Monday, March 02, 2009
By Ramone - March 1, 2009
I don't like this picture. This is probably the most violent picture I've done, and as much as I hate painting something like this, I am just broken in the Spirit's grief because of the reality of this—the reality of the abuse and violence being done to His children.
This picture came after talking with another Christian and swapping stories of our experiences of being on the receiving end of spiritual abuse. In both of our cases, the leaders (of a charismatic church) believed in what they call "covering", but they were very concerned about making sure everyone was "in submission" to them. In both of our cases, we appealed to the people that the leaders claimed were "in authority over them" (higher authorities, greater covering, etc.) to share about the abuses that were going on. And in both of our cases, the higher regional authorities shut their eyes to what was going on at the local churches "under" their authority.
As I was discussing it later with my wife (who had also gone through the experience with me), I realized that the leaders have faith in their own covering. They have faith in the power of their own "authority" (or "covering") and they have faith in the power of the authorities/coverings "under" them. To admit that serious spiritual abuses were going on would mean that something was wrong, and would threaten the validity/power/legitimacy of their own authority/covering. That's when I saw this picture and just wept...
By the way, this whole "covering" thing is just ridiculously unbiblical. You can only find it in Charismatic churches. (Well, and in Catholic/Orthodox, but not by the name "covering".) The reason it exists is because people equate spiritual power with spiritual authority. If power is demonstrated (in word or deed), people believe that the person demonstrating is closer to God and more approved by God. In Charismatic churches, power is very often the thing most sought after... power to do miracles, signs, wonders & healings, to prophesy, predict, etc.
I didn't realize this until later, however, although I did know that the "covering" thing was unbiblical. When going through the abusive experience, I once tried to describe a little of what was happening with an evangelical friend—a Christian from a non-charismatic church, but who did and still does hear the Holy Spirit really well. I came to the topic of "covering" and tried to describe it to him, and I'll never forget the completely puzzled "Huh?" expression on his face! He just didn't get it. It didn't make any sense, because all he used was the Bible.
See also: Spiritual Battery & Abuse (at Weeping Jeremiahs)
And, read Ezekiel chapter 34...
Your painting is a prophetic indictment against shepherds who do not care for their sheep. Well done, Ramone.