Content Warning

Content Warning/Trigger Warning (CW/TW): Christianity, Churches, Spiritual Abuse, Religion

This space will explore themes that some readers may wish, in the spirit of self-preservation, or otherwise need to avoid.  The topics covered will reference religion, churches, and, in particular, Christianity. While some posts will discuss my current religious practice, an occasional topic to be covered is what Christopher Stroop refers to as “spiritual abuse.” Stroop defines “spiritual abuse” as “a form of emotional abuse and manipulation that occurs in a religious environment” and I think that’s a pretty apt description of what I have experienced and will be discussing in this space.

The intention of this writing is not to justify or blame the actions of many who have caused harm in similar ways. Additionally, I do not intend here to change anyone’s mind or prosthelytize in any way. However, I recognize that sharing my personal reflections about these topics might be too painful to anyone still recovering from similar events or who otherwise has felt ostracized by a church community. At the same time, I also recognize that people who have not had such experiences may still be reluctant to explore such themes. Therefore, this content warning serves to let readers know what will be discussed in this space, but I sincerely apologize for any pain that this or any other of my posts may cause anyone who may be reading.

If these topics are not topics that you wish to or are able to explore, please visit one of my other spaces: In Seeking Matayla, I discuss my gender identity transition currently in progress; In IT Ponderings, I share my reflections concerning my profession as an IT administrator for Higher Education. Especially going forward, now that I have created this space, I will keep those spaces as free as possible from the themes primarily discussed in this space.

Mindfulness & Religion

I’ll be talking a lot in this space* about my journey that led to the point in my spiritual Iife I’m at where I’m supported by a growing church community. Before I can start that conversation, it might be important for followers of Seeking Matayla to discuss how I reconcile my Mindfulness practice which has been tremendously influential in my self-care and growth over the years with my religious practice. Typically, Mindfulness would be presented as diametrically opposed to prayer because the purpose, at least near the beginning of every practice, is generally to give the mind a break from thoughts and enjoy or recognize the present moment. In other words, the practice of Mindfulness is not only generally presented as a secular practice, but something that will only work if we free ourselves from the kind of conscious thoughts or beliefs we generally have to have in order to allow ourselves to experience an intentional religious life. While it wasn’t always easy for me to reconcile those two parts of my life, I am now at the stage where I can’t imagine one without the other and both intrinsically depend on each other.  Continue reading “Mindfulness & Religion”