Personal Account from Former BJU Student

Rachel Patrick shares personal experiences at Bob Jones University

Rachel Patrick was a former student of Bob Jones University (BJU). Although she did not participate in the GRACE investigation, she recently gave a public statement on Facebook, giving permission to share it. It is copied in its entirety as follows:

 


 

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I have made this post public and it may be shared with my permission.

I attended Bob Jones University from the fall of 2002 to December, 2005. I finished my last class via distance learning and was awarded my BA in English in 2006.

During my freshman year at BJU, my dorm counselor and dorm supervisor both became aware of certain information.
1. I was struggling from severe depression (related to a multitude of both environmental and clinical medical causes).
2. I had several times attempted to commit suicide.
3. I had experienced a sexual assault.

Their response was to place me on spiritual probation. I had to attend mandatory counseling sessions with my dorm supervisor, Esther White. At one point in these sessions, she told me that if I did not either get right with God or get saved, I would be expelled. These sessions lasted most of my Freshman year and I continued on spiritual probation through my sophomore year. These sessions entirely focused on my “spiritual” problems, increased my depression, and taught me that my only safety was in secrecy.

The summer after my freshman year when I arrived at the Wilds to work, I was called to the office of the then-director of the camp, Ken Collier. In his office he told me that he had been informed by my dorm counselor and dorm supervisor about my struggles over the past year. He said that the counseling team had erred in not involving my parents (I was 18) and that I had two options. I could call my parents and tell them about the “issues” of the past year and stay at the Wilds on probation and in mandatory counseling or he would both fire me and call my parents himself.

I believe that I had the least of the negative experiences that could potentially have been experienced through these “counseling processes.” I was friends with Esther White until she had to separate from my later “lifestyle” choices. I worked at the Wilds for two more years. I became an APC and a society Chaplain. I have spoken on behalf of the University to try and bring people to a better understanding of the great education I received and the commitment of an underpaid faculty that helped form my mind and character.

I experienced everything that the GRACE report delineated as problems at BJU, victim shaming, horrendous “counseling” methods, complete lack of confidentiality, being punished for needing help. And I chose not to speak to GRACE. I did not take the survey. I did not believe that an investigation and a report that was funded by Bob Jones University could be impartial. I did not want to revisit these issues or have a potential negative impact on my family. I actually left my position on the BJUnity board to give myself additional space from any appearance of “BJU bashing” or being one of the “disaffected.”

There are so many people like me, you cannot imagine. People who for a variety of reasons did not have their stories, stories so much worse than mine, included in this report. If you do not want to believe our stories, our collective witness, against the failings of this administration, you do not have to believe us. Believe the words of Bob Jones III, Bob Wood, Jim Berg, and Greg Mazak. Read their responses to the investigators. Listen to what they believe and what they have taught and continue to teach to generation after generation of preachers and teachers who are going out to further their work around this country and world.

God have mercy.

‪#‎bju‬ ‪#‎bobjonesuniversity‬ ‪#‎grace‬

 

 

photo credit: .brioso. via photopin cc

Bob Jones University Sex Abuse Investigation and A Breakdown of BJU President Pettit’s Leaked Chapel Message

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Bob Jones University Sex Abuse Investigation and BJU President Steve Pettit’s leaked chapel message

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Bob Jones University (BJU) has been in the news prominently after GRACE released their long-awaited report (trigger warnings if you read the report) on the sex abuse investigations at BJU.

Many major news sites are covering the story, including, The New York Times:

For decades, officials at Bob Jones University told sexual assault victims that they were to blame for their abuse, and to not report it to the police because doing so would damage their families, churches and the university, according to a long-awaited independent report released Thursday.

For an overall picture of what has gone on, Dee Parsons, at The Wartburg Watch, has written an excellent synopsis of the BJU sex abuse scandal in her article, Bob Jones University, Boz Tchvidjian, and GRACE: An Unprecedented, Historic Report on Sex Abuse.

BJU News, a blog that has been reporting on the abuse and “All The News That They Won’t Print” has an article compiling many links to news reports which have recently been published: GRACE Aftermath: Docs, Tweets, Images and Media Coverage.

They also published an article, New Leaked Audio: Pettit Contradicts GRACE, Reassures “BJU is Safe”,  about a leaked BJU chapel message by BJU’s President Steve Pettit, which is what the rest of this article will deal with. Is President Steve Pettit message to the students the same as what has been presented publicly? Or is he presenting a kinder/softer message?

Below, you will see the transcription of a portion of a leaked chapel message by Pettit – only that which pertains to the sex abuse news coverage. Imagine you are a BJU student going to the chapel service while the news media has been revealing damaging stories about your school. This is not a good time for BJU students. What we see here, which we typically see in abuse cases, is minimization and damage control by BJU leadership. BJU President Pettit tries to reassure the students that despite GRACE’s recent 301-page report and negative news coverage, everything is under control, BJU is safe, they don’t have anything to worry about.

Here is the transcribed message (special thanks to BJU News) with my editorial comments in green.

The message by BJU President Steve Pettit begins:

I do want to highlight our own BJU.edu website that actually really gives some very clear statements in a really good timeline. The timeline’s very helpful to understand why we initiated the GRACE report and how things have gone along up to the present day.  [BJU timeline]

What I want to do this morning, if I could, is at least help you gain a perspective about the GRACE report that I think is helpful for you as Bob Jones University students. I think you realize last week when I spoke, I spoke not only to you, but because it was videoed [sic], I was speaking to people in public, I was speaking to Greenville, in some cases to our alumni, and in some cases to the United States. And so I’d like to speak to you this morning more specifically. And I’d like to help you with this perspective.

The issues in the GRACE report are dealing primarily with events that took place in the past, not things that are happening today. And I would never — and I think it’s been very clear — minimize what people have experienced in the past, but in proper perspective, I want you to realize that most of those cases were things that happened to people before you were even born or when you were a child. [Please scroll down and look at another statement that conflicts this statement in pink font. He implies that they know when the abuse cases took place and below he says they don’t know. Which is it?] 

And so in many ways, they’re not things that are happening today. You know, it’s like, “Is Bob Jones University safe?” And of course, it’s as safe as we can make it. If somebody is bent on doing wrong, it’s hard to stop them. But we do believe, obviously, it is very safe. [They thought they were safe when there was reported abuse going on, too.]

At this present hour we’ve been making many improvements since we obtained GRACE over two years ago. [Let’s not forget that they hired GRACE and then fired GRACE and then rehired them.]

We have very strong policies and procedures in place right now. All of you understand that we have a training program here called “The Sexual Abuse Awareness Program” for students and faculty and staff. We have a solid approach toward counseling people where we are helping those who have been… who have experienced sexual abuse or assault.

I took a look at the faculty page and the schools they graduated from. BJU is strongly against anything “psychology.” The only training they offer is solely based on the Bible. What kind of sex abuse training is in Scripture? This is not at all reassuring.

We actually have it in place. And it doesn’t mean that things can’t happen, but I just want you to know that the picture that is presented in [the] GRACE report, I think, it really looks a little different than things do today in what we’re doing here. And I do want you to know the answers that I’ve given to people or reporters or anybody who wants to talk to me about the GRACE report. And really, I try to give a very consistent message. Now, I’m saying these following things, and when you go home at Christmas and people ask you these things, I would encourage you to follow along, you know, if this is what you’re willing to do, this line of thinking, you can think about it yourself.

First of all, that we were the ones that initiated this report — not because of a current problem, but because of the fact that we wanted to make sure that we were in compliance to legal reporting and then secondly to address some of the issues of the past that had come to us, and we wanted to deal with those things. [Why are they patting themselves on the back? This had been going on for 3-4 decades.]

Secondly, we are very saddened for anybody who has suffered the horrors of any kind of sexual abuse or sexual assault. To help you understand terminology, sexual abuse primarily refers to those who are under the age of 18 old. So a teenager or a child. Sexual assault has to do with those who are over the age of 18 years old. So here on campus if something happens, it’s not really an abuse if you’re over 18. It’s an assault. And of course, those people, when that is reported, those people end up being prosecuted, which we have had happen here.

Why was the above paragraph included? He is trying share his knowledge on this topic? It’s a little late. Is he trying to say that if someone was sexually assaulted over the age of 18, it’s not abuse? What?!

Let me also say that we appreciate those who are willing to show courage and come forward and tell their story because we can only imagine how difficult that is. And we are grateful because by their willingness to come forward and showing courage is only helping us. And not because it’s about us, but it does help us. It is helping us to become better at what needs to be done. And really, we want to, as Christians, we want to be a leader in this area. 

Ok, this is not truthful. If that is the case, then why is someone removing personal accounts from their Facebook page like this:

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I do want you to know that we do sincerely apologize to those who have not been helped in the past. And we don’t know who those individuals are. I can’t know them personally. But we do feel for them, and we do take what has been said very seriously. [Obviously not true based on the removal of posts from their Facebook page as mentioned above.]

And then I want you know that we are very committed to learning from the report and going forward through this journey of change. We don’t think it’s gonna take, you know, two quick decisions. We realize that we want to become effective and helpful and serve.

Now one other thing is that, when I speak with people, especially when they ask us questions, I try to help people have a proper perspective that the things that are in the GRACE report took place over a period of four decades. So that’s a long time. And there are things that are in the report that we don’t know about.

For example, we don’t know the timeline. We don’t know when this took place. Did this take place twenty years ago? Did this take place ten years ago? We’re not sure.

We don’t know who the people are.

Well wait, they do know who some people are, but choose not to deal with them and instead remove their comments as if they never existed.

So there are some things about it that are unclear. But the one thing we do want people to know is that whether it was one person or a hundred people, it doesn’t matter because abuse is terrible for the one. You know, I think about it: if it was my daughter, well, you know, one is bad. So we want to be very, very clear. And we are going to, as a university, use the GRACE report for the purpose in which we initiated it. And that is to learn from our past and to move forward in the future.

We are forming a committee who is going to look at the recommendations before any major decisions are made. They will come, they will make recommendations on the recommendations, and then ultimately the decision will have to be made by the president myself.

We do want to be a better university. We do want to be a better leader in this area, and GRACE commended us for being proactive in initiating the report. The fact is, we have already decided that we are going beyond GRACE on our own to improve in other areas that are not even suggested in this report. And so it is something that we have made as a priority. It is very important. And so hopefully… I hope that this will help clear up anything in your mind. If you want to ask questions, please feel free to. If you’d like to write me a personal email, I’ll be more than happy to respond to that.

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SSB Sunday Gathering – December 14, 2014

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Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

 

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When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table.

Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins.

For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”

Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves.

For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.”

He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.”

After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.

Luke 22: 14-20

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Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

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photo credit: Hannah

h/t Joel for music recommendation

Husbands Who Want to Correct Their Rebellious Wives

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Husbands with Rebellious Wives

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“Be considerate as you live with your wife, with respect” 1 Peter 3:7

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The other day, I read a Facebook status from a friend whose wife had gone overseas for a week and left him with three young children. His words were so sweet as he made notes of what it was like for him as a temporary stay-at-home dad. Here were some of his key points:

  • there is no privacy (he repeated this phrase a handful of times during the list – I think he really missed his privacy)
  • there are always more dishes to do
  • he could not keep up with the house cleaning before a destruction-minded toddler came through a room again
  • there is no time for exercise
  • nothing gets finished because of constant interruptions
  • getting someplace on time with kids in tow is practically a miracle

This sweet dad/husband publicly praised his wife for what he didn’t realize she had been doing each and every day. Of course he likely had an idea, but to actually do her job and do it well was a huge challenge to him.

Their marriage reflects mutual respect and sacrificial love. He does not lord over her, he values her. They both work hard at their jobs. They take time for each other and their relationship and it’s beautiful.

Right around the same time I read my friend’s Facebook status, I also read a blog article by Ken Alexander entitled, Wimpy Husbands with Rebellious Wives. The “rebellious” word in the title sent shivers down my spine. What would cause someone to use such a harsh word when talking about wives?

The article starts off very negatively against women, “how to best deal with the antics and emotions of a difficult wife.” Right off the bat, I am reading control. It’s like he is assuming the worst in women. Ken believes husbands must have complete control over their wives and in this article, he challenges “wimpy” husbands who don’t control their wives and their rebellious behavior. Patriarchy, much? Check this out:

I have personally heard from far too many Christian husbands how frustrated they are with a wife who can’t discipline herself enough to get some of the basics of the home, family and marriage completed in any normal way, yet the wife wants nothing to do with their husband’s attempts at correcting a bad situation. The husband can beg a wife to please try to have the house picked up and dishes done by the time he gets home, yet she is just far too busy to be able to get these basics of life completed. In her mind, he just does not understand and now she has her girlfriends agreeing with her, so he must be a jerk. After all, how can ten women with half the facts not come up with the right answers?

If he questions her lack of discipline, her inability to get to the gym, to have a home cooked meal on the table every evening, or have the laundry done once a week, she calls him not understanding or unloving. And when the claws come out and tears start, the husband is put back into his corner as the “unloving jerk who is way too picky and demanding!”

He talks about how he picks up the slack in the home with meals, taking care of kids and helping with homework but asks:

I am curious what the readers of this blog would counsel a husband to do when he is married to just such a wife. Accept as a premise that she lacks any modicum of self-discipline; she is a stay at home Mom with plenty of time spent relaxing and being online each day. [JA note:  and he knows this how?]

And he continues:

Does love demand that he seek his wife’s best interest in training his rebellious wife in self discipline, even if she cannot see how this is indeed true love in meeting her needs?

Ok, what a contrast between two husbands, huh? Ken’s article really concerns me because we are seeing him use the word “love” as a means of control. Love is not about controlling someone. I am very concerned about women living in these environments where their husbands must control them. I’m also concerned about the children in these homes who think it’s normal for dads to control their wives. Ugh. We can do better than this as Christians.

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photo credit: cafemama via photopin cc

Some Pastors Think They Get to Control the Details of Your Lives, Even the Colors of Clothes You Wear

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Pastors who use their assumed position of authority to control personal lives.

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for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.

Hebrews 13:17

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This is finals week at school, so in the interest of time, I’m going to resurrect an old post from March of 2012, plus add a little more editorial comment. The following article was written in the midst of the $500,000 defamation lawsuit brought on by my former pastor, Chuck O’Neal and Beaverton Grace Bible Church, against four others and me (including my adult daughter). After I spoke out publicly against Chuck O’Neal on Google reviews, he was able to get my negative reviews removed. I then started a blog, hoping to find a place where he couldn’t take away my voice.

Within a week of starting the blog, I was sued along with 4 others. The blog was a big issue for him because he couldn’t control me or my words. I dared to publicly say something about this man and he tried to shut me down by using the lawsuit. I think he thought that the lawsuit would shut me up. It didn’t. I continued to blog about my experience at his church during the lawsuit (with permission from my attorney.) He lost the court case and I’m still talking about him from time to time because he represents so many others who abuse their assumed position of authority in their churches.  Thanks, Chuck O’Neal for giving me the platform, for bringing media attention to the case, and allowing others to identify spiritual abuse they may have experienced so they can begin their recovery process.

This post was written during the lawsuit when I was stewing about the various things that left me wondering, “what was THAT all about?”  You see, when you are in the midst of an abusive or cult-like church, your brain can play tricks with you. Your mind tells you that this pastor obviously is a godly man because he’s a pastor, right? I mean, who would be in a pastoral position without wanting to be godly and lead the congregation appropriately?  Well, some don’t have right motives. They may have some appearances of right motives, but beneath the facade, they are controlling and abusive, and can actually harm or destroy someone’s faith.

Some are in the pastorate because they relish their position of authority. They like having the seniority, the clout, the respect of a whole congregation. They like that people are hanging on to their words. They like that they have power and influence over people and some pastors, take that power and influence beyond the scope of a pastor’s job. That is what this post about – a man who used his position of authority and influence to try to convince his congregants of stupid rules that have nothing – I mean zilch –  to do with the Bible.

Note: The following article originally appeared here.

 

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You Can’t Make This Stuff Up, Part 1

I remember something that was taught. I think it was said at the ladies retreat and/or perhaps on a Wednesday night meeting, but probably not on Sunday (because Sunday’s messages were recorded???).

Anyway, the topic was about men/boys wearing the color pink. We were told that pink was a “feminine” color and men/boys ought not to be wearing those colors.

I don’t ever recall reading anything of the sort in the Bible. Anywhere. I couldn’t even make up something like that. What in the world does a man wearing pink have to do with the love of Christ and sharing the Gospel? Nothing. It’s extra made-up nonsense.

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You can buy this shirt from Zazzle for $18.95.
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After the ladies retreat, I remember looking through my son’s drawer and seeing a pink shirt. This particular son is a redhead with an angelic white porcelain face. He looks amazing in pink. I want to squeeze him when I see how cute he looks in that color. The pink against his cheeks and red hair was a beautiful sight to his mama’s eyes. There was no way I was going to throw that shirt away. He may have worn that shirt the following Sunday and probably other Sundays as well. I wonder how many people noticed my boy wearing pink?

Does this man look feminine? I think not.

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Tommy Hilfiger Classic Polo Shirt  Pink $54.99 (sold out)
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For further reading on fashionable dressing for men, check out this article  Can men wear pink?  Decide for yourself if pink is acceptable for your man or men (if you have many sons as I do).
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Ok, back to 2014 again. Can you imagine what this kind of teaching, adding extra rules to Christianity, can do? If you have a pastor deciding for you what you can wear, what’s next?  Will he be able to influence what job you take, what woman you marry, what food you can eat, what car you drive? Give me a break.This man put himself between his congregants and God by creating extra rules. He’ll have to answer to God for that.***

SSB Sunday Gathering – December 7, 2014

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Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

 

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For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

I Corinthians 15:21-22

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And they sung a new song, saying,

Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof:

for thou wast slain,

and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred,

and tongue,

and people, and nation;

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Saying with a loud voice,

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power,

and riches, and wisdom, and strength,

and honour, and glory,

and blessing.

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And every creature which is in heaven,

and on the earth, and under the earth,

and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them,

heard I saying,

Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power,

be unto him that sitteth upon the throne,

and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

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And the four beasts said, Amen.

And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

Revelation 5:9, 12-14

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Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

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photo credit: JA’s yard after 2 days of freezing temps and morning frost

Pastors are Being Asked to Sign The Marriage Pledge – Is it a Good Thing?

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Why are pastors being asked to sign The Marriage Pledge?

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Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.  The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.”  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Genesis 2:22-24

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A while back when our family was in the Homeschool Movement, we attended conferences by Michael Pearl, yes, that very same one. He very proudly boasted that his daughters had Christian marriages and did not have state licenses. I remember thinking a bit about that and wondering how that would affect life for them with employment, medical insurance, if there was a death, that kind of thing. Here is something I found written by Pearl in 2004:

None of my daughters or their husbands asked the state of Tennessee for permission to marry. They did not yoke themselves to government. It was a personal, private covenant, binding them together forever—until death. So when the sodomites have come to share in the state marriage licenses, which will eventually be the law, James and Shoshanna will not be in league with those perverts. And, while I am on the subject, there will come a time when faithful Christians will either revoke their state marriage licenses and establish an exclusively one man-one woman covenant of marriage, or, they will forfeit the sanctity of their covenant by being unequally yoked together with perverts. The sooner there is such a movement, the sooner we will have a voice in government. Some of you attorneys and statesmen reading this should get together and come up with an approach that will have credibility and help to impact the political process. Please contact me when you do and I will assist with publicity.
Michael Pearl

Pearl’s quote brings me to a similar message I read at First Things.  First Things is promoting The Marriage Pledge and in their article, they have a similar message regarding mixing Christian marriage with government marriage: “To continue with church practices that intertwine government marriage with Christian marriage will implicate the Church in a false definition of marriage.”

Here is more from the The Marriage Pledge website:

In many jurisdictions, including many of the United States, civil authorities have adopted a definition of marriage that explicitly rejects the age-old requirement of male-female pairing. In a few short years or even months, it is very likely that this new definition will become the law of the land, and in all jurisdictions the rights, privileges, and duties of marriage will be granted to men in partnership with men, and women with women.

[…]

Therefore, in our roles as Christian ministers, we, the undersigned, commit ourselves to disengaging civil and Christian marriage in the performance of our pastoral duties. We will no longer serve as agents of the state in marriage. We will no longer sign government-provided marriage certificates. We will ask couples to seek civil marriage separately from their church-related vows and blessings. We will preside only at those weddings that seek to establish a Christian marriage in accord with the principles ­articulated and lived out from the beginning of the Church’s life.

As of this writing, 351 pastors have signed The Marriage Pledge saying they will no longer sign government marriage licenses, but will only participate in what they deem as “Christian” marriages. It’s pretty clear from the wording that these pastors want to distance themselves from anything that resembles state-sanctioned marriages, including same-sex marriages.

Doug Wilson, wrote about this pledge in his article, In Which First Things Does Some Fourth Things, and stated something that I was concerned about, but not in the same way Wilson was:

In short, church weddings detached from the civil sphere are worthless unless the church is being given the contracted legal authority to adjudicate the divorce — property, custody, the works. Anything less than that is a sham and a farce.

 You can see very quickly what Wilson’s concern is:  control over the marriage.

We deal with abuse in church and church organizations here at Spiritual Sounding Board. The first thought I had was, what happens when there is abuse?

Who gets to decide these cases if no civil license is obtained?

What do you think about this Marriage Pledge?

Do you see any concerns not addressed?

It seems like there are a lot of holes in this idea.

 

 

Related articles:

 

photo credit: Eye – the world through my I via photopin cc

Is There Support for Husbands Whose Wives are in Seminary at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary?

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Are women even allowed in the seminary at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary?

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Special thanks to blogger, Tim Fall, whose tweet showed up in my Twitter news feed and prompted this post. Tim asks the person behind The Southern Baptist Theological School’s (SBTS) Twitter account about women in the seminary. @ItsJuzztMe got the first audible laugh from me this morning. Have a read:

 

Sothern Baptist Theological Seminary

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So what about those wives who have considered seminary?

I wanted to see if I could send my daughter to SBTS as a seminary student and snooped around the site a bit.  I found this:

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Ok, the first sentence is a dead giveaway:  “Wondering if Southern has a place for you?”  hmmmmm

and then:

 “. . .  to address women’s needs and equip them for whatever calling God has place on their lives.”

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What if, as Tim Fall asked, a woman feels God is calling her to ministry? Will SBTS support her calling to ministry? Are there classes or any type of classes for men to support wives in seminary?  I first had to see if this was even an option at SBTS. From what I can see, SBTS offers quite a few programs for both men and women, but they sure do support wives of seminary students: Seminary Wives Institute. However, there’s no Seminary Husbands Institute that I could find. Keep in mind, when husbands are at seminary school, this is one time that the complementarian guys say it’s okay for their wives to work outside the home for a season.

Reading through some of this stuff reminded me of when I was a Navy officer’s wife and was given a lengthy handbook for proper etiquette as a Navy wife. Even at the time (1988), I noted that it said Navy wives, not spouses. In my husband’s graduating class at officer candidate school, there were women who graduated as officers, so this book was already out of date. Regardless, at our first training site (yes, it was training for me as an officer’s wife as well as training for my newly commissioned officer husband), I hung out with the captain’s wife and other new officer’s wives and she modeled to us how to be a proper officer’s wife. It was actually quite fun at CECOS in Port Hueneme, CA, spending time with the officer’s wives. But I was expected to schmooze with the higher ranking officers respectfully, I had to make sure I placed my calling card appropriately in the dish upon leaving an official event (do you even know what a calling card is and how it is used?). Yup, even though I wasn’t in the military, my husband was, and I was expected to follow Navy wives rules. Anyway . . . back to seminary wives . . .

Here is a sampling of what SBTS has to offer for women in their upcoming spring of 2015 Seminary Wives Institute course descriptions:

LEADERSHIP SKILLS I: Women and Evangelism

BAPTIST BELIEFS:  This class is taught by Drs. Albert Mohler, Dan DeWitt, Adam Greenway, Randy Stinson and Greg Wills

We predict you will use what you learn in this course for years to come. You will also gain a greater appreciation and understanding of what your husbands spend years studying.

MINISTRY OF HOSPITALITY:  This class is taught by Mrs. Mary Mohler

Some of the many topics include serving your own family, recipe and menu organization, event planning at home and at church, etiquette, hospitality in writing, evangelistic hospitality and overcoming challenges. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate hospitality and plan a creative event as part of this course. Practical assignments correspond to the weekly topics.

MORE BIBLICAL COUNSELING: TYPICAL PROBLEMS IN COUNSELING

PLAYING HYMNS taught by Bethany Strachan (Is this Owen Strachan’s wife?)

Description: Have you ever wanted to learn to play the piano OR have you wish that you had kept it up as a child? This course will teach how to read the notes for the right and left hand and will teach basic chord patterns so that you could play worship songs or hymns with the right hand melody and various chord patterns with the left hand. Access to a keyboard or piano is required as well as regular practice times for about 20-30 minutes five days a week.

The only thing I could find regarding women in leadership is this:

Ministry Leaders Internship for Women is designed to invest in female students who are called to minister to women in a church or educational setting. Ladies are challenged to invest strategically in the spiritual lives of other women while personally growing in leadership, discipline, and godliness. Please go here for more information.

I called SBTS to find out for sure and was told that women can take all classes at SBTS except for pastoral degree classes (JA bolded):

The Pastoral Studies concentration is primarily designed to prepare men who are called to serve in the office of pastor in local congregations. A balance of biblical, theological, and ministry courses makes this a broad program of pastoral training, allowing for exposure to a range of knowledge and skills needed for effective ministry in the local church.

So, Tim, unfortunately I don’t think there’s much for you at SBTS on how to support your wife if she feels God’s calling to go to seminary.  I’m so sorry.

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SSB Sunday Gathering – November 30, 2014

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Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

 

 

barb

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But as for me, afflicted and in pain—
    may your salvation, God, protect me.

30 I will praise God’s name in song
    and glorify him with thanksgiving.
31 This will please the Lord more than an ox,
    more than a bull with its horns and hooves.
32 The poor will see and be glad—
    you who seek God, may your hearts live!
33 The Lord hears the needy
    and does not despise his captive people.

34 Let heaven and earth praise him,
    the seas and all that move in them,
35 for God will save Zion
    and rebuild the cities of Judah.
Then people will settle there and possess it;
36     the children of his servants will inherit it,
    and those who love his name will dwell there.

Psalm 69

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Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

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photo credit: Barb Orlowski, Crescent Beach, British Columbia

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Disagreeing with Someone’s Opinion Makes You Like Satan?

It really is okay for you to have a differing opinion with a Christian leader!

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There is so much tension in the media regarding the Ferguson fiasco. I wish everyone could just hold up a “free hugs” sign like this young 12-yr old in Portland and it would all get better:

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Sometimes pastors put themselves in the political spotlight by commenting on popular news stories. It concerns me when pastors speak out about these issues because of their spiritual position, for the primary reason that many people will hold their opinion as gospel when it has little to do with the gospel.

We have to be careful that we don’t interpret a Christian leader’s opinion as something more than an opinion and I especially appreciate it when a pastor is humble enough to admit that his opinion is just that, an opinion.

Pastors Thabiti Anyabile and Voddie Baucham recently published articles regarding the Ferguson case at The Gospel Coalition website:

Thabiti Anyabwile – The Ferguson Grand Jury Has Given Us Our Marching Orders
and
Voddie Baucham – Thoughts on Ferguson – Baucham posted the same article on his Facebook page and as of now there are over 4,000 “likes” and 8,000 “shares.”

If you read the articles, pay attention to how these pastors come across in tone. Do they identify that the article is their opinion? That’s important.

 

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Now, you might think I want to make this post about the Ferguson situation. I do not. I repeat – this article is not about the Ferguson situation, but about behavior in response to the Ferguson situation. 

Take a look at this. Open air preacher, Tony Miano, clearly likes Voddie Baucham’s article. That’s fine. He’s entitled to his opinion.

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Tony Miano on Twitter   Thank you Pastor  VoddieBaucham for this article. For me  it is the definitive piece regarding  Ferguson. Nuff said. http   t.co KNvR2ZmuFZ

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However, now look at how Tony Miano goes after Thabiti Anyabwile publicly on Twitter. Keep in mind that Tony Miano has been tweeting a lot about this case, occasionally mentioning his prior job as deputy sheriff as if to bolster his words.

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Christian Janeway on Twitter    ThabitiAnyabwil  sir  this gentleman is well known for stirring up conflict. I d recommend shields up and warp 6.

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Gotta love it when Twitter Super-heroine Christian Janeway comes to the defense of Anyabwile with a warning. And kudos to Pastor Anyabwile for handling Miano’s aggressive and divisive behavior with grace.
In the following Twitter exchange, you see someone arguing with Tony Miano. Look what happens when @Cvofromthemo dares to disagree with Miano:

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Screen shot 2014-11-27 at 11.49.48 PM

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Lest you be like Satan?????  Did Tony Miano really say that?

 

It’s one thing to have an opinion about a political situation, it’s a whole other thing to apply your spiritual interpretation of what is going on politically and then insist that your interpretation is the only correct interpretation. It really crosses the line when someone is so convinced they are right about their interpretation that they accuse someone who doesn’t agree with you that they are like Satan. Give me a break. This is bully behavior.

Thank God Tony Miano is no pastor, but there are pastors who behave just like this. If you question them and their opinion, you may be accused of being divisive, a Jezebel, or even Satan. Watch out for spiritual bullies!

I had to laugh at this last tweet from Tony Miano:

Happy Thanksgiving to SSB Community

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And whatever you do, 

whether in word or deed,

do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:17

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I’m so grateful for the SSB community, for shared joys and sorrows and friendships.

I’m mindful that Thanksgiving Day may be difficult for some whose families have been torn apart by spiritual abuse or other difficult circumstances. There are several people who come to my mind instantly as I am typing these words. My heart goes out to you.

We’ve started preparations for our Thanksgiving meal. The new cranberry sauce recipe I tried did not set – oh well. If all else fails, I’ll bring it to another boil and try again. I still have to make the sweet potato casserole. I don’t have to do much as we have several cooks in the family who like to prepare their favorite part of the feast.

I’m looking forward to having my Caboose son help me set the table with the homemade turkeys he and his brother made a few years ago. The turkeys got their shape from tracing their hands (the thumbs are the turkeys’ heads – yea, I know, those are some turkeys – lol).

 

IMG_4263

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

SSB will be open for commenting.

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What Happened When You Shared Your Abuse Story with Someone for the First Time?

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What Happened When You Shared Your Abuse Story with Someone for the First Time? Did They Believe you?

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This is the fourth time I’ve started this post. I can tell when something is triggering me when I lose my writing mojo. Last week, the media reported additional women speaking out about being sexually violated/raped by Bill Cosby, a man who has been so highly esteemed in show business as a comedian and actor, and a respected father figure in his very popular and successful television show, The Cosby Show. The news stories were shocking, did Bill Cosby really do that?

But these women, some after decades, have finally spoken out. Their stories are remarkably similar in details and their reason for silence makes sense. Who would believe their story? Everybody loved Cosby. It wasn’t worth the risk to disclose.

I’ve gotten into some debates with people about this – some have been with my friends  – about these women who finally came out and told their stories. As I debated with these people, I realized it has been hitting me emotionally.

It brings me back to the time I first shared my story of abuse, first as a child who experienced physical abuse growing up, and then later, as an adult experiencing spiritual abuse and being sued by my former pastor. As I read the accounts from the alleged Cosby victims, I was emotionally connecting with these women whom I’ve never met, who were brave and speaking out. It got me thinking back to when I shared my story of abuse with someone. Just thinking about the responses I received brought me back to that very lonely and dark place. I never felt so alone.

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medium_3390612274

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This “coming out” process is always so difficult and this picture represents what it was like to me – like an uphill battle with ominous clouds.

We don’t know what is on the other side. What will we face if we share? Will we be better off having shared our story, or should we have remained quiet?

It doesn’t matter whether the abuse was sexual, spiritual, physical, emotional, the patterns are very similar. There are many obstacles to overcome before we get to the point of sharing. It’s our word against someone else’s word and reputation. Will they believe me? Will they think I’m nuts?

Many of us have experienced different kinds of abuse and eventually got away from the abuse and maybe eventually shared our story.

I thought it might be helpful to hear some of these kinds of stories. What was your experience when you decided to share that you were abused? Did people believe you? Did they help you? I’d like to hear your story.

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As always, you are free to use any pseudonym when sharing here.

photo credit: xlordashx via photopin cccac

SSB Sunday Gathering – November 23, 2014

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Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

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colleen

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I remember my affliction and my wandering,

the bitterness and the gall.

I well remember them,

and my soul is downcast within me.

Yet this I call to mind

and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;

therefore I will wait for him.”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,

to the one who seeks him;

it is good to wait quietly

for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:19-26

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Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

***

photo credit: Colleen

Does Pope Francis’ Use of the Word “Complementarity” Mean the Same as When Used by Owen Strachan or CBMW?

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Pope Francis, Owen Strachan and others, discuss “complementarity.”  Does it mean the same to all?

Continue reading

Beall Phillips, Wife of Fallen Homeschool Leader and Vision Forum Founder Doug Phillips, Publicly Responds to Excommunication by Former Church

Continue reading

SSB Sunday Gathering – November 15, 2014

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Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

 

photo (13)

 

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Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. 
Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you.
This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.
It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.
We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ.  
It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own.
Our qualification comes from God.  He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant.
This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit.
The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthians 3:2-6

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I ran across this story recently and it is so sweet.

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Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

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Biblical Parental Authority: Is Mom Equal with Dad on the Hierarchy Ladder or is Dad on the Highest Rung?

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What does the Bible say about parental authority? Is mom equal with dad?

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Steve Halbrook, patriarchy, male headship, parenting

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Disobedience to God can lead to judgment.

If fathers relinquish a degree of their authority in the home,

then their home could be at risk. Steve C. Halbrook

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So, tell me how it works in your home.  Does mom have equal clout as dad when it comes to parenting?  How do you present yourselves as a couple to the kids?  Is dad higher up on the authority ladder or are they both on the same rung? There’s a new article out on a Theonomy Resource blog discussing just this topic.  I wanted to share excerpts here for discussion.

A little background:  blogger, Steve C. Halbrook has an “M. A. in government from Regent University (2008), with a focus on biblical civil government. His theology is Reformed” (Source).

His bio says his theology is Reformed, but to be more specific, take a look at how Wikipedia describes Theonomy and then take a look at Christian Reconstructionism while you’re at it.

The blog’s title is, Does Scripture Teach 1) Consistent Male Headship, or 2) that Parents have Equal Authority in Raising Children?

Opening paragraph attempts to make the case that if one holds to male headship, then the same hierarchy should apply with parenting, meaning women do not have an equal position of authority when it comes to raising of children:

Should male headship be consistent, or restricted? While one would think that those in conservative Christian circles would advocate the former, there are some who advocate the following: “While wives must submit to their husbands in some respects, husbands and wives have equal authority in teaching and raising children.”

If one holds that fathers and mothers have equal parenting authority simply because Scripture stresses obedience to both, then, if consistent, one would also hold that fathers and mothers have equal authority to the great God Almighty. After all, Scripture requires children to obey God as well as fathers and mothers. But surely they would not advocate such a wicked position, but would instead assume hierarchical authority by holding that God has greater authority than parents.

The next subtitle is “The doctrine of male headship opposes equal parental authority,” and attempts to establish that male headship doctrine would prohibit any possibility of women holding an equal position in hierarchy in parenting (bolding was done by blog author):

Now that it has been shown that commands to submit to both parents do not rule out the possibility that fathers have more authority than mothers, we will now rule out the possibility that such commands could mean that fathers and mothers have equal authority in parenting. In giving instructions to the church, the Apostle Paul writes:

Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. (1 Timothy 2:11-14)

Halbrook then discusses Paul’s reference to the order of creation, Adam was created first, then Eve, to prove a hierarchical order.  He also mentions Paul’s reference to women being deceived to further convince his audience:

Now, how is it that one can say that women have equal authority in educating their children, if women are more prone to deception than men? If a woman’s deception is a reason that men should be in charge of teaching at church, wouldn’t it also be a reason that men should be in charge of teaching their children?

Mr. Halbrook makes note of the verse in scripture about women keeping silent in church and says:

As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. (1 Corinthians 14:33b-35)

Here we see that at home, the husband is to be the teacher of his wife. With this being the case, how can husband and wife have equal authority in teaching their children?
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Mr. Halbrook believes he has a case for why there cannot be equal parenting in a male-headship home and outlines the dangers:

It opposes Christ’s total headship over the church 

It deprives wives of spiritual and physical protection

It damages the father’s role as spiritual leader

It opposes elder qualifications and endangers the church

It devalues women

It is destructive to society

It can provoke God’s wrath

Demeaning of Women?

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Ok, and here we go here we go with the dreaded f word – feminism:

Anyone who takes the doctrine of consistent male headship to mean that the mother cannot have a say in child rearing must ask himself whether he has been more influenced by feminism than by Scripture in this matter.

And now we read about the deadly influence of feminism.  Has someone died for espousing feminism? What is he talking about?  I don’t have a clue:

As for the position that says that fathers and mothers have equal parenting authority, I’m not sure how this differs from egalitarian feminism (at least in the sphere of parenting). At the very least, it reinforces the deadly influence that feminism already has in Christian circles.

 

 

photo credit: BrittneyBush via photopin cc

So, what do you think about Todd Friel’s questions to ask someone who says they are a Christian?

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Todd Friel wants you to question whether or not a person is really a Christian.

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Julie Anne posted this picture on the SSB Facebook page and wonders, “Should we be testing people when they tell us they are Christians?” What do you think?
As far as Kathi is concerned, I cannot get past the name “Wretched.” To me it suggests guilt and shame. I’ve watched a few of Friel’s videos and I get that impression from him as well. If you don’t have the right doctrine, you are wretched.

 

Fear within the Homeschool Movement Interferes with Sex Abuse Victims Getting Adequate Help and Justice for Perpetrators

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Karen Campbell’s interview with Lisa Cherry on sex abuse and the Homeschool Movement and how fear is leaving children in harm’s way

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homeschool movement, lisa cherry, karen campbell, sex abuse

The Prevalence of Fear of Government Intrusion in the Homeschool Community

Since writing about my personal experiences of homeschooling, I have written about a cloud of fear among Christian homeschoolers. I went to Christian homeschool conferences in the 80s and 90s and there was always a strong presence of people from Homeschool Legal Defense Association HSLDA, especially using their attorneys as keynote speakers. The keynote speaker event was widely attended, usually with a packed-out crowd (at the conventions I attended). I never attended a Christian homeschool conference in which HSLDA was not present.

Back in the earlier homeschool days, I believe HSLDA perpetuated fear among homeschoolers about any type of government agency. They sent out a list of what to do if a government official came to your door and I taped it to the inside of my cupboard. I remember discussion on e-mail groups and message boards among homeschool moms about not allowing homeschool kids to play outside during normal school hours because a neighbor or someone driving by might report you for truancy. HSLDA told stories of children being yanked from their homes because certain state homeschool laws weren’t good and your child/family could be at risk. Most likely the highlighted cases were legitimate cases where homeschool freedoms were threatened, but the fear that spread among parents led to an overall distrust of the government or any of its agencies: school authorities, social service employees, police, etc.

I had one incident in the late 90s in which my children were playing with a neighbor’s dog behind our house. The dog was left alone all day and would poke his nose through the hole in the fence. My children felt sorry for him and pet him as he poked his nose through the fence. His wagging tail was their reward. However, our neighbors didn’t care for my children’s involvement in their dog’s social life and called the police (rather than coming to let us know personally, ::::sigh::::). The police came to the door and politely asked that we not interact with the neighbor’s dog. On his way out, the police officer asked if the child behind me was my son, and I affirmed that he was. The police officer left, and sadly, I explained the dog situation to my children.

Ten minutes later, the police officer came back to our front door and asked about my son – the same son he inquired of earlier. This son had a pink mark on his face and the police officer asked about it. I realized where he was going with this very quickly. Thankfully, I didn’t react in fear, but calmly told the police officer that my son was born with a port wine stain birthmark on his cheek, that he’s been seen by medical professionals and I asked him if he’d like our pediatrician or dermatologist’s contact information. He told me that was not needed. Whew!  My heart was racing like crazy!

I cannot describe the amount of fear that had gone in my mind. I felt like our family could have been the new feature story written up in the Court Report (HSLDA’s newsletter sent out to its members). Because I, too, was living in fear, my mind raced to the worse predicted outcome. Thankfully, my calm and legitimate response showed the police officer that there was nothing for him to be concerned about, my children were safe, and that was the last we saw of him.

My story is a simple one, but exemplifies the fear many of us homeschool moms experienced, either personally, or heard through friends, or friends of friends back in the 80s and 90s. Many of us seemed to live in fear: fear of government intrusion and taking away our homeschooling rights, fear of government intrusion and even taking away our children. There was a universal distrust of the government. There was an us-vs-them mentality. Some homeschool leaders came out right and said that the government was evil, from Satan. Whatever the issue was, we needed to stay as far away from the government as possible – they were not on homeschoolers’ side.

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Karen Campbell Interviews Lisa Cherry about Sex Abuse and the Homeschool Community

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Karen Campbell, a veteran homeschool mom and blogger recently interviewed Lisa Cherry from Frontline Family Ministries. Part of the interview promoted an event that Lisa Cherry put together, Sexual Abuse Prevention Week For Homeschoolers, which was held during the end of October.

I listened to the second podcast in the series and it raised some alarms for me. I think Karen and Lisa have good intentions. I appreciate that they identified the problem of sex abuse among the homeschool community. But I believe they are amiss in not acknowledging something that a lot of us moms know to be true: the Christian Homeschool Movement has perpetuated fear of the government, law enforcement, and social service agencies.

And here is the point that I want to bring home: this fear that the Homeschool Movement has perpetuated, and continues to perpetuate, is putting children in harm’s way. I will show you more examples of how the fear continues to be perpetuated even in this very recent interview.Both Karen and Lisa are respected moms in the homeschool community and people will listen to and respect their words. I’m asking you to put on your critical thinking skills as we go through the interview.

Christian homeschool parents want to have complete oversight and control of their children – they feel a biblical responsibility for their children and don’t want someone else having that responsibility. I get that. But what if a parent is a perpetrator? What if the perpetrator is someone they know from church, from their homeschool co-op, etc? What, then is their responsibility?

In the interview, Karen Campbell (KC) says this:

KC: Now, when we’re talking about sexual abuse, it doesn’t, you don’t have to go very far to find somebody you know in your life who has, has struggled through this. And I will bet most of us can list people that we have known who have shared with us and I’ll bet you very few of those people were homeschooled. I will bet they were mostly, for the most part in public school.

I do not think it is appropriate for Karen to make a blanket statement sexual abuse cases between those who have been homeschooled and those who have gone to public school. This speculation, “I’ll bet,”  is not based on fact. If Karen wants to say something like this publicly, it’s important that she back it up, not endorse a long-standing agenda within the Christian homeschool community that public schools are inferior or the problem. Christians, of all people, should be committed to truth, not rhetoric.

Let’s look at some data about sexual abuse:

  • An estimated 60% of perpetrators of sexual abuse are known to the child but are not family members, e.g., family friends, babysitters, child care providers, neighbors.
  • About 30% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are family members.
  • Only about 10% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are strangers to the child. (National Sex Offender Public Website)

 

While most homeschooling parents would never sexually abuse their children or want to put their child in harm’s way, if their child has been sexually abused, the above statistics indicate that 60% of the perpetrators were known to the child, 30% of the perpetrators were family members, and only 10% were strangers. So, in looking at those statistics, each child who has been sexually abused, whether that child was homeschooled, or sent to public or private school, has a 90% chance of being sexually abused by either someone he/she knows, or a family member. It really doesn’t have to do with homeschool or public school, as Karen seemed to be implying earlier.

Kaylyn, the daughter of Lisa Cherry (LC), was sexually violated by someone the family knew. He was part of the church Kaylyn’s father pastored. Kaylyn was homeschooled, and she was a victim – note, she was part of the 90% of victims whose perpetrator was either part of the family or someone the family knew.

While Lisa Cherry and Karen Campbell are trying to directly address abuse issues, and I applaud them for that, they are missing that the fear perpetrated by the Homeschool Movement has put homeschool families in harm’s way.

Case in point, read some of these words from Lisa Cherry as she is interviewed by Karen Campbell. They are discussing Kaylyn’s story (Cherry’s daughter), and what has been going on in the homeschool community as sexual abuse stories are coming to light.  My responses: JA response in black. I bolded for emphasis, Karen Campbell = KC, Lisa Cherry = LC  We jump right into the interview as the topic of sex abuse is discussed by Lisa Cherry.

Portions of Transcribed Interview

LC: And I, and I, you know, again, I don’t want to minimize and say we don’t have any problems because we’re people. People in any culture right now will have problems because the devil roams around seeking whom he may devour. It’s a part of the human problem. We’re in an oversexualized culture.

JA response: So first the problem identified, sex abuse, is blamed on Satan – not a human who sinned. This is not an appropriate way to look at sex abuse and is not biblical. Sexual abuse is perpetrated by sinful people. Satan is not the perpetrator. In scripture we read of people committing the sin of sexual immorality, not Satan (1-corinthians 6:12-20). 

Lisa Cherry continues:

But as a community, it’s very important that we not ignore where we might be vulnerable. Instead, we become wise. Now I know that there’s some places online that are saying we need the government to step in, we need more regulation, we need to protect our kids, we need to have more rules, we need to have more laws. Karen, I don’t believe that’s the answer.

JA response: Of course not, not when you believe the government is of Satan. This is what we as homeschool parents been taught for years.

KC: No

JA response: Note that Karen goes along with Lisa.  Karen has been in the homeschool community for years and has followed the same fear bandwagon and continues to perpetuate it.

LC: I don’t believe the government will be able to protect from these kinds of very sensitive things.  

JA response: This is false. Of course the government is not perfect, but the government can and does remove children from harmful environments.  The government can arrest, prosecute and convict offenders and make sure justice is served.

LC: I think, I believe that God placed families together to provide protection for children.

JA response: That’s fine and dandy when it works, but what about when it doesn’t work? What about when a parent is an abuser or fails to properly protect their children, then what? 

LC: At the same time, I do think it’s time for us to update our own homes. So I’ve put together an event coming up now the last week of October, October 26-31. A five-day event. And I just decided we need to do something. We’ve seen enough spectacular cases. We’ve seen HSLDA try to help us with them. We’ve seen people writing about it.  Let’s just stand up as homeschoolers right now and let’s put a week worth of training together. Let’s find some of the best experts in the country that can teach us what we might need to know so that even though the culture is rolling out of control, we will not be rolling out of control.

JA response: Ok, so Lisa touches on the reality that there are some real problems. She has to, her daughter was a victim, and she is using her daughter’s story as a platform within the homeschool community. But pay attention to what she says about the government. It’s the same anti-government mantra. It seems she is saying, “So we know there’s a problem, but we can’t go to the government for help, we have to do it ourselves and that’s why I’ve put together this new conference to put these important issues on the table.”  We’ll see this thought continue.

Further in the interview:

KC: And we have temptations and we have vulnerabilities. In some ways more vulnerability because we tend to not want anybody to know we have a problem. And so…

JA response: Why do we not want anyone to know?  Because of fear – the same fear that we’ve been exposed to for years in the homeschool movement. 

LC: Yeah, Karen, let me, let me speak a word on that because, um, you know, when this happened to us, it became my worst nightmare. Because never in my life did we need more help because we had a very serious situation going on here with a child that was in a dangerous condition. I was afraid that people would, um, would blame our homeschooling. I was afraid, in some sense, I was afraid that, uh, maybe the social service would misconstrue what my daughter was saying and that we would be blamed. You know, as homeschoolers we can have a lot of fear.

JA response: Let’s look at the underscored sentence. She was afraid that if she reported, people would blame her homeschooling?

When you call authorities because your daughter was sexually violated and think “they” are going to be concerned about what method your daughter is educated?  That’s your first thought?  Where is that coming from? I believe that’s coming from the fear perpetuated in the homeschool movement that getting the government involved in our families could threaten our collective rights to homeschool our children.  In other words, your actions (even legitimate actions) could have an effect on the rights of other parents to homeschool if things go wrong. 

When your daughter is sexually violated, a parent’s first concern should be safety of their child and other children  – that a sexual predator is on the loose. The first thought should not be, “I’m afraid they are going to take away my right to homeschool my children.”   [updated this section for clarification]

KC: Oh yeah.

JA response: Ok, here we go, look at this underlying fear and how it affected this family during their crisis.  The Cherry family had to trust someone in order to get their daughter help. Well, even God’s Word talks about submitting to governing authorities and if Christians would do what God’s Word says, the government is God’s vehicle by which sexual perpetrators can be tried, convicted, and punished. God endorses this system, yet we read so many homeschoolers turning away from it and calling it an enemy of God. Ok, which one is it?  Either these verses are in the Bible or they are not. Is God’s Word truth, or is it not? If it is not, does HSLDA and their ilk have a special anti-government Bible translation, or what? What does God’s word say about civil authorities? Are they good or evil? 

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.  For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.  Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. Romans 13:1-5

Back to the interview:

LC: You know. What, what’s gonna happen? What if I reach out and it doesn’t go well?  And we hear all these stories of, of, you know, maybe the social service people coming to your front door. And so that put more pressure on us. And here’s what I’d have to say about that.

JA response: Ironically, my friend, Boz Tchividjian, founder of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) was a speaker at the above-referenced conference. I can guarantee you that he did not paint the government and social services out to be evil. He encourages people to first report to authorities if there are concerns about sex abuse. I sure hope Boz’s sessions were well attended. He does not buy into these kinds of fears.

Cherry continues:

LC: You know, we serve a heavenly Father who loves us and in the middle of our deepest pain, He opened a path for help in front of us.

JA response: Yes, He did, it’s all written out for you in Romans 13- use the civil authorities when there is just cause to do so. That’s why they are there.

LC: My path won’t be your path. He has plans that can get us out of this mess. But, being willing, under wise counsel, to bring problems to light and to get help is wisdom.

Trying to bury problems, pretend they’re not there, cooperate with the one who works in darkness, and that won’t bring healing. And so though it, it may feel. Now we need wisdom in the way we do it. I can’t just recommend that you just run right out to anybody and start pouring your soul out. You, you need to have wise counsel. You need to know where you’re going for your help. But, you know, if the first person isn’t able to help ya, pick yourself back up and go and look for somebody else.

KC: Yes

LC: You know, because I had to go several places before we could get some help. But there are people in the body of Christ who will listen, who’ve been there, and uh, and they will support us in prayer.

JA response: I urge people, once again, when there is suspected sexual abuse, report it to civil authorities, as God’s ordained authority in the civil world, to get perpetrators brought to justice.  Then, after civil authorities are called, go to friends and counsel for spiritual guidance and support.  The first response is so important so that trained professionals can investigate and make sure the perpetrator is investigated and the victim is no longer in harm’s way.

 

 

Late edit: This tweet came in after I sent the link to this article on Twitter:

 

 

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Special thanks to Kathi for transcribing the podcast and sharing it with me.

SSB Sunday Gathering – November 9, 2014

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Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

photo (12)

 

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But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ,

and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.  

For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;  

to the one an aroma from death to death,

to the other an aroma from life to life.

And who is adequate for these things?

For we are not like many, peddling the word of God,

but as from sincerity, but as from God,

we speak in Christ in the sight of God. 

2 Corinthians 2:14-17

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Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

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photo credit:  changing leaves from JA’s yard 

VCY America Founder, Vic Eliason, Sends Letter Threatening Legal Action to His Daughter, Ingrid Schlueter

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VCY America Founder sends letter threatening legal action to his daughter, Ingrid Schlueter, via attorney Patrick Russell

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Is anyone celebrating the demise of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill churches? Is it really over? Should current Mars Hill pastors be leading new churches?

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Mars Hill Churches dissolving, becoming independent churches.  Are people really celebrating? Should current Mars Hill pastors assume the role of pastors in the new independent churches?

*** Continue reading

A Personal Story: Spiritual Abuse through Word of Faith Teachings during Tragic Infant Loss

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Loura Lawrence shares her personal story of infant loss and spiritual abuse through Word of Faith occult-like teachings

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