The Bible commands Christians to associate with each other for mutual encouragement, and that we may stimulate each other to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25). Most people who read this Scripture in Hebrews take it to mean involvement in the life of a church. Yet for the last few years, I have not been a regular church attender, because of the damage I suffered through long-term involvement in an abusive, cultic church, and because of the rather scary supposedly “mainstream” evangelical churches I sampled after leaving my old abusive church.
My lack of church involvement used to bother my conscience somewhat, because I felt somehow that I was missing out on involvement in the things of God. But over time I was able to strike a deal with my conscience. This blog, TH in SoC, is that deal. You see, when I became a Christian, I was instructed by books, tracts and other Christians that I needed to find a solid, Bible-believing church so that I could grow in sanctification and spiritual maturity.
But as I began my journey, my personal pilgrim's progress, I found myself tripped up by punji stake-filled pits carefully placed along the path of life by devils, to trap those who were trying to make their way from earth to Heaven. That's how I describe my old abusive church and the many other abusive groups and cults that trap sincere believers. That's how I describe the wicked, narcissistic, damnable leaders who create such groups, who ensnare sincere people, who devour the energy and strength and talent and best years of their deceived followers. That's how I describe the big-name personalities who are trying to use the Christian faith to further their own selfish ambitions and lusts for earthly riches and political power. Being jacked by an abusive church hurt a great deal. What made me even angrier was finding out upon my departure from that church that there are many others in the realm of American evangelicalism who are busy digging pits and filling them with punji stakes in order to trap people.
I believe that much of American evangelicalism is now unsafe. I don't know all about how it got that way and I don't much care. All I know is that I promised myself that before I tried to get heavily involved in the life of a church again, I would do what I could to make church safe, by doing what I could to expose those who were making it unsafe. This blog is my little gift to these people, my way of administering a much needed, righteous kick in the pants to such people.
And I must admit that I have had a good time writing this blog. It has been a lot of work, but I have genuinely had a good time. This isn't supposed to be a “nice” thing to say, and in fact, I have encountered many blogs written by victims of spiritual abuse who say things like, “I just want to humbly, lovingly entreat the perpetrators I have encountered,” or, “It is with great grief and heaviness of heart that I must write these things,” and so on. I can't say that I feel any grief or sympathy for the perpetrators, who have been warned many, many times that what they were doing is wrong, and who have not changed their ways. My only sorrow is that the world in general and the American evangelical world in particular have turned out to be such dangerous places. Yet the danger exists, and in facing the danger like an adult, I have decided that I'm going to have a good time doing what I can to ruin the game plan of those who try to make my life unsafe. I think of Saul Alinsky, a 20th century social protest organizer who stood against injustice, and how he admitted that he had a very good time doing what he did. Let this blog serve as a two-by-four upside the head of certain people who badly need it. Judge its effectiveness by whether or not we hear some of these people say “Thanks...I, uh, needed that!”
But if the perpetrators will not listen to this blog, there are many others blogs and websites on the Internet. Many of these name names. They are all written or hosted by people who have been jacked by an abusive church, or they are written because someone known to the blog authors has been jacked by an abusive church. And these blogs are multiplying like rabbits. These should serve as a wake-up call to many leaders in evangelical circles that they can no longer continue business as usual. Many of these leaders look on their flocks as their own personal possessions; yet they will soon find that the sheep have an entirely different view of things. I've got news for some pastors: I'm not your property. Knock off your stupid grandiose view of yourself, because I won't let you live in your delusional dreams. And I am not alone. More and more of us sincere Christians are tired of playing stupid church games in order to build up some supposed pastor's ego. We're not going to take it anymore. Do we have your attention yet?
Below is a partial list of blogs and/or websites hosted by other victims of church abuse. In next week's post, we will hopefully hear from some of these survivors. And next week will be a chance for readers of TH in SoC to sound off as well.