Archive for June, 2011

CINDY: I have found most abusers are sociopaths and actually believe everything THEY do is right, and if we’re too dumb to accept it, we are the ones in the wrong. The old saying applies: “If you point out a problem, YOU become the problem.” It’s very sad, because it reflects on Christ and His reflection to the world that needs Him so badly.

JACK: From my experience over the years, I believe Cindy is absolutely correct, and I wrote an article about it that was published by the Huffington Post.

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Hey Jack,

I’m getting to know you through your web site, Facebook, and now your blog. I, among other things am a writer and blogger.

I left church in 1999. Just recently, I’ve begun to go back. I know there’s a reason for me to be in a body of believers, so I’m trying. It’s tough.

A few weeks ago, I gave some money to a young couple I didn’t know anything about. I just knew they were in need. I could meet that need, so I did.

I went on a 5 week trip and when I got back, the Pastor asked me to meet him for coffee. I thought, as wounded people do, What does he really want.

Well, long story short he thought I was interfering with his ministry to the couple I had helped, and wanted to let me know that!

Well, I guess you know that dredged up all the hurt and disappointment of my past.

I’m wondering, Jack, if I will ever be able to go to church and just let stuff slide off my back?


Jack: No, John, you won’t. Your wounds are too deep, and any time a person who has spiritual authority challenges you, your wounds will surface. This means that you are destined to lead a half life. If you don’t like this answer, then you will need to do the recovery work necessary to become whole once again. Get Recovering from Religious Abuse, and work the 11 steps. If you do the work, you can become everything the Lord ever created you to be. The choice is yours.

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Refer to STEP 4: I chose to accept as true what God has said about Himself. He is good and can be trusted.

The other night in my small group Bible study, we were talking about the passage in Timothy where it says if we are faithless, He remains faithful. After that, it says that if we deny Him, He will deny us.

In the ensuing conversation, someone said, if a Muslim terrorist held a gun to his kids head and threatened to kill them unless he renounced Christ, he would say it outwardly but not inwardly. He reasoned, “I would just mouthe it—nothing else.”

To nearly everyone, this was OK–but not with me.

Without being too legalistic, let me say this: The Lord is looking for men and women who have the intestinal fortitude to stand up for Him regardless of the circumstances. In earlier times, there were many who would, but that doesn’t seem true today. Sadly, we live in an era where there are few who will do so.

Is it any wonder why we have such little impact upon society? I would love to hear what you have to say about this.

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Learning about Life: Parts 1-3 is the forward to a new book of prayers I’ve written.

Altering reality to make a situation more palatable never works, and it is certainly isn’t what God is looking for from His children. He wants each of us to come before Him exactly as we are—in truth, devoid of deception. He is interested in us being forthright, genuine, and transparent—not in being piously pretentious.

If God teaches us in the valley, which He does, then He wants us to be honest when we come before Him—gut-wrenchingly honest. He understands adversity, having experienced it through the suffering of His Son, making Him fully capable of meeting a person exactly where that person is, regardless of where that might be. This is why I have written Real Prayers for Real People with Real Troubles.

It’s for people who have been crushed, having had the wind knocked out of their sails. It’s for people who are in pain—for those who desire to reach out to God but lack the words necessary to express their deepest emotions. It’s for everyone, but particularly
for those who have been abused,  especially religious abuse. If this has been your experience, then Real Prayers for Real People with Real Troubles may be exactly what you need, either right now or for the future. Each prayer has been created to touch the most painful, tender parts of your soul. The entries are quite diverse, including:

  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Sorrow
  • Defeat
  • Forgiveness
  • And many others.

I’ve written each based on real-life experiences and have found all of them to have value in dealing with life’s difficult situations. Real Prayers for Real People with Real Troubles is the type of material you can refer to whenever troubles threaten to overwhelm you. During painful times, when you can barely making it, you will want to keep Real Prayers for Real People with Real Troubles close.

It will always point you to God, providing you with a continuous source of comfort, as it helps you get in touch with the source of your problems. The prayers are for people who know to turn to God when their world is rocked. So, if you are looking for something genuine—something that will point you to God in the midst of circumstances that threaten to crush you—Real Prayer for Real People with Real Troubles is for you.

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This point of view, which predominates Christian literature, consistently views the glass as being “half full,” barely giving lip service to the downside of life, where hardship becomes all consuming—where the glass is obviously “half empty.” Constantly encouraging people to be victoriously upbeat—always looking at the bright side of life—it does everybody in our society a disservice, especially people of faith.

If humans develop character qualities more easily in the valley than on the mountaintop, then being focused on success, while avoiding failure, does nothing more than keep them in a perpetual state of immaturity, rendering them incapable of the growth they need to reach their full stature. By discounting the downside, this perspective has accomplished nothing more than produce a generation of weak-willed, frivolous Christians—men and women who are rarely in tune with the harsh realities of how difficult life can be.

By altering reality to conform to their doctrine, their belief system hinders their capacity to empathize, making them unable to bear one another’s burdens effectively. The end result is that we now have a generation of believers who are inadequately prepared to face adversity, which occurs in everyone’s life, sooner or later. The adherents of this perspective lack the strength of character gained by having to deal with adversity one day at a time. The end result is that they are incapable of substantive faith—of being strong, resilient men and women. Instead, their faith, which is consumed by self-interested materialism, lacks depth and resiliency, rendering them emotionally unable to be the “salt of the earth,” which is precisely what they have been redeemed to be.

There is no area where this perspective is more apparent than in prayer. While often beautiful and mellifluous, there is a surreal quality about them, based upon this worldview that makes them seem more like fluffy, sappy religious sentiment than anything real and genuine. Syrupy and disingenuous, those who utter such platitudes believe they have come before the throne of Grace, capturing God’s heart, never suspecting that they have probably missed their mark. For whatever reason, this perspective fails to understand that God’s desire is for us to be completely honest with Him, exposing our wounds, hiding nothing.

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I totally agree.

Although, when you’re in the depths of despair and your spiritual eyes are so clouded with pain and utter loneliness, you sometimes can’t see Jesus.

And, when you are hurting, sometimes it seems that our church family likes nothing better than to get thier licks in, under the guise of discernment, discipline, and whatever else—not that there isn’t a place for those things. The bible commands that discipline take place, but we seem to have gleaned unto the discipline and lost total track of grace, mercy, and love.

Thanks for your posting this. Hope I didn’t go too off track!

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Nearly everything I’ve learned about life has come while I’ve been in the crucible, crushed by my circumstances, feeling like I was in the emotional pit of hell. I’m certain there are those who have the ability to learn in a kinder, gentler way, but I’m definitely not one of them. Neither are most of the people I know. Like me, they rarely learn their lessons easily. They seem to gain wisdom and maturity when adversity stops them dead in their tracks—never through the gratitude that comes from being blessed by the Lord.

Additionally, I’m far more likely to seek God during times of hardship than in times when my life is progressing nicely. Perhaps your experience has been similar to mine. I may be mistaken, but I suspect there are more people like us than not—those who learn to trust while deep in the valley of despair, apprehensive about the future—rather than while living on the mountaintop of success, where joy seems to fill each day with endless wonder.

Even though there are millions like us, it’s interesting that most of today’s inspirational material focuses on being successful and prosperous, while discounting the value of adversity. According to this perspective, misfortune is unacceptable—something that should be avoided or, at least, minimized. When hardship comes into a person’s life, it’s viewed as if there is something wrong—something that needs to be fixed, rather than being acknowledged as a normal part of life, affording a necessary growth opportunity.

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