SPIRITUAL ABUSE

And some of its characteristics which begin with the higher echelon of Ecclesiastical Hierarchy

This article comes from an anonymous individual who had been a part of St. Ephraim monastery under the Greek Orthodox Church...

EDITORIAL NOTE: While it is that the article was sent to us anonymously, the notation with it said, "I think because you have gone through such abuses yourself, along with many who are with you... the article is most important.  I hope that because you, personally, were affected by those who deny or break the Seals of the Confessional by telling tales that are false although based on printed media, you may find this article beneficial to your readers too."  The Staff of Apostle1.com thanks you!

On doing some research we found that the following link will take you to the authors of the article...  who is credited with putting it together....

In no way does the following organization endorse us, this jurisdiction nor do we necessarily endorse or support them.  However, may it be noted that what the following organization complains of, if it is true... should be heeded as regards any individual clergyman's abuse, misuse and actions which, for the most part, are diametrically opposed to Holy Orthodoxy.

http://www.concernedpoem.com

NOTE:  Apostle1.com has taken the liberty to modify or change that which fits the more immediate situation of our own experiences.

SHAME

FEELING LIKE YOU HAVE BEEN SHAMED
 
This section of the web site in many ways reinforces and expands upon the discussion of spiritual abuse in the previous section. Although this is the longest section on the website it could have easily been much longer to cover the issues of shame in an in-depth fashion. This is just a starting point for your research regarding shame.  It is not meant as an all encompassing analysis of the issue.  We only bring it forward so that you can come into a better understanding of how some systems treat people through shaming them and what can possibly set up any system into becoming shaming of people. Only you can determine if you are "Feeling Like You Have Been Shamed".
 
SHAME AND GUILT DEFINED
 
As already briefly defined on the web site shame is the sense of one being flawed and/or defective. To expand that definition it is also about a sense of being broken, not up to par or imperfect. It is a sense of not being lovable or likeable as you are, or being worthless like you are. Shame is about not being acceptable as you are. It can also be a sense of failing or falling short. Grandiosity, super-spirituality and self-righteousness are also forms of shame that project an arrogance of superiority of being righteous, good or perfect that covers shame. Such things are merely defense mechanisms to hide shame on a conscious or unconscious level.  (Apostle1.com's Note: We did not experience the shame symptoms of grandiosity, super-spirituality and self-righteousness as we were assaulted by such from others who thought themselves to be so.  Because of our own experiences in helping others over many years who have had to deal with similar situations, we were somewhat prepared as to how to deal with the shame associated with the negativity of hierarchs who abused and misused their authority)
 
Healthy guilt differs from shame in that guilt is about a sense of having done something wrong that violates our moral or ethical conscience whereas shame is about a sense of simply being defective or flawed.  Shame can have a deceptively ambient quality. It has the persuasive power to surround, encircle and encompass a person or system with its subtle guile, and without either of them knowing it.
 
Guilt is about knowing you have done something bad or wrong whereas shame is about believing one is bad or wrong. (Those who have no sense of guilt when they do wrong can suffer from serious psychological problems – systems can also have serious psychologically systemic problems if this be the case; it is possible for a system in generalized context to have pathological issues around such things) Shame can be both toxic to people and systems in that undermines Gods love, grace and mercy as it dehumanizes the value and worth of people. When someone or a system shames you they try and make you feel shame in spoken and unspoken ways by their attitudes, practices and treatment of you, including public ridicule and supplying false or misleading information to support themselves as being an authority figure on a particular subject that you may have been innocently involved in or with.
 
Many times when you feel shamed it is how another is trying to define you. This can be subtle or overt. An example of this would be abandonment. It sends the message that you are expendable if you have been shamed or abused by the system or someone in authority in the system. You are in some way abused and shamed and then abandoned by those who could really care less that they did this to you. You are left alone to struggle through your issues that they directly caused or enabled. You are not reached out to with empathy, comfort or grace by anyone with the responsibility to do so. Your needs are not recognized; they are abandoned. When such shame is directed at a person the person is being defined as not worthy of attention. The person is being defined as worthless and ignorable. Abandonment is very shaming and is a hallmark characteristic of a system and/or hierarchy that shames. Man is about abandonment and God is not . . .  
 
Psalm 34:18
 
"The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those crushed in spirit"
 
Depending on how deeply ingrained shame has become in a particular system or hierarchy will determine the degree and/or type of shaming treatment that a system or its hierarchy will level at a person.
***
THE SHAME-BASED SYSTEM
 
Systems that shame people are systems that are shame-based, which means that their basis as a system in many disturbing ways is grounded in shame. Everyone has a sense of shame and no one is totally immune to it. Shame drives the shame based system because the shame based system is operated by people who make up the system and who themselves have a sense of shame about themselves in an emotional and/or religious context (no one is completely shame free). Like people a system can be controlled by shame by various degree and more so in one aspect of it than another. Shame can become pervasive and systemic to any system.
 
Only those systems that want to become or stay emotionally and spiritually healthy face and deal with their shame gain to control over it. Such systems understand the shaming practices that flow out of being shame based and so stay on top of and in front of those practices so they do not get out of control. If it is not viewed like this the systemic nature of shame can infect the entire system causing it many problems that have the ability to get out of control and thereby hurt and wound people in many seen and unseen and told and untold ways. Nothing is more toxic to a Christian system than shame because when shame systemically infects a system it has the unseen ability to undermine every aspect of a Christian system in the most subtle but destructive of ways. 
 
SHAME-BASED SYSTEMS SHAME THEMSELVES
 
An important thing to remember about shame is that shamed people shame people. That is the most telling truth about shame and how you can identify it when you experience it. When someone is shamed it hurts them. Shamed people hurt others because they themselves have been hurt by shame. They may not be in touch with that, or realizing of that, or admitting of that, but that is the reality of it. So, it follows that hurt people hurt people.  They hurt themselves when they hurt others because they are shaming themselves when they shame others.  They shame themselves when they shame others by reinforcing their personal shame through the practice of shaming. Like a person with an addiction each time that person practices their addiction they reinforce their addiction. Each time a person practices their addiction they hurt themselves. 
 
It needs to be noted here that those who understand shame and who deal with their shame are the least likely to shame others. (Apostle1.com Comment:  It is truly sad that those from and by whom we had experienced abuse and shame, could not undrestanding these lessons.  Yet, we know deep down in their inner selves, there is self-guilt.  For many do not even know why they feel the way they do and fail to recognize shame in themselves or even the guilt that betrays their actions to castigate, even use blackmail attempts against us as they have done in the past, including those who had been working in and with them.  In due time, as we have seen, their desire for seeking self-image, power and control, will come home to their very being and when that happens, they may experience the most horrible of self-convictions possible.  We can only pray for them, and when they seek forgiveness, to give it!  But, forgiveness must be asked for before it can truly be given.) We/They understand its dynamic destructive power and therefore avoid the shaming of others. Those who understand shame do not allow others to shame them and have healthy emotional and spiritual boundaries to such things. Confronting the truth of spiritual abuse of power that shames people is about bringing sin into the light so it can be corrected and the attitudes and practices of shaming spiritual abuse will be stopped. That is healthy for a system and/or anyone in leadership in a system. It sometimes takes a confrontation of tough love to make this happen or bring the problems and issues of it into the light. Usually, when this happens all of the defense mechanisms around shame come into play so the reality of these attitudes and practices can be denied, ignored or otherwise deflected. In other words the hierarchy of a system or people who support the system shame you for confronting the issues around shaming attitudes and practices.
 
Shame based systems hurt themselves when they are under the systemic control of shame. Every time the system shames someone the system reinforces its systemic shame. Every time the system shames someone it hurts itself. The diabolical nature of shame is seen in a shame based system that raises up hierarchs under shame teaches them to shame others consciously or unconsciously because the system is so ingrained with shame that shaming seems normal to the hierarchs. Shame traps them by raising them up through a shaming system and then keeps them from admitting their shaming practices because that would bring shame on them and their system. That is the double binding bondage of shame at work when you see and experience that. They cannot admit what they practice because to do so brings shame. 
 
Systems that shame people do not want to admit their shame that hurts people because they do not see themselves as hurt by shame or hurting of others through their shaming system.  Plain and simple, the hierarchies of such systems are in shame-based denial when this happens. Their shame keeps them from admitting their shame and the shame that controls their system. In any system where this type of denial is prevalent it starts at the top and then moves down from there. Depending on how rigidly adamant the hierarchy is in its denial will many times determine how rigidly adamant in denial those in the rest of the system are. As a result denial can by degree capture any system systemically. Unless, of course,  a person is in denial that it can.  
 
SHAME-BASED SYSTEMS AND CONTROL  
 
Since shame is about not being acceptable as you are the shame based system has to protect itself against being seen as anything other than not acceptable, perfect, broken, flawed, dysfunctional or defective. It is, after all, righteous and Godly, so it must maintain this distorted image of itself to keep up the belief that it is this when it fact it has become something quite different than this. In fact, in many cases it must be seen as the one best, right or true system before God so that it can mask its shame and protect its image through control. Shame based systems are therefore controlling of others to protect their prestige and image. The hierarchs cannot see themselves in humble or realistic terms because image is everything. This is why they are rarely publicly repentant when flat wrong or less than secretive in their covering up of their wrongs. The image must be protected.  
 
When a system sees itself as the best or the greatest it carries a tremendous amount of prestige of its image that must be maintained and protected. Its pride is put on the line. That is, it is full of PRIDE and itself. No one in the system is more this way than the hierarchs as they control what gives them power, prestige, control, title and image through the system. In the control of this prestige of its image the attitudes and practices of the hierarchs and the system itself can be seen and/or advocated as above reproach and justified because it is the one, true and right system. So, most everything that flows out is true and right by attitude, teaching and practice. This can be implied, inferred or directly stated both in spoken and unspoken ways. The system has an answer for everything as it has developed highly advanced image control skills and methodologies. Sometimes it has no answer for anything because it just avoids the truth or stone walls any criticism of it. Either way when it is operating like this it is in its image protection mode. To fail to not be the one, true or right system would mean that something is wrong with a system that portrays itself as other than anything other than dysfunctional. It also means that there might be something wrong with the hierarchs who control the system and who are the center piece of its prestige and image.
 
Whether or not it truly is the one best, true or right system is not the point. What comes out of the attitude of that and the why and what that underlies that attitude is the point. There are no perfect people so it goes that there are not perfect systems, but systems that believe that they are the one best, true or right system set themselves up for systemic shame like no others can. This is because the prestige of their image must be controlled. Such systems become self centered and self protective through the control of their image, as a lot of energy is expended in maintaining control of the image. Energy that could be expended on bringing healing and restoration to the wounded and broken in their midst if integrity, honesty, openness and accountability were applied to making the system healthy and functional.
 
SHAME-BASED SYSTEMS KEEP SECRETS   
 
Shame-based systems cover up, hide, defend, and keep secret what is dysfunctional about them because they must control the prestige of their image. Systems are only as sick as their secrets. Being secretive is one of the hallmarks of a shame based and dysfunctional system. Secrets hide shame. Secrets protect image and maintain control. After all, what is really true about the system might make the hierarchs look flawed or defective. (This is very similar to Adam and Eve who hid in the garden after they ate the fruit of the tree; prior to eating that fruit man was without shame. That is, they were transparent emotionally and spiritually, and not hiding, covering-up or secretive before God) They hide and cover-up what they do not want anyone to see about them as they view anyone who publicly views them as they really are as trouble or an annoyance. This means that they don’t like the truth about them to be made public or be exposed in a way that they cannot control. Such exposure undermines the prestige of their image. The truth about their shaming attitude and practices cannot be revealed to the world to see. They want everyone to view them in the way that they believe best portrays them, and in a way that makes them feel good and right about themselves as Christians and as a belief system. They do not want to recognize or feel their shame because it hurts to feel shame. It can also be humiliating to do so.
 
Admitting shaming practices and attitudes humbles the super spiritualized ego of the hierarchy that uses the system to prop up their image. Being humbled is not always a pleasant experience.  It just does not fit the image that they want to portray to each other, their followers or the outside world. They masquerade as humble servants when in fact they are self protective and self centered in the protection of their image. They would rather keep what is true about them a secret no matter whom it hurts in that process than deal with their issues in an in the light fashion. When the covers are pulled and what is under the covers is revealed for what the system truly is about the system can do any number of things to hide its systemic shame. They do things like continue to try to cover-up the truth, or deny the truth, blame others or outcast people for speaking out or attack those who do the whistle blowing or who conduct the expose’, etc.  
 
Systems are only as sick as their secrets and the people who keep the secrets are sicker than the secrets they keep. They are sicker than the systems’ secrets because only individuals with a shame-based mind set would protect the kinds of secrets that these types of systems keep. Those secrets are what bring shame and harm to people so that the practices, attitudes, ineptness and incompetency of the hierarchy are protected from exposure and at almost any expense. Systems are only as sick as their secrets on both an emotional and spiritual level in that only a sick system and hierarchy that does not want to get well and see the symptoms and causes of its dysfunction made well from what is ailing it. A truly humble and healing system would not want to hide the secrets of its faults, mistakes and wrongs and get them into the light so that could be dealt with in a fashion that shows humility and repentance.
 
Usually self-righteousness on the part of the leadership and its most ardent followers keeps it from reform that would bring it back to health. For some systems it is far more comfortable to stay dysfunctional (systemically sick) by maintaining the status quo than it is to take the strong medicine and treatment necessary to get well. Like a cancer patient who has malignant cancer that has  metastasized  through the body the treatment for the cure can be both painful and not pretty to watch, as well as messy. A dose of radical chemotherapy is not a pretty thing to watch a physical system (human body) go through nor is it a fun thing to have to endure. The same holds true for dysfunctional systems that are suffering from systemic dysfunctional sicknesses that keep them in bondage to shame; but, better cured than rendered dead. One of the defining marks of a shame based system is that in many ways it is dead both emotionally and spiritually in the sense that only a systemically sick system would want to die in its dysfunction than take the painful cure that would bring it back into health. The only thing that is not dead in such systems is the disease of shame that permeates the system and fools the system and hierarchs into thinking that its attitude and practices that result from that shame are correct and good because ultimately they enhance or protect the image of the system and its hierarchs.
 
THE SHAME-BASED SYTEM IS SELF-PROTECTIVE AND SELF-CENTERED
 
In the shame-based system the arrogance and pride in the hierarchy is seen in their religiosities that form an impenetrable wall of reinforced concrete denial to issues and problems. (Religiosity is the quality of being excessively religious in a conspicuous or sanctimonious manner)  This is obvious to many outside the system, and especially those who have been abused by the system, but not to most of those inside of the system who adore and trust it, and have yet to be abused by it. If the system has been in operation for a long period this can be the result of generations of this not being dealt with which makes it tightly woven into the very fabric of the system that can not see its self for what it is or has become. This is where shame-based defense mechanisms come into play for the protection of the prestige, power, control, titles, positions, power and IMAGE of the hierarchy.  
 
The system cannot see itself as it is because that would mean it would have to be honest and come out of denial. It would have to face its shame and then repent of its shaming practices. After all, it is the pinnacle of all truth and spiritual correctness so it is well and it could not possibly shame anyone or be a party to others being shamed. So, such systems always seem to focus on how right they are and look in comparison to everyone else. They focus on all external things about the way they look dressing themselves all up to hide their shame as they also focus on all internal things that keep the external image up. They become internally control focused as a result, and that leads to self centeredness as they keep the focus on themselves. In that process they loose site of the focus they are to have on God by replacing that focus upon themselves. This self centeredness leads to self protection, which in turn leads to protection of the image at all most any cost, which in turn leads to spiritual abuse of power. Self-centeredness and self-protection can drive people to protect the image that they want to portray in ways that make others expendable to the maintaining of that image and their control of the system.
 
Self-centeredness and self-protection are the core center of attitudes in such systems. Usually, the hierarchy drives this. In the shame-based system power, prestige, position, control, title and legacy are things that keep up the image of the leaders and create a sense of awe among the followers who in many ways tie their sense of value, significance, worth, purpose, direction and meaning to the system. They think by believing in and following the system that they in effect are following God when in fact they have a distorted view of God by believing in and following the system without question as they view everything through the lenses of the system that they have been indoctrinated into, and sometimes from birth.  Everything about them says that they believe that God and system are one in same thing. Although that might not be directly stated in an out loud or on purpose fashion. That creates a huge prestige of image for the hierarchy to protect and at the same time draw prestige and image from. The system wants this belief of itself so it can protect what it values most, its image and control as those things maintain the image and control of the leadership. The leadership themselves are enmeshed in the system that they themselves take their image from it because it also gives them power and control. It can also feed the ego of the hierarchy as it makes them larger than life in a religious context as the leaders are seen as the ones closest to God.
 
The system must protect its image of being god-like because it has dressed itself all up to be representative of God's one, true and right system.  When this happens most everyone in the system is capable of making the system and its leaders an idol without even realizing it, and many of the followers with sincere intentions do not realize this is what they are unknowingly doing. They are merely following the dysfunctional system and believing in what it has unknowingly indoctrinated them into believing it to be, functional. Yet, all the while the most self-righteous ones among them point their finger at perceived weaknesses and/or wrongs in other Christian belief systems or other Christian’s failings. They fail to see the log in their eye and the splinter in the eye of those that they judge. This can be accomplished in the most subtle of fashions and under the guise of being humble; when in fact it is pure self righteous judgment. 
 
The larger and the more complex the shame based system the more it is its tendency to be bureaucratic, political and enmeshed through self centeredness and self protection. Such systems are complex, bureaucratic, political and enmeshed so that they can internally protect the status quo of the leaders and the system that they draw power, position, prestige, title and control from. They are not necessarily set up this way to perform better or to serve the needs of the flock better. They are in many ways set up this way to protect their image and the image of the leaders through control. It is this control that protects their shame basis in that it gives those in leadership power to control all aspects of itself and how it wants to be viewed. It is that control that is used to protect its image and hide their shame. Shame is the basis of that control because it is their sense of being flawed or defective, if not corrupt, that drives them to be secretive about what is really going in internally with them and it causes them to disseminate even bad news in the most positive light or with a certain spin applied to it so as to cushion the blow as to the reality of what is really going on. All the while when the hierarchs do this they think that people buy into their hype. Many times people do, but those who can read between the lines and know what really drives the way they operate see right their political games and hype. More importantly, God knows. God sees right through their self protective self-enteredness.
 
The hierarchy may be able to fool man, but in the end God will not be mocked by this. Yet, they operate like God is not watching and not knowing of what is really going on. They many times operate like there is no God. In so doing they operate like they want to doing all that they can to protect their idolatrous image of themselves just so they can protect the status quo of their power and control. Just reach out and touch one of them in way that threatens that status quo or image and see what kind of response you get. It makes proof of the fact of this self idolatry and system idolatry is alive and well.  In their arrogance when they do this they hold up themselves and the system whose image they protect as their God to a God who will not be mocked by this.
 
SHAME-BASED SYSTEMS FOCUS ON RELIGIOUS WORKS   
 
In shame-based systems religious works are one of the central focuses as they are used to keep everyone thinking that their performance gives them special points with God as it makes them more Godly. Religious works and performance shame people and keep them in bondage to shame because those things send the spoken or unspoken message that you are not really acceptable to God through grace as you are. The formula for living the Christian life then becomes: Jesus + religious performance (works) = acceptance by God, and/or the greater enlightenment of the knowledge of God, and/or the greater the ability to experience God, and/or a greater sense of being right before God and/or salvation, and/or acceptance by the system. Another way of saying this is that Jesus plus performance based religion and not spirituality with God through humility, grace and truth controls the followers in the system as works (performance) and image protection control the system itself (This happens by degree). Such systems are experts in making it sound and look like anything other than this, but the reality is that it is this. Any system that is trapped here has the potential to shame you because you can be seen as not performing in a way that protects the prestige of its image and you can be seen as threatening to the maintaining of that image.
 
In effect, most everyone goose steps, by degree, in the same mind set of religious works when the bondage of shame controls a system. Shaming and being shamed becomes normal to the person and the system as this is how unspoken and unseen indoctrination into shame captures the mind, will and emotions of the system's followers and the corrupts the practices of the system itself by placing heavy loads of shaming performance on people. This heavy load of performance is the burden of shame and its price of admission into the shame based system. People do not experience freedom in Christ in such systems (John 8:32).
 
What they experience is bondage to the burdens of religious works. How well they “WORK” out their salvation is really nothing more than religious performance. People trapped here often walk around with a sense of unhealthy GUILT that drives them ever deeper into trying to legalistically do the prescribed things that their system tells them to do so they that do nothing wrong or bad. Unhealthy guilt is a sense of always having to be on the look out for every single bad of wrong thing in a preoccupied way. It is about performing you Christian life a way that proves your value and worth. This is not about a healthy and balanced Christian conviction of sin that violates a persons’ moral or ethical conscious on a spiritual level.  It is about always having an underlying sense of guilt that follows people around all the time legalistically whispering to them how bad or wrong they are because they are not meeting the performance standard of the system or the performance standard the system tells them that God has for them.
 
When unhealthy guilt that has to be meticulously and constantly looking for every single bad or wrong thought and behavior is welded together with shame that tells you are flawed and defective a person begins to lead a religiously neurotic life (by degree). This sense of unhealthy guilt (false guilt) when combined with shame dissociates a person from Gods grace and forgiveness as these diabolical undermining influences control the persons mind, will and emotions, as well as the person’s spiritual life. Instead of the persons life becoming relational to God in a spiritual context it becomes mechanical, ritualistic and rigid in a strict works context - so it goes with people under the sway and influence of a systemically sick system.
  
SHAME BASED SYSTEMS, SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS AND RELIGIOUS LEGALISM
 
We have discussed religious works and religious performance and now let’s tie the use of self-righteousness and religious legalism into them to see how all together are used to control people in a shame-based system. When a person or system is self righteously right there is no conscious sense of shame attached to that because the persons’ self righteousness blinds the person to his or her shame. The very thing that creates their self-righteousness blinds them to it.  Self-righteousness hides shame by giving one a sense of superiority whereas shame gives one a sense of being flawed or not quite right. The unseen basis of self-righteousness is the covering up of ones shame. This attitude of superiority is what drives religious works and religious legalism in the shame-based system. Religious legalism feeds into self-righteousness because it is about correctness, rules, do’s and don’ts, as well as about keeping people in line and under control.
 
Legalism is the mind set and practice that tells a person that they are to perform a certain way or believe a certain way or they are not right with God or the system. It is a preoccupation with a microscopic inspection that everything is done correctly, believed correctly, followed correctly and without any mistakes. Legalism is about following the rules of the system. Self-righteous people are always legalistic. (Further Comment:  This is the system in which "scholasticism" and the disease of "correctness" takes precedence).  Always doing what is right and believing what is right in their eyes is one of the things that make them self righteous in a legalistic fashion. From the perspective of the self righteous only those who can legalistically perform are then acceptable to them and to God, or so say the self righteous ones. Everyone else is suspect of not being right with God.
 
The more legalistic someone becomes is often translated into meaning the more obedient one is to God and/or the more one is properly submitted to His authority over ones life. This can mean that you are not submitted to God if you question the attitudes and practices of those in the hierarchy who see themselves as God's appointed eminences (superior ones). The simple translation of this is that if you are submitted this way to them you have a greater chance of getting into heaven or staying in the good favor of those who can get you into heaven. In fact, many times they portray themselves as God's divine will over a persons’ life. So, don’t question the practices and attitudes of authority or you will not be in God's will. Submit and obey without question is the ultimate rule of legalism. People are overtly or subtly told not to pay attention to what does not concern them even if something wrong is staring them in the face. Inconsistencies, indiscretions and incorrect attitudes and practices are to be ignored.   You are to keep your focus on what they tell and not on what is obviously going on with them.
 
Legalism leads to self righteousness which is an attitude of spiritual superiority that the Pharisees were noted for, and that Jesus confronted in the most sarcastic of ways. Who has the best set of rules and who can follow the rules the best are the really right ones. Self righteousness transcends the ability to recognize its shame basis because by the time it has set into the attitude and mind set of a person or system it actually believes by deceptive and deluding nature of shame that it is right and without a conscious sense of shame driving that belief. Self-righteous people cannot see their shame because they are too caught up into what helps them hide their shame and what makes them feel righteous in that. Being right is what preoccupies the self righteous. It gives them a deluded sense of right place before God and their like minded peers as it warps their attitude toward everyone who is not like them. It creates both the conscious and unconscious need to keep up the image of the system. There is a thin line between holding strongly onto what you know and/or believe to be true about your Christian faith and being self righteous about that. You can see the difference between humility and self righteousness when you experience shame or spiritual abuse from someone or a system, and not mercy and grace. That is how you tell the difference. Shaming of people can be so pervasive in such systems that people are not aware of when they are being shamed or when they are shaming of others. It is the NORM to shame and be shamed.
 
As previously stated the unspoken rules that govern such systems are: don’t think, don’t feel, don’t talk and don’t look. The better one micromanages his or her life under these legalistic rules the more such a person is deemed obedient/faithful to either the hierarchy and/or the system. In other words, don’t take notice of what really is going on with the system that they, the leaders and its most ardent followers are so image conscious about, self centered in control of, and self protective in protection of. If you find yourself breaking any of the legalistic rules you need to feel physical pain to deal with the pride associated with that disobedience so that you can get back into humble submission to that authority (Such as whipping yourself). You can even be told to carry out unethical or immoral practices so as to prove your obedience and teach you submission to authority (Like stealing). You are to believe without question because those in authority are those closest to God and know what you best need to believe. To not believe, follow and obey without question might put your salvation in jeopardy with those who play a role in your getting into heaven. You do not want to displease anyone who might have control over your salvation or who could put it into a questionable jeopardy. To do so would mean you are some in way, shape or form spiritually flawed or defective in their eyes or in the eyes of God.
 
Yet, many times such systems proclaim to have a great and sacred appreciation for individual free mind and free will. This is really about a free mind and will that is submitted to their interpretation of what those terms mean under their influence of their systemically sick legalism. That is their great hypocrisy because they do not really respect free mind and will. They only respect the mind and will that is submitted to their legalism. A mind and will submitted to this is not free. A mind and will that was influenced into this type of system was subtly coerced into this type of system through religious works and religious legalism that promised them something in return for their slavery to it. Of course, it is never said out loud and on purpose like this or any reasonable person would run the other direction away from such a system.    
 
Does this all sound extreme to you? Look into the system under your research and see if such legalistic attitudes, beliefs and practices are not found in it and then decide your answer. You can expect all kinds of flowerily spiritualized justifications that are rationalized through the traditions, teachings and history of the system. They sound so good and so right.  This does not make those things good or right and it certainly does not make them Biblical. It just proves how long this legalistic mind-set has been in place and the depth of systemic sickness found in the system.  It proves the depth that shame controls the system because legalism is about doing things right so you will not be perceived as defective or flawed. Usually when you confront this in a legalistic system you are told in so many words that you really are ignorant or misunderstanding of the real intent of these beliefs, teaching, attitudes and practices. You are in so many words told that you don’t really understand their beautiful and wonderful history or great significance these things hold to the system. That is irrationality trying to explain itself as being rational when this happens.
 
This can be a truly incredible phenomenon  to observe especially if it is all explained away or rationalized in religiously mystical or experiential terms that are somehow meant to tell you that you simply do not understand them or their attitudes, practices, teachings and beliefs like they do. Like even that makes what the reality of what is happening OK or something to that effect. It’s all about if you don’t think, feel, talk or look at it like they do then your concerns are invalid (It is about their rules). It’s about how a system can indoctrinate someone into believing anything can be mystically or experientially justified as being good, right and true. So, being rational in your thinking does not count here because you are not seeing it mystically or experientially like they do. This is mystical or experiential self righteousness. (It can also be a form of neo-Gnosticism) This means that all that the leaders tell you about their mystical or experiential experiences are true, and they are also right. You are to believe their mystical or religious experiences without question or that is a sign of disobedience and unbelief in them as Gods will in your life. That is mystical and experiential legalism. Therefore, being rational about such things means your really cannot understand what is really going on. After all, you are looking at it rationally and not mystically or experientially. Buy into that and you have bought into one more reason why the system has become systemically sick.
 
This is not about the difference in rational western Christianity or experiential eastern Christianity, or one being superior to the other or more valid than the other. It is about how anything can be used to justify and rationalize spiritual abuse of power that shames people through legalism. Spiritual abuse that shames people through legalism can be found in both eastern and western Christianity. No system is immune and there are objective criteria that can be used to identify legalism, self righteousness, spiritual abuse and shame in a system. Therefore, this is an objective context is really about what can objectively be classified as legalism, self righteousness, spiritual abuse and shame in a system. They are all tied together in such systems.
 
Of course, using such criteria sounds so very rational and so it may be rendered invalid by some who hold a more experiential perspective. Unfortunately, it is not rendered invalid by those who have “experienced” legalism, self righteousness, shame and spiritual abuse. To them it is experiential of what a warped concept of Christianity does to people through shaming spiritual abuse, legalism and self righteousness. Such experiential Christianity does not lead people into true worship and relationship to God. (This not saying that experiential Christianity cannot do that) It leads them into shame. The experience of being shamed and spiritually abused measured against rational criteria that identify shame and spiritual abuse are a tool that helps people come to terms with the reality of shaming and spiritually abusive treatment, attitudes and practices from hierarchs and a system. (That would include being shamed and/or spiritually abused by legalism or self-righteousness) Such criteria are necessary to expose such treatment, attitudes and practices and come out of denial of them. Those criteria are necessary to confront the diabolical nature of shame and spiritual abuse and how they both wreak havoc on individuals and families. Yet, the Bible also exposes spiritual abuse and goes to great lengths of decribe it as seen in how Jesus confronted it with the Pharisees. So, there really is more than just rational criteria to explain it and understand its diobolical evil.  
 
To deny the reality of shaming and spiritually abusive systems and hierarchs that use legalism and self-righteousness to shame and abuse people is to not live in the reality of the real world. To deny the validity of criteria that actually identifies such treatment, attitudes and practices is shaming and spiritually abusive to those who have been made victims of spiritual abuse and shame because that denies the legitimacy of people being shamed and spiritually abused. Living in that kind of denial is tantamount to living a wholly other emotional and spiritual reality that is void of the emotional and spiritual capacity to admit wrong and repent. Living in a wholly other reality is one reason why hierarchs and their most ardent followers who shame and spiritually abuse others in these types of systems are not held accountable and responsible for their treatment, attitudes and practices towards others. They escape such accountability and any consequences because to be held accountable might threaten their positions, control, power, prestige, titles, legacies and image. These things act like the bricks in a wall that shield the hierarchy from accountability and consequences. The cement that holds these bricks in the wall in place for the hierarchy is shame and that shame is the basis of their self righteousness, religious works and legalism that is used to bring people under control of both the hierarchy and the system the hierarchy controls from the top down in an authoritarian way that is both legalistic and self righteous. Those things form a wholly other emotional and spiritual reality that in reality is the reality of a bondage that controls the hierarchy who control the system.   
 
The more self righteousness, religious works (performance) and religious legalism control a system the more shaming and spiritually abusive is the system. Legalism tells you not to talk, think, feel and look through rules whereas self-righteousness gives one a sense of being righteously right in ones legalisms whereas religious works earn your value and significance to God and self righteous others who are legalistic. That is the triple bind of bondage that legalism, religious works and self righteousness cause. They are triple binding because legalism, religious works and self righteousness make people closed to seeing themselves as they really are. Therefore, the shame based, top down authoritarian and controlling system is also a closed system. It is closed to seeing itself as it really is.
 
SHAME-BASED SYSTEMS AND IMAGE PROJECTION 
 
Let’s get a little deeper into the issue of shaming systems and their image protection. Many are fooled by the shiny candy coat or glossy veneer that covers the shaming practices and spiritually abusive attitude and treatment of the system. The shinny candy coat or  glossy veneer can range from anything from financial status, nice web sites, what the system glowingly writes about itself, the beauty of its properties, how superior what it believes is, how it elevates itself above all other Christian systems, the size of its membership, how it portrays the eminence of its hierarchy, the expensive residences of the top level hierarchs and even the way the hierarchy dresses (And, soooo much more!). People are impressed by the beautiful shinny candy coat and luscious glossy veneer of the system. Many things on the surface seem so nice, good and right to the follower in this type of system. Appearances are not always what they seem to be and appearances can be deceptive. It is a terrible thing to see when something in Christianity that was meant for the good of mankind end ups looking and acting like this.
 
The hierarchy of the larger system or smaller sub-system are masters at making what is wrong sound so right and make what others say is wrong about them sound so wrong for doing so. This when combined with the shinny candy coat and glossy veneer make for very effective religious propaganda machine.  Yet, their attitudes and practices always catch up with them in some way and then the truth of them is vividly exposed leaving their clever arguments and eloquent “religious speak” twisting in the wind of their lies and deceptions of their propaganda machine. In the end, they hang themselves with the very rope they made and provide to themselves.
 
Jesus spoke of this and warned of this in the most confrontational fashion.  He saw right through this, but unfortunately many in this type of system cannot recognize or admit this of them selves as it would mean that they would have to come to terms with who they really are and what they have really come to be over time and in the most subtle of ways:
 
Matthew 23:27-28
 
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisee’s, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness”
 
These are very tough words, but they are words of truth that are spoken to us so that we may understand what happens to systems and people when they become something other than what they were intended to be.  Once the thin, but hard veneer is scraped away the truth is revealed as to what is really going on. Many well intentioned and sincere people are easily fooled by the veneer and have a difficult time coming into understanding as to what is really going on beneath its shiny surface of the candy coat. The veneer seems true and right to them because in their experience or in their minds it cannot be anything but righteous. It cannot be what others have realized before them and what it really is, a deception of what really is going on below the surface of the sytem. These people have the hardest time excepting the reality of what is really going on when the thin veneer is stripped away and the candy coat is washed off the spiritual corruption and exploitation is exposed. Many of them begin to defend the indefensible when this happens to their system idol and/or when an idolatry of hierarchal personalities is exposed for what it is and/or who it is. This is a difficult and painful thing to watch when this happens as it reveals the power and depth of deception among other wise usually good Christian people who were simply in many cases unknowingly deceived and unduly influenced by whitewashed tombs.
 
The shiny candy coat or glossy veneer of the system is itself shame driven so that the surface of the system can cover its shame and keep up appearances of it being the one true, right or correct system before God. If it looks all shinny and glossy on the surface then it follows what is going on below the surface of things must also be shinny and glossy.  It must be perfect like God is perfect or portray itself as such so it can maintain its prestige to its followers (This is usually implied, but it can also be directly stated).  The egos and prestige of the hierarchs follows right behind this as this is their base of power and control.  Again, in such systems image is everything so that the shame in the system can be protected against anything that might cause one to think otherwise about the system. After all, the system has indoctrinated all of its followers to believe that it is the one true, right and correct system and that image must be protected no matter who is hurt in that process of self protection of the system and the image of the hierarchy. Fear controls all image protection mechanisms or methodologies of the system. Fear of what might be exposed and fear of what might happen to you if you expose its dysfunction. This fear both intimidates and controls nearly everyone in the system to one degree or another or in one fashion or another.  Fear, then, and not freedom in Christ controls the system and hierarchs.
 
Love casts out fear because such love loves God first as it understands, appreciates and does it best to reflect back the love it has received from God. That is freedom in Christ that gives us the freedom to love as Christ did.  By loving God first fear of the truth has no foothold over someone who lives and practices his or her Christian life like this. That kind of love counteracts fear which in turn is countering acting to shame which is the basis of such fear. Shame creates the fear of being shown for whom or what one really is. Such fear has a preoccupied self consciousness about its image. Love for God means love for Gods truth and therefore such love operates in truth. That love does not fear because it operates in truth about itself.  Systems trapped in fear of what they really are about are very dysfunctional when it comes to applying and practicing love. Love is not their motivation. Fear based in shame is their motivation. This is not to say that people in such a system are totally  incapable of love. It is saying that when the system spiritually abuses and shames people it is not showing love and is incapable of healing the wounds of those it has wounded with love. It would rather self protect itself though image protection that is based in self centeredness around its image. So, its ability to love is renedered dysfunctional. Legalism, religious works and self righteousness are the undermining factors in a shame-based system trapped in self centered self protection.  
 
They also have a very difficult time practicing truth. When you practice TRUTH you do not FEAR truth. Jesus came full of GRACE and TRUTH. If a system has a problem with practicing truth it for sure has a serious problem practicing grace. It cannot give grace because it is preoccupied with it self centered self protection of its image that negates grace and distorts truth. It is focused on its legalism, religious works and self righteousness. What you need and do not have, but need to have cannot be given to you especially if it threatens the image of the system or its hierarchs. Again, such fear has its basis in shame which always wants to hide, protect itself, cover-up or keep secrets. Whenever you see a system hiding, protecting its self, covering up or keeping secrets you can be sure that it is shame based and not based in Gods love, truth or grace. That is the big secret such systems really want to protect when you bring it down to its basis or origin of being as system.  In effect, when a system is systemically controlled by shame its presuppositions are not based in truth, love and grace (Or, God). It is based in something very diabolical and not at all Christian.  Its presupposition is shame. Satan loves this as it was the same trap he played Adam and Eve into. The hierarchs might disagree with this or say it is not true, but the truth is if you look at what actually goes on and why it goes on the evidence proves them wrong. In other words…
 
Watch their legs, hands, and hips and not their lips”
 
At the same time what procedes from their lips is so very revealing as to what is really going on below the surface of the system.
 
SHAME BASED SYSTEMS AND SALVATION
 
Many of the followers in shame based systems see themselves as dirty sinners and lowly worms instead of forgiven sons and daughters of the King of Kings.  They only feel a depreciating sense of unworthy shame and guilt and not their value to God through grace in humility to God. The sincere humility of such people to follow God is perverted and undermined by bringing it under submission to unhealthy guilt and shame that the system is trapped in. They get ripped off and do not experience real grace. Their system teaches and indoctrinates them into forming an unbiblical shame based mind set that is contrary to their position in Christ and which is not New Testament Biblical context or teaching of who they really are in Christ. They become religious and not spiritual. One cannot be secure in their identity in Christ if one is not secure in their position in Christ. In other words, if you are not secure in your salvation you are not secure in your identity or position in Christ. There is just no way around this fact. Such people live under the shadow of fear and not in the bold and secure knowledge of Gods unconditional love through grace. A person's identity and position in Christ cannot be made secure through religious works, religious performance, religious legalism or self righteousness because they represent mans attempt to make himself worthy of God.
 
People captured in this mind set try to find worth and value outside of God through those religious beliefs and practices that contradict saving grace. All of the while that they do this they are thinking that they are finding worth and value to God. They unknowingly become pawns of a quit ridden and shaming system.  Many are well intentioned in this in that it is their sincerity to understand and follow God that it is taken advantage of so that they can be controlled by those who would use them to serve their own interests or who themselves are in a deceived state of delusion as to who they see themselves as before God.  Such people try in their own power to negate their shame and find worth, value and purpose in their religious doings instead of their spiritual being in Christ. They end up on the treadmill of never-ending works and performance religion that really has nothing to do with grace, truth, mercy and love based Christianity.
 
Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now I am found so that I am now a son or daughter of the most high King. This is not a contradiction in terms. It is an affirmation in terms. Those who do not understand this are kept in bondage to shame and in slavery to their own attempts to be worthy enough for salvation. They really never come into understanding of who they are in Christ as they are insecure in their position in Christ. The Blood of Christ, the Cross, the Resurrection, saving grace through faith and the Armor of God are not enough. They must perform their way into heaven as they live with a conscious or unconscious sense of fear, shame and guilt that they will not be good enough. Fear of God and not love of God is their underlying motivation as the fear of not attaining salvation by their works is unconsciously or consciously on their minds.
 
Some are even told that demons have the power to keep them from going to heaven after they die if their earthly religious works were not enough or not good enough. One must use their earthly religious works to pay off the demons in order to get to heaven. If you come up short you do not pass GO, but go straight to hell (In so many words).  In that they are also told that a special spiritual Christian guru type person (a special type of hierarch) can pray for the person and that his right standing before God will help get the person into heaven as his help gets the person past the demons. So you better be nice instead of naughty and you better be in good standings with the Santa Claus guru or you might not get the conditional free gift of eternal life, which is a contradiction in terms if you understand anything about the unconditional free gift of salvation.
 
When attitudes, teachings, practices and beliefs like this control a system that system comes under dysfunctional authoritarian top down control from people in the hierarchy who are odd at best or are self idolatrous at worst. When works, performance, demons and a guru like hierarch determine your salvation then you are being shamed. You are made to feel like you are flawed of defective as you are before God and that Gods grace does not count for you as you are. God's grace is not enough you must have something else or do something to be worthy of God and His grace. You must attain a higher plain of spiritual righteousness by your works, rituals or performance or not go to heaven as you are. Therefore you must perform, ritualize or work your way to heaven to prove you are not so flawed or defective so that you can enter into heaven. This is how many groups control people through salvation with shame.
 
Extremely dysfunctional religious systems always want you to place your salvation in and through them to one degree or another (John 8:32 -59 deals with this) Some Christian systems do this to the point of thinking that those who are in other Christian belief systems have a questionable salvation at best because they are not really a part of the one best, true and right system that God set up for people to come to salvation through. At the same time they may even claim that they don’t judge others salvation in that because they are the one, true and right system of God which for sure leads people to salvation in and through their system. It would not be good to judge is their rationalization. After all, and in so many words, to judge another’s salvation is a sin. Then, of course, they may even have a controversy in their own system as to how one gets to heaven with people in different parts of the system holding two different views on this with both claiming to be right. Is there something wrong, if not confusing with that picture of the one, true and right system? (Rhetorical)  If it was the one, true and right system you would think it would be consistent and especially consistent with the all important issue of salvation. Can anyone in such a system tell you how to get to heaven or who is right in their interpretation on how to get to heaven? You don’t want to be wrong on this or you might not get into heaven. Can anyone tell if they know that they are going to heaven? You would think that this type of system  would have all of this clearly worked out by now if it has been around for a long time and as it claims to hear God clearer and know God better  than any other Christian system. 
 
Let’s dive a little deeper into the issue of shame being used as a control mechanism though salvation. In shame based systems people are controlled by guilt and fear and not by freedom in Christ or their position in Christ through a personal relationship with Christ. As previously discussed you must use other means to get to heaven like gurus, paying off demons and religious performance and works.  The formula for salvation then becomes: Jesus + enough religious works + paying off demons + the special influence of a special person = salvation. The real formula is: Jesus + God grace + faith in Christ = salvation (lest any man should boast or any systemically sick system should boast!).
 
One is a myth and a lie while the other is reality of biblical truth. One is based in man's shame and shaming of others while the other is based in God's grace. Anything else sets people up for spiritual abuse because it depreciates a person’s worth and relationship to God and what Christ did for us all at the Cross and the Resurrection. It’s just that simple because God does not make salvation complex. Man makes it complex so it can be used to coerce and unduly influence people to bring them under another’s control or under the control a dysfunctional hierarchal system. Man in his self-centeredness tries to add heavy burdens and graft things in that are of his conception and not of God. Such people make salvation a burden instead of allowing it to be the freedom that it is. The mediator between God and man is not another man who thinks he has special favor with God and mystical guru like powers or Gnostic like beliefs that assist you getting into heaven. That is idolatry based in a deception.
 
Nor is the mediator between God and man a religious system with a top down authoritarian hierarchy that is self centered and self protective of its power, position, titles, control, legacy and image. The only mediator between God and man is Jesus Christ. This all may seem very simplistic in a formulaic sense to those who deem themselves religiously sophisticated and spiritually correct by doctrine, tradition and history, but God is very simple when it comes to salvation. Heresy always tries to make more complicated what God makes very simple. This is because heresy is usually about control and manipulation and “Freedom in Christ” is about what those terms mean: freedom from control and manipulation.
 
Myths and lies put people into bondage and slavery to works and guru like leaders whereas the truth gives you freedom in Christ through grace. Religious works always lead to performance-based Christianity which in turn leads to legalism, which in turn leads to self-righteousness, which in turn leads to dysfunctional authoritarian top down hierarchal control, which in turn leads to protecting the prestige of image and which in turn leads to people being spiritually abused. All are the systemic sicknesses that permeate shame and performance based religion, pseudo Christian groups, neo-Gnostic Christian groups, cultic-like forms of Christianity or highly dysfunctional Christian churches and/or groups. These forms of spiritually abusive and shaming groups represent the antithesis of true freedom in Christ that brings healing, encouragement and hope to the wounded and broken.
 
Jesus and the Apostles were in a constant battle against anything in Christianity that could corrupt Christianity to a particular person’ or religious systems’ selfish, deceived and/or delusional ends. In their day it was the Pharisees and the Judaizers just to name a few. Later came such things as Gnosticism, and on and on it still goes to this day. Dysfunctional and shaming hierarchies like sheep go astray and they lead people into their way which is not the way of God who is free of such shaming practices. Many of those who fight legitimate heresies in the system are them selves seen as heretics for doing so – and so it goes with those who like anti-bodies fight the systemic  disease of heresy in a Christian system.
 
SHAME BASED SUB-SYSTEMS  
 
In many larger all encompassing systems there can be smaller exclusive systems within the same larger system that are seen as the ultimate in spirituality to be a part of, attained too or greatly admired. In comparison to the population of the larger system this smaller exclusive sub-system is made up of only a selective few. (A monastic system can be a sub-system to a larger church system) People are directed to hold these exclusive aspects of their larger system as Gods most special and spiritually enlightened aspect of the larger system to be listened too and influenced by. They are considered the pinnacle of what the greater system is about. They in fact can be the most shaming, spiritually abusive, legalistic, works based and controlling aspects of the larger dysfunctional system and whose attitudes and practices are dominated by self righteousness. In other words, they are not controlled by grace, mercy or truth as God would have it. Shame replaces those things with self righteous self protection of the systems image as they set themselves up as the most spiritually correct aspect of the greater system. In other words, they are used to help maintain the image of the larger system or they see themselves as the elite in the system. Of course, they are always portrayed as the most humble and sacrificing  in the system until you really find out what is going on below the surface of the sub-system.
 
This smaller sub-system can become ingrown, enmeshed and so exclusive that it begins to see itself as spiritually superior to all others aspects of the larger system. This can lead those who lead the sub-system into delusional ideas about their spiritual power or place before God.  The sub-system slowly but surely becomes ever more arrogant and self centered to the point that thought reform and ideological totalism holds all of its various attitudes and practices in bondage (Or, from the beginning it is set up like this). It sees itself as the only really true and right aspect of the larger system and begins to ignore the authority of the larger system. It can even begin to give out heretical teachings and counsel on everything from marriage and sex, a woman wearing make up, what she is to do in regards to her religious practices on her monthly cycle, salvation and masturbation, how long before one can once again take communion because of their sin, etc. The list of spiritual abuses of power can get long and ever more perverted if not immediately dealt with. In other words, if this is practiced during confession in a system that holds that as a scared part of its belief system then confession is being used to unduly influence, subtly coerce, manipulate and control people’s minds, wills and emotions, as well as their spiritual life. Yet, free mind and will are many times championed in such systems. Is this just us or is there something wrong with this type of systems understanding of free mind and will? (Rhetorical)  
 
As already stated, since the exclusive smaller system (sub-system) can many times be considered the core spiritual center that in many ways keeps the larger system spiritually alive it can become spiritually proud of itself and about its role in an arrogantly prideful fashion. The danger here is when this happens it is what in part help keeps the larger system in bondage to shame, legalism, works, control and self protection. The result of this is that the only real thing that the entire system grows in is self righteousness, legalism, control, works and PRIDE.  This is because people in the larger system who follow and admire the teachings, attitudes and practices of those in the exclusive smaller sub-system pickup or mimic those things. They believe them and then put what they believe into practice. They systemic spread this throughout the entirety of the larger system. The danger here is that heresy can become the norm before the issue of heresy is dealt with. It can systemically spread that quickly.  
 
At this core center of the sub-system is the absolute requirement that one is to follow and obey without question. People are made to be pawns when this happens. To maintain them as pawns the unspoken rules of don’t think, feel, talk and look are reinforced to the point that spiritual abuse of those in the core center is the NORM, and the spiritually abusive attitudes, treatment and practices are actually considered great sacrifice and selflessness unto God by those who become obedient to such things. Anyone who dares to speak the truth about this is seen as disrespecting, having an authority problem, persecuting of the leaders, or attacking of what is held scared by those in the system; or, they are told that they do not understand the traditions and history of such a great call to obedience.
 
SHAME BASED FUNDAMENTALISTS
 
In extreme cases the smaller exclusively sub-system is run by hard core “fundamentalists”. We are not talking about balanced Christians who understand, experience and practice Christian grace, truth and love in a humble and authentic way, and who may be conservative in their approach to the fundamentals of their faith. Instead, we are talking about Christians who are trapped in shame based bondage and are extreme in their beliefs and practices. They distort the fundamentals of their faith to their deceptive and deluded ends and even to the point of adding legalisms to Christianity that are not at all about what true Christianity is about. They turn what was possibly at it origin meant to bring one into worship and relationship to God into legalism. These types of fundamentalists have the hardest time admitting or seeing their shame as much of their time is spent defending their beliefs from a position of rigid legalism that is always right. They are indoctrinated by the leaders to vehemently defend the leaders and the system who in reality they uphold as idols. But, they would tell you that they simply hold them in high esteem and respect. Then you read what their guru like leader(s) teach, write and practice and the whole ridiculous house of cards implodes in on such nonsense. 
 
These types of people with great self righteousness believe what they believe because they believe the self righteous teaching of like minded others who share in their same attitude and treatment of others. In many cases they feed off of each others self righteousness and legalism in an enmeshed fashion to the point that if you dare challenge them or in their minds in some way disrespect their leader(s),  beliefs or practices you just as well be swimming in a river full of rabid and starved piranhas because your going to be eaten alive for daring to do such a thing. They thump you over the head with all that is spiritually correct about them, their legalistic beliefs and their system (They shame you with it). You can even be considered a heretic if you do not see or practice spirituality like they do. That is, if you want to call what they practice spirituality. They many times carry what seems to be an impressive knowledge of their faith until you get below the surface of how it all has been distorted to bring them under the influence of control milieu.
 
When a larger all encompassing system or a smaller sub-system is controlled or otherwise influenced by such people it can cause that system to become legalistically rigid, enmeshed, closed and top down authoritarian in the most dysfunctional fashions. The shame that drives their rigidly enmeshed, legalistic, top down authoritarian and closed system filters everything thing through the grid of their always right beliefs, practices, teachings and loyalty to their religiously superior leader(s), etc. In effect, they are modern day Pharisee like people in the extreme.
 
To be enmeshed means that they are closely tied together around their rules, legalistic beliefs, works based rituals and anything else that makes them spiritually dysfunctional in an unbalanced way. Their mind-set is closed in these regards as it is controlled by these things in both an unhealthy emotional and spiritual fashion. They are meshed together and find it easy to violate, cross or tear down boundaries to each other, as they violate and/or cross the boundaries of others who share a different mind-set and balanced concept of spiritual health, emotional connectedness, values, ethics and/or morality.
 
Such fundamentalist’s shame people through their rigidity and legalisms that cause them to treat others like they are not equal to them because they do not have the super spiritual inside track on what is spiritually right and correct. They talk down to you in a shaming condescending way that sends you the message that you are flawed or defective because you have not aspired to their level; and, because you are not part of their elite group you can never have an insight or understanding into the higher things of God like they do. If this is not openly stated at the very least it is implied through their attitude.  When ever you run across an ultra fundamentalist you are dealing with a legalistic and self righteous individual who has never dealt with or faced the shaming practices of their system that have  bent their mind, will and emotions in such a way as to cause them to act so holier or better than thou. They use legalism and self righteousness to mask their shame behind a veil of performance based religion. Many times had such a person been involved with an emotionally or spiritually healthy system this would have never happened to them. They become victims to their system of shame. Shaming people into self righteousness and legalism is the culprit here.  In the end their arrogance and self righteousness betray their thinly disguised masquerade of always being right.
 
Naïve and impressionable young adults who are sincerely searching for God and who are idealistic in that search are the most susceptible to this subtle form of undue influence and coercion. At a vulnerable point in their lives they are sucked in by the promises of guru like men who promise them enlightenment, meaning and purpose. Instead they are turned into slaves and pawns. They can be turned into something they were never meant to be. That is the power of deception at work when this happens. It is the subtle power of spiritual abuse and the ungodly power of shame at work. Have you ever met such a fundamentalist who turns such young impressionable adults into slaves and pawns? They have the same attributes and characteristics of the Pharisee’s if this helps you in identifying them.  Look into the Biblical past to recognize the reality of who these like types of people are in the religious present.
 
THE SHAME BASED SYSTEM AND SUB-SYSTEM AS ANTI-FAMILY AND ANTI- FREE WILL  
 
People involved in a shaming and spiritually abusive sub-system can become intolerant of others and sometimes become anti-their-family-roots and anti-their-family-values because such contact with their family or belief in family is seen as not being set apart from the world and for God. They can even go as far as to set themselves up in elite communities of self righteousness disowning any allegiance to the family that might keep them from becoming closer to God. They now have a new family and a new parent, the guru like hierarch of all spiritual knowledge and enlightenment. A lot of scripture twisting around family and commitment to God and other forms of coercion go on to make this seem valid to them.  People under the influence of such radical and twisted fundamentalism loose perspective of the real world as they loose conscious contact with reality as they focus on what they dysfunctionally believe makes them holy and righteous before God. Those who follow them enable them in their practices and attitudes are many times themselves impervious to realizing what they are enabling and how it harms others.
 
When hierarchs of the larger system or sub-system are confronted with the unethical or immoral involvement of a family member in such a system they always fall back on the person having made a free decision of their mind and will to join the system. When in fact coercion, charismatic influences and control milieu (etc.) were usually what caused an impressionable and naively susceptible person to become involved with such a system that takes advantage of a persons mind and will by manipulating it at a point of vulnerability. The free will and mind excuse is merely a way for the hierarchy of the smaller sub-system or larger system to rationalize and justify its practices so it can escape accountability and responsibility for its UNCHRISTIAN attitudes and treatment of others.
 
The larger system and/or its hierarchs would rather see individuals and families hurt by its attitudes and practices than with humility, brokenness over its sin and repentance make right it wrongs and become healthy and functional. This is especially true of the hierarchy that does not want to have its image tarnished in anyway so it makes you or the involved family member supposed free mind and will the issue for you saying the system has a problem. That is a classic shaming tactic used by such systems. It is shaming because it sends the message that you do not know as well as they do what is really going on and that really someone else is responsible for their sin that they committed against another by allowing and supporting their mind and will to be twisted to conform to another’s will . In other words, you are a flawed and defective person if you really believe they had anything to do with your family member (or, you yourself) becoming involved with what it is that they set up as a system.
 
The hypocrisy is further seen in this in that they also take no responsibility for allowing the system that warped a persons mind and will to be set up to begin with and when all of the evidence of what it really was about was staring them in the face from the beginning. Some hierarchs who practice this reasoning can have a seared conscience and no concept of what biblical truth is really about.  They only have a conscience about their self conscious image protection. They don’t “GET IT” about how ethics and values are to guide their concept of free mind and will, because they have lost all sense of those ethics and  values. When a system distorts its values and ethics around free will it is an easy slippery slope into distorting ethics and values around family. Especially the ethics and values you hold about a family member becoming involved with something that bends that persons’ free mind and will to the mind-set and will of a systemically sick system or hierarch.  All such ethics and values are rendered relative to hierarchy’s image protection of their systemically sick system and/or sub-system. Such things render the hierarchy or system anti-family under the shinny candy coat and glossy veneer of the system.  
 
What is actually going on here is something called situational ethics or relativism. Ethics float to the means and ends of the person or party who changes them to fit what they want to justify or rationalize at different times. Anything can and will be rationalized or justified by a hierarchy controlled by this. Such ethics are relativistic in that they are relative to truth or what are considered Gods truths. When relativism is applied to truth it comes under the influence of a free floating or changing idea of truth that is interpreted and then applied to the situation without any moral conscience of Gods truth. In fact, God is left out of the picture as He is not recognized as the ultimate authority of what is to be the truth in ethics. This results with game playing with peoples lives and leads to religious authority thinking it is above accountability for its actions, attitudes and behaviors as it tries to free float its way through what is obviously a hypocrisy of what it claims to represent, the truth.  Values are distorted as this free floating ethic undermines two of our greatest values: free mind and will and family values. They become relative to the ethics used to rationalize or justify ones attitudes, actions and behaviors. A persons free mind and will and the true notion of family values are subjugated to a religious authority’s self protection and self centeredness around the protection of its image, prestige, control and/or power. That is the real reason why such situational ethics and relativism are found in these types of hierarchies.  
 
In other words, a hypocritical double standard is applied that free floats its ethics in an ocean of relativism and whose only purpose in creating the double standard is self protection and self centeredness. Values become relative as a result and are only considered important to the shifting self protective and self centered needs of the authority structure found in the religious system. You always end up being second to their needs or totally expendable to them. This is the type of ethics and values a religious system of top down authoritarian control uses to maintain control. Such systems and/or its hierarchs are capable of justifying and rationalizing any attitude, behavior or action because they are self righteous in this. They therefore are emotionally and spiritually dangerous to anyone who believes in them as they can turn on anyone in an instant causing them spiritual and emotional harm and without conscience.
 
( For a greater understanding of Relativism see the following link: The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry )
 
People become objects to be used to the hierarchy’s self protective and self centered manipulative ends and are no longer as seen as who they are in Christ. They wound their wounded in the process of this by using their situational ethics based in relativism to place the blame on the person’s free mind and will when in fact that is not the case. Once a person has been deeply shamed and/or spiritually abused by such a relativistic system that person looses all respect for the leadership and looses any notion of it operating with integrity or with trustworthiness. The ideals that these types of systems hold up about themselves as holy and righteous before God are merely shams of what may have at one time been true of them and are now long past gone. The longer such a system operates like this the deeper the ingraining of these problems and the deeper the unrealized issues of their shaming spiritual abuse go unnoticed by them. They become what they are doing to others. They become a shame based system and are the last ones to recognize this about themselves. Their self protection and self centeredness will not allow them to see themselves for who they really are or have become as hierarchal leaders or as a system.   
 
The message even gets more shaming when they imply or tell you that the person should have known better become a part of something that bends the mind, will and emotions to begin with. In their relativism they shift the blame. This implies that the individual was emotionally and spiritually mature enough to know better because a person has a free mind and will.  The message is that you made a choice of your free mind and will although we took advantage of it and  bent it so that you would join the group. (Is that crazy making or what!?!) Their situational ethics based in relativism sends the person the message that he or she are flawed and defective for not knowing any better when someone took advantage of their sincere intentions during an impressionable and vulnerable period of their life (Especially if that person was a teenager or in their 20’s). They try to escape accountability for their treatment and attitude toward another when they pull this on the unsuspecting or uninformed hearer of this dung. In effect, the coercion of a person’s free mind and will is used to get the person into the system in an unethical fashion and the justification of that practice is used to blame the person for joining in the first place. You are sent the message that it was your free mind and will that caused you to join up with their unethical mind and will bending sub-system.  The person is shamed either way because the system is corrupt in its ethics as situational ethics are applied. The fact of the matter is that the system is doing this to self protect itself so it will not have to face what it is and has really become.
 
This is proven in the fact that the larger system not only allowed a shaming sub-system to come into existence they also used shame to self protect themselves from accountability for what it did to a persons spiritual and emotional well being.  Again, you become expendable to them when this happens because they are not about to be held accountable. That is the epitome of shaming hypocrisy when this happens because it is the hierarchs responsibility to know better because they have set themselves up and portrayed themselves as the all wise and knowing spiritually mature ones who can be trusted. This is especially true of the hierarchs who control the larger system. After all, they are the trusted shepherds of the flock, aren’t they? Wouldn’t it be expected that they above all others in their Godly humility would be the first to take responsibility for anything that they or their system had a part in that hurt someone? Does in not also follow that they would then be prepared to do anything to retroactively make right a wrong committed in the past without transferring blame to someone who now needs their help to find the real way, truth and the life in Christ? This can never happen in a system that has become situational in its ethics and relativistic.
 
The truth is that they do not want to take anyone out of such a shaming and spiritually abusive sub-system if it threatens their image by doing so. Not providing exit counseling through the use of qualified professionals in this area is also shaming to those who need to come out of the sub-system (Everyone needs to come out of such a sub-system). To provide that form of help would be an admittance of their wrong. So, if a person comes out without proper counseling that would free their mind and will and bring it back to a place of rational health they do not provide it. They would rather a person still be under the mind and will bending influences of the emotionally and spiritually damaging sub-system than to be made emotionally and spiritually healthy when they leave.
 
That is a position of anti-free will, and it is hyprocrisy. It is anti-free will because the hierarchs know what will and mind bending coercion and undue influences were used to bring the person into the sub-system to begin with. The hierarchs also know what is being used to keep minds and will of the followers in the sub-system. They then use the excuse that it would violate a persons free mind and will to then take them out to the sub-system against their free mind and will. The fact, of the matter the person involved in such a mind and will distorting sub-system no longer has a free mind and will, and the hyprocritical hierarhs know this. In other words, the hierarchs do not want to take responsibility or be held accountable for what they allowed to happen to the minds and wills of those in the sub-system. They know it was not a decision of free mind and will. It was a decision based in a deception, a lie.
 
Thus, once again the shaming treatment continues as people damaged by the system are not treated for what damage the system did to them. If any system is unwilling to deal with the damage it has done to a persons’ free mind and will through coercion and undue influence then that is a really sick system that does not “get it” about itself. It is a system not only based in shame it is a system based in free floating and relativistic situational ethics. It is a cold hearted system whose mind set is grounded in self centeredness and self protection of its image and wants to escape accountability for its attitudes and behavior at the expense of families and individuals.  
 
SHAME BASED SUB-SYSTEMS AND DECEPTION      
 
It is not uncommon for the leadership in a smaller sub-system to be deceived by their power, influence and control over others all in the name of God and to the glory of God. The core leaders of the exclusive sub-system can potentially be the worst abusers in the entirety of the system. In a healthy system that could be honest about what is going on inside of the smaller exclusive system the worst of these types of abusers would be not be in any position of authority.  Some of these people can be delusional and some can even have serious psychological problems. (This is not meant to be labeling or diagnosing of anyone. It is meant to discribe how serious such an issue can potentially become). In a functional system they would not be tolerated or allowed to prosper. But, many times their charismatic influence over their followers and the money people who support them keep them in place as these things intimidate those in the larger system hierarchy who are in effect made powerless by their fear of them in the dealing with of them. Once you allow them in and they gain a large following and big time financial support they are hard to get rid of or change.
 
Instead of being dealt with in the proper fashion by the larger system they are allowed to exist as their practices of deception, coercion and undue influence through self righteousness are encouraged and esteemed so that the entire system can keep the status quo of its image. Few, if any, of the top leaders in the larger system will stand up and rock the boat because that would not be in keeping with the image of the system.  Some lick their finger and hold it in the wind to see which way the wind of opinion is blowing among other like minded hierarchs before they will actually stand up to what is wrong and even then they can be secretive or political about it so the image and prestige of the system is still protected. They are double minded when they do that because they are playing games with the things of God that they have been entrusted with by God. Do the hierarchs in the larger system not act because they themselves are deceived in some fashion? They are deceived by what gives them power, prestige, control, position, title, legacy and image. They only act in ways that protect those things and really for few, if any, other reasons.
 
In a  highly influential and exclusive smaller sub-system experiential Christianity can take on a mystical, Gnostic or even an occult like quality with outrageous claims made by many of the leaders that are used to enamor the followers and prove their spirituality or special place with God to them. Things can get out of control. Scripture is twisted to distort doctrines and context to justify almost any type of attitude, belief, teaching or practice. By any normal standard of Christian reality things can get pretty bizarre and weird in such a sub-system (exclusive smaller system) and to the point that the more bizarre or weird the better to influence and keep control of the followers at the core center of the sub-system.  In such sub- systems Christianity is perverted to the self serving ends of the leaders who for the most part are deceived and deluded themselves and who themselves were bought into spiritual abuse as the norm by which they also came up under. In many cases they really do not understand what it is they believe and are practicing as they have been thoroughly indoctrinated into thinking that this is acceptable behavior and treatment. There is little or no accountability of such practices in such smaller exclusive systems because that would mean that the larger system would have to look deeply into itself and see itself as it really is and why it allows these practices to be encouraged.
 
As long as Christian men who are called by God to grace and truth fail to stand up to this type of leader or system such systems and leaders will continue to be established and prosper. Usually because of the way hierarchs come up through the shame based system and how it indoctrinates people, few, if any, real Christian men will do anything to stop this type of emotional and spiritual exploitation. This is especially true of those in the hierarchy of the larger system who many times operate like stodgy bureaucrats protecting the status quo instead of being men called by God to stand for truth and freedom in Christ no matter what it costs them or who in the status quo it offends or upsets.  Godly men do not fear the truth they embrace it no matter what it costs them in image. The image of Gods truth takes precedence over all other images.
 
SHAME BASED SYSTEMS AND REFORM  
 
Let’s come back again to why the larger system does not properly help people get out of the smaller sub-system and it explore it more deeply. (Again, a monastery can be considered a sub- system to a larger system)
 
Even in the rare event that the larger system hierarchs wake up to its unethical and/or immoral wrongs and decides to make reforms to the smaller sub-system or the larger system it usually does not go far enough in those reforms. This is especially true when dealing with the smaller sub-system. That is, the larger overseeing system does not retroactively apply those reforms to those already in the smaller sub-system so that they can be returned to their families, a real life in the reality of the real world and healthy Christianity. Even in the event of the smaller sub-system having turned the followers in the sub-system against their families and family values. The reforms really only apply to new converts or new members of the sub-system system.  The system leaders use the excuse that those who were priory deceived into the smaller sub-system and then deluded into staying through months or years of coercion and indoctrination can them selves make a free choice to their minds and wills to stay as they are in the system or leave.
 
This can be termed as delusion creep for those in the smaller sub-system. It slowly but surely creeps into every facet of a persons mind, will and emotional life until they are no longer themselves and will tell anyone that they are really happy where they are, with what they are believing and with whom they are practicing their delusion. Are the hierarchs in the larger system also not deluded by allowing this mind-set to go on? Yes, they are deluded by their power, position, control, titles, legacy and image. Those things must be protected at any expense. So, making publicly right what is obviously wrong by revealing what has really been going on is not in the best interest of those things. Their delusion is realized in their thinking those things are more important than openly making amends and repenting for past wrongs. That is not Christianity. That is self centered and self protective delusional thinking.   
 
Some of the people found in the exclusive sub-system have severely fractured inner core self’s and when you look into their eyes you get this distant glossy dissociated glaze when they speak and look at you. It is like they are under or have been under a trance like mind controlling state. They may even show you two different personalities. One personality can be the persons normal self and one that is the sub-system self.  If the hierarchy were ever to find the spiritual humility and courage to change the sub-system they usually do too little to late. If the hierarchy conducts its interviews of such people they might tell you that certain ones are too far gone to even want to come out because they have been in too long. They might tell you such people are happy there and convinced that they need to stay so the system figures why work with them and get them out? (Total, DUH!) The only solution to really remedy the problem of delusion creep is to dismantle the sub-system and put people into counseling with experts who know how to deal with what really has happened to them; but, that might be messy and expensive so why bother. It might make the system look bad for what it has encouraged and allowed to go on. It might cause a division among those who support the sub-system and the larger system thus causing the hierarchy to look incompetent in its ability to keep the system together. It might cause financial support to somehow be affected by the expose’. Next to image, money is everything in such systems. A whole section could easily be provided to explain why money plays such an important role. We will save that for another day and as this website develops further.   
 
Instead of taking those people out of the system through exit counseling and making apologies, restitution and amends to them they instead do not deal with core root causes that caused their impressionable free minds and wills to be influenced into the sub-system to begin with so that they can now make an informed decision based upon all of the facts of why and how they became involved in the first place. The  hierarchs of the larger systems’ real fear is if they take them all out that the entire smaller sub-system which they have upheld, enabled and supported for years will collapse in the midst of a highly public scandal or some other form of expose’. It’s just too messy and humbling to tell someone that they screwed up by having allowed and enabled wrong teachings, practices and attitudes that brought them into the smaller sub-system. It is just too humbling to tell them had they from the beginning been operating ethically and morally in the right fashion that a person most likely never would have entered into the smaller sub-system. (This is especially true the younger the person was who entered the smaller sub-system). Their attempts at bringing about reforms betray this fact. In other words their dealing with new comers into the system is not the same as their dealings with those who were originally deceived and/or coerced into the system. The fact that they recognize the problem and make reform for those who now want to enter the sub-system is recognition of the fact that they know others have been emotionally and/or spiritually harmed. It is a classic hypocrisy.  
 
Their reforms may in fact go a long way in preventing this from happening again, but they do nothing to retroactively make right what was obviously done wrong to others in the past.  They cannot bring themselves to tell those who were under the influences of coercion and control milieu that they need a good three to five years of recovery outside in the reality of the real world before ever even once again considering such a life; and then how to discern the functionality and health of what they then next go into. It is also just too expensive and time consuming to make sure that people receive good professional follow up support. In the end, in one way, shape or form they and their families are still expendable to the greater image protection of the larger system and/or its hierarchs.
 
Again, self protection and self centeredness reigns in such larger system and not the best interest of the unduly influenced and unethically coerced, and their families. Basically, the larger system does not really want to go as far as it needs too to get honest and ethical as to what the sub-system really did to these people during impressionable and vulnerable periods of their life. They do not want to deeply recognize what they did to cause their families grief, loss, trouble and suffering. They really do not want to face the right and wrong truth of how a particular member of these families have had their mind and will bent and conformed to another persons mind and will. The hierarchs in the larger system do not want to feel this deeply bad about it or are unable to really feel the level pain that they caused these families. This is telling of how well they really understand their responsibility before God to make right their wrongs in a true sense of Christian repentance where amends are made and people are restored to spiritual health and wholeness by repentant acts of grace and kindness to those who they have wounded and abused.
 
In other words, any person who was harmed by an aspect of the aspect of the system would be taken out of that aspect of the system and placed in recovery and counseling. To do that might cause the hierarchy to violate someone’s free decision of mind and will that has from the beginning have been violated by them and the system either by omission or commission.  Do you notice the hypocrisy in that twisted concept of free mind and will!?!  When this happens those not taken out of the most highly shaming aspect of the system continue to live in shame as the system continues to shame them by not dealing with the shaming attitudes and treatment that those who need recovery experienced while under influences of control milieu (etc.). This is not Christian mercy and grace given to those who need recovery; it is a continuation of shame through indifference to their needs. The truth of how such hierarchy’s and the systems that they control violate and abuse the truth around free mind and will cannot be stressed enough, or repeated enough. It cannot. It cannot. It cannot.
 
Again, taking people out of something that they became trapped in during an impressionable and vulnerable period of their life by putting those people into recovery would not be in accordance to the pretty picture that the hierarchy wants to keep in the minds of their larger body of followers. It is messy and messy does not reflect well on the prestige or image of the larger system hierarchy or the larger system itself. The followers in the larger system might then them selves start asking hard questions of the hierarchy and seeing them in a different light than what they for years have portrayed themselves as.  Instead of bringing in outside specialized professional assistance to help these people in the smaller exclusive sub-system understand exactly why and how they became involved in the first place the larger system tries to deal with it internally. It also tries to put the best possible light on the reform never fully publicly explaining what the smaller exclusive sub-system specifically had become. They are afraid of what the objective professional outside experts might say about them for having allowed this go to be started and who then allowed it to go on for years. It might get out to the larger body of followers in the system. The hierarchy see themselves as the all wise, discerning and experienced ones who know best how to handle the debacle that they created and enabled, and are now trying to conduct serious damage control over. A lot of the damage control is conducted in secret as to protect the prestige of image of the larger system hierarchy.  That is not Christian humility but instead it is a continuation of the height and level of the same pride, arrogance and incompetency that got the larger system into trouble to begin with for allowing the smaller sub-system to get out of control and to come into existence in the fashion that it did.
 
The larger system might go as far as to remove some of the hierarchs in the smaller sub- system with the hope that it cleans the mess up, but other than that few things really change as those in the smaller system either follow those removed to where they next land or they decide to stay and never have their issues for joining in the first place dealt with. Those left in the smaller system still believe what they were indoctrinated into and still practice the same behavior and still carry the same attitudes that they were taught or had modeled into them. They think by removing and then replacing the previous sub-system hierarchs with new ones to their liking that somehow this will solve their problems and fix or heal the minds and wills of those who were spiritually abused under the subsystems previous leadership. It will not work until the larger systems hierarchy deals with their core issues of self protective image control. They, in effect, are only bringing in a different brand of the same thing because they them selves have yet to deal with their issues of systemic shame. The hierarchs bring in those who have the same attitudes and behaviors that they do.  In other words, they are part of the problem that they are trying to solve in the smaller sub-system and they still have not dealt with their problems as a larger system. You cannot solve the problem if you unrepentant about the problem that you caused or created. It just does not work that way. It only leads to a continuation of secrecy, cover-up and self protection. But, that is the way of such a system.
 
BLAME IN THE SHAME BASED SYSTEM  
 
The hierarchy of the larger system will many times blame a dead or other wised removed or retired former hierarchs for causing the problem in the first place. They do this to shield themselves from any responsibility or accountability. Yet, their continuation of the same image control mechanisms and methodologies to self protect their image betrays this blame of others for causing the problem. They just cannot openly bring themselves to that level of humility needed to comprehensively make right their wrongs for fear of how it will make them look on a competency level and ethical and moral level to their larger base of followers. After all, they always portray themselves as something other than incompetent to them. They portray themselves as always having most everything under control both ethically and morally. When this happens you can see the degree and level of true systemic sickness that permeates the hierarchy of the system. It is ingrained in them, and no blame of others can hide what it is that they are still practicing behaviorally or attitudinally. In the end, the cycle of spiritual abuse of power still continues, but, just maybe in a different or more subtle fashion.  They think by their attempts at fixing the gross abuses of a person or sub-system that it proves that they themselves are not part of the problem; when in fact they and their larger system are part of the problem, but in the best case maybe only by a fractionally less degree. (A very small fraction less by degree)
 
Many times any thought of reform does not fly well with some in the hierarchy. This is an interesting thing to observe considering how they allowed thought reform to be used by some in their system to coerce and influence others through coercion and control milieu (etc.). Are they also under a similar type of thought reform by not wanting to thoroughly reform what is obviously in need of reform? The concept of right and wrong has a different meaning to them because most things are done through an ingrained system of religious politics that has lost all notion of truth that does not compromise truth. Politics around protection of the prestige of image takes precedence over Gods truth that gives just about everyone else but them a true sense of right and wrong. It undermines their ability to thoroughly do the right thing. The thought reforming power of the protection of the prestige of their image is what really is in control of such systems. This keeps them from thoroughly “GETTING IT” about the degree of reform that actually needs to take place as they are acting double minded with their concerns over the protection of their image and the need to make thorough reform.
 
SHAME BASED SYSTEM ARE NOT REPENTANT OR ACCOUNTABLE
 
When and if the larger system is finally forced to act against someone or a smaller sub-system the larger system will try to portray itself being somewhat feeling bad or sad at having to have done so; when in fact it is not fully repentant or thoroughly reforming of itself first and then the smaller more exclusive sub-system second – it is still really covering up and keeping secrets.  The larger system may never portray itself as being repentant for what it allowed to go on with a particular person or in the smaller more exclusive sub-system. It just may put what it is dealing with in the best possible light without ever really being honest as to why or how it is dealing with what ever it is forced too. It goes about its dealing with it in the quietest way possible weighing every political or financial ramification of it to the point that if deemed to damaging politically or financially nothing is really done about it or only to the point that it does not harm itself politically or financially.
 
In any event there are no public apologies to anyone hurt or retroactive making right of wrongs. (We are just scratching the surface of the glossy veneer of what really can possibly go on here in these regards). But, you can sure bet that the next large financial donor to the larger system will be acknowledged at some form of a grand banquet held in some prestigious facility where a lot of self aggrandizing is going on among the elite people in the system that attend the function. The large donor is usually given some form of award or certificate, or other such hypocritical nonsense’s. The event might even be described in glowing terms through one of their publications or on their web site with great photo shots of hierarchs and all who were privileged enough to get their picture taken with them. Yet, those regulars givers (regular Christian folks) who give sacrificially are never honored in such a way. One builds and maintains the image of the system and its hierarchy and the other does not. One feeds the prestige of the hierarchy and the big money people who themselves gain prestige from the system and the other does not.  It all boils down to image protection at the expense of those wounded and broken through spiritual abuse by the system.  
 
In the shame based system it usually all boils down to the avoidance of accountability and responsibility. To openly and publicly admit its wrongs would not be in keeping with its practices of keeping up the image of the system. Yes, things might be admitted, but almost always in the best possible light or with a spin attached to it that really does not explain exactly what is going on or what has gone on so the leadership does not draw to much attention to itself. (This can also be true when exposing financial difficulties or moral problems) A fraction of the truth is not the whole truth, and that is not showing respect for Gods true truth in such matters.  Not representing the whole truth of the matter is shaming to others because it sends them the message that they are like immature little followers  that cannot handle the whole truth. The message is that they are somehow defective or flawed because they cannot handle the whole truth. It is not only insulting to their intelligence it is also condescending to them as people. That is the height of hierarchal arrogance when this happens and it keeps the system in bondage to shame and the keeping of secrets.  The very people who say they have and hold to the whole truth of God themselves do not disseminate the whole truth that is in the best interest of Gods people. The truth is never not in the best interest of Gods people if it is in fact beings supported by their money and if they are considered the flock that the hierarchy is to serve. True servants of God tell the truth and disseminate the truth as the whole to truth to those that they serve. Anything else is hypocritical of those who claim to be Gods representatives of His truth and telling as to who they are by character and ethics.  Is the type of hierarchy a church laity would want to have serving them? (Emphasis being placed on the term “serving”)  
 
The system and its hierarchs consciously or unconsciously play untruthful political games with people’s lives at their expense so the system does not really have to see itself as it really is and honestly make account for why it allowed this happen in the first place. To make it fully right for all involved would mean that it would have to fully repent and fully reform. The eminence of the leader’s egos who are to be Sheppard’s to flock take precedence over the emotional and spiritual needs of those in the flock who have been emotionally wounded and spiritually abused by the larger system and/or sub-system. These small fractional measures of reform not only show the insensitivity of the system to those who were previously deceived by the system it also shows the systems lack of moral and ethical conviction to really make what it did wrong right to all it had previously emotionally wounded and spiritually abused. This reveals that they do not either understand or are in denial to the whole truth. In such cases shame still controls the system. Such systems are still only as systemically sick as the level and degree of their shame. Such systems only get as well as to level and degree that they deal with their systemic shame. Such systems are still as sick by the level and degree that they cover-up and keep secrets.  
 
Real men of God know how to retroactively apply reform to anyone that the system has harmed in its past and then make amends in an ethical fashion that brings healing to the wounded and broken without any continued game playing or forms of manipulation. They in the open publicly own their mistakes and their systems mistakes and repent of it so that no one is uncertain as to their motives and intent in carrying out the needed reforms. There is no hint or appearance of evil. There are no candy coated explanations that tell only part of the truth and put the best possible light on what they do tell you. You can tell when a system or hierarchy is moving towards open and honest repentance. It is when the blame, rationalizations, excuses, justifications, stone walling, denial and spiritualization’s stop. There is no political game playing that has a fuzzy or blurred sense of right and wrong. People are placed into recovery and exit counseling and removed from what they should have never been involved with to begin with. That is repentance that owns it’s wrong. There is only a commitment to thoroughly make right what caused wrong and harm. That is how Christian truth is practiced in above-the-board and non-secretive Christianity that is not about protecting the power, control, position, prestige, titles, legacy and image of the hierarchy or a system. Repentant men fall on the mercy and grace of a pure and holy God. They own up and in repentant grief admit their wrongs. In their repentance they seek forgiveness as their restored and renewed integrity before man and God shows their true inner character as real Christians who are capable of making mistakes and causing harm to others. That is what character, conscience and integrity in a Christian context is about. Anything else is still about self centered self protection that does not honor God, but only saves the face of man or save the face of a system under mans control.
 
YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SPEAK INTO THE SHAME BASED SYSTEM
 
John 8:31 – 59 are verses that show Jesus dealing with a system that is systemically sick, and among other things these verses go directly to the issue of shame – Be forewarned, Jesus does not pull any punches here, but tells it like it is and like only He can – Jesus reveals the diabolical spiritual power behind this deception. We would encourage you to take the time to familiarize yourself with this passage and come to your own conclusions as to how it relates to what we are discussing here. Please read the scripture verses before reading further and what follows will make greater sense to you.  
 
DECEPTION THAT RESULTS IN SHAME IS BASED IN A SET OF LIES THAT ARE BELIEVED OR AGREE UPON, AND WHO’S SOURCE OF THE LIES IS THE FATHER OF LIES. SYSTEMS THAT ARE DECIEVED AND PRACTICE SHAME ARE ALSO BASED IN A SET OF LIES THAT ARE BELIEVED OR AGREED UPON AND WHO’S SOURCE OF THE LIES IS THE FATHER OF LIES. SUCH SYSTEMS ALWAYS PICK UP STONES TO STONE THOSE WHO DARE BRING THESE TRUTHS FORWARD OR THEY IN SOME WAY, SHAPE OR FORM STONE WALL THE MESSENGER. THIS IS BECAUSE SUCH PEOPLE ARE REPRESENTATIVES OF TRUTH TO THOSE SYSTEMS. JESUS CHRIST WAS THE TRUTH THAT SETS YOU FREE TO THE SYSTEM HE WAS DEALING WITH IN JOHN 8:31-59. 
 
IS THE MONASTIC SYSTEM THAT YOUR CHILD OR LOVED ONE IS INVOLVED IN BASED IN TRUTH OR IN A SET OF LIES THAT ARE BELIVED OR AGREED UPON AND THAT RESULTS IN SHAME? IS THE FATHER OF LIES INVOLVED IN THIS IN ANY WAY? IS YOUR CHILD EXPERIENCING THE TRUTH THAT SETS YOU FREE? THE ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS ARE BASED UPON YOUR OWN DETERMINATION OF THE FACTS.
 
WE ASK THESE QUESTIONS TO HOPEFULLY BETTER HELP YOU COME TO YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS. ONE OF THE PURPOSES OF THIS WEB SITE IS TO HELP YOU COME TO YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS AS YOU REVIEW DIFFERENT CONCEPTS AND IDEAS ABOUT THE ISSUES. YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO DEVELOP AND EXPAND CONCEPTS AND IDEAS ABOUT THE ISSUES AS YOU CONDUCT FURTHER RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS.
 
In the eyes of many inside the system, those on the outside of the system who have been impacted negatively by the system, or see how others are impacted by the system are for sure the least qualified to speak into a system that they do not belong too. They are not “one of us” and so how could they ever understand us or understand how and why we do what we do and decide what we decide. In their mind such people are really against them, which precludes them from seeing their one, true and right system as it really is. Such outsiders have no inside knowledge and/or experience with the theological or religious estate that they are bringing under analysis or scrutiny.
 
These outsiders, especially if not of the same faith system as to that which in being brought under analysis and scrutiny are often seen by those within the confines of that belief system as being under emotional duress, grossly misinformed, subjectively biased, operating with another agenda or in extreme cases heretical. Such “outsiders” are particularly expendable to the system and especially if they speak up and out to the system as to its unethical and/or immoral attitudes and practices. Many times the system sees them as the most difficult of all to deal with. (Just like the system in Jesus day saw Jesus) When in fact, they are many times just able to see right through the system and what it really is about and tell it like it is without all of the “religious speak” that the system uses to glowingly describe itself in the best possible light.
 
It is interesting to see this when it happens because those on the inside who are the true believers somehow see themselves as more objectively qualified to make insights into themselves as to what is functional or dysfunctional about them than those who are not trapped in their same systemic sicknesses. An interesting phenomenon, indeed! In reality anyone who has been shamed or spiritually abused is expendable to the hierarchs because anyone who speaks into the system about those things from within or from without is seen as expendable to the systemically sick and self centered self protection needs of the hierarchy. 
 
THE CIRCUMPLEX MODEL OF FAMILY SYSTEMS: CONTRASTING THE FAMILY SYSTEM TO A SHAME BASED RELIGIOUS SYSTEM OR SUB-SYSTEM
 
This aspect of the website has not been fully developed. In time it may be listed on menu as it own stand alone menu item because of the size of it eventual content. We provide it in its current small draft form because we feel it is necessary to understand how a system can be observed by contrasting a  a function system to a dysfunctional system. Have fun, this is going to give you great overview perspective into how systems operate in either in healthy or unhealthy ways . . . 
 
Religious systems can be quite dysfunctional. In fact, they can have many of the attributes of a dysfunctional family system. A good example of this, or a good way to explain this, can be found in a related model that represents the family as a system. It is called the Circumplex Model of Marital and Family Systems. Religious systems and/or sub-systems can look almost identical to what this model reveals. The more dysfunctional a group or faith system is the more it looks like one of the extremes on the circumplex model. A case could possibly be made that the circumplex model cannot be used for such purposes because there is so much diversity between people and systems. What might be considered healthy or functional in one system might not be considered that in another. However, if one looks at the information provided one can see that this is not at all stretching the point or purpose of its use here. In fact, in context of all you are researching you will most likely find it very helpful giving you picture of the issues that can face any system you might have under your research.  
 
Many extreme groups (sub-systems or larger systems) that claim to have a "Spiritual Father" are, for all intents and purposes, setting themselves up as a family. In some cases they are trying to replace the individuals family of origin with the new family under the "Spiritual Father".  In other words, these types of groups many times try to alienate the group members family of origin from the new group for purposes of indoctrinating the person into their new family. They do this under the guidance and leadership of the "Spiritual Father".  (Not all groups that do this are necessarily extreme or doing this for the purpose of setting themselves up to replace someones family)
 
If a group (system or sub-system) can be characterized as a harmful group ( or, extreme) then it also can be characterized as spiritually abusive, emotionally abusive and shaming by degree. That can be defined and measured by attitude, treatment and behavior (Along with a few other factors not mentioned). Use of the circumplex model of family is not meant to be used for exact comparison purposes to a religious system or sub-system. It is used for purposes of understanding in a general sense the functionality or dyfunctionality of a system through contrasting a family system to a religious system (or, group). That is, does the religious system and/or sub-system you are researching have any of the extreme traits of a dysfunctional family as discribed on the circumplex model of family systems? Here is some link information on the circumplex model of families that you can use for purposes of contrasting:
 
Link: Circumplex Model of Family  (Please be patient, this PDF file can take a few minutes to load)
 
Link: Hitting is Not OK   (You might want to look at the Resources and Links pages under "Fr. Ephriam Book Resource" to see what Fr. Ephraim says about hitting oneself)
 
The question you may want to ask yourself in relation to this aspect of your research process is:  Where would the group under your research fit on the circumplex model? (How would it be defined if it were a family system as discribed on the circumplex model of family systems?) Please, come to your own conclusions. Once you get the fundamentals of this down it becomes easier and easier to see into and through a religious system and its hierarchy.
 
The charasteristics of a dysfunctional family system are similar to the characteristics of a dysfunctional church or group as a system. If you think in terms of a church or group being like a family you better be able to draw contrasts. Here are six links you can use for your research:
 
1. This link shows the 10 characteristics of a dysfunctional family, and hopefully will give you greater insights into a dysfunctional system as the characteristics are identical in many ways: 
 
Link: Dysfunctional Family Systems
 
2. This link discusses 15 traits of a dysfunctional church. Hopefully, this will help you in your research understanding of the contrast between dysfunctional families, the circumplex model and systemically unhealthy churches and/or groups as systems:
 
Link: Fifthteen Characteristics of Dysfunctional Church  (See: Article 95)
 
3. The link discuss the symptoms of a dysfunctional organization. Although these articles are discussing buisness organizations there are direct correlations to religious organizations that can be applied:  
 
Link: Symptoms of the Dsyfunctional Organization  (PDF)
 
Link: Sick Chicken : Dysfunctional Processes and Organizations 
 
Link: Dysfunctional Leadership: Tough Questions
 
5. This link compares a cult to a dysfunctional family. Of course, we leave it up to you to draw your own conclusion as to what to define any system or group you might be researching and the degree of its dysfunctionality:
 
Link: Comparison between a Cult and a Dysfunctional Family
 
6. This link is extremely important to your research process. It will give you insights into how a dysfunctional group as you may come to define that can use the systematic application of psychological influence and/or persuasion to control or manipulate the mind of a person in a dysfunctional group that may have similar characteristics to a dysfunctional family. If you decide a particular group is manifesting extreme dysfunctional traits similar to a dysfunctional family this can possibly help you in understanding what in that group may be contributing to its dysfunction based upon a continuum of influence and persuasion:
 
Link: Continuum of Influence and Persuasion 
 
7. This link follows the previous link to form a deeper understanding by defintion of certain terms. If you decide that a group is showing charasteristics at the extreme end of the Continuum of Influenence and Persuasion you will most likely want to know what that can possibly mean by degree of potential coercion used over a persons mind, will and emotions, and possibly a persons spiritual life:
 
Link: How Does Mind Control Work?    
 
P.O.E.M. is in the process of developing a circumplex model for religious systems (Dysfuctional religious systems that shame and spiritually abuse their members).
 
THE SHAME BASED SYSTEM UNDER THE DISCIPLINE AND/OR EXPOSE’ OF GOD
 
Usually, when a shame based system is confronted with the reality of its shaming and spiritually abusive attitudes and practices it is like shooting BB’s at a Battleship. They merely bounce off its armor plate. The system and its hierarchs are so ingrained in their self centered self protection that they will not hear the cries of the wounded and broken left in the wake of their being smashed to bits by the great system battleship. They always put up a smoke screen or run into a fog bank to hide their attitudes and treatment of others. Sometime they blame it on something else in the water around them. Thus, they seem to escape responsibility. Oh, they may act like they are a little concerned and even act like they are trying to throw a life ring to those abused. Their show of help and/or support, if it comes at all,  is always too little too late and usually void of mercy or grace. It is hollow.
 
In their attempts to escape the reality of what they have allowed or done the hierarchs forget one important thing. They are always on Gods radar screen. He sees right through the smoke and fog that they hide in ever watching and taking keen interest in how they treat the victims who have been run over by their systemically sick system. He knows of how they leave the victims afloat in a debris field in the middle of an isolated ocean.  He knows the hierarchs exact location, heading and speed in how they are maneuvering the system in regards to such matters.
 
God then puts them up in front to whole world to see. He shows the world what His deeply penetrating radar is revealing. He then moves in with severe mercy and loving discipline and deals with the hierarchy and their systemically sick system. He reveals them for whom and what they really are and have become. This is always seen as a threat or an attack and never as the truth of whom and what they are and have become. A somewhat familiar example of this can be found in how some famous Protestant TV preachers/evangelists have reacted in similar fashion when exposed for who and what they are, and how they really operated. The same could be said about the recent sex abuse debacles that have scandalized the Catholic Church. God under such circumstances is not a respecter of hierarchs or systems. He is a respecter of His own character and attributes that are not to be mocked by those who hold themselves up as shepherds of His flock and stewards of His Church. No person or system is above Gods discipline or accountability. This is especially true if He finds them shaming, abusive and/or corrupt.  He always finds a way to deal with such abuses of power, shaming and corruption. Does God currently have another Christian system and its hierarchs on His radar screen? You decide.
 
There are 10 criteria used to tell if a system and/or its hierarchs are under the discipline and/or the expose’ of God, and they follows like this:
 
1.      God exposes how they treat others attitudinally and behaviorally (relationally).
 
2.      God deals with them financially.
 
3.      God exposes their immorality.
 
4.      God exposes their hypocrisy.
 
5.      God exposes their corruption.
 
6.      God exposes their secrets and cover-ups.
 
7.      God exposes their spiritual abuses of power.
 
8.      God starts dealing with some of them physically. (He removes certain people)
 
9.      God deals with them legally.
 
10.    God gets ever more public about it as He brings it all into the light. 
  
FAIR WARNING: If most all of these dynamics are in play in a public sort of way get out of Gods way or get behind Gods expose’. 
 
There is not necessarily a particular order as to how God does this. It is, however, how God does this. These are the symptoms of a dieing system whose systemic sickness has been left untreated to the point that its sicknesses can no longer be hidden, kept secret, covered-up or denied. The system and its hierarchy are left with the consequences of their own devises, and those devises are what spell its certain demise. That demise can happen slowly over time or come upon a system suddenly. Either way God exposes to the world the truth, because God operates in truth.
 
These ten criteria represent God in His intervention mode. Such interventions are always confrontational. A religious system that is in denial will not state these criteria speicifically because it would cause people to start looking at their system, and that is something the hierarchy does not want to happen. They instead operate with half truths, spin, cover-ups and secrets as to the truth as to what is going on and why it has been going on. That is the way of such systems. It all boils down to prideful self centered self protection of the power, position, control, prestige, titles, legacy and image of the hierarchs and the system that they control. They only fool themselves, because in the end their legacy is shame. History always proves this out. History also has a way of laying the responsibility for why and what happened on those responsible. Even if a hierarchy seeminlgy escapes responsibility and accountability in this life it does not before God. They do not lay up treasure for themselves in heaven when they knowingly operate like this. They lay up something else.
 
The system needs to move into treatment of its systemic issues and problems. It needs professional help and a process of restoration and recovery.  Although Gods intervention is not pretty to watch or less than painful to experience it is His last resort to clean up what has become other than of Him.  God loves His people and church enough to bring severe mercy and loving discpline upon them. It almost always starts at the top of the system and works its way down from there. 
 
Systems experiencing any number of these criteria are in need of an operation to remove its diseased and/or cancerous elements. The surgery necessary to remove the diseased and/or cancerous elements will be without anesthesia. It is going to be a painful surgery, and one that does not guarantee the survival of the patient. Time is of the essence and it is critical that the system move quickly with a denial busting reality check or face even more serious expose’ or consequences for inaction. It really is true, the bigger they are the harder they fall. Like Humpty Dumpty the system eventually falls, and nothing can put it back together again. The hierarchy’s only hope is to in open and accountable repentance fall on the mercy of God and become transparent, vulnerable and honest about their sin. That is Gods Way Out. Trusting the results of such repentance to God is a great step of faith on the part of honest, vulnerable, transparent and repentant hierarchs.
 
Many times the hieararchy will try and conduct the surgery that the system needs. This is like asking a person dying of cancer to conduct surgery upon themselves, as maybe it was their lifestyle that caused the cancer. If such an unqualified surgeon (person) who caused their own disease thinks he or she can by themselves cure their disease that person is either in denial or in a state of delusion. So, they do not seek outside expertise or help. After all, that would not reflect well on their image.  Even if the person who had the cancer was a qualified surgeon do you think that person would conduct the surgery on themselves? No, that person would seek out qualified expertise outside of their own expertise to conduct the surgery. The qualified surgeon would then consult with the other experts on how to best cure the cancer. Unless, of course, the surgeon himself were in denial to his need to seek out such help. In a Christian system where the system is open and free such admittance of the cancer and the seeking of outside expertise to cure it would not be an issue. It would be a reflection of the emotional and spiritual health of the hierarchy. It would be a reflection of their security being placed in God and not themselves, as it would also be a reflection of their spiritual maturity. There would be no need for half truths, spin, cover-up or secrets. 
 
When people start to speak into the system and its hierarchy about unresolved issues of spiritual abuse or practices and attitudes that shame people this is an indication that God is in the midst of disciplining a system and/or its hierarchy. God does not like to be mocked by shaming systems and/or hierarchies that abuse people and who then abuse those who have been abused. God hates secrets and cover-ups. He also hates corruption.
 
COMING FORWARD IN THE SHAME BASED SYSTEM
 
Coming forward about harming attitudes and practices can be difficult. Sometimes we feel a sense of misplaced loyalty to the system that has harmed or abused us. It at times can make us feel like we are betraying someone or something that has become or is an important part of our life. The fact of the matter is that if someone has been harmed or abused by attitude and treatment that person is the one who has been betrayed and whose loyalty was taken advantage of. A misplaced sense of loyalty can lead to a misplaced sense of guilt for coming forward. You are not the guility one for coming forward. Those who are abusing or harming someone or something are the guilty ones, not you. You are showing integrity, concern and real belief in what you know is Biblically right when you come forward and put things into the day light. The Bible is very clear on this in Ephesians 5: 8-18.
 
By not coming forward you in affect are being silent and such silence may be interpreted as approval. When you come forward you are making the most of the opportunity to come forward because such things are evil. The light you shine on it is what makes it visible and keeps what the disobedient do in that darkness from being kept secret. Systems are only as sick as their secrets. Without the light you shine on the harm, abuse or corruption there is no light and the deeds of darkness stay in the dark as they continue on and on and on. You are not the problem for saying there is a problem. There is no shame or condemnation from God in coming forward; just the exposing of what is shaming, abusive or corrupt. That pleases God, and does not please people pleasing others. You are protecting what you know should be right in your system of belief when you in spiritual boldness and courage stand up for what is right before God.  
 
If corruption or gross mismanagement is taking place people are either being ripped off or their sincere investment in the system is being exploited in some inept of incompetent manner. Systems are only as sick as their secrets and systems are only as healthy as they openly deal with what is causing them to bring harm to others or the system itself. In other words, in a healthy system it really is OK to talk, think feel and look at things as they really are so that systemic issues and problems can be dealt with before they either get out of control or before they start wounding the wounded.
 
Every person who knows anything that supports the process of bringing into the light anything that is harming the system or harming any person who is associated with the system needs to come forward with that information. This is so the issues and problems causing the system to be dysfunctional can be addressed and dealt with in a fashion that either causes or forces the system to make healthy reform. To know something and not come forward is enabling of the ongoing issues and problems and only results in further harm to the system and anyone who has been or who could potentially be harmed by it. It makes a person an accessory to the problem or issue that is either harming the system or those associated with the system. 
 
Keeping secrets and being a part of any type of cover-up is not conducive to the ongoing health of the system. It only exacerbates the problems and keeps people and system in either bondage to the secrets and/or it causes people to be continually exposed to harmful attitudes and practices of certain aspects of the system and/or its hierarchs. Coming forward helps the system. It does not hurt the system. It cleans up the system and helps makes it safe and free for anyone associated with it. God wants His church to be a place of safety for the wounded and broken and not a place of shaming spiritual abuse of power that wounds others and then wounds those that is has wounded.
 
Be prepared to make a sacrifice or face unfair treatment for coming forward. Systems can sometimes exact a price from those who do this. That is the price anyone can potentially pay for doing the right thing. Understand you are not entering into a popularity contest when you do this. You are entering into the realm of light and truth and that is not always popular with some.
 
To live with the knowledge of anything that is wrong and harmful to others is not practicing sound ethics and values and in some cases can not be healthy for the long term sake of your conscience or mental/emotional well being. If something known to you is violating your sense of ethics, morals or values and/or harming someone come forward with that knowledge and do not let anyone intimidate, coerce or unduly try to influence you not too. If the system or anyone in the leadership of the system has shamed you or otherwise spiritually abused you tell them that and hold your ground. If you fear and do not come forward then they win. If you do not fear them and stand your ground you expose them for why they put such fear into people. If you live in that fear the grip of that fear will control you and you will not transcend beyond that level of emotional and spiritual growth in your life. You will become a pawn of fear and that is exactly what the hierarchy of such a system wants you to become. It is just one more way that a hierarchy in self centered self protection controls people.
 
Go public if all other avenues prove not helpful, honest, productive or able to bring in the light resolution to your concerns. If a known policy, code or guideline is being violated bring information of that forward to the appropriate authority. (This would include Biblical standards of conduct as the Bible is a written code of Christian ethics, values and morals)  Verify and hold accountable all actions promised to be taken by that authority and if they are not then go public with that no matter who the person or parties are who told you that they would follow through with the appropriate measures to rectify the issue or bring solution to the problem. Expose any patronizing, ineptness and incompetency on the part of those responsible in the handling of such issues.
 
Be a respecter of truth and not a respecter of those who do not operate in the light or in truth. Come into an understanding of what true Christian repentance means by attitude and action. Settle for nothing less than this so all issues and problems can be addressed in the appropriate manner that does not result in a continuance of secrets or cover-ups. If you compromise your ethics, morals or values in this process then you only cause the system to continue to operate as it has. The same holds true if you allow them to compromise any stated policy, code or guideline. Hold them accountable. Keep your integrity, sense of self respect, dignity and character no matter what comes. Always remember if they compromise or ignore any moral policy, ethical code of conduct or Christian value it is about them and not about you. Make that public if you deem it necessary and right so that they can be shown for who they are or for what they have become. Of course, these are only suggestions. You are free to do what ever you feel best under the circumstances. Let your moral and ethical conscience be your guide as you find truth in scripture to help guide you in that process. It is our highest authority. Above all else don’t flinch in the face of evil.        
 
If you are a victim of shaming abuse know that God in His disciplining love and severe mercy eventually deals with spiritually abusive churches or groups relationally, then morally and ethically, and then financially, and then legally until they get His wake up call.  He exposes them and their leaders publicly to the world for all to see their ineptness, corruption and/or waywardness. All sorts of expose’ mechanisms are at His disposal. The serious consequences of their attitudes and behavior eventually catches up to them in the most public and unpleasant fashion.  When this happens they either become more protective and closed or they become open to honest reform and change.  They either keep taking laps around Mount Sinai until they learn their lesson or they simply never learn their lesson by staying in the wilderness of their own making. Only a sick system would want to stay in such a wilderness and keep taking laps.
 
Like some person in denial about dieing of a dreaded disease many times a hierarchy simply refuses to openly admit its sickness and come go into treatment that would cure it. They see anyone who offers a prognosis of their disease and who understands what the cure is as unqualified to do so or persecuting of them for doing so.  Is that rational thinking? No, it is not, but who ever said such a hierarchy was rational in its view of itself. It carries a wholly other image of itself. Some hierarchs misinterpret the seriousness of the disease that affects the system systemically and try to put band aids on their problems hoping that this will solve their issues. It never does. You cannot cure cancer with a band aid. Their cancer eventually consumes them.
 
All churches, Christian organizations and groups, even healthy ones, have problems. That is not the real issue being addressed here. It goes much deeper than that. What is being discussed here can happen no matter where a person practices their Christian faith. It is especially true in churches that hold on to the past when the paradigm of the present and future is starring them right in the face.  They don’t “GET IT” because for the most part they do not live in the present reality of the real world like the rest of us do. They live in a false sense of security and status quo of their own making and when the reality of the real world through expose’ hits them they try to deal with it in obsolete terms and fashions that do not reflect the reality of what is really happening. Their archaic attempts to manage the present reality of a real world show them up for who they really are and what they really have become. The more they try managing the issues and problems they face in and through the old paradigm of their systemic sickness the deeper they dig the hole they are in.
 
Eventually the cascading avalanche of unresolved problems and the tsunami tidal way of unresolved issues overwhelms them leaving them as a virtual catastrophe of their own making. Their flimsy house of cards built on shifting sand collapses in on them and they and their system are crushed under the deluge of it all. Then the magnitude 10 earth quake of expose’ smashes what’s left of the rubble into dust leaving them naked and exposed for who they really are and what they really have become.  Yet, because of who they think they are and how long they may have existed they think this cannot happen to them. When it comes, and it does eventually come, they are the most taken off guard by it all – go figure.
 
THE UNHOLY TRINITY: SHAME, SPIRITUAL ABUSE AND SYSTEMIC SICKNESS 
 
Shame, spiritual abuse and systemic sickness are the unholy trinity of diabolical evil that can control and undermine any church or group. They represent the opposite of grace, mercy and truth that bring healing to the wounded and broken who need to be embraced by the loving arms and tender touch of Jesus Christ. The unspiritual basis of this unholy alliance has their origin in the Father of Lies who masquerades as righteousness, light and truth. He in fact is nothing more than a sham of hypocrisy that cuts a swath of suffering through the people’s lives. He leaves only destruction in his wake.  He weaves of a web of shame, abuse and systemically sick dysfunction that represents his trap to capture the mind, will and emotions of all those who fall into his adhesive entangling snare. They are left with only empty husks of what they formerly were or were meant to be as they are sucked dry by his evil thirst to spiritually kill, maim and destroy. His unholy trinity represents his cunning scheme to subtly, but, oh so surely, subvert all that God has meant for good. That is the nature of this unholy trinity of pure evil. He, the evil one, is an unspiritual pathological liar and unspiritual psychopathic murderer, and has been from the beginning. He exists to kill, steal and destroy. Do not underestimate the persuasive power of his ingenuous evil deceptiveness. The masterful applications of these three combined tactics are part of his overall comprehensive blitzkrieg strategy to bring down true Christianity where ever it is vulnerable, weak and willing. He tries to pervert and distort any form of true Christianity that wants to bring people into true worship and relationship to God.  
 
His diabolical evil genius is seen in how he systemically poisons systems from the inside out and from the top down as he uses time and the self centered and self protective nature of men as his allies to accomplish his objectives. It can take years to capture a system, but once it is captured it is the last one to realize it and the last one to want to do anything about it. The history of Christianity and the Bible are full of this and no Christian system is immune. Arrogance and pride are the culprits here. Such is the nature of deception and the state of fallen man. When a system subtly falls prey to a set of lies and then agrees to believe a set of lies that system becomes shaming and spiritually abusive. It does not matter if a system or its hierarchs do this consciously or unconsciously the results are always the same: spiritual abuse and shame control the system.  Satan does not necessarily care how a system is deceived he only cares that it is. It is his hidden and very subtle agenda that operates below the glossy veneer and shinny candy coat. It is so easily missed because it is so easily camouflaged. 
 
The truth about his lying scheme is not an easy issue to expose. Especially if the systemic causes of it are trying to be exposed. He does not want anyone looking at their system in this fashion. It is not an expose’ readily realized or embraced by hierarchs and for many obvious reasons.  This is because of the degree of deception and delusion on the part of those under the deception and delusion of his cunning and crafty lies. He truly is the enemy of our souls and all that we truly want to represent through our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. Satan truly is the Anti-Christ, as He truly is the Anti-Church. It is the truth that sets us free from his lies and it is what breaks the bondage that can ensnare a system, but only if a system and its hierarchs want to be set free. To know the truth that can set you free does not make one popular or believed among those who do not want to be set free. It usually makes you an outcast in some fashion; but, better a free outcast than a slave or pawn to a systemcially sick system based in shame and selfcentered self protection that results in spiritual abuse of power.
 
KEEP THIS ALL A SECRET !!! 
 
Shhhh, don’t tell anyone what we say here about authoritarian and hierarchal “top down” Christian systems that are rigidly enmeshed, closed, shaming,and spiritually abusive of people to protect their power, position, control, prestige, titles, legacy and image, it’s a secret. You don’t want to break any unspoken rules, do you?
 
So, if you are feeling like you have been shamed by a system and/or its leaders that is in part, might be one brief possible explanation as to maybe why you have been. At POEM we leave the final conclusion and decision up to you if a system or its leaders have in anyway shamed you. You are encouraged to conduct your own independent research in that. You have a right to come to your own conclusion and to form your own opinion.
 
http://www.concernedpoem.com
 
See: A Matter of Authority

NOTICE to VISITORS ABOUT OUR sending and receiving - E-MAIL POLICY

At:

Apostle1.com, Apostle1.org and Apostle1.net

We are an educational, News-informational and research Web Site dedicated to providing such as befits those who seek things pertinent to the Orthodox Catholic Christian Faith and life.

    There are unscrupulous people on the internet these days.  Some of them are not who they claim to be and in order to disrupt honest spiritual pursuits, they are known to send out e-mail under someone else's name or the name of another church or jurisdiction with attachments.  Anyone can do this, if they want.  Some of them exist in Toledo, Ohio... Some in Texas... Others in Michigan, California and many other places... Some are "haters of truth" who follow (whether they are willing to admit it) those who have sway over less educated or ignorant... as their are also those who do not even know what they are doing because they seek glory to satisfy their own vanity and selfish pride to take over a church or jurisdiction of another, or to wreck havoc over those whom they hate without considering the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. 

 

    If you should ever receive an e-mail with an attachment purporting to be from anyone at "apostle1.com" - "apostle1.org" or even "apostle1.net" - - - know that our policy is to not send out e-mail from any of our domain names with an attachment.  Therefore, don't open it! If you receive any e-mail from apostle1.com, apostle1.org or apostle1.net and have never before communicated with us... even if you have communicated with us... verify, verify and again, verify. 

 

Unless we know exactly from whom an e-mail comes... nothing is clicked on or opened, not even attachments!  You would be surprised from whom 'hate' e-mail arrives and what attempts and extremes they go to make their e-mails "look" official when it is a lone person or persons who hate TRUTH and love lies, hate anything from being posted that involves TRUTH because they may be affected with exposure to the LIVING TRUTH of Jesus Christ's Love. 

 

They HATE some of the news, quotes, and such as to inform the general public.  Some of them pose as clergy, while a few are actually clergy from various "other" offshoot AMERICAN ORTHODOX CHURCH jurisdiction(s) of the same name of which we are, in some instances, their former MOTHER CHURCH (as is the same named Toledo, Ohio based an offshoot); having joined in and with  "Independent" churches who have nothing to do with us or even true Orthodoxy, but seek to go out of their way to character assassinate and disparage religious web sites who do not meet their own brand of standardization which is evidence of their being not truly "Orthodox" "Christian" or even "Catholic" no matter what their nomenclatured corporate name may be.  The Toldeo, Ohio based same name group under their so-called leader has been deposed, defrocked and excommunicated four different times by various bishops.  He, and several others, have become just as bad as the modern day Ecumenists of the National Council of Churches, World Council of Churches, the World Council of Bishops and more.  Their ultimate aim and goal is destruction to those from whom they had either originated from or gone through to obtain the same named "church" they claim to hold to by civil law alone.

 

    Remember, anything that is a HALF TRUTH is not truth but a lie!  Many there are that you may know who fit those descriptions... pray for them.  Pray that God will send his Spirit of Truth upon them and lead them to Salvation through tears of Repentance, conversion of their cold and calculating hearts toward seeking forgiveness from God and those whom they attempt to harm. 

 

    Those who receive e-mail from us, know who we are and from where we send mail.  There are also many who know that they can send e-mail under another group or person's e-mail address, which has been happening.  If you receive e-mail that purports itself to be from us, verify first by hitting your "reply" button and ask, "I received this e-mail but would like verification it is from you." 

 

    If you are of another jurisdiction, you too could find that your parishioners, clergy and faithful might become subject to the same as we have recently found. 

 

    Let this be a warning to visitors so as to be safeguarded against unscrupulous e-mails which contain viruses, worms and unsavory material from person(s) organizations or institutions that are more self-serving than uplifting and informatively news worthy. 

 

    For ourselves, we have, as in the past, so once again, acquired the assistance of those who are able and capable of tracing e-mails back to their source and taking appropriate action in North America. 

 

    We have learned that the organization we subscribe to, whose members come from various legal and law enforcement backgrounds amongst other areas of society, are committed to the faith even though they may hold different theologies.  Yet, in their monitoring of electronic communications of various persons or people, they do not always make haste to bring perpetrators to justice until after enough evidence has been gained in order to build a solid case.  We do not always know what information they have gained, but we do know the organization, whom we've been asked not to name, has had a 97% success rate in bringing to justice and obtaining a conviction against individuals, people, and sometimes even religious organizations of a persona that gives the appearance of both secular and religious bearing but who abuse and misuse technology.  The organization views those who abuse and misuse the internet and other technologies as nothing more than a form of "domestic terrorism" - - - - and, it would seem to appear that the courts are in agreement!

 

 Those kinds of people, organizations, etc. who misuse and abuse communication technologies are no different than those who attempt to use coercive measures, and in some instance, even blackmail for the same idea is involved... to cause havoc and wreckage, to destroy the spirit and activity of those who struggle in the faith out of pain of heart for the Orthodox Church which is TRUTH. The degree that some have been known to go to, as seen by other jurisdictions, is to take advantage of questionably mentally challenged or those who have a lack of education and understanding to get them to make statements, even outright lies, in writing, in order to destroy.  Such persons or groups are spiritual terrorists for unholy and un-Orthodox causes, aims and goals.

 

    Yes, our Metropolitan Archbishop, +Joseph Thaddeus, SSJt., Ph.D. strongly defends the Seals of the Confessional for such leads to true Repentance in thought, word and deed whereby the penitent is required to make amends, where possible, to seek forgiveness of those harmed by his actions whether real or imagined, and to give his forgiveness to those who have harmed him before taking the Holy Body and Blood in the Eucharist.  The reality of this understanding is bound up in and with the findings for which cause he, himself, had been character assassinated by his detractors who claim the courts prevented him from breaking the Seals of the Confessional which is not the truth at all.... Click here to see what another bishop's findings are...

 

    The workings of Holy Spirit will not be daunted by those who attempt to cause disruption!  It is for these and other reasons that you are urged to read what true repentance and forgiveness means for real "Christians".

 

    For further information about how spammers, hackers and those who are angry with you can or will attempt to do damage, we offer the following link as regards some of the computer - internet problems:

 

http://msn.pcworld.com/howto/article/0,aid,116258,00.asp

 

+About Monastic Holy Orders: a basic

+ Our Monastic Community

+Society of St. Jude Thaddeus (SSJt.)

+Orthodox Order of Friars Minor (OOFM)

+Benedicinte (OSB)

+Servants (In Service) to Christ (SC)

A Message from Our metropolitan Archbishop - UPDATED

Keep Up-To-Date by clicking on:

Quotes from Metropolitan Archbishop +Joseph Thaddeus, SSJt., Ph.D. Continuously updated

If You have a question that you wish to ask, please feel free to submit it.  However, may it be suggested that you review all previous questions for the Month and also the Archive of questions previously asked for your question may have already been answered. 

Click Here For Archive Quotes

Click Here for AOC HISTORY PAGES

Twenty First Century Desert Fathers

Who Are: The Thaddeans?

Lines of Apostolic Succession of His Eminence

 AOC CLERGY

In The Shadows

Suggested Reading:

 

Privacy Watch nOTICE to VISITORS ABOUT OUR E-MAIL POLICY - Updated

 

Saint Jude Thaddeus (Helper of the Hopeless) and  The Thaddean Fathers (SSJt.)

 

MAN: To Err, the Church and Holy Spirit


The True meaning of Repentance and forgiveness

AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE CLERGY

 

Is Christianity At The Cross Roads?

 

As The World Goes, So Goes The Church

 

Anomalies in Ecclesiology of Contemporary Orthodox Churches

 

Attempts at Coming to An Understanding of Orthodox Catholic Christianity

 

A Response to two articles:Pedophilia Condoned (Approved) By Islam & Dalai Lama With Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Others"

-

GRAMMATA ON THE MEANING OF CANONICAL
 

Orthodox Catholic Fasts, Feasts, and Daily Prayers

See the Main Page for Weekly-Daily listings

To Change the Nation and the World

2005 News Archive

2004 News Archive

2003 News Archive

Orthodox Information Center

A Dictionary of Orthodox Terminology

PROPER ATTIRE FOR ORTHODOX CLERGY

A Spiritual Hospital For Sinners

The Faithful and Clergy
(Clergy: Monks, Nuns, Priests and Bishops)

Our Clergy Application - Agreement

Free Web Counter
Free Hit Counter

Home Page