Support for Master’s Commission Alumni

phontoI recently started a private Facebook group for Master’s Commission alumni. Over the years I really have had hundreds of alumni reach out to me for support and I’m afraid I’ve been terrible at  being able to provide that. Forums that I created were simply too much work to build, maintain and update. What’s great about a Facebook group is that it’s more active than any other forum would be and the alumni can meet each other and talk openly with each other. We’ve been going strong since I created the group in October 14th. Long story short, I deleted my old Facebook profile and switched it to a page. Then I missed being able to talk to everyone, so I created a new Facebook profile. It’s only through this profile that I can add you to the group, so if you’d like to request membership (parents and others are welcome), just add me here on Facebook and I’ll do the rest. Please include a note that you found me here, because I generally don’t add strangers.

A few things about the group:

  1. It is secret, which means anything you post there won’t show up on your Facebook timeline.
  2. No one can view the member list.
  3. We maintain strict confidentiality there. What you say there stays there.
  4. Anyone can join, regardless of whether you had a good experience there or not. If you need support, we’re here.
  5. We maintain a small group list to be sure that those we add are trustworthy and supportive.
  6. All faiths (and lack of faiths) are welcome. We don’t judge you whether you’re Christian or Atheist or Jewish or Buddhist. We ask that members respect people of all faiths or lack thereof.
  7. If a member is doubting their faith in Jesus, the Church, and God, we ask that you don’t proselytize them or encourage them to keep the faith. Instead, let them know that you’re there for them regardless of what they decide and offer them your support. It’s not your job to make sure they “stay saved” or not. It’s their job to find out what is right for them and we should trust that they will find the right path for them.
  8. We are supportive of any LGBT members and don’t tolerate hate speech.
  9. We are tolerant of skeptics and criticisms of religion.
  10. All discussions about faith are valid and we try to maintain an environment where anyone feels welcome, Christian or not. We welcome discussions of Christianity from all members, whether positive or negative. Many members may end up becoming more progressive in their faith, and we encourage discussion that might help all of us learn from each other about varying methods of belief.
  11. We try not to censor any discussions, so there may (at times in the future) be heated debates on religion and hurt feelings. We ask that you try your best to be respectful and report anything that makes you feel uncomfortable; however, if someone is attacking you or if you are attacking someone else, we’ve learned that a good way to tame the anger is to walk away from the computer for a little bit (5 minutes to a few days, depending on the person/scenario).
  12. Many people who leave groups like Master’s Commission go through extended phases of questioning everything, doubting religion or former beliefs, anger, depression, sexual discovery and openness, rediscovering their identity. We ask that you be aware that adult content and subjects that may be offensive will be discussed there and we ask that you keep an open mind if you join.
  13. You may leave the group at any time for any reason.
  14. You may add members to the group who need support. Please message me with why you want them to join so I can verify that they’re a good fit for the group.
  15. Although we welcome anyone who holds a strong Christian faith in the group, our main goal is to help walk people out of the rigid ideology that Master’s Commission taught us which means some people toss off their faith totally, while others just toss off some things. Our goal is to provide support for those who’ve lived a life full of guilt and oppression based on what our pastors and directors taught us and to encourage questioning those teachings. It can be complicated and we believe that there’s no one set way to do this nor is there one set outcome for faith/lack of faith. Because I have had had hundreds of people talk to me about losing their faith, I realize it’s a natural and normal progression and the majority of people I talk to eventually find themselves rejecting most religion, while later falling somewhere in the range of progressive Christian, agnostic or spiritual, or atheist. It’s more common to doubt your faith than not to in these types of communities. Because of this, we can’t sugar coat anything for believers. There will be critiques of Christian teachings and we welcome them. We aim to respect you and your beliefs, but please understand it isn’t personal now, nor will it ever be in the future. We simply need to talk it out in a safe space. It’s scary (terrifying) to leave your faith. People need support for that. Please be supportive. If for any reason, this makes you uncomfortable, we sincerely apologize and understand if you need to leave the group.

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Lisa Kerr

Lisa is a writer, editor and humorist who has been featured on the Huffington Post, Philly.com, New York magazine, and BreakThru Radio. Find more of her at: thelisakerr.com.