‘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...]

Differentiating Between ‘Cult’, ‘Cultic’ and ‘Spiritual Abuse’

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from Under Much GraceWhat is the difference between "cult" and "cultic?" (Sociologically Speaking) It’s a matter of degree. Defining terms is vital.Concerning things "cultic" versus a "cult." If you’re the average guy (or gal) sitting in a church or a concerned significant other of someone in a group, the first thing you generally notice is that something bothers you about the group. This realization is true of any subtle deception or of insidious problems such as something wrong with your car. You hear an unfamiliar noise and the right side of your brain become sensitized and unconsiously starts putting things together (as a built in defense mechanism). … [Read more...]

Spiritual Abuse – Recommended Reading

by Cindy Kunsman cross posted from her blog Under Much GraceAccording to the Spiritual Research Network, “spiritual abuse occurs when a leader, church or belief system – whether well intentioned or not – dominates, manipulates or castigates individuals through fear tactics, mind control or some other psychological or emotional abuse.”I believe that Jesus dealt with a great deal of this phenomenon and that the Pharisees were the spiritual abusers of His day. They are shepherds who use, manipulate or hurt the sheep for their purposes.This is a difficult thing to understand at first, especially if you are in a church and believe that your pastor or church leadership has subjected you … [Read more...]

Why You Are The Problem

by Living Liminal cross posted from her blog Living LiminalIt was a few days before the meeting at which the board's official 'advice' was to be handed down to me. By this stage, it was pretty obvious what that advice would be. As they'd spent the past 3 weeks being 'unavailable' - far too busy doing 'important things' to talk to me - it didn't take a genius to work out I was being hung out to dry.I was sitting in the lounge room of elder R because I wanted to talk to him before I got officially shafted by the board. I was hoping (in vain!) that if I shared my concerns about the behavior of elder J and his wife, and the board members backing him, that he'd realize there was something … [Read more...]