Sunday, September 5, 2010

spiritual abuse and lame sermons

I paid a visit to a church today I usually don't attend. Even though it's close by my house I prefer to go farther because .... uuummm, the preacher rubs me the wrong way? Until today, it’s been difficult for me to understand what triggers this allergic reaction since the pastor seems like a nice guy.

Well, the sermon emphasized the importance of hearing God’s voice which I thought was ironic because to me a lot of FOG seemed to be filtering throughout the whole message. I wrote down some of the points that were made for your viewing:

1. The true Christian cannot show sadness in his face because he or she is a child of the light; 2. Grace is granted by God, but it has an expiry date; 3. The Christian must set aside his own plans and commit to God’s plan only; 4. Once the Christian has submitted to God’s plan, then God grants success in the plan that was set aside. 5. The Christian must put aside his or her problems if he or she wants to listen to God.

Is it just me or are these ideas incongruent? They reflect a kind of moralizing reasoning dominated by the Wounded Inner Child; where the wounds seem bigger than God and where the hearer needs to be nagged about duties in order to get his or her act together. To me this does so much damage to children who feel they have no real choice, but to conform to adult expectations.

What also pained me was that the preacher addressed the hearer assuming that he or she:
1) doesn’t want to listen;
2) resists getting involved
3) makes all kinds of excuses in order to not commit to ministry

These are digs that a sensitive soul detects. It’s probably not the speaker's intention, but the gospel message is cross-pollinated with FOG (Fear, Obligation and Guilt Tripping). It teaches the hearer to conform outwardly while denying or minimizing his or her inner conflicts.

“Put on the smile.”
“Help someone in distress.”
“Stop being self-centered.”

To me these subtexts beg the question; Why must inner conflicts be placed as the antithesis (in dichotomy) to listening or to serving God? How can this spiritually fortify the hearer? Doesn't this kind of reasoning reinforce the socialization tactics of the world? Doesn't it reject authentic expression thus constructing a false self that conforms to what others expect (on cue) -- what the hearer SHOULD be doing?

No wonder some people outside the church, view christian communities with caution. When the Wounded Child is not healed, hearers are subjected to external mandates such as learning to smile on cue (if you aren't naturally inclined). This kind of false environment upsets me. The worst part is that the general public silently affirms FOGGY religious assumptions -- week after week.

The preacher also sprinkled some self-importance into the sermon by letting us know that he had breakfast at the same restaurant three times this week while "ministering" to people in his congregation. Why did we need to know that bit of information? How is it related to listening to God? The subtext seemed to be saying, "Look at me, I'm important and the way I show that importance is by having breakfast three times at a nearby restaurant.If you listen to God, then you can have these privileges too."

My thoughts on this post one week later: This journal entry ties well with the post entitled, "The Subconscious Script of the Wounded Child" The preacher is replicating what he was taught by his parent or parents with the difference that he uses the Bible to give authority to his erroneous thoughts.

No comments: