Friday, May 09, 2008

Spiritual abuse? Maybe!

Another sign of impending trouble in a church is an obsession with discipline and excommunication. Beware of churches that warn of certain doom if you leave their 'covering,' or if you 'break covenant.' Once banished from the group, little compassion is shown the wayward one." Again and again, it has been observed that former members of aberrant churches, when contemplating leaving the group, were issued dire warnings that they were backsliding, compromising and facing judgment from God. Church members who are seen as stepping out of line will find themselves being shunned or criticized by the so-called "true believers" in public, and will usually face much harsher treatment in the larger abusive church congregation. Demeaning public rebuke, even ridicule from the pulpit is one means of religious abuse disguised as "discipline."

beating your leaders

Misusing the pulpit to silence members

8 Comments:

Blogger The Commander said...

Wow, if all of this is true it is pretty sad. It is really not all that surprising though, because when some people get a taste of authority and power it goes to their heads and they abuse it.

It seems like there is a trend now among church leaders to model this very behavior and it has a couple of components:

Super Accountability
Elitism (ours is the only way and everyone else is wrong)
Spiritual Abuse (You’re not going to be good enough if you don’t do … xyz or unless you submit to my authority on this you are in sin (even when the authority may be way off base))

These churches are really messing up the unity of the body and the victims that they leave in their wake are left hurting for a very long time.

The Commander

10:52 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

Commander,

Thanks for stopping by. I really like what you said about Super Accountability. In my mind, and based on my experience, it is an absolute abuse of authority.

Now if it is a sin issue, that's a different story. You need to be held accountable for sin.

And by the way, it was very cool getting connected again and thanks so much for helping out last night. Obie and Leo have a good thing going on there on Thursday nights.

Peace!

11:00 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Keith,

You seem stressed the past week or so. My thought is to rely on "the one that brought you." If you think you are doing right, then do what you are doing. If your critics have a point, listen.

It seems to me that you do a lot of good. Loosing that focus results in less good.

Finally, getting to a place where boldface font isn't needed, would be getting to a good place.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

I keep an ear to the ground (cyberly speaking) on the area of Spiritual abuse. (That is how i picked up your blog today) I was not going to say anything at first except after I read the comments. If I may respond to them?

Commander - you said "if all this is true" Can I say that I and many others on my blog roll have the very same story. Different churches, different denominations but the same story. This trend is spreading like wildfire. It is dangerous and breeds the spiritual abuse that was seen last in the USA by the shepherding groups and throughout the years by the super fundamentalist groups. It is the heart of man when he decides to set up religion instead of relationship.

And Dave, you may know the writer and be completely right. But I find that people draw criticism from getting "hot around the collar" about abusive religious practices that kill the soul and people get offended that the person speaking is angry. Trust me, if I can express some anger to this whole issue by simply putting something in bold and have someone actually listen and not get swept up into the deception these churches practice - THEN I WILL!!

Thanks for letting a stranger chime in.

6:17 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Barb, I do "know" Keith, only through his blog. He is one of the good people to my mind.

I'm not a church person. Keith is one of the few people that are practicing religion that I have a lot of respect for.

My comment is not meant to take a side; rather, I hope that Keith keeps Moving On (a paraphrase of one of his finishes to posts).

3:13 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

I'm back early.

First off, thanks Dave for the comment and excellent advice. It's funny how you could sense my stress, not that it was that hard really. But I smiled when I read your comment. I used bold a lot. It was to make a point and I did not want to name names. Then I would be just as abusive as they are.

Second, Barb...thanks for dropping by. Sounds like you have been through a little bit of what I am experiencing right now. The Commander is a great guy. His post was very encouraging to me and I know him personally. We attend the same church as a matter of fact. As for Dave, I know hom through the blog world. He is a very gracious and kind. He has given me much encouragement. Especially in his comment on this post. I would listen to advice from him any day and we have never spoken two words to each other, other than blogging or emailing back and forth. He also has donated some money to an orphanage we support. Great guy.

I'll check your blog out too. I may also post a bit about what I am going through at the moment, or better yet, take some of Dave's advice and just move on.

Thanks for stopping by though and I appreciate your comments. Drop by anytime.

Peace!

4:03 PM  
Blogger Barb said...

Wow...in re-reading my comment I sound so angry. Didn't mean it to come across this way. I came from a church like Keith described. All these things happened to my family. It was the most hurtful thing I have ever experienced. So many people have never heard of it because when you leave an environment like this you are shamed into silence.

Thanks for both of you answering so kindly. Next time I'll read a litte longer to keep from jumping to conclusions and coming to someone's defense before they need it. ;0

4:45 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Barb,

It's a very sensitive subject, especially when you've been through it. So I can understand anger coming out.

I did not feel like you were attacking anybody, and you were defending a subject dear to your heart.

Comment away. You're welcome to chime in anytime.

Peace!

7:27 PM  

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