Sunday, August 10, 2008

Disclaimer Needed

Ok, I’m speaking to all of you who blog that are on my sidebar. Yes, YOU, Brother Maynard, Robbie, Grace, David, Bill, Jeff, Heidi, (both of you), Tracy, Glenn, Michael, Alan, Abmo, Wayne and Darin, Paul, and all the rest. I have decided that you need a disclaimer on your blogs. You need to warn people. You need to understand what you are doing and warn people of the outcome of what you are writing.

Let me explain....... I began reading your sites totally excited to find you. I loved what you wrote and identified closely to your stories. I drank in the new things that the Father was showing you. I learned from you. I felt as if we were friends even.

But I never thought I would end up, here, where I find myself.

I am so far away from being able to walk into another Sunday Morning Club and make myself fit. I totally don’t even speak the same language. I find myself longing for the community but unable to even speak the same language. I might as well be in a foreign country trying to communicate as to try to communicate with the common Christian that I find myself confronted with. I thought our lives would parallel the 'church.' At the juncture of our lives where we left, I now find myself at on a course of what was then a 90 degree angle. Only I had NO IDEA.

See I am thinking now. I am able to spot and smell the tainted smell of control and false teaching. Granted I’m sure - totally sure - I don’t have a corner on truth. I can just smell those who think they do. I have woken up. I have taken the red pill. I am no longer in the world of la-la land.

But I remember that world. I love that world. I can taste the "steak." I remember.
Not the bad parts but the parts that put me into community. I long for community. In some ways I relate to a drug addict where the drugs induced a state of mind that was so easily attainable that real life paled in comparison. Community in the institutional church was like that. Instantaneous and easy to obtain. Instant gratification. Instant friends. Instant community. Instant goals and ideals. We were one.

But we weren’t. When questioned, it disappeared like a vapor. Friendships disappeared. Community vanished.

I miss it so much today.

So to all of you who write in such a subversive fashion, let me say this. You should warn people. WE should warn people. We should say something like this:

Beware all who land on this site. This site may enable you to see truth for the first time. Seeing truth may be just what you are looking for but you need to be careful. Once you have tasted truth you will never be able to stomach lies. You are on dangerous ground if you ever want to fit into the established system. You may lose all your friends. You may not have anyone left to worship with. Your children may be left only to you to raise. God will not be controlled any longer. He will be good but no longer safe in that you will not be able to predict his every move. And as for many of your friends. You will need to be willing to loose them. They may (probably will) shun you, dismiss you and turn away from you despite what you now may think. You need to think long and hard about this because it will affect your life. Please be careful with this site. Only enter at your own risk.

I know that sounds over the top. But today I’m not so sure it is.


Anonymous said...

So, where do you prefer to be, to continue to live in that false world or to be where you are now, with all its issues?

Tyler Dawn said...

Yeah, but if you or I ever saw that disclaimer, we might stop reading and figure the person writing was an arrogant cult leader ROFL. I wouldn't read past the second scentence!

Heidi W said...

I hear you....

Linda said...

I know that feeling, longing for Egypt of something that resembles Egypt only better.

The good/bad news is there is no ideal, happily-ever-after, bed-of-roses end to this story as far as I can tell.

Barb said...

Hmm.....I love my Father more than I ever have and because of that would not trade it for anything. I just never imagined it being such an alone journey. So my answer is I choose here. But in some ways it is with part of my heart dying.

Tyler Dawn, - Yep you are right.

Heidi, thanks,

Grace, I never thought I liked leeks so much!

Anonymous said...

I do understand how you feel.

When I left the IC I'd been attending, my community instantly disappeared. Yet, I know now that it really wasn't a "real" community--meaning they were not authentic, love-filled, grace-filled friendships.

Friendships, however, are being "brought" to me...mostly online through Blogland...

Yet, even with that being said, I do understand your feelings of wanting, yearning for more close-nit relationships that are face-to-face. To have this kind of community. I feel you on this. I really do.

I'm just doing my best to remind myself to Trust Papa. He knows what He's doing. I think Papa honors a sincere heart of a child who takes the courage and risk to leave something (IC) that was only hindering their relationship with Him.

I think Papa is weaving a tapestry of relationships He'll bring into our lives. Yes, at times it may "feel" slower than we'd like. But then the Spirit reminds me to "look around" so-to-speak, at what relationships I DO have in my life through various avenues and means.

By the way, Barb, I just started up my own Blog-page.

I'd so love it if you could stop by and visit "me" at it. Feel free to leave a comment, and perhaps even add me to your Blogroll and Feed!

Amy :)

Anonymous said...

I understand.

I'm still there most Sunday mornings, but I have a hard time sitting through a lot of it. It was a lot easier when I didn't think so much for myself...

Erin said...

I don't think any of us had any idea what we were getting into, but speaking for myself, I wouldn't trade it for anything!

brad/futuristguy said...

It’s getting late and I’ll probably ramble but hopefully not rant: I don't think the sentiment is over the top, not at all. And a direct approach might work to help jar some kinds of people to activate a more radical search, while a periodic "showing" rather than a static "telling" may model truth-seeking better for others. But either way, until we’ve been softened enought to be made ready to follow Jesus with perseverance, I don’t know that we can stand to embrace the suffering involved in this journey to reality instead of substituting “niceness” for truth.

So, I don’t know what’s best. Post a warning label? Something for me to think about. Especially since you’ve got me in your sidebar--oh yikes!

How'd I even end up there? The topic of spiritual abuse by bad leaders in toxic systems was not something I expected to be writing on at all, let alone at such length. But then, I’ve had a series of horrific experiences that I wondered at times if I’d ever even live through them. So I found there’s a lot to say. And what’s it been? Five months of blogging on this series now, and I’m still not done. And I know others have opened their hearts even deeper and their lives even longer than I have on this painful subject. So many questions still …

How do we help wounded disciples see and know that there is another way – a way to healing, but not with quick fixes?

How do we instill hope, yet still show the reality of highs and lows on our journey to transformation?

How do we share about our own losses without it sounding overly melodramatic or demanding, or share about the “found friendships” and unexpected encouragements along the way without giving a sense of guarantee that they will happen for others?

And how do we convey the melancholy of having had to face down the creeps and the critics, and face up to our own fears and flaws, and what to do when our friends turn-face and leave us, and in the end, we come face to face with the one perhaps most important thing of all, which is not a thing at all, but a Person …

Mother Teresa may not have been the first to say this, but it was clear to all she lived it: “You’ll never know that Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you have.” The comforts of feeling at home in a church where we were oblivious to reality cannot replace the comfort of feeling at home with Him even when we feel vulnerable. But sometimes, I'd sure like to be beyond that vulnerability and just have things nice for a while ...

Well, anyway, even if you never posted another word on CLB, and IC and toxicity, your journey of character being conformed to Christlikeness would still be an inspiration, a role model for processing life and transitions, and a “reality check” that healing and wholeness require a long (and yet blessed) obedience in the same direction.

Thanks for being a beacon of light who shines forth hope into very dark places …

Anonymous said...

Barb, your post is right on, sadly right on. Thanks for posting. At least I know I'm not insane or alone in my thoughts.

I'm holding onto the hope that Jesus will rebuild his church and that we will find community. That's God's mission and I'm waiting expectantly (maybe impatiently). While waiting, I'm learning a tremendous amount from the blogging community. You and your friends are awesome.

Anonymous said...

Barb, you hit the nail on the head!!! It really is impossible to talk the language, to form a connection, even to sing the songs.

Last night we went to a meeting of a local Dutch Reformed Church as our grade 2 girl sings in the school choir and they were invited to sing at a children service. It was a fun night and we sang songs we used to sing as children like :Fishing for Jesus (don't know if you sing that song on the other side of the world). We also sang a song in Afrikaans with the words : Read your Bible, pray everyday - Both these songs are true and basically good - only I do not want to trust on the bible anymore. When we got home I told Nestus (ABMO)that we even managed to ruin the songs of our childhood for ourselves ;) .

Another friend told me last week she longs for the worship - not the emotionally manipulative kind - but the real worship of people loving God, and His manifest presence in that worship - and I could not tell her where to go for it.

Taking the red pill really has its price. But I would not trade knowing God for myself for anything!!!

Tracy Simmons said...

Barb, so well said! I've had this post rolling around in my head that goes something like this:

It will cost you everything you hold dear, but you will gain all that matters.

However, I think you've just said it all here, so now I can just point people to your post instead of laboring over the words myself.

I feel like I'm on just now beginning to discover the depths of what Jesus came to give us, and I've been out of the IC for 11 years. I am amazed at how long it has taken me to come to this point. I think I am one of his "slow" students, but how lovingly patient He is with me.

Seeing what I see now (not that I walk in it or have entered into it yet, but for the first time I SEE it), I would not trade it for the entire world. It's worth every tear, every lost "friendship," every bit of pain I've walked through.

Your post has caused gratefulness to well up in me this morning. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Barb, my heart aches for you. It's a familiar ache ... one that I have as well. I get it every day, or nearly so. That longing for community, friends, laughter, worship ... and it's just completely gone. My husband has said (til he's blue in the face), "They weren't our friends to begin with if they fell away so easily." But that doesn't dull the pain or ease the throb. It doesn't cure the longing for my friends to be back around my table once more, to drink from the cup and break the bread of communion together again.

Yet ... there's no turning back either. For the truth has set us free. We must set our eyes forward, gazing back will turn us into salt. Much love to you ... I know it's hard going. I will keep you in my prayers.

Bill Kinnon said...

Wow! That's about all I can say. And I'm right there with you.

Mary said...

Great post, Barb.

I, too, don't want to go back, but I don't know where I want to go now, either.

Joel Brueseke said...

Ha... very good. :) In the late 90's I spent 3 years at a church that had formerly been a Word of Faith church but had begun preaching a solid grace message. (Long story). Anyway, I think the church had once been at 300-400 members, and then gradually went down to about 30-40 people. The people who left were, of course, of quite a legalistic mindset, and they couldn't stand the message of grace and freedom, but the people who stayed truly tasted the freedom that we have in Christ.

There's so much freedom, but indeed in a religious world it can be lonely. Many of my old friends think I'm off the deep end, but I simply teach the New Covenant!

As for disclaimers... I sometimes had a hard time wanting to invite some of my 'religious' friends to church, because I knew the message being preached contrasted so greatly to what they knew and believed. :) But nowadays I simply say, without hesitation, "preach the gospel," and there will be people who are hungry and thirsty for it, among the many more who reject it.

Barb said...

Thanks to all who commented. I had no idea that my badly spelled rant would garner such attention!

And Joel B, 30-40 people sounds like heaven right now!

Blessings to all!

Marshall said...


Well. She didn't either come with or give a disclaimer when I married her. Now, she feels the need.....

Fred Shope said...

Hey, it says right at the top of my page that I'm traveling on the back roads. That automatically means off the main path. :)

Fred Shope said...

I posted my disclaimer. I put it a bit differently though.

Jeannette Altes said...

Hmm... Yeah. The ache for community - friends that weren't really friends or they would have not shunned - but it still hurts. The aloneness. Yeah. But a disclaimer would not work. Those who are ready to see would see, disclaimer or no, and those who are not ready would not.

But as painful as this process is, I would not go back and take the blue pill. I have learned so much (bit so much yet to learn) and I have moved forward into true emotional healing farther in the last year and a half since I walked away from the CLB than I did the entire time I went there - maybe even in my entire life.

Real faith, I have learned, is when you have nothing to hold on to and doubts are bigger than anything else and still you keep moving - still you just don't give up on God. THAT is real faith. Well, it is late and I could start ranting so I'll quit now. ;-)

Mike said...

Wow Barb. This is a fantastic post and oh so true. I have not attended my IC in about 5 months and guess what, not a single phone call or email or visit to find out how we are and what we're doing. That might sound a little selfish on my part but it speaks volumes to me.

Watchman said...

I prefer catching people off guard. It tends to be the way the Wind ambushes me


Don said...

Barb, excellent post - well said. I'm right there with you.

It would be so nice to have the comfy-soft community around again, instead of being Abraham riding a lumpy camel, to only-God-knows-where (deep into his Kingdom, that's where!).

Anonymous said...

Yikes! Does that include me???

As for me, I'd much prefer to be exploring down the rabbit hole in Wonderland than have taken the blue pill when I had the chance. I do know where you're coming from, though. Thankfully I have some community around me though - it does help.

As for disclaimers, I don't know. I'm not sure if most people can see through my blinding sarcasm to find anything of substance in my ramblings :-D My disclaimer should probably read "If I offended you, I'm sorry. If I didn't, feel free to laugh along with (or at) me. If (when!) I say something stupid, get the rotten tomatoes out all you like."

Rich said...

I enjoyed your thoughts very much, thank you.

Maybe in our writing we should warn folks of the righteous leaven of the already deeply, badly stained and infected ones, His loving lepers? :)

travis said...

Thank you for the warning but it was late as I too have chose the red pill!