Flirting with Faith

Flirting with Faith


Ever Been Hurt by Christians or the Church?

posted by Joan Ball
There is a trend among some Christians that I would like to bounce off you.

Some churches, having heard and acknowledged that the capital-c Church has done many “unChristian” things over the centuries (and today), have taken to apologizing for current and past sins that have been committed in the name of Jesus. From hypocrisy to slavery to poor treatment of homosexuals to the Inquisition, supporters of this trend believe that it is important to take responsibility for these warts on the nose of their faith in hope that it will lead to healing and, potentially, reconciliation. Others feel that apologizing is either not warranted (since they were not directly involved in these actions) or that, since direct amends cannot be made, the apologies could appear to be pandering rather than a genuine desire for reconciliation.
I believe an argument could be made in either direction.
That’s why I thought I would take the question outside of Christian circles and ask the people who would would be receiving the apologies…people who feel like they have been hurt by Christianity or the church.
If that is you, I would love to hear from you. Specifically, I’d love to know:
  • What happened?
  • How did you respond?
  • How did the church/Christian in question respond?
  • How would you feel if you got an apology from the person/church that perpetrated the “wrong.”
  • How would you feel if a Christian who had nothing to do with it apologized to you?

Hope to hear from you.
Joan



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Steve

posted October 29, 2008 at 3:06 pm


That’s a great question. I consider myself a recovering fundamentalist though I still hold to a generally evangelical view. Last year we were asked to leave the church we had belonged to for nearly eight years. Our sin? Professing a belief that the earth is more than 6000 years old. That was a stunner and it took place very quickly. We were in shock.
The church had been our home for a long time and we were very close to nearly everyone there. They were as shocked as we were, especially when the pastor announced that we were leaving voluntarily.
I would have appreciated an apology from the pastor over his handling of the whole situation, but that’s not gonna happen.
How would you feel if a Christian who had nothing to do with it apologized to you?
Better. In fact, several members did apologize. It was a good thing, thoough the pain was still there.
As for apologizing for past sins, I don’t see the value. We can’t and shouldn’t apologize for the Crusades or the Inquisition or slavery because those affected are long dead. An apology now trivializes the matter.
We can only sanctify our own hearts through the working of the Holy Spirit. We can and should work to alleviate suffering as Christ directed, but let’s get over the past and move on.



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TitforTat

posted October 29, 2008 at 6:46 pm


Steve
The shameful part of your story is the fact that many others probably feel the same, but just keep quiet about it. The problem as I see it, is that unless youre on the right side of any Religious group, you run the risk of being ostracized. That seems to be completely contrary to most of what Jesus was trying to say. Go figure, so much for the Love of Christ eh.



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Razzler

posted October 30, 2008 at 8:09 am


I grew up in a church for ten years and my Dad was the pastor. After 10 years my mum did something that the church did not agree with and we were all “asked” to leave. I won’t go into details as it’s too personal. Undoubtedly there was wrong on all sides, but we were treated without any consideration or love. This had been my family for 10 years. I was 19 at the time and very angry. Eventually I put aside that anger.
After 7 years I now have contact with only one person from that church. I now feel that if the church (or the members involved) apologised to me I would be able to accept that and forgive them, as I have (mostly) let go of my resentment towards them. However, it is unlikely to happen.
If a Christian who wasn’t remotely involved apologised to me I really wouldn’t see the point in that. I do not believe it is our responsibility as Christians to apologise for every sin that has been committed in the name of Christianity.



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TitforTat

posted October 30, 2008 at 8:29 am


Joan
I have a little bit of a story with the Church too. It doesnt even compare to what I have read from others and what they went through. My wife and I had attended a Church for approximately 3 yrs. She helped out by running an individual group and I attended a Mens group every Tuesday for pretty much all of the 3 yrs. As I researched the faith, I increasing found my questions unable to be answered. I also found that some even avoided talking to me as my questions made them uncomfortable. The funny thing is they were the supposed teachers of the faith for the church lol. My experience is that about 98% of Christians are devoid of any actual knowledge of where their scriptures come from or how they are read(context). Sure they can spout out verses from memory, but thats about it. My experience has shown me that if you dont follow party(church) lines you are not really welcome. By the way, after I stopped attending the mens group I received no calls from any of the other participants. That really showed me how much I was welcomed by them.



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Joan Ball

posted October 30, 2008 at 3:07 pm


Thanks for the responses all. A couple of follow ups…
Steve: What if someone from an entirely different church had apologized to you? Would that have helped as well?
Razzler and Tit-for-Tat: Do you go to church now?



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Razzler

posted October 30, 2008 at 4:35 pm


Yes I do and I’m happy there. But it took me a long time. I used to go to church but it’s only in the last year that I got more involved.
This is a very interesting topic. Thanks for posting!



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Steve

posted October 30, 2008 at 6:09 pm


Joan,
I suppose if it were sincere I would appreciate it. I would liken it to sympathy from a stranger at the death of a loved one.



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Melissa

posted February 25, 2009 at 6:36 pm


Oh yes, I was definitely hurt by Christians.
What happened?
I dared to break up with my abusive boyfriend. We were both members of the same church. The pastor took his side, even though he knew about the abuse. I was told that if I was a better Christian, my boyfriend would treat me better. It was obviously my fault that he hit me. It was funny, when I was a victim of abuse, the women in the church were all over me to comfort me and to tell me to hang in there.
How did you respond?
I gave up on Christianity entirely. It has been eight years, and I still haven’t stepped foot inside of a church. I got rid of all my bibles. I call myself an agnostic now, although a little part of me still believes…I think. The thought of going to another church is far too hurtful.
How did the church/Christian in question respond?
When I finally had enough and broke up with him, I was Ichabod. No one talked to me. It was very clear that I was not welcome in the church. Eventually, I left the church. I was hurting a great deal and having doubts about Christianity. Instead of helping me or even listening to me, all of my “Christian friends” deserted me.
How would you feel if you got an apology from the person/church that perpetrated the “wrong.”
I wouldn’t trust it. The church is very manipulative and controlling; I was not the only one whom they turned against. The pastor preached repeatedly that he was seated on the right hand of the Father…there’s no way he would EVER admit to making a mistake.
How would you feel if a Christian who had nothing to do with it apologized to you?
It wouldn’t mean anything to me.



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Joan Ball

posted February 25, 2009 at 11:45 pm


Melissa: Thank you so much for this honest, and heartbreaking, response to this post. Like so many women in and outside of the church who suffer abuse it sounds like you were a victim further victimized by those people who should have been there to help you. I hope you have had the opportunity to connect with people – friends and professionals – to help you to process some of this. I’m glad to hear that part of you still believes – especially since faith the size of a mustard seed means something. In fact, I believe it means a lot. I wish there was some brilliant bit of wisdom I could share to encourage you to reopen a quiet dialog with Jesus, but I’m just not that good. Instead, I hope that you will keep in touch. My email is flirtingwithfaith@gmail.com if you want to communicate privately.
I wish you well and will pray for grace. Thanks again for sharing.
Joan



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Gary

posted March 5, 2009 at 1:01 am


I am a Catholic, but was raised a Lutheran and all I have to say is “what king of screwball fanatical right wing evangelical churches were these people going to anyway? In addition to Lutheran I’ve been to Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian, and even Baptist churches, and I’ve never heard of anything so nonsensical before. These stories are certainly totally atypical of anything I’ve ever heard of in any mainline Protestant church I’ve ever been associated with. I do no of someone however, a former co-worker who was a Catholic and beaten by her husband. The Priest totally took his side, and said it was up to her to keep the family together. Virtually no sympathy at all. I’m not trying to trash on Catholicism here, only to point out that this is not a Protestant “thing”. I suggest to anyone who finds themselves involved with some kind of church such as this that they simply leave it. The behavior of ANYONE who treats people like this is absolutely as un-christian as you can get. This includes the so-called Pastors of these churches who should be de-frocked at best (If they even have a degree in theology), as they are clearly in conflict with the teachings of Christ. Finally, it’s amazing to me that anyone male or female who is an adult, and a Christian, could not remember the words of Jesus who said “By your fruits you shall know them”. Don’t leave Christianity, leave the non-Christian churches that you attend.



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Alice

posted April 21, 2011 at 12:47 pm


I’m a Transsexual, I’ve been an atheist since my teenage years. I’ve had various horrid encounters with Christians.

I’m a university student I’d transitioned earlier that year I was living as a female full time (I looked like a female and nobody knew) and I was staying at this house, the landlord who was living at the house learned of my old male name and confronted me about it I explained my past. He made clear his christian beliefs and how he felt about me.
He made my life hell. Revealing my secret and socially humiliating me Threatening me with eviction, making me stay on the streets occasionally, accusing me of lying and stealing, insulting my appearance, physically cornering me yelling at me how evil I was citing bible verses, accusing me of performing witchcraft ect

My grades suffered at university, and I engaged in risky behavior because of how horrid I felt. I eventually managed to get away from the situation.
It wasn’t the first time. I’d been thrown out of doctors offices before when suffering health problems because they were christian and weren’t happy helping someone like me.

I became fearful of Christians, I sought out there groups and churches to see them more as everyday pepole… It made it worse as they often sympathized with my attacker and articulated there beliefs on why I was so evil.

mine is just one story, you could fill a library with the stories I’ve heard from others like me. The christian political right wing articulates this attitude. Protecting the attackers and inventing new laws to humiliate people like me.

I HATE and fear all Christians seeing them as bloodthirsty they share the same beliefs at the core.

A christian unrelated to the experience who’s heard my story did apologize.
I felt very strange I did cry oddly but more than that I resented begin pitied by them it makes me feel like a victim or that I’m pining for sympathy with my story… I’m not… I’m stating why I’m so angry at them all.

The persons who hurt me apologizing?
Such a notion is beyond my comprehension I have no idea what I’d think.



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Joan Ball

posted April 21, 2011 at 1:16 pm


Thanks for sharing, Alice. Hoping you’ll stick around and share in the conversation here for awhile.



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Its Me!!!

posted July 4, 2012 at 11:33 pm


I haven’t fully read the whole thread… but my story is kind of similar to Alice’s. But in my case I found no refuge or hope during my darkest moments. Instead I found a book that told me I was an abomination, and not only that but God also wanted me dead. Leviticus 18:22 & Leviticus 20:13.

Which I think is kind of interesting, I had well meaning “Christians” “spreading the word” “trying to save my soul”. These people only meant well. They did not realize how much they drove me into depression and alcoholism. Until I reached a point that I almost became an athiest. These people persecuted me, and gave me no answers at all.

Anyhoos as an AA failure I kept trying to come to terms with “The God of my understanding.” Which led me through the UFMCC, and ultimately into Islam as I reading through a basic Islamic guide.

In Islam I got the answer why 1) Why Lot offered his daughters to “brutally raped”. He was sent as an example to the people, you can do that if you are married only. A consentual married relationship. 2) What causes these feelings sometimes. Just like people are born with limp arms and handicaps, you two must learn to overcome that handicap.

Not to mention John 17:3 which kind of resembles There Is No God but Allah. A major premise denying the trinity.

Anyhoos… no doctrinal debates. I found that it was Christians that ran me away from Christianity. They also caused a great deal of hurt and despair in my life. I don’t really think they know how much.

There is an excellent movie called Lord Save Us From Your Followers. In it talks about “Frankenstein Jesus” He’s not the loving Jesus in the Bible, but instead a conglomerate of all “The Christian Churches” that unknowingly go around scaring, hurting and destroying people around them. Unfortunately most Christans are part of “Frankenstein Jesus”. They do not need to be part of “Frankensten Jesus.”

When it comes to that topic… mind you “Abominations that deserve death.” have actually read the story of Sodom & Gomorrah more than the people preaching to them to read it. God would not have destroyed the city if there was 10 good people. Jesus never commented on the topic. Obviously God must be not be 100% anti-gay… Genesis 18:32-33. Instead of demonizing people… maybe Christians should focusing on rescuing 10 people.

As you can probably tell I still have not 100% fully healed from being hurt by Christians. If I was… I wouldn’t be here. During Isha I asked God to give me to help me forgive.

This was therapuetic… maybe this may help some else…. If God wills it



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