This post (or series of posts) will be difficult. Not because I do not want to write it, but because it is important that I communicate the ideas clearly. I am not sure how to start.
“Spiritual abuse” is a new concept to me within the last few years. Physical and emotional abuse seem to be more commonly understood forms of abuse. They seem more obvious. I had not thought much about spiritual abuse, though. Or, if I did, it was not using that terminology. It was probably in passing and somewhat dismissive.
What is spiritual abuse? I believe it is misusing spiritual authority to manipulate, coerce, or control. Or as Dale Fincher put it, “claiming the intentions and character of God are behind the thing that men and women are doing.” I really like his article on the topic and was tempted to just link to it and not say much else. I highly recommend reading it.
Whenever anyone is dehumanized, it is abuse. Whenever anyone is dehumanized in the name of God, it is spiritual abuse.
— Dale Fincher
I realize that some may read my description of spiritual abuse and think it describes religion in general. They may be on to something. I certainly think spiritual abuse is prevalent. I am interesting in discussing this as well as what healthy, non-abusive spirituality looks like. I plan to write more on this and would love to hear your thoughts or stories.
I should make a note here that my background is Christianity and I still consider myself a Christian, so I am particularly interested in the intersection of spiritual abuse and Christianity. It is a broad topic, though, and does not need to be limited to that.