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Where Does My Tithe Money Go? (Kelly takes a vacation)

When you give to a church it's usually understood that the money goes to support the church's finances and keep it running.  Being a...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Get your Breakthrough at The Crossing Church

It was recently said to me  "I hope these posts give you the peace you need."  I said, "They give me laughs!"  Though I really do get a ton of laughs while writing these, her comment really stuck with me.  I asked myself "What am I getting from this blog?"  I did a post explaining why I care yet the latest posts are for much more than simply talking about what happened in the past and how The Crossing Church has never formally apologized to those they hurt.  My recent posts about The Crossing's 10% Advantage is about how churches manipulate and play on people's emotions and fears to get money.  It's sick and it's wrong.

I keep posting because I find The Crossing's formula, actually the typical Christian formula, to be a form of emotional and spiritual abuse.

Sure there is Grace; but want to make it better?  You don't HAVE to tithe but if you do then you get MORE!  People go to church, and most specifically churches like The Crossing, because they promise a better future.  They are selling hope at the bargain price of only 10% of your income!  This is done under the guise of "giving back to God".  Do all this and get a Breakthrough!

This is all well and good until:
  • there is job loss, no one hiring and bills are piling up
  • your debilitating pain condition gets worse
  • a child dies
  • a loved one is diagnosed with mental illness and life becomes chaos
  • your church kicks you out
  • your spouse has an affair and asks for a divorce
  • your depression worsens and you become immobile
  • Mr./Mrs. Right never comes
Yet it never stops at merely giving money; there will be bible study ("getting into the Word!"), small groups, serving, praying, praying some more, having others pray for you and baptism.  Each of these keeps you doing something so you feel that surely your prayers will get answered.  When something goes right they yell "Yeah God!" and when it all falls apart you are left alone in your misery. Sure there will be the typical comments of "Are you praying?  Are you giving?  Do you have bitterness in your heart?  Are you sure you are really a Christian?" and the extra loving "Well I had a hard life too and I'm happy so what's your problem!?".  Ahh the Christian love!

Prayers will go unanswered.  It does not always work out in the end.  You have no guarantees.  This is life.  What The Crossing does, and so many churches like them, is to set people up for a downfall, disbelief and heartbreak.

My best breakthrough was the day I left.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Crossing Church's 10% Advantage or Gambling with Jesus - Part III

"Tithing in your poverty, gives you the supernatural possibility of moving to plenty." ~ Eric Dykstra

Unlike giving to a charity where you know your money goes to a good cause and you get nothing in return, pastors play on your desire for more when preaching about tithing.  They won't say you'll definitely have more money if you tithe but the implication is there the entire time.  

First the verses of "God's promises" (These are always Christian favorites.  These are the quotable verses, the ones you put on a special card or key chain.  I get it.  You sure don't want Deuteronomy 22:28-29 as a fridge door magnet!)

Jeremiah 29:11 - “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Never mind that this verse was for the entire nation of Israel and not special shout out to you.  Sure wouldn't want to read anything in context!

Philipians 4:19 - "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." First, there is nothing about tithing here.  Second, Paul is speaking to a church, not YOU!

After the verses, and more promises that God will perfectly take care of you (In the old school days a singer would belt into "His eye is on the sparrow" about now.) then comes some amazing examples.  The Crossing first told of a couple who tithed and God gave them a booming business (A huge storm hit Bloomington and their construction business hit the jackpot!  Yeah God!).  The next week was a story about a lady who prayed that if God gave her money she'd use it wisely.  She then goes to her daughter's shower, gets a scratch off lottery ticket and wins $100,000.  The parallels between her scratch off, and the money people put into the church in hopes God will shower them with blessings, is down right hysterical.  

All this plays with people's minds.  They want more money, they want nice things, they want to be out of poverty, and just like putting some money down on the blackjack table in hopes of winning, they do the same with giving to church.  It's all shrouded in grace, love and generosity but it still comes down to greed.  If it wasn't about the gamble of "you have to put something in to get more out" then the example stories wouldn't be needed.  

They don't show the stories of the people who gave and lost their jobs, lost their homes, got sick and died.  Tithing gives the illusion of security and protection.  People are led to believe that if they put in 10% plus then some supernatural voodoo will happen and they won't have financial issues.  This is also where shaming comes in.  If someone says they are broke, they are sick or they are down and out, the first questions are: "Are you tithing?"  "Do you have faith?"  "Have you put Jesus first?"  "Are you praying?"  Blah, blah, blah...  So if shit isn't working out then you'd better believe it's Your Fault!

Pastor Eric Dykstra - You are a prosperity preacher.  You might not like the name but you really need to own it.  You are using people for your own gain.  Again.  Just with the new tagline of "grace".  It's wrong.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Crossing Church's 10% Advantage or Gambling with Jesus - Part II

"If you are returning the tithe, and still not walking into more than enough, it's probably because you don't know where the other 90% went."  ~ Eric Dykstra

These are the 5 points that The Crossing Church says you need to do in order to live "abundantly".

1.) Return the Tithe
2.) Ask God how he wants you to budget his money
3.) Save
4.) Plan for the future
5.) Listen to the Spirit of God and be generous

You are obviously doing quite well Pastor Dykstra.  If you are able to have a savings, saving for retirement, saving for your children's college, able to buy a beautiful house on the river, buy your wife a new Dodge Charger, travel non-stop (Or are the tithes of your church paying for that since it's "church business"?) - then you are living large compared to the average person in your church.  How are you preaching about saving for retirement when you told your church in 2011 that you'd given your entire 401K to the building Samurai fund?  

I gave.  I gave the Full Tithe.  I gave much more.  I gave until it hurt and then I gave more.  What happened?  Nothing.  No random checks in the mail, no winning lottery tickets given to me, no bonuses at work.  Or was this a special character builder?

I saved.  No credit card debt, no payments except for regular bills and no "extras".  I gave ALL of my savings to the Crossing multiple times when they convinced me that if I "planted a seed", then God would take care of me.  What happened?  I no longer had a savings.  

I budgeted.  No car payment (high miles), thrift store shopping, coupons and eating leftovers.  No flat screen, no iphone, no bigger house, no new car.

Though I'm making fun of The Crossing's manipulative examples of people who tithed and then God blessed the living hell out of them, I really never expected any special thing to happen if I tithed  My charity giving (which is supposed to be above the 10% you give to the church) was because I cared and felt it was the right thing to do.  The tithe was because I'd been indoctrinated to fear what would happen if I didn't give.  I just didn't want God to hurt me anymore.  So funny that now Pastor Dykstra says the tithe isn't based on the law.  As always, "my yoke is easy and my burden is light" just doesn't exist in the church.  Especially not an up and coming mega church.  

Pastor Eric said, "Do you know what separates atheists from Christians?  Generosity."  That's bullshit.  All my atheist friends are insanely generous.  Generous because they are amazing people...not because they are looking to get something.  

I no longer tithe.  What happened?  Nothing.  Oh wait...I got a 10% income raise!  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Crossing Church's 10% Advantage or Gambling with Jesus - Part I

Pastor Eric Dykstra starts this series claiming "I'm not a prosperity preacher - I'm a grace preacher!"  You are most certainly, without any question, a Prosperity Preacher.  You are playing on people's emotions and giving them hope in their actions (tithing +) as a way for security.  

Some quotes from the series:

"Prosperity is not a bad word, it's a bible word."  So is humility.

"He'll richly provide us with everything for our enjoyment."  Is this how Jesus lived?  Or Paul?  

"If you bring the full tithe he'll take you to the place of no need."  So if you have need then it's your fault.  

"God says I would love to give you more but I've got to get more through you." Again, if your life isn't working then you just need to give more.  Favorite Joel Osteen quote, which Pastor Eric referenced, "If you have a need then plant a seed."  

"Tithing in your poverty gives you the Supernatural POSSIBILITY of moving to plenty."  So do slot machines.  They even go so far as to tell about a woman who was tithing, asked God for money and got a $100,000 dollar lottery ticket.  Hopefully her tithe from this big win will pay for most of their $15,000 Grand Opening fund.  Money well spent; it's not like there are people who are down and out and could use a hand.  Oh wait...those people should be tithing if they need help!!  Duh!

From Kelly Dykstra's blog: "We are drawn to bubble baths, fuzzy slippers, a crackling fireplace, pretty shoes, shiny stones, delicious food...because they represent the entitled life; the class for which we were created."  Really Kelly?  God wants us to live the entitled life?  We should be praying to get new cars?  I see the Dykstra's doing very well; constantly flying around the country, new Charger, fabulous dining out.  Living large!  Hey Crossing staff - is life this great for you?

"If you are returning the tithe, and still not walking into more than enough, it's probably because you don't know where the other 90% went."  

This entire series so far has been audio only.  Normally The Crossing loves to promote and look at themselves so this is extra interesting.  Reminds me of a previous time when they were also talking about tithing and money and didn't post the last sermon in the series.  So if everything you are preaching is good and about Jesus, then why the secrecy?  

There is so much more to say, and I will most definitely say it, but for now I need to go throw up in my mouth.  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bible Interpretations and Truth

As I've said before, this blog is simply my thoughts at the moment.  If you're looking for a hardcore theology debate then please go elsewhere because you will only piss me off.  That said; I've been thinking a lot about all the various interpretations of the bible and how amusing it is that each group/person believes their interpretation is the correct one.

The study of the principles of interpretation concerning the books of the bible is referred to as biblical hermeneutics.  There are many principles involved such as: Historical, Grammatical, Breach, Moral, First Mention and Predictive, to name just a few.  If you're into it then go study it.  There is enough written to keep you occupied indefinitely.  Frankly, I'm not interested.  From my vantage point, no matter how much you study, look into history, understand the language it was written, compare it with other verses, it's still nothing but your human interpretation and view.  Your knowledge, degrees and agreement with others in your field of study don't impress me; or should I say they are impressive but this does not translate for me to ultimate truth.

It is estimated that there are 4,200 religions in the world.  There are approximately 41,000 Christian denominations.  But your interpretation is the right one?

I am completely done with religion.  I can no longer listen to man's interpretation of the mysterious, the unknown and the divine.  My path is unknown but it is free.

“Re-examine all you have been told. Dismiss what insults your soul.”

~ Walt Whitman

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Comfort of Belief

As I looked at my annoyance and animosity towards those that cannot explain their beliefs, or never explored why they believe what they believe, I want to try and look at it from their point of view.  As dear Dr. Phil says, "If you keep doing something, then you are getting something out of it."  So I'd like to look into what these people get out of remaining uninformed.  

I first have to ask myself what I got out of my ignorance.  I had a pattern, from childhood, of asking a question and then when the person's answer still left me with more questions I'd get angry.  Sometimes I'd keep asking until I usually exasperated the person I was asking, as they didn't have a real answer, and they'd then rebuke me in some way.  I was told I caused dissension.  I was told I had a spirit of rebellion.  Lots of shaming but still no answers.  

As an adult I stopped asking after awhile and simply tried to ignore the growing cognitive dissonance.  I comforted myself with John 3:12-  I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?.  I tried to believe I didn't see the entire picture.  I decided I didn't see the big picture, since I wasn't God, and tried desperately to trust there was a reason for it all.  I was tired of the questions and was desperate for "the peace which passes all understanding".  The peace never came and the questions got bigger.  I screamed into the nothingness the words of Mark 9:24 - ..."“Lord, I believe;help my unbelief!”  But did I even believe?  Truly believe?  Not really.  But I sure didn't want to burn in hell so I pressed forward.  

I started going to The Crossing Church as a last ditch effort at Christianity which I briefly detail on my first post.  They had a class called "Ask Anything" which was supposed to be a bit salacious and edgy.  I came with a list of questions and verses that troubled me.  When I asked my question I was extremely agitated as this meant a lot to me.  I pointed out a specific verse that I couldn't reconcile in my brain with a God of love.  I said, "Why should I worship this God?!"  Pastor Eric laughed and said, "Then don't!" and proceeded to get the crowd to laugh at me.  I kept on until he finally became annoyed and told me they had to go to other questions.  Break time came and I was still seething.  My head was screaming for me to leave but I sat motionless.  Eric came to me and dropped the belittling demeanor and said, "There are verses in the bible I don't like also.  You just have to lean into the love of Jesus."  Leaning into the love of Jesus was something I couldn't do as I'd never felt that love.  I'd prayed "the sinner's prayer" more times than I could count.  I begged to have the emotion and feeling others had of this love, grace and mercy.  Yet I felt nothing.  

After leaving the church I was numb and didn't know what to do.  I began speaking to people of all faiths and no faith.  I started to research all the biblical things that caused my mind to explode and that was where my world fell apart.  There were no pat answers.  There was no perfect solution.  I could no longer hide behind ignorance or unknowing. There was nothing left to comfort me and I had to face that I was agnostic.  It's only been in the past few months that I have vocalized being agnostic.  

So coming back to those that cannot explain the origins of their beliefs, why they believe or even what they believe.  I recently heard someone say, in reference to challenging beliefs, that "when people's anxiety gets trumped up they start behaving badly".  I've seen this time and time again.  When I confront or dispute long held Christian beliefs, even in the form of questions, people get very agitated.  Their faith, in whatever form they make it, comforts them.  For me to put their long held beliefs up to scrutiny is like pulling the spiritual rug out from under them.  I want to own my part though.  I also recently heard on this same subject matter, "we want to be affirmed by them and are angry they aren't affirming us".  Ouch.  Yes, I can definitely own those feelings.  

This brings me to a bigger question: Why do I feel the need to make them understand their own beliefs?  There is anger and jealousy there.  Whether they are living a fantasy or reality, they appear to be skipping merrily down the land while I drown in doubt.  I miss the days of believing (or trying to believe) God would take care of everything.  There is a lot of comfort and security in the ignorance.  But I had seen the man behind the curtain so I couldn't go back.  So where does this leave us?  Do I demand they affirm me?  Do I smile and nod when they throw out a "God is good, all the time" statement, while shoving down my disdain?  Is there room for dialogue and conversation while maintaining the relationship?  I hope so.  We all deserve respect and safety in these issues and questions.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Why do you believe what you believe?

This post will finally be true to the title of this blog.  This isn't a post on The Crossing Church, though I may mention them later, but simply a thought from the back alley of my mind.  The past two years have been a troublesome awakening for me as I dissect what I've been taught and tried to determine what I truly believe.

Most of my Christian indoctrination came in childhood.  I wasn't told why we believed these things but simply that I had to believe them.  Believe or burn in hell.  No other option was given.   As I grew I found the contradictions in the bible, and in Christians behavior, rather disheartening.  The cognitive dissonance was overwhelming and I'd check out only to come back to the church again years later.  I'd been taught that the church and Christianity was the only way so while hating every minute I came back in hopes there could be something there for me.  My last church experience was at The Crossing Church, which I gave a brief overview in my first blog post.

Leaving the church, I went deep to explore where Christian beliefs came from and that's when it all fell apart.  I would continually find myself saying "Why the hell did I ever believe this!?"  It amazes me how many Christians I find that don't even understand the basic tenets of their faith.  It also astounds me that they don't seem to care.

I typically find three groups:

The first group is what I'll call your Basic Christian.  They 'accepted Jesus into their heart' as a kid, check the Christian box on surveys, show up for Christmas, Easter and maybe even once a month.  They'll enroll the kids in VBS, do the confirmation thing, throw a Jeremiah 29:11 magnet on the fridge and then pretty much do whatever they want.  Feed the poor?  Well that might take too much out of the vacation fund and those people should get jobs anyway.  Help the orphans?  They are pretty sure the few bucks they throw in the Salvation Army can will suffice.

The second group is a tad more down and dirty with their faith.  They belong to a church, go regularly, are part of a Small Group and volunteer for activities.  Life decisions are made according to the latest book at Lifeway.  They question nothing, and when pressed as to their beliefs they can't explain much.  They gush about Jesus, are very happy to be part of the privileged that get into heaven but aren't exceptionally concerned about reaching people who they feel will be boiled in the lava of hell.  They just don't think about it much.  Jesus died at the cross and now they feel there is nothing they need to do.  Yes, I hear predestination all over this but again, nothing that concerns them.  God is good, life is great and everything is going to turn out fabulous.  Uh huh.

The third group is pretty hard core.  They know their bibles, hermeneutics, eschatology and understand how the bible was put together.  They tend to be on the legalistic side though they'll typically say they aren't.  They believe fully that the bible is the inerrant word of God, lean towards being Republican, feel gay marriage will ruin the country and want to get back to old school bible teaching.

I actually have the most respect for the third group; though I sure don't want to go out for coffee with them.  I respect that they truly know what they believe.  Though I disagree, I get it.  The other two groups make me completely insane.  It annoys me to all hell when people basically take what they like and make up the rest.  It's so self indulgent, and from my view, not at all what Jesus talked about.  Not to mention; if you're going to make shit up then at least make it good!  Why not also throw in Tinkerbell and wishes?  Why not believe God wants you to have extreme wealth?  Why not believe God wants to make all your dreams come true?  Why not believe God will never let harm come to you?  Oh wait...

So my personal dilemma is trying to not let my head explode around people that don't get it.  I feel, strongly, that you should know exactly what you believe, where this belief came from (originally) and why you believe it. I feel you shouldn't follow a person (pastor).  I feel you should back up, with action, what you say you believe.  Not saying works based faith; but put your money where your mouth is.

Shall we do some therapy talk now?  Yes, I think we should.  Just because I feel people should behave a certain way doesn't mean I need to put that expectation on them.  Accept people where they are at - which frankly, is what I expect people to do with me.  Oh dear, this just got messy.

Relationships are messy.  Religion is messy.  The bible is really messy!  Life is messy.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Crossing College - Part 1

This is the first in a series of posts on The Crossing College.  At a cursory glance it's obviously an environment that is ripe for spiritual abuse.  I fear the stories that will come from this mockery of education.

This first post has only two main points:
  1. This is not a real degree.
  2. You will be paying to work for The Crossing.
The Crossing College is offering a Diploma in Biblical Studies and an Associates in Church Leadership & Ministry.  As stated on their website, they qualify for religious exempt status from the Degree Authorization Act.  The exemption requires the following:

● Aimed for and attended by individuals who hold or seek to learn the beliefs of the organization
● Designed to prepare students to become ministers of the church
● No programs not closely related to the organization's beliefs

This "degree" will only be good at The Crossing Church.  You are paying for training to work at The Crossing Church.  Your "credits" cannot be transferred to an actual institution of higher learning. 

Now the Internship program really gets interesting! 
So to be in their "college" you have to also serve for them.  If you are on vacation you are still expected to attend church.  Think they won't be tracking this?  They will be watching your every move!

More posts to come.  You know what this is really all about, don't you?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Spiritual Fathers & Mothers at The Crossing Church

Father's day gave us The Crossing's talk on Spiritual Fathers and Mothers.  Teaching from II Timothy 2: 1-2 [You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.] they teach that you need a Spiritual Father or Mother to teach us to be spiritually strong and successful in life.  

"We can’t change you..only the relationship of someone teaching you the word of God.  Who is the  person you invited into your life to speak to your soul?"  

“You need someone to spiritually mentor you in the gospel”

He says earlier in the talk that Jesus/God will give you the words to say to mentor someone else.  He says that it's God doing the changing in people.   "If this doesn't happen for you, the likelihood of you making it is like watching a DVD and trying to fish."  

So God is limited to your ability or willingness to have a Spiritual Mother/Father?!  

If God is doing the changing then isn't God/Jesus really the Spiritual Parent?

We've already seen the outcome of The Crossing's Spiritual Parenting on One Mother's Journey.  

“The mind of Christ is in you.” “He’ll give you the words to say.”  “I’m probably gonna put some of you that are 15 or 16 IN CHARGE of some of you that are 25.  Because they already have more spiritual learning that some of you that are 15.” 

What the hell!?!?   

From Live Science ""The brain of an 18-year-old college freshman is still far from resembling the brain of someone in their mid-twenties," said Craig Bennett, a graduate student who was involved in the new research. "When do we reach adulthood? It might be much later than we traditionally think."  But hey...if Jesus is in you giving you the words then go on and put a 15 year old with a 25 year old....no possible issues at all!

There are two key words I want you to notice: IN CHARGE.  The Crossing Church loves to be in charge, and loves a hierarchy.  In a relationship no one is in charge.  One might have more wisdom but there is still mutual respect and equality.  This has submission issues written all over it.

Now the gist of this is to have a relationship with someone, a mentor, to walk through life with you.  Mentors, guides, teachers and friends are great.  We certainly all need a hand to hold onto.  But can we truly not learn, mature or grow without another person?  "Your spiritual fathers determine your spiritual success."  Spiritual success?  Is this a competition?!

It gets better:  “I know who I’m going to be in the gospel 10 years from now – the guys I hang out with are taking me there.  I know where they've been, what they've accomplished and how they've succeeded. I want their life!!” 

What if Jesus wants you to simply feed the poor in your town (like he actually said)?  What if Jesus wants you to care for an orphan (like he actually said)?  What if Jesus wants you to just love your neighbor and not be trying to achieve fame and fortune (like he actually said)?  

"Always only about Jesus" Crossing Church?  Not by a long shot. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Crossing Church does Twirl - All hail to the Queen!

Oh dear; it's Twirl time again.  Twirl is the Crossing Church's special event for the ladies.  It's a mindless, vapid, inane event where women go to the church to hear about cooking, how to wear high heels and absurd information on being a woman.  But really isn't that all women's church events?  I'll give them credit for at least not forcing everyone to make a craft!  So they like screaming in high pitched wails and dancing with their church girlfriends; why should I care?

Though I find the whole thing to be belittling to me as a woman, that really isn't my core issue with Twirl.  Twirl is primarily to glorify Kelly Dykstra.  From referring to her as "the first lady of the Crossing", having her sit on a type of throne to wearing a tiara; it's all really one big narcissistic jamboree.  You pay $10 (notably up from $5 or nothing if you couldn't afford it) and get a mini dessert (Not too much as we girls need to watch our figures!) and a trinket which is one of Kelly's favorite things.  Others do grace the stage but these are only the Crossing elite.  The women directly under Kelly will come out and give their wisdom or thoughts on a subject while the audience cheers their every word.  Even Kelly's daughter made an appearance to preach (again, only the elite).

What is implied but not directly said is that those on the stage are above you.  These are the top of the Crossing hierarchy and to whom you should honor and submit.  It becomes abundantly clear who is "in" and who is not.  As with everything at the Crossing church, the women are clamoring to get to the top and be one of them.  It's disgusting, enraging and most of all just plain sad.  Sad in that many, if not most, of those women don't have a snowflake's chance in hell of making it to the elite Crossing ranks.  They don't have the looks, the talent, the ability to kiss ass or the know how to get with the in crowd.

You are encouraged to join a Twirl group and/or make a new friend while you are at Twirl.  But just know that you'll have to do this with one of the underlings and certainly not with anyone on that stage.  You are only in their "circle of concern" and not their "circle of influence".

Please tell me: is this what Jesus wants?  Is anyone getting helped here?  Sure there is an passionate message, build up music to get the tears flowing and a 1-2 punch at the end to ensure an emotional response.  Yet you can get the same thing at a movie or concert.  Did "life change" happen?  I say, no.

Monday, May 27, 2013

I'm Offended!!!

The Crossing is doing a new series called "Random" and random really is the perfect description for it.  (No offense.)  It's whatever God is talking to them about.  The entire premise that the sermons are coming straight from God's mouth to their ears/thoughts/whatever puts an implied level of authority and closeness to God.  It's subtle but powerful.  

I could say quite a bit about this but my focus is instead of some specific statements made during this sermon.  

Random Sermon

Minute 36:25 - "A couple years ago there were some people who were INTENT on hurting Eric and I and this church.  
Minute 36:50 - "Change where we needed God to change us."  What exactly did you change?
Minute 37:04 - "Something funky got in there."  Yes something funky indeed...your actions!!!

Kelly, lets be clear as to why people spoke out against your church.  

  • A mother was trying to save her son after your reckless comments and authority trip caused him to leave his family, get married hastily and leave college.  Here is her story: One Mother's Journey 
  • You were kicking people out of your church, ruining lives and acting like a cult.  Another story: Open Letter to Eric Dykstra
  • You were so focused on church growth and yourselves that people were treated like they were disposable. Another story:Keeping the Faith
  • You were forcing submission, insane amounts of tithing and promoting fear.  WCCO news report: Community in Elk River Discusses Controversial Church
  • You wouldn't take accountability for anything.  WCCO news report: Pastor Addresses Controversy
  • You were allowing abusive leadership to lie and hurt others. My Story Though I will give you credit for admitting this and asking for forgiveness, you still haven't apologized to the person you kicked out due to your leader's lies about her.  

Minute 37:19 - "As I drive to work everyday there is a street sign that is the name of one of the people that set out to hurt me..." 

Is this the street you're seeing?  She wasn't trying to hurt you Kelly.  She was trying to save her son!

Again, no one was trying to hurt you.  There was a time I would have said you were my friend; though I see that thought was clearly delusional.  As I said in my first blog post - I would have come back in a second had you simply admitted wrong.  

Let me be succinct here: you still need to admit to what you did that was wrong.  Admit it.  Own it.  Be accountable.  

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Crossing Church comes out of the closet

Minnesota made history today becoming the 12th state to legalize same sex marriage.  Since this blog is devoted to The Crossing Church of Elk River, Minnesota, it seems an appropriate time for them to come out of the closet.  No, The Crossing Church isn't gay, even if some of the recent band members outfits might cause you to question this.  They have always claimed to be welcoming to everyone.  I’d heard it said many times from the pulpit that they had a huge variety of people attending; atheists, agnostics and also gays.  So while they’d allude to being open and accepting with statements such as “all are welcome” and “grace full, guilt free”,  they never actually said their true feelings on someone being gay.  Seeing as they are affiliated with the Baptist General Conference, I certainly knew which way they were expected to roll yet it was a topic they were very evasive about. 

This blog post from Pastor Kelly Dykstra was a first clue.

I reasoned that this blog entry was from many years ago, and like so many other people, she certainly could have evolved in her view point.  

They recently had a speaker at their church recently named Hannah Parks.  Her story is one of drugs, gangs, hard living and also being a lesbian.  She preached from their stage against being a homosexual so I take this as The Crossing's belief and statement as well .  I should say she was a lesbian, as apparently her sexuality has now miraculously changed since she became a Christian.

I watched the video and I’ll simply say how much it saddened me.  She’s still gay.  Nothing has changed.  She’s out of the hazardous behaviors she once was into but she’s white knuckling it with her sexuality.  You can only suck up being who you are not for so long.  I hope there is someone loving and accepting there for her when she crumbles. 

So there we have it:  Crossing Church - Grace Full, Guilt Free, Gay Friendly but certainly not Gay Accepted.

The response from conservative Christians is to try to have it both ways, to both disapprove strongly of gay people living their lives openly while also claiming to be accepting and tolerant of gay people.

At the end of the day, the real reason that churches are bleeding members isn’t their lack of preachers in fashionable shoes and monitors blaring good-enough imitations of indie rock music. It’s because young people have turned away from the ideological values that conservative Christianity has worked so hard to embody: homophobia, hostility toward science, misogyny, sex-phobia, and support of regressive economic policies.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Help for Mental Illness

This is a post about awareness of mental illness and how your words affect the lives of those afflicted with it. I go into this post very carefully and with much trepidation.  This isn’t an easy subject and nothing to be taken lightly.  This is not a post to debate the causes of mental illness.  There is a massive amount of information available about mental illness, and not being a medical professional, I won’t even attempt at slogging through something so complex. 
What you need to remember:
1.       Mental illness is treatable.  Not necessarily curable but it  can be managed.  It is not easy and may last a lifetime.  It will take honesty, willingness and a ton of work but there is hope. 
2.       Mental illness needs to be diagnosed by a medical professional; not your mother, not your best friend, not your pastor and not your “Christian counselor”. 
3.       Mental illness needs to be treated by a medical professional.  Telling a person they need only have faith and pray is dangerous and possibly fatal.
4.       Mental illness does not mean there is something “wrong with you spiritually”.  It is not weakness, not from lack of faith and not from demons.  Please keep your commentary to yourself.  No matter who you’ve known or what you’ve seen, if you have not personally had to battle mental illness then you have no idea what you are talking about.
I’ve attached a photo showing Rick Warren’s statement about his son’s recent death in comparison to a photo of a retweet by Eric Dykstra of a man believing God will take away his bipolar condition.  

I greatly appreciate that Rick Warren spoke of medical treatment and my heart goes to him and his family in such a time of great loss.  Sadly, as with all diseases, and even with the best of care, sometimes the illness defeats the person in the end.  My aunt essentially died of mental illness, after a lifetime of treatment, and the sorrow for those who tried to help is immense.
I don’t know if Eric Dykstra personally knows the man that sent out this tweet.  I don’t know if this man is currently getting help.  All I know is what I saw, or rather what I didn’t see.  I didn’t see anyone encouraging him to seek medical attention.  I saw Pastor Dykstra retweet this, which in essence validates the belief that God will , or might, get rid of bipolar disorder to anyone watching. 
Is God curing people of bipolar?  I don’t know.   I know bipolar is a treatable brain disorder.  I also know that your words and actions, or inaction, matters to someone suffering. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Where is the missing sermon?

In past posts I've talked about changes that seemed to be happening at the Crossing; no more submission talk, grace and by all appearances the extreme pushes for money had stopped.  Elk River appeared peaceful for a time.  Yet in recent sermons and twitter posts we're starting to hear talk very reminiscent of the old days.  It's subtle but it's there.  With each statement there was a clear vibe that there was something coming to suggest they were going to ask for more money.  Purple Cow, Samurai - we've seen the many ways they go for the "big give".  I personally gave many thousands to their (manipulation) special giving programs.

They did a 4 part sermon series they are calling "Year of Faith" where the prime focus goes back to the tired formula of 'Do A, B & C and God is going to bless the hell out of you' (my description).  Weeks 1 & 2 had a strong focus on faith, believing God is going to make your dreams come true with little hints at giving.  Those in my inner circle of former Crossing attenders agreed that week 3 would be about giving.

Week 3 came and went yet no sermon.  Well isn't that curious?  Hmmm...why would that be?  People started asking and the Crossing said it wouldn't be posted online.

Promoting your big series and yet purposefully leaving out one sermon certainly makes you wonder what could be in that sermon that they refuse to share it.  If God is on your side, and making your grand vision to be a church of 10,000 (or is it 20,000?  The visions keeps changing.) then why can't we see it?  

Hold onto your bank account numbers Crossing people!  It's coming!  Or was that week 3 and we just didn't see it?  Oh my...what is in that missing sermon???

Monday, January 28, 2013

Why do I care?

I've been asked many times over the past year "Why do you care?!"  I care deeply and I doubt even those closest to me and my story understand the full depth of why I continue to call out spiritual abuse.  I will use this post to reveal a few things and hopefully bring better understanding to why I do what I do.

On my last post I spoke about my feelings on Eric Dykstra asking to meet with me and my reasons for declining the meeting.  Since that time I did meet face to face with him.  It was a good  meeting.  Eric humbly apologized to me after finding out that my story was true.  I appreciate that he went out of his way to say this to me when he could have easily let it go since I'd been gone so long.  My husband and I agreed that as far as our story with the Crossing Church goes, we've received all that's possible; a true apology.

So why not shut the blog down?  Because my fight was never for me.  My fight was for the mother that lost her son, those kicked out and those that were broken.  I left the Crossing Church of my own free will so I don't have a story of being kicked out.  I left with my child and still have my family intact.  I do have a story that wounded me but I have closure on that now.  While I hope that the spiritual abuse has stopped there won't be full closure on this until all those hurt receive the amends they so rightly deserve.  

So what is Spiritual Abuse? "Spiritual Abuse occurs when a leader, church or a belief system, whether well intentioned or not, dominates, manipulates or castigates individuals through fear tactics, mind control, or some other psychological or emotional abuse."  It can be hard to spot.  Many times the individual doesn't know they are fearful and feels they are making all decisions from their own free will.  It can be easy to ignore, especially in church settings, where we are taught to forgive, to let things go and to assume the best in people.  

I was a pastor's kid and saw Christians using abuse and manipulation my entire life.  When I had personal doubts I've been told everything from "Well maybe you aren't a real Christian" to "Maybe you need to accept Jesus into your heart again'.  I witnessed the bible being used to belittle, manipulate and hurt people.  My own mother was excommunicated and the entire church, the loving Christian family, turned their backs on us.  

Anyone getting kicked out of a church matters to me.
Anyone getting hurt by another's misuse of the bible matters to me.
Anyone losing their child, due to a church's interference in a  young life, matters to me.
Anyone ignored, broken and abandoned by a church matters to me.  

So I won't shut up.  I will continue to call out injustice.  

It feels great to have nothing to fear.  I wish this peace on everyone.