Things I Think…

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33 Responses

  1. Emily Thompson says:

    This is absolutely correct.

    Abuse of power in leadership is not only sad, but I do believe that Jesus Christ Himself will turn over tables in the last days over this issue.

    It seems I was taught about Judgment Day by a bunch of half-convinced deists not sure if they’ll ever stand before the bar of God.

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you, Emily…

  3. Richard says:

    So sad that churches treat their 501C3 status as a holy grail.

    I wish the feds would require churches to pay taxes like everyone else.

    Perhaps then they would be more of a church and less of a business.

  4. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    I agree with almost everything here… except, public corporate boards at least have some rules and a degree of accountability, unlike many so-called ministries.

  5. Steve says:

    With thoughts like these, I think there is probably a other big story about to break that Michael is working on. Does it ever end?

  6. Eric says:

    Even in churches without an explicit business mindset (ie where ministers will get paid even if the local congregation is not giving well), its leaders got it wrong and thought that “looking after the church” meant looking after the organisation, when Jesus told us that the children are the first people to look after – when we welcome them, we welcome him.

  7. Lyn says:

    I’ve been doing personal research on this very thing for the past few years, after surviving emotional and spiritual abuse by a very skillful and narcissistic pastor. It ultimately cost me my ministry credentials because I wouldn’t stop speaking out on behalf of the many others who also suffered but either couldn’t or wouldn’t speak. I’m dedicating the remainder of my days to drawing attention to the ridiculously toxic premise of the business model church, the need to assess potential church leaders for emotional and psychological health before lending them power, and enacting healthier church models that reflect the heart of God. Thank you so much for your post! I realize I’m not alone.

  8. Reuben says:

    Thought 10 is more true than most Christians would like to imagine. Most of the people that I correspond with regularly from my pastor days are long gone from the church, and abuses of power tends to be the most common reason, added to abuse in general from leadership, these are people who will likely never return to the church. I have communicated with pastor’s kids who will never set foot in a church again, and are now realizing just how corrupt their parents were, how abusive and cultish the churches were. It has caused serious mental health issues, and years of reprograming. The frog in the frying pan analogy has been brought up dozens of times with these people.

    I tell ya, Michael, my anti-theism is only bolstered talking to people. I will say as politely as I can, the church is the single most destructive institution in existence in American culture. I am saying that fully aware of our political landscape right now. No more terrorizing and spiritually violent structure of power exists anywhere else. This is not exclusive to America either, and I am edging on strident, and intentionally destructive behavior against the church worldwide.

    I was reminded this morning with the death of a beloved kitten that came from a breeding farm, about 3:30 this morning, how many people I have seen all but killed, or actually killed by the church, dead by their own doing, unable to find a way out of the abhorrent behavior and outright abusive control of the church. This suffering is completely avoidable and unnecessary, a mental sickness that was never justified, and I am sick of the destruction of human lives by such a filthy evil construct embedded like a tick in countless cultures and lives. I am sick of it. I am so sick of it.

    Denial is the church’s major fault right now. Willing blindness. It is a damnable fault. If christianity will not own it, people like me stand ready to accuse with unparalleled passion.

  9. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    For the most part, I agree with you in terms of the denial.
    The only thing that keeps me going is a laser focus on the person and work of Jesus.
    This latest scandal with PFM has almost done me in emotionally and spiritually…

  10. Kathi says:

    So much truth here. Thank you for sharing.

    I believe you when you say the work you’re doing on PFM is draining emotionally and spiritually. This is one of the greatest risks of being an advocate for victims and exposing abuse. Please make sure you’re taking care of yourself and take breaks when needed. Your voice is valuable, so please reach out to trusted people that will listen and provide support.

  11. Steve says:

    Reuben,. There is more than one way to interpret the abuse we see in the visible church. My faith in God has actually been bolstered. Interesting documentary coming out about the church in Iran that has no central leadership, no buildings or property and is predominantly women lead. Stories like this really encourage me. Perhaps folks have been looking in all the wrong places to see where God is working.

  12. Michael says:

    Christianity is a personal as well as corporate faith.
    Most people will look to their own experience of the faith rather than some foreign country.
    I’ve never given a damn what was allegedly going on somewhere else…it has no impact on me or my parish.

  13. Steve says:

    “I’ve never given a damn what was allegedly going on somewhere else…it has no impact on me or my parish.”
    ________________________________________________
    Really? Why all the talk about Creed’s, church history and tradition then? Seems kind of irrelevant but I guess some folks really like those dusty old textbooks.

  14. Michael says:

    Because those creeds,history, and tradition impact what we do today.
    So does ignoring them…

  15. Em says:

    Rueben seems to have lost sight of the Faith with a focus on organizations. Too many people seem – dunno – seem to become involved in a church for personal gain…
    More and more i appreciate the privilege i had growing up in my grandparents’ home – well balanced, Christ centered people will make it very difficult to deny the saving and soul sustaining reality… God in action, undeniable and beautiful 😇

  16. Michael says:

    Reuben has seen unbelievable carnage at the hands of the church. I’m just glad he’s still here.

  17. Steve says:

    Well church history 2000 years ago is important and so our our brethren in foreign countries today. I see them both as very important.

  18. Em says:

    Yes, Michael, i understand – Reuben is not alone… I wonder what the eternal outcome will be… If someone claims Christ, but shows no fear or respect, no grace or humility – the folks who gossip with malice, sin, wipe their mouths and say i am an example of a follower of Christ – blameless!
    The reputation such posers give the Church is false, but….. 🙆

  19. Josh says:

    I am sorry for what Reuben and Michael and countless others have experienced in the church.

    I love the church. I have devoted my life to her service. I will one day die loving the church.

    The church is the best force of good in all the world. She has done more for health, poverty, rehabilitation, …etc. than any organization in the history of the world. That is fact backed up by evidence.

    She has her faults, because all involved have our faults. As long as I’m alive, I will work on those faults, personally and corporately.

  20. Michael says:

    Josh,

    It’s a conversation for another time,but the church you (and I) love is rapidly ceasing to exist…

  21. Em says:

    Maybe the real Church could benefit from publicizing Paul’s words to the Corinthians? Or Jesus’. words to the seven churches?

  22. Josh says:

    I don’t think so Michael. The gates of Hell shall not prevail.

  23. Xenia says:

    It’s a conversation for another time,but the church you (and I) love is rapidly ceasing to exist…<<<

    I do not believe this to be true.

  24. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t find this to be true either. There have always been rogue pastors and church structures but I am sure that the vast number of churches are humble and serving.

    At least we don’t see the abuses of the good old days of scarlet letters and the church leaders drowning our women folk.

  25. Xenia says:

    Just look at what it was like to be a Christian in New England during the 1600’s.
    Just look at the support of slavery by some southern churches.
    Just look at the scammery committed by the Roman Catholics throughout the ages.
    Look at the atrocities committed by the Crusaders in the Holy Land.
    Look at the Inquisition.

    People have always taken advantage of their position.

    Yet if you know where to look (anywhere except the internet) you will find the Church.

  26. Steve says:

    I wonder what church historians 100 years from now will say reading these blog posts. Perhaps then, we can all look in retrospect and see the prevailing church that Josh loves and serves. I’m also convinced of it. Amen

  27. Michael says:

    The Anglican/Episcoplalian tradition in America will be almost gone within 10 years.
    The Methodists will soon follow…those who know say the denomination is actually bankrupt now.
    Lutherans have a clergy crisis…churches can’t afford full time pastors so men aren’t going to seminary…the churches are aging out and shrinking.
    Rome is losing congregations and has crises at every hand.
    The vaunted SBC is shrinking and now has it’s own sex abuse scandals.
    Your garden variety non denom is doing ok…but I expect the backlash from their politics to be swift and severe when it comes.
    I don’t know anything about Orthodoxy.
    God will preserve a remnant…but unless something changes, a remnant is all that will be.

  28. Xenia says:

    The remnant is all there ever was.

  29. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, do you do climate change predictions on the side also?

  30. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    A funny fact is that many times over, more people will attend church this weekend than will attend all the high school, college and pro football games.

  31. Em says:

    on that note … going to the stadium doesn’t make you a football player 🙂

  32. Steve says:

    I’m not going to dispute Michael’s stats but I think this reflects more the state of christiandom in the United States than the actual church which I believe is alive and well.

  1. October 2, 2019

    […] The following excellent observations on abuse of power and church is courtesy of the Rev, Richard Newnham, His blog is here. […]

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