Monday, April 7, 2008

Glenn's Revolutionaries Synchroblog - My Response

Glen from Re-dreaming the Dream asked those of us who are “expressing our Christian faith in ways other than through a conventional church” and, (in my particular situation) “have been wounded through serving and separating from “church as we have known it” to answer the following questions:

What do they/you need?
What did/do you need as you as went/are going through this transitional phase?
How can a ministry or service help them/you?

My answers to these questions are below:
(Note: I condensed Glen’s first two questions and answered both of them as one.)

Question 1: What did we need upon deciding to leave, leaving and the time shortly after as we went thorough this transitional phase?

We needed to hear from people who had similar stories to tell and people to whom we could tell our story.

We needed a community of believers that wanted nothing from us.

We needed anonymity and safety.

We needed the ability to heal without being judged. We needed the freedom to be angry, caustic and ill tempered. We needed the space to be able to rethink many major tenants of our faith without judgment.

We needed the message of grace. We needed to hear this message in different forms so that it had the chance to change the paradigms that we had built our whole religious life around.

We needed to not feel any financial obligations or pressures.

We needed to have more people listening to what we had to say and fewer people telling us what we needed to believe.

Question 2: How could a ministry or service help us or have helped us during this time?

I think my biggest need at this time was for a Resource Center to put at my finger tips the aids to help in recovery. Here are a few ideas of what this resource would look like:

This resource could provide the space for a place to tell and hear other’s stories

A space to link topically to resources on the web and in books that could speak to your particular situation.

A resource for legal help for those whose finances or legal rights were severely damaged (as in common property with the church left behind and such).

Resources for the various facets of the messages of grace that are available on video, audio, web and books.

Resources for a forum to answer various questions.

Resources for those who wanted real ‘physical’ contact with others in their area.

Resources for physical places of counseling and healing.

(In my case I would not have been open to any personal contact because I was so unsure of my own ability to evaluate another person to be able to tell if they would hurt or help me. Maybe others are different.)

Throughout the year I think this sums up what I would have found useful in a ministry designed to meet the needs that I saw we had. Good materials and sites abound for people like us. It would have been nice though, to have them accessible in one location that was periodically updated for as new material, websites, blogs and people became available.


glenn said...

Barb ~ Thank you for writing, I know it has been a heck of a journey for you. You ideas are both practical and hopeful.

Tera Rose said...

I like what you have to say here. I like the practical, real list of needs.

A resource center. wow. that is a great idea.

For me, I think a resource center should be one that informs you that cults can be christian. That was news to me.

I think that the message has to get out that christian groups can be abusive and can be cultlike.

Much of the things that we called christian- the way we worshipped, the way we spoke to each other, the way we did everything is so darn similar to Hitler and his movement.

How do we get that message out while people within the church think that ANYTHING that comes against the church is against Christ.

interesting dilema.

When I first left our church, I wanted to save everyone else.

After being beat up a bit, I lost that drive.

I figure if Jesus was big enough to be a SAVIOR, he doesn't need anyone else trying to do the saving for him.

maybe that is a cop out...I don't know.

but I do know that I have enough on my plate figuring out what I need to do- for my family, my self and In Christ.

Sometimes it helps me to see how far I have come since I left.

Sometimes I imagine what I will be like in 10 years to help me get through the very next step.

thanks for your post......provokes thought and like I said, I like the REAL, TANGIBLE needs list.

Erin said...

I do see a common theme through these posts about needing a way to connect with others in our area...outside the church walls. How do we find them? I have found a few through blogging...but it's hard. A resource for that would be good.

Anonymous said...

thanks barb for sharing. i remember reading your blog for a season and how comforting it was to hear your journey... i really liked all of the very tangible things you shared, i think the resource idea is very good and maybe a piece of what glenn will begin to put together in the months to come...blessings to you...

Stacey Sparshu Miller said...

Thanks for this: "In my case I would not have been open to any personal contact because I was so unsure of my own ability to evaluate another person to be able to tell if they would hurt or help me. " It's where I am and it helps to know I'm not alone. Maybe I'll be a hermit.

Barb said...

Stacy. Glad you found this from 2008! The writer above yours - Kathy Escobar just did a brilliant series on deconstruction and re-construction. Please join the conversation over there too.
The hardest part I think in the whole thing is the feeling like you are alone and no one understands. Throughout my journey out I needed the voices that this and other blogs provided. Funny thing is I also needed the hermit part of it too. It was the perfect mix for me although sometimes very lonely. I'm ready now to be with a group and hope in our move back to State College to find that among my friends.
Bless you!