One simple reason why screaming at children is not effective

I can still remember well what I thought as a child.  My parents didn’t scream at me, but they did yell, and I can remember how I felt when they did.  And that very easily translates to how a child would respond to screaming.

It was quite simple: The more they yelled, the less I complied.

I’d already be trying to hurry up and get ready, but with NVLD, executive functioning and time management are huge challenges.  I rushed around and tried and tried, but still ran late.  My parents would yell.

Did their yelling make me hurry up?  Heck, no: I moved SLOWER out of resentment.  After all, I was already doing my best to be on time, but treated like I was being deliberately slow.  So might as well be slow, if you’re going to be treated that way anyway.

If my husband comes to me respectfully with a problem, we can resolve it peacefully.  But if he yells at me instead?  Heck, no!  All yelling does is make me resentful.  It does NOT make me comply.

When Richard and Tracy criticized and punished me for being quiet and shy, I did not turn into the life of the party.  When they decided to use yelling, cussing and screaming to get me to comply, I slammed the door on their friendship.

When people yell at me or criticize me for being quiet and shy, I become EVEN QUIETER and more reserved.  I noted this way back in 1998.

This is how I respond to not being treated with respect.

And you can be sure children are responding the same way.  THIS is why yelling/screaming is counterproductive.

 

E-Mails Describing pain of breaking up with a close friend–Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, Part 64

Tracy’s Reign of Terror: True Story of Narcissism, Bullying, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

Part 64: E-Mails describing pain of breaking up with a close friend

I wrote to Mike,

Another former friend [Todd] of [Richard and Tracy] sympathizes.  He also found himself at the mercy of the wife’s temper.  He stayed with them for a little while a few years ago.

He knows how hard she is to deal with, and that what she says, goes.  When she goes off on you, she is brutal.  And my (former) friend [Richard] stands with her rather than trying to buffer things.

I don’t know how many friends he’s already lost because of his wife, but we’re not the only ones.

He’s told me of others, that people will say they can’t be friends with him anymore because of her, that he’s had friends who were at “war” with her.

She comes from a very abusive home, you see, and some of the traits were passed along to her.

My (former) friend is well aware of these things….And she keeps chasing his friends away.  If it weren’t for her, I would never have given up my friend.

Fine, my friend “Richard.”  I might as well say it [his name], now that you won’t ever be meeting him and he won’t be on my Facebook page anymore.

I had to deal with two very hard breakups in college.  You weren’t around for the first one.  Each were hard in their own way, the first because it was a new experience and I didn’t know what to do.  In both cases, I thought I’d be with this guy forever.

I see that breaking up with a friend is much the same as breaking up with a boyfriend: It hurts. 

Your heart aches when you see something that reminds you of your friend. If you’ve been together a while, then practically everything you see, hear (such as songs) or do will remind you of them for a while.

You have movies you watched, songs you enjoyed, TV shows you watched together, even grocery stores or restaurants that you went to together. Even going to church reminds you of that person if you went to the same church. 

My very faith reminds me of him because he helped lead me into it and I thought (briefly) about making him my godfather.  [He offered, I had already thought about it, but he’s my age and the opposite sex, so I thought it wouldn’t be a good idea.]

Every other time we had a problem, we’d talk on the phone or in person or by chat or e-mail and make it all better.  But that won’t be happening this time.

He was my confidant about so many things, so many problems I was dealing with, like when my parents were having problems and my dad (we thought) had left my mom.

And now he’s gone, not because he wanted to be–Jeff says he wanted to work things out [at least, that’s what he said, though he didn’t act like it]–but because Jeff and I looked at each other and realized we had to end it.

I suppose in time I’ll get past it like I did my breakups with exes.  But I’ve only had to break off one other friendship in my whole life, and that was with someone who had, himself, treated me horribly [Shawn].

I never before had to break up with a friend because of who they were married to.  Friends are supposed to be there forever. Even if they fade away, you’re supposed to be able to get in touch with them again years later and it’s like they never left.

I have to send this e-mail off without checking it for errors, because I had a hard time getting through the writing of it…  :(

On the 13th, I wrote to Jeff,

Had a thought…. The thought struck me today….

When I think of all the gaffes Richard has made, things I’ve witnessed and that he’s told me about….We discussed them and moved passed them calmly and rationally, and forgave. 

I make one and I’m treated like the Antichrist. Can we say unfair?

Jeff replied,

Indeed. It seems we live with a different definition of ‘friend’ than they do.

originally written 2010-2012

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children 

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

 
8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

Defending my Thesis; Graduating with Honors–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–May 1995, Part 2

Possibly on May 13 or a later date, Cugan and I took our new favorite movie, Much Ado About Nothing with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, to Laura’s house and showed it to the boarders there.

I had never been to Laura’s house before.  She lived outside of V–, a small town in M– County.  Her boarders were her boyfriend Bob, Shannon, Dan, Helena, and Helena’s two-year-old daughter, Ellie.  All of them were in the SCA.

Laura tended to pick up strays, both human and animal.

She lived in a moderate-sized, unfinished, red house on a moderate-sized farm.  The living room had no carpet, and it and the bathroom still seemed to be only half-done.  The living room was packed with stuff.

I don’t think Laura raised crops, but she did have a horse or two, and rabbits in the barn.  Cats and a large black puppy named Nala wandered around.

Soon, two cute, tiny puppies joined the group, Shannon’s puppies.  When he got older, the male tried to hump Nala, even though he was a toy breed and Nala was one of the largest breeds.  Eventually, unfortunately, Nala ate the female.  :(

Ellie was as curious and mischievous as a two-year-old usually is, but the others didn’t childproof the house.  When she found the flour and covered the house with it before everyone woke up, they probably shouldn’t have been surprised, since the cupboard wasn’t locked.

Bob had a bad temper, which Laura didn’t put up with for long.  After all, she’d already been in a bad marriage, and left when the guy pointed a gun at her.  I sensed she was going to break up with him when I saw how annoyed she acted with Bob.  Cugan saw nothing.

Dan must have been lazy or a bad boyfriend, because one day he was thrown out of the house, and Shannon ended up marrying another guy.

****

The defense of my thesis was actually the last of my finals, since seniors took finals earlier than the other classes did.

On Monday, May 15, I defended my thesis in front of the panel of teachers I selected.  I forget who was in the panel.  I know Dr. Nelson and his wife were, and I suspect Thea, Todd and Christina also were.

The defense was set for ten a.m.; it lasted twenty minutes, and the teachers asked me questions.  Then I went outside the room, one of the conference rooms in Jubilee, and waited in the hall as they talked about my thesis behind the closed door.

Then Nelson came out and said they were impressed with my extensive reading (more than some of the teachers on the panel had done) and the quality of the work, and would give me an A-.  

Not only that, but Nelson put my thesis in the Roanoke library, along with past theses which were so honored, as an example for future students of a good thesis paper.  

Such an end to all the anxieties I held about this paper for three and a half years!  And at first I wasn’t even going to write one: I was going to drop out of the Honors Core program and take Senior Studies instead!

Now, I needed to re-type the thesis, and give it to Nelson.

Not only that, but the school informed me I would graduate cum laude and with honors.  Though I can’t find my final grades, my total GPA was between 3.5 and 3.59.

I got to wear a gold, braided cord for the ceremony, exactly the same as and worn exactly the same as the one given to NHS members in my high school graduation.

As I wrote in the Journal,

One more page of my thesis to type!! That’s the last of my homework. Wow. I can’t believe it. It still hasn’t hit me.

Last Wednesday as I sat in Chaucer, I thought, this is my last class. And I won’t be going to Chaucer or any other class, except for Brit Lit final.

–Such a thought! It made me sad, especially since I’ll miss Chaucer. That was a fun class. I’d recommend it, but Christina wouldn’t be teaching it next year. I’ll also miss Pearl’s CD’s. :)

I’m so happy to say I got an A- on that thesis!

****

On a Wednesday just before graduation, a guy came up to me at the information desk in the library.  He was pleasant-looking, and chatted with me for a bit, finding out my name and such.

I wasn’t deliberately flirting with him, but suspected he was interested.  Apparently my instincts on these things improved greatly over the years, because while I was on a date with Cugan, this guy called the apartment and asked for me.

Tara or Pearl answered, and told him I was away.  Somehow she ended up telling him I was at SCA dance practice with my boyfriend and dressed in medieval clothes, which he said sounded “so cool.”  Afterwards, Tara or Pearl chatted and one said to the other, “How does she do it?”

How do I do it?  They once asked this same question about Cindy, who despite having only one sort-of boyfriend before college, kept attracting guys at college.

I had such bad luck with men that I often felt like an ugly duckling–until the second half of senior year.  And now my friends were asking of me, “How does she do it?”  What a difference!

Later on, this guy called me and talked for a bit.  He asked me to dinner, but I said I wasn’t comfortable with that.  I didn’t know him all that well, and I had an exclusive boyfriend.

He seemed okay with that, and asked if he could get to know me as a friend, because he recently divorced and was looking for friends.  I said okay, but I didn’t see him in the library or hear from him again.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?

Now, I think the taste of wine is vile.  But I did a little research on the origins of grape juice.

The company web site of Welch’s, maker of grape juice, confirms that Dr. Thomas Bramwell Welch first promoted the idea of “unfermented sacramental wine” in communion.  Dr. Welch was a Methodist and part of the newly arising Temperance Movement:

The story of Welch’s began in 1869 in Vineland, New Jersey–when physician and dentist Thomas Bramwell Welch and his son Charles processed the first bottles of ‘unfermented wine’ to use during their church’s communion service.

(I got this quote from here, though for some reason I don’t see an exact quote on this page now.)

Back in 1869, dentist Thomas Welch was elected Communion steward at the First United Methodist Church, Vineland, N.J. He objected to the use of wine for the sacrament and refused to touch it.

Meanwhile he heard of Louis Pasteur’s new method of killing bacteria in milk (‘pasteurization’). He decided to try applying the same principle to preserving the juice of grapes unfermented. –Marian Van Til, Welch’s Innovation

Check out the history of alcohol in Christianity–and note that even Puritans drank it, despising only drunkenness.

Note the section on Winemaking in biblical times.  It describes how quickly grape juice ferments, and the true meaning of “new wine”–not grape juice, as some temperance groups will tell you, but already-fermenting wine.  Even year-old wine was “new.”

Apparently, the idea that alcohol is “evil” in and of itself, and must be eradicated from the Communion, is a feature of much of American Protestantism in the newer denominations, but not of the older churches which have long traditions.

Written probably in 2007

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

Tithing 
End Times and Christian Zionism 
God’s Purpose/Supremacy of God Doctrine 
Cat and Dog Theology 
Raising One’s Hands in Worship 
Christian Music 
On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts
On church buildings 
The Message Bible 
The Purpose-Driven Life 
The Relevance Doctrine, i.e. Marketing Churches to Seekers 
Republican Party 
Abortion Protests 
Creation 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation
Miscellaneous 

Page 2:

Name it and Claim It Doctrine, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith-Formula Theology, Word-Faith Theology,  Positive Confession Theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, and whatever else they call it
More about Pat Robertson
Dr. Richard Eby and others who claim to have been to Heaven
Women in Marriage/the Church
Spiritual Abuse 
Other Resources 

Page 3:

Why do bad things happen?
Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts?  Or, how should we evangelize, then?
Angels: Is “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti a divine revelation or fiction?
Halloween: Not the Devil’s Holiday!
Hell and the Nature of God 
Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? 
Is everybody going to Hell except Christians?
How could a loving God who prohibits murder, command the genocide of the Canaanite peoples? 
What about predestination?
Musings on Sin, Salvation and Discipleship 
An Ancient View which is in the Bible, yet new to the west–Uncreated Energies of God

Page 4:

Dialogues
The Didache 
Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 
Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?  (also in “Life” section, where it’s more likely to be updated) 
Does the Pill cause abortions, or is that just another weird Internet or extremist right-wing rumor?
What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?
Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?
What is Worship? 
Evangelistic Trips to Already Christianized Countries
Fraternities, Sororities, Masonic Lodge 
Was Cassie Bernall a Martyr?
Some Awesome Things heard in the Lamentations Service (Good Friday evening) during Holy Week

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church

Northerners defending the Confederate flag in my Facebook newsfeed?

Has this country gone MAD?  Since when do Northerners defend the Confederate flag?  That’s treason in my book.

That symbol of a rebellion based on defending slavery, certainly has no place on government buildings.  We’re supposed to be one country.  That flag symbolizes both a racist evil fight by many states to hold onto the slavery of thousands of suffering people, AND treason.

It’s the same as the swastika, only it’s against blacks instead of Jews.

And it ALWAYS HAS BEEN.  This is nothing new.

So take it off the state government buildings.  Individuals can still have their Confederate flags if they want: That’s free expression.

But if you display one, it also tells me to stay away from you because you’re probably in the KKK or Aryan Brotherhood or one of the other variants.

Unless you’re the Duke boys.  They’re allowed, but then, they’re fictional characters.

IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THIS WAY.  This is nothing new.

I felt this way in 1980.  I felt this way in 1990.  And 2000.  And 2010.  And in 2015.  No change based on “turning liberal.”

I was shocked to discover in the past few weeks that Southern states would even display that flag on government buildings.  I thought they stopped doing that in 1865.

Germans have ancestors who died under the Nazi flag, just as the Southern soldiers died under the Confederate flag.  But you don’t see modern Germany putting Nazi flags on their government buildings, or the people celebrating the Nazi flag.  On the contrary, it’s banned.

And seeing my newsfeed fill with NORTHERNERS on the warpath against the treasonous flag being removed from state buildings–It’s absolutely ridiculous.

Speaking of cultural appropriation by a conquering people…. LOL

It makes me wonder if extremist pundits are stirring people up to fight the bad fight yet again.  I don’t listen to extremist pundits, you see.

It makes me wonder if I have people on my Facebook who are actually racists, but I never knew.  If people on my Facebook are okay with the enslavement of so many in the early centuries of our nation.

But then, we DO have white supremacists even around Fond du Lac, which is about as Northern as you can get.  I’ve seen their letters to the newspaper and ripped their posters off telephone poles.

Next you’ll see Northerners wearing white hoods and goose-stepping just to spite the libruls.

 

Peace with My Abuser, Phil–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–May 1995, Part 1

In the beginning of May, Cugan finally found a job (having been out of one for a few months), which would start at the end of May, and needed to move to Fond du Lac.

Near the end of the school year, the forums were fun because The Elite Lamer had his own forum.  It was about conspiracies in government and everywhere else.

I had fun reading it and then debunking and disagreeing with what he posted.  But did this annoy him?  Did this upset him?  No.

To my amusement, he loved to talk to me in tele and Farwest Trivia, and said he liked my style.  I had fun talking with him, and whenever he came into tele or Trivia I greeted him with, “Hey, The!”

This was how the Owl’s Nest BBS used to greet me each day, as I mentioned here.  Now, I gave The Elite Lamer, or TEL, the same treatment.

He was sad when it was time for me to graduate and give up TCB until AOL finally put in the promised Telnet (which it was supposed to have installed months before and never did until after I needed it.)

TEL and others told me I could Telnet in because TCB was going on the Internet.  I’d never heard of Telnet, so they explained it.  I could log in to out-of-state BBS’s without paying long-distance charges!

For a few weeks, someone with the handle “Jesus Christ” and someone with the handle “Satan” (Nobody, I believe) began coming on TCB.  It was endless amusement for Sharon and me when they both came into teleconference.  They even had a mock war.

Whenever “Jesus Christ” came into tele, I typed, “Hello, Lord!” and sometimes cyber-bowed to him.  Others did similar things.

Then there was Aahz, who read many of the same books I did but was into outdoor activities.  We probably got to talking when I recognized his handle from a character in the MythAdventures fantasy-comedy series.

He loved having intellectual conversations with me.  Though only about twenty, he considered himself grown-up because he already had to wonder where all the money for his bills was coming from.

I became a huge flirt online, flirting with Ish and others and even using the adult action words at times.  I loved double entendre and innuendo.  Sharon called me a cyberslut, but I just laughed.  This online flirt still, to this day, comes out now and then.

****

After having been called “negative” by Shawn, I finally had poetic justice: First, James called Persephone, not me, the most negative person he’d ever meant.  As far as I could tell, he didn’t hate me, so he must not have thought I was so very negative.  Second, I met Cugan and became “the happy cell” in the couple.

I was the bright one, the light one, Cugan the dark one.  He’d be pessimistic and I’d be optimistic; he was dark-colored and I was light-colored.  It was like we were two of the same person, with certain differences that made me “light” and him “dark.”  It amused me.

What Shawn called negativity proved to be not disposition, but circumstances.  Who wouldn’t be negative while being depressed?  Did he expect me to get up and smile and dance around when my life seemed to crumble around me?

Sure, Cugan was difficult at times, but the difference was, he knew it.  If he did something that may have hurt someone’s feelings, he felt bad about it.  He knew he had a temper, and admitted it got him into trouble.

He wasn’t like Phil, who didn’t recognize that what he did wasn’t right.  You could actually talk to Cugan.  Things could actually get better with him, not worse.  We learned how to communicate.

****

One evening, I came online and found Crash Helmet, my ex Phil.

Somehow, we began paging each other.  Maybe “Crash” figured out who I was and paged me.  I don’t remember how or why our conversation started.

But I wanted to show him I’d moved on–and make sure he had not slept with anyone else in the two weeks before we got back together last September.  You know, because of possible STDs.  He said he had not.

I told him about all my men since Charles: Stimpy, Cugan, Speaker (I accidentally told him I met Speaker, which was supposed to be a secret, then told him to forget that), Brad, maybe even the Vampire.

Yes, I was boasting, but after the way he treated me, I didn’t want him to think I was sitting around lonely, waiting for his return.  I told him that Cugan left, but came back three days later.

I wrote, “I heard your minivan died.  How do you get around?”  Persephone had told me this.

I believe Dave now had to cart him around, just as he once had to cart Dave around.  I remembered how much he hated having to drive Dave around when Dave lost his license over a DUI.

He wrote, “It’s so good to talk to you again.”

I don’t think I said much to that.

He must have also mentioned that he still had some of my character sheets, because after this I found him in the Pub one day to ask him about them.  I think Dave was nearby.  Did his eyes bulge out of his sockets to see me talking to Phil?

Phil sat by the pool tables.  I walked up to him, a confident, dignified, businesslike air about me.  I was so over him that I had been with another man the night before.  His claws were finally out of me.

He smiled and called me N.M., an old nickname, probably taken from the signature to one of the letters I sent him in the fall.  He didn’t have the sheets with him, but said he’d get them to me.  I took my leave and walked away.

He didn’t get them to me until just before Christmas: He showed up unannounced in the parking lot of my apartment building just as Cugan and I packed the car to visit Cugan’s parents.  I was startled, Cugan was annoyed, and Phil left soon after.

****

On Thursday, May 4 at 6:30 p.m., I went to the annual Honors Convocation.  I got a ticket for Cugan before we broke up, wondered what to do with it after we broke up, and now he went.  In fact, I asked him once, after the breakup, what to do about the ticket, and he said he would still go.

This was semi-formal.  We sat across from Anna, so she met my man.

As far as I know, Phil was still in the Core program and Persephone probably was as well, but I don’t remember seeing either of them.  If I did, it must have been insignificant for me to not remember it at all.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

More evidence of Scott Walker’s corruption, and the brain drain of teachers caused by Act 10

From this morning’s Fond du Lac Reporter:

Was Walker behind open records proposal?: This proposal, which caused bipartisan uproar after it was revealed over the 4th of July weekend, may have come from Walker himself.  The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel also came to the same conclusion.

Update 8:24pm: Scott Walker’s office helped draft changes to open records law

Update 7/23/15: Assembly Speaker Robin Vos asked for the change, while Senate Majority Leader Fitzgerald and Governor Scott Walker were also involved in drafting the language.

Update 7/30/15: Email links Scott Walker to open records changes

As for Act 10:

 

Teachers on the move

Just remember these things before voting for this guy for President.  His changes in Wisconsin are NOT as wonderful as he tries to make you think on the campaign trail.

 

What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?

In mid- to late-2007, I first came across this term in mailings from my former church’s youth pastor, who had gone into new ministries.  He was starting this kind of church, so I wondered what it was and began researching.

It’s basically rebuilding Christianity from the ground up, not relying on denominations or doctrines or preachers or anything but the Bible, not even needing a pastor.

You have tiny groups doing worship, prayer, communion and Bible study with a leader.  This can be your church, or alongside your regular church.

It is very easy to get into all sorts of heresy in this kind of setup.

It derides practices which are good and right, such as imitating Jewish worship (which was prescribed by God himself) and paying a priest/pastor a salary.

I have looked into the practices of the Early Church, including writings from that time; I find the claims of the Simple Church founders regarding the Early Church to be inaccurate and misleading.

Frank Viola is a big part of the Simple Church movement, and he’s the one who wrote Pagan Christianity, charging that paganism infused the Church shortly after its inception.

I am extremely concerned because Viola rips apart everything about the historic Church which makes it the One Holy, Apostolic Catholic Church.

Some quotes from this page:

Does a house church need a leader or pastor?

Although all house churches are different, and they decide individually how they want to do things, in general there are no “pastors.” At least there doesn’t need to be.

We believe that the Holy Spirit can use any believer to teach or encourage the group. In a house church, everyone is expected to participate and be looking for ways to use the gifts the Holy Spirit provides (see 1 Cor. 14:26).

Certainly there is usually a facilitator of the group (although it doesn’t need to be the same person that faciliatates from meeting to meeting).

We believe that even a new believer could start a church in their home without feeling like they need a trained professional to come and lead it, or needing money to support such a person.

We find that the lack of a specified pastor encourages every person in the group to look for answers by searching the Scriptures and looking to the Holy Spirit, rather than depending on the pastor to interpret.

….What do you do when you get together?

Again, this will vary from church to church . . . but here are some of the basic elements that tend to be present in every house church:

FOOD – When you get together, eat! It provides a great atmosphere for people to have honest open communication with each other.

OPEN PARTICIPATION – 1 Corinthians 14:26 is the basis for what we do when we get together. The key is “Each one has…” Everybody should be able to take part.

BIBLE STUDY – Keep it simple and interactive. A great technique is to look over a few verses together and then share with each other what each person gets out of the verses.

PRAYER – Find out what is happening in each other’s lives and take the time to pray for each other. Expect God to move powerfully and to speak to the group as you pray.

SIMPLICITY – Make sure that whatever you do can be duplicated. If the church is going to multiply rapidly it must be kept simple.

How do you handle ceremonial events?

This is yet another area where many house churches differ, but here are some suggestions:

WEDDINGS – We usually encourage couples to have a civil wedding (in front of a Justice of the Peace) on a Friday to deal with the legal issues, and then have anything that they and their house church want for the real wedding that weekend.

BAPTISMS – Be creative! We have had (or heard of) baptisms in jacuzzis, bathtubs, swimming pools, and lakes.

LORD’S SUPPER – Again, the way that people in different house churches handle the Lord’s Supper varies widely. If you are interested, Steve Atkerson wrote an interesting article on the Lord’s Supper called “The Last Snack“(printed in issue 1 of House2House magazine).

In a group like this, how do you prevent the spread of heresies?  A group which doesn’t even have a real pastor?  No seminary degree, nothing, unless he happened to get one through his former denomination?

Some articles about it:

Simple Church

SimpleChurchUK

House Church Basics

Frank Viola’s Blog/Website

Books by Frank Viola

Interview with Frank Viola in which he claims the Church is full of paganism

What do we mean by “Simple Church”?

Beware of it and do not fall for it!  It could do a great deal of damage to the Church.

A blog critiquing Viola’s Pagan Christianity: Parts One, Two, Three, Four, Postlude.

A blog criticizing this sort of church from the Orthodox perspective: Where the West is headed now, and how the Eastern Church might play a role

Written between 2007 and 2009

Index to my theology/church opinion pages:

Page 1:

Tithing 
End Times and Christian Zionism 
God’s Purpose/Supremacy of God Doctrine 
Cat and Dog Theology 
Raising One’s Hands in Worship 
Christian Music 
On the “still, small voice” and Charismatic sign gifts
On church buildings 
The Message Bible 
The Purpose-Driven Life 
The Relevance Doctrine, i.e. Marketing Churches to Seekers 
Republican Party 
Abortion Protests 
Creation 
The idea that God has someone in mind for you 
Literalism in Biblical interpretation
Miscellaneous 

Page 2:

Name it and Claim It Doctrine, Prosperity Doctrine, Faith-Formula Theology, Word-Faith Theology,  Positive Confession Theology, Health and Wealth Gospel, and whatever else they call it
More about Pat Robertson
Dr. Richard Eby and others who claim to have been to Heaven
Women in Marriage/the Church
Spiritual Abuse 
Other Resources 

Page 3:

Why do bad things happen?
Should we criticize our brethren’s artistic or evangelistic attempts?  Or, how should we evangelize, then?
Angels: Is “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti a divine revelation or fiction?
Halloween: Not the Devil’s Holiday!
Hell and the Nature of God 
Is Christmas/Easter a Pagan Holiday? 
Is everybody going to Hell except Christians?
How could a loving God who prohibits murder, command the genocide of the Canaanite peoples? 
What about predestination?
Musings on Sin, Salvation and Discipleship 
An Ancient View which is in the Bible, yet new to the west–Uncreated Energies of God

Page 4:

Dialogues
The Didache 
Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go? 
Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?  (also in “Life” section, where it’s more likely to be updated) 
Does the Pill cause abortions, or is that just another weird Internet or extremist right-wing rumor?
What about Missional Churches, Simple Churches, Fluid Churches, Organic Churches, House Churches or Neighborhood Churches?
Is Wine from the Devil–or a Gift from God?
What is Worship? 
Evangelistic Trips to Already Christianized Countries
Fraternities, Sororities, Masonic Lodge 
Was Cassie Bernall a Martyr?
Some Awesome Things heard in the Lamentations Service (Good Friday evening) during Holy Week

Conversion Story

Phariseeism in the Church

Introvert shaming

I was just reading an article about introversion posted to Facebook by an introverted friend: So Apparently There Are Four Kinds of Introversion

(I was split about equal across all four kinds, by the way)

…And then, of course, in the comments to this article you find mean stuff accusing introverts who post on Facebook about introversion, of looking for pity and attention-seeking.

Sigh….

Once again, people really don’t understand introverts.

No, it’s people posting articles they find meaningful and helpful, the same as everybody else does on Facebook.  My husband’s Aspie cousin also posts lots of things about airplanes.

No, it’s about trying to understand yourself and explain it to others, after spending a lifetime of dealing with people who accuse you of being stuck up, or rude, or all sorts of other things, simply because you are quiet and introverted.

Who have abused you for it, or rejected you for it, or teased you for it, causing deep scars.

Who have scolded you out of the blue, when you were simply being yourself.

And it happens quite often.  It starts in childhood, when you have no idea why the other kids keep rejecting you and bullying you, or why you can’t please your teachers and other adults.

Most people want the approval of others, so telling us to just “shrug it off” won’t work.  No, stuff like this works deep in your psyche, a kind of introvert-shaming.

It causes you to feel like a freak, because not only can you not behave the ways that everybody keeps telling you, you “should,”–

but oftentimes you don’t want to.

Heck, I’ve just come through YEARS of fighting to recover from the emotional damage of being traumatized by Richard and Tracy for being introverted.  The whole story, the extent of how they abused me, starts here.  I recently realized that I finally made it through the darkness and have rebuilt my life again.

Another person in college, Shawn, also psychologically damaged me by criticizing all my introverted and NVLD traits.  I was in love with him, but he rejected me because of my introversion, while also sexually using me.  You can read about him here.  I had to go to counseling to untangle myself from him.  Yet years later, things he did and told me sometimes ring in my head.

If these things happen to me, then they happen to others.  I post my experiences to help other introverts and abuse victims get through the jungle of depression and self-pity, and to the point of accepting themselves–and not accepting abuse from others.

I had no such resource to help me, so I felt all alone.  But I can provide it for others so they don’t go through what I did, so they don’t feel alone.

Finally, we introverts have found a way, through Facebook, to quickly explain to all our friends that our behavior is actually normal and common.  We hope that finally, the judgment and criticism will STOP so we can relax more in social gatherings.

This is also a way to say, “We’re here, we’re introverted, get used to it!”

A way to reverse decades of emotional trauma by realizing we are OKAY.

To begin to empower ourselves.

To rebuild our confidence and become comfortable in our own skin.

To finally have the words we need and the gumption we need to tell people the next time they criticize us, “I’m an introvert, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

To STOP taking the criticism to heart and crying the rest of the day, or however each individual introvert deals with rejection and criticism.

To STOP apologizing for how we are.

To STOP trying to change ourselves and failing, destroying our confidence in ourselves.

To realize that we do indeed have something to offer, making us more attractive to employers, mates and friends.

To have a happy life of taking care of our own needs, rather than fighting against the grain of our own natures.  And that gives us the energy to take care of others’ needs as well.

…And we get accused of “attention-seeking” or looking for “pity.”

Or, another one I’ve seen, of trying to show that we’re “better,” or smarter or whatever, than extroverts.

Um, no.  This is just more introvert-shaming.  Quit it already!

(A Psychology Today article on reversing the effects of “introvert shaming,” on feeling self-worth instead of victimized, is here.  Another blog post from a kindred spirit on introvert-shaming is here.)

 

My Priest has retired–and realizing my church no longer connects to my narcissist

It was sudden, even to the parish council.  And nobody has yet been found to take his place.

We hope we do not go the way of Richard and Tracy‘s church, which shuttered some time ago because of the lack of a priest.  (Note: Richard and Tracy do NOT come to mine, and I have no idea where they go, if anywhere.)

I hear and read the comments from various people, and know it’s not just me jumping to the worst possible conclusion, but that many of us worry.  Over the years, people have also grumbled about lack of support from the archdiocese.

You can’t blame our priest: The guy’s in his 80s, and lives in the next county.  He also had two near-misses with deer when driving the long way to our church, two and four months ago.  I’m sure that had something to do with it.  And he says he’s traveled 500,000 miles over the past 23 years, dealing with our church, the church in the next county, scattered parishioners, and various small Orthodox communities around the state.  You can’t expect to work your priest to death.

We could, and hopefully will, still get a new priest.  But this concern has me seriously thinking about what to do if we don’t.

The nearest Orthodox church is our sister parish in the next county.  It’s right across the street from an old and dear college friend, so we could visit.  But my husband goes to a Lutheran church, my son is going into confirmation with that church, and there is just no way I could get there more than once a month, unless I bum a ride with somebody.

I thought about going back to Protestantism, into a liberal church which, these days, would probably suit me quite well.  Even the PCUSA allows gay preachers now.  In a liberal church, there would be no talk of submissive wives, head scarves, or arguments over whether women should read the Epistle in church.  Hell would diminish into nothing.  Gay would be Okay.

But a great deal of thought reminded me of how much trouble I’ve gone to, to become Orthodox.  The many books, the study, the changing of my thinking from Protestant to Orthodox–even kissing icons.  Even praying to saints and Mary.  As a Protestant, I thought that was idolatry.

I’ve even been studying Greek so I can start understanding my fellow parishioners!  I can now pick up words here and there.

As I revise my website, I see Orthodoxy all through the theological sections and the reviews of Left Behind.

It’s gotten into my blood.

Five years ago, after breaking off relations with Richard and Tracy, I was so distraught–so constantly driven to tears–because my very religion reminded me of my former BFF, Richard.  His friendship had been so dear to me that I could no longer even go on Orthodox forums.  You see, his influence led me to become Orthodox, as I describe here.  And I had deeply philia-loved him.

I struggled just to remain Orthodox.  I could barely hold back the tears during Divine Liturgy each Sunday.  Every aspect of Orthodoxy, was about Richard.  And when I saw him at church once in a blue moon, I trembled, and feared just looking at him would send me into a sobbing fit.

Then when he and his wife refused to repent of abusing me, and proved to be so callous as to threaten to come every week, because they knew it upset me, church became a battleground.

So you see, I have gone through a LOT to be and remain Orthodox, more than the typical convert, probably.

It would be SO easy, if no priest is found, to just give up on Orthodoxy.  Maybe become Methodist or UCC or return to the Presbyterian church just down the road.  I even thought about doing so, back when I feared just going to church because Richard might be there.

But I can’t.

Fortunately, God and time seem to have done a blessed miracle: I also just realized that Richard is no longer Orthodoxy to me.  Going to church no longer makes me think of him.

I don’t go on Orthodox forums, but that’s because Net ‘doxy is full of constant rehashing of the same old threads, legalism, and political conservatism that I just don’t see in my local church.  It has nothing to do with being reminded of Richard anymore.

I have a good friend at my church now, someone other than Richard, who understands what it’s like to be a convert.  (Most of the people there are born into the faith.)  I realized he is a close friend now, that I care about him and he seems to care about me as well.  (Don’t worry, there’s nothing improper: I’m much older than he is and don’t need to invite Graduate jokes.  Richard, who reads my blog, will understand what I mean.)

I have friends.  My faith is deeply ingrained in me.  I feel at peace.  I am no longer fighting the darkness.

Now, hopefully this will not be disrupted by the lack of a priest….Our church was in this predicament 23 years ago, too, and then somebody stepped up.