Friday, November 11, 2011

Spiritual Abuse Parallels

From Ron Bracken of the Centre Daily Times in State College:

"To answer that you have to understand the culture that has prevailed for at least as long as Paterno was in charge of the football program. It was, right up until he was removed from his position Wednesday night, a climate of Kremlin-like secrecy, of tightly-controlled access, of rule by dynamic terror. It was understood that if you wanted to be around his program in a professional aspect, you did so at his pleasure and by his rules."

Do you see the parallels?

Climate of secrecy
Tightly controlled access
Rule by dynamic terror
If you want to be a part in any aspect it is at their pleasure and by their rules.

Whether a university, church or even a family, abuse is bound to happen when these things are present. Just change the names and you have it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Log In My Own Eye

I have no idea where to begin.

For those of you out of the area you may have heard about the scandal that has rocked Penn State this week. There are men that are very high up in the authority structures of Penn State that have hidden the ugliness of child sexual abuse of one of their own peers/coaches/leaders from the public for years. The sheer scope of this horrendous crime has no words in my vocabulary to describe the ache of my heart as I read the accounts.
But somewhere in the past few days I began to see trigger words that made me wonder even about my own heart. I’m not going to rehash the Penn State story so you may have to read a bit on it to understand what I am saying, but my first thought was this: In being a leader so long at our church am I ultimately no different than the men who failed to report the crimes at Penn State? Now there were no crimes of a sexual nature that I ever witnessed nor do I even want to insinuate that there were. Nor am I saying that anything I have ever witnessed even starts to approach the gravity of child abuse.
So I’m off the hook right? Well... wait – not so fast.
I watched as people were thrown out and left by the wayside with no friends, no support system and spiritually bleeding and never did anything about it.
I believed the system was right or at least “making a difference” in people’s lives. I decided to look at the positive things and not the negative because “Not everything was bad.”
I believed I had no right to correct the leaders. Other leaders needed to do the correcting right?
I didn’t want to chance the fact that what I was seeing might be a skewed viewpoint and therefore not correct. (What if I am wrong?!)
I did not want to jeopardize my position within the system.
And ultimately, in my heart, I knew what happened when you questioned the leaders or the system.
I basically shut up for the support of the system and in that – am I any different? Does any of that sound familiar to the Penn State scandal? Do you see the analogy I’m drawing?
Funny, the people over at our blog decided a few weeks ago that the real truth needed to come out about the church we were involved in. We spoke up. Ultimately we decided that it might be ok to hurt the system if it will help those who are being chewed up by the same.
Ultimately, I am asking those who may be tempted to throw stones at Penn State right now to first look into our own hearts and ask forgiveness for staying quiet on things in our own lives that we should have spoken out against.
Is there something that you need to speak up about? Is there a story that you need to tell? Is there a system or person you need to confront? Let’s learn something this week in looking at Penn State. Let’s not let the log in our own eye obstruct our vision any more.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Have Moved On!

One of the things I think I have feared the most is both the idea that somehow I might be bitter and with that bitterness that I will not "move on."

I think you might have heard the same thing in your own lives. If you talk about the things that have happened one of the first things said to you by well meaning friends is this idea that they fear we might become bitter and that we "won't let this all go" and "move on."

So I fear that since I am still writing about it and explaining what happened to us that the verdict will be - "see, you haven't moved on."

Well today I have had a revelation of my own heart that has helped me and I hope will help those who lovingly worry about me.

I have moved on!

I have moved on to help others either heal from their own experiences and/or help them out of their present situation by seeing someone else's story or hearing the truth about the spiritual abuse that they are experiencing.

And you know what? I think I 'moved on' very early in this blog - almost from the very beginning. If you read "The Reason for the Blog" on the sidebar of this site you will read that my desire back then was that it would help someone else. Yes, I realize that I also needed healing and a place to vent a bit but honestly the minute I was "out" of the situation I began to want to desperately help others like I had been helped.

So for those who might be worried about me not moving past this issue in my life, please be assured, I have. Yes, there are still stories to be told and even some repentance that I will still need to deal with in my own life. But my point is NOT to rehash this or to have some sort of vengeance on those still in the system.

I've moved from a house called Hurting to a brand new address called Helping.

For anyone who wants to visit me there, please write, call or come and sit on my deck and hopefully we can sort out together what Father's heart is for all of this. You may not move on yourself to "help." But your moving on can be to something that God has called you to do and be involved with.

For me, today, I'm sure for the first time of my "calling."

(Big sigh)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Can't Believe I Once Believed This Stuff!!

I just received a letter from a "prayer warrior" of a leading man in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). It seems that Mr. and Mrs Wagner (I think he refers to himself as the "presiding apostle") have been experiencing some severe health issues. Doris has had knee surgery and it has become repeatedly infected and Peter has some heart issues. My heart truly goes out to these people. I know how scary these kinds of issues are - even to the point they are life threatening. I wish no harm to these folks.

BUT - O MY GOD. The letter that just went out yesterday getting people to pray is so much sadder than their physical conditions. They are essentially calling people to fast and pray for 40 days for the Wagners. No problem there. But the reason for the fasting and praying is this:

"(We) feel strongly that the warfare that is coming against Peter and Doris is a very high level of warfare. Especially, since Peter has been pulled into the public eye concerning the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). Consequently, there are pagan websites that are speaking about and against the Wagners and those associated with them and their stance on spiritual warfare. We are also all aware that we are in a season of "demonic high worship/holy days." (emphasis mine)

These people feel that the problems the Wagners are having are directly related to demons and people's curses. What an awful thing to believe. Essentially they are saying that your (our) God is not big enough to protect you (us). We now have to unpack our bag full of charms and trinkets to ward off the evil of these evil people. And just what is a "very high level" even supposed to mean? Can we just make this stuff up? I guess because of the "high position" that Mr. Wagner holds then it takes "high level of warfare" to come against him.

(Funny that I have not read that there may be sin in their lives because this is the accusation that many make against those outside of their group when we get sick or are in financial trouble. Did Peter and Doris repent of anything they could think of before they allowed hundreds of people to go without their breakfast for the 40 days? Or maybe they are out from under "covering!" That must be it because when we walked out of our last 'church' that is what was promised to us and we know that this "covering" is supposed to keep evil away - Right?)

This woman goes on to say :

It is obvious that we need to increase intercession for the Wagners during this crucial time. As the word of God clearly shares, "This kind will only come out by prayer and fasting."

So she takes a phrase out of the Bible (which I might add is disputed to be in the very original text itself) of Jesus casting out a demon that his followers were not having any luck with and applies it to this situation. Again, OMG!!

So they call as many people as can possible be rounded up (because we all know it is the numbers that will overcome this evil that has beset the Wagners) to pray against the demons that they have - or are being allowed to afflict them - or are in their general vicinity. At least the ones sent by those very evil pagans and their very evil pagan websites. See I told you we needed to rule and reign on those 7 mountains so our leaders can live a life of true health till they pass on into eternity through a non-sickness or non-accidental caused death.

Now I have been a bit tongue-in-cheek about this but truly I am aghast at what I used to live under, participate in and even teach. We have been called OUT OF FEAR based living. Where there is love there is no fear. Quit fearing the enemy that has been defeated and only has a hold on you if you believe his lies.

Pray for the Wagners - Yes. I believe in prayer. I believe in healing. But leave all the witchcraft to the "pagans" that you think are so evil. And while you are praying for the healing of Doris' knee and Peter's heart would you also pray that they and their followers quit living in fear and find the faith in the Father's care for them.

Jesus won didn't he? Can we act like it?