There’s nothing like a good story, to make a point, so here is the kick off, to ‘getting kicked out’ of church. I don’t mean to offend, though some will, undoubtedly, find that terminology offensive, even sacrilegious. However, since a large percent of the time the act itself is sacrilegious—violating God and disrespecting that which is sacred—and therefore more becoming to heathens than to believers, I have no difficulty using slang to describe it.
A good friend of mine, who was thusly greeted–or ‘ungreeted’, to be technical– after receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8) refers to it as having received the ‘right foot of fellowship’.
At best, my less than religious take on it, in my introduction, takes the power out of excommunication for those victimized by it. (That is my intent.) There is nothing ‘spiritual’ or ‘holy’ about the abuse of power. Shameful? Yes! But there is biblically no need to be spiritually traumatized by it. Somehow it has the ability to leave a grown man or woman shaken, and that is some of what I will explore in the posts related to the topic.
At worst, my satire offends those who condone its extreme, and use it as a tool of control and abuse. Check your heart. Better yet, ask God to. If there is any personal quest for power driving you, repent. (Psalm 139;23-24)
Those who walk in grace and humility do not abuse power. For those who have been involved in administering the process biblically, there is no need to be offended. It is not the few who walk in love and biblical leadership, whom I address in this part of Spiritual Abuse. I would not use satire to write about confronting sin in a biblical manner. That would be hypocritical of me.
I open with a lighter tone, in stark contrast with the harshness, because it’s too ‘heavy’ to enter any other way. All light-heartedness aside, there is something about excommunication that is incredibly destructive, when used abusively. (I have not spoken to anyone where there was legitimate cause for it—because of sin that is not repented of—so I cannot speak to whether it is effective or not. Does it ever bring redemption? Until I hear one testimony to that effect, from someone who was excommunicated, that question remains unanswered. I can only speak to it from my experience, and what has been shared with me.
At age sixteen I found myself surrounded by a fistful of preachers and a bishop, my sins about to be addressed and my rejection notice served.
Only months earlier, having had quite enough of the abuse, violence and death threats at home, I moved a bit over an hour from home, in hopes to start a new life. Once away from the ‘hell of it all’, I had no desire to return, even for weekends.
I visited random churches in the town of Wellesley Ontario, and surrounding area, trying to stay in touch with God. Mostly, just being away from the trauma of daily terror was heaven. I wasn’t particularly rebelling against God, at least not deliberately, nor was I pursuing Him in the ways I had been taught. I was just happy for a safe place to live, with ‘Grandma Katie Steckle’, the kind elderly woman who provided room and board for me. Sometimes my only ‘church’ was me out in the yard with my ‘ghetto blaster’, listening to Gospel Echoes. I was happy in those moments, just me and Jesus, and a boom box, lying on the grass. I could almost feel Him there with me.
Evenings were spent visiting old people in town. Trying never to over-stay my welcome, I tried to visit no more than once a week. They all loved my company, served me cookies and invited me to watch TV with them. Most of them were Christians and some even had Mennonite background, so they understood me.
As these friendships carried me through a difficult season of life, a storm was brewing. A girl from my home church reported to the leaders that I was watching TV. (She asked me and I was honest enough to say yes.)
And that is how it came about that I found myself sitting in a classroom, at the Cornerstone Christian School, on the outskirts of Wellesley, Ontario, surrounded by a group of preachers, a bishop and one preacher’s wife, a lost child, about to get kicked out of church membership.
….To Be Continued…
© Trudy Metzger 2012
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