I began to try to think about steps that people could go through in order to gain some religious health.
Flathead Mama: Book Review Friday: Healing Your Church Hurt by Stephen Mansfield
The book goes through those steps. It describes religious wounding by thinking about a simple machine. If you think of love of God and love of self and love of neighbor working together, most healthy religions have those three things happening. We learn to love God, we learn to love ourselves, and we learn to love our neighbors.
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Religious wounding happens when one of those things breaks down. Or if we have been taught not to love ourselves because of our gender or because of our sexuality or because of our ethnicity, then the machine breaks down. And we see this happening in different forms, and in different ways, particularly in American religion. I was raised in a very conservative Christian home, and there was abuse in our home. My father was violent.
And in our church, we were taught that we needed to submit to that abuse. So clearly, there was a breakdown in that machinery. We were not taught to love ourselves. And so I worked through those steps of learning to love God, love our neighbor and love ourselves. Q: How can your book and its insights help Christian leaders as well as individuals? For me, it was a switch from conservative, a very conservative, fundamentalism to Presbyterian Church U.
But many people are going through different sorts of wounding, and so it gives us the ability to understand people in a different way. So what I do in the book is I try to bring people through a process that we learn in seminary, and that is to take apart your faith, to look at all the aspects of your faith, and to put it together in a more life-giving way and a more loving way. I use a lot of feminist theology, womanist theology, liberationist theology to bring people through to a more life-giving faith.
We need to be aware of it and understand how to address it. Oh, absolutely!
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Unfortunately, humans do terrible things to each other, and we often do things to each other in the name of God. Q: Do you have recommendations for church leaders in helping prevent that from happening, from a sort of systemic or institutional perspective? As a Presbyterian, I chose that denomination because it has a good system of checks and balances.
But even within that system of checks and balances, we see how breakdowns occur.
Our institutions, they sort of cave in on themselves in order to protect themselves. We see it happening all the time. You can see how the whole church or the whole organization begins to protect the organization, and often the way that they protect it is they begin to blame the victim or gaslight the victim, like say that the victim is lying or the victim misunderstood. But believing that person is an extremely important part of this process, especially for church leaders -- being able to make a safe space, and to have processes for people to be able to record or to tell their stories.
Because for many people who have these wounding experiences, those things become enmeshed. People think that it was God who wounded them, God who hurt them. One of the very disconcerting things happening right now is that so many of our institutions in our country are being dismantled. I believe that we have those checks and balances in place. It helps us to be able to put a check on some of the sexism or some of the racism that can occur.
All of that said, oftentimes we make mistakes, and when those mistakes happen institutionally, they can become extremely large.
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So just like any human, just like any religion, just like any organization, we can be very good or we can be very destructive. I believe that the institutions are our best form of checks and balances. Abra el fichero con Bluefire. Sea el primero en opinar sobre este producto.
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