On the show today is another flashback from the 2021 Church Mental Health Summit with Jeana Roth and Katherine Spearing.
This particular episode highlights how Courage is Contagious and reminds me of a time when my youngest daughter was young and we tried to convince her to take off the training wheels and move to a two-wheeler.
Much as she was very physically capable and seemed to excel at other physical takes learned in swimming and gymnastics, for weeks she refused to remove the training wheels.
One weekend we joined our friends at a campground and if you have ever been to a campground you know that it was pretty much run by kids on bikes. So before we left we knew if there was any weekend we knew this would be our last chance to get her off those training wheels.
She struggled to keep up with the other kids. We thought for sure after seeing the other kids riding free, booking it around the campground she would finally take those training wheels off.
But instead, she was embarrassed and chose to play at the park instead. But a few days later, when it was quiet when no one was watching she came to us and said she was willing to try.
Watching those kids at the campground gave her the courage to step out of her comfort zone and try something new.
While the #MeToo movement started in 2006, it was in 2017 that it really got people’s attention. The more people talked about the abuses perpetrated by those in power, the more people seemed to come out and share their stories.
It showed how Courage is Contagious.
And we have begun to see how people stepping out and sharing has caused so many to rethink their experiences. Was that interaction appropriate? Was I beING manipulated? With greater understanding comes more reflection.
Abuse can insidious, and the subtle impacts of gas-lighting or spiritual manipulation can leave a person feeling confused, powerless, ashamed, anxious, and depressed, yet, unable to figure out the cause.
WHAT IS TEARS OF EDEN?
Tears of Eden is a community of survivors who have experienced abuse in the evangelical community.
Its founder Katherine is seminary trained with nearly 10 years of ministry experience on staff with churches all over the United States and Central America. Like many in ministry, Katherine has been witness to and experienced firsthand harmful things done in the name of God, she seeks to use her story to help fellow wounded ministry workers navigate the aftermath of Spiritual Abuse.
Jeana Roth served as a missionary in East Africa before returning to the United States and becoming a counselor. She is now a Licensed Professional Counselor working with those who have experienced complex trauma and spiritual abuse and helps her clients reconnect with themselves, others, and God.
Spiritual abuse is a topic that has been amplified by the many reports of abuse that are now coming public because remember Courage is contagious.
With so many people talking about spiritual abuse it’s important for ministry leaders to be aware of how they can support people in the healing journey and prevent further harm.
I felt that this is a timely conversation to have because many are reflecting on their own experiences and their leadership
This is an opportunity to consider how, as leaders, we can model healthy leadership and be a part of someone healing and building trust in a loving and faithful Jesus.
This episode can trigger some emotional reactions for those who have experienced spiritual abuse. In their session from the 2021 Church Mental Health Summit, Katherine and Jeana explore spiritual Abuse, deconstruction, reconstruction, and how the church can engage with this vulnerable population by providing safe opportunities for healing.
If you have been a victim of spiritual abuse, this session will help you navigate and destigmatize the journey you are going on, and if you are a leader use this session as an opportunity to reflect on how you are supporting those on a healing journey.
I hope you enjoy this flashback from the 2021 Church Mental Health Summit.
WHAT IS SPIRITUAL ABUSE?
This is the deliberate use of God and the Bible to cause shame and harm leading to a breakdown in the relationship between God, self, and others.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR THE CHURCH TO IDENTIFY SPIRITUAL ABUSE?
Much as this may be hard to comprehend, there are people in the church who are being abused from church leaders to members of the congregation and we have to address it when it happens.
Abuse may be deliberate or unknowingly however one thing that should happen is to identify when it is happening because as human beings we do fall short all the time.
DECONSTRUCTION IN THE CHURCH
Deconstruction is not a very welcomed aspect of the church as it is related to deconstructing the whole faith yet at times people are deconstructing specific aspects of the church and its way.
This is basically reframing so as to merge church and culture. The church should offer a safe space for people who are undergoing deconstructing because if the church is a place for healing then we should talk about harder topics
HOPE FOR SPIRITUAL ABUSE RECOVERY
For spiritual abuse to be addressed, the church and community should work towards:
- Rebuilding trust with people who have been in spiritual abuse situations
- Offer programs for recovery
- Create safe communities that welcome those abused to share their experiences and grow strong
HOW TEARS OF EDEN HELPS
Tears of Eden is working towards being a one-stop hub for spiritual abuse. It acknowledges each person is on a personal journey. We are all at different places with our faith, church, and God so Tears of Eden tries to reflect that in their resources and, at the same time, allow our community to be where they are.
KEY POINTS FOR SURVIVORS OF SPIRITUAL ABUSE
- You are not alone and there are people willing to hear your story so reach out today.
- Be patient with yourself during the healing story, don’t feel rushed to reach out to a church or a counselor till you are ready.
CONNECT WITH KATHERINE SPEARING AND JEANA ROTH
CONNECT WITH HOPE MADE STRONG