Friday, July 16, 2010

Karen's story

From time to time, I'll be posting with the author's permission emails or private messages that I've received. Some of these people have shared their story with me and I feel that others can relate to what they've written and would be encouraged to read about their experiences.

My friend, Karen, has been a victim of spiritual abuse and is still working through the process of healing. As part of this processing, she recently sent me several lengthy messages expressing her thoughts. She has graciously agreed to allow me to post excerpts from her story. Because of the length of the messages, I'll be sharing her thoughts in two separate postings.

Since spiritual abuse can appear in many forms, I know many of you will be able to relate to her experiences. Her story is important and by sharing it here, I hope many of you will be encouraged as you continue your journey to wholeness.

Thank you, Karen, for letting me share your story. Here are excerpts from the messages she sent me:

"To begin with, no spirituality can be healthy if it spawns a dysfunctional subculture.

Are certain personality types drawn to this sort of thing? Are people so threatened that they have to build a rigid structure around them so they can feel secure?

It struck me that their whole view of reality was almost like a fantasy role playing game.

A performance trap, but with the additional poison of the Garden of Eden temptation: “You shall be as God”--and people grasped at personal power and a sense of significance that they lacked in their daily lives. What I really found weird was traveling with these people to a conference: we were in the car for a few hours, but nobody talked! The p&w music played and everyone was having their special god time, and that couldn’t be interrupted. Even on the way home, nobody wanted to talk about what they experienced or heard at the conference. This is true in the Church services too…. It was just individuals seeking their touch from God, no sense of corporate interaction. It occurred to me that these were all God addicts trying to get their next “hit” of the warm fuzzies and were willing to do what it took to “get the anointing” or get high on Jesus. And the sharp demarcation between the spiritual and physical world ensured that mundane existence didn’t have anything to do with God, unless there were some “divine appointments” in which you could escape for a while into that “other world.”


Lou said...

I feel like I'm reading a narration of my own experiences. I took a New Age leader to a conference once, hoping she would be 'zapped' by God. She was. She joined in the dancing, swayed and prayed down the front, took notes on the 'methodology' of the speakers and had a great time. I, meanwhile, sat with my arms crossed, wondering why all the Asians reacted to God the same way (dropping suddenly into a crouch as they walked), why all the kids from a certain church shook their heads violently, and why all the screaming and throwing themselves around was miraculously stilled when it came time to televise one of the sessions and they were informed they would have to go outside so as not to disturb the broadcast.

Aida said...

Lou, I know what you mean. I honestly believe all of the emotional excess is really mass hysteria since, as you said, it can be turned off and on at the appropriate times. Also, why would God be doing the exact same thing with everyone? I’ve been to those types of meeting and enjoyed them because I loved to act a bit wild but, when I left, other than having a fun time, I was totally unchanged and God was still a stranger. Although those things are billed as moves of God, rarely is anything of lasting value accomplished.

Thanks for dropping by and sharing what’s on your heart.

Lou said...

The sad thing is, Aida, that I really want to be 'zapped' by God. I want to feel Him. I want to have the experience of an all-embracing love - especially if it's available to other people! Then again, I wanted my mother to be wildly extravagant in her love, but she was too British, didn't know how. I guess we just have to take the love in the form the person wants to give it - particularly when that person is all-knowing. I now think God prefers to show me His love in a more concerted, lasting way. After all, if we had to go to conferences to get a dose of heaven, what good would that do - apart from filling the coffers of the conference organizers, of course!

Aida said...

I understand, Lou. Just knowing that God loves us isn’t always enough. We tend to want the feelings as well and I believe we actually need them at times. However, I’m not sure people really have the feelings as often as they say they do. I think they sometimes embellish things to impress others and as you say to fill the coffers. However, I do believe God knows what we need and gives us what we need when we need it.

Thanks for sharing your heart. I’m hoping this will become a place where people feel comfortable about sharing their hurts as well as their victories.