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65 Responses

  1. Being the sinner I am, I am spending the morning doing Online Traffic School – my Old Adam made me do it. 🙂

  2. Xenia says:

    Since one of the major themes of the PhxP is abusive pastors, and since the blog host is writing a book on this topic, I want to tell a story from the other side, with some details blurred to prevent identification.

    On a forum far far away, there was a charismatic poster who wrote long, entertaining but often critical posts. If you agreed with him, you were his pal; if you disagreed, you were an insensitive idiot. He had beguiled the board with his clever stories and had quite a following.

    Increasingly his snark and anger became directed towards his pastor, who evidently was not as easily charmed. There was conflict. His pastor had a conversation where his character flaws were discussed. Mr. Charismatic went ballistic, quit the church, and began writing page after page of criticisms of his pastors (two of them) and dragged the whole forum into castigating the pastors of this very small church. This goes on for month after month. By this time, the initial story has gotten so convoluted that the forumites believe these pastors are guilty of the most grievous moral failings and Mr. Charisma never corrects them, just adds more to the pile. If anyone objects to this public slandering and suggests both sides need to be heard, they too become the target of paragraphs of vitriol.

    He claims he is the victim of pastoral abuse.

    I claim his pastor is the victim here.

    If it wasn’t for the internet, this sad little story would not have spread beyond this man’s immediate circle of acquaintances but because he has an internet account, he can trash two men’s reputations unto ages of ages. He names them by name. These are not celebrity pastors, these are just two men who had the gall to point out some character flaws. Will it be from now on that if a pastor attempts to correct a congregant he has to fear that the congregant will take a highly exaggerated version of the story to a forum of people who want to believe the worst of clergy? God forbid!

    I have seen enough cases very similar to this in Real Life that when someone tells me how they were abused by their former pastor, I am skeptical until I hear the other side of the story. There are, of course, genuine cases that do rise to the definition of abuse.

    In my 6 decades of church attendance I have seen first hand far more cases of congregants abusing the pastor than I have of a pastor abusing a congregant.

    Maybe someone should write a book.

  3. Erunner says:

    So our grandson is entering kindergarten this upcoming school year. It turns out the whole district has these 5 year olds go to school for 6 and a half hours each day which is the same as the sixth graders.

    That seems to be asking a lot of these children. Our son and his wife aren’t happy about this as their son isn’t used to being away from home that long at all and he may not do well being away from home so long each day.

    What exactly are these kids going to do for so long each day? Private school isn’t an option and another district seems out of the question as well. Is this typical nowadays??

  4. Xenia says:

    One reason, maybe the major reason, is that in many households there’s no one at home to watch the kids as both parents are at work. Increasingly, many kids only have a single mom, who is at work. The kids need someplace to be. There is probably an optional after-school care program for the kids, too. It’s the result of the break up of the traditional family. If there’s no mom or dad at home, the state has to step in to care for the kids.

    Plenty of kids spend their day being shuffled from school to day care for ten hours or more. If it’s summer, they find themselves in summer camps or the local Boys and Girls Club.

  5. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I think the story you told will become a norm.
    I do not say this with any joy, but with no small fear and sadness.
    Over the years we have had many similar tales told to us and upon investigation found that the fault was almost completely the complainers and we became an “abuser” by not writing the stories up for them.
    Now the technology to write your own story is so simple and so easy to spread that people can do it themselves.
    This doesn’t mitigate the real stories we’ve told, but does give me great pause before I tell them.

  6. Michael says:

    Erunner,

    Xenia nailed it…

  7. Erunner says:

    Our daughter-in-law is a stay at home mom who also cares for a 7 month old daughter. She doesn’t like the idea that the school will have her five year old for so long each day.

    I imagine many families love this as it replaces baby sitting or after school care while both parents work or if one parent is raising the child. I know the school near us keeps kids after school till at least 4:00 each day.

    As it is down here pre schools are filled up with 3 and 4 year olds with people on waiting lists.

    I understand many have no other options but it sure is a dilemma for our son and wife.

  8. Xenia says:

    Erunner, as the abnormal becomes the norm, the normal becomes marginalized.

  9. Xenia says:

    This is another fall-out from the sexual revolution, by the way.

    Free sex, no marriage, kids raised by the “village.”

    We live across the street from a large church. Over the years we have observed many, many funerals be we cannot recall a single wedding.

  10. Col46 says:

    Erunner – homeschool is certainly something for them to consider.

  11. victorious says:

    Xenia. Good post. To some degree ” pastoral
    abuse” is to be expected and engaged , rather than ignored.

    From the perspective of the congegant(s) abusing the pastor it is to be expected from some in limited situations yet not tolerated as a long term acceptable form of dealing with interpersonal conflict and unmet expectations .

    From the perspective of the pastors it is not only to expected but to be embraced within boundaries. It is to be embraced to the degree that it is used by God to shape us into the image of Christ and to the extent that it provokes us to share in the fellowship of His sufferings.

    Imp and from personal experience ; pastors too often endure the abuse and over time either burn out or unknowingly develop a self protective system and structure around themselves that ends up abusing others directly or indirectly.

    I think pastors need to prepare themselves through prior training or ongoing counseling for the abuse so that proper boundaries are in place to short circuit and redirect patterns of abuse and to also promote the bonds that produce maturing spiritual growth.

  12. victorious says:

    Oops. My first sentence needs to be rewritten . I meant the “abuse of pastors” that Xenia addressed not ” pastoral abuse” meaning abuse incurred through the actions or inaction of pastors.

  13. Erunner says:

    Xenia, it’s not simply the hours but what the children are being taught in public schools so often. I always thought (back in the day) kindergarten was where you learned to play with others, learn manners, and begin the academic process. It’s a tough road to navigate for so many parents today. Gosh I feel old.

  14. Em says:

    Xenia, i don’t understand the aversion to church weddings among **Christians**… our grandson and his wife – both serious Christians – chose a secular venue in spite of missing an opportunity to recite their vows before the Lord in a beautiful little Lutheran church where the organist (a historic organ) was my grandson’s other grandmother… she is now slipping into dementia and none of her grandchildren will have what should have been a precious family memory…

    besides, i remember the day when a wedding procession went from the church to the reception with car horns blazing – and cans rattling off of the bumper of the bride and groom’s car… seemed corny then, but now? i guess nostalgia has kicked in… 🙂

  15. Erunner says:

    Col46, I thought about that and may bring it up. I just learned via google kindergarten isn’t even required in California. Thanks!

  16. Em says:

    i’m laughing as i remember that yesterday’s topic was the wisdom of Yoko Ono and this morning has started out with old MLD in traffic school, Erunner feeling old and me remembering the good old days – the really old ones…

    i’ll withdraw and let the younger more relevant do the commenting now – lol

  17. Erunner says:

    Em, I love reading your input. The wisdom of Yoko Ono? Yikes!! 🙂

  18. passin throgh says:

    Yoko?

    Bill Clinton: “A broken clock is right twice a day”

  19. Linnea says:

    E-Runner…my first thought for your grandson was homeschool, too. There are great curriculums out there and wonderful support groups so the kids (and parents) are not isolated. We taught our own children to read, used some great software that taught math through games, and had great field trips, too. Just a thought 🙂

  20. Xenia says:

    We homeschooled until a situation arose where we could send the kids to private Christian schools. I have to say though, that several of our children view this with resentment.

  21. Babylon's Dread says:

    The information age … is unsafe

    Travel with care.

  22. Jim says:

    Another vote for homeschool. Went well for our three, and my daughter now homeschools her three.

  23. Erunner says:

    Thanks for the home school responses. I’ll suggest it to them.

  24. Xenia says:

    Adding to what Victorious wrote, if there is a contention between a parishioner and a pastor, the parishioner may feel s/he has the right to spread their version of the story all over the internet whereas the pastor, if he has any integrity at all (and most of them do) will not tell his side of the story because it would involve breaking confidences. Most of the time you are only hearing one very biased side of the story and will never hear the other side.

  25. Xenia says:

    Here’s a scenario I have witnessed many times over the years:

    A new family bounces into a church, full of vitriol and gossip for the way things were done at their previous church.

    They worm their way into the pastor’s inner circle and attempt to make themselves indispensable by means of volunteering for everything, giving gifts, confiding, etc.

    Now they have expectations.

    When the pastor doesn’t respond as they expected, they get angry. The pastor holds his ground.

    They leave, and spread vitriol and gossip at the next place.

    If you examine their record, you will see that they never stay at the same church for more than a few years and have left a trail of wreckage behind them.

  26. I will bet most of this happens in churches with no structure and / or little regard for such. Why should it ever come down to a situation between me and the pastor and one of us has to resolve it?

    In my church, we have a person elected by the congregation to be the Congregational Liaison who helps mediate issues between individuals and or the pastor. If there are issues between the pastor and the congregation, we can always call on our circuit counselor who is a pastor in the area assigned to several churches for such matters. In the event of further problems we can call on the district president (similar to a bishop).

    Independent churches cause their own problems on both sides of the pulpit – because both sides, by nature of the “independent” are too prideful to put any of this in someone elses hands.

  27. London says:

    Anyone else ever see the amazing things people are doing posted on line then just feel like sh*t because what you’re doing seems so silly and insignificant?
    I have this friend who is amazing, a one in a million, woman who is living out the kind of life I dreamed of living when I was in college, before life got in the way.
    I feel so proud of the work she’s doing, so amazed, but at the same time, so sad that I did not pursue that dream as well. It literally brings me to tears, both good and bad, to see how she is spending her life, making such a huge difference, while I just go through the motions of every day monotony.
    Any one else feel that kind of thing when you see others doing amazing stuff, or do you just feel uplifted and inspired?

  28. I remember several years ago I stated that I couldn’t relate to the abuse claims / charges as I had been in several “independent” churches and 3 mega CCs with Greg, Chuck and Skip – had interaction with each and did not feel abused at all.

    I was told here that I must have been an abuser because you are either abusing or getting abused.

    It’s really hard to associate with that attitude. I think Xenia has profiled the alleged abused church person.

  29. London, others look at you and wish they had your life – they wonder how London pulls it off and they can’t.

  30. Anne says:

    London – I am one of those who look at your life with the same emotions you feel towards your friend. In your circle of influence, in the lives you touch, you are indeed “one in a million”. MLD’s #29 may just be the best comment of his I have ever read 😉 Grateful to call you friend!

  31. London says:

    Thanks MLD and Anne.
    I appreciate the encouragement. I’m honestly not fishing for compliments.
    This one friend of mine has just got me in the feelers.
    She’s in Lybia right now documenting children getting heart surgeries. Absolutely amazing. No fears.

  32. Paul A. Lytton says:

    London,

    Many of us feel this way. Hopefully, not to often. It is one thing to not over value yourself but it is another to not give yourself credit where credit is do. As you are aware, Christ will keep us in proper check. He does not compare us with other people, He compares our walk to our talk. You are healthy to both see how you can be better and to be inspired by the actions of others at the same time. I am sure you are well aware of this but I am also sure that you are well aware that sometimes it is just needed to have your method of character validated by other brothers and sisters. You are fine. God bless you.

  33. Paul A. Lytton says:

    London,

    Many of us feel this way at times, but hopefully not to often.

    It is one thing to question our own character but another to not give ourselves credit where credit is do.

    Christ does not compare us to other people. He compares our walk to our talk.

    I am sure you are aware of this and I am sure you are also aware that at times all we need is some validation from other brothers and sisters that our way of reasoning is correct.

    In other words, rest assured that you are fine in your walk because you do keep yourself in check.

    God bless you.

  34. Paul A. Lytton says:

    oops, I thought the first post did not go through

  35. London says:

    Thanks Paul.
    I appreciate it.
    I’m honestly just looking to see if other people feel like what they are doing is so insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

  36. Anne says:

    L, you can be certain your admirable friend has had the same feelings in her admiration of others as well. One of the downfalls of comparing our gifts & service with others

  37. brian says:

    You know Xenia I appreciated what you wrote. Despite the troll I am here I really have protected and supported several pastors / missionaries that were getting the shaft. I almost always came out on the losing end while being reminded what a piece of human / spiritual god hating filth. The spiritual god hating filth is a direct quote several times in real life. I think there are far more honest pastors than not, which is why the rich hucksters bug me so much, they may cause the government to clamp down. When the government does that it uses a sludge hammer, not a scalpel. So the good ones get hurt far more than the crooks, the crooks have money which means they are not crooks from a legal standpoint.

  38. Ixtlan says:

    “In my 6 decades of church attendance I have seen first hand far more cases of congregants abusing the pastor than I have of a pastor abusing a congregant. ”

    Same experience, including 6 decades of my own. However, I am astonished at the level of abuse by some pastors where their actions are anything but Christ like and have really disqualified them to serve. I am even more astonished that there are so many i n the seats who justify supporting such tyrants.

    Jeremiah 23:1 “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the LORD.

  39. covered says:

    Good word Ixtlan. I appreciate your honesty.

  40. pastor guru says:

    Poor ole abused pastor… sniff sniff! The so-called abuse is mainly from awake people who call out their hypocritical bulls#it right in their face, like a bitc# slap of reality.

    You know, the disgruntled ones who forget “do not to touch god’s anointed”!

  41. Nonnie says:

    Yes, there are abusive scoundrels out there that are pastoring churches, but I truly believe that the vast majority of men (and women) leading churches are serving and loving Jesus Christ and His bride.

  42. pastor guru says:

    Really? the vast majority?

    Remember as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the coming of the Son of Man.

    People were… until the flood…

    How many pastors were saved then?

  43. Michael says:

    pastor guru,

    So only one man and his family will be saved at the end?
    Should we assume that will be you and yours?

    Bad use of scripture there…

  44. pastor guru says:

    never said it would be me! just quoting what the Son of Man said… and what if there are only a chosen “few” at the endgame?

    Lord, Lord did we not…

  45. Michael says:

    What Jesus meant was that people would be living their lives as they normally do…oblivious to the coming judgement.
    In Revelation chapter 7 we see a great host that no one can number who have come out of the great tribulation…that is who will be found in Him at the end,
    A great host…that no one can number.

  46. pastor guru says:

    How about when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the Earth? LK 18:8

    Would He ask if it were obvious?

  47. pastor guru says:

    and what is that “great tribulation” they go through in Rev. 7?

  48. Michael says:

    pastor guru,

    What was the context of Jesus remarks in Luke 18?
    He was speaking of the need to be steadfast and faithful in the face of unrighteousness.
    It was a backhanded exhortation, not a comment on how many would be saved.

    The great tribulation is mentioned in Matt 24 and mirrored in Rev 6.

  49. pastor guru says:

    “Many are called but few are chosen” in Matthew 22:14

    When He said few, did He really mean many?

  50. pastor guru says:

    It’s always someone’s “context” that screws me up…

  51. Michael says:

    The “few” is in comparison to the whole number.
    While you may draw some comfort from the exclusions, I prefer to focus on the inclusions, live the Gospel and let God worry about the numbers.

    “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
    Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
    “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.””
    (Revelation 7:9–17 ESV)

  52. pastor guru says:

    “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation… Yes, I see they are a great multitude…

    Please answer Michael the question one of the elders asked John, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, what great tribulation do they come out from”?

  53. Michael says:

    ““So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house,and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.See, I have told you beforehand.So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
    “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
    (Matthew 24:15–31 ESV)

  54. Em says:

    “what great tribulation do they come out from”?” the guru asks Michael…

    just how great a tribulation do you need?

    i think those of us who lived in the world before there was a nuclear bomb and all that has followed since then have a data point for comparison… we might have said back then “when shall these things be?” … but now, it’s more nearly a whispered, “uh oh”…

    i heard this week that Saudi Arabia is getting nuclear weapons from Pakistan? “uh oh” …

    feels like more than Chicken Little’s acorn falling on our heads now … but
    it’s God’s clock, so who knows? if nothing else, i’m here to tell you that the world is most definitely not getting better – the acorns are getting bigger

    but sooner or later we’re all going to meet Him in the air, so … 1Thessalonians 5:1-6

  55. I don’t know what pastor guru is talking about – it was be some offshoot of Christianity.

    The Bible is very clear – Jesus saved me from my bad behavior and my lack of faith – and he has promised to do so until he returns.

    “The Christian life is not an exodus from vice to virtue, but rather from virtue to grace.” — Gerhard Forde

  56. Em says:

    the Christian life is an exodus from virtue to grace? …

    hmmm… not that simple… i “grew up” on “all our righteousness is filthy rags” and i believe that we have no self justification, but we should grow – “should,” not “will” …

    and it seems to me that sometimes, too often, we rationalize grace into almost a subliminal form of self justification – i’m no good, so i’m not required to be good at all – see i am humble… 🙂

  57. Em – you are misreading – most would say, and I mean most here that our Christian life is identified when we get rid of our vices and move to the virtuous life – or as the evangelicals say The Victorious Christian Life.

    But no, the Christian Life is identifiable when we can put aside the virtue we think we have and move to God’s grace.

    This is a message to believers – not unbelievers. An article I keep on file.

    http://www.sidneyherald.com/community/religion/virtue-to-grace-why-the-converted-need-to-be-converted/article_64a427b9-886f-5e99-858d-603360382d3c.html

  58. Em says:

    well, MLD, it is certainly a point worth clarifying… 🙂

  59. Em says:

    i’ve been rewriting and expanding my biographical novel on my maternal grandparents…
    he was a Bible school graduate minister and a major player in the early years of the holiness movement – Madeline Southard officiated at their wedding – a female???… absolutely a legalist on one hand (‘darn’ was a swear word and all works stops on Sunday) and on the other hand he was so full of grace and mercy… as i go back now over what i wrote a few years ago, i am amazed at their lives and, too, i am seeing that the more you know of our God and this unspeakable gift of salvation, the more you will be concerned about your conduct… self justification (self righteousness) stinks to God, but the first commandment isn’t to be taken lightly, either…

    yes, i know, some people are just naturally nice, some are mean as all get out and some are just naturally no fun to be around at all… all need the same redemption

    just sayin … on this rainy Sunday afternoon

  60. Reuben says:

    I will no longer call my self a christian. This thread exemplifies why.

    I have seen too many fall silenced to the church who holds all the power.

    I have also seen those who claim Christ simply marginalize and belittle their pain.

    Michael, they hate me. I will never return to these people. They hate Christ too. We have that in common.

  61. Nonnie says:

    Reuben, I don’t know who “they” is, but I don’t hate you and I don’t hate Jesus.
    If I hate anything, I hate to see the pain you are in. I hate it that you are so hurt and feel so belittled and marginalized.

  62. pastor guru says:

    Reuben, I also struggle to call myself a Christian… But do you really hate the Messiah or did I just read your post wrong?

    I thought you were a moderator here once, with a long cc background no?

    please clarify???

  63. shunned says:

    I don’t know if there are more good or bad pastors in the world or not, However, it is my belief that to want to set up a church or be ‘over’ people– be the center of attention– you have to be one of two things 1. a real tender hearted servant of the Lord that longs for the salvation of others or 2. a self-centered narcissist who longs for adoration and control.

    I wish the ‘Christian” community could acknowledge that the position of Pastor itself holds a draw to the 2nd type of personality– so it should be on the look out for that type and have proper Biblical controls in place so that the bad type of personalities cannot last in control of the church. However, many, many churches- especially the ‘non-denominational type like CC or Church of Christ have the setup to not only attract such types but to reinforce it over and over to the destruction of God’s sheep.

    the difference between Pastors getting a bad rap and laypersons is that the laypersons are usually actually looking and seeking the Lord and the destruction that happens to them ends up in losing faith in Him, etc. While the Pastor might lose faith in people– so the end result is not the same. And, I myself have a business/ministry in which I deal up close with emotional people all the time— you have to delegate to buffer yourself a bit from all of it. The Pastors that get burnt out do not delegate but again, tend to put themselves in the center as if no one else can handle anything.

    The church I went to since childhood was like that– and anytime you went to speak to one of the ‘leaders’ first you had to listen to how busy they were and how many important things they were doing— other people wanted to do it, other people had asked to do it, but no, because they liked the control and glory it brought them to be in charge.

    Also, most of the time the bad things are hidden, so these ‘leaders’ have years and years of doing ‘good’ to their credit all the while they are doing ‘bad’ that is hidden and by the time it comes out (sometimes decades later) everyone looks and says ‘but look at all the good they have done” That is used to justify pastors having multiple affairs, it is used for Pastors and Elders covering up child abuse and even rape of children in their churches– as long as it stays covered up and they keep doing ‘good’ on the outside then less people will believe the truth when it finally emerges. This is the way of the narcissists in the leadership— do good outwardly a lot so no one will believe the bad you are doing behind their backs when someone tries to speak out.

  64. Em says:

    shunned – you have described the present state of institutional churches top to bottom pretty well… but our Lord isn’t confined to those boundaries

    “1. a real tender hearted servant of the Lord that longs for the salvation of others or 2. a self-centered narcissist who longs for adoration and control.”

    add one more type, the timid soul who sees the ministry as a way to make a living… the latter two types are the reason for the scattering of the “sheep” … our Lord so described us because we aren’t really very good at independent thinking for the most part … it is an interesting dynamic that makes one wonder how the Faith has survived 2,000+ years … almost seems supernatural 🙂

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