Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Help for Pastors Who Have Been Spiritually Abused

Darin Hufford's latest podcast, "Healing From Spiritual Abuse," is well worth listening to.  Darin and his co-host, Aimee Dassele, share their own experiences with spiritual abuse and I'm sure many of you will be able to relate to their stories. 

Darin was a pastor when the abuse took place so it's been difficult for him to admit that he'd been a victim of spiritual abuse and, for many years, he wouldn't even admit it to himself.  Now, because he's begun to experience nightmares related to his time in that abusive environment, he's finally come to recognize the extent of the abuse that he received.

I believe that abuse of pastors is a more common problem than we recognize so, as a result, they do not always receive the help and encouragement that they need.  So many of them remain wounded as well as being filled with guilt and shame because they believe that those things just weren't supposed to happen to pastors.  At one time, I was very negative regarding pastors but, now because of my friendship with Darin, I've come to understand how abusive the current religious system can become for pastors.  Their difficulty is also compounded by the fact that the church is the source of their livelihood and many have not been trained to do anything else.  So, if they leave, what else do they do?  For them, it becomes a trap that they can't easily escape.

My heart goes out to pastors and church leaders who have been victims of abuse so, if there are any pastors who have found my blog, I want to encourage you.  I want you to know that God understands your hurt.  He knows that you were victimized by a system that cared nothing for you but He still loves you and He cares.  There is help and I hope you'll begin to reach out for the help that is available.

To listen to Healing from Spiritual Abuse," go here

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Out of Deception

I just finished reading “Out of Deception” by Nathan Miller.  This is the true story of a young Amish boy who along with his family becomes involved with a cult.  Over time, he begins to question the behavior and the teachings of the cultic leader and eventually leaves.  

Spiritual abuse is a major problem in the church and this book does a good job of describing the struggles and heartbreaks of those involved in abusive religious groups and their struggles to break free once they begin to see through the deception.  The following is the description given of the book.

“The unbelievable but true story of how Wil, a young, innocent Amish teen and his family, were unwittingly lured into the clutches of a smooth-talking cult leader.
Wil’s family was searching for something deeper, and what seemed at first like fresh water for a thirsty heart soon turned bitterly poisonous.
By the grace of God, Wil’s devotion to his leader, who was an excommunicated Amsihman, slowly turned to doubt. Finally, sick and tired of being manipulated, controlled, molested, and deceived, Wil made his break and escaped his leader’s grasp. Or so he thought.
This is a disturbing story of Satan’s deceptions and a beautiful story of the power of God’s grace and deliverance.”

For more information, go here.  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

PTSD and Spiritual Abuse

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as defined by wikipedia is “a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma.”    

I recently became aware of the fact that victims of spiritual abuse can suffer symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and these symptoms can develop months and even years after leaving the spiritually abusive group.  This was brought to my attention by a friend who had been an associate pastor in a spiritually abusive church and now, years later, has been suffering from nightmares as a result of his experiences while in that group. 

Knowledge is essential as we journey to freedom so it’s important that we recognize the symptoms of PTSD in ourselves and in others who have been spiritually abused.  There is help and I believe the following links are good sources of information.  So, in order to understand the development of PTSD in victims of spiritual abuse, go here and here.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Dark Underbelly of Religious Leadership

This The God Journey podcast clearly describes the dynamics that occur in spiritually abusive religious groups.  I want to post a link here because, although there is a dark side to Filip's experiences, I believe his journey will encourages others to see that there is freedom at end of the dark tunnel of spiritual abuse.

This podcast may not be for everyone. While in Holland recently Wayne met Filip van den Eynde, a young man who had just spent 17 years serving in an charismatic, apostolic setting and was able to see behind the scenes as those who claimed to be “men of God” systematically manipulated and abused hungry hearts to expand their ministry, feed their own insecurities, and line their own pockets. Wayne spoke with him via Skype after he returned to the States for this conversation. While this is not as much fun as talking about the joys of a growing relationship with the Father’s love, it is helpful for people to know that those insights they have about everything not being as it appears, might be God’s prodding to find freedom from those who use the guise of “Christian leadership” as a means to manipulate those Jesus loves.