Friday, June 24, 2011

Cash Machines for Christ

The caption under this twitter pic reads:

Things I love about (insert name of church here): ATM in the Lobby of Church!

This was tweeted by one of the pastor types at the former vortex church we attended.

Need I say more?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Red Flag Warnings

Too bad the red flags we came across over the years in our former church worlds didn't have more obvious indicators that something was wrong. Take this red flag across the path for instance. How nice it would have been to see a big red flag over the threshhold of the vortex sanctuary. Or how about "Danger! You are listening to an imposter!" on the big media screens strobing behind the pastor king while he rants about unity (i.e. cloning himself so we'd all be on the same page.) It would've been great to see a huge fire truck complete with clanging bell and horn resounding in the parking lot when everyone showed up for prayer on Saturday night! Why not a strapping fireman with a bull horn warning "Step away from the door!" so we would have chosen to go somewhere fun with our families to actually help BUILD a stronger relationship instead of yet another night in a windowless sanctum?

Oh well, even though the flags didn't flash obvious danger signals, the good news is we eventually got the message. Even though we still cringe when we wonder how many red flags did we need to see before we knew to get the heck out of there?! (a life-long lament to be sure)

An anonomous person dropped by the other day and left a compelling comment on my Spiritual Temperature and A New Surrender post that I'd like to highlight in its own post. By way of collecting testimonies like this, those of us out here (who are now outside the camp so to speak Hebrews 13:12-14) can keep record of this surprising 'new' (for some of us it's new!) movement that is indeed coming into its own, a new move of God if we dare to say. Many of us are fed up with what Christian Culture has become to us and have decided we no longer have to live within its confines if it's in one of the abusive environments. We no longer desire to follow a wrong gospel. We've seen numerous red flags that all added up and now realize it is the Lord himself removing us from the danger zone! He called us out to RESCUE OUR FAITH! We are finding that God is still with us and moving in our midst despite the threats the old world tried to contain us with, telling us God would remove his blessing from us if we ventured outside 'the covering' (gag). (Side note: Their version of covering completely COVERED US UP! The only COVERING we need is Jesus. It goes without saying that we can find joy in healthy relationships and friendships, but they don't cover us!)

And here we are, actually blessing one another with encouragement and support! Talk about a church without walls! I'm not talking about Paula White who desecrated the concept by naming her church that, using it to garner wages to jump in the pipeline of the rich and famous! To the contrary, wouldn't you say that phrase describes the church on the internet?! So glad to finally take the cult out of culture if you get my drift. I'm so grateful to find other brothers and sisters on various blogs who have stumbled on to the truth of God's love and that HE needs no walls to keep his church going. HE is without limitation! It's enough to make the abusive church leaders weep and gnash their teeth because it's so beyond their control! They just can't stop it!

Anyway, to the topic at hand which is our new friend's comment. Sounds like he or she has abandoned ship or is about to... thank GOD either way! A hardy congratulations he is free from that particular 'pipeline'! Please say a prayer for this person to find a new job, a thriving livelihood and true fulfillment on this side of heaven, because it sounds like he had to sacrifice his job to leave. Many of us know the feeling. It WILL get better, I hope he can grab onto that and rebuild his hope. So here goes:

"Thank you for creating this blog. It's very comforting to read in the internet many stories from former members of abusive churches share their own testimonies.

I was in a word of faith movement and I left the group just recently because the red flags I am experiencing is already too intense to ignore. I was looking for a refuge from the abusive atmosphere in my family only to be trapped in a spiritual group wherein the system is also abusive. I bought into the lie that "the cause" is the most important mission of a christian. I gave in to the false promise that you have to be in the "right pipeline" if you want to experience the fullness of God's blessings and I obeyed out of fear that you have to be in the "right boat" to ride the big wave otherwise you will be left behind. Charismatic preachers name call those christians who don't want to submit to a human shepherd loose cannons, spiritual dwarfs or rebels. It's difficult to leave cause I sincerely considered them a family, however, the system for me has already done subtle yet serious havoc in my life. I left my job for the faith that I am exchanging it for a "far greater and more important work for the advancement of the kingdom" only to realize when I was already involved deeper that there are aspects significant to the system that my conviction can no longer tolerate. My growing disillusionment is getting more difficult to deny so I deliberately decided to take my own exodus. I am now jobless, really hurting and somewhat feel paranoid. Words can't describe the pain I feel inside. Even praying to God seems blank, I have lost all desire to go to church and even my motivation to live has been really affected. But despite of the pain, I am doing my best to get all the strength I can muster to bounce bank. No matter how hard the process i am going through right now,i still hold on to have faith in a benevolent and gracious God."