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Sep 11, 2010

Interview with Heidi Venie #3

HeidiDarin and Heidi discuss the last two podcast shows and the reaction of some of her old church members to it. People took it personally and some were quite angry. Heidi opens up about how liberating it was for her to finally stand up and tell her story. There is a power that comes upon each of us when we stand up and proclaim our story to others without regard for personal consequences. Many of us have been raised in a religious world where “talking” about certain things or just plain speaking our mind is forbidden. We have been taught to shut our mouths and go with the flow. The moment we stand up and proclaim the truth in any situation, there will be division. Truth divides. The power to bring freedom to ourselves and others rests in whether or not we are willing to speak the truth.

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    C. Lambert

    The power of "sin" is in its secrecy...nobody should feel that you have drawn a bow and shot an arrow at them personally. I view it as a lesson that everyone can learn something from. I don't believe serving in ANY organization is wrong or unhealthy. What this exposes is that there is a unique "pressure" and "demand" that is put on Christians who step out and desire to serve in the "Kingdom" for the reaching of the lost. Unity should never be used as a "stick" to beat people over the head with. If you don't have an avenue to feedback a person in leadership, and let them know that what you're experiencing is hurting you or confusing you, then YOU do have to step away and trust that the Lord will guide you and place you in a situation where you do "fit", and where you know it is healthy. Whether it is in a formal setting again or not does not matter... YOU are beautiful people, God loves you ...and so do I:-)

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    Jenny Watson

    Just want to say, Thank You Heidi and Darin, for sharing so openly. We have similar stories, and listening to these podcasts has helped us peel off yet another layer of Religiosity and released our hearts. To go from never questioning anything and watching people get chewed up and spat out, to not being afraid to tell our stories whenever the need arises,has been one crazy Adventure, these last 4 years out from the I.C. ... And yep, as Darin says the Truth will Divide, woe has it ever, but the Truth has also set Many Freeee to enjoy Jesus Love for them and to truly Love !!! Heidi, you're not alone...If you're ever Downunder come visit, there's plenty of Free Believers who are on the journey with you!!! Keep Chargin Girl!! :)

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    Another great one! Love the picture with your long blonde locks too.. :)

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    Darin Hufford

    Isn't she gorgeous L.J.?

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    Thanks for the interview. It resonates with my experience too, especially the dismissal associated with "being hurt" or "being bitter." I too am glad to be out of it.

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    Thanks for havig Heather....oops, I mean Hiedi on the show Darin. I've only heard the first one so far, but as a ex "worship leader" I'm right there with her. I'm still attending and still get asked from time to time when I'm going to sing again. The real freedom would be to "sing" like Hiedi is....telling her story. Funny, when I am asked about leading again, I can hear my ego saying, " yes, it, do it! " I can hardly sit thru the messages and my brother is the preacher. It is a hard and lonely place. Thank you so much for sharing Hiedi.

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    Heidi, Thanks for your courage for doing these interviews. I have been in both music and other ministries, and gave my life up for the Church. Interesting to see how all my "friends" disappeared when I stepped away from the IC... but Papa is bigger than all this and I whisper to Him, may He bring healing to us and all those that have been in religious bondage... and that He guides us to a wonderful relationship in Him, that His love would overflow to all those He brings into our lives...

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    Yes, thank you Darin for providing the safe place that people can come to and tell their stories! I really grabbed a hold of a few themes that become apparent when abuse comes into the light - people in authority want to question if things really happened the way they did. Then the victim gets blamed, further adding to the hurt. Also, the hurting person starts to question themselves, their story, their motives, their worth, etc. I have this playing out in my work place right's not fun!

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    I wonder if faith is sometimes a little different than our traditional understanding... Instead of faith being all about believing something we can't prove to be true...maybe it's standing by what we do know, standing on the experiences we've had with the significant people in our lives and believing in them despite what controversy comes their way. I mean maybe that's the faith that Jesus wants from us, standing by his character despite how maligned and misrepresented he is by the system.

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    Last thought, the "system" seems to have characteristics of a personality disorder. The symptoms being: it never admits any wrong and is incapable of taking responsibilty, it has an overinflated view of itself, it abuses power, cries victim the minute it's challenged, is moody and can turn on you in a heartbeat, has all or nothing/ black or white views on life, can get caught up in grandiose decision-making and has unrealistic espectations of its relationships with no respect for others' boundaries. I have learned this, not from this podcast, but by having lived with someone like this...does sound familiar don't you think?

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    Thanks you both, it was really refreshing listening to the podcast. Thinking back to my time at the IC and listening to you both is waking up some strange feelings. Since I was at the IC for so long and never really got seen even though I did lots of volunteer it was always a bit hurtful to me to see that as soon as you would be on stage and be in the worship team, you would be considered more spiritual somehow and you had all those friends and fun after service etc. (besides it was the proof that you where good looking, since only good looking people would be on stage...). Though I am not seeking to be famous or so...I guess I just wanted to have friends who where fun...and I could not find them. And the worshippers where actually those who where not only giving but also getting. As you are telling your story (Heidi) this reveals as a lie as well...I wish you all the best and lots of strength when you will be back in Alaska. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    John Coroy

    Heidi, thanks so much for sharing your story. I have a similar story and I thought of so many things I wanted to say. But as I thought on those things my heart held me in check and said that this was a sacred moment. It is yours to keep and mine to receive as a fellow traveler. I can not add to such a beautiful, albeit both painful and freeing expression of your life. So thanks again. May you journey be fruitful as you continue to speak for those who do not have a voice.

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    Heidi, when things get rough remember there are so many of us out here who are blessed by your honesty. I am so thankful that you would share so openly with us all. I really don't have the words to express what I felt listening to your story, there is just a deep knowing that God is directing your path and leading you straight to His heart. Safe travels back to Alaska.

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    Heidi, we may not know you personally, but here on FBN we KNOW your heart. Thank you for sharing.

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    So thankful you are where you are at your age! I'm a former worship leader, raised in Baptist/Bill Gothard/James Dobson home, moved to indy Charismatic church of 150-250 in college. My previous submission to parents fed right into complete submission to my pastors. 15 years where my husband and I met, had four kids, worked as full-time worship leader. Many bits Heidi mentioned were straight from our book... giving up precious family time, always working decisions and schedule based on what pastors' opinions and needs were. Our ENTIRE adult lives were wrapped up in our church life and submission to the senior pastor’s vision. At 35, I wondered when we'd be grown up enough to make our own decisions. It was an odd mindset to be so stunted and restricted in life based on every part of our lives being encapsulated in church relationships. Others seemed confident to take jobs, to move to a new location, etc., but we never felt released to do so without running everything by the leadership.

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    It’s weird to describe now, but we would never have dreamed of making a major decision that didn’t jive with what God confirmed through the pastors. Only in hindsight did we realize how manipulative that could be toward us, even without the pastors intending it to be so (although sometimes they did). Very long story short, church dissolved completely nine years ago amid gross misconduct and abuse of power, and most of our relationships blew apart. Many former members were left in the wake of massive spiritual damage, with most leaving the church entirely or funneling into other local churches. We meandered through trying house church with a handful of families we had known for all those years – five or six families, and about 18 kids under age 11… sort of hard to concentrate in a living room, so it didn’t last long in that format ;-)

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    We found Wayne Jacobsen just as The God Journey began, and found ourselves becoming freer as God brought our paths across other families with whom we developed friendships. They were an hour away, but we’d hang out a time or two a month, we emailed, the kids chatted on Facebook. We began to experience real friendships based on the freedom and Love that we all lived in. That “call” to stay silent and not uncover began to leave, and I found myself talking straight about our experience – not to hurt – but just to be HONEST about how we felt, what we experienced, and how we had hurt… AND how much we are healed now. Not bitter. Not wounded. Not staying out of churches because we’re not ready to return yet. Nope – we’re where we are because it’s the healthy, free, full-of-love place to live where God has placed us for now. I can sit through a service, but why? I don’t need the entertainment, and I’d rather chat with you over coffee.

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    Like Heidi, I’m a straight-shooter, and everyone can pretty much know they’re getting the real thing when they talk to me. (Uhm, that’s why this is so long!) I cried several times listening to her interviews, remembering the agony and pain we walked through when we were first allowed ourselves to question and when we were first thrust out. I was THERE. I know those emotions. I know where God has brought us over the past nine years of becoming more and more free. I hear in Heidi’s voice how much God has done in her in such a short time, and I rejoice that she and her husband have found such a healing path so quickly. For us, I turned 45 today, and I’m only in the past three or four years feeling like I’m really shaking free of all that former stuff. To be 26 and discovering all of that – well, that’s a wonderful place to be. I’m thrilled to have heard part of your story, and I’m looking forward to updates in the future!

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    I've heard all three interviews in a row last night and I'm amazed. Don't know where to start, it was so balanced. It's so obvious you don't want to shoot guilt bullets on anyone. At first it seems schizophrenical, but I truly believe you love the people, the pastors, everyone. You're just freakin' angry about the damage being done (by the system?) and you want to name it and find healing for the PEOPLE. There's no other agenda. Not a religious one, nor a political or private. Thank you Heidi. And I'm really amazed, that you remain so balanced, Darin. After all these years that people try to put you in so many different boxes, insult you in various ways - you still keep it so simple and balanced. Just clean and pure truth. We're discovering the real Jesus, the real Christ, the real thing behind so many biblical terms that have been "raped" by the ages of terror present in Christianity. I'm amazed and excited, cause we're all over the world. LOVE YOU guys! Love you!

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    Nancy Barnum

    You could take out your names and insert ours and the story is the same! When you realized you had to go and said "We are screwed." it felt like deja vu! We had seen what happend to the 'insiders' when they left and knew the same would happen to us. We were told to press in when we asked for a time away and when we insisted, we were told we would have to leave. We called their bluff and left. Thank you Heidi for your transparency. God bless you and your family as continue to walk with Him.

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    Heidi, I just want to say keep telling your story, in that place of sharing you keep loving people even if some dont see it. 19 years ago I left a church that I had only attended for a little over 2 years because of the very stuff you described. My brother stayed, and time came where he even cut of "fellowship" with me. About a year later he began speaking to me on occasion, long story, long journey, and he is still in the church and the relationship is not fully restored but little by little through love and humility he comes a little closer. Darin good on you for allowing people the freedom to share their story and be empowered in their hearts. May we all learn to give room to those around us who dont have a podcast or a "Darin" to go to. It changes everyones heart, the one sharing and the one listening....when grace is given the room to grow.

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    These interviews were so real. I sat and cried as I listened to them. Cried for Heidi, and cried for what we have been through. I am watching a friend walk out of a similar situation, holding her as she cries. So many tears, thank goodness God is at the end of them to catch us. My husband has just finished listening to these and reading "The Misunderstood God" and he is changed. Thank you so much for sharing your life. It is a brave thing to do. When I have spoken up in the past I have been ostracized, and am now losing friends. My teens are struggling with my decision to leave - church has been our extended family and so much a part of our life, worship, conferences, productions - you know the drill. So much easier to leave when kids are younger .... sigh. They yearn for the sense of belonging, and I cannot blame them. I was the one who took them to church. Thank you so much for these podcasts.

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