Friday, February 22, 2013


When you come out of a spiritually abusive environment - and talk about it - those still in it may sometimes label you as "angry". To me it seems to be a way of dismissing what you have to say - Fundamentalists are good at ignoring criticism if the criticizer is "angry" or "bitter" or "has a bad attitude".  No matter how appropriate the criticism.

I remember several times in Fundyland being taught that anger is always a sin.  Even at Halfway Fundy Church, we had a Sunday School group where the leader talked about how anger was never right.  I didn't have my head screwed on very straight at the time, but even then I disagreed with him and gave opposing examples like being angry about someone else being mistreated and Christ's anger at the moneychangers in the Temple.  Of course, the answer was that Christ could be angry without sin - but because we aren't perfect like him, it's unwise for us to be angry.

The next time someone has the audacity to say that bit of drivel to me, I think I'm going to answer that I can't love perfectly either - does that mean that it's unwise for me to love?

While perusing the blog "Commandments of Men" (written by a man who is standing up and talking about the abhorrences that are the Patriarchy, QuiverFull, and Courtship movements), I ran across this comment about anger:

"I believe that I read once or twice about this guy named Saul Paulus. There were these people in a town called Galatia, and they mixed the Bible and the main and plain teachings of the Christian faith with legalistic requirements and practices. Hmm. Sounds awfully similar to what the QF/P movement and many fundamentalists have done....

And all of that made that Saul Paulus -- that guy now called the Apostle Paul -- pretty angry. In fact, he got so angry at the people who taught the legalism at the Church at Galatia that they would be better served to castrate themselves. I think that qualifies Paul as pretty angry, not only over the fact that they mixed extra rubbish in with good doctrine but also because they used these ideas to manipulate people with them, whether it was intentional or not.

And I distinctly recall that Paul guy saying that we could be angry, so long as we did not sin.

Paul named names and was tough with religious abusers and legalists. He was often angry about it. He also talked about bearing the burdens of others to fulfill the Law of Christ and he talked about comforting others with the comfort received. Part of the healing process is a safe place to express anger and injustice and to seek justice.

The anger can be a very healthy component of healing. You cannot heal from wounds that you are too afraid to cleanse."

I was amazed when I read it - especially that last sentence.  For much of my time in Fundyland, I would come across people who were clearly angry (or  be angry myself), and we could never deal with it adequately.  Why?  Because it was unacceptable to be angry.  All you could do was bury it deep inside and deny that it existed.

This commenter, Cynthia Mullen Kunsman, has her own blog about spiritual abuse, and she has centralized a list of posts about anger.  I haven't read them all yet, but what I have so far has been excellent.

Yep.  I'm angry sometimes.  Angry at myself for falling for this nonsense, submitting to evil.  Angry at those in a position of power who used it to control other people, whether consciously or not.  Angry that spiritual abuse is so prevalent and in turn enables physical, emotional, and sexual abusers.  That makes me angry. 

Anger makes me do something about it. 

I see that as a good thing, frankly.

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