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...

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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!



9 comments:

  1. Much of what you wrote reminded me of this

    http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/gospeldrivenchurch/2015/03/23/piper-on-emotional-blackmail-in-the-church/

    And the reason that I thought it was so irresponsible. It was essentially giving bullies and abusers license to say pretty much what your ex-husband said, that your hurt is your problem.

    Evidence to the contrary, the church was not called to go through the world hurting people. It is part of God's ministry of reconciliation, and breaking people, dividing them, minimizing who they are, works in exactly the opposite direction.

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    1. So true, and we have been given that ministry of reconciliation, yet we can't even model it 'within the family'! It breaks my heart that the victims of the church are told that it's their fault, their problem - even as the church rolls over the next one! :'(

      When will the madness stop!?

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    2. Unfortunately, I think it is going to involve good people staying in bad situations and putting up with all that the "church" will have to throw at them. As emotionally healthy as it may be to bail on an abusive church, some of us I think will be called to remain -- think Hosea.

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    3. I hope anyone staying in a situation like that would make certain that it was what God was calling them to! (I was in leadership and stayed for as long as I could, and it absolutely devastated me.)

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    4. I am generally posting on your blog from a mobile device, and they seem to struggle with your comments section... in other words I wwrote a much longer, clearer comment that I lost before it posted.

      I am by no means advocating people to stay and be abused as some kind of rule, but if the madness is going to end (big if) then it will take people who are willing stand up to abusers to the point of either repentance or being hoisted out.

      I hear way too many people advocating that we vote with out feet... it seems like the majority of people that are willing to do that are probably the ones that would otherwise have had the guts to stand up and fight.

      It's something that I am working out... looking back on it, I really feel like I did the wrong thing in leaving my last church. It closed up shop a few months later so it may not have mattered, but I am convinced that at least in my case, some firm words would have been better in the long run than my bailing.

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    5. All good - it didn't sound like you were pushing a rule on that. I guess I'm just a bit cynical about the possibility of any good outcome from staying as it's been both my observation, and my experience, that those who do speak up are then driven out by more abusive behaviour. Those in power will hold onto it at all costs, and you are the one who ends up paying. Being shunned, 'relieved' of your ministry, preached against from the pulpit and emotionally blackmailed takes its toll.

      People have spoken out and tried to change things, but from Mars Hill to my own ex-church, it seems that once you question the power politics that are in operation, you end up being driven out. Remember, Jesus spoke the truth about the religious leaders of his day, and they ended up crucifying him for it. As far as I can see, nothing has changed - and I'm not sure anything will :(

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  2. the comments here are definitely food for thought...my husband and I stayed and tried to bring change from the inside in various leadership positions. I ended up suffering from PTSD and he is recovering from anxiety/depression as a result of the mind games and manipulation we experienced. We lost friendships and very few believed our experience. We chose to leave eventually but it didnt feel much like a choice at the end.

    8 months on and we are gradually healing and in a much better place, but tonight I'm hurting over some lost friendships and the craziness of not being believed...of being seen as the bitter divisive one. I dont think I can recomend people stay. I think it is often impossible to stay without either being an enabler or risking your mental health, or both!

    I came to read some of yorur posts again because I was hurting and I knew it would be comforting to read something that made me feel less alone...thank you xx

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    1. So good to hear from you again, UH, and it's good to hear you are finding some measure of healing!

      It's been just over 2 years now, since we 'chose' to leave. (Like you, we didn't have much real choice.) And even now, I still have times when the loss and the absolute injustice bite again.

      Don't think that those times mean you are not healing. It's just that there'll always be a scar which will ache from time to time.

      I'm glad you find some comfort here, and I'm sending you love and encouragement for another day xxx

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    2. Thank you, I really have appreciated your kind replies today.

      And you're right the hurt doesn's mean I'm not healing...in fact I think it demonstrates a healthier response than those who are able to walk away from the devastation so quickly and carry on in the same way.

      Still hurts though doesn't it?!! :)

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