How to Abuse People Without Them Realizing It!

"How to Abuse People" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“How to Abuse People” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

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This is exactly the kind of thing we talk about at The Lasting Supper. Many members are just coming to terms with the fact that they were involved in this sly agreement and are learning to break free from it and discover and live their own spiritual freedom and independence. Please come join us!

I can honestly say that a lot of my pastoral education was focused upon how to influence, manipulate, and control people. Ultimately, in my opinion, I was trained in how to clandestinely abuse people.

This does sound harsh. And I suppose it is. But I don’t mean to be mean. It’s a basic human impulse to control our environment, and that includes the people in it. It’s in our blood. It is natural. It is instinct. And I strongly believe, whether we like it or not, that this instinct prevails in community contexts, including the church. Or, especially the church.

The cartoon is a bit misleading therefore. Pastors can not only be skilled or even gifted in abuse, but most don’t realize they’re doing it. Controlling people for the noble purposes is innate. Our motives feel right, and this is validated because it works. We can actually achieve our goals.

So I think it’s safe to conclude that both leaders and followers, that is, whole church communities, are engaged in an implicit agreement to be controlled and even abused.

It takes incredible insight and courage to break this paradigm and pattern.

SHOP

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12 Responses

  1. Sabio Lantz says:

    Meanwhile, it seems believers are reading books entitled: “How to deceive yourself without realizing it.”

    You see, it is those who are committed to deceiving themselves that are so ripe for abusers.

    That is: Religious folks are ripe for abuse.

    Religious folks are seeking any one or more of the following: connection, support, status, meaning, power …
    AND, they are willing to join mass self-deceit to get it.
    I understand that, heck we do the same with our sports, our national myths and more.
    But in religion, with religious leaders, it also sets you up for abuse.
    You read a please deceive manual, while religious professionals read how to deceive and abuse.
    What a beautiful symbiotic relationship!

  2. Jdawg says:

    Sabio: it sets people up for abuse no matter which circumstance. Religion and government are so similar to me that I often cannot see the difference.

  3. I agree Jdawg. This is NOT primarily a religious problem, but a human one.

  4. Sabio Lantz says:

    @ jdawg: I strongly agree. They both capitalize on most of the same aspects of our minds. However, do to the “sacred” notion in religion (in other words, the “do not doubt, question or challenge” part of religion), people who buy into the “sacred” in order to get the things I mentioned above, are also selling off even greater parts of the mind that can normally check and curb abuse.

    “Sacred” is a deadly, criminal idea when understood like that, eh?

  5. terri jo says:

    I was controlled abused brainwashed in childhood, no religion involved. A slow painful climb out of the abyss. Control everywhere there are human beings and their egos

  6. terri jo says:

    And in my observations over the course of life with Daddy and others I chose just like him, the more “intelligent” the more manipulative and cunning the abuse

  7. you know what you’re talking about terri jo. obviously.

  8. terri jo says:

    I have loved music in mostly rock and roll forms, and now music in most froms, sparing the inane tuneage. Music has lent me inspiration and incentive to grow and forge on. Lyrical content of songs I know are incredibly moving and thought-provoking. One that just jumped out right now at me goes as follows:
    “Well I won’t back down, no I won’t back down
    You could stand me up at the gates of hell
    But I won’t back down
    Gonna stand my ground, won’t be turned around
    And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
    Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down”
    Of course, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, circa the end of the 80’s

    ***Gates of hell*****: purely figuratively/metaphorically, so not to incite riot, as happens here alot

  9. terri jo says:

    @ David: Thank you, hard won experience lending itself to refusal to personally back down against in a familial setting, and often branching out in community and work settings. But always a fine dance to pick one’s battles wisely.

  10. Caryn LeMur says:

    I recall the words from the pulpit, and I also spoke from there:

    “If not us, who will go?”
    “We need to tell them about Jesus, so, if you are struggling with evangelism, come to this class.”
    “Thousands are dying without Christ; millions going to hell. Therefore, do this….”
    “You need to give your life to Christ, and follow Him into — after all He gave for you!”

    The reality was that guilt motivated people. It motivated me. And I left being in church leadership back then.

    I remember the time I did not ‘witness’, I simply enjoyed life. I had returned to a form of Christianity. I prayed in the mornings . One day, our neighbor came over and said, “What is so different about you and Bonnie? You are so different than my husband and me.”

    We chatted about a few things, and then about our approach towards God. She then came to the church we attended, all on her own. She met with the pastor, and converted to Christianity.

    I’ve never forgotten that experience in spring of 1990.

    If there is a ‘relationship experience’ within the people, there is no need to manipulate them to ‘do’ for Jesus.

    The living water simply flows. Those that are thirsty ask questions.

  11. DWyble says:

    Not related to much of the conversation, but I like everything said up to now.

    In discussions with various pastors in my church days, I would often use this phrase: “I know that’s the response they taught you in pastor school, but …” It was (mostly) in jest, since at the time I would have said these were my friends, and in truth some still are.

    More directly regarding the cartoon, I think you should also show a slip cover labeled “The Bible” that the pastor throws in in case anyone else is around! Otherwise he might expose the wrong folks to his pastors-only “good news.”

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