If you are feeling lost, disillusioned or hurt as a result of a shift in your faith or by a negative church (or other faith community) experience, Walking Wounded: Hope for Those Hurt by Church might be for you. Class price is $79 and includes daily posts (Monday through Friday) and weekly exercises in journaling, storytelling, and wellness practices. The next session begins November 5, 2012. Read the course description »
How do I know if I’m one of the “walking wounded”?
Church experiences or religious leaders have negatively impacted your heart and soul. You’re walking around with sadness, anger, disillusionment, and some level of confusion about what you experienced, what you believe, who you are, or who God is. You might have had a painful exit from a church or other ministry. You might have been saddened by something that happened at your church and felt you had to leave. Maybe you’re just re-thinking what you’ve been taught and are feeling disoriented, not knowing what to believe.
What can I expect if I attend?
First, you can expect to be welcomed warmly, regardless of what you believe, what you don’t believe, or whom you’re associated with. Then, be prepared to laugh, meet fellow wanderers, and lose your sense of spiritual vertigo. You will have the opportunity to share some of your experiences and discover you are not alone.
Why you? What makes you qualified to facilitate this kind of gathering?
First, because we ourselves were the walking wounded. We’re still healing in different ways but have found greater hope, life, and peace over the past several years. Finding others along the way made all the difference. Second, as counselors, pastors, and friends, we work with and are friends with many wonderful people who have been through difficult faith-based experiences. We’ve found that most of these situations are threaded with similar themes. Third, there are a lot of us out there wandering, and we know the hope that comes from discovering we’re not alone.
How can I know that what I share will be safe?
We value safety as the foundation of community, so the class will be password protected and the participants encouraged to hold all disclosures confidential. We hope as you experience the class you will know that you are loved and accepted, regardless of what you’ve been through or where you are now.
Where does God fit into all this?
God will fit in wherever you see fit. We’re each on our own path. We’re not here to tell you where God is or isn’t. However, a lot of attendees could be in a state of heightened sensitivity (kind of like allergic) to all things churchy, so we’ll be avoiding religious jargon and conventional spiritual practices. Not because we don’t love God, but because we want to be as hypo-allergenic as we can be. Everyone has a different and unique relationship with God; you will not be forced to believe, see or accept anything, especially related to God.
Kathy Escobar co-pastors the Refuge, an eclectic faith community in North Denver dedicated to those on the margins of life and faith (www.therefugeonline.org). She journeys with people in hard places as a spiritual director, teacher, and group facilitator. A Pepperdine University graduate, she also has a Masters degree in Management/Organizational Development and a Certificate in Evangelical Spiritual Guidance from Denver Seminary.
Kathy is the author of Down We Go: Living into the Wild Ways of Jesus (Civitas Press, 2011).
Phyllis Mathis is a long-time spiritual teacher, lay leader, former pastor, Ontological Coach and Licensed Professional Counselor (www.phyllismathis.com) who has been practicing for over 20 years. A seasoned writer, retreat facilitator and a beginning potter, she is the co-creator of the forthcoming course: The Iconic Self (Jen Lee Productions, 2012).