Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Man Named Phil?

Rose Wolf has been bringing me books. Rose has a Doctorate in Fantasy Literature, and is a walking encyclopedia of memorized poetry, and literature knowledge. She calls herself a Wiccan-Christian, and believes that the old ways point to Jesus.

When I mention something I am interested in, Rose finds wonderful used books at great prices, and gives them to me. I may have to call the library we want to build in The Vault at our church the Rose Wolf Library if this keeps up.

I mentioned that I was blogging about insanity, and a variety of stress related disorders because I noticed the similarities of my responses to a year of heavy stress to psychological disorders of various kinds. So she brought me this book called, "A Man Named Dave." I just finished "A Man Named Dave."

Throughout the book, Dave Pelzer the writer of a trilogy of books about his life of abuse as a child, and his eventual redemption speaks of feeling unworthy around other people. He knew that when his mother severely abused him it was not his fault, but he still could not look people in the eyes due to a deep sense of unworthiness.

This weekend, a friend from my former denomination called. He was in Salem, and happened at the time of his call to be standing in front of our church meeting location. It was extremely uncomfortable for me to talk to this guy. He does not yet even know about the heinous manner in which we were falsely accused by our "superiors" (Man! is that word a sick misnomer or what!?), and that we are no longer in the same denomination. So, he talked on as though things were like they always had been, and I fumbled to find something to say.

Why do I feel ashamed when my situation was caused by someone above me ("above me?" is that another poor way of describing authority?), and we had done our best to rectify things in a graceful and Biblical manner? I realized I was behaving like Dave. Does this happen to all people who live through abusive situations?

I in no way received the damaging treatment Dave did, but we did live through Hell brought on by someone who acted like the Devil, and now I am the one hanging my head. What's up with that?!

I suppose it is a result of abuse. Just when I think I am over it all, I find another way in which I have been affected by our experiences. I realize that this is a lesson not just for me, but for the the whole church, and so from this experience which relates to "A Man Named Dave" I find there is a man named Phil, and his experiences teach me that abusive church leadership leads to Christians who live with shame, and that shame may not belong to them but to the abusive leaders themselves.


Agent B said...

Man, I am right there with you on this one.

Why is it tempting to hang my head when I run ino someone from my old church days?

Never thought about it.

Cern said...

When I think about things like this I often find myself reflecting on ownership. When people speak of their beliefs they often speak in terms that suggest what they believe is so obvious that everyone should own the same beliefs. They neglect the key language indicators that would demonstrate that they own those beliefs, the beliefs are theirs.

Sometimes, no matter how much you try, they fail to acknowledge that others may hold different beliefs to them. Others may hold those beliefs for what seems to them to be at least equally valid reasons as the ones who don't seem able to consider ownership.

Actually, I might be guilty of being overgenerous there. Sometimes it might just be that those who don't own their beliefs are cowards. By not owning their beliefs they don't have to supply personal reasons for holding them. They don't have the courage to own beliefs in such a way that they are able to acknowledge that they might be wrong. They're not about to even consider they might be wrong. Sounds to me like the authority figures you've been dealing with Phil.

But you know, you don't have to take ownership for their 'errors' or their cowardice. Own what is yours to own. What is yours to own? Well your faith for a start. I've not seen you fail to own that though. The way you share your faith. Again, I've not seen you fail to own that. Your love for people, 'saved' and 'unsaved'. Hmmmmmm, well I think sometimes your humility prevents you from acknowledging and owning what others know of you. But that is yet another thing that you own- an ability to scrutinise your motivations (and you've been doing that since long before those in authority began their 'silliness'), trying your utmost to remain honourable. You own an awful lot actually.

What don't you own? Other peoples stupid actions. We've seen discussions, you and I, where people have demanded that modern day Christians own the crimes of those who carried out the inquisition and the witch hunts. Does that make sense? I don't think Either of us feel it does. It makes no more sense than modern day Pagans owning the crimes of the Romans who threw Christians to the lions or to gladiatorial 'games'. It makes no more sense than you owning the crimes of those abusive church authorities who 'dealt' with you in such a despicable way. You know that of course. But if you know you don't have to own the crimes of the inquisition, and you choose not to, then you can also choose not to own the crimes of abusive church authorities. I understand the Christian faith suggests that they might just have to answer for their actions to one who knows exactly what they did and what was in their hearts whilst they were doing it. Perhaps you should give that misplaced ownership to that judge to hold on to in preparation for that calling to account.



Mike said...

i know the feeling but i don't have any answers.