A Question for readers

April 12, 2008 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Religion 

This question is prompted by a meeting with my pastor this morning, related to the past few posts here and the events that they speak of.  I’d appreciate comments from my regular readers and new readers.  Please chime in.

Is it harmful for a church member to post their thoughts and feelings about a church program, even if they are negative?

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Please comment.

Blogger Blessings

December 28, 2007 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Life, Religion, Web/Tech 

I have been tagged by Gannet Girl at Search the Sea for a year-end blogger blessing.  This seems to be how it works (from the person who blessed her):

The idea… it’s a game of tag with a difference, rather than looking inwardly, we look outside ourselves and bless, praise and pray for one blog friend. By participating in this endeavour we not only make the recipient of the blessing feel valued and appreciated, but we are having some fun too. We’re going to see how far the bloggin’ blessings can travel around the world and how many people can be blessed! Recipients of a bloggin’ blessing may upload the above image {I chose not to use the image – Mark} to their sidebar if they choose to. If you recieve a bloggin’ blessin’ please leave a comment on this thread here so that we can rejoice in just how many blessings have been sent around the world!

I am going to bless:

Will Smama for grace under fire in the past year.  She has survived a very difficult life event and kept on rowing without permanently losing her mind or resorting to bad behavior.
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Adam and Sarah Walker Cleaveland as they move into the next phase of their lives after seminary.

Will Spotts as he moves on from the PC(USA) and yet continues to provoke deep thoughts.  I value Will as the one shining star that I see coming from the “other” side of the liberal/conservative divide – he has consistently debated with respect and dignity for those who disagree.  It’s amazing how rare that is.

Hurt by the church, and always looking over your shoulder

December 18, 2007 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Religion 

Many inactives (a percentage nearing 50%, if anecdotal evidence is accurate) have left because they feel (rightly or wrongly) that they have been hurt by the church.  I’m one of them.  (Read my story HERE for more)

I know that this makes it hard to return.  I’m slowly realizing that the perception of abuse creates a barrier to trust.

I find that I’m constantly on the lookout for behaviors that exemplify the reasons that I left.  I’m watching for extremist and exclusionary beliefs.  I’m watching for people using positions of power for their own purposes.  I’m watching for the use of labels (racist, homophobe) to stifle alternative points of view.

For the most part, I’m finding these things nationally.  Presbyterian blogs of late are very partisan and inflammatory.  The impulse to shout down and control the other party is stronger than the impulse to embrace the other party – from both the right and left.  This is no surprise and it is a disappointment.

Locally, I’m not seeing it as much.  Sure, there’s the woman on one committee who states her opinion as if it were held by many others (a majority, even).  Of course there are abrasive personalities.  There is passive/aggressive behavior (and I find myself drawn into it sometimes).  It’s there, but at a lower level than I experienced before I left the church.

Yet, I’m still looking over my shoulder.  I find myself waiting for the straw that breaks the camel’s back.  I think about whether or not the latest minor upset (or major upset in the case of national/Internet Presbyterian politics) is enough to make me break.  So far, not yet.
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When does the mainly positive experience build up to the point where you start feeling safe?  When can you let your guard down?

I’m beginning to think that once you’ve been hurt by the church, that point never comes.  Your sense of safety can increase, but you never reach the threshold of “safe”.  Your innocence is lost.

And still I plod along.

Two other thoughts:  First – this does not hold me back from being honest and open.  A key part of my sense of self is that I MUST be honest and open, and that hiding your thoughts/feelings/ideas for temporary gain is actually a form of dishonesty.  Second – I LOVE working with the youth group in part because they are ALWAYS honest, blunt, and frank.  The combination of being unafraid to say anything combined with the love that our youth show us and each other is precious.  I wish I could get back there again myself.

(Lest anyone think that I consider my experiences on the same level as those who have experienced real abuse – physical, mental or otherwise – please understand that I’m not.  There are parts of my past that get near that line but not to the level of many.  I am both glad that it hasn’t been that bad for me and sad/upset/frustrated that is IS that bad for others.)

The World as a Blog

March 22, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Weblogs 

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