This is the desire of Samantha Fields who writes similar words at http://samanthapfield.com/2016/08/31/christian-kindness-gaslighting/
I want to be a part of Christian community. I meet with other Christians every week to talk about living our faith and that meets an important spiritual need for me, but I also want to be involved in the wider religious context. As much as I find Christian culture alienating and as often as I criticize it, I’m not of the mind to abandon it– not entirely.
but if you read her previous paragraph you will see that she is not truly believing what Christians believe.
I think that at this point it’s pretty obvious I’m a “liberal” or “progressive” Christian. I’m still not entirely sure what those terms might mean (does anybody?), but I’m excluded from a variety of Christian spaces because of my beliefs.
When you do not accept and believe the Bible it is very hard to be included in the Christian community. Just accepting the basics is not enough as that is an excuse to continue in one’s practice and acceptance of sin. To be a part of the Christian community one must give up their sins and the practice of them. They cannot bring sin into the community God forbids that action throughout the Bible.
Now it is not wrong to question different aspects of the Christian faith and believers need to be prepared to provide the correct truthful response and not some denominational pet ideology as an answer to those questions BUT the person must also be willing to accept those answers. The answers will not and cannot change just because the questioner does not like them and refuses to accept them.
Conversation Type #1: Hostile
It’s not always obvious from the beginning of the conversation that it’s going to rapidly deteriorate into verbal abuse, but it frequently starts out argumentative. The people who want to argue come to me with many assumptions about my positions, or have clearly already decided what they think about my any argument I could make. I’m not treated as a reasonable person with a credible thought process from the outset, so there’s usually no point in engaging with this type of person. If I respond at all, it’s to point them in the direction of what I think is a good post on the subject and then block them if need be
Yes some people are hostile and some people are accused of being hostile because those like Ms. Fields interpret the response of others and place their own ideas upon the words and actions of others instead of clarifying first to make sure they did not misunderstand how something was said. Interpretation ruins so many good discussions and the hostility she may be experiencing is because she is doing to others exactly what she is complaining about.
Conversation Type #2: Open
I like questions that are genuinely asking for my thoughts. We may not come out on the other side agreeing, but I think it’s important that we do our best to understand each other. I try to have compassion and charity in my heart when I approach my comment section, although that’s not always possible for reasons that might not have anything to do with the comments themselves.
We all like genuineness because then we get to say what we want without feeling threatened. Then her response to the comment sin her comment section is based upon her interpretation of what others say as binary is very difficult to convey what she wants to see in other people’s words. Other people are not like her so she should not expect to get comments conforming to her thinking.
But if she wants to be part of a Christian community then she should focus on her own behavior and words working to stay in line with biblical teaching instead of trying to regulate how others respond to her faulty beliefs.She wants everyone else to change and that is not Christian behavior.
Conversation Type #3: “Nice”
This is the type that prompted this whole post. This type I am done having, and while Christians aren’t the only ones who do this sort of thing in general, it takes on a whole new color when it’s a Christian doing it. Last week, Katelyn Beaty, managing editor of Christianity Today, said something incredibly dismissive, and a few of us called her on it. She responded to us, and I and Emily and Elizabeth took some time to try to explain to her why what she said was wrong. I even wrote an entire post.
Yet that conclusion is merely subjective. I haven’t read the comment in question so I cannot comment but as you see, people like Ms. Fields thinks everyone else is wrong and works from that premise. We doubt she used the bible to back up her argument as most progressive and liberal Christians rely upon their own ideas and do not base their arguments on solid biblical ground.
We are not going to delve into that problem here but if one wants understanding and a good hearing they should provide the same atmosphere to those they disagree with. Of course twitter is NOT a good place to have any discussion or take offense at the words typed. But if you want to be a part of the Christian community maybe you should not take everything said so personally and over react to what the other person has said, God said to get understanding and understanding helps solve a lot of problems before they arise.
But in reading that point it seems that the reason Ms. Fields is not being accepted into Christian communities is because of her attitude and reactions to what others say but then we did not expect her to have a solid biblical reason for her point of view. She may feel like she was insulted and dismissed but then those who discuss with her may feel the same way about her response to their words.
That’s what makes this gaslighting. She was trying to pretend that what we knew as true– that she’d seen all of us sharing how I Kissed Dating Goodbye kept us in abusive relationships and all the rest– never happened, even though her own damn tweet showed she was well aware.
What this means is that believers should be careful when they read human books including those written by popular or experienced Christians. Those books are not infallible words of God and rely more upon the understanding of the author than they do God’s instructions. What else can be seen is Ms. Field’s ignoring of Peter’s words when he tells women to be submissive even when they are not loved by their husbands as Christ loves the church.
How can she expect to be part of the Christian community when she does not obey the voice of the one who leads that community? God has laid out instructions for how his followers are to react to negative situations and a lot of people do ignore God’s perfect instructions and replace them with their own corrupt, sinful, fallible alternatives.
If you want to be part of the Christian community you need to follow God’s instructions over man’s. We suspect that Ms. Fields does not do that.