Safe Havens


Psalm 43:2 (The NLT) For you are God, my only safe haven.

I’m gonna just jump on into this brand new blog. I have a series on celebration and clarity coming up - but I am going to start here. Let’s just get this out of the way. This is spurred by an experience earlier today. It’s also a repeated thing that seems to be happening a lot in my life lately by “well-meaning” Christians.

Some background to help with context.

I grew up in an extremely legalistic church community. I have EXTREMELY strong opinions on this as a result. I am also triggered by any activity or expressions that even come close to bumping up against the crap I was subjected to growing up in this CULT. Ok, so it wasn’t a cult, but it was close. In fact, when I was 20, I went to counseling and the counselor as soon as he learned what church community I grew up in, put me through deprogramming therapy as if I’d been in a cult. So… CULT. What I came out of it with is that God is my only refuge, Scripture (Holy Spirit led interpretation) and grace and love and forgiveness (including for myself as well as for others).

I’d like to tell you I am completely healed from this, but as I was reminded earlier today, I still have some healing to do. In a group for Christian business women, an admin posted a seemingly benign question regarding a topic that, as it turns out, is quite divisive. And because I don’t want a debate to break out here & that divisiveness to continue, I am not going to say what the topic was. Let’s suffice it to say, that as I gave a different perspective than hers just to try and get others to see it from a different point of view… I was attacked not only by her but others in the group as well. I deleted the comment. It was either that or get into a debate and I’m done with debating strangers on the internet. I blocked the two others (one of whom was a fb “friend”) in the group who attacked me. I’m “friends” with the admin and I stopped short of unfriending her. I did unfollow her. Because there are multiple admins in the group, I didn’t leave the group even though I kept waiting for another one to step in and say there was not a place for this divisiveness in the group. But so far, no one has. So, I unfollowed the group - though I remained in it… for now. Because there are other admins in there that I really respect and have learned a lot from. However, that particular co-admin has her own group that I was in - and I left her group, unsubscribed from her newsletter, etc. Why? Because I no longer feel safe. I don’t feel safe with anyone who won’t consider that others may not agree with her or have a different perspective. And subsequently leads others to attack as well. My own experience and own extensive research on the topic I am passionate about led me to a different conclusion than her one thing that was her research backup …

… and the Holy Spirit does this sometimes. And it’s ok, We aren’t meant to understand.

It brought out a lot of that same judgmental, authoritative crap from others as well that reminded me so much of why I left the entire Christian faith all together for a while. I’m so glad I’m back - and I fiercely protect myself from this kind of crap because I don’t want my faith stolen again by “good Christian folk” again. I blocked everyone that chimed in with that attitude and energy because I do NOT want to encounter them again. Bless their hearts and block. It’s the Texas way, right? I hope they never have to encounter something in their lives that brings them to their knees before they see the divisive malice in their own agendas in order to get them to change their ways and see what it does to others. But they are NOT my ministry field. I spent an hour in prayer and my own heart to forgive them. I don’t care when people disagree with me. It happens a lot. I DO CARE about the spirit and energy brought into that disagreement.

The authoritative attitude triggered me big time. Only God can know our hearts. HE is my ONLY AUTHORITY. Only the Holy Spirit can lead us to the Truth of our journey. Ever had a verse speak to you in one way through Scripture verse and then later, same verse, it says something completely different? Does that mean the first one was wrong? No. Context and timing is everything. (Just see my last post on that!)

But what my daughter is also learning at age 14, is that Christians are not a safe haven. I hate that she’s having to learn this lesson so early.

Grace. Peace. Unity. Love. These are the things I want to lift up through my engagement. I am passionate about meeting people where they are. I believe in the Power of the Holy Spirit even more than I believe in the power well-meaning Christian people have to bring you to your knees in pain that lasts for decades. As much as I can get behind a few hard line opinionated and divisive soap boxes, I choose to take a different path. Because I am living proof - in the moment of this writing - about how much damage those soap boxes can do to the fragile heart. The worst pain ever put upon me was done at the hands and mouths of Christians. I’m all for having someone convict me with Truth - but that person has to EARN the right through relationship and my respect before he/she ever gets to approach me speaking Truth to convict my heart of something I might have wrong. I’m human. It’s gonna happen. But I am DONE watching people be put into unnecessary pain through judgmental, authoritarian cult-like behavior by some Christians on this planet. That topic may seem to some to be of the Devil (that is obviously arguable). But we all know the Enemy from whom Divisiveness comes from. That is NOT arguable.

I will keep reminding myself that good Christian folk aren’t safe havens for my gentle offer of another perspective. Instead, I will just bring it here to my own space. Grace and rapture is based upon the Jesus Creed. Love God above all else. Love others as you love yourself. My dad lived by this creed: Love God above all else. Then, do what you want. Because if you live your life founded in God’s love, you will want to do things that make God happy… proud… give His stamp of approval.

Romans 16:17 cautions us about those who cause division and offenses among us. In my most humble opinion, posting antagonizing, polarizing content falls into this category. THIS is NOT OUR LANE, folks! I was told once that I could hang my shingle out to be a coach to those who suffer from PTCS (Post Traumatic Church Syndrome) and I could fill my calendar and my bank account. What’s so maddening is that it still goes on today. And as long as it does, I will use my "voice" to speak out against it.

I’ve had Christians post how they are against today’s cancel culture only to have a cancel culture all of their own. The entire world is rooted in evil. It’s up to us to focus on the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to work it all out for good. And only God KNOWS what is going on in our hearts.

Did I say that already?

Psalms 43:2 (The Passion Translation) For You are where my strength comes from and my protector… (The Message) For you are God, my only safe haven.

Thank you, Jesus, that this function wasn’t left in the hands of Christians.

I will always be the voice of a gentler, alternate perspective in the face of polarizing opinions judging one over another. Because it’s the voice of my own experience combined with the Holy Spirit telling me, “Hey Mel! You gotta blog about this.”


Post Script: I know this comes across pretty strongly. Just know I don't lump all Christians in this category of judgmental, authoritative, cult like people. I am a Christian after all. For the most part, Christ followers are people I love, they are my people.. I just don't appreciate the misguided behavior of some that does so much damage to people.