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April 21, 2019, 11:02:48 pm *
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Author Topic: The Role of the Internet in Healing from Spiritual Abuse  (Read 896 times)
Rebel in a Good Way
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« on: May 21, 2018, 05:05:07 pm »

While working on my final paper for the semester (woo-hoo!), I came across these sections written by someone who did qualitative research on spiritual abuse.  She had the following to say on the role of the internet in healing from spiritual abuse and I believe it relates to this forum.  Except for the current condemnation going on by people who deny spiritual abuse, but that is another story.

"The virtual Christian community is often the first line of help available to devastated and hurting Christians. The Internet provides an immediate oasis of consolation for church attenders who find themselves disfellowshiped."

"The questioning Internet reader, one who is familiar with the works of various authors who have written about the incidence of spiritual abuse, notices parallel patterns about peopleís unfortunate experiences of church life. They observe that the following are the major issues that have brought each of them to this same point of cynicism with their former church: hierarchical leadership styles, simply recognized as power and control; insincerity, hypocrisy, and kingdom building among leaders (rather than people building and pastoral care); church leadershipís inability to deal with criticism; church leadershipís heavy handed ways of dealing with believers who oppose or question the leaderís direction; and the feeling of having no voice in that congregation, especially regarding issues of injustice. These multiple yet interrelated factors have led Christians into a season of depression, frustration, helplessness, and isolation. The virtual Christian community has, for many, been a significant bridge to the road to recovery."

"There are a number of Internet websites which investigate the occurrence of exiting from the local church, the problem of authoritarian and controlling leaders, how to cope after such an occurrence, and aspects of healthy recovery. Compassionate remarks from those who have had a similar experience abound. Websites provide information regarding how to recognize erroneous teachings in the Church, how to recognize leadership maltreatment and spiritual abuse, how to recognize the components of godly leadership, cult awareness, and support for those who have walked away from a cult. Articles provide insights regarding counseling the spiritually and emotionally abused and how to ground Christians in the knowledge of Godís grace towards them and their spiritual identity in Christ.

Websites provide opportunities for those who had damaging and hurtful church experiences to freely share their personal stories without condemnation. Website hosts are often the first to share their own experiences online. The majority of people choose to remain anonymous yet some choose to identify themselves. Commonalities can be observed from these accounts. It is pertinent to recognize the virtual army of participants who are addressing this common, yet multifaceted situation. Internet sites have become a suitable resource to aid people during their recovery process.

"Participants found immediate help by reading Internet websites that had articles on the topics of spiritual abuse, healthy and unhealthy leadership and church life, cults and cult-like beliefs and behavior, as well as sites that offered the opportunity to participate on blogs or forums. Many participants were delighted to find such a welcome resource via the Internet at this critical time in their lives."

Orlowski, Barbara M.. Spiritual Abuse Recovery: Dynamic Research on Finding a Place of Wholeness (pp. 15-1, 21, 172). Wipf & Stock, an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2018, 05:09:27 pm »

Great article, Rebel. Thanks for sharing.

And congratulations on making it through another semester! I remember how those classes just seemed endless at times.
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2018, 05:27:42 pm »

Thank you, Rebel, I have experienced this firsthand.  Thankful for others before me who have spoken out and those who have been brave enough to share their stories and have pointed me towards who God really is. 
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