Guilt Tripping or Shaming the Hurt Sheep to Return to Church
I just saw the last few minutes of the Perry Stone show on “TBN”.
I don’t hate the guy. Some of his teachings are interesting.
At the tail end of this program, Stone was addressing Christian people who have been hurt by other Christians or by churches, or who have “turned from the Lord.”
Stone’s one appeal to the viewer to return to church was: “we are living in the Last Days.”
I’m not buying it. I first began getting interested in Bible prophecy in my teens and read many books about it in my 20s, and have watched I don’t know who many hours of Grant Jefferies and Hal Lindsey, and so forth, discussing prophecy on television. (Never did read the “Left Behind” books, however.)
Since my teen years (I am early 40s now), I have been hearing preachers say “we are living in the Last Days.” I now no longer believe this, at least not for me personally. The world continues to go on now like it did when I was a teenager. I stopped getting worked up over anything Israel related a few years ago and assuming every Iranian threat to Israel = Rapture Now/ Second Coming of Christ.
I am also quite tired of pastors who try to shame or guilt people into church attendance, people who have been betrayed or wounded by Christians, or by a particular church or pastor.
I don’t have much else to say about this. I just find it insulting and rude that these preachers would sit here on their TV shows or blogs (Stone is not the only one) and try to guilt trip people who have been hurt by Christians or a church to go back to church and “fellowship” with them.
Even during the years I was a stalwart believer, I often felt weird around most other Christians anyway.
Many Christians are fake, plastic, they deny reality, act like Stepford robots. Not all of them, but a lot.
You can’t have a normal conversation with most Christians. Many of them have to pepper even casual conversation with Bible verse references and stuff. I cannot relate.
Asking me to walk into a church and sit around a group Stepfords adds to the craziness.
I don’t think I can sit through a sermon on gender roles (I’m an egalitarian, most churches are complementarian), or on tithing (I don’t believe the NT commands believers to tithe), or on sermons that contain rants against liberals, abortions, homosexual marriage, or Obama.
(I’m a patriotic American. I don’t like Obama’s policies. I do regard Islam as being a threat to American national security. I hate the Democratic Party and don’t support abortion or homosexuality, but I sure as hell don’t want to hear about those topics at church all the time.)
But most of all, I have been let down and hurt by self professing Christians and a lot of mainstream Christians and their teachings, so all those pastors out there: kindly shut up with the “you must fellowship with other Christians” propaganda. Just stop. “But, but,” they sputter, “the Bible tells us not to forsake the assembling of…” -I don’t care.
As a never married female over 35 years of age with no children, I am not wanted at 99% of churches anyway, and there is nothing for me to do at church. And if you think I’m going to church and enduring one more ‘how to have a great marriage’ sermon, think again.
If you want to get hurt sheep back into the flock, you have to do the opposite: tell them you understand they are hurting, let down, and you understand why they’d be hesitant to be around other Christians. You need to validate and agree they were treated like garbage and agree it was wrong that they were treated badly.
You can admit you hope they reconsider, but that you do understand their view and don’t blame them from being gun shy about going to church or buddying up to more Christians ever again. If you took this more hands-off, no-pressure tactic, it ironically may cause some of the hurt sheep to re-consider and attend church again.