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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:

 

Leveraging Milestones – Rites of Passage within a Faith Community

11 Jul

Fuller Youth Institute released this article, and I wanted to share because it deals with rites of passage in a faith community.  The article is mislabeled as most of the content deals with addressing milestones and spirituality within a church or spiritual community.

Leveraging Milestones: Making Spiritual Conversations Normal At Home

I believe that the article does a great job of pointing out spiritual milestones or rites of passages for children as they grow into adults.

Here is the article.

My Highlights include:

  • Whether rites of passage or milestones, church communities have unique opportunities to intersect families at these various points and equip them to normalize spiritual conversations within their home life.
  • Our desire is for spiritual conversations in the family ecofriendly-minivan to be as normal as the conversations about basketball or the latest Disney hit.
  • Chart of Rites of Passages and Questions that they answer.

If you are new to the discussion of rites of passages in faith development, here are some additional resources.

What milestones does your faith community acknowledge and celebrate?

How do you communicate the definition and transition into manhood to your children, adolescents, and emerging adults?

Faith in the home – Spiritual Conversations with your Children

5 Jul

Research done among youth group participants by Fuller Institute revealed only 12% of mothers have regular dialogue with their children about spiritual or life issues.  Only 5% of teenagers reported that their fathers have regular dialogue with them regarding spiritual or life issues.

The lack of communication in our homes about our faith is clearly an obstacle to the passing on of our faith and a cause of the Millennial Exodus.

Most of us are familiar with our responsibility as parents to imprint our faith upon our offspring.  Deuteronomy 6:6-7 states…

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 

However, being a spiritual leader in the home is not always easy.

Many parents struggle with addressing spirituality within the home.  Some parents struggle because it was never modeled for them, or feel as if they are not equipped.  The main reason that parents don’t talk to their children about faith is because they are afraid. 

Yes.  Fear shuts down the conversation before it even begins.

We fear how our child may respond either through statements, questions, or actions.  As parents, we fear that our child may reject the faith that we believe – and that their unbelief means that they are rejecting us.

Another source of this fear could be that our child might struggle with the same doubts that we ourselves possess.  Most Christians do not like facing our doubts, but we try to ignore or bury them in other activity.  We know the “church answers” or party-line responses for our doubt, but those pesky doubts linger.  Instead of leading our child on this pathway of faith, we give our children the glib responses that we don’t truly believe.

While making spiritual conversations with your children doesn’t take a lot of training, it does take courage.

  • Be courageous – step out and speak to your child about their spiritual lives and beliefs.
  • Sit back and listen.  Don’t attempt to answer all their questions, or solve all their doubt.  As your children age, you should not be looking to convert them or change their beliefs.  You should seek understanding for yourself, and encourage them.  If you seek to change them, these conversations will always end in conflict.  If you seek to listen to them, these conversations will lead to a deeper fuller relationship with your child.
  • Speak to your journey – trials, failures, victories, and hopes.  Share with your child your own experiences, while acknowledging their autonomy to make their own decisions.
  • Reflect and pray.  Don’t express your concerns to your child, but express your thoughts through praying to God.  Process what you hear with your spouse or friends.  Having community with others who are parenting emerging adults is essential for maintaining your sanity.
  • Repeat. 

May God grant you the faith and courage you need to faithfully parent your emerging adult children.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder of EA Resources.  He has a passion to encourage parents of emerging adults, and faith communities who want to minister to their needs.  If he can help your community, please contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

Drew Dyck on Depression and Anxiety

18 Apr

Drew Dyck is an acquisitions editor at Moody Publishers and a senior editor at CTPastors.com.  Drew Dyck is the author of Generation Ex-Christian (of which I am a fan).  In this article, Drew writes about his journey through anxiety and depression.

I have had my own struggle with depression – due to PTCD (Post-Traumatic Church Disorder).  So I know the destruction it can bring.  I hope this article will be an encouragement to you.

Three months ago I took my last antidepressant.

Well, it was more like a sliver of an antidepressant, a pink little tab cracked off from a larger one. I had been weaning off Paroxetine (the generic form of Paxil) for a month, taking increasingly small doses—25mg, 20mg, 15mg, 10mg …

Here is the rest of the article.

2017 Mother’s Day Gifts

11 Apr

I am not the best gift giver.  As I write, I realize that half of my wife’s Christmas gifts remain unopened and unused.  I believe it is the thought that counts, and so I press on in my adventure to become a good gift giver.

Becoming a good gift giver does take some work, some of that work includes reflecting on the person receiving the gift and discerning what would bring them joy.

So whether you are buying for your mother, or the mother of your children, here are some thoughts to Mother’s Day 2017.

  1.  Personalized Gifts – Rather than run to Walmart the day before – a gift that is unique to your family is always a win whether it is a necklace, keychain, ring, or bracelet.  For instance, we got necklaces that were engraved with each of our children’s names.  Here is a company that I would recommend for jewelry.  If you are looking for some interior signs for your home – check this out.personalized jewelry
  2. gift this year, I found one of hCreate a moment.  A gift that would create a memory with the family, or relive a memory from their past.  For example, my wife is the only female in our family and rarely gets to watch her favorite childhood movies.  As a er favorite movies, and we will spend time as a family recreating her joy.

    mother and boy

    Photo by Chris_Parfitt via Wylio

  3. Plan to Pamper.  Everyone likes to be catered to in some way.  So on Mother’s Day – Mother knows best, and gets to choose.  I know this seems basic, but it often gets forgotten especially if your family involves children.  Pampering doesn’t require spending money on an expensive services like a manicure/pedicure (although many women do enjoy them), but it can be done on a budget.  Whether it is a back massage with a warm bath, or a few moments of quiet time and a glass of ice tea.  Plan a time when she feels like a queen.
  4. Reflect on Love.  Take a moment to reflect individually or together on an aspect of your relationship.  This could be through a well-written card, or a walk around the block.  Some mothers love the public praise given on social media like Facebook or a Tweet, while others prefer a private expression of love.

 

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to equip churches to minister to the needs of emerging adults.

 

As more people claim to be “spiritual” more than religious, what exactly does that mean?

28 Mar

While in Johnson City, Tennessee, I began a conversation with a shuttle driver named Jeff.  He asked me why I was in town.  I explained I was speaking at a church, and said that he “hoped it was full of the Spirit.” 

I began asking him about his studies.  Jeff shared about his major, and what he wanted to do when he was done with college.  He was more than eager to talk about his life experiences, and how they had shaped him.  He was extremely articulate, and well-read in various philosophies. 

Here is the rest of the article, and what I learned that day.

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

Clayton Jennings – Hating on His Haters

21 Mar

Last fall, news broke about the Indiana-based Evangelist Clayton Jennings.  According to reports, Clayton had been involved with several women sexually all while preaching the gospel.  These reports are most clearly reported by Pen and the Pulpit.

After not one but six women came forward with similar stories, you might think that it would slow down this man’s social media empire and speaking schedule, but apparently there is no stopping him.  (Apparently, there is no stopping this lion, or Bentley as he often refers to himself.)

Clayton went on the offense recently against those who have written about him.  He calls them Haters – among other things like wolves and fake Christians, and my favorite a “Honda Civic.”

Clayton Jennings - haters

You can watch his Spoken Word – here.

I wrote about him once – here.  So I guess that means I am one of those “bloggers who can’t do real ministry – living in their mother’s basement.” There is much that I could say about this video, but I think that his work speaks for itself.  Oh, so much that I want to say…

but I will exercise a little self-restraint.

I do not know Clayton.  I am not driven by hate for him.  He clearly has great personal charisma to attract such a following.

I do not truly know his story, his inner motivations, or the current state of his soul.  I will not attribute his work to Satan, for statements of this type when the individual steps into the role of judge are extremely dangerous.  So while avoiding coming to those conclusions, there are some things that Christ-followers should reflect upon.

Some might feel that writing on Clayton’s life is nothing – but gossip – and putting down someone else for no reason.  There are several reasons why this story should be shared.

  • Because of the nature of the sin. This was not one accidental sin or a mistake.  This was a season of life living in full knowledge and complete disregard to his hypocrisy.  He was preying on victims before and after preaching on the stage. 

  • Because of the abuse of spiritual power to force others to do things that were against their beliefs. 

  • Because of the current lack of authority and accountability.  Clayton has removed himself from all authority and his own church community revoked his license to preach (Which although extremely significant in its message, this action only removes his state license to marry people).  While this doesn’t affect his speaking tour, it does speak volumes, about the concerns his home church had about this man. 

  • Because he currently lacks a “ministry” location. He no longer works at a local church.  His support comes from a vast social media empire which is what supports him.  This is why when he was apparently called to close down his social media empire, Clayton refused.  There is too much to lose for him.  The only way to remain connected to these people is through continuing to feed them his brand. 

  • Because his income is based on speaking the gospel.  I don’t believe Clayton has another job, but I assume that he lives off his speaking, ads, donations, and t-shirts.   

  • Because the deceitful mess of the human heart and how repentance and reconciliation requires community, accountability, and time.  Public figures needs time out of the spotlight and away from the stage to truly walk through mistakes, and refocus their lives. 

What is important:

  • To call Christians to question the “Celebrity Pastor” trend.
  • To warn Clayton’s followers (Currently 217k) of his past abuse of spiritual authority. I am not a social media expert, but I am sure steps have been taken to seclude his followers from the news.  Maybe he should truly #telltheworld.
  • To attempt to recapture the authenticity of Christianity.  No matter how popular you are, how eloquent you sound or how pretty you look.  Authentic messengers are so crucial in today’s world.

Here is a up-dated bio.  Enjoy.

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd does not currently live in his mother’s basement, but would not judge anyone who does.  He is close to 40, and drives a Nissan Sentra.  He is not concerned about his number of Instagram followers.  He does not make any money from blogging, nor is he concerned about how many “hits” this article will receive.  He is a survivor of spiritual abuse, and has seen how spiritual authority and power can ruin even the most dedicated of Christ followers.

 

 

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