BOOKS & DVDS
Over the years I have read many books, some dealing directly with what one experiences in an unhealthy church or cult, while others covered the emotional aspect, and yet others discussed the problems of legalism and the need to move in God's grace. The mention of the books on these pages does not mean I am in complete agreement with them. The ones with my personal reviews are ones I have read or partially read. The others were brought to my attention and I cannot comment on their content. Some are written from a secular viewpoint, while most are from a Christian perspective.
One of the harder aspects of leaving an unhealthy church, depending on how long you attended and how much you absorbed, is trying to sort out what is their doctrine and what is God's doctrine. You also learn that some issues are not dealt with specifically in the Bible and need to be searched out by each Christian by studying biblical principles, praying, and listening to and following the leading of the Holy Spirit- something legalism does not allow. Though taught to search the Scriptures at first, something seems to happen along the way in these churches. After awhile some tend to read only their church pamphlets, brochures, and literature, not always doing the independent studies that should go with them. Then, if what they were reading sounded like it was correct and if their church organization, or someone in it, backed the teaching, they felt it must be right and accepted it.
I have separated the books into different categories, with a different page for each. Some books may no longer be in print and may only be available from individuals selling used copies.
For those who may be having difficulty in reading the Bible after their unhealthy church experience, I recommend a couple things that may prove to be of help to you.
The first is to either obtain a new Bible of the same version you used during your time there, if your current Bible is full of notes from studies and sermons. For some, this will not be enough at first and to those I suggest reading the Bible in a different version. It does not mean you are going to toss aside the one you are used to reading, but this can help with the triggers when you read passages that were used to manipulate and beat people. Once you are able to read again without being triggered and seeing God as a harsh taskmaster, you may return to the version you used previously if you desire.
The second is to try listening to an audio recording of the Bible, in particular a dramatized version. Faith Comes By Hearing offers some free downloads of both the complete Bible and the New Testament in a few different versions, both dramatized and non-dramatized. Yes, you read correctly: free downloads. The versions are limited in the free ones, but for a small fee you may also purchase CDs in more versions. It appears to run from $10 for a New Testament to $29 for a complete Bible. A children's version is available as well. Their website has sample clips you may listen to and they also offer other options.
Faith Comes By Hearing offers some free audio Bibles. They could prove to be something helpful to those who have difficulty reading the Bible. There are regular and dramatized readings.
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August 23, 1997
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