Posts tagged ‘spiritual abuse’
Regular readers here may recall a piece I wrote several months ago about the confirmation of Chloe, a seven-year-old girl, into a local Salvation Army congregation. I recently came across a post from another blog that reminded me of my earlier confirmation post.
Here is an excerpt from the recent post, written from an evangelical Christian perspective:
Last week I raised a question of what it means to respect a child and sought reflections on the implications of really doing so. This week, I want to reflect on some writings by the founder, William Booth from his work ‘The Training of Children’.
Why? Because I have been involved in children’s ministry for a little while now, and I am constantly amazed by a child’s capacity to not only grasp the truth of God, but to both apply and propagate all that comes from that truth….
I enrolled a Soldier last month. Firstly let me say how excited she was to make a covenant with God. She was counting down the days and could not be distracted. Since her enrollment, she has read God’s word like it is her daily bread and prayed as though it was second nature. She reads her covenant every night before bed and has committed to learning the eleven doctrines by heart…
Four months ago, just a few weeks before I came out to my husband about my atheism, I decided to quit the church choir. I did not mind the weekly rehearsals. In fact, I like the choir members and enjoyed getting together with them every week. I also didn’t mind playing the piano for them on Sunday mornings. I quit for two other reasons.
First, while I was willing to commit to attending weekly rehearsals and Sunday services, I was not willing to add any extra religious gigs to my agenda. For example, several church leaders spent several weeks in the fall playing with the idea of getting the church musicians involved in some sort of evangelistic outreach in the church’s neighborhood. Sorry guys, count me out of that one. I was not disappointed when it didn’t happen. Another one was an invitation to travel to a church in Maryland – on a Saturday night – to sing two songs at a “Concert of Prayer.” Right. You want me to drive an hour there, hang around in a prayer meeting (those really get the juices flowing) for one or two hours, then spend another hour driving home – because you need me to play the piano for about eight minutes. Needless to say, I didn’t make it to that one…
Earlier this month, one of the elements of the church service I attended was the confirmation of Chloe, a seven-year-old girl, as a junior member of the congregation. This is the first of two confirmations that my denomination typically holds: the first for youngsters, the second for adolescents no younger than fourteen.
The guest pastor who was conducting the ceremony noted that, prior to the service, the girl’s mother had asked, several times, “Are you sure that you’ve repented of your sins and asked Jesus to forgive you?” The child answered affirmatively, and her mother and the pastor were satisfied that she was indeed ready to be confirmed.
As the pastor recounted that story, I had to suppress a shudder. I could not help thinking, “The child is seven years old! What sins could she possibly have committed that would require repentance and divine forgiveness?” I also realized, to my horror, that in order to have learned something about the doctrines of repentance, forgiveness and salvation, Chloe may also have learned something about the corollary doctrines of human depravity and hell…
I have recently been reading a couple books on addiction, grief and loss. I am doing this because of what I see as the lack of books, support groups, or programs which deal specifically with De-Conversion or Apostasy from Christianity. I have found several books which help one recognize when you are in a dysfunctional or manipulative religious cult of some kind or another, and they have been somewhat helpful. But how does one deal specifically with the loss that accompanies Christian apostasy?
And there is loss. I have been a Christian for my entire life, as far as I can tell. And while I truly am at peace without the threat of eternal damnation looming over humanity, I cannot go that that many years as a devout Christian and not feel a some kind of vacuum left over in my soul.
I don’t think that vacuum is the absence of God. Rather it is the loss of my weekly Bible study, the camaraderie, always knowing when your Christian brothers and sisters will be there…
Yesterday, HeIsSailing posted a light hearted post. Today’s post is not so light. In fact, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a pretty easy going guy. However today’s topic is one of the issues that totally pisses me off and will cause me to lose my cool – it’s called Spiritual Abuse. I was inspired to write this post after reading Rebecca’s story on her blog.
Abuse, in my opinion, is the definition of evil – child abuse, spouse abuse, animal abuse, spiritual abuse, or any other form of abuse. Abuse occurs when someone uses their authority or their strength to inflict physical or emotional damage on another individual. A large part of religious teachings is the elevation of a certain group of individuals (such as priests or pastors) over another group of individuals (the laity). In any such structure there is the opportunity for abuse.
Sadly, there are many religious leaders who are insecure, weakminded individuals. When given authority and power, these individuals will abuse it…