A reader writes: hope where there was confusion & despair

A reader writes:

I don’t expect you to respond to this, but I’m hoping that you will get the chance to read it and know that you have given me hope where there was confusion and despair. At 26 years of age I became a Christian. My childhood and early adult years were spent in a spiritual whirlwind of a cult and the occult, so Evangelical Christianity literally felt like a God sent, as the answers were all in black and white. Heaven and Hell. Us and them. This offered a lot of security after the kind of spiritual confusion I had grown up with.

About 25 years ago I was sexually abused by a pastor in an Evangelical Baptist church…. When the abuse happened, I had been a Christian for about 8 years. Spiritually I was really struggling and in retrospect I know that I hadn’t sorted out my past and the impact it had on me. I guess all this confusion made me ripe for the picking and after the abuse I left the church and have not returned since. (Yes, I did come forward and disclosed the abuse to the senior church leadership. A big cover up ensued, and I was consequently re-abused by the church.)

Recently, after sorting through a lot of my childhood abuse issues in therapy, the abuse in the church reared its ugly head and I have begun to try to find some peace around it. Through that process I have felt God calling me back to Him, but I have changed so much in the past 25 years and Evangelical Christianity is no longer a fit for me. This has been quite frightening for me to break away from what I formally believed and start a different way of being Christian, as you say.

The long and short of it is, I wanted to say thank you for your book The Great Spiritual Migration. You have given me hope and helped me to understand that there are a lot more people like me out there, that I’m not going to hell for questioning the church and a literal reading of scripture, and that God truly is an inclusive God of love.

Thanks so much for writing and sharing your story. I’m honored that the book has been helpful.

I hope that all church leaders who read your story will be sure that they have a written plan for handling abuse, and that they always get outside help from legal and counseling professionals … the number of times that abuse is covered up is unconscionable. Thanks be to God that you are healing. I know many readers of this blog will join in praying for you today.