The Hurting Church

Recently it has crossed my radar of the group The Hurting Church on Facebook. For many of us including myself, we have been hurt by the church once or multiple times, and stumbling across this group has been a breath of fresh air and a cold drink of water on a hot summer’s day. Their about section sums them up nicely;

Want to share you personal story?
Public or Anonymous.
Email The Hurting Church.
Description

The church at its best is an amazing, breathing, living part of it’s community. It has the power to do many wonderful things. The church at its worst is exactly the opposite.

It’s easy to make a page where everyone focuses on the hurt and just leaves it at that.

We want this to be a page that gives voice to the hurt but also celebrates the redemption that is often experienced during and after the hurt.

For those who have been hurt by the church:

We understand. We’ve been there, we have felt the loss, aftershock, and disconnect. You may feel like you are alone and without community. But, you are not. Through stories that are shared on here it is our hope that you find some sense of healing, community, and resolve.

For those who are hurting for the church:

We get it. We hurt for the church too! So many times the church can find itself “stuck” and “out of touch” with the world around it. It becomes isolated in an effort to maintain it’s purity. Because of that though, it remains stagnant and in steady decline. It can also be a machine that churns out mindless followers instead of developing free thinkers who bring change and progress. Our hope is that through discussions, questions, and stories we can see the church move in healthy ways towards becoming an integral part of its local community with no regards to creed, faith, gender, or sexual orientation.

Ultimately we pursue healing and balance in both arenas.

We pursue free thinking.

We pursue common good.

We pursue finding beauty and God in all places and in all people.

-THC

Have questions or concerns?

Please email: mail@thehurtingchurch.com to contact the manager, content creator, or any admin.

We would love to hear from you!

Having read all of this, I decided I would submit one way I’ve been hurt by the church in the form of spiritual abuse. They gladly read it over and posted it here. Since I put myself out there for their audience, I decided to contact the founder and pick his brain on some things. Our conversation went like this (my questions in bold, the answer isn’t).

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1. What is the purpose of THC? The main purpose is to be an outlet for those who have been hurt by the church and those hurting for the church. I want it to be a source of encouragement, challenge, and personal growth. I want people to understand that their story holds weight and the very act of sharing both the pain and redemption is something that will bring freedom. Not only for them, but others who hear it. Ultimately my hope is that people experience healing, balance, and beauty by being a part of our community.

2. What’s your tie-in to THC? I am the originator of THC. It was something that had been on my heart and in my mind to do for quite a while. I personally wanted an outlet where I could connect with other people who have gone down the same path as me. I was talking to a good friend of mine one day about my desire to do something like this. He not only encouraged me to actually do it, but also aided in helping everything look good in the process. He is someone I trust and someone who also has a lot of good ideas.

3. How have you been hurt by the church? I’ve been hurt by individuals in the church. More specifically those representing the church. I’ve been hurt to the point that everything I thought I knew and understood about God and the church went under the microscope. It was for the better though… I now have a deeper, more genuine view of who God is.

4. Have you hurt others in a Christian way that was unChristlike? Unfortunately yes.

5. How have you repaired the damage done? By going back to these people, apologizing, asking them for their forgiveness, owning my shit, and most importantly understanding that I am a person on a journey (as we all are)… continually learning, growing, and evolving.

6. What can Christians do to be more Christlike and less like Christians? Hang out with “sinners” 😉 Just teasing… but not really. I think the real question should be “What can we do as humans, labels aside, to love one another better?”

7. Should Christians concern themselves with political matters? whether party alignment-wise, or even playing a part in taking on some role in politics. Yes… but not to represent their version of God… but rather represent the attributes of God: Love, Social Justice, Peace, Grace, Beauty, Equality, and Freedom

8. When did you realize your views of God were too small and too comfortable and too compartmentalized? When the shit hit the fan. When the carpet was pulled out from underneath me. When it was just me and God. All of a sudden He became real. Again, everything went under the microscope. Everything I thought I knew and understood… changed. All of a sudden He became a lot bigger in all kinds of ways.

9. Every Christian, whether they want to admit it or not, cherry picks from the Bible. What do you cherry pick, what do you leave out? I hate to admit it, but, I don’t really read the bible all that much. It does sadden me though when people use the bible to support their own agendas. If and when I do cherry pick, and I try my best not to, it’s usually in an effort to win out an argument with someone who is confusing “Loving their neighbor” with being the judge and jury.

10. What is the teleological/end goal of The Hurting Church? the end goal is Healing and Progress. Our logo, that my wonderful friend created, is purposely in the Shape of a church with a capital H! The H stands for healing. We find healing in sharing our stories, seeing the redemption, and broadening our scopes to finding God and seeing beauty in places we may not have looked before.

11. Favorite pizza & beer combo? Easiest question yet! Lou Malnatis Pizza and any goose island beer.

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So there you have my brief q&a with the folks of The Hurting Church, to God be the glory in their ministry and here’s the goals and end goal they have.

Onward and upward,
Nathanael

Questions from one of my readers answered

These following questions were asked by one of my readers in response to my post why I choose to build bridges between the Christian community and the LGBT community

The reason why I’m answering them openly instead of just writing a response to my reader is because he and I come from two different perspectives in this matter, and because his questions err on the side of being harmful whether he realizes it or not, by answering his questions openly protects him from flack from other readers of my site. To which any comment he has posted has been hidden so you can’t play “who would say such things” and start looking around to find this individual.

His questions which you’ll read in a moment have bothered me, and to be honest the first one caused me to lose sleep the night he posted them to my site, I wept for him for maybe he doesn’t realize what he’s saying.

What he said is what he said, but I won’t let the cat out of the bag as to who it is, I’m protecting him tho God knows a part of me would just feed him to you the reader… His questions are as follows:

1) If I understand you rightly, your main goal is to get heterosexual and homosexual couples to practice monogamy? Fidelity is the goal, no matter what kind of relationship: hetero, homo, pedo, incest, bestiality, etc. ?
Well you don’t understand me rightly, my main goal isn’t to get straight and gay couples (it’s okay to use this language) to practice monogamy, that is something they need to work out on their own, but with the help of others if needed be. See, my perspective is that sexuality is primarily about responsibility, and for the believer regardless of sexual orientation that responsibility is between yourself, yourself and God, yourself and your partner, and yourself and your partner AND God. Trust and responsibility comes from a monogamous lifestyle and I lean to saying that when this takes place and God is involved, God truly blesses the heterosexual couple as well as the gay couple or any other couple that falls under the LGBT umbrella.
I speak of terms of human relationships in terms of gay, straight, lesbian and transsexual couples, whether you realize it or not (because I don’t know your heart and mind) but equating a gay couple’s relationship to having sex with one’s sibling or with an animal is very VERY offensive.

2) You hold to the call to monogamy from the Bible, correct? At least your interpretation of it?
Well isn’t everyone’s interpretation of the Bible an interpretation of the Bible? That is, there isn’t a way or the way to read the Bible, if we can remove ourselves out of the equation and read the Bible we should…but we can’t, we’re part of the equation. But if one’s to read the Bible in context, you need to read the entire Bible, because a few verses, a few chapters, a few books surrounding the passage simply doesn’t cut it.
It’s kind of hard to define where exactly the Bible discusses monogamy, there is the example of Christ and the Church as being bride and groom, but there are countless examples in the Bible of guys with many wives, guys with concubines, etc.

3) But you apply it to all relationships, widening the scope of “marriage” to include not only hetero, but homo as well. When it only applies it to heterosexual marriages in the text (the text never speaks of a homosexual marriage in fact), how do you use it to apply to homosexual couples also?
I believe that as one reads the Bible they need to remember they were not the original audience nor these modern times was the context, and if we’re to examine within context what marriage was Biblically it was essentially sex, there wasn’t an exchanging of rings and vows, there wasn’t a reception with someone playing sappy songs mixed with newer upbeat ones, that’s a more modern Western marriage. The language Jesus uses when he spoke of “in my Father’s house has many mansions” was marriage language that was understood loud and clear by the people of his day and age.
God isn’t on the side of the conquering, he came into this world by way of Jesus by simple means. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt, in humbleness and humility, he didn’t come to conquer and drive the Romans back whence they came, he came to share of God’s love and how we can have a relationship with him. I doubt Jesus had in the back of his mind “when I’m gone I hope they start a religion in my honor”, if anything we’d be a sect of Judaism, The Old Testament and New Testament is hinged on Jesus and Jesus alone, Jesus prayed for our unity and that we would be known for our love, how can we say we love the LGBT community if we’re not willing to engage, if we’re not willing to love tangibly?
Marriage if carried out as it should be, should be a sacred bond, a union, that part about “to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part” doesn’t have a part in where it says BECAUSE WE’RE A STRAIGHT COUPLE, so why shouldn’t these vows be taken by gay couples as well? Are straight couples the only ones who can honor such wedding vows? I think not!

4) Do you interpret the union between man and woman and the divine institution of marriage to be the Bible saying “this applies to all relationships”? And equally, the verses about adultery always imply man and woman. But you throw it up to mean “all relationships.” Would this include the kinds mentioned in #1?
I do believe there’s something to a man and a woman getting married, I do, it’s called they’re a straight couple. But again, we’re not the original audience with the Bible, most of us are also reading a translation of a translation of a translation! If we all knew Biblical Hebrew and Koiné Greek, wouldn’t that be something? 🙂 I can’t wait to learn it once I go on to earn an M.Div.

There is something to marriage being something of a gift to us from God, but I don’t see that it is a heteronormative right only. Some members of the LGBT community who are followers of Christ interpret the Bible and glean from it that they should live a life of celibacy, other members of the LGBT community who are followers of Christ interpret the Bible and glean from it that they can have a relationship, so it all depends on the individual and honestly I’m fine with either interpretation of the Bible, but I will say that if either group is infringing upon the other group’s interpretation, conflict can arise and it shouldn’t be tolerated. I also think about what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:9 when he said “…But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust.” Again, who said this passage was intended for straight couples only?

If you ever want to show the love of Christ to the LGBT community in a tangible way, let me know.

All is Grace,
Nathanael