Hurt by church

I had lunch with a friend today who was recently deeply wounded by his church, by people he had respected, admired, and been faithful to for years. No need for the gory details, but sheesh this is a recurring theme in my life. All the way back in 1985, when I was just a typical 14 year old boy, the church we had been part of my whole life fell apart. Because of things the pastor and his wife were doing. No need for the gory details, but a lot of people were left with serious emotional hurts. It put me into a tailspin spiritually that lasted through one wild year of college before the Lord was able to get through to me again.
This issue has remained close to my heart and Amy and I often find ourselves ministering to those hurt by church. Part of my dissertation is exploring how the Pentecostal movement has perpetrated hurts through the codification of its doctrines and practices (the insistence that everyone speak in tongues being the most prominent, though not only, example). I think it is worth devoting some space here on my blog to this subject too. Hurt by church comes in many forms and there are no easy answers, but we should look at the ecclesiological problems that lie behind the abuse and look for a better way forward.
You can help me with this. If you have been hurt by church post a comment here (or send me an email if you want to keep it private). Be as vague as you like (no need for gory details) and focus more on where you are – where the hurt has left you emotionally and spiritually. I’m not looking for gossip or mudslinging, but a space where hurts can be voiced and addressed.

The Civil Wars

I have been listening to John Paul White and Joy Williams since they posted their first song on Youtube (check out my favorites), but I was still unprepared for how wonderful they were in person. Hearing them and meeting them at the Pourhouse in Raleigh was a very special treat. If you haven’t discovered them yet, you can still get their Live at Eddie’s set for free, you can buy their album Barton Hollow just about everywhere now (going to be the Grammy winner – I called it back in February), and you can probably catch them live since they are touring relentlessly. They also did a wonderful job on NPR’s Tiny Desk recently. Give them a listen. Good people making great music.