Parenting,  Religious Abuse,  Religious Trauma

“Church Parents”

A day in the life of a child raised in church:

CHURCH PARENTS: “Children are a blessing from the Lord!”

ALSO CHURCH PARENTS: “Children are born inherently evil. When they cry, that is their rebellious sin nature. It is never too early to start spanking your child!”

CHURCH PARENTS: “Now children, remember the most important thing is that we must obey God rather than men.”

ALSO CHURCH PARENTS: “If you don’t submit to church leadership your reputation will be ruined and your standing in the community fall apart!”

CHURCH PARENTS: “We love you so much!”

ALSO CHURCH PARENTS: “If you start to stray from Jesus, we will pray God takes your life. It would be better for you to die than to not be a Christian.”

CHURCH PARENTS: “Men don’t have a violence problem. That’s liberal propaganda!”

ALSO CHURCH PARENTS: “Aw, look at little Brandon pretending that stick is a gun and pointing it at all his friends. He is acting out his God-given calling to be a warrior who fights for Christ!”

CHURCH PARENTS: “Young people always try to grow up too fast!”

ALSO CHURCH PARENTS: “Isn’t it darling how little Ruthie is like a second mommy to her seven siblings? I don’t know how I would manage without her help feeding and changing them! She will make such a good wife and mother someday. She already knows how to run an entire household and she’s only 10!”

CHURCH PARENTS: “You kids care way too much about what others think. Someday you’ll learn that’s not what really matters.”

ALSO CHURCH PARENTS: “Oh honey, put a jacket on. You don’t want everyone thinking you’re a hussy, do you? You need to guard your reputation! … Oh dear, don’t you have anything besides the leather one? You don’t want to look like you’re in a gang!”

CHURCH PARENTS: “We need to raise up Godly men!”

ALSO CHURCH PARENTS: “Boys will be boys!”

CHURCH PARENTS: “Teen girls really struggle with getting their sense of value from boys instead of Christ. Satan has such a stronghold over our youth!”

ALSO CHURCH PARENTS: “Girls, your God-given calling is to be a wife and a mother. Everything about how you were created is to help you be the perfect helpmeet for your husband and a nurturer to your children. Your body was designed to attract your future husband so you need a dress modestly. You need to be very feminine that he will want to be masculine to protect and lead you, but don’t be too beautiful or you will be a stumbling block. Your most important possession is your virginity, which actually belongs to your future husband. Don’t give that away or no one will want you!”

CHURCH PARENTS: “Millennials are making everything so confusing! Gender, race,sexuality – nothing is simple anymore. Nothing makes sense apart from God’s perfect plan!”

ALSO CHURCH PARENTS: “God is three persons in one – The Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Spirit, but they are all the same person and all equally God. But you must pray in Jesus’ name. You can’t know the Father without the Son and you can’t know the Son without the Spirit – but they’re all the same person. Oh and God is male, but God is also above gender and neither male nor female. But you must use male pronouns for God. Anything else is of the devil.”

CHURCH PARENTS: “The world is a dangerous place, but God’s house is our refuge. Here we lift each other up and minister to one another.”

ALSO CHURCH PARENTS: “Did you hear what Rebecca did?” … “Tsk, tsk, you don’t want to end up like Margaret.” …”I saw Michael out pretty late with his girlfriend last night, we need to keep him accountable, so I’m alerting his youth pastor. He shouldn’t be helping lead the youth right now.”

CHURCH PARENTS: “The younger generations don’t trust in God enough – they’re always so anxious.”

ALSO CHURCH PARENTS: “Satan prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone he may devour. Be alert and be on your guard!” “God can hear your every thought and emotion, and if you think or feel anything that displeases him, your sin will come to light. Anything you’ve ever thought or done will be broadcast on Judgment Day.” “Also, feeling impatient with your little brother is the same as murder. All sin is equal in God’s eyes.”

CHURCH PARENTS: “What’s up with kids these days and their obsession with therapy? Everyone is becoming so sensitive!”

ALSO CHURCH PARENTS: “You are inherently evil, disgusting and broken. Without God, you are a pile of garbage – worthless and good for nothing. You deserve horrible punishment and torture and you are so terrible that God had to kill his own son because of the things you think, feel and do. God can only love you because when he looks at you he sees his son’s blood instead of your abhorrent sin. God loves you unconditionally, but if you don’t love him back in exactly the right way, he will torment you for all eternity.”

Ever wonder what it’s like being raised by “church parents”? Perhaps you used to be one? Or you’re afraid of becoming one? Unfortunately, it doesn’t require a major falling out to be intensely traumatized from a childhood in church. In fact, you could still be in the church and be traumatized from the things you were taught as a child, whether you realize it or not. The examples I gave above are of “normal” things for my little ears to hear on a regular basis growing up, and sadly my situation is not at all unique. And it doesn’t have to be said this bluntly either, for the message to get through loud and clear and wire a child’s mind accordingly.

This isn’t meant to guilt any parents; I’ve made my fair share of mistakes as an Evangelical and I hurt people. And when I become a parent, I will make mistakes then, too. It’s meant to raise awareness so we can do better and start the path to healing.

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