What are the similarities between the SGM and Dubai Abuse Cases?

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I got all worked up after reading the following article.  Of course it was the initial outrage because of the story, but there was something more beneath that story.  What was it?  Well, of course, it was reminding me of how victims reach out for help from pastors and church leadership and  sometimes church leaders fail in their response or even non-response.  Obviously a big difference in this article is that the victim is an adult.  In the Sovereign Grace lawsuit, the victims were minors.Do you see any parallels with this story and the abuse stories you’ve read about via the Second Amended Lawsuit (****Sex abuse trigger warning****)?

2nd Amended Lawsuit Filing May 14 2013

Here is the article:

Norwegian woman fighting jail sentence in Dubai for reporting rape

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A Norwegian woman sentenced to 16 months in jail in Dubai for having sex outside marriage after she reported an alleged rape said she decided to speak out in hopes of drawing attention to the risks of outsiders misunderstanding the Islamic-influenced legal codes in this cosmopolitan city.

* * * *

Dalelv, who worked for an interior design firm in Qatar since 2011, claims she was sexually assaulted by a co-worker in March while she was attending a business meeting in Dubai.

She said she fled to the hotel lobby and asked for the police to be called. The hotel staff asked if she was sure she wanted to involve the police, Dalelv said.

“Of course I want to call the police,” she said. “That is the natural reaction where I am from.”

Dalelv said she was given a medical examination seeking evidence of the alleged rape and underwent a blood test for alcohol. Such tests are commonly given in the UAE for alleged assaults and in other cases. Alcohol is sold widely across Dubai, but public intoxication can bring charges.

The AP does not identity the names of alleged sexual assault victims, but Dalelv went public voluntarily to talk to media.

Dalelv was detained for four days after being accused of having sex outside marriage, which is outlawed in the UAE although the law is not actively enforced for tourists as well as hundreds of thousands of Westerners and others on resident visas.

She managed to reach her stepfather in Norway after being loaned a phone card by another woman in custody.

“My stepdad, he answered the phone, so I said, that I had been raped, I am in prison … please call the embassy,” she recounted.

“And then I went back and I … just had a breakdown,” she continued. “It was very emotional, to call my dad and tell him what happened.”

Norwegian diplomats later secured her release and she has been allowed to remain at the Norwegian Seamen’s Center in central Dubai. She said her alleged attacker received a 13-month sentence for out-of-wedlock sex and alcohol consumption.

Dubai authorities did not respond to calls for comment, but the case has brought strong criticism from Norwegian officials and activists.

*******

In London, a spokesman for the Emirates Center for Human Rights, a group monitoring UAE affairs, said the Dalelv case points out the need for the UAE to expand its legal protections for alleged rape victims.

“We urge authorities to reform the laws governing incidents of rape in the country,” said Rori Donaghy, “to ensure women are protected against sexual violence and do not become the targets of prosecution when reporting crimes.”

I’m curious to see how many parallels you can find.

Additionally, I have really enjoyed the great discussion on earlier threads (some are still ongoing). Is there something you would like to discuss further?  Feel free to post your ideas and thoughts.  That helps a lot!

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Here are some other ideas for discussion:

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Personal note:  I will be driving to the Portland area, dropping kids off at camp/friend’s house, spending a couple of hours before camp with my daughter who has been gone as camp counselor for the last couple weeks.  I will be moderating intermittently.  Two links or more will make your comments go into moderation, so if you separate them into 2 comments, that will work fine.  Don’t worry about 2 comments in a row.  It doesn’t bother me one bit.   You’ll see me checking in from time to time.   Ok, I must pack now.

By the way, this was the camp I was at last year when I found out the judge dismissed the case in our lawsuit.  It’s almost been a year!

28 comments on “What are the similarities between the SGM and Dubai Abuse Cases?

  1. Blame the victim
    Focus on the rules instead of the real crime. (charge of sex outside of marriage for rapist? Seriously?)
    Treating “rape” as sex

    Welcome to Islam even in it’s more “softer” forms.

    Like

  2. Someone sent me this: ”Brett Younger’s take on SBC, Calvinism, and schism avoidance in the SBC. A great, humorous analysis: I had no choice but write this column

    Good one-liners from the column:

    “Justin Bieber’s 40 million followers on Twitter are more easily explained than this guy’s adoring fans.”

    “Southern Baptists are gushing over this poet of predestination. The young, restless and reformed are pushing for a straightforward theology that doesn’t bother with questions.”

    “Calvinists are not like terrorists; you can reason with terrorists.”

    Like

  3. Welcome to Islam even in it’s more “softer” forms.

    Mohammed and Calvin: Separated at birth?

    Extreme Predestination, God beyond Good & Evil, airtight theological system micromanaging the believer, God’s Will, God’s Will, God’s Will…

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  4. The first parallel that immediately comes to mind is that in both situations, very courageous women risked going public with their identity, risking loss of privacy, reputation, and possibly even safety, in order to bring attention to not just the the injustice done to them, but the systemic injustice that will only change by public pressure demanding a change. Each of these women is a hero in my eyes.

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  5. Why do people stay? Is it the flock’s fault?

    I think everyone has a different levels of —
    • Knowledge of the problems. Some churches are quiet and subtle.
    • Denial about others’ motives
    • Desire to change it.
    • Comfort in going head-to-head with the pastor
    • Tolerance for bad behavior.
    • Perceived options

    I attended a large church and it took a long time to leave. I was there for well over two decades. Changes took place in the leadership.These changes were very quiet and were spun to appear very spiritual and correct. Some friends saw the truth: Those who were comfortable with conflict, faced off with the pastor and eventually left. You can’t fight city hall.

    My relatives liked status quo. Never ones to make big changes in life, for them the location of the church, the fact their friends attended, the fact that I was there, made it their only option. Soon I noticed that their attendance was dropping off. These devout people didn’t find much spiritual nourishment, but they didn’t complain openly. They excused it for poor health, but I knew better.

    I was on the finance committee with a number of sharp business people and we all saw problems. But nothing we pointed out changed. The church treasurer seemed resigned to doing whatever the pastor wanted. It was a waste of time. We were just a rubber stamp committee. Now, years later, about half of the people on that committee have gone to another church.

    Aggressive lay Calvinists came into our church and wrestled away the control from the pastor by “disciplining” him. He allowed these sin-sniffers to take charge of nearly all the adult Sunday school classes and men’s groups. Their odd beliefs and bullying tactics were a turn-off, but few people wanted to go head-to-head with them.

    Finally, it became clear that the church, which is in a major metropolitan area, was stalled. One day I contacted a number of families that had left years before and found out where they attended. That made it easy. I made my decision in 5 minutes, and walked away quietly that weekend. I haven’t gone back to my big church again. It’s easy to disappear…and take all of my relatives with me.

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  6. Changes took place in the leadership.These changes were very quiet and were spun to appear very spiritual and correct.

    Stealth takeover by salami tactics?
    (Straight out of Comrade Stalin’s playbook…)

    Aggressive lay Calvinists came into our church and wrestled away the control from the pastor by “disciplining” him. He allowed these sin-sniffers to take charge of nearly all the adult Sunday school classes and men’s groups.

    Secret Police called in for the Purges of Capitalist Imperialist Trotskyite Spies, Sympathizers, and Dissidents. Completely loyal to the New Order/System and personally benefiting from it. Brought in from outside so they have NO attachments or sympathy for the population they are “Cleansing(TM)”.
    (Again, straight out of Comrade Stalin’s playbook. Soviet Communism even had its own version of Predestination: The Inevitable Dialectic of History. Only difference was the Infallible Prophet was named Marx & Lenin instead of Calvin.)

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  7. HUG/Lydia, thanks for the link. That article was so funny. Every other sentence I was laughing so hard I was crying. Even my dog wondered what was going on with me, no joke. Laughter does the soul much good. For a moment, I thought I was in a christian comedy club listening to this guy’s stand-up routine. Keep em coming.

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  8. There’s a followup to the Dubai rape story here: http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/22/world/meast/uae-norway-rape-controversy/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

    This part made me upset:

    Dalelv’s lawyer, Mahmoud Azab Abu Gareda, told CNN that the sheikh’s pardon is “effectively a royal decree,” which wipes the slate clean, leaving no record of her conviction.
    This means that the alleged perpetrator, who was charged with public intoxication and having sex outside of marriage, also walks free, he said.
    Dalelv has already dropped her case against him, so it will not be pursued further, he said.

    The rapist is FREE???

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  9. I saw on CNN this morning, that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (who is also the country’s Vice President) pardoned the woman of all wrong doing. According to the article, the pardon, which is like a royal edict, effectively makes it as if no wrong was ever committed in the first place. There is only one problem with this: also according to the article, this also pardons the rapist! So while the woman, Dalelv, gets to go free as she most certainly should, so does her attacker. There is something VERY wrong with the way that system works.

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  10. JA-We must have been typing at the same time. While happy for Dalelv to be pardoned of wrongdoing, it is upsetting that there is at the same time still no justice. That’s just messed up.

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  11. RP – That is something that I hadn’t thought of – – that the victims went beyond themselves in a huge way in an effort to expose systemic abuse. They are heroes to me, too.

    Let me see if I can throw together some of my initial thoughts when reading the article:

    She said she fled to the hotel lobby and asked for the police to be called. The hotel staff asked if she was sure she wanted to involve the police, Dalelv said.

    I think both in SGM and in this situation, there is a common understanding how situations are handled. The hotel clerk in Dubai by his response seemed to indicate that reporting would not be beneficial to her and would not yield the results she was looking for. I have a hunch that a lot of people within SGM – certainly in leadership positions would know this, too – that the situation would be handled in a sin-sniffing way, but not in the way intended by the victim, criminally.

    The AP does not identity the names of alleged sexual assault victims, but Dalelv went public voluntarily to talk to media.

    Some in the civil lawsuit have gone public for the same purpose – to try to bring more attention to this tragic case.

    Dubai authorities did not respond to calls for comment,

    SGM has had very little to respond to this case publicly over the many years. Over the years since the survivor blogs have been online, the response has been “don’t read those gossip blogs.” That skirts the real issue. Only since the lawsuit and Brent Detwiler’s documents have we seen some sort of response and there really has been very little substance.

    In London, a spokesman for the Emirates Center for Human Rights, a group monitoring UAE affairs, said the Dalelv case points out the need for the UAE to expand its legal protections for alleged rape victims.</blockquote

    After SGM was exposed for sex abuse, we have seen GRACE http://netgrace.org/about-us/ and others respond with a strong voice, validating the victims of abuse, and urging churches to provide better safeguards, policies, and support for victims.

    Like

  12. JoeJoe said: “JA-We must have been typing at the same time. While happy for Dalelv to be pardoned of wrongdoing, it is upsetting that there is at the same time still no justice. That’s just messed up.”

    It is messed up. And there’s another parallel – most of the last case was thrown out on a statute of limitations technicality, so the perpetrators were never really tried in court – no consequence for the perpetrator. All of the alleged perpetrators are free while the victims have been changed and harmed by the crime and must learn how to recover from these horrific assaults. These scars last a lifetime and so the victims are paying dearly.

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  13. The Servetus joke. Lydiasellerofpurple, you have a quirky sense of humor as well. I find myself laughing out loud right in the middle of your very serious defense of an idea or person. You’re subtle humor provides some comic relief & nicely gets your point across. These topics are heavy & heartbreaking, you handle them with finesse. You get it and you definitely care.

    Like

  14. A Mom – I don’t know how one could deal with such a heavy subject without the relief of humor. The guys I worked with in the WhoWouldJesusSue campaign all were victims of spiritual abuse, sometimes multiple abuses (sex/physical), yet I did notice that every single one of them had a great sense of humor. We laughed so much. It is needed. Thank God for laughter.

    Oh, and I embarrass myself frequently by laughing out loud by comments I read here. 🙂

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  15. “This part made me upset:

    Dalelv’s lawyer, Mahmoud Azab Abu Gareda, told CNN that the sheikh’s pardon is “effectively a royal decree,” which wipes the slate clean, leaving no record of her conviction.
    This means that the alleged perpetrator, who was charged with public intoxication and having sex outside of marriage, also walks free, he said.
    Dalelv has already dropped her case against him, so it will not be pursued further, he said.

    The rapist is FREE???” JA

    In this culture, if the woman is innocent then the man is “surely innocent.” Men are of higher value than women, so you cannot let a woman go AND still convict the man. The man cannot be guilty unless the woman is guilty with him. Manhood is sovereign.

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  16. The fact that the Dubai case was dealt with by royal decree, at the highest level, only happened because of the Norwegian embassy and public opinion getting involved. If they had not, then no royal decree. This points to the fact that any woman raped there, whoever, would not have a voice–so why bother . . . you get the picture. Pretty much nothing done on behalf of such victims. Who wants to go to jail for telling the truth?! This story continues to raise public awareness regarding this bizarre way of looking at the crime of sexual assault!

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  17. Bridget wrote @ 9:12am : “Men are of higher value than women, so you cannot let a woman go AND still convict the man. The man cannot be guilty unless the woman is guilty with him. Manhood is sovereign.”

    I find it interesting that this is the same attitude in patriarchal circles. Also interesting is the idea of ESS changing the traditional concept of the Trinity into a functional hierarchy instead of a mutuality. This hierarchy parallels the Islamic monotheism which is also used to justify patriarchal models.

    This is absolutely contrary to Christ’s example to us. Jesus taught us to subvert the structure of hierarchies with love and service. From Richard Beck :

    ” Fundamentally, humility has to do with how you behave in hierarchies.

    In both NT passages above, we see Jesus eschewing his high place in the hierarchy. Jesus’ display of “emptying” (kenosis) is intimately tied up with his refusal to act from the high place in the hierarchy. Look at how hierarchy bookends both stories in an A-B-A format, High Status : Low Status : High Status:

    Philippians:
    High Status:
    “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped…”

    Low Status:
    “…made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…”

    High Status:
    “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place…”

    John:
    High Status:
    “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power…”

    Low Status:
    “…and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”

    High Status:
    “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.”

    The point of this High Status : Low Status : High Status structure is that kenosis and humility seems less about ego-depletion than about eschewing one’s place in a hierarchy. Jesus is clearly high status, and remains so; he begins and ends in the High Status position. Yet, and here’s the point, he refuses to act in a High Status manner. He’s a High Status person acting in a Low Status manner. Thus, his actions make for a powerful moral demonstration.”

    To love one’s wife as Christ loves the church is ultimately an act of self-emptying, self-sacrifice, and humility; the kenosis of The Word made flesh in our lives. This cannot happen in a mindset of authoritarian hierarchy. It also gives us some insight into the reasons for the authoritarians emphasizing orthodoxy over orthopraxy.

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  18. Thanks for that, Eric. Yes, that certainly makes sense from the Scriptures.

    Kevin Giles has an article on the Christians for Biblical Equality website about The Doctrine of the Trinity and Subordination. He challenges the roots of this flawed thinking by looking at its recent history and opens up insightful dialog about the Trinity. How marriages ought to function in light of the NT understanding is quite liberating for men and women.

    “In the latter part of the twentieth century, the doctrine of the Trinity captured the attention of theologians more than any other doctrine. At no time in history since the theologically stormy days of the fourth century has there been so much discussion on this topic, and the discussion does not seem to be ending! . . . Today theologians are generally agreed that this doctrine is foundational to the Christian faith because it articulates what is most distinctive in the biblical revelation of God—he is triune.” . . .

    “Paradoxically in this same period, many evangelical theologians have been moving in the opposite direction. Since the 1980s, evangelicals wishing to uphold the idea of male headship (understood as authoritative leadership) in the church and the home have been arguing that the Son is eternally subordinated to the Father like women are to men. . . . subordinationism has become common among contemporary conservative evangelicals committed to the permanent subordination of women.”

    It is, therefore, important to check out the history and roots of certain belief systems in order to understand how we got here from there.

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  19. Julie Anne,
    It’s good to know what’s happening. We need to know. As awful as it is, we will not look the other way.
    Parallels:
    1. Barb O’s comment: When public opinion is voiced, and get’s louder and louder, it can and many times does make a difference. If it doesn’t we work harder, speak up more. Kind of like what wisdom does. Wisdom is assigned a female persona in the Bible, BTW. She, wisdom, doesn’t stop and cries out all the more. Proverbs 1 & the whole book (it’s all application, how to live).

    2. Justice, what is it?

    Side note: IMO, forgiveness is totally separate and should never enter into a conversation about justice.

    We absolutely should want justice. I would not want to live in a lawless society. IMO, justice is made up of two actions that go hand in hand. I see justice as both retribution & prevention. Without BOTH retribution & prevention, you don’t have justice. The duty of justice is to take care of the victim AND prevent future victims.

    But sometimes prevention is forgotten, takes a back seat. Or we are steered away from thinking about it. Prevention is hard work. It requires quarantine for the hurter, so they are prevented from hurting again. We call this “time-out” for kids (punishment, calm down, think). The harmer’s thinking needs to change. Prevention does its job whether that happens or not.

    Most citizens in Dubai, UAE, don’t consider women to be equal with men. Neither does the government. A simple parallel with many churches, right there.

    I’m alarmed that SGM and friends don’t seem to care about either retribution or prevention. They use the law to their advantage, (just like in Dubai) which again is not in line with justice. Justice is also assigned a female persona, BTW. Lady Justice. Doesn’t seem they like her either.

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  20. “It is, therefore, important to check out the history and roots of certain belief systems in order to understand how we got here from there.”

    Absolutely, Barb.

    It’s a reductionistic absurdity to think that we can, in our modern world and lives, use Scripture in a vacuum to determine a rule for living while ignoring or cherry-picking the history that informs us of the rights and wrongs that brought us to this point. Worse still, is revising the history, which is nothing more than lying by an appeal to authority.

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  21. From this article, Kevin Giles offers practical outcomes regarding one’s view of the Trinity–human domination, hierarchical ordering, and if women should be subordinated in the church and in the home, or not:

    “Because virtually all theologians agree that the doctrine of the Trinity should inform human relationships correctly, enunciating the historically developed doctrine of the Trinity is of great practical consequence. If in the Trinity all have the same authority, “none are before or after,” all are “co-equal” (the Athanasian Creed), then the doctrine of the Trinity calls into question all forms of human domination. It reminds us that totalitarian regimes that ride roughshod over people or hierarchical ordering that presupposes that some are born to rule and others to obey cannot and never will reflect the divine ideal seen in the Trinity. And to be quite specific, rather than supporting the permanent subordination of women in the church and the home, the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity suggests exactly the opposite.”

    Like

  22. A Mom:

    “Most citizens in Dubai, UAE, don’t consider women to be equal with men. Neither does the government. A simple parallel with many churches, right there.

    I’m alarmed that SGM and friends don’t seem to care about either retribution or prevention. They use the law to their advantage, (just like in Dubai) which again is not in line with justice. Justice is also assigned a female persona, BTW. Lady Justice. Doesn’t seem they like her either.”

    Isn’t it unfathomable that the Church can behave so poorly. I think we need to wake up to the reality that the Church in America behaves very much like Islam in their mistreatment of women, elevating of men to the point of disregarding blatant crimes/sin (hello, SGM!!!).

    This should be appalling. And if it’s not, then why is it not?

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  23. In the CBE article by Kevin Giles, there is a comment about Wayne Grudem’s take on the Greek word kephale, head, person in authority over.

    “Theologian Wayne Grudem wants us to believe that the Greek word kephale (translated into English as “head”) always means a “person in authority over.” His premise is that words have one fixed meaning, the context does not matter. Virtually all linguists are of another opinion. Any given word has a range of meanings and the context is the most important indicator of that meaning. The erudite Anthony Thiselton carefully considers Grudem’s thesis and dismisses it. He holds that Paul is playing on the “multiple meanings” of kephale in 1 Corinthians 11:3-16 and in v. 3 it does not “denote a relation of subordination or authority over.”

    The context rules out of court Grudem’s understanding of kephale in v. 3 because Paul immediately goes on to speak of men and women leading the congregation in prayer and prophecy, the two most important ministries in the Corinthian church, so long as they are differentiated by what they have or do not have on their “head.” To reply that prophecy does not signify authority to speak on behalf of God, whereas teaching does, is special pleading. Paul makes prophecy the second most important gift ahead of teaching (1 Cor. 11:28) Here we need also to remember that elsewhere in Paul the risen Son is said to be “head over all things” (Eph. 1:22; Col. 2:10)—and no one disputes that Paul in these verses is speaking of Christ as “a person in authority over.”

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  24. “This should be appalling. And if it’s not, then why is it not?”

    It is appalling, but not so much to the people directly involved. The progressive segment of the Church and secular society in the West are disgusted by it, so much so that the conservative churches are becoming less and less relevant to anyone outside their own doors. Who, outside of people who have been harmed by/escaped from these systems, bothers even to engage them? The only time any of them gain any attention from the general public is when one of the says something ridiculous, a la Pat Roberson, or does something outrageous and offensive like the Westboro cult.

    For the people inside those church systems, there can be several reasons. Apathy, e.g., using church simply as a social tool is one that I see a lot in the South. People get critical thinking and questioning driven out of them with pos/neg reinforcement from those in power, so they can’t or won’t stand up until they reach a breaking point. Finally, for the ones in power, preaching this stuff works for them. It lets them enjoy the power they desire in their homes and churches. Heck, even some women enjoy the power of celebrity from supporting this mindset.

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  25. What should be appalling to every Christian, and every intellectually honest person, is that these authoritarians abuse logic, and when that fails, they twist the scriptures to make god serve them rather than being a simple disciple living the life of the Gospel Christ modeled for us.

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  26. Has anyone ever responded to Wayne Grudems 1990 and 2001 critiques that have never been countered by the two respective scholars that he was arguing against? And what about the argument that kephale meaning a position of greater authority in the new testament is the consensus among scholars https://christianstudies.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/does-kephale-mean-source/? Also what about the claim that egalitarian scholars were a result of the 70’s feminist movement and that egalitarianism wasn’t a thing before then?

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  27. Eric,

    I doubt it’s possible to ‘engage’ with them. They will use Scripture to say they should not engage in such discussions/debates because it’s sinful. They discourage normal discussion about these matters. I see this now. I love talking these things through.

    I recently said to a fundie friend, “what the point in all of it, if you’re not even a nice person to be around?”.

    Fundies get persecuted because they’re idiots not because they’re spiritual haha no one likes a proud grump.

    “What should be appalling to every Christian, and every intellectually honest person…”

    Honesty definitely not encouraged. “The flesh is weak right?”.

    I ask questions now that I would not have dared to ask years ago in the fundie club. You would be shunned even asking if God would really send teenagers to a torture pit called hell if they haven’t heard of Jesus. “There’s an age of accountability blah blah”.

    Shut up. Haha

    I get you Eric.

    Love God. The Lord. Our Master, Teacher and Guide who IS Spirit and Love and Truth.

    He is so awesome.

    Religious men usurp his authority, ignore the ‘ministry’ of the Spirit…

    And have the audacity to charge us all for the privilege of ‘Christian Service’.

    Excuse me whilst I go vomit.

    Service comes free… Otherwise it’s not service ‘ministry’.

    It’s called a job.

    Etc.

    Gonna read Psalms now to calm down.

    Like

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