When I Lost My Mind…

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22 Responses

  1. EricL says:

    I weep at the truth of what you say. I love Jesus and it hurts to see his bride abused and neglected by those who were supposed “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
    They don’t equip the people; they entertain or load them down with burdensome rules.
    They don’t build up the people; they would rather build up their platform and their bank account.
    They don’t encourage unity; they’ve found too much fame and fortune in encouraging rage and fear and suspicion.
    They don’t want the people reaching maturity; they want the people ignorant and dependent on them. They only want people to follow Jesus when it doesn’t contradict their desires and opinions.
    Like I said, I weep at the truth of what you say, but please keep writing.
    Love you, brother.

  2. Steven says:

    Amen, brother.

    Amen

  3. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    Part of the problem is that you have not lost your mind. As a rational human being, you believe that if matters of abuse are brought into the light, others will react and do something. We somehow think that the problem is one of ignorance, and if people just knew the truth, they would respond accordingly. The problem is that this is not a matter of ignorance, it’s a matter of willfulness. People know full well that this is not the way that it is supposed to be, but they willfully set aside that knowledge, and allow the abuse to continue. You haven’t lost your mind, but you show all the signs of a broken heart…

  4. Em Wegemer says:

    Dr. Duane @12:12
    AMEN!

  5. Officerhoppy says:

    While i resonate with much of what you say in this op but as a pastor, not everyone who cries “foul” is necessarily a victim of nefarious pastoral abuse, or church leadership.

    Decisions have to be made by leadership that are in alignment with a churches mission. Changes are sometimes made and most people don’t like change.

    While abuses most certainly take place as minister sometimes climb the ladder of success, and need to protect their popularity. But i don’t think that most pastors want to do anything but honor Christ and grow their flock..

    It is sad there isn’t some way other than social media to parse out the truly abused from the disgruntled. Sad there s no governing entity to hear both sides of an issue.

    In law, one is considered innocent until proven guilty. On social media, it’s just the opposite: on the testimony of one or a few people, the accused is guilty and innocence–or truth—is shuffled to the side.

  6. Michael says:

    “While i resonate with much of what you say in this op but as a pastor, not everyone who cries “foul” is necessarily a victim of nefarious pastoral abuse, or church leadership.”

    Maybe I’ll write about that someday…but I didn’t today.

    Today I wrote about the close to a hundred stories I was told…many verified by witnesses…about vile abuse.

    I skipped the part about the same org having a sexual deviant on the board and how we don’t know if or how many other victims there are.

    That’s what I wrote about today…and your response is why I’ll have to keep writing until I die and ask God to set someone else up after I’m gone.

  7. Michael says:

    EricL…well said . Thank you and much love to you as well.

  8. Michael says:

    Duane,

    “People know full well that this is not the way that it is supposed to be, but they willfully set aside that knowledge, and allow the abuse to continue.”

    They protect what they value…

  9. Michael says:

    Steven, Em…thank you.

  10. Officerhoppy says:

    Michael
    I just don’t know that we get the entire story on social media. It’s fairly one sided. I wonder if our opinions would change regarding a issue if we heard both sides.

  11. Michael says:

    Officerhoppy,

    Good Lord…
    We’re talking about a case where dozens of people spread out over more than a decade told the exact same stories of abuse …abuse that was so significant the founding fathers of Calvary had to break ranks and call them out.

    We’re talking about an organization that ignored the sexual deviant on their board until the bastard confessed…to acceptable sins.

    How many elders and board ,members did you watch walk out the Courson door….or get kicked through it?

    Why the hell can’t you guys call sin what it is?

    Then you come on here bitching because preachers don’t talk about wrath…Lord help me…

  12. Michael says:

    This…right here…is why when I hear people yowling about the perversion and sin in the world while they ignore it or cover it in their own ranks I just want to punch them and repent later.

  13. Officerhoppy says:

    I apologize for entering this discussion. You totally misunderstood me. I am agreeing with you—the guilty need to be held accountable!

    But there are two side to every story. And on social media we don’t always hear the “other side”.

    Give me a little credit Michael! Sheesh! You lump me into a category of people to which I don’t belong

  14. Officerhoppy says:

    Don’t forget, i was a victim of a power hungry pastor. I later designed a church structure where the pastor was held accountable.

  15. Michael says:

    The reason we don’t hear the “other side” is because they lawyer up and shut up until the smoke clears.

  16. Linn says:

    Officer Hoppy,

    Some church organizations are healthier than others. If you’ve been a part of Calvary Chapel (the one just a mile from my home has had so much scandal I’m not sure how it stays open) the church history includes financial, sexual, and member mistreatment issues. My own denomination has had some problems, but they are usually handled professionally, avoiding publicity as much as possible. When publicity does happen, the churches respond in a professional and responsible manner. The denomination actually dis-fellowhipped a church several years ago over church discipline run amok.

    From my observation, it’s usually huge churches that are literally run by one pastor, who has the elders/deacons/leadership all tied up in his schemes. People are very unhappy, they don’t understand what is going on, ultimatums are given, and the situation goes south very quickly.

    I did flee a church 35 years ago after the popular pastor was found to be a serial adulterer. The elders were embarrassed, so they gave him a good recommendation to go on to another church. While the pastor was getting ready to leave, other members found out about his affairs in previous churches, and it blew up into a major, nasty confrontation by some in the congregation with the elders and their lack of responsibility. They went to leaders in the church association for help, but no one would do anything. They kept insisting churches were independent and should do what they wanted. That song changed after the pastor went on to repeat his previous offenses in his new church.

    It works both ways, unfortunately. Disgruntled members can raise a fuss for no reason (which leads to heavy-handed “shepherding”) and pastors become drunk on power. i do think that most pastors want to honor Christ, but I see a huge danger in the megachurch system, which seems to put church brand, pastor, and popularity over anything remotely Scriptural. Calvary Chapel and SGM (Sovereign Grace Ministries), for example, have perpetuated a system of clergy sexual perversion and member sexual abuse. If that is all you have known, it can really sour you on anything that smells like church. In some geographic areas of the U.S problem churches are the only ones that exist, which is very unfortunate.

  17. Officerhoppy says:

    Michael
    “ Calvary Chapel and SGM (Sovereign Grace Ministries), for example, have perpetuated a system of clergy sexual perversion and member sexual abuse. If that is all you have known, it can really sour you on anything that smells like church.”

    I understand. And again, I agree there needs to be accountability on pastors and ministries. But it can be difficult to determine the truth between disgruntled parishioner and some one who has legitimately been the victim of a power seeking ministry.

  18. victorious says:

    A lot of things in life that are worth doing are initially difficult. But not overly difficult.

    Disgruntled people are par for the course of ministry and it is not overly difficult to validate their feelings even if their opinions and/or expectations cannot be satisfied.

    It is not overly difficult to provide a process of concerned and compassionate evaluation to get under the surface and differentiate between the disgruntled and abused or the discouraged and confused or the disconnected and amused.

  19. Pamela Kulwiec says:

    “I understand. And again, I agree there needs to be accountability on pastors and ministries. But it can be difficult to determine the truth between disgruntled parishioner and some one who has legitimately been the victim of a power seeking ministry.”
    I’m not sure I understand the difficulty and lumping the young people Michael addressed with “disgruntled parishioner” is offensive.

  20. Michael says:

    Thank you, Pam…

  21. Steve says:

    Holding pastors accountable is good but to me it’s even better to be in a church where a pastor is just one of the flock that doesn’t have particularly that much power. The mega church concept just doesn’t seem to work not only in not holding pastors accountable but really holding anyone accountable. Too many parishioners just go to be anonymous and that is not every member being incorporated into the body. The entire model of mega church seems to be dysfunctional.

  22. Reuben says:

    The numbers of stories and abuses I have seen have made me hate the entire concept of church, and I have not begun to see what Michael has. The religious abuse to me is still a trauma I can’t cope with, even after years of therapy. I have watched people die in pursuit of whatever Christians call faith.

    There is zero historical dispute that Christianity is the bloodiest religion to EVER exist, and there are one hell of a lot of religions now and in our history. I damn the entire concept.

    However, I know there are good people who actually serve people, Christian or not, and strive to do good to and for humanity. Mother Theresa is not among them. What Christianity props as heroes of the faith, such as Martin Luther, are filthy narcissistic lying garbage. And yet they have shaped our modern Christian religion.

    I don’t have empathy for the notion “not all…”. The cost overall has severely outweighed the benefits throughout all of human history even today, and Christianity will not do a damned thing about it. There are not many Michael Newnhams. They are sparse, and not nearly as level headed as our host.

    Pastors do not listen to parishioners. Period. They “shepherd” them, and often cookie cutter the mandates on each life. Pastors do not leave mental illness, depression, trauma, and addiction to professionals. They pontificate faulty Biblical advice that has nothing to do with the above mentioned. Ever. It’s as scarce to see a pastor refer a parishioner to an actual psychologist than seeing a red herring.

    Modern American Christianity, Eastern Christianity, and the Catholic Church are destroying peoples lives, institutions of pure evil. Practicing power over people that would never be allowed in a rational society. NEVER. It has spearheaded wars and politics in this present day.

    The fact is, Christianity will not lift a finger because they are all convinced they are on god’s side, and proceed with unparalleled arrogance reflective of their cesspool churches to spread their filthy infectious destructive and divisive mentality throughout their communities and spheres of influence. Christianity is the single most powerful force in the world today, yet you cry oppression and persecution.

    Sorry, not sorry. Burn the entire institution to the dirt and light the dirt on fire to make sure it’s gone. Start over. You can’t possibly do worse than what we have now.

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