The Church That is Making People Homeless

Every day I meet more and more homeless people.

It isn’t that these men and women are without a physical place to dwell, it’s that they have found themselves internally displaced. 

Presently in their spiritual journey, they’ve arrived at a spot where they realize, often with tremendous grief and a fair bit of denial—that they no longer belong where they once did. They no longer fit in American Christianity. Once fully secured there, they are now frightened refugees desperately trying to escape what their religion has become.

They may have become unwilling prodigals, forced to the periphery by the judgment and coldness of other believers.
They might have become estranged by the growing distance between themselves and those also claiming to be Christian.
Perhaps they’ve been gripped by the knowledge that they can no longer be the most authentic version of themselves in their spiritual communities.
Or maybe the election showed them a Church and a Christianity that they couldn’t recognize Jesus in any more.

Whatever the reason, these orphaned souls have lost the sense of belonging and safety they used to feel in their religious tradition or faith community—and the existential homelessness of it all is terrifying.

My Christian faith used to be home for me. For nearly twenty years, the Church was the place I felt most connected to the world and most alive in it. There in a local church and as part of the bigger global Christian community I found affinity and connection and kinship. My religion was a place of respite and shelter in the tempest, a place to pause and to breathe.

This is after all, what home is. More than merely a geographic spot on the map or a building we find ourselves in—home is an internal condition, a feeling. When we’re there, we can be exactly who we are without alteration. There in the space where we are fully seen and fully known, in the presence of those we don’t have to earn approval from or deserve proximity with—we can exhale. We can rest. Many people are exhausted right now because they no longer feel at home in the families or marriages, in their churches or faith tradition, or even in their country. Everything is laborious and tiring.

Recently, my dear friend Christy called me. Sharing the story of the last few turbulent months of her life, she echoed the hearts of so many people of faith I speak with.

“I’ve seen things I didn’t want to see, and just I can’t go back there. I have no place to go now,” she said as her voice cracked. “I don’t belong anywhere.”

This is familiar ground for millions of people right now—feeling like aliens wherever they place their feet, feeling emotionally unsettled.

It’s difficult to admit the sense of homelessness I feel regarding the faith of my childhood and the devastating loss that comes with it. It hasn’t happened in a loud, cataclysmic instant, but in a million small revelations, nagging questions, and uneasy feelings that all finally became too much to ignore. Slowly but most certainly I found myself outside.

That’s not to say I don’t still have a glowing ember of belief still tucked away somewhere in the center of my chest. That’s the problem: I do. It’s just that now I’m trying to figure out how to nurture it outside the religion of my younger days. I’m wondering if I will ever have the sense of belonging or shared purpose I had there. 

Maybe organized Christianity will never be home for me again. Given what it looks like right now, I’m more and more okay with that. It could be that from now on I am destined to be a sojourner who travels lightly and moves often. Maybe that’s how this was always supposed to be anyway. Maybe that’s the point: that this is all far too big for a building.

If you’re feeling displaced from the religion of your past, that may be a good thing.

If it feels like the Church is pushing you outside, go there.

What feels like homelessness might actually be freedom.

Maybe that wide, expansive space that cannot be contained or fenced in—is home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

106 thoughts on “The Church That is Making People Homeless

  1. My sentiments expressed so eloquently. We are a part of those homeless sojourners, but we are free to follow Christ out here.

  2. You hit the nail on the head! I could comment a mile of words and still have another mile to add. And maybe that’s just it – homeless. Maybe this is where God wants me to be in this season of my life.

  3. thank you again, John. been outside for many moons now…good to know other goodhearts are out here with me.
    as i prepare to make the journey to the other side, i am feeling
    at “home” out here…..in part, because of you and your blog

    thank you!

    • Steve Pipkin-Savag– Blessings and peace unto you. While not quite preparing, i am ready to make that journey too; by that I mean I no longer fear it, as my departure is likely to be quite abrupt. I too have had a home ‘on the outside’ for many, many years. There are indeed many “goodhearts” out here. May your journey be swift and may Peace and Love be your companions.

  4. I know now that for many, church is more surface than sanctuary and that is a sad revelation, but there are elements that still really appeal to me, so I cannot quit completely.

    I know now that I am not alone. It is not easy to feel that you must be circumspect and not genuine in a place that should be a balm to your soul, but that is the way of it now that so much of Christianity today has been exposed as just another power grabbing player in the game.

    I know now, that from the “Prosperity Gospel” to the “Westboro Hate Band” we just have to navigate the troubled waters and the spectrum of Christian Churches or choose to seek God and worship alone.

    I know now that it has crippled trust, it has ended friendships, it has demoralized followers of Christ and worst of all, it has given us Trump and Republican Christian Right control of our nation. May God help us, because history is full of the problems when the church is the government, and the heady power of force is available.

    I know now that mine is the only soul I will have to face Christ with, so I will guard it with the love he taught us no matter the pressure applied.

    I hope that this turmoil will help future generations know that we at least registered our voices and told the truth of what we saw even if we could not change it.

      • I couldn’t believe it when I first saw that style of preaching. It has nothing to do with the Gospel. I don’t understand how people can be so stupid and gullible to fall for that. The immorality of these preachers is beyond description.

        • Hi Patricia. Yes, it is pretty bizarre. It all goes back to the American Puritanic belief (See Pilgrims 1620) that God rewards the faithful who work hard and condemns the unfaithful who do not work hard to poverty. The only problem with that is that it violates both scripture (words of Jesus) and obervable reality. I know many poor people who are extremely faithful and work hard—yet they are still poor. I know many rich people with no faith at all who are (by the working poor man’s standards) lazy.

          By the way, Mick Murdoch is the father of the $58 seed. He said the first seed her ever planted himself was the $58 seed. There is just something magical about the $58 seed. Tell me Patricia. Have you ever planted the $1,000 seed or the $5,000 seed in Mike Murdoch’s garden. God has planted it in his heart that he needs to buy a Boeing 767, and your planting of a $5,000 seed will help him get there. Well, not really. I only said that because the last time I checked him out, he was buying airplanes.

          • I consider myself to be reasonably rational and intelligent. I will not be purchasing an aeroplane for anyone else! Mr Murdoch sounds like a prize abuser.

  5. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to SEND OUT laborers INTO his harvest.”
    Matthew 9:36‭-‬38 ESV

    He is the Lord of inside AND out. Of pews and porches. Yay! 👍

  6. “It could be that from now on I am destined to be a sojourner who travels lightly and moves often. Maybe that’s how this was always supposed to be anyway. ”

    Yes, it was, and is. How very Buddhist of you, John.

    But even Buddhists treasure the Buddha (the perspective through which we become enlightened) ; the Darma (teachings); and the Sanga (fellow buddhists helping you). It’s just that they understand that these 3 treasures manifest uniquely in each one of us, and it is right to nurture each other on the path.

  7. As much as I long for a church that will be home, a refuge, and a sanctuary, I don’t think church will be that for me unless I become the kind of person one wants to find in their home, their refuge, and their sanctuary.

    Yes, I am one of those who have been abused and battered by people in my church and I have been afraid to go to any church. For years and years now. But I miss it.

    One of my goals in the Dialectical Behavior Therapy class has been to face this fear, to take it apart piece by piece. It occurs to me that I can’t ask a group of people to change. I can only work on changing myself.

    It is not enough for me to hope for a church to welcome me. Seems to me that it is up to me to allow the Holy Spirit to change me into becoming the sort of person other people come to a church to find.

    Maybe if we all worked on that goal, then maybe fewer of us would find church an abusive experience.

    • gdd, of course, Jesus does come along side of these church refugees. But sometimes our pain is so great we don’t notice His presence for a while.

  8. “Remember, you’ve told us how bad and hateful the Christian Church is, and you’ve told us how awful Christians are. ”

    And you seem determined to prove him right.

      • Harris, what makes a man reject a pleasant discussion on where Christianity can be lived to engage in gutter talk and invasive questioning?

        Since you are obviously depraved, can you help me with my understanding?

      • “Scott, what makes a man rejects a beautiful and very sexy woman yet he is attractive to another man?
        Why do gay men not desire to go down on a woman, but they would go down on the sweaty balls of another man?
        I’ve asked several gay men, but no one has been able to intelligently explain it to me, so since you are obviously gay, can you please help me with my understanding?
        Thanks!”

        First of all, Harris, it is not my job to school you about human sexuality. Second, the way you posed the question made it abundantly clear that I could explain it for a hundred years and you still wouldn’t get it. And why? BECAUSE YOU DON’T WANT TO.
        YOUR HEAD IS MADE OF CEMENT AND THERE IS NO WAY FOR NEW IDEAS TO PENETRATE THAT SKULL.

        Do NOT, and I repeat, do NOT, address this topic with me again because I will have your head.

  9. Thank you JP. It’s amazing how many of us are experiencing the same transformation to something else outside of the church of our childhood. I feel sad for the children who no longer experience the safe haven of the church. My hope is to capture the essence of the serenity prayer to change what I can, accept what I can’t change and the wisdom to know the difference. Pastor John and friends, this blog is a wonderful place to travel throughout my days. It is my haven to confirm and advance my own moral beliefs without conforming to a brand of Christianity that looks nothing like Christianity. Lord give us wisdom to discern truth in a fake world.

  10. All isnot lost when one finds themselves outside of the traditional “church.” Several of us started our own, meeting weekly. No budget, no staff, just us exploring. Here’s what we embrace:

    We open our minds and hearts to the present-ness of God-in-us, the Source and Sustainer of all that exists.

    We value each other and seek to be an inclusive community in which every member is given full justice, dignity, and respect.

    We give thanks for the insights we gain from people of
    various times, places, cultures and religions whose lives have been characterized by gratitude, compassion, generosity and forgiveness.

    We seek to be sensitive to the lure of God in all aspects of our personal life, and open to discovering new hopes and dreams for our lives together.

    We will do this in solidarity with one another, through our communal worship, through our spiritual journey, through faithful action in our community and in honest fellowship with each other.

    Thus we commit ourselves to deepen our experience of God’s present-ness within and around us.

    Therefore we commit ourselves to the Gathering House, for we believe it is with and through each other
    that we have been called to serve.

    May God-in-us find generous and courageous expression in our words and actions as we undertake to make the reign of God evident in our world.

    (adapted from Michael Morwood)

    • Please have the courtesy to address me by my correct name. After all, all you have to do is copy and paste it.
      Please do not call me G. A.

  11. Thanks for highlighting a problem with organized religion. I have never felt comfortable in any church denomination because we are asked to conform to man made beliefs about God and how to worship correctly– which is only some person or group’s unique interpretation of how to be religious.

    Church which should be inclusive is exclusive. It’s all backwards. I know hundreds of people who believe in God but don’t go to church.

    The traditional church has a messy history of bringing the gospel message to the world and good works — which is a good thing but is marred by corruption and a bad witness which seems to take away from all the good they have done.

    The church needs to repent and do more to extend their welcome to all those who are outsiders through reconciliation and to stop their worship of money and power by sharing thier wealth and being humble and on the same level as everyone else.

  12. John has put into words where I find myself. Sanctuary now is where I find myself. I guess if enough find ourselves on the outside we can create our own faith community not bound by stone and stained windows.

  13. I am from the midwest, Steve King country in Iowa. On my drives back home, I once felt solace and peace as the steeples and church buildings came into view. I imagined my fellow Christians welcoming all. Now the appearance of these same steeples on the horizon evokes feelings of judgement and exclusion. To them, Nationalism is no longer seen as a form of idolatry, but instead a sign of Christian purity. They say I have changed. I have been tainted by the outside world and can no longer be trusted. Why do they believe I am the only one who is capable of being tainted? When my mother is gone, I will no longer go home. My home no longer exists.

    • Jesus said that one day iniquity would abound, and the hearts of most people who are Christians would wax cold—but those who can persevere by keeping love for their fellow man and woman in their hearts until the end will be saved. Your old friends in those white Iowa churches have lost their love. Try to keep yours. I will do the same and so will the other people here.

  14. Thank you for your words. I’m sorry that you are at a point where they even need to be said…
    However.
    “Maybe that’s how this was always supposed to be anyway. Maybe that’s the point: that this is all far too big for a building.”
    That’s no maybe. Jesus NEVER said build a special place that you only go once a week/every day/whatever to think about mean and the rest of the time, you’re on your own. Jesus NEVER asked for the gold cups, the hymnbooks, the youth choir, the midweek Bible Study, the offering plate. Sorry. He just didn’t.
    What did he say? How about this, which I call the 2 commandments and 6 tasks: Love your God and Love your neighbor; feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked; welcome the stranger, comfort the sick and visit those in prison. Incidentally, he did not say to do those things in conjunction with church services and activities.
    So I would have to agree with your assessment: “What feels like homelessness might actually be freedom. Maybe that wide, expansive space that cannot be contained or fenced in—is home.”
    Jesus wanted/s his followers (as opposed to “Christians”; that’s how I differentiate between the talkers and the walkers) to do as he did–and he did the walking. He was a brown-eyed, brown-skinned, Middle Eastern man, who was also an immigrant, Jewish, homeless and unemployed. You know, just like the people that 45 is trying to keep OUT of America.
    Jesus means Love. It’s that simple. All you need is love, love (you) everyday, love somebody sometime…no, all the time; make a little love, put a little more love in your life…and so on. If you Love all, it is nothing more than a natural response to help all, to be compassionate to all, to offer whatever assistance you can. And that is a major part of my own spiritual path. I like Jesus, I think he’s a “good thing” in a world where so much isn’t. But I have no respect and no use for those who cry “Lord, Lord” but do not know him.
    And for those who think that they are “in” this world, but “not OF” this world, that they can do whatever they please to this planet because they’re going to Heaven, so it doesn’t matter if this place is depleted, polluted, destroyed: God gave Adam dominion over the animals; this does NOT mean the power to do whatever he wanted without knowing or caring about the natural world. Dominion in this instance means stewardship–as in, “take care of this, it is mine and I expect you to keep it in good working order”. Humans have FAILED at this and continue to do so, most recently with the argument of whether there is climate change and global warming — or not. If you think there is NOT global warming, ask those in AZ how they feel about, when their temperatures are high enough that planes cannot get sufficient lift to get off the ground. Ask the polar scientists why the ice at the poles is melting–when it hasn’t done that in millions of years. Ask about El Nino and El Nina, terms we never heard regularly in the news before about 1990 or so.
    So not only are humans NOT following Jesus’ instructions, we’re devastating the planet like we can just leave and go someplace else when it’s completely used up. (But we don’t really have a space exploration/pioneering program going on.)
    Welcome to Earth, the only planet that holds human life. Do your jobs, Christians or shut up and get out of the way of those who do as Jesus instructed, with no need for a special building because Nature herself is the most perfect sanctuary and site of worship; no need for a hierarchical system to denote who leads the church because there is only One Leader (and it’s not a human being). Step back and watch LOVE enter the world, watch LOVE doing for “the least of these” as a matter of course. Listen to LOVE comforting and visiting and welcoming EVERYONE. Watch the offering plate go by empty–because the greatest gift you can give is LOVE and Time, two things you CANNOT buy.
    This is the Teacher’s world; this is the world he came to save from itself. Those who follow him do his bidding and share LOVE, being in community with the entire community of beings–not just the ones who happen to sit in the same building as you on Sundays.

    Peace and blessings, and most of all, LOVE to you all.

    • Thank you, that was beautiful and what you said, I believe it and I am standing with you. Peace and Love to you,

    • That is much of the problem, particularly in Christian fundamentalism and conservtive evangelicalism. Church is Sunday and Wednesday night—but the words of Jesus that are said and read there do not seem to stick inside people, and worst of all, those words are not translated into everyday life and action troughout the rest of the week. There is the perennial problem of the devout Sunday Christian who walks in the door of his workplace on Monday morning and becomes mean as Satan himself. If real faith is not translated into goodness and positive action in life (as James the brother of Jesus said in his gospel), what in the Hell kind of Christian faith is that? You might as well not even have it at all for all it is worth.

      Jesus must be translated into action and life—every day of the week—all 24 hours of each day. Of course, we all fail in that, but the worst part is that many of us do not even try—like that mean-as Satan-himself-boss on Monday morning.

  15. The year God made Himself truly known to me, to the point that I can never deny Him, He gave me a dream that clarified my connection to Him. In this dream I saw a power strip, and the message was that we all are supposed to plug directly to Him, not into someone else who says they are the connection to God. By doing this we will learn more and not have to deal with another human that is fallible like me. I still go to churches, and really enjoy myself, but I never look to anyone else for my connection to my creator.

    • Pamela, I love this that you have written.

      God also came to me in a vision. I saw myself standing in the cupped hands of God, peering over God’s fingertips in a “Kilroy was here” manner and ever since I have known that my true home is in God’s cupped hands.

  16. Religion and Church are the root of the dissociation people feel for same. Name a prejudice, hatred, bigotry, bias, homo-whatever, blame, condemnation, judging and all other words of unloving attitudes and behavior; each of them are rooted in religion then through the church.
    People who care for and support others regardless – as that one scripture reminds us to “love our neighbor as ourself” therein lies the truth and source of good for all.
    As long as I remember I’ve realized the bible could be twisted to take on any meaning one wishes espouse.
    I’ve escaped almost all that crap by joining with New Thought groups (Not New Age). My current home is Centers for Spiritual Living – CSL. Unity is another good choice. The writings of Dr. Earnest Holmes is filled with profound truths about living a Spiritual life, isn’t that what we all want, understanding and knowing our good through Spiritual truths, not dogma and ritual?
    I don’t see CSL as religion or church but truly Centers where one gathers with other people who don’t condemn and judge others neither do we make demands for certain lifestyles, behaviors, or beliefs.
    We know each person is one individual expression of God as is everything created. Therefore treat each other and the planet as though one is God for in fact we each are.

  17. These are such affirming comments. I began my “breakaway” years ago, and rely heavily on those intimate moments where God has reassured me through his Spirit that He was there to direct my comings and goings. Perhaps social media will encourage those who have lost their church connections. The road ahead may be rocky; we will find each other one way or another.

  18. Even though my husband and I attend a traditional but progressive church, I have found affirming churches (you know, the kind that puts out a rainbow flag) to be very welcoming. Theologies and worship styles may not be as important as relationships one might find in the right place.

    • I fully agree leda b! There are affirming churches and even if not, there are affirming people within. While my church has conservatives and Trump supporters, it also has progressives and those who could never vote for someone like Trump. I think sometimes we do paint with too broad a brush. Christianity has not survived for centuries without some really good, progressive, persistent and holy followers of Christ!

  19. “That’s not to say I don’t still have a glowing ember of belief still tucked away somewhere in the center of my chest. That’s the problem: I do.”
    YES! And it causes me to grieve after the relationship I once had and held up as a model of ‘faith home’ to my children…until one succumbed to suicide at 20 unable to find the solace I once felt, and he yearned for. The greed and hypocrisy in our society overwhelmed him, and has caused me to see all too clearly since 2009.

      • Thanks Friends! This experience leaves me truly understanding the Easter story, and then be frustrated with a society that refuses to learn from its repeat over generations. Too many wonderful lives lost, out of order. Losing children is apparently not enough for us, and supposedly Christian people support a government that allows this loss, every day. It has left me distraught. I could understand it if people came together and professed intolerance for it, no matter their religion, but too many in positions of responsibility continue to look the other way. Words and actions do not match.

    • George Patrin, I cannot even begin to imagine such pain, but I can well imagine how it would open eyes to what this world can do to people and how hard it really is just to live in it. I worry daily what the world is showing my children and how they will handle it, and they are grown.

      May you find peace.

  20. Sometimes that feels like where I’ve been most of my life. I had a dynamic conversion early on and that carried me through a lot. I joined several churches but through it all I moved on. Nothing ever seemed to light and I will blame myself. I still believe that with an overcoming spirit and a strong inner refusal to let the faults of others deter us we can flourish in a good church.

    However, that wide expansive space is where the action is anyway, where the lost souls are reached.
    I would say if the church you go to has moved so far right in judgmental nature or looking down on your lack of riches(worldly) as a confirmation of your spirituality then yes get out into those wide expansive spaces where we fulfill the real purpose of why we are here but gather together with a small group of believers so that you can encourage one another.

    When you think about it is this is environment the original disciples moved in anyway and did they change the world or what.

  21. You are an amazing writer,teacher and I thank you.
    I am one of those misplaced Christian who now feels strongly that I can not even relate to the church. I still take Jesus with me everywhere, I am determined to show love. My Jim says “Christ must exist out of the God Box . Not just a religious name, but real faith. “

    • Religion isn’t progressive in time. There is nothing new to be said that hasn’t been said. Everything is built on the past. If you think you have found something new, it is just surfacing under another name.

    • rowan, I am curious. Why do you think something new would have to be said. Following Jesus is a matter of the heart, not the head. The idea is to take the love with which we are loved and make it incarnate in the world. Some of us are terrible at that. Others of us have been blindingly beautiful at it.

  22. Once again you speak to me. I also appreciate all the comments. In some ways this have become a community of the faithful and I appreciate all of you. I appreciate everyone’s willingness to be honest and share the good and the bad. For me personally, I no longer find solace in the church, I have become that sojourner and there is freedom to be who I believe God wants me to be. Not the person that a church insists that I be. There is sadness because the church was a major part of my life for 70 of my 75 yrs, but I think I am more whole than I have ever been. Keep speaking to me and for me because it keeps me grounded. Peace and Love to all you fellow sojourners.

    • Kathleen B, pay no attention to this troll. You are one of the most compassionate, empathetic, loving, and sympathetic voices here and it is this person’s loss that “she” is unable to be blessed by it as you so richly bless the rest of us.

      I have reported this ad hominem attack.

      • Thank you for your kind words. I figured it was he of many aliases and was needing attention. It is truly sad. Who says stuff like that to a perfect stranger. Beyond me. Again, Thank you, Peace and Love,

    • Hugs heaped upon hugs, my fellow Hoosier. That we elected Pence, which propelled him into becoming VP, is a travesty. The changes Indiana has seen over the last 50 years are heart-breaking and, sadly, I think churches have led the way. They started becoming more and more conservative in the 70’s as a reaction to the sex-drugs-and-rock-n-roll motto of the “counterculture” that was actually mainstream by that point. (It had reached Indiana, for cryin’ out loud!) And it only accelerated to warp speed after 9/11. I just try to focus on following the example Jesus gave me.

      • Amen, I agree with the Pence comment and I agree with the just follow Jesus example. I am there with you. Peace and Love,

  23. If you believe you need a religion to get to god- you’ve been brainwashed to believe in a religion. Free your Mind. Free your Heart. Free you Spirit. BE Free. I’m 50+ years ahead of all of you- and I am laughing. hahahahaha

    • Many of us believe that Jesus who makes us free, and those that truly follow in that way are finding freedom everyday from every hindrance that keeps us seeing our potential. However, what you are reading here is the expression of experiencing how this freedom to walk with Jesus is so conflicting with what many have embraced as part of their journey into and now out of “religion”. Religion is not a progression in time of ultimately new ideas. There is no religion that hasn’t built on another, no illumination of the mind that hasn’t been explored. I happen to believe that a Jesus that lives separates from all other religions, but that all religions are reaching out for the same answers to life.

    • J Bruce, I do not believe I need any religion to get to God, in fact I think that God’s love and majesty coupled with our innate desire for a relationship with him is why there are different religions in other nations that all seem to have some similar conclusions about God.

      The reason any follower of Christ seeks a church is the same reason we come here, to form and enjoy a community of believers who share, learn, grow and if done even close to right, help strengthen each other. For many, church is an extension of family and a way to be involved in the community of Christ and the community they live in.

      I always enjoy church because even though some might be wrong, God isn’t. God knows who worships with a good heart and who is truly trying to follow what he has taught. Those who think they are right, may or may not be right.

  24. Not actually Harry. The wider expanse of the Christian faith—you know—that place snotty old men like you never go—is actually a rather wonderful place worldwide. The only part John P. is really down on—and rightly so— is the sick, dark little corner of the Christian faith called Christian fudamentalism and conservative evangelicalism. You know. The part Satan is in almost full control of right now—but people like you are so spiritually blind you are unable to see it.

  25. “Scott, so what turned you out? Did somebody molest you, neglected you, or hurt you?”

    “I’m trying to sincerely figure out why a man would turn down the opportunity to go down on a woman’s beautiful vagina, but choose to go down on the sweaty balls of other men. It’s not computing for me, so could you at least give it a stab in terms of explaining it to me.”

    1) I was never molested, neglected, nor was I hurt any more than the average child. And my brother, who is one year younger than I, grew up in the same environment and has been married to my sister-in-law for twenty-five years.

    2) You can spare me the pornography. I do NOT owe you an explanation of my sexual orientation, and frankly I find your questions not only offensive but I am reporting your sorry ass to John P.

    3) At the risk of going overboard, you’re a disgusting pig. Do not address me again in future.

    • Scott, I hope you do report him, he has been offensive to a lot of people. This is wrong and I am sorry that you were subjected to it. It is on him not you. I could be wrong but I suspect it is someone who uses many names. Peace and Love

      • Kathleen, I have reported all of his pornographic posts and his ad hominem attacks against you. I think we have seen only the tip of the iceberg of his mental illness. It is a great tragedy that he will not seek help.

        • Thank you, Gloriamarie, I do appreciate it. It is one thing when he goes after me, I comment here, but it was another when he went after my husband, he doesn’t and he did not deserve the comment. My fella is one of the finest human beings I know and I have to say the one comment really ticked me off. Who does stuff like that. What kind of pay off do they get. I truly do believe this is one disturbed unhappy individual who perhaps needs our collective prayers. Thanks again, Peace and Love.

          • What really gets me, Kathleen B, is that he of the many aliases truly seems to believe he is a superior person to all other human beings.

            I note he has a new alias this evening.

            • Too true. I have come to the conclusion, by his behavior, that the Jesus he claims to follow isn’t the one I follow, nor do I suspect the one that his Pope follows. Some of these postings that he has made I suspect he needs to go to confession. And for anyone who is interested, I do not dislike the RCC, just not my cup of tea, but I respect good Catholics and believe that they have a right to their belief system. Not any better than mine, not any worse than mine. I don’t grade them. I just wish that he could respect me and mine. How he can justify insulting me and my husband while claiming to be a Christian is in itself insulting. Anyway, I am done with him and I certainly hope that JP can curtail him, if not I will ignore him. I know I keep saying that, but this time I really am. He is not worth anything to me. Not my worry or my anger. Peace and Love,

              • Kathleen B, have you heard the saying about converts to the RCC being more RC? That is our boy, Joe.

                There is a rich treasury of Christian spirituality that too many people focused on only events of and after the Reformation ignore. It’s like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

                And there are the things with the RCC that I can’t justify with my studies of Church History. Of course, there is a lot ot Reformation and post-Reformation theology I can’t justify.

                In fact, I guess theologically, I find my home in the church before the East/West schism. Not where all would be comfy, but I am.

    • Good for you, Scott. Jesus thought harshly of people who, when seeing someone suffering, crossed to the other side. I can only imagine what he’d think of people who, upon seeing someone suffering, kicked them a few times for fun before running to the other side. I find it so odd that those people like to call themselves Christian.

      • Mary, sadly, so very sadly, there are some very sick people in this world who don’t think they need psychiatric help and yet love trying to kick people in the worst places possible.

        I truly believe that is a symptom of a diseased mind.

  26. I enjoy many of JPs postings, truly. And I enjoy many of the commentors, truly. But when he depends on independent reporting of abuses occurring in the comment section, it just says to me he doesn’t really care about his blog or commentors. JPs blog enables him to have a larger voice and vehicle to move into book authorship. My mind says, you take care of the people that take care of you, first. These abuses by this Joe person have gone on too long. It’s a cruelty that’s inexcusable and needs to be stopped or at the very least, closely monitored. I would hope JP makes a lot of money on his book so he can hire a full-time blog monitor… His supporters and faithful deserve it. And if he plans to continue speaking incendiary truth, as he believes it, then afford a fire-extinguisher.

    • Susan, I am coming around to agreeing with you. It has become very hateful lately and that is wrong. It has gone beyond hurtful to the gutter. People shouldn’t do it but it also shouldn’t be allowed. Thanks for speaking out, Peace and Love,

      • Kathleen, you or your husband or Scott (or the countless others) should not be harmed like that.

        And one can’t effect the world if one can’t protect their neighbor.

        • I still can’t wrap my head around someone saying the things he has to complete strangers. Who does that? I saw his argument that we are bigots against the RCC. That is nuts. I wonder how he would feel if his mother read what he has written. If it was my son, I would be horrified and feel I had not done a very good job. Anyway, Thank you. Peace and Love

          • I just call all that soul-less.

            I missed out on much of what followed, and it pains me to imagine. I’m glad the comments were removed.

            A close friend has called me on my behavior, defensiveness, and “tongue” here and I’ve curtailed my time on the blog greatly. She says I’m not the Christ-follower she knows me to be when I participate. And I know that to be true.

            I have this sickness that says I need to be heard.

            I know this is an outlet for the afflicted and shut-in and otherwise isolated, of which I could fit at times. It is needed. I just want it to be a safe place for authentic, honest expression and growth. Growth being key, otherwise, what’s the point?

            That sub-human person, of many names, who opens the door to other abusers and abusive responses, has to go. Or either I do.

            💕

            • Susan, I have not seen anything unChristlike from you so there is that. Even Christ spoke out against what was wrong and he wasn’t always gentle about it either. Sometimes I think good honest emotion is a good thing. I agree that it should be a safe place, and I hope you don’t leave. You strike me as someone who has a lot to contribute and that is a good thing and I enjoy your contribution. For someone like me who lives in the middle of a very red area this place has been a godsend. I sure hope I don’t have to leave but I can’t take the hatefulness either. So we shall see…………
              Peace and Love,

              • This talk about leaving makes me nervous. I think one of the nasty person’s aims is to drive us away from this place of refreshment and encouragement. If you leave, it’s like giving in to terrorists.

                • I agree with you Patricia. And,,,,,,I am stubborn, don’t give in to threats, there are moments though, but I am going to resist those moments because I have had a lot of joy finding people of like minds and souls. Today that is not easy. Peace and Love,

                • I know Patricia. And I have a pretty broad area of outreach. If I can’t do it here, because of this continued mayhem, then that’s okay, He can put me to use elsewhere. As we say here “know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em”. I’ll keep visiting; how ’bout that? And I might comment! Ha! I’m too sick not to!

                  But JP really needs to do something different.

                  I want to say, you are a delight. I relish reading your words… They’re a balm. Keep up the Good work. 💕

                  • Thank you! I have been very intentional about improving my writing style. I often have to swim through some rage and aggravation and get out the other side before I commit the words to perpetuity. The times that I have pushed “Post Comment” while still upset have been regrettable.

                    • Ah, you have the step away from the keys problem too. Thanks for that, makes me feel less foolish. Sometimes that alarm goes off and I ignore to my detriment. Peace,

                    • Fear not! There’s been far more good than not so good from you!

                      And He knows us… Thanks be for Grace and forgiveness- right?

                    • Kathleen and Susan, I have allowed for the fact that I am human. We have all taken our turn at what a friend calls “cranial rectal inversion”. No need to feel foolish. Just recognise the error and move forward. And apologise as necessary!

                    • Lol… Cranial rectal inversion! Ha! Gosh… CRI! Just added more initials to my name! Ha! Gonna laugh all day at that! Thanks 🐳

                    • Oh, Patricia, I too struggle with the appropriate way to respond and so often hit “post comment” also without thinking it through first.

                      Something I appreciate is that so many of us here do struggle that way. I don’t want to read coarse, crass, vulgar ideas any more than I want to read coarse, crass, vulgar language. From anyone.

                • Patricia wrote ” I think one of the nasty person’s aims is to drive us away from this place of refreshment and encouragement. ”

                  Well, Many Names told us that one of his goals is to destroy this blog. So, of course, he is trying to drive people away.

                  What we have to do is stop paying attention, stop reading what he writes as soon as we realize that it is yet another one of Many Names’ aliases.

              • Thanks, miss.For your encouragement. And you, keep your chin up.

                Christ didn’t just stop at just healing… He put things right. He made a way for the healed to be once more included… He restored the healed back to community, no longer unclean and isolated.

                I pray JPs efforts, and all our efforts, go beyond just identifying the problem.

                Let’s pray for it.

            • Susan wrote “That sub-human person, of many names, who opens the door to other abusers and abusive responses, has to go. Or either I do.”

              Ouch. While I get where you are coming from, still ouch.

              That person to whom you refer has said some pretty hideous things about me and I would never call him sub-human. He is my neighbor and I need to love him as myself. Can’t say that I do, but such is what Jesus tells me to do.

              John P has banned and banned and banned the email and IP addresses that Many Names uses and Many Names finds new ways to get onto the blog. Realistically, what more can John P do?

              Now, you can threaten to leave the blog if John P can’t make Many Names disappear permanently from posting. Or you can do what I do. As soon as I realize I am talking to Many Names, I ignore his posts.

              Engaging him only feeds his pathology. Engaging him only enables him in his obsessions.

              I find it best to think of him as an alcoholic who has managed to create a circle of co-dependents who make it possible for him to continue in his addiction.

              Please stay, ignore Many Names, talk with the compassionate, empathetic, generous, kind, and sympathetic people here and ignore everyone else.

    • Susan, In my opinion, you are being too hard on John P. For one thing, how could he possibly have the time to read every single post? Do you?

      For another, John does not “depend” on us nor did he ask us to report abusive posts to him. Some of us have chosen to do that of our own accord.

      Thirdly, John P does indeed ban Joe and his many aliases. He bans the email account used and the IP address used. Joe refuses to be banned and creates new email addressed and finds different IPs from which to post. Sometimes we can immediately identify him by his trademark style, trademark obsessions, trademark insults, but sometimes it is not so easy. So if we who read Many Names nonsense every day, don’t identify it immediately, how could we expect John to?

      Lastly, why even bother to voice this complaint here? What does it accomplish? Why not email John P personally and tell him what you think? I won’t give you his email address in this public setting but if I found it, I think you probably can also.

    • Susan, as I understand the technology, as fast as John P blocks one ID, someone comes up with a new one. If they are using an IP that more than one person uses, blocking the IP will block all people using it. And tech savvy people continue to find ways around him when he does block one. I emailed him and ‘took him to task’ for the continued abuse and he assured me he has done all he can short of hiring a moderator. These folks are determined to stalk. I do not hold John P responsible for the determined trolls who seek to harass nor those who for whatever reason choose to use several entities.

      In the beginning of this blog John did interact with many of the people who commented but as that just became the same exercise in futility that some of us are still engaged in, he seems to have given it up. As we can see, there is no “win” in it. That is one of the reasons I take them on so hotly, they KNOW what they are trying to do and I seek to expose them.

      John P has over 21 thousand followers and 5 thousand friends on Facebook so I do not think this blog is his only avenue to see the comments people post but it does not have the same ability to block that Facebook offers. I send money to him as my way of subscribing, I have pre-ordered his book and I support him on FB as well as here.

      I do not understand anyone who visits any site they do not agree with and support, though ‘clicks count’ and they help sell advertising I suppose, it seems sick and twisted to me. I don’t do it so I do not get it.

  27. Susan wrote “Ah. I just pushed away from the keyboard. It works! ”

    I am sorry that it was my words that caused you to push away from the keyboard. If I distressed you or hurt you, I am sorry for it, Such was not my intention. Maybe I hit “post comment” without thinking through what I had written.

    I was writing out of a sense of frustration. I share your frustration, yet at the same time, I truly want to know what more you think John P can do?

    If you want, PM me on FB and I’ll provide the email address and you can discuss your concerns with John P personally.

    • G.A. please get your big butt off of this blog! I mean you are not well. What person sits on their ass all day long and respond to a stupid blog? And you wonder why you come from a crazy ass family!

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  29. Hugs for you right now. I mean, you hit it on the head what’s been bothering me. I look around at a place I lived and in the Christianity of my childhood, where there was warmth and fellowship, greetings and brotherhood. Now it feels more like a “members-only club.” I don’t see the inclusiveness I thought was supposed to be part of the message, taking others in and helping them and all.
    When you mentioned feeling like “space aliens,” my jaw dropped, because that’s what I’ve been feeling like and I’ve even said it just like that–that I don’t have a place I belong anymore and have basically cast off organized religion. Started to feel too much like a group of people who walk the same, talk the same and say “you’re going to Hell and I’m not” all the same. I couldn’t go back when the welcome mat was taken away and replaced by a gate and a rules sign.

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