“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in the new shape of your own choosing”
Gaslighting happens when you don’t expect it; that’s why it works so well. We’ve become accustomed to hearing phrases like “alternative facts” from the White House, but this type of manipulation happens every day, even in churches. With the recent scandal at Willow Creek and countless others, we’ve seen powerful men, systematic coverups, and smear campaigns that seek to quiet the accusers. It doesn’t always happen in big public spectacles. It often manifests itself in smaller more insidious ways.
Gaslighting is psychological abuse and when it comes to the church, it’s also spiritual abuse. False information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own perception. The powerful use tactics like shame and guilt. They twist scripture and feign piety in order to maintain control. None of this is new. Power breeds corruption and the way pastors and clergy wield power over their congregations can be downright twisted and sick. It’s all about control.
The saddest part is that none of this has anything to do with Jesus. The Kingdom of God that he was ushering in was led by servant leadership. It was about grace and compassion, not coercion. Theology was never meant to be a weapon, and the role of pastor was never meant to be that of an authoritarian. None of this is right.
Join us as we delve deeper into this topic and outline the warning signs of gaslighting in the church.
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