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#245780 - 08/20/08 11:22 AM Churches and the Marginalization of Survivors?
LN3(SS) Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/20/08
Posts: 486
Loc: MD
I was baptized in the Church of God, which is a Pentecostal denomination, as a baby and attended Youth Camps in this denomination until I was in high school. Growing up, I had the oppurtunity to become friends with many wonderful kids and get to know their parents through these church experiences.

After I returned to the States, now as a survivor of abuses physical, sexual, and psychological, I thought, in my twisted thinking, that it might be time to reopen those ties to the Church of my youth. It might help my healing process.

Thinking this, I went to the parent of a friend who had been pastoring a church for over 20 years. I explained to her that I was now discharged from the service and I wished to join the congregation as a member. I explained to her what had happened to me in the service in general terms. This was not a good idea! She immediately jumped to judgment concerning my sexuality, my morals, etc. She expressed her regret at how I could have allowed this and explained God's wrath for "immoral sexual conduct". She then asked me to leave and return when I was ready to repent. So I did. I haven't returned to a church since.

I post this to get a general idea of the survivors that frequent this forum. I usually don't because of this experience. However, I was asked to post on this experience. After much searching and anxiety, this is what I have dredged from the blackness of my soul.

Brian

_________________________
"When we go into battle, I will be the first to set foot on the field, and I will be the last to step off, and I will leave no one behind. Dead, or alive, we will all come home together." LTG Hal Moore, Jr., USA (Ret.)

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#245794 - 08/20/08 12:11 PM Re: Churches and the Marginalization of Survivors? [Re: LN3(SS)]
hogan_dawg Offline
Guest

Registered: 03/26/08
Posts: 492
What a tard.

Maybe there are other Churches where folks are more understanding and welcoming?

Re: Disclosure - why'd you disclose to her? It's the kiss of death sometimes - do you wish to disclose this to the Pastor/Minister of any congregation you join? Or was this a once-only disclosure?



Edited by hogan_dawg (08/20/08 12:12 PM)
_________________________
I can say unequivocally that the lie of "To truly heal you must first forgive" has derailed more victims than the abusers themselves.
Andrew Vachs, 2003

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#245798 - 08/20/08 12:17 PM Re: Churches and the Marginalization of Survivors? [Re: LN3(SS)]
usmc97 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/05
Posts: 437
Loc: Colorado
1. I don't believe that any woman can understand the experience of a guy being abused at any age and nomatter how long they know you or even their credentials if they are a therapist. There is a whole different complication that they can not understand. We will never understand exactly what a woman goes through after being abused, it's not the same, it's not better or worse, it's just different.

2. I would recommend a non-denominational church, I feel that they more open and have a better chance of trying to understand what you've gone through and what you are going through. Pick maybe one person on staff and try to see if you're comfortable in telling them what happened. If you feel that they might have a preconception that because it happened makes you gay in someway you can add the point that you are not, never have been, and that it was completely against your will or something to that effect. People are just stupid sometimes but it don't mean that they can't learn.

I hope I made sense.

_________________________
Semper Fi

The statistics? 1 in 4, 1 in 6?
...then there's me the imaginary number

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#245808 - 08/20/08 12:56 PM Re: Churches and the Marginalization of Survivors? [Re: usmc97]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2572
Brian, as a Christian, and as someone who teaches and is looking to be even more involved in church, as someone who went to a Bible College and was in the pastoral ministries program..... I have to say that that woman was 100%, completely and totally ignorant and on that day God was no doubt more than a little angry at her for her actions, attitudes, and thoughts on your situation.

Pure and total ignorance on her part. She basically blamed you for what happened. I wonder what her reaction would be if she were raped and your response to her after she shared the experience with you was for you to ask her what kind of skirt she was wearing.

I'm sorry she put you through that. Sadly enough there are far far too many ignorant people out there.

That kind of thing is the reason I've only shared my situation with a few people in my church. My Pastor and his wife have been supportive, although they haven't a foggy clue. My wife's one good friend has been the best, but she gets it, as she was abused as a child by a man in the church, and then my wife's sister. She kinda ascribes to the "it's in the past" mentality, so she's non-judgmental on it, and nice enough, she's at least been understanding on the fact that I'm dealing with these issues.

I did disclose to a few others that I knew in college, which was a disappointment for me. One was even a fellow who is now a pastor. He flatly ignored me and hasn't said a word to me since. I realize his reaction has no bearing on me. It's a huge reflection on him and who he supposedly is, and the kind of "pastor" he really is. I'd seriously hate to be someone in his congregation.

Once again, I'm truly sorry she put you through that. She was wrong. In every way, wrong.


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#245829 - 08/20/08 01:26 PM Re: Churches and the Marginalization of Survivors? [Re: JustScott]
LN3(SS) Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/20/08
Posts: 486
Loc: MD
Reading my post and the replies, I see where clarifications are in order.

Regarding my disclosure, I decided to do this because her son was a friend I knew from my days of attending Youth Camp in the Church as well as from outside activities. I knew her from those days as well. I assumed that she would have a more open mind knowing me for as long as she did and knowing that me and her son were close friends. I would assume that, if I ever went back to a church, it would be morally wrong to hide something like this from a person that is supposed to be tending to my spiritual needs?

I had always thought that church shopping was wrong? This whole problem has shaken, to no small degree, my faith in God as I understand Him. If the Shepard of the Flock can coldly cast aside a sheep as unworthy, is there anything to prevent it again and again? Or maybe God Himself has found me unworthy in some way?

Brian

_________________________
"When we go into battle, I will be the first to set foot on the field, and I will be the last to step off, and I will leave no one behind. Dead, or alive, we will all come home together." LTG Hal Moore, Jr., USA (Ret.)

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#245836 - 08/20/08 01:34 PM Re: Churches and the Marginalization of Survivors? [Re: LN3(SS)]
Barkabus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/09/08
Posts: 809
Brian,

I am so sorry that your efforts to reacquaint yourself with church after the horrible experiences you endured through the Navy was met with more rejection. You deliberately made yourself vulnerable and opened up to receive acceptance and comfort. Instead, not only were you scorned and rejected but God's wrath was pronounced against you. That person was completely wrong in ever sense of the word. It is inexcusable that this type of reaction happens so often.

I am glad you shared this painful experience with us. I hope that someday you will be able to rise up from this experience and once again step into a church, the right church and be received and loved as you need and deserved.

When I came out of denial last April the first people I thought to tell were two associate pastors at my church. I was in a frenzied panic and didn't know what else to do other than I HAD to talk to someone. My experience was quite different. Of the two pastors I told one of them told me he knows what I am going through because he had memories of CSA come back to him last October. Both of these pastors were there for me. They were very loving and supportive and continue to be.

Now this makes me wonder though. If I had come to this pastor with the same information before his abuse memories had returned, how different would his reaction have been? Subconsciously could I have hit an unresolved area in him which would prompt a less than compassionate response? I don't know but whenever I hear of these painful disclosures if the rejection may sometimes be tied to unresolved abused. Who knows?

Now in a bitter turn last week the pastor who told me he is also a survivor was inexplicably and unexpectedly fired from my church. I feel betrayed by that action. I'm not sure how to handle this yet.

We're all in this together bro. Thanks again for sharing.

Mike

_________________________
My Story

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#245842 - 08/20/08 01:40 PM Re: Churches and the Marginalization of Survivors? [Re: LN3(SS)]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2572
Remember. The Shepherd and the shepherd are quite different. I see the Shepherd (Capital S) as being Christ Himself. Each church though has one or more shepherds (lower case s). The difference is the guys/gals you meet in that role are human. Some are there because they want to help. Some are there because they want to feel important. Some are there because they have an agenda. Not every pastor/priest/whatever is called or appointed by God to that role. Their "casting you aside" is not a reflection of God's feelings toward you. The pastor also has no business deciding who is or isn't worthy. I know that doesn't mean they don't do it, but if they'd pick up the Bible they supposedly believe in and preach from every week, they'd probably die of a heart attack when they realize God Himself said that He is going to judge them more harshly because of their role as a shepherd. He says the same thing to teachers... which is what scares the living crap out of me every time I think about it. It's also the reason I try to make sure that what I teach is in agreement with God's word and not my own personal thought or idea.

The fact that you're struggling with this now is a testament to their failure to tend to your spiritual needs, and yes, God will hold them accountable for it.

I don't think "hiding" those things as you put it is morally wrong, because you are not a fault. You have not sinned or done wrong. You were sinned against. So if you wish to or not to share the incident, that is up to you.

As for church shopping, I guess it depends on why you do it. It goes to your motivation in looking for a new church. If the church you're in isn't feeding your spiritual needs, you need to take care of yourself and find one that does. I'd approach it with prayer and ask God to take you where he wants you. Worked well for me, I've been at my church for 10 years now.





Edited by JustScott (08/20/08 01:42 PM)

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#245851 - 08/20/08 02:23 PM Re: Churches and the Marginalization of Survivors? [Re: JustScott]
hogan_dawg Offline
Guest

Registered: 03/26/08
Posts: 492
You asked "...if I ever went back to a church, it would be morally wrong to hide something like this from a person that is supposed to be tending to my spiritual needs?"

LN it's you that should be attending to your spiritual needs. They don't need to know this about you in order to be Minister or Pastor to you.

I personally would disclose to people whom I greatly trust.

_________________________
I can say unequivocally that the lie of "To truly heal you must first forgive" has derailed more victims than the abusers themselves.
Andrew Vachs, 2003

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#245877 - 08/20/08 04:21 PM Re: Churches and the Marginalization of Survivors? [Re: hogan_dawg]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6371
Loc: 2.5 NATO Nations
As long as there are people involved, you'll have dramatically shitty results with any institution.

BTW: She needed a fist-full of understanding!!!



Edited by Robbie Brown (08/20/08 04:23 PM)
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#245936 - 08/20/08 10:45 PM Re: Churches and the Marginalization of Survivors? [Re: Still]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Brian,

That's just ignorant behavior based in an incorrect and ignorant perception of God and>
_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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