Archive of ‘Wellness’ category

Excuses Cult Leaders Use

Pastor Holding Bible

Cult leaders, and manipulative pastors, have a way of making up excuses for their behavior. If Christians aren’t careful, they’ll find themselves (and we’ll find our friends) making up excuses for their behavior, too.

You’ve heard it before. Church members and Christians essentially start excusing abuse and torment that their pastor (or another “man of God”) has done to others by saying, “Well, they’re just God’s mouthpiece,” or “Whoever got offended just wasn’t devoted enough to God,” or even, “It was all part of God’s plan. They must not be close enough to God.”

Some I’ve heard about myself and my situation:

“Lisa was just overly sensitive.”

“Lisa was just an immature Christian.”

“No one else was hurt.”

“It must have just been your Master’s Commission. We didn’t go through that. We had a great Director.”

“God told me to do it. I was just following His orders.”

“We fired that person. They’re not here anymore. Things have changed.”

What they really mean is a) we don’t give a shit b) we’re going to try to intimidate everyone in our church to believe us and not you c) we’re doing everything in our power to discredit you so you shut up and go away.

They don’t give a damn.

Pastor Daniel’s son has told me this about his father time and time again. “He could care less about you. In fact, he looks down on people like you.”

The bottom line is, (most) everything you hear from a controlling pastor or a cult leader after someone leaves and decides to speak up is an excuse.

An excuse for their behavior–their abusive behavior.

I remember being in Master’s Commission, when a student’s parents would complain about something we did. Nathan  would shut them up and the other students by saying, “Things have changed. We don’t do that anymore.”

It was a lie. We never changed. We attempted to, but the truth is, Nathan ‘s ways were set in stone and wouldn’t budge. He taught all of us to disciple those under us with an iron fist, just as he did. Nothing was going to change. But, we had to live up to “expectations” and so we tried to tell people what they wanted to save our reputation.

Questions:

Have you ever heard any of these excuses? In what context?

Have you ever met a pastor who was humble enough to admit his wrongdoing? If so, how did he present it? Did he apologize to the person he wronged?

The Word “Offended”

thought-control

I’ve been told I’m “hurt and offended” so many times since I started this blog.

I can’t even explain to you how “over” those words I am.

First of all, there’s nothing wrong with being hurt. Remember the first time your son or daughter came home from school and said to you, “Bobby pushed me down on the playground,” or “Susie made fun of the ribbon you made me?” You were offended, right? And your little daughter or son was hurt after falling on the playground. Maybe even bleeding.

Spiritual abuse causes wounds. They might be bruises, cuts, or deep oozing gashes. But, they’re still wounds. And wounds hurt.

Second of all, there’s this thing–this sickness—that’s only in the Christian community that takes a line like, “You’re hurt and offended. You need to get over it and move on. Stop dwelling on the past,” and makes it a curse; a condescending line to tell you they’re sick and tired of listening to you (or in fact, that they dismissed you after just a few seconds of listening), and that you’re a bad person.

In reality, the bad person isn’t YOU.

If you’re hurt, most likely, someone caused you deep pain, lied to you, and betrayed your trust. The human-to-human bond is broken, bruised or injured.

If you’re offended, it’s most likely that someone was out of line in the way they treated you. Perhaps they belittled you, bullied you, etc.

In most cases, the pastor or someone in direct authority has used their power to throw their weight around, figuratively slapping around a few people. They don’t give a damn who they hurt or how badly they hurt them. They won’t care unless that person starts detracting from their power and money (perhaps by detracting their followers).

I was sixteen years old when I was taught to look down upon those who were offended in church. My pastor taught me that. I believe he was wrong.

I also think grief comes and goes in waves. It may wreck your life for years, or altogether. Pain is sometimes so unbearable for people that they’re not able to move on from it. For someone in power to purposefully cause you pain and maliciously belittle you is wrong.

 

Questions:

Have you ever been dismissed by someone by being called “offended?”

Do you think being hurt and offended can be constructive for someone?

Thirty and Not Married!

unmarried

Ending up in Master’s Commission for seven years threw a kink in the “normal” life, if you will. A lot of people end up attending college after high school, falling in love with someone, getting to work on a career and having some kids.

Not me.

I took this weird, winding road to where I am now.

I’m thirty years old.

I’m unmarried.

I don’t have children.

I’m two classes away from a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

What really got to me for years?

I wasn’t married! All my friends were getting married except for me. I’d been a bridesmaid about five times (or more…I have enough crappy dresses to prove it). Now, going on 3-0, it’s actually not as huge of a deal to me as it was when I was 24. (Though my current boyfriend might argue with me here. =P Love you, babe)

Why?

My dating life has gone through a radical change.

 

The Cult of Celebrity

celebrity

My Religious Studies professor used to always say that we Americans were obsessed with celebrities. He called it the “Cult of Celebrity.”

It’s true. We follow celebrities on Twitter, Facebook, and on television. We even have a network that makes billions of dollars just following them. That network is E! Entertainment.

Ironically, E! is one of my favorite channels. I love it. I’m not a huge fan of E! News, but I watch let the TV play and it usually comes on.

I’d never realized just how obsessed with celebrities we all are (yeah, I know…I’m kind of slow) until tonight when they showed one of their top stories: Gisele Bundchen in a bikini.

Really, E!? Really?

One of the top stories was that a Victoria’s Secret model is in a bikini in her home country, Brazil? What’s creepier than that being the top story? Some creeper sat around, hiding behind these bushes until she came outside dressed for the beach.

Leave the chick alone, photogs!

Cheers to the New Year!

I’ve been reading and writing a lot in the absence of my laptop (it died during the week of finals), which is really a good thing for a writer because I’m without the Internet as a distraction-except on my smartphone. On the other hand, its really tough to hand write pages and pages so the writing is slowwww. Very slow.

I’m sure you’ve noticed my blogging has tapered off, too. For the past several months leading up to my laptops death, its performance was pretty terrible. So blogging was basically a pain in the ass to do. Even now, I’m typing on my little Android phone and trust me, its annoying.
But what’s a girl to do?

I’m looking forward to the New Year for so many reasons, and buying a new computer is one of them. The past few months were awful in so many ways-so awful that they started turning humorous because right when I’d start seeing hope, something shitty would happen. And then another. And another.

And then school ended (finally) and then I got hired at a new job which starts next week and then a few other amazing things happened.

It’s starting to feel like my life again. And thank god. Ugh. I was about to go a little crazy.

So in honor of New Years, I’d like to say CHEERS to a fresh new year, new goals, reaching old goals and enjoying every day with the new (ish) love In my life (my boyfriend), who I’m so grateful to have next to me. And no thank you would be complete without a BIG thank you to my parents, who are probably my biggest cheer leaders in life. If you still read this, I love you!

Pick Yourself Up

If you’re feeling down, you need to have friends you can turn to for support but YOU are the only one who can change your circumstances. As much as I may love you, I can’t physically do anything about your shitty situation. You can, though. And you should. You’re strong enough, no matter what life throws at you, to pick yourself up and make life better. It will take time, and it may be exhausting, but isn’t everything worthwhile a lot of work?

Darkness

“It’s always darkest before the dawn.”

Florence and the Machine

Sometimes life doesn’t work out well even when you plan and work towards your goals.

This past month has been pretty dark, despite my best efforts. It’s times like these where I fight myself because I want to blame myself and I feel like a failure. In reality, life sometimes throws us curve balls and we don’t always bring those on ourselves. These are the times when we really have to muster up our own inner strength and keep treading water, so to speak. I’m not trying to run a marathon right now-I’m just trying to make it through today.

And if this is how dark it gets right now, then the dawn must be pretty fucking bright. I can’t wait.

Why I’m Not Afraid of Libel

Supreme Court

You’ve probably heard the term slander before. You may have even heard that I’m “slandering pastors.”

 

Incorrect.

 

The correct term would be “libel.”

Libel is written word against someone else, IF it is untrue.

 

Why am I not afraid of libel? Many reasons. The first is this: nothing I write about Daniel Jones, Nathan Davies or Lloyd Zeigler is untrue. I can either verify it (because it happened to me) or I have witnesses who can verify it happened. Multiple witnesses.

 

In 1964, there was a court case called New York Times vs. Sullivan. The case extended the protection offered the press by the First Amendment. L.B. Sullivan, a police commissioner in Montgomery, Ala., had filed a libel suit against the New York Times for publishing inaccurate information about certain actions taken by the Montgomery police department. In overturning a lower court’s decision, the Supreme Court held that debate on public issues would be inhibited if public officials could sue for inaccuracies that were made by mistake. The ruling made it more difficult for public officials to bring libel charges against the press, since the official had to prove that a harmful untruth was told maliciously and with reckless disregard for truth. (Source)

 

So, they would have to prove that I told a harmful untruth (STOPPED RIGHT THERE), and that I had a malicious and reckless disregard for the truth.

 

Case closed. I continue to speak. Join me. Or let them keep intimidating people into silence.

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