Item description for Religious Abuse: A pastor explores the many ways religion can hurt as well as heal by Keith Wright...
Overview As a pastor with forty years of experience, Keith Wright came to realize that a dichotomy exists within the walls of many churches. While many churchgoers find the environment wonderfully embracing and supportive, the fact is that religion can offer both a positive and a negative experience. Religious abuse affects millions of church members and church leaders in every denomination. It can be blatant, but it can also be extremely subtle and unintentional. Keith Wright believes that only when we recognize and acknowledge the problem can we work toward positive change that allows us to truly benefit from the good. Individuals, church leaders, Christian educators, sociologists, psychologists and other counselors who have experienced or witnessed the results of religious abuse will find the personal stories in this book revealing and enlightening.
Publishers Description As a pastor with 40 years of experience, Keith Wright came to realise that a dichotomy exists within the walls of many churches. While many churchgoers find the environment wonderfully embracing and supportive, the fact is that religion can offer both a positive and a negative experience. Religious abuse affects millions of church members and church leaders in every denomination. It can be blatant, but it can also be extremely subtle and unintentional. Keith Wright believes that only when we recognise and acknowledge the problem can we work toward positive change that allows us to truly benefit from the good. Individuals, church leaders, Christian educators, sociologists, psychologists and other counsellors who have experienced or witnessed the results of religious abuse will find the personal stories in this book revealing and enlightening.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.04" Width: 6.26" Height: 0.55" Weight: 0.55 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2008
Publisher Northstone Publishing
ISBN 189683647X ISBN13 9781896836478
Availability 0 units.
More About Keith Wright
Wright served as pastor for forty years in the Presbyterian Church USA. He received his Doctor of Ministry degree and the Distinguished Alumni Award (1992) from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Since his retirement in 1993, he has served as an interim associate pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Covenant Presbyterian Church, and University Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas.
Keith Wright currently resides in the state of Texas.
Reviews - What do customers think about Religious Abuse: A pastor explores the many ways religion can hurt as well as heal?
Healing Hurt by Rligious Insight Jun 24, 2002
Having experienced both childhood and clergy religious abuse, I rejoiced to discover Dr. Wright's book. It helped me understand the sources of my own pain and ways to overcome it. This work identifies many kinds of abuse in religious communities, and examines correctives to discourage, prevent and heal such abuse. Wright draws on 45 years of pastoral experience, the work of other authors, takes resources from psychology, current Biblical scholars and theologians. There are personal stories of both pain and healing from his own experience and that of others. Dr. Wright describes several forms of abuse and uses Scriptural references to propose appropriate behaviors. In Chapter 5, "Religion and Abuse of Women," Wright cites an account of a mother trying to discuss the Image of God with her young children, and is astonished by her daughter's response. The daughter announced that she isn't like God because she is a girl, but her brother is like God because God is a boy. (p. 86ff) This erroneous position certainly learned in church, was carried historically in both Jewish and Christian practice, causing a patriarchal demeaning of women. Wright offers an interpretation of Genesis 1-3 which separates the creation of humankind, both male and female, in God's image from the post-fall prescriptive against Eve to be subwervient to her husband. In the chapter "Religion and the Abuse of Clergy," one abuse is forcing the pastor to be untruthful about what he/she has learned in seminary. This is caused by denominational leadership and executives, and congregational reluctance to listen to new ideas. Wright does discuss the abuse of pastors caught between parties to conflict. In my experience and observation, the use of power in church conflict is more harmful and painful, including the "collateral damage" to family and friends, than any other form of clergy abuse. Appropriate uses and misuses of power are dealt with in the chapter "Theologial Sources of Abuse." This chapter deals with the power of God, in Paul's phrase, as the power of weakness. In the final chapters, Dr. Wright proposes a reinterpretation of the life, work, death and resurrection of Jesus as a compaassionate calling back of strayed persons, rather than the exaction of a price for disobedience of God. He denies the traditional explanation of the transmission of sin as genetic and inherited. This will certainly dismay some readers, but I found it reassuring and contributing to an understanding of God's sompassionate love and the love and compassion we can share with each other--a true cure for religious abuse!
A quietly internal revolution will turn your vision inside o May 3, 2002
Dr. Wright's book is a quiet revelation which led to an internal revolution for me. His careful definitions of abuse and what constitutes abuse are but the preludes to detailed and riveting stories of hurt and healing. As we watch the Roman Catholic churches wrestle with one form of abuse and the Israelis and Palestinians wrestle with another, such a definition is indispensable to our understanding of what faith and belief really mean. There could not be a timelier exploration of one of the central issues of our day -- finding spirituality that unites and heals instead of dividing and killing. Dr. Wright's book is a must-read!
healthy religions abolish abuses Dec 9, 2001
This is an important book for leaders and members of every religious tradition.Keith Wright offers examples of abusive behavior which in the past have been tolerated or ignored, and he urges that the issue of abuse be recognized and challenged despite the possible costs of speaking up. The treatment of clery by congregations and administrators has been called a "cruelty system." This is common knowledge among ministers and administrators, but few, like Keith Wright, have had the courage to name these behaviors "religious abuse." Wright reminds his readers that "everybody knows that the church has been guilty of much evil, but very few people within the church are willing to tell the truth." Ministers and lay people have quietly left their congregations in response to the pain they have suffered in the name of religion. Wright covers a wide range of types of abuse in this thought-provoking book, including the abuse of workaholic preachers who burden people with more than they can handle, and the withholding of approval from a significant person in your life. I believe that this book should be read widely in the church and especially by clergy, lay leadlers and seminarians. Its strength is that it is written by an ordained minister who loves the church and who continues to value the experience which a life lived connected to a religious tradition provides. Its challenge is to see and label abuse when it occurs and then to act to stop the abuse. Wright concludes: "Our task is to recognize and discourage religious abuse where it occurs while doing our best to foster and nurture those aspects of religion which are life-giving and life-sustaining."
Let's Recognize Religion Can Both Heal and Hurt Nov 4, 2001
Keith Wright's four decades of personal experiences as a pastor in a mainline Christian denomination provide the bricks for this book, his ruminations and researches, the mortar. Dr. Wright uses his firsthand knowledge of people who have been pricked, punched, or crushed by religion to declare that, "I am very much aware of the blessings of religion; and I am very much aware of its abusive side. I have felt it necessary to call attention to that abuse because it is there and because we who are part of the church must admit it." (page 169). He speaks not as someone who wishes to rail against religion, but as a committed Christian leader who thinks it imperative to recognize that religion itself has and will continue to abuse people, but through introspection and honesty some of the abusive practices can be lessened. As we, individually, are created good, make mistakes and acknowledge our shortcomings, and need redemption and restoration to wholeness, so the church, corporately, is created good, has made mistakes and needs to acknowledge its shortcomings, and needs redemption and restoration to wholeness.
At the start of the book Dr. Wright uses a number of firsthand cases illustrating lives hurt by religion, starting with his own parents. Dr. Wright classifies these abuses into categories, such as the religious abuse of women, of children, of overworking church members, of clergy. I couldn't help but think, "What would I tell this person?" These cases are a gold mine for discussion in a church study or home study group. As Dr. Wright discusses the personal stories, he talks at length about how he would or could have responded, using the Bible, outside research, and his own synthesis. In this aspect Dr. Wright's book reminds me of the format used by Harold Kushner in When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Dr. Wright makes the case that much of the abuse can ultimately be traced to a religion's emphasis on doctrine and judgment rather than personal growth and love.
I found the longest chapter, the one titled The Abuse of Clergy, to be particularly fascinating. Dr. Wright uses more personal examples here than any other chapter. The stories are poignant: overworked clergy trying to keep factions from dividing the church, seminary students fudging their personal "belief statements" to fit the status quo, churchmembers out to bring the pastor down, and pastors writing safe and innocuous sermons feeling they cannot challenge their congregations. No doubt pastors circulate similar stories among themselves but it is healthy for us in the congregation to see what abuses our leaders can and do suffer at times.
Although I really like the book, one criticism I have is that there are not enough of his firsthand stories of religious abuse to think about. Dr. Wright loads the first and last chapters with his personal experiences (I counted 24 firsthand stories in the entire book), but the middle chapters had few or even none, though Dr. Wright uses examples drawn from other authors in these middle chapters. Perhaps that's my personal bias; I am one who is now in a denomination very different from the one of my childhood, youth, and early adulthood. I credit leaving that situation as the most important factor in my personal spiritual growth, and so I felt empathy with many of the people in Dr. Wright's book.
This book is not only a good read for individual reflection on the topic of spiritual abuse, but could make an excellent book to study in a church study. The firsthand stories are powerful and cannot fail to elicit discussion. Dr. Wright's commentary provides a refreshing point of view, and the other books he cites could be used for further reflection.
In the aftermath of the September 11 hijackings, polls indicate than there are an increasing number of people returning to some form of corporate worship. Why did these leave in the first place? Were they victims of abuses documented by Keith Wright? A book study using Religious Abuse could bring a healthy catharsis for misgivings and hurt feelings and perhaps begin healing and restoration to wholeness.
This book hits close to home. Oct 20, 2001
If you were brought up in a traditionsl Christian church, as I was. you can identify with Keith Wright's excellent book. His poignant personal story and his critical view of some of the accepted dogma which we have tended to accept unthinkingly, resonates deep in one's emotional being. Read it and weep for the abused throughout hidtory. Read it and rise up against the religious abuse still hurting people today by all religious and theological systems.