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A visitor essay

A woman's personal experience with spiritual abuse

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About Alice:

Alice describes her church's spiritual abuse. She has published her story and many of her own poems on her web site at ChurchAbusePoetryTherapy.com. 1 She writes:

"It is my hope, that these poems, written in anguish, grief and pain, will be the sanctuary of your soul---that they will tenderly and gently minister to your broken heart, help you heal, and bring you peace."

"It is my wish, that this will be a place of hope----a haven-for rest----a safe place for the renewal of your spirit, which will take you on a journey to peace, healing and hope."

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Letter to church family: 2

This isn't a letter of condemnation or even anger…..it is about a person who has lived with pain since childhood, how you added to it, instead of having compassion, and how what you did, affected me. I still struggle with nightmares and pain. It will be worth it, if even one person has their eyes opened. I prayed that perhaps one person would have been authentic enough to question the process, and ask the questions I had.

Author Stephen Arterburn wrote: "Healthy churches share an unspoken practice. Their members are so committed to reaching out to hurting people, that if you are in to much trouble to show up, if you are too ashamed to come, the people of a healthy church will come to you. They will find you and reach you, and help you no matter where you are. This practice sets them apart from others. It indicates that these believers are committed to loving you." 3

I desire mercy, not sacrifice;....relationships, not rules should take precedence in our lives. LOVE, not legalism should reign....Jesus was so authentic and real that the masses were naturally drawn to him.

In a HEALTHY FAITH SYSTEM, our relationship with God will manifest itself in a compassion for hurt individuals....our ability to empathize allows our relationships to deepen and become intimate. Mercy, grace, encouragement, along with personal presence and helping hands, replace the shaming, intolerant condemnation.....so often present in a TOXIC SYSTEM.

As far as we know, Christ never knocked anyone else to the ground with a blinding bright light from heaven and an audible voice that sounded like thunder. Yet, that's what it took to reach Saul. How did he or HOW WILL HE-------REACH YOU?

We who experience suffering and hurt, and then feel the comfort of Christ are the ones BEST QUALIFIED to administer first aid to others. We become wounded healers, just like Jesus. I am one of those wounded healers. I have been helping others regarding abuse for the past 10 years. I tried to start a support group at church, but to no avail.

Lack of accountability in any leadership structure is a clear warning that ought to flash before our eyes: DANGER! DANGER! In red neon letters. It also indicates a lack of faith in God and the presence of a faith built on self-assertion and ego.

Healthy believers reflect their savior, and therefore are full of love. Their love heals and helps them bear up under every trial. Where love is present, faith grows, and people are attracted to God. Healthy believers allow a person to be different and to make mistakes without being SHAMED."

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References:

  1. Alice "Church Abuse Poetry Therapy," at: http://www.churchabusepoetrytherapy.com/
  2. Copied, with permission, from "Letter to Church Family" by Alice, at: http://www.churchabusepoetrytherapy.com/
  3. Stephen Arterburn, "More Jesus, Less Religion: Moving from rules to relationship," Waterbrook Press, (2000). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store

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Books:

Amazon.com's internal search engine has found the following books on spirituality, some of which deal with spiritual abuse:

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Site navigation:

Home page > Christianity > Christian personalities > God > here

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Originally written: 2004-JAN-18
Latest update: 2004-APR-12
Author: "Alice"

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