Friday, 27 March 2015

Insanity In The Church

My ex-husband's way of dealing with relationship breakdown was just to walk away and pretend it had never happened.

Despite the many times I asked him to meet with me and deal with the reality of what had happened between us, he refused. He wanted to walk away and get on with the fun he was having (i.e. an affair) If he didn't have to face reality, he could convince himself that he'd done nothing wrong and so there was nothing to deal with. If I was hurt, that was my problem.

In my book, that was the behaviour of a coward.

The reality is that people who don't deal with their own crap when relationships fail, simply carry that stuff straight into their next relationship and do further damage there. They may convince themselves that they just need to leave it all behind and move on, but when it's not owned and dealt with, more people end up being hurt.

The truth of this assertion has been amply demonstrated by my ex-husband. The relationship he left me for didn't last - and he is currently married to yet another woman. I don't know how many affairs and other liaisons he's had in that time, but I do know that being unattached was never his style - he always went from one relationship to another, apparently without even a moment of self-awareness, much less self-refletion.

He's not yet turned 50 and he's been through at least 3 'marriage' relationships - with children involved in at least two of them.

Think about that for a moment - think of the devastation and heartbreak behind those simple statistics.

Now think about this. My ex-church behaved in exactly the same way.

The refusal to meet together and work through our issues. The attitude that any hurt I felt was my problem, not theirs. The determination to move on and pretend nothing really happened.

Nothing was ever dealt with. No admission of any misconduct, no ownership of any wrongdoing, no willingness to face the reality. Just bury the bodies and move on.

And, to my absolute disbelief, they've just 'called' a new pastor. Despite having had 3 major leadership crises in less than 20 years of existence, this church is simply moving on to the next leader without ever dealing with the crap that has wrought such devastation in the past. (That's 3 different leadership teams and 3 disasters - a 100% failure record!) Apparently, this time it will somehow be different... apparently... but for no obviously discernible reason...

I am deeply disturbed when I think of what this new 'pastor' and his young family might have to go through. But those who run the church refuse to see or hear.

They wouldn't give credence to anything I might say - any more than they listened to warnings given the last time round! (Even though the guy who spoke up last time was proved right, that reality is completely ignored!)

So all I can do is express my horror and disbelief at their wilful 'insanity' here. And pray to God that something changes... somehow...


BTW, there is one thing that was different between my ex-husband's behaviour and my ex-church's. He'd turned his back on God and was simply intent on his own selfish desires. The church behaved this way and justified it in the name of God!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Stepping on Lego

I've just read a post by Matt B Redmond in which he talks about the idea of a "messy" christian life. In it he talks about his boys having to do some cleaning up:
"Last night, we asked our boys to clean up the den because it was messy. Legos were everywhere. Their socks and shoes were scattered across the room. Library books covered one area. So they cleaned it up."
At the end one reader left a comment:
"Part of the blessing of the Christian walk is just the fact that the Spirit shows us that there are Legos all over the floor, and there isn’t just something wrong with our feet."
Anyone who has ever stepped on Lego with bare feet will know how extremely painful it is!

But as I pondered the comment, I was struck by the idea that while the Spirit warns against the 'Lego', this is the antithesis of what the 'church' so often does.

To further the analogy, it seems that whenever people point out that there is Lego lying all over the church floor, and that someone is bound to get hurt by it, they are told that it is their feet that are the problem. Instead of looking at the mess and cleaning it up together, leaders tend to blame the one who has pointed out the mess.

Apparently, the trouble is not that Lego is sharp and causes pain when stepped on. The problem is that people have feet that are just too sensitive!

I think I'll listen to the Spirit, thanks!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Church's Obsession With 'Leadership'

Phil Drysdale Ministries Facebook Page

All the bullying and abuse I experienced in my ex-church revolved around the question of leadership and hierarchy. Who was in control. Who was 'over' whom. Who was top dog.

Eventually, it became evident that the board of reference had covertly told elder J that he should be in top position and he was more than happy to agree with that. Of course, all this was backed up by God himself!

But apparently God changed his mind (but only after people's lives had already been torn apart by this issue) and J ended up leaving to start his own 'church', presumably so he could really be the leader.

The board had made it clear that they were inerrant, so it must have been God who got it wrong. (And I'm sure it had nothing to do with elder R refusing to give up the reigns of power!)

You see, it's all about leadership! The church is obsessed by it. And thousands of lesser mortals have ended up being run over by the bus* because they've dared to question the Bully Leader.

Far too often, this is "Leadership"... church-style.

My experience is just a single drop in the vast ocean of pain and wounding inflicted by 'christian leaders' on their brothers and sisters. These 'leaders' would rather see people hurt than give up one iota of their 'authority'.

There are vast numbers of books, conferences and websites teaching about how to be a great "Christian Leader". How to improve your leadership style. Why you should be leading now!

And they create an expectation of power over others. Being the one in control. Calling the shots.

And that, in turn, creates an expectation that others will follow... defer... respect.

The only trouble with all of this is that Jesus - you know, the guy we claim to be following - didn't talk about leadership at all.

Jesus talked about SERVING!

And just for the record, that was not "servant leadership". It was servanthood. Plain and simple.

Jesus called us to follow him - to imitate him. But I just don't see what he modelled being displayed in the western, business-driven church with its obsession on leadership.

If we committed even half the energy we expend on 'leadership' to simply loving and serving others - all others - we just might make an impact in our world. But while we continue to scramble for 'power' and 'authority', I believe that all we will see is more spiritual abuse, more lives devastated by 'the church', and more people leaving the institution to find healing and love outside those toxic walls.

*At least Mark Driscoll had the guts to be honest about his intentions!