I connected with people I already have a relationship with. So Facebook was useless. If someone likes Facebook, good for you, but it’s not for me. I want real live relationships. I’d much rather talk to someone face to face than on the phone, e mail, or on IM.

    As for your evolutionary rants, I believe those are best suited for one on one conversations. Anything off topic throws groups into a spin. Any group. Also, it depends on how you present yourself.

    Your truckload is still welcome at my church.

  88. “Your truckload is still welcome at my church.”

    That means alot Gary but I need to be more honest I am sure my truckload is welcome at alot of churches, I know most Christians are a fine group of folks who do alot of good. I just seem to forget that usually late at night.

  89. In my opinion, humble or not, all means of communications between human beings is a good thing. They all have their limitations. Hard to talk face-to-face to friend or family thousand or more miles away. And all the different methods of communications have their advantages too.

    The telephone served the function of long distance, personal communications for the last seventy-five or more years. Some even saw a future that included vision with telephone. That has come about with Skype and other technologies.

    Letter writing was very intimate and left a lasting record that historians use to this day. Email is more trivial and transient, and I don’t know if historians will even have access to it in a hundred years. Maybe the NSA archives will serve a useful purpose after all.

    Even writing and reading books and other printed materials puts one in touch with other souls. Then there are sermons and lectures and YouTube videos.

    True human contact, in the flesh, face-to-face, with touching hands and eye contact also has pluses and minuses. It is not always the preferred method, although we do tend to consider it as the best method. But is it? Do we sometimes need the removal of direct contact in order to improve our communications?

    Ever have a friend that talked so much you couldn’t get a word in edgewise? Maybe a letter, or a lecture, or a Facebook post or a Tweet would better serve to convey a thought or an idea. Especially to those that don’t seem to listen, the other side of communications.

    Many methods to perform the same goal: contact with another human being. Sharing of thoughts and beliefs, of wants and needs, of goals and aspirations, of love and concern.

    I suspect the most important thing is the contact, not the medium.

    Now I could repeat all that in a more figurative way, and I’d have a good discussion of our relationship with the Lord.

  90. That’s ok brian. We tend to meet more in the daytime. We don’t even have a silver chair. 😉

  91. Prayer for today was just what I had layed before our Lord, less than a half hour ago.

    Passing on a post that provides more information on domestic violence, sin and mental health issues.

    http://www.dovechristiancounseling.com/DomesticViolence.html

    By the way, and I know many will take issue with this, the consequences of unrepentent sin can lead to various types of mental illnesses, just as the impact of the sins committed by others can also contribute to various types of mental health issues. At the same time, it is important to know that it matters very much how we respond to those who abuse us. For if we compromise our values and beliefs that are inherent in our Faith in Christ Jesus, our choices will not be the best choice and we too may be swallowed up by the very things that we hate in those who are corrupted and abuse.

    Think about how one ungodly thought leads to others and how these lead to acting them out and how this becomes convoluted due to justifying it, while doing everything possible to make it appear as if it is not. Then think about how committing such acts can and does bring pleasure and even a subtle sense of power over others, yet unknowingly also conditions the brain to be stimulated in such a way that we want more, so we do more–all the time making excuses and blaming people, places, and things. Along with this, we will find ways to medicate ourselves to reduce the bad feelings, the guilt, and the shame, but won’t identify it as such. Instead, we will say we are using this or that to calm us, to soothe us, to reduce the fear and anxiety. So much so, that our brain is no longer able to be compassionate and empathic towards those we are hurting. We see them as a utility, something to be used in terms of what makes one feel comfortable in their own skin. The Bible does not mentioned mental illnesses, but it certainly does let us of many who has suffered such as a result of misrepresenting the Lord and acting out their ungodly desires upon others.

    It appears to me that people for whatever the reason may be have developed a level of apathy that renders them blind to the deeper working and meaning of sin and the consequences it can and does have psychologically, mentally, spiritually, sexually, and physically while they are still in their earthly bodies. Using alcohol and drugs is not going to fix these things, nor is medication without doing the harder and deeper work that is necessary to get to the core of whatever set that person to perpetrate such things in the first place or whatever trauma, wounding, and or what is referred to as personal narratives led them to form a perspective that kept them in fear/anger to protect them from being hurt ever again.

    Protect us Lord from those who would hurt and help us each to heal while fighting the good fight to expose and to educate for the sake of the body of Christ everywhere.

  92. Psychopath is the stable version of a AntiSocial Personality Disordered person. It is a cluster of characteristics that identifies them. They know the difference between right and wrong. They are quite capable of doing right when it suits them. However, it is the false image that they protect and nurtures to maintain their ability to gain power, control, and attention. Are they insane. Not at all. Are they mentally ill. Clinically speaking they are, however, the only discomfort they feel is if they think they might be exposed or held to an account. Then it is a matter of getting you to play the game. Usually they win, or just move on to a whole new set of people or partner (s) and act as though you never existed. Biblically speaking, they are totally immersed in leading a deceptive and most treacherous lifestyle, one smokescreen after another. Most therapist cannot identify them simply due to the lack of experience in treating them. Grad School do not spend much time on this population. However, there is more and more information coming out that those who have been targeted by them can access to understand what happened to them and how to identify these more easier. Funny, the Bible has already done this, but in clinical terms, the “sin” factor or terminology is nonexistence due to political and philosophical sanctions.
    In the Bible, we know them as wolves:

    http://www.dovechristiancounseling.com/DoYouLiveWithAPsychopath.html

  93. The person who wrote the article are mixing sociopaths and psychopaths together. The sociopaths are the one that are far more impulsive and openly irresponsible, therefore, will commit crimes that can send them to jail or prison. The psychopath, however, are far more sophisticated and will wait putting in a lot of time in hunting and seducing, while grooming others to act as his proxies. That is, he will spend the bulk of his time creating this public image while garnering the attention of others to make them see and believe what he wants them to see and believe. They are seldom caught because they usually live right on the edge of committing offenses that are prosecutable. Nevertheless, they will constantly seek to break the spirit of others, to rob their very souls. This may sound bizarre or odd to some, but when one has been targeted and have looked directly into the face of such an evil person, while others stand by patting them on the back and make way for them to become a leader among them, it is very real and is no laughing matter.

    Are capable of repenting and turning away from this. Only with a very strong team that understands these things and will hold him to an account, while protecting those whom he has sought to or have harmed.

    Psychopaths and Sociopaths know that the easiest targets are those who vulnerable, having a good and caring heart, and are easily able to be manipulated by using the comcepts of forgiveness and “everyone sins” to gloss over, minimimize, and cover up the true depths of corruption and abuse they are acting out upon others. They are a master of twisting your words or the words of scripture to their own advantage. They are sheep in wolves clothings. If they are in charge, they will attract others like them. The young are of particular interest to them, as they can brain washed them into drinking the kool-aid while creating this environment that causes many to bow down to them while at the same time telling everyone that this is not what they ought to be doing. Lip service is rampant, and no one is the wiser until the victims began to speak the truth to expose them. But as I stated, they count on the proxies to stand between them and those who have been harmed to protect them. Few are exposed and held to an account due to the ignorrance of what constitutes abuse of any kind and the idea that “leave it alone, God will take care of it.” But from within the church, many are being led to the slaughter right at the altar of all that is supposed to be kept Holy and Righteous in His sight. May suffer mental health issues due to those who commit such things, while those who are corrupted become more and more deceived by their own sins which hold them into bondage. Is it mental illness? Yes, it is. Is mental illness the consequences of one sins or the sins of others. You betcha it is.

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