Christians, let me ruffle your feathers!
WARNING: If you are sensitive about your Christian faith, and don’t want to hear anything negative about Christians, then I suggest reading something lighter. Here are a few blogs you might enjoy to feel comforted in your faith:
There are many victims within the 4-walls of the church. Just reflecting on a recent conversation with a woman made me even more aware of it. This woman was sharing a fresh tragedy within their family. Previously, I heard only bits and pieces of the story from another family member and didn’t ask too many questions.
Anyway, after hearing the “other side” of the story I had to pick my jaw off the ground and regain composer. After leaving her, my mind was in a full-out rage. Who was my rage directed toward? Leaders in churches. Believe me, it’s not the first time, I’ve had rage in my head about men and women in church leadership misrepresenting God for the sake of their own gain. Young members of this family were sucked into the fold of the leaders of their church and they gradually shifted their loyalty from their own family to the allegiance of their “spiritual family”.
Sometimes when I think about all the corruption in the church, that I have experienced and have listened to many others first-hand experiences, I feel a bit out of sorts that I have a complete skeptical attitude toward the church. I mean, I have gone to church since I was 5 years old. I have been immersed in that culture, language and teachings. Now that I am in my late 30’s and have intentionally detoxified my brain, it feels surreal to be faced with the cold-hard facts of church toxicity and abuse.
I have come to understand through these disastrous experiences that God is so much bigger and loving than I have been taught in all my years in the church. I have also been faced with the reality that there are many scandalous men and women in the roles of church leadership.
I cannot sugarcoat the truth anymore!
Yes, God loves them. Yes, they are sinners like me. Yes, I am to love them, and conceptually do. However, I will hold true to the multiple verses in the Bible that tell me to guard my heart. Therefore, I will pay close attention to my body, soul, mind and spirit when I am in any situation where something seems off. God gave us senses and brains for a reason!
The only reason I stayed in a cult-ish church for 12 years is because many people around me were also in denial of the total abuse and control that was going on. So, we all linked arms and bonded from the receiving side of abuse from God’s shepherd’s.
Seriously, how heartbreaking it is for God to see all the falsification of Him in church. And I am referring to the institution of the church, not God’s actual bride, which doesn’t live in a building. His bride is made up of people in pursuit of loving Him, loving others, and leading quiet and simple lives.
This topic, church abuse, has been on my heart for over 10 years. I can remember spending time in my bedroom, praying and crying over the state of the church. Especially being in a toxic church, I knew there was more than what I was experiencing. There has always been and even more so today, a force of man’s agenda and gain that reeks within the institution of the church.
Over and over, I am slapped in the face with the overwhelming reality that Christians are WEIRD! They are fake, religious, fabricated, unloving, disparaging, inhibited, mean-spirited, pompous, manipulative, slandering, rejecting, and liars…the list could go on.
You may be a christian and get a little peeved at my berating Christians, but you must remember I am one. I have been weird! I have disparaged others, been pompous, mean-spirited, and slandering. The fact is that just because a person calls themselves a christian doesn’t automatically make them holier than everyone else!
When I mentioned Christians being religious, I meant in the sense that they are consumed by sounding spiritual, looking spiritual, and doing spiritual, more than even the Word instructs us. It’s like they have given up their true walk of faith for the counterfeit of being accepted by humans and for being seen as those that fit in according to another persons interpretations of the Bible.
I don’t get this! Well, actually I do in a sense because I was this robot for most of my Christian life. Now that I am thinking with my brain and seeking truth without following a church group or pastor, I feel more alive and authentic. I am living truly by faith, not a list of do’s and don’t that some other person thinks I need to abide by. God can and wants to show each of us how to live, we don’t need someone else telling us how to do it. The fact is, most people will never pursue a truly dependent relationship with God, because it is more comfortable to have someone else tell them how to do it.
Why do people feel like they have to have an identical truth as a church group? Just because a pastor shares his revelation on Sunday morning, doesn’t mean it is automatically for you. Study it, pray over it, notice how it affects your spirit, soul, body, and mind.
I’m embarrassed by Christians. No wonder so many people have utter disdain for them. They do not reflect a loving God. They do not point people to Jesus and his unconditional love, they more often remind people why they will never join their ranks. I think they must look like soldiers in an army; marching on to fulfill their orders without compassion or love or understanding. They have been programmed to do these acts that have been inserted into them by some “man-of-god” and they spend their entire life trying to get their gold star.
I had to get this out. I have had so many conversations with people over the last 15 years of my life, especially the past year, that reveal the complete abuse that is happening in the church today. I know that not all churches are bad. I know that these people are not all bad. I’m just tired of not being brutally honest about the corruption that goes on in the church. People’s lives are ruined. People’s view of God is tainted. People live in a prison. People have been hurt over and over.
This isn’t the God I serve. This isn’t His way.
I want to create a place for people to be vulnerable, understood and supported. I want people to see the signs of church abuse and feel empowered to leave it. I want people to be heard and validated. I want truth to be told so that people can begin to heal. I want people to really know God and his love.
I would like to tell your story too. If you have a story that’s related to church abuse, please email me (jsonsteby at gmail dot-com).
Lots to think about! Thank you for being honest. Hugs. (I did have to smile at Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer’s links).
Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device
Hi Marijana! thanks for reading and commenting. I’m glad you caught my subtle joke of Joel and Joyce:)
Aw Jilly, so proud of you for speaking your heart and passion – even after all those years of manipulation, it can be quite scary to speak up and speak truth! I too have a passion for justice and the freedom for others who are blind to the deception often found under corrupt church leadership, but the key in my opinion is not to become bitter and allow it to have further control over your future by not forgiving and holding on to the grace that God extended toward us for exhibiting those same traits toward others. Such a fine line to walk. And I love when you said, “have intentionally detoxified my brain” – it really is so much work to weed out the truth from the lies and make a conscious decision to not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Those are the ones my heart truly breaks for – the ones that gave up on God and Christianity all together because of what they experienced. Love you!
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Hi Kimmers! Thank you for reading and commenting! You have been on my mind regarding all of this. I agree with your perspective of not letting the hurt and pain to further keep us in bondage. I am completely wrecked with the reality of our freedom in Christ! If you have something of your story that could help others via my blog, please email me and I will post it. I truly believe others will find healing through personal experiences of others. Love you too friend!
Great post. I have experienced many similar things and I’m so grateful I left before my children were scarred for life. Even though as I was leaving I was told by leadership in the church that I didn’t hear God correctly and that I would not be blessed. That was 3 years ago and that church has since imploded. So sad. I pray for all those still stuck in that crazy cycle of fear of man and performance and that each one will learn to rely solely on God. And yes, I do hear God 🙂
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Thank you for reading and weighing in, Gabriela! I’m so glad you chose to follow God’s voice instead of man’s. I’m interested to hear more of your story. I also want my blog to be a place for people to find healing. I invite you to email me if there is something more in depth of your experiences that would be helpful to others who have gone through this or are going through it right now. my email jsonsteby at gmail . com
Blessings to you!
I found your blog through the Intentional Blog Course Facebook page (I am also in the course) and I was immediately drawn to this blog post. I haven’t personally experienced this within my church, but that might be because we are fairly anonymous church attenders of a large church in our area. However, I know exactly what you are talking about and it is so incredibly sad to me as I see so many people who consider themselves Christians but what comes out of them is often uncaring ugliness. I don’t proclaim to be better, I just recognize it and continually ask the Lord to help me allow His light to shine through me. Thank you for your willingness to write this.
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Thanks for coming by my blog and for commenting. That post you read was a big step for me becoming more authentic in my writing. It’s a hard truth that is happening in many churches and I don’t think it needs to be like that.
I look forward to interacting with you in the IBC on Facebook!
By the way, I just checked out your website! Great job! I hope what you get out of the Intentional Blog Course increases your traffic because you have a very resourceful site!