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Avengers versus Jesus

29 Aug

The showdown of the century!

Over the weekend, this t-shirt came up my Facebook feed.  It features the Avengers sitting around Jesus listening to His story.  Jesus is saying, “…and that is how I saved the world.”

For those of you – like me – who thoroughly enjoy comics, this might be the perfect Christmas gift.

Here is the Link.

Superheroes

 

Four Things You Need to know about those Recovering from PTCD (Post-Traumatic Church Disorder)

22 Aug

 

This article is part of a series on spiritual abuse, and those who have PTCD which stands for post-traumatic church disorder.  For more articles on this topic, click the above link and search under the word PTCD on my website. 

 

 1.        They are not all cynical, angry, shallow, or unforgiving. 

 

Victims of church abuse should not be unfairly characterized.  These words could actually equally characterize victims or their abusers.  Don’t make assumptions about their emotional or spiritual state, but if you are close enough – ask questions.  While the body of Christ is sacred, the institutions that line our landscape and the leadership within are not.  Voicing your abuse is not being divisive, cynical or unforgiving – being labeled as such perpetuates and deepens their pain. 

 

Young adult - head on armsThey are not shallow Christians.  In the book Church Refugees the authors write, “You won’t encounter a single story in this book of someone walking away from church on a whim or because of one bad experience.” (Packard, 14)  The book’s research actually reveals that many church refugees held a deep faith and were very involved in the church.  Their spiritual devotion is so deep that those with PTCD often have conflicted feelings.  Sarah Cunningham writes, “I could never stab at the church without drawing blood from my own skin, because church is a deep and sacred part of my identity.” (Cunningham, 12) 

2.        They need spaces to share their story. 

As the wounded leave their community, they often feel their perspective was either not heard or invalidated.  Even if heard, the victims find it difficult to believe they were heard unless they are able to see the church respond to their pain.  Victims of spiritual abuse need people who can listen to their story and validate their pain.  Cunningham writes, “The hurting deserve their own individual, localized hearings.  And to be helpful, the responses must deeply consider each person’s unique makeup and circumstances.” (Cunningham, 18)

 

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Copyright 2017 by EA Resources. This and other pictures are available for use at our website.

 

 

 

As survivors share, minimize your words.  The worst thing you can give to a survivor is a trite Christian expression.  Non-verbal expressions of support and empathy are often the most helpful.  Rely on the power of a warm embrace, a gentle touch, and hope-filled eyes.   

 

 3.       They don’t want to be your project. 

 

Church survivors do not want you to attempt to fix them or prove that God still loves them, or that good Christians do exist.  God may or may not use you in their restoration process.  If not, be a friend.  Show love regardless of whether they return to the church or the faith.  Pulling away because the victim is no longer going to church reveals that our relationship was built upon conditional love.  As Christians we are called to be examples of the unconditional love of God which pursues people regardless of their response. 

 

Those with PTCD are highly sensitive to spiritual shaming.  Think twice before you tell them how they should feel, or giving them a solution.  Trust God’s Spirit, and wait on his timing.  While there may be times of iron sharpening iron, there is also a time to weep with those who weep. 

 

4.       Their recovery requires time.

 

Our passion is to see people restored to fellowship where they can both love and be loved.  However, we must understand they may not be able to walk through the doors of a church.  We must understand they may never be able to return.  Beyond the Broken Church states, “A multigenerational group of exhausted, depleted, and often jaded former church attendees can be seen wandering in the cloudy landscape just outside the church’s doors. (Cunningham, 9) Remember their journey towards healing will usually happen outside the institutional church.  The healing hands of Christ are not limited by the confines of the institutional church. 

 

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a nonprofit designed to equip the church to minister to the needs of emerging adults.  He is a survivor of church abuse, and can be reached at gdavid@earesources.org.

 

Sifting Through Junk

15 Aug

My grandmother recently passed away. Don’t be too sad for her, she lived a spunky ninety-three years!

As grandma spent her final days in the hospital, I spent some time living in her home. During my first night, a baskets full of creepy baby dolls with cracked ceramic faces kept me company. After a few hours of restless sleep, I crawled out of bed and carried the dolls upstairs.

© 2010 Amy, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

© 2010 Amy, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Grandma’s house was full of stuff – puzzles, books, and magazines, ceramics, and baby angels. I also need to mention the dish towels. Baskets full of dish towels- which had never been used- apparently these baskets were for decoration only. When Granny heard I was staying in the house, she called me over and firmly instructed me to not use the towels. Although I laughed inwardly, it was no joking matter for her.

After her death, we began to sift through her possessions trying to decide what to do with all her stuff. Some of it was immediately trashed, while other items were marked for a garage sale. The baskets full of towels were divided between the grandkids and are now… being used. (Sorry, Grandma.)

Obviously, part of this issue is steeped in this western materialism that runs rampant in our nation. Granny would go to all the Goodwill stores in the area once a week to go “Good-willing.” I recently heard on the radio that as baby boomers pass away, their children don’t want their stuff, and have no idea what to do with it.

The question I ponder is, “what will I leave behind for my children and grandchildren to sift through?” Will they find boxes of trinkets and bags of garbage, or will they find artifacts of love and reminders of a life lived by faith?

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources, a nonprofit that seeks to equip churches and parents to minister to the needs of emerging adults.  He is also the founder of the EA Network.  If he can help your community, please contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

 

Playing our best to the very end

2 Aug

 

© 2014 Lydia Liu, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

I took my son (who is 9) to his community basketball game. He loves the sport, enjoys his team, and plays hard.  This season has been hard, and they are not the best team. They lost today’s game by the score of 45 to 0.

 

The zero is not a type-o.

As my son struggled on the court, I found myself on the sidelines trying to deal with my own emotions. My son was the team’s only dribbler who could get it down the court, and when he was out (which by league rules was every other four minutes), they stole the ball every single time. I watched as time after time, the opposing team would attack the ball at half court, steal it, and make a lay-up.

At some point in this game – remember it is a game – a coach might call his team to back off, back up (to maybe three point line), and allow the other team to shoot the ball. I kept thinking he would, but it didn’t happen.  He yelled at them the entire game.

With five seconds left, the coach called a timeout in order to ensure my son’s team wouldn’t even get a last chance to put a point on the scoreboard. Following the game, three of the boys sat on the bench crying.

After the game, I overheard a parent tell this coach- “Good game.”

Was it a good game? At what point, do we as parents (regardless of which side our child is on) question the “goodness” of such a game? At what point, do we wonder if something is wrong?

Apparently, some people believe winning is not enough to win. Apparently, some people believe you must do your very best to the very end. However, I think doing your best includes looking across the court, across the room, and across the world to see how our best can actually lead to the destruction to others.

I want my children to know that a game is a game. I want them to know that there comes a point when you work to make the game enjoyable for all.

The following night at practice, I asked my son how practice went. My son replied, “Well, I was playing offense in a drill against my team. I kept scoring, and they were just not getting it. “So I pulled back, so they would learn what the coach wanted without getting discouraged.”

I am thankful my son naturally had this insight that others lack. A way of life that doesn’t work towards their own best interests, but also looks to the interests of others. This is a way of life that I believe Christ would call us to follow. This style of play is truly winning.

Philippians 2

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Becoming a Man – Taking time to Laugh

29 Jul

I am a fan of the show The Middle for many reasons.  Being a man in today’s world doesn’t happen by accident [What is a Man?].  It doesn’t happen by simply getting older.  As a father of three future men, this clip reminds me how I need to walk with my children as they mature into men.

While the journey may sometimes be frustrating, it can also be humorous.

Watch this clip as a reminder to take time to laugh while training your children.

Here is a clip from The Middle, from an episode called “the Smell.”

Brick and Deodorant

Why did emerging adults not vote in the 2016? What does this mean for the Church?

26 Jul

In the 2016 election, 46% percent of emerging adults (18-29) voted.  This percentage was up slightly from the 2012 election.  Historically, younger Americans do not vote as much as older generations.  For example, over 70% of those over the age of 65 voted in the election.  We could say that the reason that emerging adults don’t vote is because they are all lazy and narcissistic, but that would not be true.

http://www.census.gov

I believe that young voters often do not believe that their vote will make a difference.

Democracy is built upon a belief that each individual has a voice, and that each vote matters.

I recently read an article that was discussing the recent election in the United Kingdom.  In the last election (which included the decision about the UK leaving the European Union), 43% of voters between the ages of 18-24 did not vote.  The author stated that behind each young adult, there is a story as to why they feel as if their vote did not matter.

The author states that she believes the same thing is true about the church.  She states, “If they [emerging adults] haven’t been included in decision making and leadership, if they’ve been patronized or belittled, why would they bother turning up?”  I believe that there is a correlation between the involvement of emerging adults in the institutions of government and the church.

Emerging adults are rarely allowed into places of leadership.  Emerging adults are rarely given the opportunity for their voice to be heard.

The decline of religion in the UK has been occurring for many decades, and as the decline of religion is becoming clear in the US (Millennial Exodus), we should listen and learn from them.

Unfortunately, sometimes current church leadership does not want them to vote – because they are afraid.  They are afraid of what the new generation believes.  So instead of everyone coming together to work out our differences, we simple don’t leave room for them at the table.

Instead of fear, I believe that we should respond in faith.

Without the voice and vote of emerging adults, the church suffers.

Relevant Links

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources.  He is the founder of the EA Network.  If he can help you and your community ministry to the emerging adults in your community, please contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

5 Ways to Kill Warmth in Your Family (by Kara Powell)

22 Jul

This article came out last year from Kara Powell.  It is a great reminder about how to build a healthy (or warm) family environment.  We all want it, but to maintain this environment, it takes constant work.  Enjoy. Continue reading

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