Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

Christian Ghosting: The Destructive Christian Practice We Don’t Talk About

 

I don’t think I believe in ghosts– I suppose I’m open to the possibility, but never in my life have I seen an apparition of anything ghost-like.

But while I don’t believe in ghosts, I have been “ghosted” and it remains one of the more painful and destructive experiences in my whole life.

Ghosting is something that can happen to anyone, in any social circle, or from any particular social group. However, we American Christians seem to have perfected this to a finally crafted art.ghosting

What is ghosting? You might not know the term, but you probably know the action: ghosting is when someone abruptly ends a friendship with limited or no explanation, and when they proceed to quickly disappear from your life.

For me, I was ghosted by my best friend– and my entire social circle quickly followed without saying a word.

My family and I went from having what felt like a strongly bonded group of people to do life with, to waking up one morning and discovering we were now alone, and had no friends or natural support system. Before we were ghosted, we’d meet on a weekly scheduled evening for “small group” where we’d share meals together, talk about life together, pray for one another, and where we did life together.

On Sundays we worshipped together. Between those scheduled times we’d all hang out, help one another with projects or needs, our kids would play with one another… we’d celebrate birthdays and anniversaries together. Life was good.

And then one day, the world stopped.

I was a teaching elder at our church, and made the critical error of pushing back on folks when they challenged my fitness for serving as an elder when it was said in a meeting, “We have a deep concern that you’re not truly the head over your wife.”

I made the error of saying we shouldn’t force two of our most committed, reliable, and spiritually mature community members to be re-baptized as a condition of being a full voting member of our church.

I made the error of advocating for a higher minimum wage in a television interview (which led to someone literally yelling and walking out of church).

I made the error of preaching a sermon on Matthew 5 and what it means to love our enemies– which got me cornered and rebuked by the other elders because the sermon was, ironically, “unloving” to preach to a bunch of gun owners, apparently.

I made the error of suggesting we should have a policy against people bringing weapons into our place of worship, prompting some folks to threaten leaving the church.

I made many “errors,” and the net result was the tension in our little group continued to increase until my best friend bailed instead of navigating conflict– taking the rest of our social circle with him. We went from texting countless times a day and spending individual, and family time together, to…. nothing.

Quiet. Silence. Distance. Nonexistence.

It was like a magician showed up in my life, covered everything with a blanket, and then with a whisk of the wand it all disappeared– leaving me just holding a blanket.

The damage wasn’t just something I suffered– I also had to navigate hard discussions with my then 12 year old daughter as to why she lost all her friends as well. I still wake up every morning and try to extend grace for the sin of ghosting, but the fact my daughter had her closest friends ghosted from her as well, is something I still struggle to forgive.

Ghosting can happen to anyone, but we Christians sure know how to do it well.

It’s as if for us, loving people simply because they are people made in the image of God is not enough. Instead, we become only willing to love people who we are in harmonious agreement with. As long as we are in agreement, the relationship is solid– but the minute one person begins to grow and shift on this belief or that one, we bail.

We ghost people. We disappear from their lives. We abandon them. We sever ties.

And we do it in the cruelest way possible: with silence.

Sometimes I have to pray like Jesus did and say, “Father, forgive them– because they don’t know what they do.” Because honestly, I don’t think they understand the damage they’ve done.

I don’t think they realize that on the day they ghosted my family, my daughter lost the only close friendships she had.

I don’t think they realize that on the day they ghosted me, it was the day that my marriage started to seriously unravel.

I don’t think they realize how painful it was to experience three failed adoptions in the months after their disappearance– driving home the reality that we had no one to grieve with us, no one to check in on us, and no one who cared if we survived as a family, or not. Every waking morning was a reminder that none of them actually gave a shit about us.

I don’t think they realize that years later, the idea of going to church again or having Christian friends I can trust, is outside of what would be healthy or plausible for me.

I don’t think they realize that when they see us at the department store and turn to walk away before we see them, they’re not quick enough.

I don’t think they realize that I never fully recovered from that life event, and that it still impacts me on a daily basis. I felt it yesterday, I feel it today, and I fear I’ll feel it tomorrow, too.

I don’t think they realize any of those things. Sadly I don’t think they care, either– because if they did, they would have attempted to bind up the wounds they inflicted without letting years go by and life fall apart.

And now, it’s too late– there can be forgiveness, but there will never, ever, be reconciliation. It’s done. It’s finished. There is no reversing the damage, and no returning to what once was.

The destruction from the practice of Christian Ghosting, quite honestly, is often irreparable.

For those of us who have tried to live out the Christian life while being open to allowing new information to shape and stretch what we believe, the reality is that at one time or another, we have friends who will ghost us.

Somehow, someway, too many Christian circles have failed to realize that we don’t have to be in complete agreement to be in a complete relationship.

And so, when theological agreement is not in harmony, there’s always at least one family who feels like some evil magician made their life disappear without notice or even a preemptive “abracadabra” to give us a bit of warning that life is about to change.

While we can’t control the actions of others, I do think we can do two things:

We can refuse to be the ones who do the ghosting.

And when it happens, we can practice praying, “Forgive them Father, for they don’t have the slightest effing’ clue as to the damage they’ve done.”

 

Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

It's not the end of the world, but it's pretty #@&% close. Trump's America & Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

Join the resistance: Subscribe to posts and email updates from BLC!

It's not the end of the world, but it's pretty #@&% close. Trump's America & Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

Join the resistance: Subscribe for posts and updates from BLC!

Books from BLC:

You Might Also Like:

Books from BLC:

What you think

Post Comments:

  • I appreciate this column very much… but like some of the (rational and kind) responders, also see some issues with the framing of it. Yes, some people don’t brook any disagreement. But here’s an interesting question I ask myself… “What issues do *I* make litmus tests of friendship?” I do have some. Here’s a short list:

    1. Did you vote for Donald Trump? We’re probably not going to be / remain close.
    2. Do you reject women’s leadership in the church and mutuality (egalitarian practices) in marriage? Deal-breaker for me.
    3. Do you use gawdtalk but over and over exhibit hateful language and / or actions toward others of different belief / orientation / race? Friendship-buster.

    I do think this issue is one needing a lot more thought… and hope you write a follow up perhaps dealing with more of the complexities. It is real… but it does underplay the role community does (like it or not) have re border maintenance re shared beliefs. And it doesn’t grapple with — tough one — what exactly “friendship” itself actually is. A dive into C S Lewis’ Four Loves might be interesting on that one…

    Thank you for the very provocative article.

    • Loss of friendship is one thing. People have a right to their standards.

      However, “Shunning” an entire family by entire families for the statements made by one member of a family is a very different thing. It’s a social nuke with lots of collateral damage.

  • “Somehow, someway, too many Christian circles have failed to realize that we don’t have to be in complete agreement to be in a complete relationship.”

    Then why were you trying so hard to bring them to your understanding of scripture? If complete agreement isn’t necessary, why did you try to forbid guns, for example? They weren’t trying to force you to carry, were they?

    It sounds like they did accept you despite a lack of complete agreement. However, did you really accept them? If so, what’s up with the condescending ‘holier-than-thou’ approach you displayed toward people you call friends?

    I ask these questions as someone with non-traditional Christian views. I keep the Sabbath on Saturday, but still go to a Sunday church for fellowship. You won’t find me getting up in front of the Sunday congregation and trying to push them into having a Saturday Sabbath.

    Why would I? We don’t have to be in complete agreement to be in a complete relationship.

  • Sounds like you weren’t with Christians at all, but rather this bizarre mutation seen in the U.S. over the last few decades where hate, misogyny, xenophobia and violence is somehow to be worshiped as part of god’s plan. I’d say you are better off being “ghosted” by this particular community. I’m sure there are better ones out there to socialize with. Good read and best to you.

  • You weren’t “ghosted”. You systematically destroyed all your relationships by bringing up hotbutton issues faster then everyone could manage to establish some sort of detente on each issue. The end result was inevitable.

    The reason this happened is severalfold. First, you usurped the role of the Pastor in taking actions against the flock for perceived issues. Second, you are an illiberal SJW in a conservative assembly who cares more about broader social issues then actual personal relationships. Third, you didn’t act with sensitivity and love.

    Then, you do what every SJW does, act offended and blame everyone else when their offensive behavior causes them social backlash.

    Maybe you were right on some issues, a valid “other side of the coin on others”, maybe all, but it doesn’t matter. You didn’t act in love inside the church. I wouldn’t want such a divisive person as an Elder, either, even if they were right on EVERY issue.

    • Oh so we just follow elders and pastors blindly and do not use critical thinking? Gotcha.. heard of cults starting that way, but I’m sure a church could never resemble one of those 😉

      • I’ve replied to this sillieness twice, it keeps getting deleted. Nothing in my post said to follow elders and pastors blind! Try debating the actual points in my post.

      • “Oh so we just follow elders and pastors blindly and do not use critical thinking?” Hmm I never said that. Can you quote anything from my post where I said that? I delineated some church roles and one that was overstepped. I never said (or implied) anything about blind obedience. If you want a real discussion, please start with something that is not a red herring.

      • “Oh so we just follow elders and pastors blindly and do not use critical thinking? ” Never said that. If you want a real discussion, stop throwing up red herrings and try reading what I did say.

    • I suspect that you disappeared from his life just like the others did. The “errors” that the person reported did not all happen the same day–and most of them, seem (from my point of view) quite reasonable. But I have never had close friends from my church either. 🙂

  • I ghosted my two best friends of 44 years. Their conversations became more and more centered on hating minorities. Trying to reason was met with a smug grin. Finally I asked if they had no concern for the less fortunate members of society. The response was “I don’t care!” I don’t hate them, I just don’t want to be around them. I didn’t return their last phone call and feel like a burden has been lifted.

    • And that can work for some. My best friend of 55 years is the polar opposite of me when it comes to social issues yet we remain brothers and can discuss, vehemently argue and never agree, so we find other areas of commonality, like our childhood bond.

  • There are no spirits or ghosts, or magic. It’s laughable. Try stepping off the crazy train, and you wouldn’t have these issues.

  • Seems you brought this on yourself. Your friends tried to reason with you and then just gave up. Some do not want to argue ad infinitum and walk away. Perhaps you need to rethink your stubborness and “Christian” views on certain subjects. They don’t sound Christian to me at all. HangFire is correct!

    • Really? How can it be unChristian to increase the minimum wage so families can survive and stay together? How is it unChristian to suggest leaving firearms in the car? And finally, I guess Jesus didn’t love his enemies.

      You are what’s wrong with “Christianity” today.

  • A religious community shares certain beliefs and if you begin not to match the template of the group, one way or another you will find yourself outside the group. Maybe you need to find a group that is not based on a strict commonality of interests but on exploring diverse or new interests–or one with a commonality regarding fairness or supporting the less fortunate.

    • Christianity has nothing to do with spirituality. Never did. Christians with different views, such as Catholic and Protestant, French or German, have killed each other by the millions over the years since Christ. If you want proof that humans are descended from apes or monkeys, you need look no further than Christian tribal behavior.

    • BTW… this behavior is rooted in the “leap of faith.” When one makes a “leap of faith” the intellect is checked that the door and the whole iron sharpening iron process is permanently replaced with dogma dulling mind.

      No one should be asked to make a leap of faith. It’s perfectly possible to be utterly convinced of the reality of Jesus and His creation.

  • Ghosting isn’t just a Christian thing. It happens in other circles as well. Speaking from personal experience it sucks. However looking back I realize I clearly didn’t lose anything other than shallow people in my life. True, real friends, are few and will stay with you no matter what. And they won’t hesitate the b!tchslap you when you need it. 😉

  • The people doing the disappearing act were never your friends to begin with. Sure they looked like it, but in reality they were just actors playing a role. Sounds like they probably aren’t even true Christians to begin with.

    • this is exactly right. They were never christians, and all you did was point that out to them, so they ditched. Most people I’ve met over my entire life who actively said they were Christians or Religious were the first to lie, cheat, steal.

    • He is always listening for you. I am always amazed by people who think that because they don’t hear God-he isn’t speaking. Or they don’t see Him so he must not be there. I cannot see Oxygen-or India or even my spouse sleeping in the next room. But I bet my very existence that they are real and here ! So is his voice, Honey. You keep talking. I promise He hears you.

    • Well technically he’s always ghosted you along with everyone else, unless he’s actually talking back.

  • This ghosting can be unbearable. A friend of mine ended up committing suicide over it. It was a small town where it happened. Don’t blame the victim; it is truly abusive.

  • Sounds like excommunication to me. Christians are a loving, tolerant bunch*, aren’t they?

    *mostly s#itheads and hypocrites

  • As others have said, this isn’t a Christian phenomenon. But, as I see it, the telling reality is that being Christian doesn’t prevent it. If I were in this situation, I’d be questioning why I needed Christianity at all if it does not help people even function as a genuinely caring community at even the most petty signs of disagreement. This is what most Christians (and most religious people in general) don’t seem to honestly question: you would claim that your faith and the Bible help serve as your moral compass in life, but if you already have a moral compass and have a healthy spirituality, why do you need this book and why do you need this church in your life, which serves to ostracize you?

  • Ther e s no such thing as ‘Christian Ghosting’. It is not taught or practiced in any Christian faith of which I am aware. The Amish are known to shun. The Mormons shun ex Mormon members but what you endured is simply your friends discovered you weren’t much of a friend and disassociated with you. I’m sure they made that decision for more reasons than the events you listed and I have no doubt there’s another side to this pity party story.

    i think your friends were kind to not have confronted you or they knew it wouldn’t matter if they did – it’s clear you’re full of yourself.

    I don’t know you but from reading this diatribe I’m crrtain I’d likely avoid you at the grocery store too

    • I hear you Dea, if all I ever heard from an elder at the church was to advocate secular politics of the left and accuse any who disagree of unchristian behavior I would ignore him as well.

    • exactly, those who ghosted him are NOT true Christians, they are like Pharisees making a fuss in public but ignoring the word of God in private.

    • Wow. While I agree with some of the initial observations made of the writer and even some of the points made in the response, the response then continues on with a lack of empathy and vitriol that really can only be described as rude. It is interesting that many of us seem to forget that when we do things like drive our cars or make comments on social media, grace and manners really do still apply.

  • Sounds like your former friends place righteousness over love/compassion. Which to me means the using their religion to support their ego, missing the whole point of Christianity ( and most religions) which to surrender one’s self to God or others or something greater than us. I call these folks “chinos” – christians in name only!

  • Maybe you were ghosted because you are a self-absorbed liberal who cavorts around pretending to be a Christian. Maybe after trying to reason with you and express their concern about your rebellion against God’s Word and common sense, they’re giving you the Matthew 10:14 treatment. I have a feeling you’re telling us very little, if any, of the full story.

    • you obviously have never truly studied the New Testament, a follower of Christ would never say such vile comments about someone, especially someone in pain. So tell me, what religion are you since you don’t follow Jesus Christ’s teachings of love??????

      • Christ taught that we express our love for Him by showing obedience to Him. Love is a word that has been tortured to mean “unquestioning acceptance” in our dissolute society.

      • In a congregation, if a person is living a sinfilled life. They’re supposed to confront their freind privately and let them know that they’re not living a Christian life. If they still carry on in this manner, it’s brought before the Pastor and the elders. And the friend and a elder confront this person privately. If they still carry on in this manner they are brought before the Pastor and the elders and put on probation. If they still carry on in this sinful manner, eventually they will be dismissed from the congregation.
        You can find all of what I’ve stated here, in scripture.

        • And yet, apparently none of that was followed in this case. none of the views that the author held could be called sin except in the most legalistic pharisaic sense. Differing on social issues and governmental policy does not determine whether one is living a “sin filled life”. In fact, just that judgmentalism is itself a sin. While I may not agree with the author on these issues, that does not make him a sinner to be shunned, or ghosted.

    • The verse you site doesn’t tell the apostles to shun or ghost anyone. This was the time when Jesus thought that the Kingdom of God was coming within weeks or months…I don’t ever recall anything in the New testament that recommends cutting off relationships because of someone’s beliefs or actions. Jesus hung out with the poor, with the sick, with prostitutes, and he never rejected any of them. I guess he really understood what “Christianity” should be like.

      • Check out Titus 3:10. Also, I won’t waste my time arguing. When I say “liberal,” I do not reference politics. I mean liberal interpretation of the Bible. Which you just did.

        • ‘Course Jesus didn’t write Titus – it was a letter from Paul to a congregation. and I don’t believe it said to shun the whole family. Well, I won’t argue (too much) either, but I think my understanding of what Matthew was talking about is pretty literal rather than liberal.

        • You call the man a ‘self-absorbed liberal who cavorts around pretending to be a Christian’ after he states liberal ideals(some of which are also Christian ideals), such as loving your enemies, higher minimum wage, not having weapons in a church…and you expect people to think that you’re not making this political?

          I looked at your Disqus posts and you’re as big of a nut-job as they come. You apparently believe that Pizzagate is real and they just got the wrong business.

          You are definitely not a Christian regardless of whether you claim to be or not.

          • You took my comments on Pizzagate completely out of context. I said that as an ER surgeon in a major city, I see firsthand the victims of atrocious abuse who are modern day slaves brought from around the world for sex.

  • p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

    .

    Down steep hills, through crowded
    streets I walk…

    and behold the emptiness of human kind.

    “Come dance with us,” cry some, “for it is pleasing to the Lord
    our God.”

    “Come sing with us,” cry others, “surely the Lord will bless us.”

    “Come, let us proclaim the Gospel,” cry others, “for this is the good
    work to which we are called.”

    “Let us lay hands on the sick that they might be healed,” they called,
    “surely the Spirit of God is upon us.”

    “Behold, “they cried in unison, as one standing together, “see what
    great things the Lord has done; we are free from the corruption
    of the world. We are clean, no longer defiled.”

    In their midst sat a man with a book who proclaimed, “Behold, the
    Word of Life wherein may be found all righteousness and truth.
    Let us learn of its mysteries that we may be the children of God.”

    Onward I walked and soon found a path, overgrown with thorns and little
    used. As I walked the path thorns pulled at and tore me in many places, and
    at each cut I remembered a face from the crowd.

    Alone I walked, and came to a hill at the foot of which were scattered many
    bones. As I climbed the hill I beheld at the top a tree, and on the tree
    aperson, nailed and torn, weeping in great sorrow. But as I looked into their
    eyes I saw that which was missing from humankind, that which would fill
    their emptiness and loneliness. Without a word my destiny was revealed.

    As I turned towalk down the hill I beheld the great crowd casting a broken
    bodyto the ground at the foot of the hill. I heard the crowd cry outas
    one, “How dare anyone come amongst us and behold thegreat works of God
    which we do, how dare that person ask us “Where is Love, have you crucified
    It?”

    I set my face to the crowd, and of humankind I ask;

    “Whereis Love?”.

    (1 Corr. 13 & 1 John 4:8)

  • Finally read the whole article and it just seems like your friends had different values and opinions and when they found out how you truly felt about certain issues decided they no longer wanted to be friends and instead of confronting you about it just kinda deleted you from their circle. My advice find a group/church where you can meet people with similar opinions. Or at the very least be up front about how you feel or take a lesson from this friendship misadventure and keep your opinions to yourself. It’s your choice I am not advocate any of these ideas. I would stay there and make them squirm but I am just mean like that.

    • Pat, you could not have hit the nail on the head with more accuracy. Way too many in the body are only willing to grow to a certain point, usually where they are comfortable, and no further. When someone comes along and had insight and knowledge beyond that point, they lose it and must run to hide themselves from it. This was the first thing I taught my wife when we began going to church together. She was a relatively new believer and I had been in the faith for decades. I told her that there would be things she would hear that she would not understand right away, but to just file them away in her mind until the rest of the pieces came along and brought everything into focus more clearly.
      With most other believers, I have to temper my knowledge, teaching, and even just talking about certain subjects to keep from overwhelming them with things that they have not grown to be able to accept yet. Strangely, the hardest thing for many to accept is that a believer is free in Christ – in everything. That they are not subject to the OT Law, which so many of the pastors and preachers continue to shout from the pulpit and bind their flocks with. I have been seen by some of the leaders in the church as a “lukewarm believer” because I do not tow their line of legalism. Their loss.

  • I’ve seen this happen, too. 40+ years ago, a relative left a particular church that was almost a cult, due to doctrinal differences, and he was totally ghosted. This is often the reason why people who have differences of belief, opinion, etc, and who keep this to themselves don’t leave churches or other groups as they don’t want to lose their social circle. In your case, your differences became public for various reasons, so you are being judged and punished because of that.

    As other commenters have said, look around and find people who are open to what you think and believe and realize that the people who ghosted you were not your friends to begin with. And, maybe some day, the children of the adults who ghosted you and who are now ghosting your daughter may see her again when she and they are grown up and have moved away from their parents and may become friends again. They have probably been told to shun her and have no choice but to do so as long as they are under the control of their parents. I saw this happen to a friend’s daughter.

  • Simple, the people who ghosted you weren’t actual Christians, they were the Pharisees praying in public to “show” how wonderful they are. A true Christian would never have treated you as they did.

  • The writer of this article took a risk and expressed his opinions and some of those opinions were not in alignment with this circle of “friends”. Obviously these people in the writer’s life were not actually his friends, they were just people that got together to share some cultural rituals together. Maybe these people were actually uncomfortable with his opinions or it could have easily just have been a Middle School “Mean Girls” situation, where someone in the group decided to assert their dominance and drive someone, who appeared a bit different (therefore vulnerable), from the social circle to promote their own personal social agenda. In the end, we need to rise above these childish situations and find people who demonstrate that they are open to hearing differing view points. I find that those people also tend to be much more fun to be around.

  • The author found out that he never actually had any friends in the first place. He also found out just how shallow and petty his community was. These are both good things to know. It can lead to making real friends based on valid reasons.

  • I suppose when your entire world-view is based on a fantasy, your relationships with other people are a mirage, too. And I am not at all insensitive to Benjamin’s plight. But at a certain point, you have to see things for how they are.

  • This of course is the problem of joining any group. When you “join” you give tacit approval to the “Groups beliefs”, forsaking your own. I never if possible join anything but if I need to for some reason I would never attempt to adjust the group beliefs. I have yet to meet any christian that is willing to follow the teachings of Christ. They sell their program on his teachings, while they themselves ignore them.

  • It is sometimes hard to know when to leave your church, but in your case, I cannot think of a better reason.

    If you want to be in good standing at a church like that, no one will want to hear your opinions If they differ from the majority. I would go to a church that encourages some level discussion, at least SOME discussion of important topics, where individual opinions are not categorically condemned. If you were made elder and even then cannot voice your opinion, then you are probably not at the right church! I would be especially concerned that your views concerned social matters, and were not issues of core Gospel belief. You should ask yourself why they made you elder in the first place. Certainly at this church not to use your God-given ability to think. A church that shuns you for having your own thoughts is not my kind of church.

    Oh and those people were never friends to begin with. They were church members that you socialized with. Even your enemies wouldn’t act that badly, and pious so-called Christians to boot. I would write that lovely church a note and tell them how much I’ve enjoyed their church and not return. To quote the old Neil Sedaka song, breaking up is hard to do.

  • If you think abusing an old man for speaking his mind is liberal, then all is most certainly understood on my end, my dear comrade.

  • We previously attended a church I now call the “perfect people” church. Everything is fine until you or someone in your family steps beyond the invisible line of what is acceptable regarding “big” sins and “little” sins. Our case wasn’t as extreme as yours, but we feel your pain. We did leave that church, and we have found REAL people who actually realize that we’re all just sinners saved by grace. I’m very sorry this happened to you. One wise man once told me to “never judge Jesus by the church” and “there are no perfect churches.”

    • “Never judge Jesus by the church”…I am going to write that on the front page of my Bible so I remember it. Churches are maintained by flawed human beings and sometimes we need great patience to endure our blessings!! Thanks

  • Can someone explain something to me?
    My daughter is part of the youth group at our church, she was asks a personal question answered with truth. Then spoke to the youth pastor, was told to either stop doing what she’s doing or step away from being a group leader with the youth.
    I understand do as you teach. But does this give this person the right to “threaten” my daughter with, if you don’t tell the pastor, I will.

    • If she’s a leader in the youth group then she’s dealing with children. You don’t mention the question or the truthful answer but it may very well be something inappropriate to be discussing with someone else’s children. Sounds like the youth pastor did what he or she is supposed to do, directly confront admonish and educate or separate for the good of the body.

    • I agree. You didn’t give details but in our society today that is rife with issues regarding kids-it sounds like the youth pastor was doing the best for all involved. And your daughter. Good she answered with the truth BUT if what she is doing is harmful to her-she should not have the responsibility of leadership. What are you doing to help her? It’s your job too ya know..

  • Not really surprising that friendships don’t last if the only thing bringing people together in the first place is adherence to certain beliefs and practices.

  • First of all, the appropriate term is not ghosting, but excommunication. It has also been called disfellowshipping, banning and shunning and is as old as Matthew 18:15-20 and 1 Corinthians 5:1-5. I know that ghosting sounds clever and avant garde, but the truth is that you are not a victim of anything new.

    Secondly, your admission of “errors” is hilariously self-serving. You obviously offended a lot of people, which happens to be a sin. But you apparently have no intention of ever apologizing or repenting in order to restore those relationships. Relationships are a two-way street and rarely do they survive your level of self-righteousness and condescension.

    Thirdly, your refusal to attend any other church is very telling. Combined with your declaration that there could never, ever be a reconciliation illustrates a level of conceit that should be terrifying. Forgiveness is the cornerstone of the gospel and your refusal to either ask for it or tender it, places you in dangerous territory. Calling yourself a “public Christian” is a joke. If you don’t love Jesus’ body, which is the church, you don’t love Jesus.

    • The church is not the way to heaven. Only Christ is. Christ’s forgiveness is the cornerstone of the gospel, and although we should strive to be Christ-like, we are human and not God. Saying that offending someone is a sin is completely asinine and it is far from Biblical. First off who are we to judge other humans? There is only one Judge and our human judgement is worth nothing and does not point people to Christ. Please tell me what direct line you have with Christ where let’s you in on who is in dangerous territory or not? And please tell me what do you mean by dangerous territory? Is that a stab at the state of one’s soul who you do not know at all, and furthermore even if it was your brother you still would have no right or justification in making that call. Only Christ knows our hearts and any guessing we do does nothing good for us or them and at the end of the day it does not glorify God or allow us to project Christ to others.

    • Offending people is a sin? What Pharisee school did you get that? Jesus offended everybody-that’s why they crucified him! “But in Him was found no sin.. As for not loving a church means not loving Jesus-there was NO CHURCH when Jesus walked the earth-but he still asked Peter, “do you love me…” YOU need to read the Gospel and stop putting your ignorance forth as the word of Godl. People like YOU are the reason so many Christians are lost. Gawd go away!!!

      • That’s how it starts: “you are the bad guy. you did this. you did that. now we must turn away from you.” When the truth is something very different, that they are creating a false pretext to do evil and twist the Bible rather than following the Bible.

    • The church has always had the methods you describe, but whether you call it disfellowshipping, excommunication, or whatever, it is always known to the person and made public as a form of spiritual ‘discipline’ of the person involved. What the writer is describing is something different- without describing any justification for disfellowshipping, to suddenly withdraw from a close relationship without stating any reason for it is not ok.

      But then again, we’re only hearing one side of the story here and it wouldn’t be the first time that a picture changed once both sides of a dispute made their positions known.

      • I go to one of the most famous and respected churches in the evangelical world, and this article definitely resonated with me (and not just me). It’s even tempting to say which one though I won’t. The term “ghosting” is just another term for “blackballing.” And yes indeed, it’s about evil, unbiblical, horrible turning away from and wrongly ostracizing someone – having nothing to do with proper justified biblical excommunication or anything of the sort. It is sin and selfishness and “politics” in action in all it’s ugly ugliness and wickedness – in the church. Sad to see someone writing like Hp here. That is also exactly the kind statement someone who practices this evil would write when it might sometimes be covered with a phony pretext of misusing and abusing Scripture to justify it if there is ever a reason given instead of just the silence.

        • Honest question: do you think we Christians should place limits on how much emotional/psychological abuse we take from “friends”? I ask this as someone with mental health issues, and with a lot of friends with mental health issues.

  • Tragic as it is to read about what happened with the writer’s family I can’t help but wonder what’s the other side. When people are in church with each other and one person is in a position of authority, as in teaching elder, there exists a leader/subordinate relationship.

    Some people are not emotionally equipped or feel intellectually capable of arguing with a elder/leader. If the writer began making announcements or pronouncements that were taken as either unbiblical or self-serving it may be wrong but understandable to draw back from the leader. Is that unchristian like, yes. But not unhuman like. Why again was his marriage falling apart. Why again are they going through attempts at adoption when the family and marriage were suffering. Is his house in order

    I think the writer seems to want it both ways. He wants the equal footing of being just another member of the church and a friend but also maintain the benefits of the leader/follower relationship. Seems he doesn’t understand that the members may feel his actions were unchristian like. I could hear them say “why is he treating us like this after all the fellowship we’ve had”.

    Unchristian or not, church leadership is still leadership. And a leader without followers is not a leader. This may be more of a leadership problem than a Christian one. But a problem that affects young children more than it affects mature adults.

    Still, this is a family who needs prayer.

    • Elder: “I think we should not allow guns in the church.”

      Others: “We disagree. Let’s decide.”

      Later: “We decided. Let’s move on now.”

      Case closed. We’re all still friends.

      ————————————————-

      Was that so hard? And I disagree with that gun-banning too no less, but I’m still ready to go out to lunch with the guy after the service and “agree to disagree.”

      • I agree with that assessment of that dispute. But it was a lot more. That’s why I say there is something missing here. Quite a breakdown to occur over that.

        As I’ve heard, no matter how thin you slice it, there is always two sides to baloney.

  • The is an excellent book called- “The Bait of Satan ” (offended). It’s premise is that when we become “offended” with our spouse, our church, our friends, the end result is a lot like what is being described here. The goal is to understand Satan’s sly scheme and not allow this “offense” to get this far. It is enlightening and thought generating reading, espically in an era where there always seems to be somebody offended and “leaving the church.”
    . I too have been “ghosted by Christian friend in a Christian church. The pain is quite unlike any other-a real betrayal of an extra special trust. Maybe this is how Jesus felt with Judas? I wonder…

    • I would not think so, as Jesus knew the betrayal would occur and even said so, and without that incident there would have been no Crucifixion and resurrection to offer fallen mankind an opportunity of redemption. Why would the word in the flesh, fully human and fully divine feel betrayed by God’s plan?

    • I have that book it quite good.
      I enjoyed reading a few years ago
      Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth. By Hal Lindsay.
      It opened my eyes to a lot of this worlds evil.

  • “we don’t have to be in complete agreement to be in a complete
    relationship.”

    If only more people thought that way and realized that.

    • I am a Veteran and a Minister. If we could only get that message across-I would not have needed to be in service because Army’s would be unnecessary. My country would not be divided and coming apart at the seams because of politics. My lovely neighbors from India would not be afraid for their safety and road rage would have no more victims. If only

      • Of course, but right now I’m just thinking of when it’s people who are supposed to be fellow members of the body of Christ under the authority of God’s Word, as it would seem the author also was thinking there.

  • Dr. Ben may have gotten his Doctor of Intercultural Studies from Fuller, but he missed his class in humility. When your more mature, Doc, you’ll use examples from your life that aren’t so self-glorifying.

    • Ah David-you made that accusation 20 minutes ago. You’re ranting pal and I’m beginning to think you should not have skipped anger management this week. Doc-stop egging him on!

      • He had it posted, then I replied, but it said it was removed. So he deleted it apparently shortly before posting again. No worries – nobody’s egging me on. If that were so, I would have addressed every point in his long reply below, but I refrained.

        • No True Patriot-I meant you were egging David. on. The guy is an idiot or disturbed, clearly and arguing with him only makes it worse. I do wonder why, exactly, he is soooooo mad though….go figure.

    • Your accusation there holds no water. When your comment still appeared the first time in your earlier version I also said I doubted you were regenerate, but I got a message saying your comment had already been removed. An accusation like that here is ridiculous and unwarranted.

      • “I was a teaching elder at our church, and made the critical error of pushing back on folks when they challenged my fitness for serving as an elder when it was said in a meeting, “‘We have a deep concern that you’re not truly the head over your wife.’”

        (Those horrible people. You, Dr. Ben are a hero.)

        I made the error of saying we shouldn’t force two of our most committed, reliable, and spiritually mature community members to be re-baptized as a condition of being a full voting member of our church.

        (Dr. Ben .. heroic)

        I made the error of advocating for a higher minimum wage in a television interview (which led to someone literally yelling and walking out of church).

        (Can you believe that? They YELLED at you? You’re my hero, Dr. Ben.)

        I made the error of preaching a sermon on Matthew 5 and what it means to love our enemies– which got me cornered and rebuked by the other elders because the sermon was, ironically, “unloving” to preach to a bunch of gun owners, apparently.

        (Sure, Dr. Ben. Clearly … you are an amazing human being.)

        I made the error of suggesting we should have a policy against people bringing weapons into our place of worship, prompting some folks to threaten leaving the church.

        (That’s right. Who are they to have constitutional rights? You’re incredible, Dr. Ben.)

        I made many “errors,” and the net result was the tension in our little group continued to increase until my best friend bailed instead of navigating conflict– taking the rest of our social circle with him. We went from texting countless times a day and spending individual, and family time together, to…. nothing.

        (You are the victim of victims, Dr. Ben. I’m so glad there are people like you in this world.)

        • I could easily address every point there, and rather well in fact, but it’s a waste of time. For you to even use them is incredibly warped, because every single one of them has merit. You have a “tell” though – when you mention “constitutional rights.” Don’t get me wrong – I completely support the 2nd Amendment right too, and the whole Constitution. And I would have simply disagreed with him about banning guns in church – and then we’d go out to lunch and laugh about it. But you mentioning it like that is a tip off that you probably approach this whole thing from the mind of a typical right wing “conservative” ideologue rather than with a truly regenerate mind devoted to the truth of the Word of God and to thinking and acting biblically.

  • Something to be said for learning from your mistakes, eh?
    I was a member of one of the largest churches in Minneapolis with a very famous pastor. I was marginalized because I was a single women. The pastor;s refused to counsel single women and some of the men would even walk away, with a comment like,”I don’t talk to unmarried women…” I found a new church that didn’t care what my marital status was.and understood my place in the body of Christ. Sometimes you just gotta shake the dust off your feet and mosey on down the road.

    • That church must not have had convents and orders of women religious. There is a fairly extensive history of women living lives in the service of their faith rather than with a husband and rugrats. You chose poorly when you started going to that “big ole church” that probably needs to raise a lot of funds to operate.

      • You are right-that’s why I got out after three years. It was started by a maverick minister and is considered Evangelical free, ie-the closest denomination it is associated with is the Assembly of God churches. but it has no strict ties to any orthodox church. Many many modern churches are like that today. It has a large congregation of about 4000 people. I miss the street ministry and live 100 miles away now so it would be difficult to do that again. I definitely do not miss the misogyny or lectures on “propa female behava from that old southern crone. Oops-I guess I have some forgiving to do….

        • It seems to me that many of the worse problems we have today is basically what you encountered from the 4000 cookie cutter member McChurch. I think it’s a problem when supposedly faithful people spending entirely too much time worrying whether other people of faith are “doing it wrong.”

          Ironically it seems to be exactly that sort of busybody behavior that caused the doctor of self promotion here to be shunned by his former church mates.

    • Some people and media accuse it of being just such a thing. The Pastor in chief and his wife are from the deep South and she specifically holds the belief that all single women are after her hubby Classic case of a women getting older and resenting other women. It was, in , truth, a mess. But it had the most powerful street ministry I have ever been involved with! Miracles happened on the streets of Minneapolis. Right down in the dirtiest, most putrid part of town. God was alive and well and reaching his people!

  • This looks more like an advertisement for book sales and Facebook followers to increase ad revenue than an actual faith based topic of discussion. Oh, don’t forget the big banners for podcasts on the side of the page. Do we really need another Cha-ching preacher in Christendom?

    • Why? Because it makes you uncomfortable to see in black and white the reality of something you choose to see as flawless? The church culture has the potential to do great things. But all too often, particularly in small communities, it is the meeting place for the wolves. It’s a gossipy, judgemental hierarchy of finger pointers. Being a good person is more than the name you call yourself. And just because you call yourself something, does not mean it is true.

      • What makes me uncomfortable Chris is the unvarnished commercialism that this blog writer is displaying. Maybe they weren’t “wolves”, maybe they just got real tired of Mr, excuse me Dr Paymemore and his constant ad campaign.

        • I don’t see how this topic is commercial. It’s popularity in comments alone mean it’s a topic people feel passionately about. The church IS dying in this country. Don’t you think it’s time to look at why? It’s not because people are evil or less in need of spiritual influence. It’s because the flaws in religion have negated the benefit. If you can’t make sense of the hypocrisy, you don’t really get the full, satisfying spiritual experience. How can we keep pretending? To feel good about ourselves? Is that all it takes to be “Christian”? I can’t do it anymore. I am not afraid to call B/S on the whole institution. The good of who Jesus Christ was is no longer reflected within the church.

  • Benjamin Corey, I suspect there’s much more to the story than you’re telling. And simply by the language you use, it’s apparent you don’t live by scripture. The Apostle Paul said to not let any cursing or coarse talk come out of your mouth. The fact that you do is a strong indicator that your friends may simply have been tired of being around a person who wanted to live by his own rules and create discord instead of seeking peace and Jesus’ love.

  • I know nothing about “ghosting”, Christian or otherwise. But the author has a personality problem – he seems to think that he can say whatever he wants to without anyone daring to disagree with him. Whether you are right or wrong in your opinions, what gives you the idea that there is no potential cost in expressing them? What do you care about more – your opinions or your friends?

    • Not directly talking about problems leads to much bigger, more destructive behavior. Calling this out is the first step to correcting it. Your resistance to hear the truth equals a life of unenlightement.

      And those who you cannot be real with…are not the definition of friend.

  • The author’s stand on the issues mentioned are compatible with the clear intent of the gospels and are thus a source of cognitive dissonance among conservative church-goers.

    • Are you trying to impress us, Danial Webster? What the heck did you just say-in plain english this time

      • Oh dear. That *was* plain English. Are you uncomfortable with vocabularies that extend beyond “See Spot run. Run, Spot, run!”?

    • That people and even whole congregations sometimes disagree might just be one of the reasons that there are so many denominations and even splits within a denomination. Your absolute statement that only your view isn’t cognitive dissonance leads me to believe that you suffer excess pride and hubris.

  • Believe in God if you want, but consider that there is no organization devised by men that is not ultimately corrupted. If you are “ghosted” for taking a principled stand, remember that far more have made the ultimate sacrifice for far less. Use your discomfort as motivation for finding new friends and forging new bonds.

    • Now that sounds like an honest mature statement. What I said myself eairler only I didn’t put it so succinctly.

    • Well said. When someone shows you who they are, believe them. Regardless of if they call themselves “Christians”. There’s a big difference in self identity and self reality.

  • You either were not really friends or you really ticked them off. Grow up and develop your new set of friends. It a procedure that many people go through when they move to a new job.

  • You begin your article by claiming you were ghosted without warning, that “I was ghosted by my best friend– and my entire social circle quickly followed without saying a word”.

    But then you later admit ” they challenged my fitness for serving as an elder”, “someone literally yelling and walking out of church”, you were “cornered and rebuked by the other elders because the sermon was, ironically, “unloving””, and that “some folks threatened leaving the church” because of you.

    Honestly, it sounds as if a great many people were warning you with a great many words, but you simply refused to listen. 🙁

  • The people that “ghosted” you doesn’t really sound like they are people worth having around in the first place…not all “support” are worth having.

  • The other name is shunning and there’s a tradition of this tactic in various communities. Sorrowing that a such a group of people would decide to serve as social judge, jury and executioner. But hardly unique. They possessed this inclination before you were known to them; free of the notion that free will is a responsibility to be carefully exercised. Best wishes to you and your family.

      • The post even quotes the dictionary definition of ‘ghosting’, it’s second sense to be exact. So it’s definitely a word. But I agree that shunning would be the more correct term of what the post describes.

  • He burned his own bridges and destroyed all his relationships with his “I’m right and everyone else is wrong attitude.” When you think you are better, smarter, and more correct than everyone then you find yourself alone because no one wants to put up with your “holier than thou” persona.

    • The article sounded to me like his friends felt “holier than him”, rather than his attitude toward them. His friends seem to put dogma, righteousnes ahead of loving and compassionate relationships. Like the New Testament references to the Pharisee’s – who were not Jesus’s friends

  • That’s not “ghosting”, That’s shunning.

    Perhaps they’ll accept you back in the fold if you regularly beat your wife in public.

    They don’t shun abusers.
    They don’t shun rapists.
    They don’t shun child abusers.
    They don’t shun child rapists.

    They do shun those who treat others according to Jesus’s precept.
    There is one commandment: that is love.

  • How is advocating for a higher minimum wage against the church? Are they trying to bring back slavery?

    • Many people say God or Jesus support a higher minimum wage, which really isn’t in the Bible. Perhaps they could tell us exactly what amount God says that wage should be.

  • Dude, how did you make it socially through junior high school? If you belong to an organization and you go up against people enough times, they are not going to want to be your friend. This is true in any social institution in the whole world. Why do you think people in a church are any different? Yes. you are still welcome to attend your church and be treated in a civil manner, but friendship is earned, not something you are entitled to. I am afraid that you blew it. I am surprised you didn’t see it coming.

    • I think you missed the entire point of the article. When one advocates for “what Jesus would do”, rejecting such advocacy is hardly the Christian thing to do. Face it, most “Christians” are flaming hypocrites.

      • It always amazes me how Christians are held to such high standards by non-Christians. For example, I had a friend who would call me up every week asking this favor or that favor. He had absolutely nothing to offer me in return, and seemed hold low standards of behavior for himself. When I would refuse to do a favor for him, he would argue with me and rebuke me for calling myself a Christian. So finally I “ghosted” him by blocking his number on all our phones. Later he found me on Facebook and blasted me. Maybe that was cowardly of me, but I just didn’t want to deal with his arguments. As to what would Jesus do? True, he sat with, ate with, and talked with tax collectors and other sinners. But only as long as they listened to him in polite discussion. Note as you read the scriptures, he doesn’t stay and argue with anyone. There is a difference between polite discussion and argument. The author above apparently crossed the line and payed the price. Note also that while the scriptures advocate contact with sinners in order to save them, it does not advocate friendship with sinners. In the secular world, a social worker will interact with a client, but that does not mean she is their friend. It is nice to have friends in the church you attend, but if you think making friends is the main reason for going to church and being a Christian, you are dead wrong. Friendship is not a given in any social institution, Christian or non-Christian. Also love and friendship are not the same. I love my neighbors but they may or may not make me their friends and vice versa. I am sorry that he had an unfortunate experience, but I believe he had the wrong idea from the start what Christianity is about. I suggest either he look inwardly to himself to align his own beliefs with the church he belongs to, or else find another church. But to his credit, I will say this. While his article is not a valid criticism of the church or Christianity, it is a valid criticism of our modern culture at large. In our institutions, we make friends and drop friends much more easily than in the past. It used to be if you made a friend and went to his house for dinner, it meant something. The person would be your friend for life unless you did something really taboo, like sleep with his wife. And if you did such a thing, you would likely not only get a tongue lasting, but an uppercut to the jaw. And you would know the friendship was over and why.

        • Frankly, Christians are not “held” to high standards. They themselves claim that they have high standards, which is not a bad thing in itself. But when it comes to real-world living, those standards are quietly packed away. I could give you hundreds of personal anecdotes of brazen hypocrisy of “Christians” which, frankly, just amazed me. The author of the article, like Jesus did regarding Jewish temples, is highlighting the discrepancy between the claim of being Christian versus the practices of those self-proclaimed Christians. He isn’t knocking the institution of the church. Rather, he is attempting to restore the integrity of the institution. He’s not looking for friends, necessarily. Most churches, and most churchgoers, that I have encountered are solidly hypocritical, which is why I no longer associate with them.

          • What the author was trying to do may have made sense in his mind, but it had nothing to do with restoring to integrity of the church as Jesus was trying to do. For one thing, Jesus, being God, as part of the Trinity, had the authority by Himself to bring about change. That is not to say the that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we cannot propose and bring about change. But we have no authority as an individual member to force change, it has to be done in concert with others in your church. There are many different Christian churches as there are many different religions. While they share many common values, there are many differences. Some churches follow a strict interpretation of the Bible and some a very loose interpretation. You don’t join a church or any other institution that has a different interpretation from your own and try to change things. For example, I went to a meeting of “free thinkers”, last month and I met an atheist who asked me if I believed in God and we had a discussion about that. I noticed when he left he did not say anything to me even though we sat next to each other the whole lecture. I didn’t exactly feel welcome and I shouldn’t have expected to. Christians are not any better than anybody else, and don’t claim to be. Church can be compared to a hospital for sinners. Attendance and belonging to a church can make you better person than you would have been. You don’t go there to effect change in the church, but to primarily to effect change in yourself.

  • Those that ghosted realize fully the damage they’ve done, don’t kid yourself. They would ghost Jesus himself if he walked into that church and advocated to feed the hungry.

    • It actually speaks to why allowing new ideas and thinking into a religious setting is so very dangerous for the religion. He’s on the road to critical thinking. Faith can’t survive that without some serious compartmentalization and an almost painful level of cognitive dissonance. But it sounds like he wasn’t ghosted for his flavor of Christianity, but for his liberalism. Waking up with the house on fire is never fun, but it’s life saving.

      • You are ironically compartmentalizing the issues here. He appears from my perspective to have been avoided by others from his church because he would not stop conflating contemporary secular political issues with the religious teachings of his particular church. That and he appears to be very self promoting to the point it may have become tiresome to others in that church, as it likely would in any group dynamic. It’s not for his liberalism per se, but for his insistence that anybody else in the church who doesn’t accept his view as correct is terribly wrong. People are only going to put up with that sort of an unpleasant attitude for the duration of their pain threshold before they start to actively avoid being exposed to it.

  • You sound like a toxic person, no wonder they ditched you, and after many warnings which you documented in your article.

    • Hopefully, for those who wish to live in Christ and Christ in them Dr. Benjamin Corey is poisonous to the hundreds of carnal churches usurping, each distinctly different, the name and authority of Christ. Compared to the church of the Messiah, which is only spirit within the temple raised in three days and is administered perfectly by its high priest in the order of Melchizedek today, each organized religious order, founded on the study of God, and not a direct relationship with God, is no more than pagan, heathen and witchcraft.

      There is only one Teacher of God living and available today, who is not testimonial scripture interpretation nor group think. You judgment tells us where you seek the truth. We know you!

  • “I made the error of advocating for a higher minimum wage in a television interview (which led to someone literally yelling and walking out of church).”

    The fact that you think this is “an error” is very sad. Friends who don’t respect you for having your own beliefs were never your friends to begin with, and you’re better off without them (not that it doesn’t hurt).

  • This is what happens when your life and your morality are determined by faith in fairy tales and 100% unsupported nonsense, like virgin births, immaculate conceptions, a genocidal torture-loving deity, and the idea that a Creator of the Universe actually cares about what you eat, what you screw, or how you do either. Another simple, irrefutable fact. Religions, all of them, make you more stupid than you could have been. Faith is a crutch for the uninformed and credulous. Hence the other irrefutable fact that well over 95% of Trump voters are religious. And look what that got us. I will be very surprised to see if this post even gets on the board. Hide your head in the smothering sand of your faith. We are doomed, and the faithful have done it to all of us, even we who are moral and good without the need for a vengeful gawd. After all, it is what the faithful want, what they pray for. The end of mankind. To go to nothing.

    • I would like to piggy back on Everbleed’s thinking.

      This magical thinking let’s one stay in an immature state, that bratty tween. When you chose to upset their fantasy, they acted like peeved 11 yr olds. Funny that you didn’t see it coming. Hopefully this will be a great gift for you. A wakeup call to go find the good humans out there rather than the trogs who hole up in those shitty churches. Remember; religion poisons everything.

      RIP
      Christopher Hitchens

      • Every poster on this site should read ‘god is not Great’ by Hitchens, among other great works like ‘The God Delusion’ by Dawkins and ‘The End of Faith’ by Harris. But they are generally incapable of doing so. It is too painful for them. When your brain is washed, especially from birth, it generally takes something like the ‘ghosting’ suffered by the author of this article to encourage an opening of the mind, and even better, a freeing of the brain. (Not to mention the desire to show a bit of intellectual courage.) The late great C. Hitchens even talks about this issue in ‘ginG’ and his singularly brilliant introduction to ‘the Portable Atheist’. Funny thing is that some of the very nicest people I have known, and know now, were or are “good Christians”… but to a soul, without exception, I knew they were lacking intellectual and moral capacities and courage and also knew that if they knew I was an Atheist, they would no longer have been, or be, so nice to me. I, like most free thinkers, am a chameleon, as we must be, and as most of us have had to have been these past 10,000 years. The very definitive proof that there is no God is the fact that atheists and homosexuals, in spite of being tortured, burned, murdered and banished, keep popping up. Happens every day. Every damn day. Unfortunately for Our Most Dear Mother Earth and all humanity, I believe faith (any and all faiths) and all those who espouse it, especially preachers and gurus of all stripes… ARE GOING TO KILL US ALL. God sucks at being omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. Pretty weak God. I am only mildly hopeful that the now 20+% of Americans who declare themselves ‘without religious affiliation’ may rise up and vote as a block. It would be the biggest single voting block ever.

  • Also, this is not mere ‘ghosting’, this is ‘shunning’. These people didn’t disappear, they cut you out of their social loop due to the sheer depth of their religious intolerance. That isn’t what ghosting means.

  • You missed the point-here it is again.
    Religion is man reaching up to God through dogma and rules. Christianity is God reaching down to man in love and forgiveness. Christianity is not a religion. It is a Christ centered way of life.

    • The problem is that the majority of Christians practice the “religion” of Christianity vs. the “Relationship” of Christianity. To practice the Relationship of being a Christian is more about the moral principles, it’s about being loving and non-judgmental, it’s about putting the person and the relationship above all else, it’s about seeing any differences of opinion as just that, difference of opinion. My opinion is that any differences, even the deepest theological differences (such as is there a God at all?) will all be resolved ultimately. Now granted, some of these will and can only be resolved at the end of one’s life when we privately find out yes there is a God and a judgement or no there is not, but it will be resolved. So personally I think it comes down to arrogance, arrogance in one’s position, so certain that we are right that we have the right to shun those who believe differently, instead of having the humility to say, maybe I’m right, maybe you’re right or maybe we’re both wrong. (or possibly maybe we’re both right just looking at the issue from completely different perspectives).

      The only thing any of us have any control over is how we treat each other. We can’t force someone to ascribe to our beliefs (be they religious or non-religious) we can’t make people think like us, we can’t even make people like us or agree with us, but we can choose ourselves to try as much as is humanly possible to truly love one another, to serve one another and to be “Christ-like” for that kind of sacrificial love is the kind of thing I can’t imagine too many people disagreeing with.

    • “Christianity is not a religion”? Ha ha! What a shock that’s going to be when churches lose their tax free status in the US!!

    • Learning in Christ’s church is a relationship today as versus differing conjecture through theology founded only on testimonial witness, written first, and rewritten since, no later than 1,900 years ago.

  • If these people abruptly left you as a friend, it probably hurt like hell, but was probably also the best way to part ways.

    Move on friend.

    • Grief is the valuation of life’s relationships lost. To simply wave off the loss of those you once reciprocally loved, devalues that relationship accordingly. I will not, cannot, part ways easily, nor is there any one best way to do so, with any who have once, or many times, reciprocated with me sharing empathy, compassion, forgiveness and mercy, but who now cannot get past their self imposed preservation technique of tough love for themselves and theirs alone.

  • You weren’t ghosted, you were shunned. It’s a well established practice of every church and religion on the planet, and well documented throughout history. If you deal with these archaic institutions you will experience their archaic behavior, you shouldn’t be surprised when it happens. Perhaps you are now realizing how ridiculous the entire claptrap of religion is.

    • How is “shuning” only religious? This is just what people do when they no longer enjoy each other’s company for whatever reason.

    • “Shunning” is required by Scripture if a person who calls themselves a believer will not listen to the local church and repent. It’s not “archaic,” it’s a last-resort effort to try and save the person from walking away from the faith. If the shunning is correct, it is intended to produce repentance and godly sorrow. We don’t have enough information within this article to say whether the author was rightfully shunned or not. I don’t know anything about this author (never heard of him), but I see he calls this blog “Formerly Fundie.” This does suggest he has rejected certain fundamentals of the faith. I notice he attended Fuller, a very liberal theological seminary, which no doubt has had an effect upon how he views Scripture.

      • “We don’t have enough information within this article to say whether the author was rightfully shunned or not.”

        What a pathetic thing to say. There is no way to correctly shun other human beings.

      • Things like advocating for better wages for those at the margins is hardly “walking away from the faith”… It’s probably a better demonstration of faith than you give him credit for.

      • Christian “scripture” by definition is archaic, so yes these are archaic practices. So many people need to read their dictionaries more, in addition to their Bibles. Look it up. The Old Testament prescribed death as the punishment for non-belief so why aren’t you stoning people if you are really following the scripture? It’s because you interpret the writing to mean whatever you feel like believing. That’s how all holy books work. There is no correct interpretation, just your own personal interpretation. It’s completely subjective.

        The entire Christian religion is an archaic death cult started by Paul of Tarsus, or someone claiming to be that person. It’s not even controversial among scholars who actually study this stuff, just among lay folk who slavishly listen to what their priests tell them.

        • Actually, the reason that Christians aren’t bound by Old Testament laws is that Christianity is the product of the New Testament, not the Old Testament. It is said that the Old Testament serves as commentary for the New Testament, a frame of reference for how we got here. However, Christians are not Israelites. So, don’t expect Christians to be bound by ancient Israeli law.

          • Ephesians 2 says that believers are all Israelites. I think it even uses the word “citizens”. Then there is the other scripture about being grafted in the olive tree. Only one testament in scripture.

    • The problem is allowing oneself to too dogmatic and totally unchanging on some flawed interpretation of the fundamentals of one’s belief irrespective of those beliefs being religious or nonreligious. I really don’t see what religion has to do with your argument. If you open yourself up a little more, the advantages of promoting a positive, inclusive, and constructive belief system that truly unifies people across normal social boundaries will be apparent. Christians do this by emphasizing the unity of all believers being sons and daughters of Christ and the sublime love involved in such a relationship.

      • Your response is totally confusing…what are you even talking about? It doesn’t seem that you are responding in context. I was simply correcting his definitions and pointing out that what he experienced is a common part of participating in a religious organization, proven time and again by history. I followed it up with a small subjective critique of religion in general. What does anything you said have to do with that?

  • I clicked on the article because I had no idea what “ghosting” was. Turns out, it is what my teenage daughters went through when they were younger and surrounded by other adolescents who only liked people who thought and acted just like the “group” did. Fortunately, they grew up and left high school, went to college and into the world and developed lots of friendships with people from all walks of life, people who actually value and appreciate the rich tapestry and vitality of the divergent views of people in the world and do not demand “groupthink”.
    I am sorry that you and your family had to learn the hard way that people who demand complete loyalty to their view and will no tolerate dissent are not and never will be reliable “friends” But they did you a favor. You are now free to meet real friends.

  • “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” Frederick Douglas

    ________________

    I’ve been shunned by everyone I know and a lot of people I don’t know, without any explanation (though I have an inkling why). My responses are: they did not not love or were never my friends. If you’re too cowardly to explain how I offended you then I don’t want to be around you. If you’re to cowardly not to stray from the herd and be yourself, I don’t want to be around you. Love and friendship are demonstrative, they are not words. It is not worth investing in any relationship with people without integrity. I am not religious nor do I believe in any omnipotent entity (god, small “g” intended).

  • As a European, I never understood the concept of ghosting until someone explained it to me. It’s a uniquely American phenomenon in my own observation. It’s the most cowardly approach to ending a relationship I can possibly imagine, bred from a culture that all too often views human interactions that may involve awkwardness or unpleasantness at all costs.

  • What you describe was called “shunning.” It was forced by the church and those breaking it were shunned as well. It seems to be a form of shaming, but the goal is plainly punishment.

  • Perhaps they tired of your ” effing’ ” attitude.

    Being a christian does not preclude having a choice when it comes to who we want to have relationships with. Nor does it mean we must explain ourselves and submit to someones drama when we want to end a relationship.

  • This was all about having a different set of political beliefs than these Christian “friends” of yours. All religious congregations tend to cluster around certain political/social/cultural value systems. That is as old as time. Your belief system just did not fit into this particular congregation and it just took you a while to figure that out. Your wife probably cared more about holding onto her friends than whatever these values you were expressing openly were. Same with your daughter. You should have been smart enough to heed the early warnings, and anticipate this shunning, and then discussed it with your wife and daughter. Had you valued their thoughts and wishes more, you had other options – step down as an elder and just keep your mouth shut is the #1 option that comes to mind, just so they could keep their friends. But, you ignored the warnings and blithely assumed that you could keep stomping on the value systems of this group of people and that they would still want you as a friend. So no wonder your wife and daughter are pissed off at you. You are the idiot, for not anticipating that this would happen. If your right to speak out about your beliefs was so important to you, you needed to make sure that your wife and daughter were with you on that one, and that all of you were prepared to leave this church, because that was the only outcome that was going to happen. So now, having been excommunicated from this church, go find another church with more liberal values than this one, one that will accept you as you are. See if your wife and daughter can fit into this one and find new friends. Screw the other church. They’re all just a bunch of assholes, not real Christians. And oh, if you see them accidentally in the grocery store, walk up to them, look them in the eye, and tell them that you know where they live and you’re going to burn their house down. Just kidding, of course. Stop being a wussy and crying about it and being afraid/ashamed to be in their presence, that’s what you need to do.

    • Your criticism of Ben amounts to a long, rambling rant which reflects more about you than him. Think about it.

  • This article has been riding on Google News too long. Christianity is beset with problems like the case in Spindale, North Carolina and other places. If the man does not like the situation in his church and with his friends, he can walk across the street and join another.

  • The real shame is Christians who equate political conservativism with Christianity. They are so off track you were lucky to be ghosted by them.

    • That does seem to be a major problem among those who *purport* to be Christian. That’s why I’m a “true American patriot” as well – truth above party – all truth is God’s truth, truth above politics and ideology; independent, independent minded, nonpartisan, bipartisan, and some besides and in between. And if I ever do join any party, it will be for those reasons for some strategic purpose, not joining any side or ideology. On some issues I might appear one way, and on others I may appear another; above all, the priority is what is true and right under God.

  • After reading many of these comments certain things stand out on those who have been
    “shunned” or claimed to have been

    1) involved in the church’s organization
    2) outspoken, you could say wanted to press their opinions on others in church
    3) Unable to read other peoples dislike of their opinions
    4) thinking adult friends are like childhood friends
    5) overly devout leaving little to no room for others thoughts on the matter

    None of which has anything to do with Christianity

    • Read Corinthians or any of St. Paul’s letters to the churches — human beings who happen to be Christians have all of these types of problems.

  • Sad to say, ghosting is a long established, and once widely spread, human form of punishment. Some First Nations People, and many cultures, around the world, and in history going back millennia, have declared that unpopular, or criminal, people among them “have no shadow.” In primitive societies, this was a certain death sentence.

    I must say to the author, however, that there are more people in the world, indeed likely more people in his surrounding area that either don’t care what he believes, or agree with him. Find those people.

  • Once you have been shunned , you never go back . Take it easy on yourself , those doing the shunning are always hiding something.Always up to no good.
    Look upon it as your shackles being smashed , you are free to move now.
    Our son and his family shunned us a few years ago. It’s their loss . All they can do now is find another victim. We got on with life.

    In this case it’s a failed death sentence cast upon us.

    * The Abrahamic religions are just so kind aren’t they .😛

  • Stories like this are why I, and millions of other 30-to-40-year-old Americans, have said a great big NOPE to people who want to get us involved in organized religion. Because organized religion is not about peace and love, it is about assembling people into communities of fear where disagreement means ostracism. My mother told me stories, when I was growing up, of she and her family being ostracized from their Baptist church when she started speaking out in favor of the civil rights movement in the sixties. If you didn’t agree to continue being racist, her church had no place for you. After hearing those stories, religion never held much appeal for me.

    It’s so ironic that the people in this country who relentlessly proclaim how much they love Jesus and love others as themselves are the most hateful and judgmental when it comes to anyone who thinks differently than they do. Go to church on Sunday? I’d rather stick my hand in a running garbage disposal, thanks anyway.

    • Wow, that was powerful. However, please know that the Bible and the Gospel are true despite all that. Don’t let that keep you from the truth. Also realize that there is probably a vast multitude of people in the visible “church” who are not really God’s people at all, but are imposters deluding themselves and deceiving others. That is the nature of this world. I could easily have turned away for such reasons myself, but I know that I don’t have to because God and His Word is true despite all that. In these “last days,” it seems you can generally expect there may be a lot of that no matter where you go unfortunately.

      • Galatians 5:1
        It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

        It seems unfortunately the anti-grace “legalizers” are again burdening the Church, this time, ironically, as supposed Christians themselves.

  • I grew up in a religiously-active, devout family, despite–or, perhaps, encouraged by–my dad’s decision to leave us. Throughout my childhood, I spent huge amounts of time in church. We not only attended all the church services, but also the private schools operated by those churches. My mom was a Christian school teacher, a Sunday School teacher, member of the choir and several other roles. During revival meeting season, my sister, mother and I spent all day, every day in church buildings. Obviously, most of the people we knew were associated with either the churches of the schools run by those churches.

    My problem is, I challenge what people tell me. I don’t always just accept what someone, even a church officer, tells me. I maintain vigorous defense of my positions and challenge those of others. Actually, I’ve learned over time that I am prone to believing whatever I’m told, then finding myself in the embarrassing situation of not being able to defend the positions I was given. Worse, sometimes, the church leadership disowns those positions I was taught, leaving me abandoned and left to wonder why I should put myself at risk for something that the church might not support tomorrow.

    I began questioning the simplistic answers that my Bible teachers gave me in elementary school, but I generally endorsed everything that my church leadership stated. The first real conflict that I had with my Baptist church was after I joined the Navy and was confronted with Rock Music. All my life, my several churches (my family moved a lot) and schools had soundly condemned all Rock Music, including Christian Rock, as Satanic and depraved. That had been the unquestioned position of churches ever since I was five years old. But, when I got in the Navy, and my Navy chain-of-command ordered me to work and live around Rock Music, and I refused, the churches generally told me that I’d just have to compromise my position and obey. Some of them told me that if my authorities ordered me to commit a sin, I would be held blameless for committing the sin, with all the blame falling on those who had ordered me to sin. This was more than I could tolerate, though. It eventually cost me my Navy career and created a strong division between some of the members of my church and me. One church officer, a retired Marine officer, once broke into my dorm room where I lay sleeping, pulled me out of bed and forced me to sit in a chair in my underwear as he ordered me never to be in the same room with his daughter, again. He said that one of the reasons he did not approve of me is my behavior in the Navy.

    I enrolled in the Bible college operated by this church, to see if I could understand the conflicting directives about Rock Music that I was getting. That year, all of fundamentalism went into an uproar over John MacArthur’s statement that it was the death of Christ, not just His blood, that saves us. I didn’t know about that storm as it approached. I naively listened as my preacher informed those of us in his congregation that science has proven that a child gets all of his blood from his father, and his body from his mother. I wondered at the time how science had done that, but I didn’t really think about it until another preacher brought up the same point a few weeks later. Then, I discovered that what the preachers were claiming about science was complete nonsense. I tried to explain their errors as gently and respectfully as I could, but the fact that I maintained my position meant that I was Satanic. I was denounced in public by that second preacher, then taken by the Dean and warned that Bible college students do not contradict preachers, especially in public. My attitude after all of these and other things went downhill, and perhaps I became too critical… Of course, being critical at all of what I was taught was considered “too critical,” so where would I draw the line? Eventually, I was kicked out of the Bible college, for “being too critical of the pastor.”

    That was thirty years ago. I’ve had many more conflicts and fought many more battles with church-after-church. Sometimes, I’m disinvited. Sometimes, I’m banned. Always, I’m just in a room with strangers who happen to be there doing much the same things that I’m doing, and then we go to our separate homes. At the last church that I had been attending regularly, someone found an obscure photographer’s website where I had uploaded a nude and semi-nude image that I shot in my college Photography class. The fact that I had, on a completely different website, uploaded photos from church that included photos of some church children, led to an accusation from one of the elders that I had associated their children with a photo of a naked man just a few clicks away. It isn’t that the church outright opposed nudity in art. One of their own deacons had a painting of a naked child look upward at an angel, which painting was prominently displayed in their home when the church gathered there. The elders told me that I needed either to formally join their congregation, or seek membership elsewhere. I left. When I stopped by a few years later, a deacon met me at the door and informed me that he had been instructed not to allow me entrance.

    I have been through too many battles in too many churches. I’m 51 years old and alone. When I was young, I just assumed that I would find a wife in church or, at least, in one of the Christian schools. Wow, I was naive! I’ve never had a girlfriend, fiancee or wife. I am a virgin, as I wanted to hold out for the Christian woman who I would marry. My commitment wasn’t to the woman, though; it is to Christ, and so not all is lost. I am, however imperfectly, a virgin to God. I find it very difficult to have pleasant thoughts about my fellow Christians, though. I don’t usually attend church. I don’t associate with anyone. I will say, though, that Christians are far better off than anyone else on this Earth.

    • I’m sorry this happened to you, but, I’m not sorry you wrote this, and I read it. Question: Do you think any of your situation can relate when Jesus said, in Mark 13:13 Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.?

  • As a victim of Christian ghosting myself, I deeply appreciate your article and putting a name to this non-too-subtle church shunning practice. All things considered, we do a very good job erasing fellow Christians from our rolls, our memories, and our ministries. As others have said, this is one of the greatest reasons (among others) why—as a lifelong Christian and seminary graduate—I am taking a lengthy sabbatical from organized religion.

  • When people are ghosted, it is a clear sign that they have not found their real “spiritual family”.
    When challenging the doctrine of your church becomes so uncomfortable for others, that they cannot communicate with you any longer, it is time to re-examine your values, and find a church more in keeping with them.

    If “doctrine” is a big trigger for enmity in your congregation, try a church without doctrine!
    Unitarian, Church of Unity, American Sufis, Buddhism, Paganism/Taoism and the Yogic path are all spiritual paths that don’t require a lot of dogma or “belief”.

    • And all of those religions that you mentioned will send everyone of them to hell.
      Is this forum here to help all that come here, to choose an eternity in hell?

      • LOL!! Dude, you are being silly. How do you know who is going to hell in the first place? What is hell? Can’t people who are members of your exact Christian sect go to “hell” too? Be a little more open minded and respectful of other people’s religious persuasions, Dude.

      • Sure sounds like a LOT of people are going to hell!!!

        Come on, is your God really that blood-thirsty and vengeful?
        Eternal Damnation of torment?
        Is that the best you can drum up, to keep the minions under thumb?

        When one truly knows who they are spiritually, all that fearmongering becomes laughable.
        No wonder people are questioning the rigid mentality of your ilk; and I’m not surprised your cognitive dissonance leaves you without any defense mechanisms except to give dire warnings and run.

        • No! God/Jesus is not vengeful in the least.
          Only mankind seeks vengeance.
          Close to 6.5+ billion people will go to hell, of their own choosing.
          Every person that goes to hell chose to go there.
          Because they refused to accept Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior and repent of their sins.

          • So, he’s not vengeful if I do whatever he says, but if I don’t, then eternal torture? How is that not vengeful? Delusion.

  • Wow. This is so sad. Sorry you had to go through something so brutal, Benjamin. Hope your former friends eventually come to understand what they put you and your family through. Not Christlike at all.

  • Benjamin, thank you for talking about this. Clearly, from all the comments you’ve gotten on this post in just about 2 weeks time, you’ve struck a nerve.

    I think it’s an important thing you’ve shared here, to call out Christian ghosting for the hateful behavior that it is. I’m sorry you and your family have gone through this. Unfortunately, my family and I can related, as it’s happened a couple times in different ways to us over the last 5 years. Once by a para-church organization and once by a church we attended. It’s gotten to the point where we honestly have more natural inclination to trust non-believers more than believers, because we’ve honestly seen more indifference and hateful behavior that has caused so much pain in our lives from Christians, vs. non-Christians. Which is such a sad testimony to the world. And similar to your experience, while we’ve been wounded, we recognize we have to forgive and move on. So we have, but forgiveness is something that needs to happen repeatedly, not just once, as it’s easy for those old wounds to tempt us towards bitterness when we recall what was done to our family.

    I appreciate your post and pray God would help your family to be more tender and loving with those whose theology or outlook on life simply differ with yours. In that way, you’re taking light from the darkness that happened to you and helping make the world a more loving place.

  • not to sound mean, but sometimes, when people remove themselves from your life, it can be a blessing. like the trash taking itself out. I know it can be very lonely, but I hope that at some point, this will be transformed into a blessing for you and your family

  • Someone ghosts you, take it as a sign from god. This is why many people leave christianity, the lack of compassion christians have for each other

  • Wow you all king of suck and clearly don’t really know what ghosting is. How would you like it if your whole network of friends just cut you out of their lives? Ghosting is painfully traumatic especially if there is no reason given and it can cause serious trust issues. Why do you think the younger generation is so slow to marry? Because we’re always ghosting each other and so we don’t trust a single person to actually stick around. Just sit down and listen. You all are so defensive it’s clear you’re guilty of the practice.

  • Not sure how the author being ‘ghosted’ has anything to do with his marriage unraveling and three failed adoptions.

  • I didn’t get ghosted by religion I got ghosted when my husband died by his entire family. Because one of them decided to lie about something that didn’t happen and spread rumors about me. But, the way I look at it is God took them out of my life because I was to dependent on them and needed to realize I could stand on my own two feet. Also, I pray for them every day because if they actually believe what they heard about me then who knows what else they would believe and that makes me sad for them. But, you can’t make people like you and I realize it’s hard to accept that maybe they weren’t really ever there for you but what they could get from you. I feel especially for your daughter. It stinks that she has to learn this lesson so young. God bless you.

  • This is why religion is completely worthless. These people were never your friends, and you’re better off without them. Move to a place where there are sane people, ghost religion out of your life.

  • So-called “ghosting” is disrespectful, can never be justified as it is failure to love your neighbor as yourself, and it shouldn’t have happened to you.

    BUT… that you’re posting a blog entry like this for the world to see isn’t a good thing either, because it’s one-sided in your favour. How are we supposed to hear the other side? How do we know you’re presenting a fair and balanced portrayal of what happened? Given human nature of self-serving bias, there’s no way we can know, especially given that we don’t know you. The Bible says “The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him.” No one reading this article here gets that opportunity, do they? If you’re just looking for empathy, you should go to your friends in private, not post for the whole world to see, given human nature of taking posts like this and using them wrongly to reinforce and justify their own grudges instead of making meaningful progress. Serve the greater good instead.

  • Most of the evangelicals who have “ghosted” me were generally terrible people. Our alleged friendship was entirely contingent upon me agreeing with them. Can’t say I miss them.

  • I have been ghosted by my Church’s leadership, from the Archbishop of Canterbury down to local parish priests, for calling into question the politically-correct contemporary doctrines of same-sex matrimony and teaching-by-harmony-not-by-principle. This is the Church of England, the Episcopal Church, and they DO NOT REPLY NOR RESPOND TO QUESTIONS ON MATTERS OF POLICY.

  • Hi Benjamin. I am truly sorry that you and your family have gone through such a painful experience. No one wants themselves nor their ideas rejected by any individual friend, let alone a whole community. But I am a little confused. You stated that the process of “ghosting” is carried out with “limited or no explanation,” and then you went on to enumerate the many times you were “rebuked” or confronted for various issues. It sounds to me as though you had MANY differences – not just of opinions – but of core beliefs with your former community. Perhaps it would have been best to realize that as such was the case it was time to move on and find a more like-minded group of believers. Perhaps God was proding you in that direction.
    I am not saying that those former friends were correct in their treatment of you. Nor that they were loving. But it would be sad if you were to continue blaming most of your problems on this episode. And if you were to remain in that state of bitterness which now haunts you. That would be a “ghosting” of a far more tragic variety.

  • Ben, I’m very sorry to hear about your experience. I’ve been on the receiving end of conflict as a pastor, but nothing like this. Thank you for writing about it. It’s real.

  • You didn’t lose anything. You didn’t make the mistake of….. You stood up for your beliefs and were cut out of the herd. You are better off without these “Christians” in your life. It was God doing for you what you could not do for yourself. Forgive them. Forget them an move on.

  • “Father in heaven, I agree with You and Your Word. Thank You for releasing the Spirit of Truth to minister where there is much confusion .I repent for giving place to ‘lying spirits’, strife,anger, rebellion, self deception, contentiousness, and self righteousness .Forgive us and cleanse us by Your shed blood Satan I bind you on behalf on this man who wrote this article. You have no place in his life.And now I loose in the heavens, the Spirit of Truth to move on this man, to fill him with humility and a contrite heart.” In Jesus Name, Amen.`

  • How do you differentiate the kind of ghosting you talked about with, say, moving away? Several times after I’ve moved from a place, the people there later tell me it feels like I’ve ghosted or forgotten about them. I guess I’m wondering how you leave/say goodbye without leaving your friends feeling like you’ve forgotten them.

  • I am so sorry this happened to you. Thank you for putting a name to it. I think your best friend was completely wrong to do this, and the rest of the group too. I pray God will bring you more healing.

  • Shunning is against any- and everything Christ taught. Anyone who participates, condones, or is silent about it should get a red-letter edition of the New Testament. For example, in Matthew 7:2 Jesus is quoted as having said, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” The main problems are that religions are concocted by men and that most people are not able to read the Bible in its historical and social context. I believe in God, not in religions.

  • I am so very sorry you experienced this. It is just so very sad. Hard for me to even comment because it’s so painful to think this is the reality in some churches. Thank God Jesus never forsakes us or leaves us, but that may be little comfort going through struggles when it would be nice to have a Jesus with “skin” on. Praying for your healing and peace.

  • your congregation sounds fanatical to me, especially me being a formerly catholic atheist. i have to wonder what keeps you in the faith at all. what good comes of engaging in it?

  • I was in a church with similar people. One of the elders, a woman, was in an affair with someone. Nobody said or did anything about it SO SHE COULD SERVE OUT HER TERM AS AN ELDER. When he term was up, she very quickly departed with no forwarding address, leaving behind her husband, 2 DNA children and 1 just-adopted baby.

    This was the same church with an elder board that killed every good idea anyone lifted. I offered to help with an amateurish financial presentation and was castigated for impugning the Treasurer. We left. With no forwarding address.

  • Sounds like the did you a, admittedly painful, favor by forcing you to go and find a better group of people to associate with.

  • Thankfully I have not experienced this treatment. I hope that you experience healing and new or renewed friendships.

  • As a miliary BRAT, I am very familiar with having to leave friends and a community; for me, the easiest way to do this is just to leave–no goodbye’s, nothing–just leave, or what you refer to as “ghosting.” Sorry you don’t like it–it is my way, and I am not the only BRAT who does this . . .

  • As a pastor chaplain for over 35-40 years it sounds like you left lots of holes for us to fill. Each has a ministry and as Jesus said if they be for us…but what i am hearing is that you took the opportunity to get up and express your views in a sermon or teaching that went against the body you were in. Thats fine if you believe if those differences are Biblical or the light you have been shown. But you dont go to a church no matter how much debt you have with the people and push things contrary to majority of the church which included your friends…You pushing your doctrine on them is just as bad as them ghosting as you call it. It brings division and thats never good for a body believers in a church. It sounds like the church you attended was Biblically sound also… And you didnt agree with some rules and you made your opinion known. Having preached many sermons, I dont hold things back either but my purpose shouldnt be to divide and conguer…You should out of respect for the church left to find a congregation that is more receptive along the lines you believe. LOL having ministered in hundreds of churchs as a singer and missionary…nothing I havent seen believe me…but it sounds as though you had a big part in the problem also…The Scriptures tell us to think of everyone as better than yourself…hard as that is to take sometime especially when we have been done wrong, yet the Word tell us to do it…And the last thing I want to say is a powerful Evangelist Stan Scott at a young ministry point in my life where I was inexperienced and concerned about people’s feelings toward me as a whole…He said never depend on people they will let you down but trust in God and leave the people problem to Him. God Bless ya and I hoped i said something that helped…If it had been me I would have contacted them…and said I sorry I didnt mean to offend you and if I did I am sorry…Thats what Jesus said to do. That doesnt mean you are saying you were wrong in your doctrine but that you cared about them as a believer, brother or sister in the Lord to at least on your part mend the relationship…which is Christlike and mature.

    • First of all-I doubt you are a pastor. Your writing is not that of an educated person so drop the pretense.
      I am an ordained minister and I would say that if you preach a sermon from the heart, about the truth, and your congregation is “offended” well tough. Many groups do nor want the real truth of God, Most of them are as asleep as the rest. A Pastors job is not to incite, as you said , but to educate and that may not always make everyone happy. As for this man’s marriage-unless it was an issue of abuse or infidelity, the church needs to keep their mouth shut and let him resolve his own problems. I am sure the extra pressure here, did not lend a hand in healing that marriage at all.

      • Well said…… Our pastor was hanging out in stripe clubs, drinking and driving. When he was caught, he went in front of the congregation and repented, he stepped down from the pulpit for 6 weeks. Come to find out he lied about everything, his repentance was insincere. Outside leadership said, that it was under the blood, WHAT??? to make a long store short we walked away, they did not want to deal with sin in the camp. The Open Bible leadership showed their true colors and it was sad what they did to protect the leadership. The pastor also called a meeting to make 5 false charges against us, fortunately there were some members that came to us and asked us about the charges that were all false, when we provide proof that the accusation were false, the leadership refused to look at the evidence. To date we have received 4 apologies, we joyfully received. God is not done with any of us yet, for us it was how are we going to respond, we choose love!

  • People love their doctrines: Yeah, you need to be baptized (here, this way, that hoop) or Jesus won’t have you. And the instant you rock THIS boat, you’re going to the core. This is religious spirit. People will give it up, or not. And not (in fact, not at all) surprising that they hit you with the “not the head, therefore unqualified” bludgeon — That’s what people do, trotting out the acceptable church murder weapons, when they don’t want to actually take the courage to talk with you. So it’s you — or your wife, or your haircut, or their “burden”. I’m sorry to hear about this isolation, Brother; but this was not a community you were ever really in relation with.

  • You didn’t mention what your reaction was to the church’s idea that you weren’t the head of your household. I’d be curious as to what made them say that, and whether you were truly open to the kind of self-examination it requires to admit you haven’t been the leader you promised God (not to mention your wife) to be. I’m not assuming this is the case, but I’d be curious to know the details. I’m concerned that exactly the thing your church was concerned about (the lack of a Christ-centered marriage, with you firmly in place as its head) has been exactly a consequence of your “pushback” (you said your marriage was unraveling). I’m concerned that these people meant way too much to you, that you spent way too much time with them, and you allowed your child to become so dependent on just these people that she was devastated at their rebuke. She is certainly the one faultless person here, by the way. Mostly, though, I’m concerned that you can’t see God’s obvious intervention in any light except to the extent to which you feel you are damaged. Also, you have to go to church, and you know it. You can’t use this situation as an excuse to stay home. But you know that, too.

  • Very sorry to hear about your traumatic experience. Jesus was forsaken by his followers before his crucifixion and he understands. Be encouraged to keep serving the Lord. Take comfort that he has not forsaken you: “…God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you'” (Hebrews 13:5, NIV).

  • This probably happens on any side of any given divide. Join the wrong side of a civil war—ghosted. Your friends leave your church and become atheists—ghosted. You decide to become a vegan—ghosted. The other name for it is, “We don’t understand you enough to have a relationship with you anymore.” The article itself sounds like a self-pity party. The author was dumped by some friends who belonged to an obnoxious group of religious conservatives. Instead of finding another church where the people are kinder, or looking at church as an opportunity to share with others and set an example worthy of imitation, he just bails out on the whole idea. Furthermore, he projects his individual experience as though it is the norm, failing to realize that churches — let alone the people within them — vary dramatically in character, temperament, personality, interests, and beliefs. And on top of that, makes it sound like its a Christian thing, when in reality it sounds like good old fashioned isolationism, which is a problem all classes, cliques, and belief systems struggle with.

  • Your made up non existent “christ” was quoted by no name delusional religious apocalyptic lunatics who weren’t even in the same time period as endorsing slavery…but you don’t like the icky parts do you? Just the happy feel good parts.

    You are all delusional lunatics…every last one of you

  • I feel “ghosting” is one of many realities of Christianity that expose what’s wrong with those who say they follow it.

  • Sounds to me like you were true to Christ and people got offended by that. It’s a funny (albeit painful) fact that most of the time, Christians needen’t separate themselves from unbelievers, especially unbelievers in the church – just keep on following Christ and THEY will separate from YOU.

  • Why would you even care to lose such people from your life? Rejoice that they have revealed their true selves and move on. You are better off.

  • The term is neither ghosting, nor blackballing. It is shunning. It is a long and proud Christian tradition reserved for those who masquerade as Christian while working to corrupt the Church and subvert the Gospel.Which in spite of your white-washed and self-serving spin on these events, sounds like exactly your modus operandi. These folks may not be as educated or as articulate as you, but they recognize a wolf in sheep’s clothing when they see one. I am proud of them for having the courage to shun you, but I am sure that you will not learn a lesson and repent, but will instead exaggerate your suffering and leverage it to continue your overall purpose of attacking and destroying the Church. Save your lying rationalizations for your true master, who is, after all, the father of lies.

    • You are the exact fake Christians she’s speaking about. You judge and only God can do that. The blind hate that fills your heart is the opposite of Jesus’s teachings. Love and compassion should be the foundation of a person’s faith. You need to actually find out why Jesus wept and maybe you would understand true love of God.

    • Christ said the fruits of the spirit are love, and a tree can be told by the fruits it bears. Your post shows no love. A little more attention to the log in your own eye and less on the splinter in other’s might be good for your soul.

  • It is Biblical to not even eat with one who claims to be a Christian but behaves in a perverse sinful way(Corinthians) ..the article doesn’t describe any behavior on the part of the author as such. From being a member of various Churches and an intended target of destruction by Church members because of slander (“pastor” Barry Duguid of Toronto,ont. got it in his head that I was a false David, therefore the”antichrist” and a “sexual pervert” ..no, I’m not making this up – tell the whole Church) .. I mean,it gets very satanic very quickly when a “pastor” decides to spread a lie and manipulates the congregation into backing him ( not her)in the iniquity. It’s about as far from the apostolic origins of Jesus Christ’s Church as you can get.

  • Another useful term for this is being “blackballed.” This is a great and important article for the church.

    Extremely important point:

    “Somehow, someway, too many Christian circles have failed to realize that we don’t have to be in complete agreement to be in a complete relationship.”

  • Geeze. That’s just terrible. I don’t know what else to say. I’d talk about being part of a faith community that’s broader in beliefs and more welcoming to people where they are. But it sounds like you’ve been hurt to the quick and it’s going to be a while.

    A better suggestion might be to join a volunteer group. Something low key and outward oriented doing good work. It’s not the same. But then, that might be a plus.

  • I wouldn’t sweat it, never heard of it, but people come and go, some return and some you wish didnt, don’t be a whiny crybaby, if what you believe is true. The truth is the way.

  • Thank you for this informative article. Before I was a Christian, I “ghosted” (I had no idea this was a thing until just now) a lot of people… At first it was because I was raised that way.. always moving in a flash about once a year or in a matter of months but then as I got older I realized I didn’t know how to say goodbye and it just seemed better and easier to disappear. It was all I really knew when it came to goodbyes. I even got to the point later on where I warned people that I tend to disappear. I always had my reasons and I never thought that anyone cared enough about me to be hurt by me disappearing anyway. Since becoming a Christian, I have slowly been learning that I am not as worthless or unlovable as I believed myself to be and now reading this has put my heart in my stomach for I fear that I have hurt a good many people by ghosting. As a new Christian I will not make this mistake again and hurt more good people. I hope those I hurt can forgive me. I am deeply sorry. I never meant to hurt anybody.

  • Funny. Listening to those who most loudly proclaim themselves Christian, (see many of the comments here) one would think Christianity is all about hating gays and trans folk and Muslims and liberals. They must worship some other Jesus. The one I worship told me to love my neighbor, do good to those who hate, and specifically not to judge or risk damning my immortal soul.

  • Reminds me of the old saying, the reason the arguments are so bitter is because the stakes are do small. This article validates my choice to be a non-believer.

  • good grief. good reason to stay away from all churches, and any discussions with anyone whose viewpoints you aren’t already semi familiar with. good reason to stay home, get in the recliner and watch netflix.

  • This is a tough one. I admit I did this to someone I was close for a long time, but at that time I guess I felt that it was better to avoid the fight. Then time passed, and more time. Then it felt like it really was too late.

  • Really, isn’t this the result of a religion-centered life? There are other people out there who may stretch your boundaries and be perfectly fine friends. You obviously already think out of the box. Now you need to live out of the box. In my experience, the most intolerant people are the most “Christian”, which I’m pretty sure Jesus would debate the reality of their christianity.

  • Well written. Well stated. Thanks for reminding us that as much as we would like to think it, we are not the center of things, and not as perfect as it seems.

  • Through this difficult process you find out who your friends are. Many Christians are way too exacting about “my way or the highway,” and many are hurt. The most heartbreaking is our kids losing their friends over some obscure fine point of doctrine! I do wonder how the author of this article found himself in a group with views so radically different from his own. Part of protecting yourself from being “ghosted” is to get with people on your same page. “How can two walk together unless they are in agreement?”

  • Meh sounds like you just drifted apart if you prefer to call it ghosting so you can assign blame perhaps you should look at your own actions. Did you make yourself socially available to your friends? Did you miss engagements with them? Did you not invite them over for a couple of weeks? Did you call them? In the course of our now busy lives it is easy to lose connections with our friends and yes family too. That does not mean they did this intentionally it is just life. You sound like you’re looking to be a victim….stop that. If you want them in your life make yourself available. Call them weekly. Go see them again weekly. Invite them out as many times as it takes to get a yes. It’s called being a friend.

  • In my experience, people who identify themselves as Christians are evil, judgmental, malicious personalities that represent nothing even remotely similar to the teachings of Christ.

    You’re better off without them.

  • “I don’t think they realize any of those things. Sadly I don’t think they care, either…”

    And I suspect that those who practice “ghosting” justify their behaviour by blaming the victim for the situation: “If they hadn’t rocked the boat, everything would still be fine.”

  • Books from BLC:

    >