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More a matter of anger than disbelief

valleygirl

valleygirl

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Valley of dry bones
I was raised in a Christian home, and considered myself to be a Christian for many years. I guess now I would call myself a reluctant believer. About 4 years ago I experienced a deep betrayal by my church, in which I lost some of the people I had trusted the most with my pain. I started to question myself a lot, because a number of people, including someone I had formerly trusted, thought I was overreacting. But as my story, and the story of the betrayal, has come out in therapy, my therapist has been very understanding, and has helped me to see that I wasn't overreacting. She even got angry for me, and I was shocked by her reaction.

My anger is not about this betrayal alone. Before this particular series of events, I really began to question where God was in the middle of my mental health struggles. I think I was angry at God then already, but couldn't admit it to myself. I felt abandoned by God in my despair. And now my anger has expanded from just being directed at God to now include the church I went to, the particular people involved in the betrayal, as well as the larger church as an institution. I am aware of the many abuses perpetrated by the church over the centuries, and have become very cynical, and yet, there is still a tug inside of me toward God, toward the beauty of the choral music of the church, and the liturgy. And yet again, I cannot go to church without all those feeling of anger and loss overwhelming me.
 
pepecat

pepecat

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I think that anger at God because of the betrayal you experienced is perfectly reasonable. God is big enough to take our anger. You can rage and swear and be as angry as you like. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we can't be angry at God. It's not a 'forbidden' emotion (though some Christians would have us believe that).
It can also be useful to remember that God is not the religion or the church or the people in it. Humans as an outward expression of God can sometimes be wonderful, and sometimes they can mess up and make massive mistakes, as humans do. We're flawed and not always good representations of God to each other.

It's interesting that you still feel that tug towards God.......I do think there is a spiritual aspect in all of us which finds expression in various ways, one of which is mainstream religion. Having had experience of that, and largely positive experiences, which affirms for us that our belief is valid, it's difficult to turn away from and leave completely. I walked away from God and church 6 and a half years ago, but the tug is still there.... I can't shake the feeling that 'something' is there - whether it's God himself or some other life force (for want of a better term) I'm not sure, but I can't get rid of it. Disillusioned as I am with a lot of aspects of it all - the church and some of the people in it - I can't let it go completely.

You like hiking, right? Could you go for a hike somewhere a bit quiet and go shout at God a bit? You might never get to shout at the people or the church that betrayed you, but you can shout at God about it all. Actually physically shout, I mean. It might start to deal with some of it. You may never get to shout at the actual people involved, but you can shout at God.
 
S

Se7en

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Jun 4, 2015
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Hi valleygirl, I too had a HORRIBLE experience with the church I attended. At a time I needed help the most, I was treated like a criminal who was obscene to DARE ask for a meeting with the preacher. I was incredibly hurt & even sought help from another church I use to attend, being equally as disappointed as a result.

The church IS people IMO & people are flawed. Personally, I stopped looking towards people for help (on certain things, mind you) mainly because I feared the rejection again. Yes, church is suppose to be THE place a Christian (or a non-Christian!) can go to for help, support, etc. but again, I think it's more important to look at "church" as "people in a congregation", at least when it comes to trying to get a certain result or help.....

I can see church as a house of God or a place of worship only when I'm in the mind frame of going to learn/worship (meaning my focus is on God) but really, it's just another building with imperfect people inside.
 
pepecat

pepecat

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After Her Death

I am trying to find the lesson for tomorrow.
Matthew something. Which lectionary?
I have not forgotten the Way, but a little,
the way to the Way.

the trees keep whispering peace, peace,
and the birds in the shallows are full of the
bodies of small fish and are content.
They open their wings so easily, and fly.
So. It is still possible.

I open the book
which the strange, difficult, beautiful church
has given me. To Matthew. Anywhere.

- Mary Oliver


Thought this seemed pertinent.
 
valleygirl

valleygirl

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Joined
Apr 5, 2015
Messages
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Location
Valley of dry bones
I had forgotten about this thread, and only rediscovered it now. I just came back from an appointment with a spiritual director, and I think she is going to be a good fit for me. I felt like I could finally breathe. It felt like a safe space to be in. And she is not charging me anything right now. Unbelievable! Part of me feels like I don't deserve that, but another part of me is telling me to accept it as a gift, because I really couldn't afford to pay for it right now, but I know it's what I need.
 
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