Spiritual Abuse in the American Church
Let's talk about the elephant in the room......
As a member of "christian" churches since I was born and baptized as a baby, confirmed as a teen in the Lutheran denomination, and minored in Bible. I went to all the Dawson McCallister conferences, some DC Talk concerts, and attended all the Bible Studies. Indoctrinated is an understatement.
I found my identity in being "holy" and memorized my Bible, didn't have sex before marriage, didn't swear, drink or do drugs. I "accepted" Jesus into my heart as my Lord and Savior. I was going to Heaven!!
Then the questions started to come as I grew older. How is this "good news" to the homeless and dying? Why do I still struggle so much? The deeper I go in this religious stuff the heavier it feels. Why does everything feel heavier and heavier? It feels like I need to look and act a certain way to have friends, be accepted, and be a leader. I need to "impress" here. "Those" people are wrong and bad, "we" are good and holy. And on and on and on.
I won't go into the long story of how I ended up here, but I did. You can go to my Gold Mine Podcast about how to find healing for those wounded by the Church. I will be sharing my story on there soon.
Definition of "Group Think"-a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics. (Merriam Webster)
The amount of peer pressure to consent to religious tradition, doctrine, philosophy, culture, and ideas in most American Churches is scandalous.
What do most people need? To be heard, seen and known. What do most people fear? Rejection. So the outside "condemned" world looks on at the "holy" people that are simply putting on masks and pretending.
There are Churches out there that are daring to put down their need to control, judge, and condemn and are committed to grace, humility and love. These churches are messy. Not in the sense of "I lied twice yesterday" messy. But, I am in no way above you in any way shape or form kind of messy. We are in this together. The atmosphere overflows with grace, love, and the comforting and healing presence of Jesus.
How freely the tongues wag in "so and so...." with the attitude of "we are so much better than that". And the condemnation of people.....groups of people.
The world does not find this Jesus attractive and loving and it sure doesn't want anything to do with this kind of Christianity.
Neither do I.
I've spent too much time with too many broken and wounded people trying to find their way and healing-but won't go to church because they know what they will find. A robotic system and program to "fix" them.
They don't need fixing, they need love.
"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10
That seems like an extravagant and simple gift to me.
In my experience it is Jesus, and Jesus alone I have found freedom, unconditional love, healing on every level, acceptance, grace, support, and abundance.
I hope you have too.