Spiritual Crisis and Healing

Spiritual Crisis and Healing October 20, 2015

I told you a while back that I would explain what I was doing at a Catholic church recently. After reading Post Traumatic Church Syndrome and having energy work done on me, I felt really inspired and moved to heal myself from the bitterness and anger I carry towards Christianity.

Having that in my psyche is not helping me. It’s not productive. It’s really only hurting me. I’ve known for years that it’s something I need to let go of but I haven’t felt ready. I can’t explain why it took about ten years from the time I felt let down by Christianity to forgive it but it just suddenly felt right.

Now that’s not to say that I’ll be okay with the underhanded scare tactic evangelism of some Christians. I still feel angry at the mindset of some Christians that their narrow view is the only possible way to Truth and to God. I’ll never be okay with that. But what I’d like to be able to do is to sit in a church or a mosque and be able to feel the presence of my Gods there and worship there in my way. I want to be able to feel peace around other spiritual seekers even though they are different from me and to not feel that I am complicit in their beliefs just because I’m sitting in their worship service.

For the first time in a long time I feel like that’s possible.

Spiritual healing is tough. I have one Patheos colleague who was not as enamored with Post Traumatic Church Syndrome as I. He couldn’t relate to it but rather than admit that, he made all kinds of absurd theories about what causes spiritual crisis. He thought it had to do with not idealizing your elders and leaders enough growing up. From my experience and the experience described in the book I would say that is the opposite of true. I had such tremendous faith in my leaders and I put them on pedestals. My spiritual life was rocked to the core when I came to the realization that they were human beings with flaws. It was heartbreaking. Idealizing your elders does not protect you from spiritual crisis.

Nor does having no divorce in your family (another theory that was brought up). The author did have divorced parents but I had just as strong a spiritual crisis and my parents are happily married. In fact, between them and all of their many siblings there have only been two divorces and both were before I was old enough to even remember or know about it. My friends parents are also all still together. Despite the spike in divorce for children of the 80s, I was largely untouched by it.

I think what causes spiritual crisis is having leaders that refuse to address questions. When doubts, concerns, and questions come up they should be encouraged and discussed without fear. Instead too many churches and other spiritual organizations become extremely defensive and tell children to stop asking questions, that their faith isn’t strong enough, that they are supposed to believe absurd things with no basis in the reality of their lives. That only serves to make the impending crisis even larger. If your religion doesn’t have an answer to questions, what good is it? Let children ask and learn. Be willing to admit when you don’t know and explore the issue together to find an answer within the framework of your faith.

I was drawn to Catholicism because it has a lot of rich iconography and rituals like Hinduism. I thought it would be comfortably similar. I think, though, that I might need to go to one of the few services still entirely in Latin. If I can’t understand what’s being said I can’t get mad! This church I went to spent the whole sermon talking about how evil Planned Parenthood is (which is an organization that provides women’s health for those who can’t afford it. I’ve depended on their services in the past myself). So that was pretty uncomfortable.

But it didn’t shake my desire to keep trying and to keep working on feeling worshipful towards my Gods in these other Gods’ spaces. It may seem strange but I just know that this is something that I need to conquer or else the consequences to my sanskara could be devastating.

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  • skyblue

    I wouldn’t mind visiting Christian churches (wasn’t raised Christian), but the Vatican’s views on women and gays would be a deal breaker for me. Are there any Christian churches nearby that you might feel a little more “kinship” with, for lack of a better word, than one with anti-PP comments? I don’t think I’d feel much peace there either. Coming from outside Christianity, I think it is important to make sure that I don’t give the jerks in the group the privilege of defining it (as with any group, really), which means trying to find different sorts of Christians than the ones who often the loudest (especially in politics). In my experience, things like opposition to gay marriage, male pastors only, etc, often get painted as “Christian” things by the Christians who think that way, while opposing Christian voices get shouted over by the religious right types.

    I don’t want to stereotype people and don’t want to end up associating “Christian” with particular political and social views that I dislike, when there are plenty of Christians who feel the same as me, so I try to look for their opinions and thoughts on topics. Those are the types of churches I might enjoy visiting some time! But that’s an entirely different question from the atmosphere of the church building itself (icons, rituals), or healing from previous negative church experience.

    Anyway, maybe some Christians can suggest some other churches, but from my very limited knowledge, perhaps Anglican (depending on the church, they could have very formal rituals) or PCUSA Presbyterians (I hung out with some of these folks at one point and found them to be pretty great)? You might be able to find a place where you won’t be getting angry at political rants, but you’ll still be among Christian worshippers and different theology.

  • Tamara Amrita Powers

    Thank you. I like this post. I too have problems accepting the negative aspects of some Christian groups. Was in Nepal and got upset when I saw Missionaries paying very poor Hindus to become Christian. They then try to get that person to “convert” their own family members. Instead the new Christian just ends up losing the trust and loyalty of their loved ones. And don’t get me started on the “Haunted Houses” sponsored by Churches. That is not what Jesus intended. I have friends of many faiths, but they tend to be on the more liberal end of the spectrum. What I believe? That God is God, and all paths lead to Faith.