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Spiritual Abuse Titles Spiritual abuse is the mistreatment of a person who is in need of help, support or greater spiritual empowerment, with the result of weakening, undermining or decreasing that person's spiritual empowerment.

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Old 08-08-2008, 11:19 AM   #1
Nell
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Default The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, Johnson & VanVonderen

Off to See the Wizard

"Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion go to the Wizard because they believe he has the power to give them what they need. Dorothy needs to go home; the Scarecrow needs a brain; the Tin Man needs a heart; and the Lion needs courage. The Wizard sends them out on a quest to get the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West. If they bring back the broomstick, he will give them what they need.

They accomplish their mission by melting the witch and getting the broomstick, then returning to the Wizard's place to ask him to deliver on his promise. But, in fact, he is not expecting their return, and is quite put out at being held accountable to keep his promise.

Our heroes enter the huge chamber where the Wizard of Oz conducts his business. They are met face to face by the Wizard himself, a big scary head--not a real person, just a serious face, surrounded by billowing smoke and fire, making a lot of noise. With a thunderous roar, the Wizard demands to know how these four dare to challenge him.

...It is at this moment that Dorothy's dog runs over to a small room and pulls back a curtain, and what is revealed to us is a simple, flesh-and-blood man who has long been hiding behind a mask of power. He operates behind a curtain pulling levers, making smoke, fire and noise. The result looks impressive but is only a facade. Even when exposed, he roars, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"

The "Wizard" is in fact a power abuser. He controls a whole city with a facade that postures power and punishes people for noticing. In a kingdom where the problem was that the Wizard couldn't deliver, Dorothy and her crew became the problem for noticing there was a problem.

It is sad to think how often religious power-brokers control their spiritual kingdoms with power facades. They rain Bible verses on people about authority, submission, judgment, prosperity or the end times. They penalize people for noticing that "the man behind the curtain" is just human, with no authenticity or authority at all.

As a maddening last lesson from the story, after all is said and done, the Wizard tells them, "You already have what you needed all along." They had risked life and limb for what they already had.

In too many Christian families and churches, Christians are told to jump through spiritual-performance hoops to earn God's approval--something they already have for free because of Jesus' death on the cross."

The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, pp. 117-118

I watched "The Wizard of Oz" again after I read this book. After Toto pulled back the curtain, Dorothy confronted the man behind the curtain saying "You're a terrible man!"

He replied to Dorothy "I'm a pretty good man. I'm just a terrible Wizard."

Nell

Last edited by Nell; 08-08-2008 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 08-08-2008, 12:34 PM   #2
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Great stuff, Nell. Thanks. I see a lot of good discussions on the way ---

It has been years (trust me, YEARS) since I read The Wizard of Oz, but one of my favorite parts was always a description of the Emerald City. It goes into how everything in the city was green. Everything. And before you enter the city, you put on some 'special' glasses. I forget what the explanation for the glasses was (anyone have a copy of this great book?) -- but everyone in the city wore them, all the time. Clearly emerald colored lenses. Such a great example of group deception.

I'm reading The Thread of Gold. Wow.

That's all I can say, for now. Wow.


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Old 08-08-2008, 01:35 PM   #3
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The glasses were simply to protect the wearers' eyes, since the Emerald City was so bright as to be blinding.
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Old 08-08-2008, 02:16 PM   #4
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The glasses were simply to protect the wearers' eyes, since the Emerald City was so bright as to be blinding.

Igzy: Perfect!!!

Do the glasses come off at some point? I just can't remember.


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Old 08-08-2008, 02:29 PM   #5
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Igzy: Perfect!!!

Do the glasses come off at some point? I just can't remember.

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Don't think so. The light of the city was real. It was not a product of the wizard's fakery.
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Old 06-03-2015, 11:59 AM   #6
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Default Re: The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, Johnson & VanVonderen

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Originally Posted by Nell View Post
It is sad to think how often religious power-brokers control their spiritual kingdoms with power facades. They rain Bible verses on people about authority, submission, judgment, prosperity or the end times. They penalize people for noticing that "the man behind the curtain" is just human, with no authenticity or authority at all.

Nell
The only real authority that exists is who is welcome inside the building they administer. Elders, maybe in name only. Only real function is setting meeting times and executing directives directives from Anaheim.
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Old 05-26-2016, 08:45 PM   #7
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I recently read Jeramie Rinne's 9Marks book "Church Elders - How to Shepherd God's People Like Jesus" and was stunned by how right on it is.

When describing the New Testament's requirements for elders on page 22, one of them is "Gentle". He then goes on to say there is a famous Swahili proberb that says, When the elephants fight, the grass gets trampled." and likens the elephants to combative and aggressive leaders, and the grass to the sheep in god's flock who get trampled when they fight. He cites 1 Timothy 3:3 and Titus 1:7 to back this up.

What stunned me about this particular part of Rinne's book is that it explained to me some of the baffling things I had experienced in the local churches and couldn't understand why things ended up going so wrong. I wondered if others on this site could relate as well. Please let me know.

When I looked up the proverb on an African proverb internet site, one of the commentaries noted the similarity to Matthew 23:1-36 when Jesus castigates the scribes and Pharisees as hypocrites, blind guides and blind fools for vying for places of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, but oppressing the ordinary people:

"They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them."

"For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them."
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Old 06-18-2016, 01:10 PM   #8
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Default Re: The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, Johnson & VanVonderen

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When describing the New Testament's requirements for elders on page 22, one of them is "Gentle". He then goes on to say there is a famous Swahili proberb that says, When the elephants fight, the grass gets trampled." and likens the elephants to combative and aggressive leaders, and the grass to the sheep in god's flock who get trampled when they fight. He cites 1 Timothy 3:3 and Titus 1:7 to back this up.

What stunned me about this particular part of Rinne's book is that it explained to me some of the baffling things I had experienced in the local churches and couldn't understand why things ended up going so wrong. I wondered if others on this site could relate as well. Please let me know.
There is no way to understand our history in the LC's unless one is honest and examines the facts of history. Then, after scrutinizing the record, one must arrive at the conclusion that corrupt leaders, like elephants, have trampled God's children for decades. Then, when other upright men of God speak their conscience in protest, we have a battle. LSM liked to spin these battles as "storms," or "rebellions," or attacks from God's enemy, but actually were simply fleshly leaders abusing God's people.

Personally, back in 2003-2004 after the so-called "Phoenix Accord" between LSM and GLA leaders, rumblings of "elephants in the distance" caused me to research Brethren history, especially the events surrounding their splits from 1845-1850. Without understanding our exclusive predecessors, I could never have truly understood our present day leaders.
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Old 06-19-2016, 05:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, Johnson & VanVonderen

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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
There is no way to understand our history in the LC's unless one is honest and examines the facts of history. Then, after scrutinizing the record, one must arrive at the conclusion that corrupt leaders, like elephants, have trampled God's children for decades. Then, when other upright men of God speak their conscience in protest, we have a battle. LSM liked to spin these battles as "storms," or "rebellions," or attacks from God's enemy, but actually were simply fleshly leaders abusing God's people.

Personally, back in 2003-2004 after the so-called "Phoenix Accord" between LSM and GLA leaders, rumblings of "elephants in the distance" caused me to research Brethren history, especially the events surrounding their splits from 1845-1850. Without understanding our exclusive predecessors, I could never have truly understood our present day leaders.
LSM spins propaganda that's certain. On this Father's day, I was speaking with my dad. My grandfather had served in Philippines during WWII. It's been known Japanese soldiers were indoctrinated the Americans were blood-thirsty boogeymen. Deprived of any compassion.
Much the same Witness Lee and Blended coworkers have indoctrinated the local churches with their own propaganda of serving brothers who have left the LC fellowship.
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Old 07-16-2016, 05:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
There is no way to understand our history in the LC's unless one is honest and examines the facts of history. Then, after scrutinizing the record, one must arrive at the conclusion that corrupt leaders, like elephants, have trampled God's children for decades. Then, when other upright men of God speak their conscience in protest, we have a battle. LSM liked to spin these battles as "storms," or "rebellions," or attacks from God's enemy, but actually were simply fleshly leaders abusing God's people.

Personally, back in 2003-2004 after the so-called "Phoenix Accord" between LSM and GLA leaders, rumblings of "elephants in the distance" caused me to research Brethren history, especially the events surrounding their splits from 1845-1850. Without understanding our exclusive predecessors, I could never have truly understood our present day leaders.
A belated thanks for your post on this, Ohio. Your thoughts and experience are helpful, as I'm still going through the healing process from a trampling.
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Old 07-16-2016, 05:45 PM   #11
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LSM spins propaganda that's certain. On this Father's day, I was speaking with my dad. My grandfather had served in Philippines during WWII. It's been known Japanese soldiers were indoctrinated the Americans were blood-thirsty boogeymen. Deprived of any compassion.
Much the same Witness Lee and Blended coworkers have indoctrinated the local churches with their own propaganda of serving brothers who have left the LC fellowship.
A belated thanks for your thoughts too, Terry.

JJ
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