Healing Spiritual Abuse and Religious Addiction

Title: Healing Spiritual Abuse and Religious Addiction
Author: Matthew Linn, Sheila Linn, and Dennis Linn
Publisher: Paulist Press, Mahwah, New Jersey
Year: 1993
Available: Amazon.com

This book was not written specifically for the queer community. While the authors did not write the book specifically to address the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-identified Christians, material in this book can assist queer Christians.

Queer people face often more painful life events than straight people. One can hardly read an article about queer youth without seeing many references to verbal harassment, bullying, and physical violence. The number of gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans-identified, queer, and questioning youth who live on the streets is a concern to many people who work in social agencies. Those who have been hurt may turn to the Bible, religion, and the church as a way to escape their pain. Religion and religious service might become a way to dull the pain, just as drugs or alcohol can be a way to dull the pain. Certainly, there are cases of pastors who immersed themselves in religion, the church, and Christian service. After years of dedicated service, they are found to be gay or bisexual. Their service might have been an attempt to escape from the deep pain of being queer.

Spiritual abuse often leaves people feeling shame and guilt. Children who feel shame and guilt in families may find themselves turning to one of several coping roles. Those roles include the responsible child, rebel, lost child, and distractor. People who have gone through spiritual abuse may respond to the abuse they experienced in one of those roles. The Linns adapt the four child coping roles to spiritual abuse. The way each child role relates to the Bible and Christian spirituality is discussed. A few ways of finding healing for each role are provided.

Probably the best way for people to find healing from spiritual abuse and religious addictions is to change their concept of God. People who see God as a very harsh, judgmental, angry God find it much more difficult to experience spiritual healing.