Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Subtle Art of Spiritual Abuse

Okay, what does Rob Lowe have to do with spiritual abuse? Nothing that I know of. But I'm going to borrow the man's persona and confident looks to fill out the flesh of a fictional character, Pete Sorensen . . . that's pastor Pete Sorensen. But before I continue this saga, as usual, I will share why I am going there.

I had just a few moments this past week to visit Imonk. I stumbled onto the discussion about girls being the victims of Christian patriarchal mindsets. The thing that grabbed my attention was the sidebar discussion of what constitutes "abuse." Like art, I think it is in the eyes of the beholder. But I do think that think that spiritual abuse is not the exception but part of the fabric of Christian society.

Of course Evangelicals do not have the corner on abuse. It is my thesis that we all are desperately insecure (an that's why the grace of the gospel should be so appealing) and in that desperation, we each have the capacity to manipulate and even abuse those around us. If Evangelicals have a disadvantage it is because they believe and are taught that through spiritual growth, they leave behind all that nasty self-centeredness and move on to a world where all their motives are "Jesus centered." So, Evangelicals often become more vulnerable than those on the secular side due to their naivety.

So, I thought I would make up purely fictional story to illustrate how this plays out in the typical church. It will take a few posts to finish this. So tonight I briefly introduce you to Pete. He is a 42 year old pastor of the Community Bible Church (CBC) in a suburb of Kansas City. He was a basketball star in high school and even played on his Bible college's team. He was always very confident, articulate and aggressive, some would say a true "Type A." He also had a bright smile that won people over in a second. He was a good catch for the CBC, which was poised to experience a period of rapid growth from its present congregation of 500, with their eyes set on possibly becoming the next mega church. In his previous church he had tripled their Sunday morning worship in a matter of eight years.

More to come.

1 comment:

Timothy Kellogg said...

I will be curious to see this evolve. I am Post-Evangelical Christian, turned, Lutheran and spiritual abuse is real; very real. With respect to the Evangelicals I know and love, the spiritual abuse I have encountered was light, in comparison to some, but still very deeply wounding. Arguably, I may spend a very long time working through personal and religious issues attached to spiritual abuse. Few things scar deeper than the emotional manipulation that can come with "spirituality."