How to Hang with God When you don’t want Church any more.

[Trigger Warning: This article contains references to child sexual abuse, religious abuse, church discipline, and bad treatment of members of the LGBTQ community which may trigger some readers].

She revealed to her Associate Pastor’s wife she was gay and hoped to find a female life partner. Within days, she was called before a meeting of the Elders. They demanded she repent from her wickedness.

She reminded them that she had just identified/admitted to herself that she was only attracted to women. She had not had sex and had not even kissed a girl.

Yet she was told it was time to repent or face church discipline. She told them she could not in good conscience pretend to be heterosexual. Days later, they informed her that the following would happen:

  • She was suspended from membership pending a time when she would publicly repent.
  • The Elders would read the notice of her suspension from the pulpit.
  • All members of the congregation–including her family members–would be told if they saw her or spoke to her they could only bring up the issue of her sin. They could not be friends with her or talk casually with her.
  • If she repented, she would never be allowed to do children’s or teen ministry. This was to prevent her from influencing young children toward lesbianism in the future.

She got angry at the church, God, and her family–who indeed shunned her–and vowed to never go to a church again. That was seven years ago. Continue reading “How to Hang with God When you don’t want Church any more.”

The Five Lies that Victims Believe

falsebeliefs

In 1987, I wrote an article telling the story of four sisters who had been molested by their father. Each of them had been molested the same way. Each experienced this at the same age–he moved on from one to the next with maniacal precision. Of course, each of them had been emotionally damaged by the abuse.

I wrote the article for a psychological journal more to point out the differing outcomes of each one. Though they were all affected negatively by the abuse, they all compensated differently to it as adults. They each gave me permission to share their story since I had counseled every one through to health.

But I was intrigued by what they wouldn’t allow. Their father was still alive and still married to their mother. I had talked about the possibility of all four of them confronting him on what he had done. Though they could not have him charged because of a Statute of Limitations, they could have the satisfaction of letting him know how his crime had changed their lives. There is a healing aspect to confrontation.

But all four refused to do it. Curiously, each of them had a different reason:

  • One was afraid it would kill their sick mother
  • One felt she had somehow participated in the abuse and had no moral grounds to confront him.
  • One was sure confronting him would destroy her inside
  • The final one felt she would never be able to get the words out of her mouth.

Their unique responses to confrontation underscores how each victim experiences abuse and assault differently. But it also shows that every victim wrestles with different beliefs emerging out of the abusive situation. Continue reading “The Five Lies that Victims Believe”

Why I Have Delayed Writing Lately…

This is the reason.

My new home.

I have about ten articles rumbling in my belly these days and I would love to get them all done. But a long process of extraordinary length, peppered with the occasional act of God, has made it difficult to write what I want to write.

Many of you are new to this blog and are here to read about victimization, egalitarianism, pacifism, or marriage success. And we will get back to all of those subjects shortly. But, because you’re new, I want to give you some perspective on my recent journey.

After starting a church in Sacramento in 1999 and pastoring it for 16 years, I resigned in 2015. I devoted myself to writing, teaching, and counseling. At the time, I anticipated moving to Oregon to teach in a college there. But I learned some things about the college’s viewpoints on church, counseling, and certain elements in our culture which I could not truck with. I stopped pursuing that teaching position.

We had already sold our house and moved into a rental. I wasn’t sure what I would do, so I kept doing what I was doing. Then, a church in Hayward, CA lost their pastor to cancer. They asked me to help them work through that.

That’s when the whirlwind started.

  • My counseling load exploded
  • The rental house sold
  • Our daughter moved home after finishing grad school
  • We found the perfect house. Problem: It wasn’t built yet.
  • Moved into an apartment while the house was being built.
  • Began working half the week in Sacramento, half the week in the Bay Area (70 miles apart).
  • Speaking requests increased.
  • Victim advocacy requests started to pour in.

Finally, two weeks ago, our house was completed and we began to move in. 40 years of marital stuff came from the apartment, the storage unit, and our friends’ garages.

We are now in and setting up house.

I am starting to write again with a renewed vigor.

The antics of pastoral abusers like Bill Hybels, Ravi Zacharias, Andy Savage, and several others are pissing me off.

You’re going to hear about a lot of this.

A Testimony of TPM’s Effectiveness

This was sent to me last night and I wanted to share it with all of you.

Hi Mike,
I have been set free to love and to know His love is such a way that I need to share the freeing effect and proclaim that the truth has set me free. A lot of the memories that I have visited during my theophostic sessions have had to do with my mom. I wondered how I would feel towards her when I saw her. When I went home in November I was pleasantly surprised by the feelings of love and understanding that I had for her. Then when I recently visited her and my dad, the positive feelings were still there and were even stronger. Her comments just didn’t have the same effect. I wasn’t anxious or apprehensive about what she was going to say or do. I know this is freedom that God wants for me and I can say it feels so true and real.

God is amazing and his sheep do hear his voice.

Scriptural Foundations of TPM

At the end of the 7th video of Ed Smith’s latest training series, he does a good job of laying out some of the scriptural foundations for TPM. He admits on the DVD that this list is not exhaustive and invites others to explore the Scriptures for themselves to notice how prolific is the teaching that supports TPM, God’s Voice and Lie-based thinking.

So, after talking about scriptural underpinnings with the latest training group, I decided to list several key scriptures that I use in explaining TPM to someone who is new to the prayer ministry. Continue reading “Scriptural Foundations of TPM”

Group Theophostic

Some of you are part of my prayer team for teaching, so this story will not be entirely new. But this week I am teaching at the Youth With a Mission Base in Lakeside Montana. My topic is “Hearing God’s Voice” and how that relates to prayer and Christian Living. One of the events of the week is a time when I do an evening teaching. It is often preceded by worship. In the past, this has often been a time where God shows up and brings a manifestation of His Presence on the students and the staff. At least, that has been the case most years I speak here.

Wednesday night was awesome. God’s Presence was a tangible reality and it seemed like His love and joy were becoming more intense every minute. Several students were feeling overwhelmed with God and crying, laughing, shaking and repenting all merged together. At one point, a young girl got up and stood on her chair. She said that the Lord had been expressing his love to her, but her heart didn’t believe it. Now, you need to remember that I wasn’t teaching on Theophostic or lie-based thinking at all. She declared in front of the entire class that she wasn’t coming down until her heart believed what her head did. I knew if I didn’t jump in, she was going to be up there for a long time.

However, before I could go over and help her with reaching to the point of her lie, she invited anyone else who felt the same way (lies that were getting in the way of the Truth) to bring their chair over and make a stand. Four other girls did the same thing. That made me turn around and go back to where I had been kneeling. After all, you can’t do TPM with five people at the same time, right?

I apparently don’t know the power of God or the effectiveness of what I believe. The Lord pushed me over to the group and had me do a 10-second explanation of what we were going to do. I asked them to focus on how the lie felt inside. Several of them became very emotional. I asked them all if they wanted to go to the source of the pain and the lie. They all agreed. We waited on the Lord as He showed them each memories where the pain emanated from. I then asked them if they felt this belief was true. They all did. Then I invited the Lord to come into each memory and speak to them. As I said this, it seemed like chaos began to reign. One girl fell off the chair. Another began to rejoice and the other three were crying uncontrollably. One by one, I asked them what the Lord showed them. It was completely the Voice of God for every one of them. By the end of the time, all of them had been set free from lies and reported peace in the memories. They all said they felt that their head and heart were in agreement.

All of this took about 20 minutes. God is so effective. It makes me believe that I probably don’t believe that God can do anything. But I am becoming a believer more every day.