A Response To J D Hall’s Vomit-tastic Post about Village Church’s Handling of Certain Members, Covenants, and Marriages

A Response To J D Hall’s Vomit-tastic Post about Village Church’s Handling of Certain Members, Covenants, and Marriages 

Before we get to the post by J D Hall:

Background:

  • The Village Church (TVC) of Texas has placed Karen, who was once a member of theirs, under church discipline because she did not, according to them, abide by the church covenant she signed.
  • Instead of conferring with the church on what to do, Karen, on her own, sought an annulment from the state of Texas, once she discovered her then-spouse, Jordan, was a pedophile.
  • Karen said she spent about 50 days conferring with other Christians (not from the TVC), and in prayer, mulling over what to do, before seeking the annulment.
  • This action of hers has ticked off TVC leadership, because Karen did not get their permission to get the annulment.
  • Matt Chandler is the lead preacher of TVC.

You can read additional reporting of this situation here (additional material is at the bottom of this post):

Here is the page I am responding to:

(Link, off site): A Rational Response to the Criticism of Village Church  by  J D Hall, Pulpit and Pen blog

The covenant that Hall is so rigorously defending – TVC’s membership covenant – here does not even mention annulments.

As Karen explains (off site Link, Source):

  • …it is worth noting here that although The Village Church claims [in their e-mail] that “We see an annulment as a subcategory of what Scripture defines as a divorce in Mark 10:9” …, this cannot be found anywhere in their Membership Covenant or Bylaws.
  • In signing their Membership Covenant shortly after my 24th birthday, I had agreed to nothing in regards to the possibility of annulment should I come to realize that my marriage had been a complete sham from the beginning.
  • There is a vast difference between a divorce and a marriage that is voided on the grounds of fraud, and I had no way of knowing that the leadership of The Village Church would respond to it in this fashion.

Continue reading “A Response To J D Hall’s Vomit-tastic Post about Village Church’s Handling of Certain Members, Covenants, and Marriages”

No Man’s Land – Part 3 – Liberal Christians, Post Evangelicals, and Ex-Christians Mocking Biblical Literalism, Inerrancy / Also: Christians Worshipping Hurting People’s Feelings

No Man’s Land – Part 3 – Liberal Christians, Post Evangelicals, and Ex-Christians Mocking Biblical Literalism, Inerrancy / Also: Christians Worshipping Hurting People’s Feelings

BIBLICAL LITERALISM AND INERRANCY

Another common thread I see on forums for spiritual recovery sites (or ones by ex Christians, liberal Christians, etc), is a rejection of

1. Biblical literalism
2. Biblical inerrancy

This is all so much intellectual dishonesty in another form it makes me want to throw up.

I spent years studying about the history of the Bible, Bible translation, and so forth.

I came away realizing that the Bible is inerrant and yes, we can trust the copies we have today; the Bible is not filled with historic blunders and mistakes, and all the other tripe atheists like to claim.

It is not entirely accurate for critics to paint the Bible as a purely man-made document, that contains mistakes because it was copied and re-copied numerous times over the centuries.

While there is an aspect of truth to that description, the end conclusion, or how that description, impacts the NIV or NASB Bible version you have sitting on your coffee table right now, is not how critics of the Bible paint it.

Atheists and ex-Christians who are critical of the Bible are disingenuous and duplicitous in how they paint some of their arguments against the Bible, and they should be ashamed for it, as some of them claim to be truth lovers.

Not too long ago, an ex-Christian woman at another site was declaring that Christians cannot “trust” the Bible because the originals (called the Autographa) do not exist.

Oh please! I pointed out to her that is not so: as far as the New Testament is concerned, scholars have many thousands of copies of the Autographa (some dating within decades of the originals), and by use of lower textual criticism, they can reconstruct the READINGS of the Autographa.

It is not necessary to have “the biblical originals” themselves to know what they said, as she was dishonestly arguing (but she later accused me of being dishonest!).

I pointed this FACT out to her (about it not being necessary to have the autographa to know what the autographa said), where upon she shot back the falsity that one cannot trust the translations anyway because they are done by “conservatives.”

Oh, but she is willing to grant liberal scholars or liberal theologians the title of un-biased, as though they do not have an ax to grind against the Bible and dating its documents and so forth?

Because the liberal scholars do in fact start out their examinations of the Bible from an anti- Christian bias.

The woman with whom I was corresponding on this matter doesn’t seem to understand that the practice of lower textual criticism is a science – a liberal who uses that methodology would come to the same conclusion as the conservative who uses it.

So here we have an example of one type of ex-Christian I am talking about:

This woman claims she was a Christian at one time, now fancies herself atheist or agnostic (and some kind of expert on the Bible), but who now spews inaccurate or untrue things about the Bible, because she disdains all of Christianity in general.

My view: Do not lie about the Bible’s history, accuracy, and textual evidence just because “Preacher Fred” at your old church was a big meanie to you X years ago (or insert whatever other emotional baggage you carry against Christians that now colors all your other views about the faith and Bible here) – please!

Give me a freaking break.

I am genuinely compassionate towards people who have been hurt by churches, but not to the point I cover for their dishonesty about how they discuss church history, the biblical documents, etc.

Because some of these folks claim to have been hurt by Christians in general, or a particular denomination, or what have you, they feel fine now rejecting biblical literalism and inerrancy.

Continue reading “No Man’s Land – Part 3 – Liberal Christians, Post Evangelicals, and Ex-Christians Mocking Biblical Literalism, Inerrancy / Also: Christians Worshipping Hurting People’s Feelings”

No Man’s Land – Part 2 – On Post Evangelicals or Ex Christians or Liberal Christians Ignorantly Hopping Aboard Belief Sets They Once Rejected

No Man’s Land – Part 2 – On Post Evangelicals or Ex Christians or Liberal Christians Ignorantly Hopping Aboard Belief Sets They Once Rejected

✹ What follows is actually the heart of my “No Man’s Land” view. This is what prompted me to write it: ✹

✹ TAKING THE OPPOSITE POSITION OF WHAT YOU USED TO BELIEVE BUT NOW HATE – DUE TO EMOTIONAL REASONS OR A KNEE JERK RESPONSE OR FROM SPITE – IS JUST AS WRONG AND MISTAKEN ✹

As to the forums and blogs by ex Christians, liberal Christians, self identifying post-evangelicals, or those still Christian who expose spiritual abuse…

I notice a number of the regular visitors to these sites – the ones who left an abusive or legalistic church or denomination – simply now operate in the reverse in their thinking, which is, IMO, just as bad or wrong as the thinking they are leaving.

There are different types of ex-Christians one must take into consideration when discussing this topic, so I shall present some sketches of them first.

IFBs (Independent Fundamentalist Baptists)

For example, there are ex IFBs (Independent Fundamentalist Baptists).

IFB preachers and churches are ridiculously legalistic. They make up rules that are not in the Bible, or twist or exaggerate the rules already there to the point those rules then become unbiblical.

IFBs are the contemporary, American versions of the Bible’s Pharisees: nit picky, anal retentive, legalists who make up man-made rules but insist they are “biblical” and thus binding on all believers.

IFBs concoct man-made traditions they expect all IFB members to adhere to, just like the Roman Catholic hierarchy does towards Roman Catholic members.

For example, IFB churches are legalistic about secular entertainment and clothing and physical appearance.

IFB churches teach their congregations that women should not wear pants but only skirts. And the skirts should be only so many inches above or below the knee.

According to IFBs, men should not have hair that touches the back shirt collar – not a mullet to be found in IFB, which may be a good thing. Secular music and television is sinful and should always be avoided.

IFBs have other legalistic rules for just about every aspect of life.

IFBs are vehemently anti-Roman Catholicism as well as anti-Calvinism.

Continue reading “No Man’s Land – Part 2 – On Post Evangelicals or Ex Christians or Liberal Christians Ignorantly Hopping Aboard Belief Sets They Once Rejected”

No Man’s Land – Between Agnosticism and Christianity / Also: It’s Emotional Not Intellectual (Part 1)

No Man’s Land – Between Agnosticism and Christianity / Also: It’s Emotional Not Intellectual (PART 1)

This will be a series of posts where my thoughts wander in and out and all over, and it rambles, but there is a point or two behind it.

Since I’ve been in a faith crisis the last couple of years, somewhere between being an agnostic and a Christian, I have noticed I don’t fit in anywhere. I reside in No Man’s Land.

(Even before then, when I was a total, committed Christian, and politically, I was, and am, right wing, I still didn’t fit in at most blogs and forums, including political ones, and including ones for right wingers!

I tend to be one of those personalities who annoys or angers everyone, even those on “my side” of an issue, except a small number of people, who are either on my side of a topic or not, who “get me” or who appreciate where I’m coming from – again, this is true for even the ones who disagree with me on whatever topic we are discussing.)

I am in this really weird place now, where I am critical of some aspects of conservative Christianity, and see where conservative Christians get some doctrines and other things wrong, but, too, I am not fully on board with militant atheism (I find the New Atheists to be arrogant, vile, hateful and rude), and I don’t even care for lukewarm atheism.

Nor am I in the camp of anything and all things liberal Christianity, except where I think they get the occasional point correct (such as their rejection of gender complementarianism).

Since drifting away from the Christian faith more the last few years, I more often began frequenting forums or blogs for and by atheists, ones by liberal Christians, ones by ex Christians, or by Christians who were abused by a former church who remain Christian but who dropped out of Church, or who now are on a crusade to expose abuse by preachers or the absurdity and harm of current evangelical gimmicks.

THE MILITANT ATHEISTS

A clarification: when I say I have been visiting atheist forums and blogs more often, I am very picky about which ones I regularly visit.

I do not like the frothing- at- the- mouth, extremely bitter, biased- against- Christians- type atheistic communities.

The bitter atheist groups sound like a bunch of irrational, hate-filled loons who reject Christianity for emotional reasons, but who lie to others and themselves and say, “Oh no, it’s purely intellectual.”

But their unrelenting, insane amount of hatred at any and all things God and Christian, is just a total turn-off to me, so I try to avoid such sites.

These angry, always-ranting atheists are really nothing more than Fundamentalist Atheists or Taliban Atheists. They are just as dogmatic about their atheism as Muslims are in their Wasabi Islam or Baptists are in their Neo Fundamentalism.

Really, those types of atheists are just as bad as the religious groups they claim they hate, but they don’t seem to spot that they are. It’s ironic – and it’s hard to stomach the day in, day out anger and hatred, so I try to avoid their sites.

HYPOCRITICAL CHRISTIANS VS NON HYPOCRITICAL CHRISTIANS

Also, you have to be honest with yourself, which I do not find militant atheists to be, by and large: not every single Christian is a hypocrite, jerk, idiot, dullard, or complete jackhole.

I say this as someone who is very fed up with Christianity and Christian persons myself these days.

But your average militant atheist will never admit that some Christians are in fact okay and not being hypocrites.

I have known and met a few Christians who were sincerely trying to live the Christian faith out, such as my mother, who is now deceased, and her mother before her (my grandmother).

I’ve met a few honest, sincere Christians online who do help people and show compassion to the wounded.

So it’s not fair to completely dismiss the entirety of Christians and their faith or treat them all like jerks because some are liars, mean, or abusive.

Which is not easy for me personally, because at the same time, I do keep noticing that a lot of self-professing believers do NOT live out what the Bible says.

Many self professing Christians today, for example, do not protect victims, such as young church members who have been sexually molested by preachers.

Nor do many church goers today hold accountable preachers who bilk their church goers out of millions to buy big mansions and jets.

These idiots, these lemmings, actually defend their greedy pastors online, which I’ve written about here: (Link): Your Preacher Sucks – and People Have a Right To Say So And Explain Why.

Then you have a conservative or evangelical culture, which claims to care deeply that people preserve sex until marriage, but if you actually find yourself 40 years of age and still single – and therefore still a virgin, such as myself – these same churches and Christians do not offer you any support.

You either go ignored, or preachers and talking heads of such groups “run down” and insult celibacy as well as older, celibate adults. Churches treat single (and especially celibate) adults as though they are flawed, lepers, weirdos, or losers.

Churches wrongly counsel abused wives to return to their spouses – this is particularly true, again, of churches or Christian groups who buy into “biblical womanhood” (aka “gender complementariansm”) or “patriarchy.”

Churches and average Christians also remain ignorant or callous about matters pertaining to mental health issues, from P.T.S.D. to depression and anxiety attacks.

Some Christians wrongly and insensitively teach that “real Christians” can never get depression or other mental health maladies.

Or, some Christians believe and teach that prayer, faith, service to the poor, or Bible reading alone can cure one of mental illness.

Still other Christians (or the same type) will shame and guilt suffering Christians for using anti-depressant medications, or for seeing secular or Christian psychiatrists and therapists (see this link for more, “Over 50 Percent of Christians Believe Prayer, Bible Reading Alone Can Cure Mental Illness (article) – In Other Words Half of Christians are Ignorant Idiots Regarding Mental Illness”).

Yet other Christians are incompetent at, or unwilling, to provide more ordinary, “every day,” run- of- the- mill comfort to other Christians who are hurting, such as a Christian who is stressed out over a job loss, someone who is in mourning for a deceased loved one, etc.

Christians are dropping the ball in numerous ways.

And this failure, this huge failure, causes life long Christians like me to look long and hard at the faith and wonder if it’s true at all.

It causes even someone such as myself to ask if the faith is true, because

  • it doesn’t appear to be working,
  • it doesn’t make a difference in people’s life who profess it,
  • most who claim to follow Christ don’t actually do what he taught,
  • and some Christians refuse to hold Christians caught in bald faced sin accountable but excuse them for the sin,

~ and it makes you wonder “what is the point, then.”

I find this discrepancy between confessed belief and actual practice shocking, because I myself sincerely tried living out the faith since childhood.

Also, my Christian mother was a role model for me, and she genuinely, consistently lived out and by biblical teachings, including getting up off her ass and actually HELPING people (giving them money if they were in a bind, cleaning their homes for them when they were sick, listening to them cry and rant about their problems for hours without judging them or interrupting them, etc).

I am not seeing most other Christians do any of this. They say they believe in those things but then they do not do them.

BLOGS AND FORUMS FOR SPIRITUALLY ABUSED OR THOSE HURT BY CHURCHES

Before I actually get into this topic (which I discuss more in Posts 2 and 3), here is some background leading up to it.

As far as the sites I have visited by liberal Christians, ex Christians, atheists, as well as sites by Christians for the spiritually abused:

By and large, these have been wonderful, supportive sites and groups to visit (the ones run by Christians for hurting Christians).

I have noticed, though, that there are problems even within these types of communities, and I don’t entirely fit in at them, either.

Continue reading “No Man’s Land – Between Agnosticism and Christianity / Also: It’s Emotional Not Intellectual (Part 1)”

Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church? by Gina Dalfonzo

Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church? by Gina Dalfonzo

I was originally alerted to this article by Janet Mefferd on Twitter, so hat tip to her.

Overall a good editorial, though I do not agree with the writer that Heb. 10 is a “command” for people to attend church (see this post).

She raises many of the same points I have raised on this blog the last couple of years, references some of the same books and links I have before.

Edit. I just realized that Ms. Mefferd discussed the following article (linked to below) on her radio program, and you can listen to her discuss it in an archived version of her show here (the same show also discusses the problem of pornography):

(Link): Janet Mefferd Show-4/10/2014

(Link): Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church? by by Gina Dalfonzo

A few excerpts:

In an age of rising singlehood, many churches are still focused on being family ministry centers.

There are the well-meaning ladies who ask you about your husband and children and, when you say you don’t have any, suddenly run out of things to say to you.

There are the women’s Bible studies scheduled on weekday mornings, because aren’t all church women (Link): married homemakers?

There are the (Link): sermons and activities directed exclusively at families.

There are the pastors who fault the single men for not getting married, even if they’ve tried, and who (Link): seem to think that singles are marked out for some terrible fate.

There are the Christians who tell you that (Link): life doesn’t start until you’re married. Or that you can’t really understand what love is because you’re single and childless. Never mind that this goes directly against the Christian faith, which teaches that God is the source of all love and that everyone — regardless of marital status! — can know that love.

    Churches are so committed to the idea of a family-centered church that they’re just not sure how to handle rising rates of singleness.

There are the people who talk about singles in the church as a problem. There are the people who say you’re (Link): “too picky” if you have any standards at all.

There are the people who hint that you couldn’t get a spouse because you’re not spiritual enough or because God is trying to punish you for something.

And then there are my favorites: the people who helpfully point out that there’ll be no one to look after you in your old age. (Thanks for reminding me once again of that topic that has so often kept me lying awake into the small hours!)

In a nutshell, there are a lot of nice, well-intentioned Christian married people who say cruel, insensitive, or misguided things to and about single people….

Please read the rest of her post here:
(Link): Are Single People the Lepers of Today’s Church? by by Gina Dalfonzo
——————————–
Related posts this blog:

(Link): Lies The Church Tells Single Women (by Sue Bohlin)

(Link):  Welcoming Singles Into Your Church by E. Metaxas via Gina Dalfonzo

(Link):  Why Do Churches Treat Singleness Like a Problem? via Relevant Magazine

(Link): Unmarried and Undaunted by G. Dalfonzo

(Link): Marriage Does Not Make People More Loving Mature Godly Ethical Caring or Responsible (One Stop Thread)

(Link): Single Adults – Why They Stay and Why They Stray From Church – Book Excerpts

(Link): Five Things Single Women Hate to Hear

(Link): Married Couple Almost Starve Adopted 8 Year Old To Death – you don’t have to achieve perfection or sinlessness before God will send you a spouse

(Link): The Problem with Platitudes – for Christian single over 35 years old never married

(Link): List of Christian Singlehood Annoyances, Part 1

(Link): Stop telling single women they’re fabulous! by S. Eckel

(Link): Myths About Never Married Adults Over Age 40

(Link): Isn’t It Time the Church Gave Singles a Break? (editorial from another blog)

(Link): Are Christian Singles The New Second Class Christian? by Duke Taber

(Link): “Family-ing” Single Adults by D. Franck – How Churches Can Minister to Single Adults

(Link): Unmarried America: How Single Adults Are Changing the Face of the U.S. and What It Means for the Church by R. Hurst

(Link): The Singles Challenge ( Single Christian over 35 years old never married )

(Link): So There Are More Single People, but It’s Still a Couples’ World (article)

(Link): Study: People today living alone more than ever before

(Link): Christian Early Marriage Position Advocates A Low View of Celibacy and Virginity and Adult Singleness – another example: Justin Deeter Blog about Early Marriage

(Link): Preachers and Christian Media Personalities: Re: Marriage – You’re missing the point stop trying to argue or shame singles into getting married

(Link): How Christians and Churches Can Be of Help to Older Singles (copy)

(Link): Ministering to the Unmarried by Noel Cameron

(Link): Why People Don’t Go To Church (various links and testimonies March 2014)

(Link): The World Does Not Need More Marriage Sermons – They Don’t Stop Divorce or Get People Married

(Link): Churches Ignoring The Olds: Increasing Population of Senior Citizens In America – Yet Churches Keep Obsessing About Kids and 20 Somethings

(Link): The Obligatory, “Oh, but if you’re single you can still benefit from my marriage sermon” line

(Link): Power Point, Boring Churches, It’s all about Jesus, Church Quitters, No Community, Selfish Preachers, Churches As Stalkers / (Re: Why Some Drop Out of Church)

(Link): The Cloying Annoying Nauseating G-Rated Wholesome Saccharin Sweet Tone of Articles by Christians For Christian Singles – Christian Material For Singles is LAME

(Link): If Family Is Central, Christ Is Not

(Link): Never Married Christians Over Age 35 who are childless Are More Ignored Than Divorced or Infertile People or Single Parents

(Link): A Critique Of, More Singles Commentary by Mark Driscoll (“Two Mistakes Singles Make”)

(Link): More married women are not having children, U.S. study finds – this will throw a monkey wrench into conservative Christian plans

(Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family) (article)

(Link): Never Married Adult Woman Says Married Friends Did Not Help Her When She Was Sick

(Link): The Myth of the Gift – Regarding Christian Teachings on Gift of Singleness and Gift of Celibacy

(Link): False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy” or (also false): God’s gifting of singleness is rare – More Accurate: God calls only a few to marriage and God gifts only the rare with the gift of Marriage

(Link): Why all the articles about being Child Free? On Being Childfree or Childless – as a Conservative / Right Wing / Christian

(Link): There is No Such Thing as a Gift of Singleness or Gift of Celibacy or A Calling To Either One

(Link): The Gift of Singleness – A Mistranslation and a Poorly Used Cliche’

(Link): Gift of Singleness Gift of Celibacy Unbiblical – Those Terms and Teachings Contribute to Fornication / Editorial About Sex Surrogates

(Link): Douglas Wilson and Christian Response FAIL to Sexual Sin – No Body Can Resist Sex – supposedly – Re Celibacy

(Link): Cultural, Church, Christian and Secular Discrimination Against Childless and Childfree Women – and link to an editorial by a Childless Woman

(Link): Single Christian Women Have No Protection according to some preachers – only married women have protection

(Link): Preacher Mark Driscoll Basically Says No, Single Christian Males Cannot or Should Not Serve as Preachers / in Leadership Positions – Attempts to Justify Unbiblical, Anti Singleness Christian Bias

(Link): The Netherworld of Singleness for Some Singles – You Want Marriage But Don’t Want to Be Disrespected or Ignored for Being Single While You’re Single

(Link): Are There Any Protestant or Baptist Singles – Friendly Churches or Denominations ? / Singles Single Adult Childfree Childless Age 30 40 50 Christian

(Link): Some strands of patriarchy and Christian gender complementarianism teaching: adult singles are not full human beings, not fully in the image of God – you must marry and/or have children to fully reflect God until then you are sub human (Why Christians and singles should be concerned about the gender role debates)

(Link): Christian Patriarchy Group: God Demands You Marry and Have Babies to Defeat Paganism and Satan. Singles and the Childless Worthless (in this worldview).

(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings

(Link): Goodbye to romance: Are rom-coms worse than porn? (How Hollywood Feeds Into People’s Tendency to Idolize Marriage and Turn a Spouse Into a Deity)

(Link): According to Pastor – Jimmy Evans – It Takes One Man and Woman Married To Equal A Whole – so where does that leave Christian singles ? / Too Much Sex Talk | Making Marriage into an Idol Marriage Idolatry Anti Singles Singlehood Singleness Unmarried Bias Prejudice

(Link): ‘God’s Purpose for Women,’ by Matthew Hagee – Hagee Teaches that Single Unmarried Women Do Not Have a Purpose in Life God has no purpose for singles

(Link): Singles Shaming at The Vintage church in Raleigh – Singlehood Shaming / Celibate Shaming

(Link): Christian TV Personality ( Jimmy Evans ) Says You Cannot Meet God’s Destiny For Your Life Without A Spouse = Anti Singleness Singlehood Singles Bias Prejudice Making Idol out of Marriage

(Link): Male Preacher Marries For First Time At Age 44

(Link): The Bible Calls Christians to Make Individual Disciples, Not to “Change Culture” Nor to Save, Redeem Culture Nor to Save or Promote Marriage or Manufacture Christianized Entertainment

(Link): Why Stay-at-Home Moms Are More Depressed Than Working Moms (article) -Intersting- yet Christians hold up Motherhood (especially SAHM – Stay At Home Mommydom) as Being a Woman’s Only Godly, Worthwhile, or Legitimate Calling In Life

(Link): When Mormonism Sounds Like Gender Complementarian Christianity – Also: Man Shortage in Mormonism Just Like Christianity

(Link): The Bible Does Not Teach Christians to “Focus On The Family” – The Idolization of Family by American Christians (article)

(Link): Response to the Hemingway Editorial ‘Fecundophobia’ – conservatives and Christians continue to idolize children, marriage – which is unbiblical

(Link): Christian Gender Complementarian Group Teaching That There Will Be Marriage in Afterlife and That Women Must Submit To Males in Heaven (post at Spiritual Sounding Board)

Why People Don’t Go To Church (various links and testimonies March 2014)

Why People Don’t Go To Church

I’m fed up not just with church, but about most of Christianity itself, with many Christians, and with American Christian culture.

I find myself relating to posts about why people have stopped going to church, or why they are reluctant to return, as well as posts by people who used to be Christians who are either considering leaving the faith or who already have.

Here is a selection of such posts.

(Link): I Don’t Worship God by Singing. I Connect With Him Elsewhere.

(Link): Why I Don’t Go to Church Very Often, a Follow Up Blog

(Link): The Other Side of the Donald Miller Post: Church PTSD

(Link): Christian Identity and the Church as Family (by Sara Barton)

(Link): Leaving church to save our souls by Kathy Escobar

Here are excerpts or comments from some of those pages:

(Link): Christian Identity and the Church as Family (by Sara Barton)

    So, if people are leaving the church, perhaps we need to avoid defensiveness and ask some hard questions about family. Sometimes individuals leave families of origin because of abuse, because of dysfunction that threatens to overtake the entire family system.

    Could it be that many of our friends and neighbors are leaving church because of dysfunction that needs deep introspection?

    We can easily cite stories of people for whom the church is functioning.

    We should celebrate those stories. But, the church is not functioning for others, to such an extent that they are leaving. Instead of being defensive, maybe what we should do for a while is merely listen.

The author of that also wrote this, and I disagree with this part:

    If departure is based on our personal likes and dislikes, personal lifestyle choices such as how to spend our weekends, the idol of busyness, conflict avoidance, or aversion to submission to authority, perhaps our culture is informing identity more than identity in Christ.

I don’t have an issue with people who leave a church for any of those reasons.

Comments by other people on that blog:

    by Al Cruise • 8 days ago

    “If people are leaving” ” ask some hard questions” The bottom line is, whether it’s being said or not, is the implication that you need to call yourself a Christian and be attending Church in order to be saved, if not, you are going to hell or “Left Behind”.

    People can see through this, especially young people. What about all the people born before Christian theology. Born in countries were Christian theology is not present.

    According to american evangelicals over a billion Chinese and many other nationalities are consigned to hell simply by their location of birth. The Church doesn’t want to talk about this.

    People are leaving, so their playing a new guilt trip card ” you can’t be spiritually healthy unless your in a community of “OUR” definition. People are seeing that this is false and are leaving and will continue to leave.
    ———-
    by Lori Michelle • 10 days ago

    I appreciate the thoughts that maybe sometimes people leave church because the church family is abusive.

    I appreciate the idea that instead of being defensive and placing blame on the people who leave…saying they are making excuses or being selfish or falling prey to our secular culture…they listen to what the people who are leaving are saying.

    I didn’t want to leave [my] church…I feel that my church left me. I was an active member. I volunteered, I served, I participated, I worked. I felt that I was really connected to the “family” and I loved so many of the people. I knew that we weren’t perfect, but I was willing to forgive and continue.

    But then I went through a divorce and all of the sudden my children and I were a pariah. We were ignored, gossiped about, and even called names. Even after each of my three children began refusing to go to church, I persevered faithfully.

    Then, a couple of years later, a 17 yo girl in our youth group was raped by one of the youth group dads. She was called a liar, and worse, and eventually asked not to participate in youth group anymore. At the time in her life when she needed the most support and love, she was rejected and blamed. As was I…rejected and blamed during the worst time of my life.

    So, this is what a family is??

    I have no interest in ever submitting myself to that kind of abuse ever again. I won’t. I didn’t leave my church because I was too busy, or because I “fell away” or because I couldn’t deal with conflict. I left because I wasn’t safe, my daughters weren’t safe, and a 17 year old girl in the youth group was not safe in environment of control, and manipulation, and silence.
    ——————-
    by Steve Johnson • 11 days ago

    I absolutely believe that the church is a family. Unfortunately, we’ve lost that in so many local expressions of the church.

    When our gospel, as Scot talks about often, is how to get into heaven, our church becomes a machine driving to draw people in so that they can be saved. Families are not machines. So much church energy is given to building a vision and conveying the purpose that the leaders chose to market so as to draw more people.

    Instead, the church must be the context for the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a loving family that bears the message of the hope. The purpose come through the faith that grows out of this message of hope.

    So, yes. People are leaving because the church is dysfunctional. A few years ago, the Willow Creek Leadership Conference featured an interview with Jack Welsh. In the interview he talked about how he turn GE around by, in part, making a habit of firing the bottom 10% of the companies employees.

    I witness more than one case where church leader returned home and tried to apply this principle. Staff members lost jobs, church leaders were asked to step down, congregants weren’t fired, but were told if you don’t agree with the leaders’ vision, it would be OK for them to leave.

    If that’s the kind of commitment that churches have to one another, no wonder Don Miller and others are leaving.

Excerpts from

(Link): The Other Side of the Donald Miller Post: Church PTSD, written by a female friend of Scot McKnight’s

    …. Something that doesn’t seem to be getting addressed at all is this: what if I KNOW I need it, but it has become such a painful, scary, uncomfortable place that I am no longer able to even attempt to participate? What if I WANT the community and the bumping up against different people with different opinions, but I CAN’T, I mean physically CAN’T go? I have usually discovered in life that if I have a feeling, I’m not the only one. So it makes me think there must be others out there like me.

    What do I mean by “physically unable”? I shake, I cry uncontrollably, my skin crawls, I am unable to speak. It’s pretty difficult to be a part of a community, broken or not, with all of that going on.

    …. A number of years into our time at our third church my husband was diagnosed with depression. After carefully letting the elders know, we were pleasantly surprised at their compassion and understanding.

    But the church was in the process of hiring a new senior pastor, and a few months later when he was brought on, I witnessed an unbelievable turn of events that still makes me cringe today.

    Two years later, I am left with the memory of so many people I thought were friends telling me to “let it go” since this is “what’s best for the church” and all part of “God’s will”.

    ….What I think I’m looking for and not finding is something that will give me hope.

    At this point, I won’t be persuaded by guilt or by empty platitudes. “You just need to do it because it’s what we all need to do” just isn’t cutting it. Having people tell me that it’s a broken place and I shouldn’t expect anything else from a group of flawed human beings doesn’t make me want to run for the entrance of the nearest church. What happened to me, what happens to a lot of people, shouldn’t happen.

    What I’m trying to say is that there is a culture of acceptance in the church today that allows for people to be treated terribly under the umbrella of it being what is “best for the church”.

    Continue reading “Why People Don’t Go To Church (various links and testimonies March 2014)”

Tim Challies Christian Blogger Who Proclaimed That All Fornicators Are Virgins Is Now Telling People Not to Look In Lust – WTF?

Tim Challies Christian Blogger Who Proclaimed That All Fornicators Are Virgins Is Now Telling People Not to Look In Lust – WTF?

Hmm. In an older post on his blog, which was replicated at The Christian Post, Tim Challies proclaimed that Jesus is just fine with fornication! Challies proclaimed all fornicators are virgins (which renders the word “virgin,” and the lifestyle and concept thereof, and the Bible’s talk about fornicators being thrown into the Lake of Fire, meaningless).

Yes, he did, see my previous post, here:
(Link): Anti Virginity Editorial by Christian Blogger Tim Challies – Do Hurt / Shame Feelings or Sexual Abuse Mean Christians Should Cease Supporting Virginity or Teaching About Sexual Purity

Below you will find: link to the Challies post where he urges people not to look at other people in lust, then goes off on some odd tangent about people’s expectations about church, and how your criticism of church amounts to adultery (I take it he means spiritual adultery of some sort), or what not.

Aside from the contradiction – saying ‘no, no, don’t look at others in lust’ when just three months ago he wrote a post saying that fornicators are virgins now, he is now also criticizing people who have had unhappy church experiences or who notice something is not right with their church.

It is a fact that some church goers, including the staff and preacher, are abusive and/or complete assholes.

If you have been hurt by church people, you have every right to be critical of churches and gun shy and hesitant to return. Paul said in the New Testament that Christians are to judge those within church, not to remain silent lest they commit “spiritual adultery” or whatever Challies is rambling on about.

The Challies’ of the world should spend more time comforting the Christian wounded and validating their crummy treatment at the hands of “Christians” than “tsk-tsking” and lecturing the un-churched for being upset over having been treated like shit by a church person or entire church system.

It’s also just plain WEIRD that this dude is attempting to work lust and adultery into his commentary about church… he is sexualizing church.

(Link): It’s Not Just a Guy Thing

    by Tim Challies

    Every guy has received a warning about “the second glance.” Here’s how it works: When you see an attractive woman, you are morally responsible for the second glance, not the first.

    Because you cannot help seeing what is there in front of you, the second glance is the one where you will display sin or virtue.

    It is here that you make the moral choice—the choice to lust or the choice to direct your eyes and your thoughts to something that honors God.

    I have never been completely comfortable with the second glance logic. More on that in a moment, but first we need to see that this is not only a guy thing.

    Women can have the same issue or one that is very closely related. For some women the issue is identical—looking with lust. For others it may be something else, such as alighting your eyes on someone who doesn’t fit in and then allowing yourself condescending thoughts about her.

    It may be thinking unkind thoughts about the immodest woman or the too-modest woman or the woman whose children are dressed so perfectly or so imperfectly.

    Whether you are a man or woman, you will be tempted at times to allow your eyes to direct you to people who will then take your thoughts in unholy directions. It is a universal problem.

    Back to the question: Is it only the second glance that counts? Yes and no.

    We have no ability to avoid seeing so much of what we see in the world. At some point we will all see something that feeds one of our great temptations.

    We will see someone who is dressed wildly inappropriately or someone who is shamelessly intending to draw attention to themselves. And then it is, indeed, the second glance that counts.

    Will we look again? Will we let our eyes linger? Will we look with lust or condescension or judgment? Will we allow this to be an opportunity to gossip? Or will we immediately and sinlessly direct our attention elsewhere?

    But here is where it gets a little more complicated. I think we all know by experience that there is more than one way our eyes can take in the world around us.

    We can walk into church with our hearts content and enjoying the good things God has given us. We can walk into the mall with our minds submitted to God and eager to please him. And in those times we undoubtedly struggle a lot less with second glances.

That was the first part of his post. I didn’t copy the whole thing.
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Related posts, this blog:

(Link): Anti Virginity Christian Blogger Tim Challies Now Writes: ’31 Days of Purity: My Identity’ – What?

(Link): No, Christians and Churches Do Not Idolize Virginity and Sexual Purity

(Link): Christians Who Attack Virginity Celibacy and Sexual Purity – and specifically Russell D. Moore and James M. Kushiner

(Link): Married Christian Couples and Sexual Sin, More Examples – and Women and Porn

(Link): Christian Double Standards on Celibacy – Hetero Singles Must Abstain from Sex but Not Homosexual Singles

(Link): Are Most Churches Too Judgemental About Sexual Sin? (of the hetero variety)

(Link): Dude Arguing for Legalization of Prostitution Uses Same Rationale as Christians Concerning Celibacy and Sexual Purity

(Link): Married (Christian) People Aren’t More Virtuous Than Christian Singles

(Link): How Christian Teachings on Marriage/ Singleness/ Gender Roles/ Dating Are Keeping Christian Singles Single

(Link): Married Women Engage in Sexual Sin – and most men in denial particularly Christian conservatives

(Link): Article: Our Born-Again Virgin Bachelor – Secondary or Spiritual Virginity

(Link): The ol’ Christian myth that married couples are impervious to sexual sin but singles have lots of sexual sin

(Link): Gotta Maintain that Propaganda that Married Christian Sex is “Mind Blowing”

(Link): Book Review at CP: Sex, Dating, and Relationships: The Dating Friendships Alternative

(Link): Critique of Christianity Today Article: The Real Value of Sex

(Link): Are Most Churches Too Judgemental About Sexual Sin? (of the hetero variety)

(Link): Criticism of Purity Teachings by Christians via a Woman’s Personal Testimony

(Link): Christian Teachings on Relationships: One Reason Singles Are Remaining Single (even if they want to get married)

(Link): Anti Virginity Moore Opines on Dirty Web Sites * Irony Alert *

(Link): New Study Released: Cheaters: More American Married Women Admit to Adultery (links)

Church Gives Shoes to Homeless – Misplaced Priorities – Also: Audacity of Preachers To Shame the Hurting or Victims

Church Gives Shoes to Homeless – Misplaced Priorities

Xtian = Christian

(Link): On Vulgar Language at This Blog -You have been warned.

BTW, there is some weird Asian- language site that keeps re-blogging my posts, and I wish they would stop. It’s weird.
Anyway. Back to the purpose of my post.
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Church Gives Shoes to Homeless – Misplaced Priorities

Does the Bible say Christians are to help widows and orphans? Certainly.

But it says that first and foremost Xtians are to help those within their own group (Galatians 6:10), not those outside of it.

Most often, Xtians fail miserably at meeting the needs of Xtians they already know, who may even go to their very same church.

One reason of several I am leaving the Christian faith is that Xtians don’t actually do what the Bible and God tells them to do when it comes to helping one another.

Christians did not help me get my needs met when I went to them at a very low point in my life.

At my time of greatest need, Christians brushed me off, or gave me judgement, cliches, platitudes, and criticism – when I needed love, encouragement, and sympathy. -All of which is free, by the way. I was not even asking for money.

Some of the same Xtians who did this, however, will sit there and cry crocodile tears of sadness over people they do not even know (such as orphans in Africa, domestic abuse victims in homeless shelters, etc).

I cannot conceive how you can feel sorry for little orphans in Africa, whom you don’t even know, but treat the hurting Xtian next to you weekly in church like she is a piece of shit, when she’s going through heartbreak in her own life, which you damn well knew about.

But it happens often, not just with me, but I’ve met other Xtians online who have similar stories.

Here’s the article that got me to pondering on these things again:

(Link): Florida Church Sends Congregants Home Barefoot, Collects Shoes for Homeless

    First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale, which is attended by about 2,000 people each Sunday, collected an estimated 700 pairs of shoes for the homeless during Sunday’s “Soles for Souls” event, according to Mike Jeffries, associate to the senior pastor.

I’m supposed to think that church is being generous or loving by donating a bunch of old smelly shoes to some homeless shelter?

BTW, if you’re going to donate shoes, you should send the shelter gift certificates, so they can fill any size request with BRAND NEW SHOES.

The article said these people who donated wore the shoes into the church service before sticking them up on the stage for donation. 🙄

Are they too cheap skated to buy BRAND NEW SHOES or to give the shelter GIFT CERTIFICATES? If you were a shelter person would you want to wear a pair of shoes previously worn by someone else, or would you prefer a brand new, never worn pair?

I’m more interested in knowing if that church follows Galatians 6:10 and serves the members of the body of that local church first.

Does that church provide a month’s worth of free groceries every so often to the seniors living on meager incomes? Do they drop by to scrub the toilet and dust the furniture and mow the lawn of the 35 year old never married member who’s on his back, recovering, after surgery?

Or does this church only run around raising funds and some used shoes for homeless shelters?

If the people at that church are ignoring, or shaming, the Average Joe in the pew of their church, but thumping their chests over how proud they are to be helping the homeless, screw them – and that would be God’s attitude as well, I’m pretty sure.

See Christ’s story of ‘The Good Samaritan’ to see what Jesus thinks about people who IGNORE the hurting RIGHT BENEATH THEIR NOSE to go perform some other religious duty, or to serve someone else, or do charitable deed to someone else.

If a fellow Xtian approaches you with a problem, don’t brush them off to go help an orphan or lecture him or her that “orphans have life worse than you,” because God (assuming He exists) put that person in YOUR PATH because God EXPECTS YOU TO HELP THAT PERSON, you nim rod.

If God wanted you to help African orphans, he would have arranged for you to be BORN AMONG THEM IN AFRICA.

But you’re a white person born into middle class American life (this problem seems more prevalent among white American Christians than other types of Christians I’ve seen).

Your “mission field” consists of the other people already around you – people in your neighborhood, your job, people you bump into at the store, and NOT AFRICA and NOT HOMELESS PEOPLE IN YOUR INNER CITY.

Unless God explicitly and clearly tells you he wants all your energies going to the homeless downtown or to poor people in Africa, assume it’s to help people you personally bump into on a day by day basis in your own city, GALATIANS 6:10.

PREACHERS WHO GUILT OR SHAME PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN HURT BY CHRISTIANS OR CHURCHES

I caught several minutes of the “Answers” show this weekend. It’s the weekly church show by preacher Bayless Conley.

The funny thing is, I usually agree with this Conley guy most of the time, but every so often, he says something that rubs me the wrong way or that I don’t agree with.

In this past week’s show, he was shaming and blaming people who say they are angry at church/Christians or who drop out of church because their church didn’t meet their needs.

He told the story of a woman who began going to his church. He said she was still quite angry over an incident from years before.

This woman said that at their old church, when her husband was sick for months, that nobody from her church helped her or her hubby. This really upset her, and she was still hurt or angry about it many years later. Conley was saying she should drop this and move on.

The problem is, it’s not just her.

I’ve seen numerous testimonies online by Xtians who said in their time of greatest need, their church did not come to their aid, with practical help, such as bringing over free food, mowing their lawn for them, etc.

Anyway, this Conley preacher guy stood there and criticized this woman or her attitude.

Conley told people who feel they’ve been done wrong by a church to keep going to church, and so on.

The audacity! The appropriate response to people who have been hurt by a church is NOT to BLAME THEM for HAVING BEEN MISTREATED (which is victim-blaming and is totally repulsive and anti-Christ), but to ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR WOUNDS.

You don’t blame an abused or hurting person for being hurt, shell shocked, understandably reluctant, or skittish from having been abused by a former church or by a Christian(s).

You don’t shame a hurt Xtian back into church attendance by appealing to some Bible verse or another, or by appealing to a sense of “Christian duty,” or by claiming they are having a pity party or feeling sorry for themselves, or whatever other insensitive malarky.

What Conley should have said is, “If you have been hurt by a church, I am so sorry. But please reconsider giving the church another try.” But he chose the “blame the victim” strategy instead, shaming and blaming people who have dropped out of church because they were hurt. Shame on Conley and preachers and Xtian laypersons like him.

WHAT PREACHERS CAN LEARN FROM DEALING WITH DOGS

If you come across a dog in an alley way that has been mistreated by previous humans, and the dog is either angry (growling) or whimpering (in fear, hurt), you get the dog to trust you by showing that dog consistent love and compassion.

You stop by every day, toss a few bits of food its way, and baby talk to it, such as,
“Oh what a good boy! Aren’t you a sweet puppy dog!”

You win the dog slowly over by displaying compassion and showing you are trustworthy; you earn the dog’s respect or trust.

You do NOT approach the wounded, scared, abused dog by yelling in a loud, angry, (or demanding and condescending) voice,

“The BIBLE says you are to forgive previous abusive humans and let me pet you! Repent you dog! REPENT FIDO! You are not to be in fear or nurse a grudge, that is a sin! Stop holding a grudge! Let me approach you and pet you!”

Taking that harsh, unloving, non- understanding approach to the dog’s abuse and its history will only cause the dog to mistrust you more.

And it’s stupid to think quoting a Bible verse at a dog – or human – is enough, or should be enough, to get them to instantly comply with what you want.

I’ve been hurt by other Christians, so I don’t really care if the Bible talks about ‘let us gather together to encourage one another blah blah blah.’ Those are just empty words on a page and mean nothing to me, as much of the Bible does these days.

Christians can’t even live up to the “love one another” and “love your neighbor” type verses but then they expect me to obey the “do not forsake the assembling together” verse? I don’t think so.

A note to preachers and regular church goers:
First live up to the “love one another” type verses, and then I will maybe consider returning to a church. Clean up your own life and your own church and fix what is wrong with you and your congregation before chewing me out over what you consider my flaws or for trying to shame me and guilt me over my non-attendance.
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–Related posts this blog—

(Link): To Get Any Attention or Support from a Church These Days you Have To Be A Stripper, Prostitute, or Orphan

(Link): The Bible Says Christians are to Help Other Christians First (not sex trafficked people, not orphans in Africa, not homeless crack addicts, etc)

(Link): Suffering and Misery Trend Du Jour

(Link): Part 2 – Suffering and Misery Trend Du Jour

(Link): You Don’t Need to Look Far To Find Hurting People Who Could Use Your Help and Compassion

(Link): Do You Rate Your Family Too High? (Christians Who Idolize the Family) (article)