Dale Fincher is currently doing a series on spiritual abuse on his blog. (In fact, his whole blog may be about spiritual abuse—I’m not sure.) He talks mainly about his own experiences. I admit, this isn’t something I like to talk about for several reasons. First, I generally try to stay away from speaking negatively about anyone specifically. Second, spiritual abuse can be a complicated subject. Third, people who have been hurt by this can be quite bitter. While rightly angry, it can be challenging to listen to, especially when trying to stay away from bashing others, as mentioned in point one.
Nevertheless, I think it is an important subject to address. It’s part of the idea behind this series, “Shrewd as Snakes”. As I mentioned before, many things pastors, preachers, priests, and other religious leaders say can sound very good and religious—even biblical—but be quite wrong. Most of them have had years in the system being trained in these ways of thinking, whether conscious or not. So unfortunately, it may be very difficult for people to see the problems with the spiritually abusive paradigms. This is why I think it’s valuable to address. Dale does a good job of clearly describing some of the spiritual abuse and explaining the problems with it. We need more people who can recognize it and not put up with it. Unfortunately, spiritually abusive people and organizations generally surround themselves with people under their control, and kick out anyone who questions or rebels.
I don’t feel that I have experience significant spiritual abuse personally. However the conservative Christian culture I grew up in is closely related and influenced by the more conservative voices, sharing some of the language and teaching at times.