In this third installment of the Church Refugee Sanity Guide, I talk about understanding and managing the pain and strain that occurs in our social and relational networks during times of transition, particularly when leaving or changing a church affiliation.
The Psychology of Transition – Part One
Leaving an institutional religious expression that you may have invested in for a long time can be emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and relationally overwhelming. We often do not understand what is happening in us, to us, and around us. For all the alleged “Biblical literacy” that Christians are supposed to possess, we can be very ill-informed and ill-equipped to function well as human beings. Understanding the processes of transition and change (in any arena: job, family, church, relationships, finances, etc.) will help us understand ourselves, and others. We can successfully and fruitfully navigate difficult seasons of change. This second session of the Church Refugee Sanity guide looks at what happens to us psychologically during a major transition: 1) stability/comfort, 2) discontinuity/awareness, 3) disembedding and more. Leaving institutional religious expressions.
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The similarities between a modern youth praise and worship service and a Hitler youth rally are terrifying. Our beliefs and practices regarding what has become a subculture and mega-business of so-called Christian praise and worship, need a complete overhaul. [An excerpt from my book, Praise, Worship, and the Presence of the Lord, available here.]
Next to death of a loved one or a divorce, fewer things are more emotionally and psychologically challenging than changing a “church” association. Often when people begin to question their church experience and consider “leaving,” they feel alone, misunderstood, accused, disoriented, and perhaps even crazy or thinking they are losing their mind. They often feel unloved and unsupported. In this first session of a ten-part series called the Church Refugee Sanity Guide, I introduce the topic and provide a frame of reference for understanding that you are not alone.
I often get asked: “Where should I go to church?” It is the wrong question to ask. Lurking in it are likely inappropriate and unrecognized presuppositions and motives. We need to ask a “who” question, not a what and where question. The correct answer to that question will be found in understanding God-assigned relationships. Relational reality in God-assignments is where you will find your “church,” no other way.
I am pleased to announce the release of our new book, How New is the New Covenant? – Discovering the Implications of Jesus is Lord.
The following is a brief true story from a friend of mine of the conversion of a Papua New Guinea tribesman named “Pully.” The author of this guest blog, Nate Ham, knew Pully personally. I would earnestly pray that any conversion would have as much Holy Spirit ethical substance as Pully’s. I pray that we could live in as much gospel authenticity as this simple, elderly man, from Papua New Guinea. I would ask you, in the midst of much of the theological clamor today regarding God and retributive violence, to humbly and prayerfully consider the many and deep implications of Pully’s story.
Church growth is a phenomenally popular topic of interest. Follow these ten simple steps and you can quickly plant a successful church in your community!
There is a brand of Christianity that is always talking about the cross and the importance of dying to self. At best it is an imbalanced over-emphasis–a half-truth–and at worst, flat-out error. It promotes sin-conscious introspection, feelings of worthlessness, self-loathing, self-hatred, unworthiness, spiritual paralysis, and legalism. It promotes spiritual pride in a reverse sort of way—you are esteemed for how worthless you feel about yourself and how “humble” you have become in appearance to others who control access to power in the specific church culture.
The eye-catching headline read, “Which Professions Have The Most Psychopaths?” (The Week, October 30, 2013) What ensued was quite a dialogue on the internet, as everyone seemed to have their own favorite picks or a personal horror story. The article stimulated debate, but unfortunately did not add clarity to a worthy subject. And that subject is: Why would a so-called “psychopath” be found in greater numbers in one profession versus another?