Showing posts from June, 2015

Dechurched: "The Done-s"

In Church Refugees, Josh Packard and Ashleigh Hope have written a ground breaking analysis of the "dones," those who are done with church but not with God. These folks are not dropping the Christian faith- just their affiliation with churches. The book does introduce us to the Dones, and more importantly, what we can begin to learn from them.  
The study summarizes the themes that coalesced from 100 in depth interviews. Interviewees were of all ages over 25, included laity, former church staff members, and clergy. This is not a book about numbers, but rather, a "description of the processes people go through when they decide to leave the church, what they do when they leave, and what they ultimately want out of church." Who are the Dones? They are reluctant to leave, and try many churches before leaving church altogether. They are not angry, nor are they driven by one negative experience. Authors discovered, "almost without exception," that they were &quo…

Whatever Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger- really?

Even if these words of Nietzsche function as an encouragement for some, their actual truth is debatable. Too, the phrase is not necessarily helpful to anyone who does not gain strength from trauma.

Because trauma is stored in the body's memory, the "limbic loop," one does not just "get over it." Repeated head trauma does not make the brain stronger but rather, it can severely and permanently disable it with certain dementias.

Hyper- vigilance can be a lingering effect of surviving traumatic events. Hyper- vigilance places the body in default fight or flight mode. Hans Selye, the endocrinologist who pioneered the physiological basis of the stress response, concluded that stress hormones do not strengthen the body but weaken it. With the body on regular high alert, panic attacks break through- seemingly out of nowhere.   

There's a thoughtful post in support of this quote, suggesting that, while Post Traumatic Growth is possible, it is not automatic. We have …

Recovery: You had those ruby slippers all along

Ever since Dorothy's farmhouse landed on the Wicked Witch of the East, Dorothy had the vaunted ruby slippers- and the way home- already available to her.

She could have returned home anytime she wanted, good witch Glinda finally revealed. It would have made for a very short movie if Glinda had divulged earlier. 
Half asleep, we mouth affirmations and sing those songs with their baby pablum-like words that loop around without end.  Does it all function as the counterpart of wearing the mysterious slippers? Are we totally unaware of the gift and possibility they bring?
We go back to find our way home, because it's in the beginning that God created us in God's image and likeness. There nothing to be added or deleted to make that any more - or less- true. This was true when God called us out darkness into light and life, and it is true to this moment.    A beautiful parallel to this affirmation in the Gospel is when Jesus declares that we are light. He doesn't say we ha…