The time has come in this blog for an evaluation. To those of you who have been regular readers or even part-time readers, I want to say a big thank you. You have listened to my description of my church experiences and my evaluation of the American evangelical scene which resulted from those experiences. Now the time has come for you to judge what I have said. Therefore, I have three general categories of questions for you:
Have you experienced abuse within a supposedly “Christian” church? Was that church a typical “evangelical” church? What did you do about it? Have you since joined another church? How did that work out?
This blog, TH in SoC, has discussed several problems relating to modern evangelicalism. Do you agree with my assessment? Do you see any other problems with modern evangelicalism?
Do you believe the modern American church is a safe place? If not, what are two or three things that would make it safe?
Last week I sent these questions to a number of bloggers whose blogs deal with power abuse in church settings. I will post their replies as they come in. For readers in general, feel free to answer as little or as much as you like. And if you have a blog, feel free to mention it. One blog which I forgot to mention in last week's post is The Blog of Lema Nal (http://lemanal.blogspot.com/), written by a person who endured an abusive experience in the Plymouth Brethren-styled cult started by the Asian man I mentioned in my posts, “A Tour of the Fringes” and “Finding (and losing) Rebekah.” Because this is the same cult that sues its critics, I am going to modify this person's replies to my questions slightly, if they grant permission, to remove the actual name of the cult. I don't want to have to hire John Grisham as a lawyer! Next week we will move on from a diagnosis of problems to a discussion of solutions.
One other thing: if you are a church pastor reading this, I'd like to suggest that you be primarily a listener rather than talking. Perhaps after next week it might be appropriate for pastors to try and answer for themselves, but for now I'd suggest that you just listen. But if any pastors or so-called pastors use this occasion to post advertisements for their own personal “cult recovery” ministries, I will delete your posts out of hand. I don't mean to be harsh, but this week's post is not an opportunity for you to build up some “ministry” for yourself.