The Psychology of Spirituality Part II

I am sorry but I did not get back as soon as I had hoped. Two things happened. The first was the legal review of my manuscript was complete (the legal review is always part of the publishing process to avoid libel suits). A few items were marked for re-writing and this morning I finished those points. In my book, I write with great candor. I have changed the names of all involved, however, according to the lawyers, you can make enough inferences from the manuscript to for some people to figure out who I was writing about. The lawyers (who know much more than me about this) also say that anytime you show someone in a negative light, even if you are being totally honest, they can sue you. I think Christians would more likely to sue than others. The reason is, and this relates to these posts, is that they have the misconception that they are morally above everyone else and for someone to disclose that the fact they were also pedophiles (in one case) or a pastor with a life-long mistress (the other case) would make them want to sue you out of the rage of exposure not true libel (false information in a public place).

So, with some regret, I have removed several stories. I didn’t tell the stories to insult anyone or to make someone look bad. I told the stories because they were true and added to the point I was trying to make.

The other “distraction” is that I have had guests this week. One was my daughter, who I only get to see a couple times a year.

Back to my original thought of my postings.

I joined FaceBook a few years ago as an avenue to see my grandsons. That was my only motivation. But quickly, like a landslide going down the hill picking up more and more trees, houses, boulders and etc., my FB contact list began to grow and grow. Soon there was a group that represented a cross-section of my life going back 40 years. Within this group are people I’ve known in an evangelical context, those who I know in a business context and those I know through my family. Oddly, I don’t think there are any of the Christians I have known in my post-evangelical context.

With so many people from so many walks of life, I ignore most of the posts that show up. Some of the posts I strongly disagree with, but I really try to restrain myself. I have never (that I remember) made a negative comment to those posts. Now I do, sometimes, post an article about a view that is in sharp contrast to what my, mostly evangelical and some family, friends are posting. It is not a direct response to their posts but just another view that comes independently.

My evangelical friends often publish pro-Donald Trump and horrible Hillary Clinton rhetoric. They often post pro-gun ownership and global warming is a myth, views. They post the view that all Mulsims=Terrorist views as well as, All Black Lives Matter is a farce and not a justifiable, views. I don’t comment on those and, even though I am diabolical opposed to most of those, I try not to associate the person with the views. In other words, they are not my friends because they hold the save views as me but simply because they are my friends.

Now, when I post my views that all Muslims are not terrorists (usually some news story to support that), I have some of my evangelical friends get very angry at me. Some have now blocked me (or un-friended me) and that hurts.

Last week I had an old evangelical friend send me a pretty condescending note. His wife has already unfriended me because I posted an article about Ben Carson’s support of Donald Trump was a mistake for him and his evangelical supporters.

I scratch my head because, like I said, I don’t think I have ever confused the views of my friends and family with my relationship with them. I have a sister and a sister-in-law that post things that I hate, but I really try to not associate their political views with them as a person.

This old evangelical friend wrote to me, in my summary, that I am a buffoon for ever posting my views on FP, which everyone knows is the wrong place to post political things. He pointed out how foolish my postings make me look. He did not think about the fact that he, his wife and family, often post articles they see as helpful, such as how Donal Trump will save America, while my article was political because it made the point that most victims of terrorism are Muslims.

I was surprised how horrible this made me feel. I really felt like a buffoon. I felt ashamed. I felt angry and finally I felt sad.

I had to go back and rethink my postings. I have now had several old Christian friends say the same thing, which makes me suspicious that they all heard it from the same source. So it goes like this, we (the evangelical) can post things that they see as true and helpful to support God (loosely defined) but if other people post things that they don’t agree with, then it is the inappropriate (morally) use of FB and that person is an automatic buffoon.

I have several pastors and full-time Christian professionals on my FB. I have noticed a strong pattern among that group . . . they never, ever, ever post anything that is controversial especially political. I suspect that somewhere, during their training, they are warned that they should never take public positions on social or political issues unless it is unanimously held. An example of that would be strangling puppies for personal pleasure is not a good idea.

I respect those professional Christians. I mean I could imagine a church split starting around a political posting of a pastor. So they post pictures of church functions, kittens playing with yarn or rainbows. But never anything more divisive.

So, as I come out of my guilt I started to think about the psychology of spirituality. The MO of my prior Christian experience was to work as hard as I could to make myself look great, spiritually. One way was to redefine my motives as “From God” and if anyone opposed me for any reason, I had re-define their actions and motives as inappropriate or from the devil. This is the psychology of spirituality.

True spirituality is simple. We are all a mess. God cover it all up. Now, we are pure in His sight and that is all that matters. We have the freedom to love those who are different. We should have the freedom not to feel guilt . . . which is a lesson that is hard for me to learn. But I will continue to post things now and then, that support my views on issues. Otherwise, all opposing voices would be silenced.

 

One thought on “The Psychology of Spirituality Part II

  1. Mike, people just don’t like the truth. I read your book and my experience is similar and im in full time ministry and research spitual abuse in main stream churches. Iyour book helped me feel not so alone in all this. Don’t compromise, speak the truth in love. I am dyslexic so typos are not something to worry about. You reach folks Heart, give them food for the brain and heal the soul. Keep up the good work.

    Like

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