It is commonly believed that people are turning away from religion. Church membership numbers are clearly down. Therefore, it is assumed that people are not making their faith a priority. Is this really the reason? Are people leaving their church communities because they are lazy, sinful, or otherwise backsliding in regards to their faith?
Spiritual Abuse Recovery is an enlightening book. Far too often, we make assumptions about why people stop going to church and what happens afterwards. For many, leaving the community comes after chronic mistreatment (abuse), misuse of spiritual authority from the church leadership. Feeling ashamed, abandoned, and with no community to support them, most individuals never have the opportunity to tell their story. Therefore, the rest of the congregation simply believes that these individuals have fallen from grace.
The really interesting thing is that the majority of people who do leave their church do not leave their faith. In fact, they go to great extremes to preserve their values, morals, and to connect with others like themselves. For a growing number of individuals, they are finding community on the Internet and in small groups meeting in basements and living rooms. Moreover, some of these people, like the author herself are reaching out to others and teaching church leaders how to heal the hurt and rebuild trust.
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