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Religious Trauma and the Binding of Isaac

13 Jul

I have featured Julia’s work, and recently came across this on her blog regarding the Sacrifice of Abraham.

“Deceived, tied up, and held at knife-point — all by his own father? Because God said so? Talk about traumatic!” an older lady exclaimed.

Here is the blog post.

I stopped reading the story of Abraham’s sacrifice to my children when they are younger.  My first born was shaking after I read him the story from a Bible story book, and he still asks me if I would ever kill him if God asked me to do it.  There are many stories in the Old Testament for which a young child is not ready to understand from a developmental point of view.

Julia makes the beautiful point that even when “God provides” during or following trauma – it does not cease to be traumatic.  The trauma still affects the individual – often in painful ways.

I have suffered religious trauma.  I am a victim of spiritual abuse, and struggle with something that I call – “Post-Traumatic Church Disorder.”

You can read more about my own story here.

Julia makes a beautiful point when she states,

It’s hard for the hurt and the hope to coexist. But I think that’s what the story of the binding of Isaac, and the story of any religious trauma, has to tell. It’s not an easy story. But it’s a good one.

Julia Powers is a writer and seminary student at Duke University Divinity School, where she is pursuing the M.Div. degree with certificate in Anglican Studies. Her primary professional interests revolve around pastoral care & counseling, spiritual formation, and young adult ministries. For fun, she enjoys blogging (www.juliapowersblog.com), dabbling in iPhone app development (www.emojicheck.com), reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Posts related to Spiritual Trauma:

 

Facebook is seeking Authentic Community

8 Jul

I came across this article, and had to share it.  Facebook is now seeking how to develop community that is real and authentic.  Many churches are attempting to do the same thing – for a different reason.

At Facebook, mere “sharing” is getting old. Finding deeper meaning in online communities is the next big thing.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg is no longer satisfied with just connecting the world so that people can pass around baby pictures and live video — or fake news and hate symbols. So the Facebook founder wants to bring more meaning to its nearly 2 billion users by shepherding them into online groups that bring together people with common passions, problems and ambitions.

In this Wednesday, June 21, 2017, photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, right, talks with Facebook group administrators Lola Omolola, left, Erin Schatteman, second from left, and Janet Sanchez during the Facebook Communities Summit, in Chicago, in advance of announcement of a new Facebook initiative designed to spur people to form more meaningful communities with Facebook's groups feature. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Here is the full article.

The article explains how their leadership team is seeking to move Facebook from social sharing into communities where people find genuine community.  Community is powerful.  As humans, we were created to be in community with one another.  The ability to develop a community is so essential, that I present it as one of the basic developmental factors of adulthood. 

Facebook is facing an uphill battle.  While still the largest (by far) of the social media platforms, Facebook is facing decline among today’s adolescents and emerging adults who prefer to use Snapchat or Instagram.  Their decline in popularity is causing them to rethink how to create authentic community.

The main reason for this change is money.  Facebook made $27 billion dollars on advertising last year.  The longer that people stay on Facebook, the more income that they produce.

According to Anita Blanchard, virtual communities “can fill a fundamental need we have for a sense of belonging, much like eating or sleeping.”  The real hurdle is whether virtual communities, can truly provide undivided attention, a warm embrace, or show up when your car won’t start.

If you are looking for a virtual community to join, check out the EA Network – a network of people who desire to minister to the needs of emerging adults.

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Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder of EA Resources, and the EA Network.  If he can help you minister to the emerging adults in your life, contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

Premature Intimacy

9 Feb

 

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Copyright by Aaron Roberts Photography 2016

 

I believe in purity. I believe in purity rings. I believe in setting physical boundaries in relationships in order to keep from hurting ourselves and others. This is something that is often taught, lectured, and discussed in Christian circles. However, I think we are missing something. Something BIG.

Physical intimacy is something to be shared only within the boundaries of marriage. God created a special connection called marriage for a man and a woman to enjoy sex and physical intimacy.

However, after years of working with students, I have discovered that there are many students who while keeping their bodies pure, have crossed over boundaries in other areas that I believe should be reserved for God’s design of marriage.

Is physical intimacy the only intimacy a man and woman can experience? As humans, we know that there are several types of intimacy that two humans can enjoy including emotional, spiritual, and physical. I believe that God desires to keep us pure until marriage in every aspect of our lives. I believe that intimacy in all areas should be reserved for marriage.

(While I am not usually into dissecting human relationships into different aspects, please be patient as you will quickly see my point without a drawn-out explanation of each area, or a need for distinct lines. I usually run from books that dissect relationships into a new way just to sell books. However, because of the Purity Movement, and its focus on the physical intimacy of teens, I felt this needed to be written.)

There should be boundaries in various areas of our lives that keep Christians from becoming intimate too quickly. Christians should be careful so that they do not cross the line of “two becoming one” before they enter into marriage.

For example, many young adults are surprised to hear that I do not encourage them to share their devotional lives. I do believe that guys and girls can and should pray together, but regular times of deep prayer/ bible study as a couple can cause premature spiritual intimacy. Your spiritual health becomes dependent on the other person, and so when the relationship is broken, you are left to pick up the pieces of your walk with Christ. Students should regularly talk about their spiritual lives, but boundaries should exist.

This is also true when it comes to emotional intimacy. Both guys and girls bear their entire hearts in a relationship, and then feel emotionally vulnerable after the relationship is over. No wonder they feel uncomfortable after the break-up and can no longer be friends. A boundary has been crossed.

I have worked with too many guys and girls who have not kept boundaries in their lives, and so with each broken relationship they wound their heart. These wounds turn into scars, and scars lead to calluses. A calloused heart can hurt a marriage even before it begins, so let’s guard ourselves from premature intimacy.

I am not saying that dating or relationships are evil. I simply want students to retain intimacy for the day that they walk down the aisle.

What are your thoughts and experiences? What do you think are some good boundaries to put up in a dating relationship?

Other Posts on Love and Dating:

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.

 

 

Why Traditional Manhood Is Killing Us – Article from The Huffington Post

21 Jul

by Mark Greene, blogger at The Good Men Project

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Enforcing traditional manhood as the only acceptable path for men is called living in the Man Box. Charlie Glickman does a great job of explaining the Man Box here.

The rules of the Man Box go something like this:

  1. Real men don’t show their emotions (anger, yes, but little else).
  2. Real men are always confident. They make all the decisions.
  3. Real men are providers not caregivers.
  4. Real men are heterosexual and sexually dominant.
  5. Real men continuously talk and play sports.
  6. Real men are never handicapped, disabled or unemployed.

And so on. Whatever else they are, “real men” never do anything that might appear as feminine. And that’s the biggest tragedy of all.

Click HERE to read full story via Huffington Post.

“A Shrink and a Pastor Walk Into a Bar”: A Church’s Conversation on Mental Health

5 Jul

13442682_10206164233134420_6170693830157814465_oThroughout the month of June, one Dallas church was spending each Monday evening having important conversations in a local bar. The annual event, Theology Live, featured a challenging topic this year: God and our bodies, including discussions on infertility and adoption, the meaning of life, mental health, and death.

While each of those topics need to be talked about more, including in the church, let’s take a particular look at this church’s discussion of mental health — a topic that men, perhaps even more so than women, struggle to talk about openly.

Click HERE to listen to full audio of the talk “A Shrink and a Pastor Walk Into a Bar” or full audio of the Q&A session.

A few practical takeaways from the Q&A session:

Q: How do I support a family member who struggles with an addiction or other behavioral health issue?

Dr. Lee Spencer, psychiatrist: “To make meaningful change, they have to want to change a little bit. They’ve gotta at least see some consequences that are outweighing the benefits of [their behavior].” “With family members, pointing them in ways, in directions of people that can help is often the most important piece. But to get there, you gotta have them at least willing to accept the fact that what they’re doing is not in their best interest.”

Q: “What’s the difference between empathy, sympathy, and compassion?”

Ryan Waller, pastor: Sympathy says, “I’m sorry you’re experiencing that.” Empathy says “I’m gonna put myself in your shoes and try to see the world as you see it.” Compassion says “I’m gonna feel sympathetic, feel empathetic, and do something about it. And compassion is what I feel like Christianity calls us to do.”

Closing remarks: “The reason we wanted to talk about this is to remind everyone that there’s deep, deep hope. If  you are anxious or you are depressed I can say to you, as an individual, that I’m a person who has experienced some of that and has also experienced an incredible growth and healing. I think through the power of Jesus Christ there’s nothing that can’t be redeemed. So, I hope you feel hopeful. I hope you feel filled with life. And I thank you for being here.”   

The Realities of Media Addiction – Article from The Washington Post

23 Jun

By Hayley Tsukayama, reporter at The Washington Post

It was group discussion time at reSTART, a woodsy rehabilitation center about 30 miles outside Seattle. Four residents sat around the living room and talked about their struggles with addiction, anxiously drumming their fingers on their legs and fidgeting with their shoelaces. One young man described dropping out of college to seek treatment for the crippling problem that brought them all here: compulsive Internet use.

Click HERE to read full story at The Washington Post.

A few of our observations from the article:

  • A recent study by Common Sense Media, a parent advocacy group, found that 59 percent of parents think their teens are addicted to mobile devices. Meanwhile, 50 percent of teenagers feel the same way. The study surveyed nearly 1,300 parents and children this year.
  • In the United States, there is no definition of Internet addiction. It is not recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which sets the official standards for disorders in the United States. A draft definition covering video-game addiction is included in an appendix for further research review, but there is no entry for general tech use.
  • Other countries, however, do officially recognize some forms of Internet addiction as serious conditions. In South Korea, Internet addiction has a formal definition; there, students are diagnosed and sent to government treatment centers.

See for yourself and let us know what you think! How does Internet use (or perhaps over-use) affect you and your family? Should technology use be treated as other addictions?

The Limitless Potential of Men to Transform Manhood

14 Jun

By Courtney E. Martin (@courtwrites), columnist for On Being 

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In many cultures, a strong preference, or even a mandate, for male babies — leading some women to have sex-selective abortions — has resulted in a huge gender gap. The United Nations Population Fund estimates the deficit of women to be about 117 million worldwide:

“This distorted demographic masculinization, which has serious social and economic implications, is not a natural phenomenon, but is achieved through a deliberate elimination of girls.”

It’s a devastating reality and one that deserves much more public attention, policy strategy, and cultural entrepreneurship. The moral implications, not to mention the long-term consequences in places like China and India, are harrowing. The root of this preference is old and deeply driven by economic and sociological circumstances. In so many parts of the world, it’s simply more profitable and respectable to have a boy.

And yet, context is everything.

Click HERE to read full post at On Being

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