Mad Church Disease Chapter 6

This post is based on the sixth chapter of Mad Church Disease. There are both previous

Mad Church Disease

and later blog posts for this blog group book discussion.

This is a hard chapter to blog about. The previous chapters are primarily describing the issues with us as people and the church as an institution that lead to burnout and stress. We can blog about whether Anne has correctly identified the issues or whether she missed something that is relevant to our case. Or why we are different and our burnout is not the same as everyone else’s burnout.

But this chapter is different. Now she is moving toward solutions. I am tempted to not say much more and just ask people to start listing changes that they are going to make, but that is a bit of a copout and I think many people are not ready. (I have read this book twice now and I am just starting to move in that direction.)

I also don’t want to just summarize the chapter, although there are some really good things in there. Instead I am going to focus on one point right at the end.

The basic points are:

1) Admit that we have responsibility for our situation. Even if we have been mistreated or abused our reactions are our own.

2) Change your purpose to the greatest commandment – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.

3) Make a plan to change. Intentions will not change us, it requires a plan.

4) Create boundaries (this means learning to say no, or at least not now.)

Point five is often the hardest. But without it the rest will not happen.

5) Find accountability. Without five will not make changes when things get hard. We will end up back in the same boat, maybe a little better, maybe a little worse, but not changed.

Too often we think that with God’s help we can do it alone. This may be the greatest sin of the American church. God did not create us to be alone. Genesis 1 was not just about marriage, God created us to be social people. Even the biggest introvert wants to be known and loved. So we seek out friends, but hide from them at the same time. However, we are not going to change, to make our lives better, to serve the Lord more effectively, to be a better spouse or parent, unless we admit that we cannot do it on our own and seek out someone that we can be honest with and that we give the authority to hold us accountable.

Personally, I am still seeking. My excuses in the past have been lame (I just moved, I am stuck at home all the time, I need to put on a good show for my unsaved friends, etc.). I am going to make real effort both in prayer and relationally to seek out some accountability. It is the only way.

(Note: I received this book free from the publisher through a give away program. I received both a digital copy after I purchased a physical copy.  I gave away the physical copy and kept the digital copy.)

11 Comments

you and me both, kiddo. you and me both.

I wished you lived in this neck of the woods. I’d be game for some accountability myself.

peace|dewde

dewde: I keep thinking that accountability is going to come through an electronic means because I can’t leave the house at normal times. So maybe it is an option.

I think step two (since step one is clearly accountability) is I’m going to define for myself what it means to love the Lord with each one of the four aspects: heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then I’m going to really start looking at how to make that happen in my life. I’m going to presume that they’re listed in that order for a reason and will thusly try to apply them in that order. Any thoughts on what those four things mean to you?

Candace (aka - geekinstructor) June 15, 2009 at 2:45 pm

I am also searching for accountability. I’ve served for 10 years both on staff and as a volunteer ( I’m a “volunteer” now) and haven’t felt comfortable joining any of the small groups at church. The one time I did, through Celebrate Recovery, I had to censor any of the issues I had with the church and it wasn’t helpful.

I am physically sick (with what the drs don’t know yet) and stuck at home most of the time. I’ve found so many great online resources through twittering and I’m making so progress on my spiritual issues but it would be even better to have people I can connect with regularly to keep me focused on Jesus.

I stopped reading partway through chapter 6 because I couldn’t move forward until I rectified Anne’s father’s experience and the opening message of “it’s your fault you’re at where you are.”

How was the horrible way your father was treated his fault? I mean, I suppose it was his decision to take the various jobs but I hardly would hold him accountable for the way he was treated.

I’m confused.

I agree (and I think Anne would agree) that his father was treated badly. But it is our option to decide how to respond. I think that is her point here.

Accountability has always been my weak point, because i dont want people to think i am weak, but i guess that just shows that I am weak. Why is it so hard?
As I read this book i feel guilty for not doing anything, but I have started by talking to my close friend when we meet we ask these 7Q’s:
1. Have you spent adequate time in Bible study and prayer?
2. Have you given priority to your family?
3. Have you been anywhere with the opposite sex this past week?
4. Have you been anywhere with the opposite sex this past week that might seem as compromising?
5. What known sins have you committed since our last meeting?
6. What temptations have you met with? How were you delivered?
7. Have you just lied to me about any of these things?

(maybe an online accountability group should be in the making?)

A lot of the things that caused stress and have led to burnout situations for me were things I let happen and I’ve never fully accepted responsibilty for that.

I AGREED TO doing more than I could physically handle.
I LET people make me feel inadaqute.
I ALLOWED people to treat me in ways that weren’t okay.
I ACCEPTED that I wasn’t good enough.

Working with all of this is enough to make someone feel helpless, hopeless and burnt out. However, now that I look back on it…it was in my control to step up and speak out about these situations and I never did. I just walked away.

I could play the victim and blame someone and their treatment of me — but how does that help me to overcome the cycle of burnout? It doesn’t and it never will. In order to stop this endless cycle for myself, I have to admit to my part and my responsibilty in it all. How did I end up here at hopeless? What was the part that I played to get me to helpless? How can I avoid this in the future?

I’m a few days late getting back through the posts. Last week was a bit crazy. I had to cut something out of my week to keep from getting burned out. Ha!

I’m working on the accountability piece of this puzzle right now. Working on it. I’ll follow up with how I get it set up.

Thanks Adam!

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Mad Church Disease - Blogging ThroughJune 15, 2009 at 9:14 am

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