YOUTUBE VERSION . /. PODCAST VERSION
This is part 2 of 2 on the topic of Foundational Sacrifice. In this episode I talk openly as a guy who sacrificed my well-being and my family’s well-being in the name of church growth. I hit burnout and suffered from compassion fatigue, realising that I was taking on the sins of the people I was helping.
For the first time, I publicly share about one of the key realisations I had which led to my recovery – being a sin-eater.
“Historically, a sin eater was a person who would be called upon to perform a ritual that involved consuming food and drink that was believed to symbolise the sins of a recently deceased person. It was believed that by consuming the food and drink, the sin eater would take on the sins of the deceased person, and in doing so, would absolve them of their sins, allowing them to enter heaven.”
In sharing I hope to explain how some people with church-based wounding can end up there both voluntarily or involuntarily.
YOUTUBE VERSION . /. PODCAST VERSION
(Not 100% accurate. Please listen or watch for actual conversation)
hey friends, welcome to episode 22, walk and talk in the last episode episode 21, I touched on this topic of foundational sacrifice and church wounding bit of a mysterious combination, but if you have listened to it, I do hope that you will have seen some of the connections that I built there and
And actually, some of the power behind it.
Sometimes getting a picture of how we are, you know, wound. It using abstract terminology or language of the heart to explain something that you know unlike physical pain doesn’t have a central.
Sort of organ or something that’s injured. It’s a deep inner pain and so I do hope it helped you. And I wanted to continue that discussion today and begin to share something I’ve not shared publicly before personal story. And
This happened a few years ago and so I think there’s enough water under the bridge and I think hopefully by telling the story there will be no no I guess I want to tell it because it’s good to have a record of these things. It’s good to give other people language to go me too. So there’s a sense of solidarity and
and also I think it’ll really help continue this chat and discussion. I say discussion, but I’m the only one talking about it, but my chat with myself and pretend you
This talk monologue about.
About Foundation sacrifice and church wounding.
So do listen to episode 21 and will give you some context for what I’m talking about here. But the one minute recap is that many years ago up until a couple hundred years ago this practice of foundation sacrifice where
People were sacrificed into the foundations of buildings. Churches Bridges, Etc. All over the world across different cultures up until a few hundred years ago, this stopped, but it was done for thousands of years.
And the idea is that if sacrifice a big sacrifice is given, then it’s under the gods to honor that sacrifice and be for not against the project. And so I ended the last thing arguing that if there was any institution or organization in the world, that would know, not need to sacrifice, or sacrificial system. It would possibly be the church because
We we claim that Jesus is the all sufficient sacrifice, and then we still sacrifice people, and our children and our well-being and all kinds of things at the altar of church growth.
We sacrifice Financial integrity.
Something that is coming out in the news for a large movement in Australia at the moment, some documents have been leaked. So there’s always something that gets sacrificed if we cannot find trust in God, but that’s all easy to say. Just trust, God in all that. And
Ben, we don’t or if you do and others, don’t we want progress. We want to get ahead. We want this thing to grow, we get passionate about this thing’s we storm beep. We storm buildings and shed blood and do crazy stuff in the name of progress. But the argument is and I think it’s true that in the reference, one of the reformation and a large Reformation, Jesus came to bring and I’d agree with people like dr. An Asian or Sherrod on this
Is that this is a movement of forgiveness and revealing whole sacrificial systems and not creating them. So okay that’s more than a one minute recap but here’s here’s my personal story and to give you may have this make sense.
Perhaps, you love, listen to some of the earlier episodes. But if you just joining me in my mid-40s now, and in my mid-30s, so I got really involved in the inner healing, modalities and movements and training come from a Pentecostal, Spirit-filled background, and we served missions in Japan. And
And then head out. Had I got three children, the older now, but the time we I had my two boys were born when we came back from Japan.
And and so I got involved in a large church, was the music director. There things fell apart, think stopped adding up and I’ve shared all about that on previous podcast. But what happened then? Of course there’s a good involved in this with the inner healing in healing Ministries and it really changed my life. Honestly, has been profoundly impacting still things that I draw on today and value today in that
Very much. So I felt like I’d been born again again, and again. So
Fast forward a few years, I get involved, I end up managing a larger House ministries in Australia which is the largest inner healing training Ministry in Australia very big worldwide learn other modalities fast forward. Again, a few years I end up itinerant. Start my own Ministry and I’m travelling around Australia, particularly helping pastors and leaders. So
It was that the patent would look like or a typical sort of month would look like. I was away a couple of weekends per month. I would fly to a church. Maybe a third Thursday or a Friday is often independent kind of churches interdenominational now independent but usually Pentecostal charismatic, Spirit-filled there was this element of, you know, spiritual
Simples in by that. I mean like you know they believe possibly in the Demonic and strongholds and stuff like that. And so all that said,
I would fly in there Thursday. I’d be set to preach on Sunday or do a workshop on Saturday and on the Friday I would often Thursday night or Friday, maybe. Even the sad day, I would just see see people one-on-one for these Ministry session. So I didn’t do Deliverance, stuff casting out demons and things the modality, we taught that I was taught and worked with in several that I accumulated were gentle. They were christocentric, they had a lot of overlap with
I’m canceling, modalities my wife’s trained and certified counselor. So there was a lot of overlap. There was gentle, was honoring. It was pretty effective, and I was good at it, good at it, for a lot of reasons, and this became my income.
Again, if we move forward a few years of doing this, ended up flying into many different countries, helping a lot of people very precious and beautiful times a great privilege to do that. But very, very taxing on me. And it was very hard to say no to invitations because this was, this is my income, you know, we this was my job. I’d created a job income source for myself and there was a couple of years. We did some of the best financial believe that we have
sure did but I was hardly home. So I felt like what we call an Australia, roughly five, worker or fly-in. Fly-out worker in the mines where you might earn 100. 150 in the year, 150 Grand a year, but you’re hardly home and so that was me and I was helping a lot of people. And so it Fly Interstate or overseas usually Interstate Sydney or Victoria, particularly help pastors and leaders, help clean up some messes that some Churches.
I was just the guy that they need, these people would call to help them understand. Something, help them clean up, something I held a lot of things in private, and in confidence, and still do for a lot of people because their story to tell her not mine, it was told in confidence and so, you end up having carried a lot of stuff. Well, that was not sustainable the travel, took it out of me. Time away from my kids. I’m sitting opposite pastors kids who are sharing
Point in topic here, how they felt they’d been sacrificed on the altar of the church growth and their parents were hardly there. And I’m like oh that’s really sad. Should pray about that the same time in the other side of my my mind I’m thinking man that’s me right now. Here’s Natalie being a single mum with heard of the two, three kids. How am I any better here? I am wanting to serve God wanting to
fill a vocation wanting to be important, wanting to help the kingdom. Wanting to grow the church, you know, all good, and Noble, wonderful things. But my Mo was I’ll just
I’ll just fly in and fix it.
You know that’s that’s my gift that’s what I can do.
so, it wasn’t sustainable and
In late 2017. I hit burnout, right?
I was suffering for I would I called and it would explain was compassion fatigue so that I couldn’t get didn’t care anymore. Is that I couldn’t? I was just out of it. I just would sit opposite people. And, and some of these sessions with people with long, our two three-hour sessions, I wasn’t getting enough other support because it was no one else really doing what I was doing. Yeah, there were other in healers but not not a lot of men, not men under 40 and not traveling around.
Like I was and it paid, okay, but it wasn’t great, you know, and then I had to preach. So, it was just very, very taxing on gave a lot.
So I basically hit compassion fatigue, my back goes out.
And I just something in me goes, I’m I’m done. I’ve had enough and, and I really hit the wall, I really hit burnout, quite seriously. I went from running on eight cylinders to like one and a half. That’s Natalie. My wife’s freaking out. What are we going to do? I’m on the couch. I’m running some little courses online.
Because before you had to just to generate some income but was very very hot, very tough.
So let me jump into the story right now, so that’s the background. So
You have to understand, I’m flying and helping pastors and leaders some. Some if I told you their name, you you would know them. Particularly in Australia, people that are love to people that I
cared for and still do not in contact with a lot of people. But still, you know,
and I was,
I was just, I was a shell of a person. I was just not well, my mental health wasn’t well, my physical
I wasn’t physically well today and so remember this time, no one was at home, and I was sitting outside and I just so happened upon a book. My wife brought back from the library called letting go of good and
In the lady talks about how Jesus said you should visit the prisoners visit prisoners, you know, when I was in prison you visited me that that scripture. She posits that this is one way of seeing this is to see that inside you. There’s prisoners right?
That there were people in you that our prisoners, okay?
You said, sometimes we just need to sit there and begin to ask ourselves. Are there things inside us that are prisoners.
I was like, okay, I’ll give that a go.
I put my chair out on the lawn, sat there, you know what else to say really had very little energy motivation to do anything.
I was like, okay, I’m going to listen to myself, I’m saying this to myself. Listen.
And I sat there minutes minutes ago passed minutes ago, path. And then out of my mouth says, I don’t want to be the sin eater anymore.
And I’m like, sin eater.
What I’ve heard of the term I think there’s like a book called the sin eater or something that I saw it. Bookshop once, what the hell’s a senator, I had to Google it. Find out what a sin eater was so back until a couple hundred years ago, no, in turn of the last century even in link was in America. And I actually think that there was a movie made
with what’s-his-name Australian actor, who played The Joker, he’s passed away. He died of a drug overdose.
He was in nights Talent, 10 Things I Hate About You. Whatever that guy’s name is he’s in this movie.
And the sin eater. I discover was in societies where they couldn’t afford a priest when somebody died, then their sins had to be abolished a sin. Eater would come from out of town. The usually an outcast in the town and catch this sin-eater. This is a think you look it up. This thing L would come to the body of the dead person. The family will carers, our loved ones would leave on the
Chest a some bread, some money, and maybe a drink a beer or something, and the sin eater would actually come and come to the body, and it was just kind of the ceremony in this thing that they said, along the lines of a pain. I take your sins upon myself. I eat your sins and basically had this little ceremony and took the sins of that person upon their living self.
So that that person could pass on to Purgatory or heaven or whatever because they couldn’t get that. The local priest to come and absolve sins because I don’t know, maybe they hadn’t been at church, paid their tithes, maybe he was sick busy, I don’t know, but it was kind of like a pseudo priest who come in read. You, they’ll read you, your last rites or whatever the case is.
so, I’m reading this, I’m thinking
What’s the similarities?
Yeah, here I was. Hey Dave, we’re in trouble. I’d fly fly to somewhere in the country.
I’d Wade through all this shit and all their mocking all their problems.
and because of my empathy, and because of my loss, too high, my very high empathy because I hadn’t really dealt with a lot of my
What I know now is codependency and enmeshment. I just took a lot of this on and it was like spiritually. I was taking on all this stuff and they’d give you your money and if meal bed for the night and then you fly back.
Now hear me out.
I’m not saying that I was Dishonored. I could have been but that’s not the point.
Most of me, loved what I did and valued.
But part of me, this part of me felt as if I was just another sin eater.
part of me felt
that I was just being cold to clean up shit and then here’s some coins and fly home the same as a city that see as Sin eater in Antiquity, wouldn’t live in town. They live from out of town, they’d come away and no one wanted to be with them when they weren’t doing their job. They were often just lonely people
Who you would just call upon. Sometimes there were ex-convicts of criminals they were outcasts since he called it. Our cast in, he comes and eats your sin and then he goes back.
The actor’s name is Heath Ledger, is the just come to me, of course, but that’s what they would do. They would come in and they would eat their sin and they were going off thinking, that is me. And what I did, then what I did then was I said, Lord, I’m sorry because here I was
doing your job.
You know. And as much as I wanted to colabor cowork with God, in this space bringing healing, it just was not a man’s role. It’s not a person’s role to do, take all that upon themselves.
And so part of me felt used and abused.
Part of me felt like you just if it wasn’t for the money, would you still do it? Like because when they don’t need you, they don’t call you what. You’re not, there’s them not really friends. You, you’re a garbage guy that comes in, you’re a senator and then we’ll call you when we need you again.
Now there are millions of jobs and vocations. I don’t go to the dentist fun because I, you know, we’re mates, you know, I don’t call the electrician over, you know, just just for fun like, you know, and go to the doctor just for beers that, you know, so many things, we do it, just this is emergency thing.
But part of me wanted to debate wanted to be more part of me wanted to believe. We were friends part of me wanted to believe that I was doing something important for the kingdom.
And so I had to, I had a lot of work to do and a lot of work to do from that. That was a hard time to be honest. That was a lot of digging to do it things to way up.
So let me bring this back to what we’ve been talking about here of being a Living Sacrifice.
When if we take this old another, this principle of foundation sacrifice, I believe that we to one of two things happen where either voluntarily give our lives over again, best best not to be the sacrifice but you can bring a sacrifice.
Yeah, you can live sacrificially. I think those things are important to learn particularly as parents, but doesn’t mean you have to be the sacrifice is it is a vast different there. It’s like caring for someone in caring about them with two different things, one of them, you know, it’s being and being or bringing the sacrifices different, their Jesus was the sacrifice.
and so here’s this substitution deal with the healing is
I realized I’d been the sin eater. Lord, that’s not my job, that’s yours. But of course I didn’t trust him to do it. And I want two different forms of income and it is very messy, very messy, sort of business church ministry, pastoral life things in this space. And a lot of people who’ve done this for a long time. And I know people that have been in healing space for a long time, they really have their seasons, and they’re really have some struggles. It’s a tough really tough Ministry to be in, to be honest. It’s
It’s like covert seal operations, like it’s crazy stuff, very powerful, don’t crazy.
In many ways, all that to say, back to the back to the thing.
You either, if you find yourself, you’ve become the sacrifice that’s happened in two ways, you have either gone voluntarily or involuntarily, the story. I shared, I shared with you because there was a large part of me that voluntarily went in, because of my codependency, because of my measurement, history, in my upbringing because of some attachment pains Etc.
This Magpie here, having a chat with me because of all that.
Because of all those things, I I voluntarily went and did all this.
You know, talk to people who have seen them in church lives. They can I’m going to build a stereotype here, but a lot of churches have this
I don’t know, they often end up secretaries or PAs or something and they are often just single females who give themselves to the church. They it’s like they marry it.
Eventually eventually things come unstuck you know but it’s like over-the-top and if you dig into the history there is often history of it’s like that. They really feel like they have no choice in it. You know. They’re not dragged or coerced in. They just this is it and all they want to do in the very invested in the church, very invested in the past is very invested in these things. They volunteer really just deeply attached themselves and never let go.
Of these relationships and this service in this giving themselves their their the noble Martyrs. If you listen to that episode, that I spoke about dysfunctional family models in the church, there the noble Martyrs, they just do that and their volunteers, they voluntarily. We need somebody to give their life to this institution in order to build it who’s willing to lay down their life unto death and they’re like, I will because I don’t value it anyway.
Now, men can do it, too. I not saying that’s not I just have seen this. Is it common, this is an observation, not a judgment because I’m where am I in this whole story? I’m the singer. I’ll go. I’ll travel and fix, and absorb and eat anything. You know, I can then I’ll just fly home.
And I have the I’m not putting myself forward as a victim. I have gained beautiful valuable friendships and when she did the fan and I did hit the wall and it did burn out. There were a lot of people that were very generous towards us and helped us. Stay afloat, paying bills etc, etc. There was like, it was phenomenal, is very healing, very restorative because you feel alone.
so the other side of course, is involuntarily and this is where people are very coerced or there’s some kind of a
Catch. Sometimes there’s some sort of fear theological thing. Very charismatic leader that sucks people in, you know, and they find before they know it. They’ve been tricked and Condon they’re being dragged into the foundations of something, dragged into something unto death and they didn’t realize it, you know, that passes our leaders or whatever offer them our position and the like are just be easy because you will and you can
Grow it and everything, and then, then it starts. Well, you need to be here three hours before call time. We want you practice and we want you running the team. We want you all of a sudden something. It’s like there was no, it wasn’t spelled out. What was required of them intentionally? Because as soon as they said yes to it, they were held to their word. No. Hang on. My you said you’d be the youth pastor. So that means it’s at least this water work. And I need you to be at every single service and I need to hang on. You said, darling that you
You would be the worship director, that means pastoring, the team that means.
You know, if there’s not money for guitar, strings for the guitarist, you go out and you get that for him. You know, and you’ll be at these meetings and we want music at these meetings. Now we’re going to have a third service and we’re having a satellite church all of a sudden they’re like what the hell? I did not sign up for this and all of a sudden they find themselves in the foundation’s. So there’s two, two things there, voluntarily or involuntarily, they find themselves in the foundations.
Of this if in the last podcast of reference to teaching called out of the tombs, which is on my website and in that, I go to a third aspect of this whole story and I unpack a little bit of something called my metic desire, which I may talk about another time because other people who talk about it better than I have and it’s been a while since I’ve reviewed it. But Rene Girard, who I mentioned earlier,
he was a French literary Professor who
discovered patterns in ancient literature where the hero of the story got was sacrificed, and it’s a whole lot of stuff in their stuff on secret.
Anyway, he came up with this thing called my medic desire, which he seizes this pattern where to people’s desire falls upon a single and limited object. EG, you know, there’s two boys that lived next to each other, they love their neighbors, their best friends, they play Lego together, play soccer together, their guns in the Champlin together, do everything together and then over the road girl moves over the road and all of a sudden the competition’s on because there’s only one go.
Between both of them and now it’s a race. And in order to get ahead of the other person, one boy, the boys are competing for this girls love and affection and so they will sacrifice their friendship and one of them in order to get ahead will sacrifice the other
In order to do that and that’s my medic desire and at the end they both realize neither of them wanted him wanted the girl. They just thought that the other would but they’re competitive. We have this thing in US, you can drop a room full of balloons in front of a group of kids. Yellow, 30, yellow balloons in front of five children.
And one red one and you guarantee even though all the balloons with the same same size just because there’s one red, one, all of a sudden they all want the red one because one kid wants the red one.
And I’ve run these experiments at home, you know, like we have a pattern on pays, the pet attention, then all of a sudden, you’re like, oh here’s the pet. And then it’ll I want to hold it. I want to hold it. I mean, this is built into
Our human psyche and he argues, it’s that very thing. We see it from Cain and Abel upwards. It’s that very thing that causes us a lot of violence sacred violence. And we see that in church life pack how
Often with in leadership, and in climbing, ladders of importance. In church, we often see a slew of dead bodies in the background because of this very thing of my medic desire. So, you know, you can learn more about that in the out of the tombs. But I hope today.
My story about being a sin eater.
There’s a little more to that but you know, there’s only so much a share in dumb.
and this whole idea of being a
being a sacrifice, you know, the scriptures like
we are living stones.
The body, the church, the Ecclesia is a body in a company of people. It’s not a building. We know that we confess that always act like that, but it is a body of people. And, and we’re called to be living people that life and living is of utmost importance. And,
It’s important for all of us, too.
Really be aware of the sacrifices we’re making. Particularly those of us who worked in churches, maybe you’re listening to this and you’re like, holy shit, they have. This is me. I was I went in as a volunteer like you did or I was involuntary sucked in and yet part of my heart has been shattered.
And my prayer for those people in prayer for you, is that you might see it. That you might forgive those leaders in time, we’ve God’s help and you might simply ask
God to go back through time and space is only he can do and just gather back to you all the broken and shattered, parts of your heart that are feel like they’re stuck in the foundation’s in the wounding.
In church and church lives and Dynamics and relational Dynamics.
And therefore that is you sincerely. I’m sorry that this happened to you.
because these these wounds are very complex and very deep and hard to talk about and there is hardly a psychologist or counselor they could ever ever really
Understand the complexity around this but it’s very true and it hurts in a very unique way because for a lot of us, the church and the kingdom and the work of Christ is a, is a very important one to us, very important to us. And so when we find, when we were wounded in those places are where RI wounded or Old Wounds that aren’t healed from childhood Etc, revisit us, it can be very
Very difficult to move on and get over and find words for. So I do hope that this episode and the one before it maybe others before it to have helped you like they have to me, get some language and a handle on things so that you can examine find some healing.
And continue on and your journey. Love and peace. Please feel free to reach out. I really appreciate everybody that’s been reaching out by email and commenting and sending me messages on Facebook in private. I do read them, I don’t get to reply to all of them but honestly to read them and and I’m grateful that
These walks and talks are helpful . Peace