Note: I am backed up on my email, so if you are waiting for a response from me, please be patient. I have received many private responses to my Controlling People in the Church series. They have been enlightening, heart-wrenching, and yet full of that hope that can only come from our risen and conquering Lord, Jesus Christ. Thank you for your open-hearted responses.
That should be plenty of good reading for you! If you're looking for good Christian blogs to read, these weekly Christian Carnivals are a great place to start.
Better Late Than Never
A high school in Fowler, California awarded, in a recent graduation ceremony, diplomas to Japanese Americans who had missed their high school graduations because of their internment during World War II. The Fresno Bee has a great story on it, including personal stories and pictures. This graduation ceremony was the result of a young lady's 4H Club service project. I am inspired by the lack of bitterness in those who went through these difficult circumstances. (You may need to register to read the article, but it's free.) Thanks to Wittenberg Gate reader and Fowler High alumnus Shokenjii for the tip.
Writing the series on Controlling People in the Church has kept on my mind the issue of healing spiritually from trauma, abuse, or other difficulties in life that tend to wear us down. I'll write more on that later, but for right now if you find yourself needing help remembering your first love, here are a couple links for you.
A dear friend of mine whose life was turned upside-down by church-related problems sent me a recording of a sermon that was a great encouragement to her. It blessed me, too. I have since found that you can access the sermon free online at the web site of Tates Creek Presbyterian Church, PCA. Click on the audio tab from the home page and look for the sermon on Psalm 77, titled Spiritual Exhaustion, that was preached in April 2005. This congregation has recently been through a difficult time (unrelated to spiritual abuse) and you may find that many of these sermons are helpful for people who are going through or healing from difficult, potentially faith-shaking circumstances.
Also, I found on A Physicist's Perspective a re-post (from David's old site) of a review of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones' book, Spiritual Depression . I haven't read this book, but I find it difficult to believe I wouldn't enjoy anything Dr. Lloyd-Jones wrote! Based on David's review, I think this work will speak to those suffering the after-effects of abusive situations, because it focuses our attention away from our feelings and toward the character and works of God. A big part of the problems resulting from spiritual abuse is an overwhelming feeling of shame. Folks just don't feel worthy of salvation. It is a natural result of spiritual leadership that sets up legalistic rules and constantly encourages people to question their own salvation if they are not able to meet those standards, don't cooperate with church "authority" or the like. A book like this can help people orient themselves to the Gospel and find joy once again.