A few years ago, around the time that I went homeless, I felt that the church (not the pastors) were not compassionate or helpful in my time of crisis. Most people do not understand homelessness until they have become homeless.
They do not understand that there are various types of homelessness either. Homeless people are often lumped into one category, uneducated, lazy, good for nothings who have done something to deserve their misfortune.
For example there is a difference between street homeless, and someone who is couch-surfing. The complexities of homeless that I speak of have nothing to do with government-funded programs or a political process. I am speaking from experience, and self-education on the subject.
Whether or not the church should have helped me is opinion, not necessarily scripture. The type of help that I believe churches are unaware is needed, are housing for at-risk long-term homeless.
By my definition, a person who becomes long-term homeless as a result of poor peer support (which includes their church community), usually cannot recover without the financial, emotional, spiritual and physical support of the community whomever that community is.
Many churches will accept government grants for the homeless or they will partner with organizations who provide this type of assistance. There is a difference between partnering to meet the needs of your people in-house, and simply offering resources.
The attitudes of some of the ministers, and members of the church have nothing to do with opinion, and everything to do with character. I wrote a lot about being homeless toward the end of my memoir available for kindle or pc download here.
At some point, I stop believing the pastor not the word. I want to be clear that I never thought that God’s one impossible task was housing me and my daughter. I did however, stop believing in the words from the pulpit because of the lack of manifestation, in my life. I wasn’t believing for my lights to be prevented from cut off, or a business promotion. I lost everything to “believe” for.
You May Also Like: Church and Mental Illness?
And, I want to say that the pastors did help me, in various ways during the course of my membership. So often people want to bash the pastors, but this is not my story at all. In the last few years, I have gone on a search. I have found no one or nothing like these pastors. The only real and honest issue that I have had with the pastors is personal, and is not something that would make or break, or alienate one’s connection to them or the ministry.
Admittedly, when you go through crisis, and come out, you want everyone to forget your crisis but most won’t. People who knew me when I were a child can not wait to tell you that I was “bad.” They did not care why I was “bad” then, and they don’t care now. In fact, telling you something about me (which will probably be untrue) will make them feel important, as if they know me when to opposite is true.
In this case, when I became homeless, I wasn’t “bad” as I am not a child. I was however persecuted, and lied on a lot. I was judged and provoked (literally but that is another story). In the midst of trying to keep my sanity, and operate in enough faith to overcome such heavy burdens, I was affected by the relationships that so quickly turned a stuck up nose.
My holiness was measured by my financial turmoil. A few people even thought I was a bad parent because I lost everything. I know who I am, and I am not moved by the ignorant opinions of others. We were created by God, and everything that he is and who we are is born out of relationships. When relationships are broken, people often feel a sense of loss or disconnection. It is important for people to learn how to connect to the right people, and to identify those that they are assigned to bless and experience.
The opposite of holiness is not sin, the opposite of holiness is commonness. – Dr. Ramson Mumba
The problem is, homelessness is the worst time to have to make new friends. All you want to do is solve your problem and your survival mentality will put the niceties on hold. In your mind, you’re really thinking, “Do you have some place warm I could sleep?” You want to know if they have a shower to spare. Eventually, you add a third question, how long before you regret being nice to me?
I feel differently about church now; distanced. I’m not really interested in getting too close. However, I am particular. Now I am married so the decision is not all mine. Although, I have some liberties I’ve learned.
I don’t like the church that we have been going to since we moved here. They have done nothing wrong. It’s not the one. I know the one. God is the one. My husband is the one. This church is not the one. In short, we did not sleep last night, and no it is not because we were “ministering” to each other.
I got up this morning, knowing that I would go back to hear my pastors teach. The same pastors of the church I attended when things went bad. At some point, which is also the point of this entire blog post, I lost my hearing.
As powerful, and anointed as they are, I could not hear them. Church became a place of frustration. It was a forceful relationship. I would sit in the pew and wish for it to be over. Eventually, I stopped sitting in the pew torturing myself.
Keep in mind that I am not saying I am separated from God, nor do I feel that my relationship with God is displaced. I am speaking about this particular church. Back to this morning: We went to service, and it was everything that I had been yearning for. The entire service. As usual, the pastors yielded completely to the holy spirit. I know when a pastor is not yielded, and when it feels like God is “dismissed” to preach.
I can not explain it, but not only did I get the worship I got the message. I want to explain it so badly to you. My hearing has been found, and I am not deaf to the word coming from them anymore. This means so much to me, because I have been robbed of my church experience for the last couple of years.
I know exactly what this means. Finally, I can hear.
There are many things that can cause one to become deaf to hearing the word from a particular ministry (who is NOT corrupt).
For me I will name three things:
- I did not feel that the word “family” was something that was believed among saints, unless they treated their family like crap. It was a marketing “engagement” word.
- I did feel the anointing but I could not hear answers to my crisis in the teaching. They were teaching wealth, and I had followed instructions that lead to self-destruction. I needed understanding beyond peer accusations.
- I wanted and needed pastors who could take time with me to answer personal questions that I did not feel comfortable asking other members of the ministry team. I also began to question why the ministers who were unacceptable with how they treated church members were not rotated.
I found Pastor Ramson Mumba (finally) and have being listening to his youtube teachings. This teaching is level of teaching that I am in need of hearing. Perhaps this word reconnected me 🙂
I really resonate with Pastor Ramson Mumba who has many churches but I believe he teaches out of his Houston location. He said something like this (I have to find the actual quote):
You have to pay attention to all of your members because if you don’t, even the members with no problems will develop them to spend time with you.
I have no idea if I will get to tell my pastors how I feel but I will say this to all pastors:
- Your members need to spend time with you. If you are assuming “spiritual father” and/or “spiritual mother” there are daughters and sons who feel your absence as dearly as their own biological mothers and/or fathers absence.
- You need to get to know your members so that when persecution comes, you’ll know the truth, and be able to provide the love and support spiritually that one needs to overcome adversity. And, you can give them uninfluenced chastisement.
- Stop allowing members to walk out of your door broken from church. Walking in love is not giving permission for someone to walk all over you. Churches need to teach in-depth about how to treat other members because of the closeness of these “family” relationships to empower or disrupt one’s experience.
- We have a $124 Billion epidemic in the world and it’s not drugs, wars, or even homelessness, it is child sexual abuse. 80% of people who are substance and narcotics abusers have been sexually abused. Over 90% of homeless women have been sexually abused or raped. Domestic and Sexual Violence in marriage is real. The church has to learn, and apply how to help the one in four women and the one in six men who have been sexually abused. And, not taught from a “non-profit” who comes in to teach “tips”, this should be based on the word with wisdom. Pastors if you want members teach them about the healing power of God, and teach them about the healing process of healing.
While I can no longer say that I believe the hype in that we are family, I am so overjoyed that I can hear again that I will go back. I never stopped hearing God. I should probably note that I am not visiting the same church that I was a member of. I have chosen a different location.
Pastors operate at a greater level of anointing than you do. They have an extraordinary purpose. But, if you are deaf it means absolutely nothing when they speak, sort of like staying in a relationship after it has run its course.
© Ressurrection Graves
Ressurrection Graves is a child sexual abuse expert and H.E.A.L.E.R. To learn more about her speaking topics and engagements please click here.