Shunning

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Gillie
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Shunning

Post by Gillie » Tue May 30, 2017 12:14 pm

Shunning – a barbaric practice
September 8, 2014
Stephen Parsons

One of the ways in which religious and political groups keep control over their members is by erecting high barriers that distinguish the ‘in’ crowd from those outside. These barriers are not, of course, physical barriers but they act in just as an effective way. They show those inside an organisation, as well as those outside, where the boundaries lie. In extreme groups, the person inside will think little about those who are not part of the group because they are conditioned to look only inside for their social support, emotional needs and source of teaching and guidance. The people outside are in some sense ‘infidels’ or heathen. Either way they are not worthy of any attention or support.

Such boundaries are of course to be regretted when they undermine cohesion within a society. Multiculturalism, as we have suggested recently, does little to challenge what are effectively ghettos. But a greater evil can be seen when individuals are pushed out, for whatever reason, from the tightly knitted security of a religious group. In the process called ‘shunning’, an individual is expelled by all those who had, till then, been the source of social and emotional support. This is a cruel and barbaric practice and not infrequently leads to depression or even suicide. The more an individual had obtained his identity from being part of the group, the greater the sense of total desolation when he is cast out. Shunning, either as an implied threat to all members of a group or as an actual punishment, is something that a blog like this should name as utterly contemptible. It certainly should be outlawed in any group which identifies with Jesus, the man who did so much to welcome the ostracised and the shunned in Jewish society.

In my reflecting on the implications of shunning I have begun to see that it is much worse than an act of hate. When we hate someone, we are consumed by an intense dislike. However much we may dislike the individual we still recognise that he exists and will continue to exist. Shunning takes hatred to a different level. Within the act of shunning there is an implied pretending that he/she has somehow ceased to exist. The person concerned has become such a threat to the organisation, that we have to treat him as a non-person so that the equilibrium of the organisation be not disturbed. If he could be made to disappear, then that would be the best solution. The person who makes the decision to shun someone is probably not fussy as to how they should be made to disappear, even if actual murder is, inconveniently, not a practical option as far as the law of the land is concerned.

I hope that I am not exaggerating when I suggest that the act of shunning is form of psychological murder, the desire that someone should cease to exist. All feelings, all sympathy and the memory of former communication with them is to be withdrawn. This total turning the back on another human being is shocking and reprehensible.

My studies on cultic-like churches have brought me face to face with the victims of shunning and the effect on them is far more torrid than if they had just incurred the hatred of an individual. In primitive cultures we see the effect of being hexed by the local witch-doctor. When someone actually dies after such a hexing curse, we speculate that the practitioner had somehow managed to destroy the invisible bonds that link an individual into their community, thus rendering them defenceless and their ‘soul’ totally vulnerable. Shunning is the equivalent in the West of being ‘hexed’, even if our Western culture and upbringing affords us a greater level of psychic defence than is found in primitive societies. We are of course dealing with approximations of what seems to be happening in these actions, but I hope my reader can at least follow my line of argument.

I have mentioned the experience of being shunned by individuals at Trinity Church, Brentwood. I am sure my readers have other experiences of this horror to add to this discussion. The crossing over the road to avoid speaking to someone, forbidding your children speaking to their children; all these are far more cruel than insulting them to their face. To tell someone by your actions that you would prefer it if they disappeared off the face of the earth is a pretty terrible thing. And yet this is the daily experience of tens of thousands of ex-members of religious groups of all kinds across the world. The group, in order to protect its purity, has to deny a voice, or even existence, to those who criticise it, or worse still decide to abandon its version of truth.

As a final comment, I would want to say to anyone who belongs to or considers joining a religious group, whether Christian or otherwise, how does the leadership deal with those who leave? Do they practice shunning? Do you really think that your spiritual welfare is going to be furthered if you get caught up with having to, along with everyone else, shun ex-members? Do you really want to be a person who practises ‘spiritual murder’? There is no other way to describe such a horrific denial of Jesus’ command to love our enemies. There is also no better way to destroy our integrity as human beings than by forcing us to become part of a baying mob who wants to psychologically murder or destroy someone for the ‘crime’ of having left our group.


If you find your way to this page, you might wish to watch my Youtube of my lecture given in Stockholm for the International Cultic Studies Association in June 2015. Type Stephen Parsons 2015 in youtube search
Link:
http://survivingchurch.org/2014/09/08/s ... -practice/


Some readers may wish to look further at this blog. It is entitled:

Surviving Church
Exploring abuse in the Church. Why does it happen? How can we move on?
Last edited by Gillie on Wed May 31, 2017 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

Paul Kovaks
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Re: Spiritual Abuse

Post by Paul Kovaks » Tue May 30, 2017 11:14 pm

Yep. I've certainly experienced horrific shunning.

At MCF it works like this. As soon as you no longer WORSHIP the elders, you become completely expendable. All the past friendship, work, love, prayers and fun become NOTHING! They realize you no longer subscribe 100% to their worldview and you're out.

It means the love at MCF is not genuine. It's dependent on our near-worship of the leaders and their guff. That's the key to BCF/MCF's fall. It's what the message to Vic (if you believe it) and the Ephesian church was: you have fallen from your first love.

It's their mantra and they don't understand it!

eagles
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Re: Shunning

Post by eagles » Wed May 31, 2017 3:31 pm

Good points chaps.

You may also like to read up about "Battered Sheep". Well worth it. Many people have exposed this area, not just the particular clicque we write about here. You will find a great post about "Whose ministry is it really?"

I am writing a section on my "www.wildernesschristianity.net" site on this... it has been started, and here is a link:www.wildernesschristianity.net/batteredsheep.html. I do believe it is worth a look

And Gillie, your separating the "standing alongside your brother who is in pain from being mistreated" from points of doctrine is also very valid, Thank you for your point, I would say absolutely essential if we are to avoid adding to the "Lost Sheep" who have "Fallen Out" or even worse, "Dropped Out".

This is because we are unique. Each is different.

Many people are not able to handle two "heavy" trains of thought, that should not be related to each other in much detail simultaneously, either. It is an acquired ability.

I was fortunate to discover I had it, when I was my late 20's, when I worked as an instrumentation supervisor on flight trials in the UK missile testing range, although now I'm in my eighties, it is far harder!!!

In that connection, we might remember Corrie Ten Boom from Haarlem (Netherlands) who encountered one of her WW2 physical tormenters at a Christian rally shortly after WW2. if we research that, we discover that she was forgiving, and if she had added "forget", she would never have extended to her tormentor the opportunity to repent. Where, then, would they both have been when appearing at the "great white throne of judgement" as a result?

Seriously, when we minister (and that is what this site is for, ministry to help recovery of wounded spirits) one does need to continually reinforce the "God loves you and me, and was responsible for the design of our creation" thing in a low-key manner, while dealing with the need to "forgive" which should never be turned into the misunderstood and inaccurate doctrine of "forgive and forget" - because that cannot possible lead to understanding why those nasty things happened. Otherwise God gets left out of the loop... this is what happens to nearly all those who walk away from the major cults after all - the anchor of their existence is removed and absolutely nothing replaces it.

I was verbally challenged here a couple of years ago with the questioner demanding to know "what would YOU know about shunning? Let me briefly respond.

I was in a major psuedo-Christian Cult (not this one) from 1966 to the early 70's and was "excommunicated" by them.

I have two sons, and had a wife who divorced me. Communication with any of them was denied by my ex-wife, and the younger boy gradually became a talented rock and blues composer-songwriter-instrumentalist in my absence, who was eventually inducted into the Hall Of Fame.

In the mid 1980's, he stopped living at his mother's house (and had dropped out of the Cult religion).

He then contacted me - which has continued... that was twenty years of my life lost... later still he re-introduced his elder brother to me (another twenty years lost) six months before their mother died - for which I praise God to whom I had been reintroduced by someone with tact and affection.

Both boys insisted I went to their mother's funeral, even though the elder one appears still to be committedl to the cult church.

It is a hateful practice, designed by those who do not understand the words "communication, reconciliation, forgiveness, the love of God, and many others.

So please refrain from asking "what would I know about it?" :D

What is so very important about understanding this narrative-parable is that at a time when I did not have the ageing problem of selective memory loss, I was physically able to put my life back together, recognising that it was Almighty God who provided all of the tools progressively, as and when they were needed, because I was open to hearing HIM, something made possible by His REAL servants some of which who became familiy to me, and all of whom are acceptable to both Me, my sons, and their families.

If you wonder if this is a "Poor Me" post, forget it. It is what used to be called a "Teaching Moment".



eagles

For they who wait upon the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall walk and not be weary, they shall run and shall not faint
(my paraphrase of the 1611 translation)

robocop
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Re: Shunning

Post by robocop » Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:49 pm

Thank you for sharing your story Eagles - it resonates with many of us here on Streetcar.

blitzyblue
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Re: Shunning

Post by blitzyblue » Mon Jul 31, 2017 1:36 am

Eagles I am so glad that your boys have returned to you. But I am sorry that you had to go through your family being torn apart for so many years. It fills me with immense sadness when I think of those who have children and grand children who they do not have contact with, due to the divisive and evil influence of the cults.

eagles
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Re: Shunning

Post by eagles » Mon Jul 31, 2017 4:01 pm

Thank you. guys, of both genders

And blitzyblue having read your other posts now, I can relate to that. I just wish the oldest wasn't so tied up in the one they were.

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