Things I Think

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72 Responses

  1. Steve Wright says:

    I see a third category…that being former Christians who have been “radicalized” against Christianity because of abuse and corruption. Our failure to address these issues honestly has created a group every bit as hostile to the faith as any Muslim.

  2. Michael says:

    On # 6…let me be clear…none of these people want to do anyone harm…but they are angry and embittered by how we deal with these issues.
    This leads to sites and posts that are daily mocking and scorning both Christianity and Christians.

  3. Michael says:

    I added my clarification to the main text.
    Some will say that these folks were never really Christians…and I don’t believe that for a second.

  4. Laura Scott says:

    Regarding #7: The size of a flock may indeed actually be relative. If you are in a flock of one, what you do to protect yourself and your brand/reputation/name is right and proper.

    The superstar culture we have infused the pastorate with (to our horrible detriment) promotes this.

    Shame on us.

  5. Michael says:


    Amen and amen.

  6. dswoager says:

    Your number six just left a big open can of worms wriggling around on my floor.

  7. Michael says:


    How so?

  8. Babylon's Dread says:

    Eternal security doubted by a Calvinist? Or am I reading carelessly?

  9. dswoager says:

    I am kind of binary in my thinking when it comes to what you are talking about. You say that there are many who would say that they were never Christians, I would wonder if perhaps they still are. I don’t think there is any way to answer that question without wondering pretty loudly about what the hell we are doing.

    Lots of thoughts, that was just skimming off the top.

  10. Michael says:


    Good question.

    My belief is that someday, some way, God will restore and regather these that are now railing against the faith.
    I know some of these folks and love them dearly…my hope is all in the grace of God.
    I’m not so interested in parsing the doctrines as I am in loving my friends.
    I could be wrong.

  11. Michael says:


    I like the way you think…

  12. Babylon's Dread says:

    Thanks Michael,

    For a minute I thought you had joined MLD and Dread.

    The fomenting anger and rising anti-christ spirit both within and without the visible church is daunting. I asked millennials about a ‘sense of sin’ and discovered that personal sin is an irrelevant category in their thinking even while shame and guilt are rampant. Those are not seen as indications of real problems but indications of deficient caregivers. That is all a little extremely stated but not much.

    Meanwhile my sociologist mentor Rodney Stark continues to hawk an optimism about the christian faith even while unclearly espousing it.

    On a random note… lies, lying and liars are a constant peril to the church, to leaders and to friends. I have never seen a day when simple false witness bearing was such a difficult mouse to trap.

  13. Michael says:


    I’m conflicted on many of these matters.
    On one hand I know the scriptures that say the love of many will grow cold…and the prophesies that speak of end time apostasy.

    There is some sense of inevitability to the wholesale rejection of Christianity.

    On the other hand, I wonder how much of that rejection today is that people aren’t buying what we’re selling.

    We’ve replaced the family of God created by the love of the Father under the headship of Jesus and moved by the Spirit with a corporate model created by and for a man.

    We sacrifice the brethren for the sake of a brand…

    I believe we can do better…

  14. Babylon's Dread says:

    Good challenge Michael

    We must do better

  15. Em says:

    “This doesn’t mean we practice intolerance against anyone, but we protect what we have been given.” amen …
    it must be some kind of rocket science, tho, because too many educated folk are telling us that it is wrong-headed and selfish thinking

  16. Michael says:


    To me, this always comes back to the current cultural need to deny the reality of evil.

    One can open their house and give hospitality to all only as long as no one burns down the house.

    There are people who want to burn down the house…whether you believe it or not.

  17. Michael says:


    It’s my challenge to myself first.

    I’m not the warmest, most social of creatures.

    I’m basically a cranky hermit with little tolerance for nonsense, except my own.

    I need to be better…in representing the One who saved me.

  18. Em says:

    BD and this thread has me thinking – err, i think that’s what i’m doing… not too sure here

    the little ones being led astray? i always read that as being led into false doctrines, i.e., JWs and the like. But perhaps that includes those who are young in the Faith also who were driven out there into the wilderness? did some false shepherd drive them out? … i have had wonderful experiences with pastors and church folk, but i have experienced really arrogant, inbred meanness also – so, i know that there must be wounded souls, who, much younger than me in the faith, would have been driven away from their faith in Christ by such church police… God sees and, possibly (not sure about this) forgives their confused rantings against Him – dunno

  19. Michael says:


    Thank you for your #18.

    I too believe that God sees and forgives…and will someday restore.

  20. Em says:

    # 18 – okay, i hit the button too soon – i was referring to God forgiving the sheep who, being driven out, are now ranting against the Faith – i did not mean that God forgives the church police… although He may do that, too – dunno

  21. Em says:

    someday restore? amen
    i have a picture in my mind of a poor sheep – one of the Good Shepherd’s flock – dying in the wilderness and finding himself (generic ‘him’) picked up in the loving arms of our Savior and carried into Paradise…
    perhaps, i am too sentimental on this one (feelings that are colored by folk i love who’ve walked away from the Faith) – further, i must ask myself, if i really would want to see someone in Heaven who can’t bow at the dear Savior’s feet and declare, “my Lord and my God!”
    God, full of grace and mercy, is always, always fair – His perfect love and His perfect righteousness must reconcile in justice that is also perfect in every respect, so i must trust Him … i ramble…

  22. Michael says:


    That’s not rambling.
    I believe the grace of God gives us hope that our sentiment is grounded in the Gospel.

  23. Em says:

    Michael, what a blessed God we have – what a glorious Gospel – and i have to observe, what a contrast to the Muslim’s depiction of their responsibility to Allah

    now i’m all rambled out – i think 🙂

    God keep

  24. filbertz says:

    regarding #6–perhaps a fourth category, of which I would likely inhabit, sadly, those who’ve withdrawn from the church in discouragement, defeat, or despair because of the fault and failure of self or others. No hostility, mocking, nor scorn; only a resident sense of fruitlessness and frailty in the body we once gave so much to. Driscoll starting another church is just piling on.

    My daughter Amber relapsed last week and we have her dear baby and toddler. We need the church to be the Church…

  25. Michael says:


    My heart and prayers go out to you and the whole family.
    Sadly that fourth category is probably much larger than we have any idea.
    What could we, should we, be doing differently from your perspective?

  26. filbertz says:

    I’ll have to get back to you in a little while as my lunch period is over.

  27. Francisco says:

    I think #’s 7,8, &9 go hand in hand. In terms of accountability as shepherds or workers in His vineyard I’ve realized over time that It is much better to receive the gentle snips of our brethren’s hand shears than the cuts reserved for the Bypass loppers that the living God will have at His disposal when we meet Him face to face one day. I’ve also realized that as shepherds if we don’t like to be held accountable by others this side of heaven then we probably aren’t going to like it when Christ will hold us accountable in the future either.

    Pruning is one the those uncomfortable yet inevitable tasks that must be done and it must be done every year. There are no waivers with pruning because deferring this key task results in the branches inevitably becoming weak and diseased. This said as 2015 comes to a close may we reflect on the work done this season and may we receive the pruning given by those who Christ has put in our lives so that we may be fruitful again in 2016. Regardless as to whether we as shepherds lead a large mega church or a small flock if we don’t liked being pruned it may be a sign that we may not teachable and this only means that the living God will inevitably use His bypass Loppers at a future unspecified date. There are some on this site who I didn’t necessary agree with initially but I thank God for them as they have challenged me in a good way in the ministry in terms of accountability over the years.

    As an encouragement I will simply say that if we fear not man but Christ this side of heaven, we won’t have to fear the hand shears of men nor have anything to be ashamed of. Most importantly we won’t have to fear those razor sharp bypass loppers reserved solely for use by the Vinedresser Himself at the that future one on one appointment. Although deferring (waiving) accountability as shepherds this side of heaven is a choice we’ve seen over time that the cost of doing this will be surely be greater at the future face to face appointment with Christ. . Starting the race well as shepherds is the easy part but His desire is that we finish the race well too. May we choose wisely.
    In Him.

  28. just asking says:

    #6: is it ever OK to mock and scorn no matter the reasons?

  29. Michael says:

    just asking,

    That’s a typical question for someone who wants to divert attention from the subject at hand.

    You’re worried about whether it’s sinful to mock and scorn after being trashed in the church.
    I’m worried about the trashing that causes the scorn.

    It’s usually not good to mock and scorn and sometimes it’s sinful.

    Sometimes, it’s Elijah taunting the Baal worshippers…

  30. Michael says:

    Sometimes, it’s Paul taunting the Judaizers…

  31. sarahmorgan says:

    Regarding #6, in one of the toxic evangelical churches I got involved with in my new town, I was reluctantly (& sheepishly) told by a ministry leader (of the ministry I was specifically invited to participate in) that the pastor privately told that leader that I was a tool of the devil. I see now — my churchgoing days pretty much done, and yes, I’ve struggled against being an anti-church crusader, if I may use that word — that regarding someone as an enemy (to you, your loved ones, your thoughts/ideals, your agendas, etc, whatever) simply isn’t enough, as Jesus actually says love your enemies, and that’s not what most of these people want to do. To really justify getting them out of your hair and pitch off any guilt over your unChristian behavior, you have to categorize them with the devil himself. I wish more churches would focus on this and call it out for what it is.

  32. Michael says:



    I think you made an excellent observation about how we re categorize people in the church when they don’t fit the mold.

    Been done to me more than once…

  33. j2theperson says:

    ***On one hand I know the scriptures that say the love of many will grow cold…and the prophesies that speak of end time apostasy.

    There is some sense of inevitability to the wholesale rejection of Christianity.

    On the other hand, I wonder how much of that rejection today is that people aren’t buying what we’re selling.

    We’ve replaced the family of God created by the love of the Father under the headship of Jesus and moved by the Spirit with a corporate model created by and for a man.***

    Perhaps the replacement of the family of God with a corporate model is the love of God growing cold.

  34. Michael says:


    You may be on to something there…

  35. Francisco says:

    J2 is right on.

    In a nutshell we can say that corporate models are………….. brand centered and profit driven or they will fail. The Lord’s model for His local churches must be Christ centered and relationship driven………or they will fail.

    As shepherds in the ministry the moment we forsake relationships for the corporate model we’ve failed.

  36. Michael says:


    Good stuff, as always.

  37. Surfer51 says:

    This is a really good thread.

  38. dustmyblues says:

    Jesus openly mocked the religious extremists of His day…the Pharisees. Even called them names!

  39. Ixtlan says:

    “Perhaps the replacement of the family of God with a corporate model is the love of God growing cold.Perhaps the replacement of the family of God with a corporate model is the love of God growing cold.”

    I don’t know if I have thought in this context before, but it makes senses.

    I grew up in a church that was a family. We all knew each other. In my teens, mega churches began to emerge, many with numerous services throughout the week. I started noticing what appeared to be a trend where people roamed to different churches in clusters, that is , tightly knit groups of people (usually the youth groups of a church) that rarely extended beyond their circle. What I am describing was the beginning of church hoping.

    This became a normal function in Orange County that had several Christian venues that had nightly services that appealed to young people. It seemed everyone had a “home church”, but they would attend other church services whether it be Calvary Chapel, or Melodyland, or any of the numerous venues that were small in scale and therefore don’t even get a footnote in the narrative of the Jesus Movement.

    It appeared that some evangelical youth developed a latent self absorption in seeking after the best experiences. With some, it happened at the expense of the weightier matters of justice and mercy. I wonder if this contributed toward a trajectory some 40-50 years later that finds much of evangelical experience that is rather distant, impersonal and cold. But of course, if you never experienced a close community parish that saw itself as a family (and I’m talking about something with greater depth than singing while having their arms around each other like they used to do at Calvary), you wouldn’t notice the change. What is lukewarm is actually normal to many people.

  40. Em says:

    “#6: is it ever OK to mock and scorn no matter the reasons?” hmmm…

    maybe a better question would be to ask oneself what ones motive is that produces the scorn? arrogance and pride? self vindication? … or … defending the integrity of the God or the truth being denigrated… at least one of the above is justifiable, i think

    God keep all close

  41. Em says:

    #39 – ” But of course, if you never experienced a close community parish that saw itself as a family (and I’m talking about something with greater depth than singing while having their arms around each other like they used to do at Calvary), you wouldn’t notice the change.”

    that is true and sad … earlier i started a rant on ministry v family and erased it … glad i did
    lxtian has put it so well … IMO

  42. Ray says:

    Yes, there’s a lot of bad and abusive churches…and that’s a shame. But they have always been throughout church history.

    At the same time, there has always been, especially in the U.S., a lot of good biblical churches that truly pastor people and don’t abuse.

    A lot!

    A person leaving an abusive or problematic church can usually find a good new one with a little searching and effort.

    It’s my contention as well as my experience with people, and I don’t want to appear to generalize…but it’s my contention, that the majority of these people who have left Christianity or the church in anger about something…and have not gone to seek out a better church…well, it’s more than likely that they simply don’t believe anymore in Jesus or what the Bible says. They often have developed a problem with certain Bible doctrines.

    There’s a ton of people out there these days in America from the Jesus movement days as well as those who have grown up in the church who simply reached a place where they no longer believe….or they’ve become very liberal theologically.

    It happens. It’s not our fault.

    Other people, even in the church, will always, sooner or later, disappoint us. We’re all sinners. The focus of a Christian should be on Jesus, not other members of a church.

  43. Josh the Baptist says:

    #6 – To be fair, a lot of those people were jerks while they were in the church, and now they are jerks outside the church. They just found a new boogeyman to war against. A new scapegoat to blame for their misery. They aren’t nice people. I can’t blame myself for their woes.

  44. Disillusioned says:

    Once a loyal and *very* involved churchgoer (for 20 years), I have now come to the point where even stepping inside a church makes me break out in a cold sweat. I feel terrible about it. I know that one church cannot be blamed for the actions of another. Yet, the struggle remains…
    Snark and scorn are reserved for those who appoint themselves “leaders” in the church and live according to their own set of rules. Maybe the anger I and many others feel is a stage of the grief process. I’ve even researched that.
    Yesterday I was totally digging the Who’s “Won’t get fooled again” — and I think that is the underpinning of people like me. Never again will I put myself under the authority of any man.
    IMHO, it is the fear of man that permeates churches today rather than the fear of God, and that’s why we are where we are.

  45. Em says:

    #43 – to be fair, “some” of those people WERE jerks – a lot just didn’t fit the mold, the demographic, that the church targeted
    yes, we had, for quite a while in the second half of the 20th century, church modeling targeting a certain demographic to achieve a harmonious congregation of like-minded people… “how to avoid dissent in the ranks” … the target was the chosen ministry not the family of God
    that said, those of us who have peeled off, should keep visiting until we find a home church… i am convicted

  46. Disillusioned says:

    Your contention that people who left the church don’t really love/never did love Jesus is insulting and accomplished what you said you didn’t want to do, namely “generalize.”

    Maybe you should spend some time talking to people who have poured out their heart, soul and treasure into a body – all for Jesus alone – only to have the leaders of that body turn on them when called to account for the sin in leadership.

    Your dismissiveness is prideful and ignorant. Sorry if that hurts, but that’s the way I see it.

  47. Francisco says:

    RE: “We are accountable to both God and men. The Scriptures tie both together in an unbreakable knot. If I deny my accountability to men, I’ve probably become a god in my own mind…”

    If we become gods in our own minds then we inevitably set up other mortals as little gods as well. False gods Inevitably beget other little gods.

  48. dswoager says:

    Disillusioned – anymore, churches get bonus points if they don’t put me into a multiple day depression. My wife and I were checking a place out after a recommendation from her coworker a few months ago, we were there for literally ten minutes and it was so carnal and manipulative that I was dazed for hours afterward, and couldn’t shake it completely for the better part of the next week.

  49. Ray says:


    You misrepresented what I said. I never said that people don’t love nor never loved Jesus if they left a church. I said that a big problem is that they often refuse to make the effort to go find a better more suitable church…of which there are MANY to chose from.

    That being the case, that often indicates that the problem is usually with them and their faith.

    That’s what I said.

    You wrote:
    “Maybe you should spend some time talking to people who have poured out their heart, soul and treasure into a body – all for Jesus alone – only to have the leaders of that body turn on them when called to account for the sin in leadership.”

    My answer: I’m not sure what you mean by “pouring out your heart and soul and treasure into a body”, but it seems you put too much trust, commitment, and devotion into a mere group of people in one particular local church. I’m not saying make no commitment to these people. We should. But you may have committed to them a level that you should have reserved for God alone.

    If there’s sin in the leadership, as you say, and they won’t repent, then please leave the church and find a better one. As I said, there’s a lot out there.

    If you can’t seem to get over what mere sinful men did to you in the past, and then cannot move on after that with God in a different church with different people, then, well, I’m very sorry. I’ll pray for you. But you have to get over what mere men do to you. I know it can be painful. But it can be done by the power of God.

    Many people should be careful to not to give undo significance or devotion, or have an expectation or view of a local church body that should be reserved for Jesus alone.

  50. Disillusioned says:

    Yes, sorry, here’s exactly what you said:
    “It’s my contention as well as my experience with people, and I don’t want to appear to generalize…but it’s my contention, that the majority of these people who have left Christianity or the church in anger about something…and have not gone to seek out a better church…well, it’s more than likely that they simply don’t believe anymore in Jesus or what the Bible says”

    I still say this statement is misguided, untrue, and heaps a whole lot of people into one lump. And while you didn’t say they don’t love Jesus, you DID say they don’t believe in Jesus or the Bible. Same thing, just about.

    “Get over it.” If I had a nickel for every time I heard this one….

    I wish I could. Something you might not want to think about or admit is that some men elevate themselves as “specially anointed by God” and equate submission to them as godliness. And yes, these are CC ‘pastors.’ When the idea that it is ungodly to even question leadership takes hold, great confusion arises when the pastor sins and you can’t call him on it. Or, if like me, you DO call him on it, he turns it around and tries to pin the sin on you.
    “Mere men” elevate themselves and brainwash people to believe the pastor is more special than they are, more close to God, would NEVER do or say anything to bring disgrace to God’s name. Obviously, they’ll never live up to their own hype, and God help the poor lay person who gets stuck in the middle.

    It seems disingenuous of you to ask me what “Pouring out my heart and soul” means, but if you must know, my all for the service of Jesus included countless hours of ministry in sunday school, worship, the food pantry, bible studies, and more. My treasure consisted of tithes well above the 10% “suggested guideline.”

    The most devastating thing of all? The pastor would say, “We’re a family here. I’m closer to you guys than my own family.” And I believed it. What a sucker. I know one thing – my REAL family doesn’t kick me to the curb when I disagree with them.

    So you are telling me that I was TOO involved, and shouldn’t have loved so much….?


    PS We DID seek other churches, and are still seeking. But when a pastor lies to you, you question everything he ever said, and it causes you to have to go back to square one spiritually. Then you don’t know who you can trust or believe. Many sound good at first. And many are so very adept at manipulating that it can be YEARS before you realize you’ve been had. Again.

    I want you to think about this. Are you a pastor?

  51. Disillusioned says:

    I hear you….and have felt the same feelings.

  52. Em says:

    FWIW, i suspect that there are some good pastors out there that are completely unaware that they have a cadre of regulars – the faithful – who vet every person who walks thru the door and deals with each newcomer according to their own list of requirements to “get in”
    these pastors may even congratulate themselves on having such a good “homogeneous” group … i haven’t a clue as to how from their position of leadership, they’d identify such a syndrome, tho …

  53. Ray says:


    Yes, I am a paster. I pastor in a foreign country. Been there 21 years. I consider myself a good pastor who does not lord it over the flock. I’ve had many people leave the church over the years. Later when you see them, they give some excuse or criticize something about the church. But the real reason is always apparent. They no longer take Jesus seriously and they wanted to go back to the world.

    Perhaps it’s something about the people in this country….but I’ve seen it in many people I knew in the U.S. as well.

    I’ve never acted in the way you described pastors acting towards you. That’s very wrong and destructive. Those men should no longer be in the ministry.

    Unfortunately, to get a larger congregation these days, it often requires an organizing that makes the pastor domineering and controlling and the whole thing like some kind of big machine or program in which individual people can get squashed for the bigger goal.

    I’ve never been that way. Thus, I’ve always had a small congregation. That’s fine, I’m happy….using the few gifts the Lord has given me

    I guess I have a low tolerance for complainers because I’ve given people very little to truly complain about.

    I’m sorry that I may have assumed things about you or others. I’ll try not to do that in the future.

    Perhaps if you find a small congregation with an older pastor. There the guy has probably been humbled over the years and he no longer tries to act out his fleshly ambitions on the congregation., but rather just humbly cares and feeds them.

  54. Cookie says:

    I am pretty new here but I sense there are folks who come here regularly who have “given up” on church. That is sad. There is no true fellowship of believers without the local church family. The scripture calls us to come together as a body in worship, prayer and praise. Forgive me, but that just cannot happen in the way Jesus intended by “coming together” online.

    I have no patience for the “victimhood” mentality.I have compassion for those who have been victims. I have been victimized since I was a little girl. I was assualted and got pregnant at twelve. I gave my baby up for adoption. I was married and divorced from an abusive man by age 19. A single mom for a decade. Have now been married 30 years to a wonderful husband and father who also has had dark demons of drug abuse, pornography and spousal abuse.

    I was hurt by a church when I fell into adultery early in my marriage and my sin was exposed publicly within the church and I was basically forced to leave. My husband forgave me and we have overcome many difficulties, financial, personal, etc.

    But what has kept me together has been my focus on Christ. Never lose that focus. It allows you to “get over” everything that life throws at you. I believe with all my heart that those who continue to allow themselves to be “victimized” by the past are allowing Satan to win the battle.

    If you focus on Christ and seek the Holy Spirit, you will overcome. You will find a church that ministers to you, body, mind and soul. No church is perfect. Stop looking for one. We will not see perfection until we stand at the feet of Jesus. Push forward. Look forward. Run the race accepting God’s grace and seeking his mercy.

    God Bless you all.

  55. Josh the Baptist says:

    One major problem is that people don’t want a boring church. If you go to a boring church, you’ll find much less drama. And then if you teach yourself to deal with the boredom for a couple of years, you may realize it wasn’t boring afterall, you were just looking for the wrong things.

  56. Josh wraps up what Ray and Cookie have said. Folks just won’t break the pattern. It’s like the gal who only dates the bad boys and get treated badly in bad boy behavior but never stops dating the bad boy.

    People are addicted to the big mega center with the high power pastor and the front and center rock band. They feel abuse, leave and seek out the identical church.

    Why don’t they go to the small church? Small equals not growing, not teaching God’s word (or they would grow) and as Josh says – boring.

  57. Andrew says:

    I like your story of redemption. When you say you were hurt by a church because of your adultery, this to me sounds like you hurt yourself and the church was loving you to confront you with this. Just my two cents for what its worth. I’m glad your story has a good ending. Now of course churches should restore and forgive but that is another story. What you hear however on this blog and others is folks being hurt for doing the right thing not the wrong thing. This takes church abuse to another level when the very people who should be offering healing are the ones abusing. When you say you have no patience for those with a victim mentality, I will pray you get some patience because really God has forgiven you of some pretty serious sin yourself not the least of these which is adultery. I am patient with those that have committed adultery, can you please be patient with those that may have a victim mentality? After all which is a more serious sin, adultery or having a victim mentality?

  58. Cookie says:

    Andrew- appreciate your comments. In my situation the sin was confessed selectively to a few and repented of but was broadcast to many. I understand your comparison of adultery to victim mentality but in my case the adultery was repented of and forgiven while the victim mentality seems to be ongoing. Thats why I lose patience. With those who just seem stuck in the cycle- without surrendering it. Sometimes, not always, that leads to blaming others all the time rather than looking inward. Im not trying to be hurtful to those who are really suffering. I truly have compassion for victims. But at some point we are called to turn to the Lord and move forward.

    Anyway, sharing this has been more difficult than I thought it would be so I’m going to bow out of this thread.

    God Bless.

  59. Em says:

    Cookie’s words are worth reading and thinking on… as those of us who are worn out with church games should ask ourselves – nope, make that: we should pray for clear soul searching – as to why we are tired of church… it could be self indulgent or worse, pride… at any rate, we can pray for strength and guidance and, perhaps a serendipitous encounter that leads to a church home…
    one thing is strange, tho… the church that will forgive the sinner is sometimes the church that drives out the saints… an anomaly?

  60. Xenia says:

    I strongly disagree with Michael’s Thought # 6 and frankly it is sentiments like this that has me scarcer around here.

  61. Andrew says:

    All of us have to constantly be repenting. It’s not like we do it once and we are done. You may not have to repent of adultery again but we never ever stop repenting. We are sinners to the day we die. BTW, I do affirm your feelings that the church hurt you with the betrayal of confidence. That was wrong of them.

    In reality, we probably shouldn’t be comparing a “victim mentality” to adultery at all. The Bible doesn’t identify “victim mentality” as a sin. The way I look at it is, if you are a victim you probably will have the mentality of a victim. Just saying… We should be patient with these folks. People struggle to move on and we should certainly encourage they move on, but not sure this type of sin rises to the level of church discipline as in adultery. More often than not, folks such as those on this blog simply need to have their feelings and experiences validated which also serve as a warning or red light to others on what to avoid such as Moses model mega churches at CC.

  62. Em says:

    trying to process #60… ? … the only part of the statement that i would take issue with is the modifier “former” – being an eternal security sort…

    Xenia, can you elaborate a bit? … and …

    you can’t fool me; you don’t have special powers that allowed you to turn Santa into a rabbit 🙂

  63. Michael says:


    I interact with people on a daily basis who have been so wrecked by their church experiences that it has affected every area of their lives and turned the notion of church into a curse.

    The numbers of these people is staggering to me, yet we deny they even exist or rationalize away their anger and pain.

    I would have to write about that even if no one ever read, because it is true…and attention must be paid.

  64. Josh the Baptist says:

    At some point, people have to take responsibility for their own actions.

    I know specifically of a couple of those you are speaking of, and they were jerks when they were pretending to be Christians, and they are jerks now. You’ve been a friend to jerks, which is noble, but “we” are not to blame for their personality flaws.

  65. Steve Wright says:

    “Our failure to address these issues honestly has created a group….”

    given your amendment to #6 with what was originally written, it is still these words that I think don’t make sense. And I am guessing Xenia and Josh don’t either…You and others address them to the full, you encourage, promote and feel the pain of people…you give LOTS of attention and you and others have had lots of success in seeing rogue scoundrels be removed from their ministry.

    At some point a Christian HAS to decide to follow Jesus..following Jesus means doing what He says…and there is no doubt He says to forgive those who hurt you.

    Not to reconcile, not to keep letting them hurt you, not to fail to pursue charges if warranted…but to forgive…and keep following Jesus.

    I can allow for people who never want to step foot in a church again, though I disagree, I can see that….but not if they also think they are justified in rejecting the One who died for them, and mocking Him (and His word).

    And we have all seen this too…right here. Not just mocking Christians, but mocking Jesus.

    Anyone who ever even remotely could be called a Christian knows that Jesus died for their sins and rose from the dead and gives them eternal life. To reject that is not the church’s fault and to compare to Muslims (even with the amendment about the violence) is still way off the mark in my opinion.

    (And no, it is not ‘personal’ or ‘you don’t like me’ or any such thing. It is an opinion I think is way off the mark. Period. Would have written it five years ago too)

  66. Michael says:


    I have far more people than those you know of who believe this way.
    Far more.

    When the church does not act as it should all the truths it speaks are called into question.
    It wrecks people by breaking trust and for some, once trust is broken it is a very long process to repair it.

    Being a jerk myself, it only follows that I will be a friend of the same.

  67. Michael says:


    You were entitled to your opinion five years ago when you “liked” me and you’re entitled to it now.

    I’ve been writing the same thing for over a dozen years and have not seen anything that would change my opinion.

  68. Josh the Baptist says:

    “I have far more people than those you know of who believe this way.
    Far more.”

    Are they all actively online trying to destroy the faith? Cause that was the first group mentioned. Not those who have been hurt, but those who are using that as an excuse to try to bring down Christianity.

    And you are far from a jerk. You are a very sensitive soul.

  69. Michael says:


    I’ll give one example.
    When I went online for the first time back in ’96 one of the first things I did was join one of the email discussion groups that were popular before blogs and Facebook.

    The moderator of the list was awesome to me…a very kind, dedicated, pastor who dealt with people very gently.

    Today he is still online.

    He’s an atheist…and a very persuasive one,unfortunately.
    He finally saw too much abuse and he left the whole faith.

    The man who helped me keep my faith back then has left it now.

    I pray that God will retrieve him…but he is one of many I still hold close to my heart who loathe the church.

  70. Josh the Baptist says:

    Got ya, but do you really think Church abuse is the cause for atheism? Bitterness, anger, , etc. I’d believe. But Atheism? Not a chance. He is responsible for the path he has chosen in life. Not me or you, or even the abusive church.

    This is walk is not easy, as you and I both know. Unfortunately, not all of those who walk with us now are going to make it to the Promised Land with us. I’m sure they’ll all have excuses.

  71. Michael says:


    I just don’t want to be one of those “excuses”.

  72. Josh the Baptist says:


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