Churches That Abuse: Part 1 Why Good People Do Bad Things and why Bad People Do Bad Things

by Bruce Gerencser cross posted from his blog The Life and Times of Bruce GerencserChurches attract all kinds of people with varying motivations for being a part of a particular religion. I spent fifty years in the Independent Baptist/Non-Denominational/Evangelical church. When it comes to other religions, I only know what I read in the media. The experiences and observations I share in this post come from the fifty years I spent in those churches, first as a parishioner, and later as a pastor. I spent twenty-five years in the pastorate, pastoring churches in Ohio, Michigan, and Texas. … [Read more...]

Part 9 Reacting from a Place of Vulernability – Adventures in Ambiguity

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceAll images by Cindy Kunsman from Under Much Grace used with permissionBefore developing as fairly functional internal locus of control and as strong sense of worth, and until former members work through how to relate to others with both good internal and external boundaries, things can be very difficult for them. There's so much to do immediately. … [Read more...]

Part 7: Finding a Healthy Locus of Control – Adventures in Ambiguity

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceAll images by Cindy Kunsman from Under Much Grace used with permissionWe've already noted that a person's concept of self suffers while in a high demand group or family, since the member's sense of worth must be derived from the group. Though they may appear to have autonomy, their choices are bound and limited to that which is determined by the group. … [Read more...]

‘Christian’ or Christ-Like (Of Apes and Men)

by Living Liminal cross posted from her blog Living LiminalI recently introduced my younger sons to the Planet of the Apes movie series. Having worked our way through the 5 original movies (and turned a blind eye to the 2001 abomination) we then watched the 2011 reboot, 'Rise' and its sequel, 'Dawn'.Needless to say, the whole concept of two intelligent species vying for supremacy of the planet has given rise to some interesting conversations. Personally, I have found myself musing on the portrayal of the relationship between ape and mankind, and particularly the idea that both species had their share of 'good' and 'evil' characters. … [Read more...]

The Famous Ones

by Ellen cross posted from her blog When Church HurtsThere are big names out there in the spiritual abuse world.  Big name perpetrators.  Big name authors of blogs and books and Twitter feeds.  Big names whose social media accounts explode regularly over big names.  Big names getting the word out about big names who have committed outrageous acts of abuse.  And, of course, any time those outrageous acts are committed with any hint of ties to churchianity, we recognize them as not just sexual or domestic or physical abuse, but as spiritual abuse. … [Read more...]

Learning to Be Human Again After a Lifetime of Self-Denial

by Bruce Gerencser cross posted from his blog The Life and Times of Bruce GerencserOriginally written in 2009. Edited for grammar and clarity.Evangelical Christianity teaches that followers of Jesus must practice lives of self-denial. Self is the problem — the flesh wars against the spirit, the spirit wars against the flesh. Far too many Christians, thanks to this teaching, live guilt-ridden lives. Guilt over giving in to the flesh, guilt over letting self have control.It goes something like this… … [Read more...]

Confessing to That Which I Did Not Do

by Ellen cross posted from her blog When Church HurtsI was watching one of those real life crime drama shows recently.  I can’t remember if it was Dateline or 20/20 or 48 Hours, but the story was about a young woman who was interrogated bullied by the police for hours on end until she agreed with them that she had slammed a baby to the floor causing a head injury that led to his death.  She was convicted and in prison when the fact that the child had suffered a concussion weeks before that had caused his death.  Over and over, the reporter asked, “Why did you confess to something you didn’t do?”  And it was that question that brought revelation to me. … [Read more...]

The Upper Hand

by Ellen cross posted from her blog When Church HurtsI just have to say I had the best time yesterday!  I and my family went to an auction.  One of our former church’s plants has bought an old building in the town where I teach and they were selling off old (and I mean OLD) doors, windows, cabinets, trim, etc.Now, you have to understand that my husband and I were repurposing long before repurposing was cool.  We live in a 103-year-old prairie-mission style home on an acre in the middle of mid-west farmland.  We completely returned our home to it’s original style (it had been “updated” back in the 70’s) using old trim and doors from the local city hall when they renovated, as well as v … [Read more...]

How to Keep From Spiritual Abusing People

by Ellen cross posted from her blog When Church HurtsTell the truth.That’s it.You’re probably thinking that’s crazy, but think about it.  If you have been spiritually abused, think about if the perpetrator had told the truth.“I am not open to questions.”“You have to support the staff and their decisions no matter what.”“We do not allow people to express concerns.”“I’m only interested in getting my own way.” … [Read more...]

Memories of My Own Cognitive Dissonance: Gothard’s Doctrine of Grace as an Example

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from Under Much Grace originally posted in 2010In so many words (!), I’ve already shared what cognitive dissonance felt like after some exit counseling and realizing that not everything I’d believed had been true.I’d like to discuss a bit more about the process that facilitated my acceptance of Gothard’s take on grace (and other ideas introduced at the Institute of Basic Life Principles conference I attended). I only briefly mentioned it in this post. Cognitive dissonance was easy to ignore for me when I first accepted his views, but when I revised my understanding after I left the spiritually abusive system; I had no other option but to let the process … [Read more...]


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