SSB Sunday Gathering – July 20, 2014

Spiritual Sounding Board  – This is our place to gather and share in an open format.  Feel free to join in the discussion.

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This is your place to 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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Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

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Photo Credit:  Hannah  Smith

102 comments on “SSB Sunday Gathering – July 20, 2014

  1. Hmmm. Seems like our SSB Sunday Gathering has been going on since Brenda R’s 2:50 AM comment, except we’re all still congregated over on the Altar Calls and Invitations thread. No matter.

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  2. Yes, there has been great discussion on that thread.

    If I may, I’d love to ask for prayer for my studies. I’m taking online classes now. I’ve got a few things pressing, 2 biggies due by midnight and I’m already tired. Thanks!

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  3. Sermon for this morning was from Ps 96 – 100. All pretty much saying the same thing.

    Sing/shout to the Lord! Individually

    Sing/Shout to the Lord ALL the earth! Everybody sing.

    ALL of creation, sing to the lord! Every man, beast, field, mountain, ocean, everything.

    Some day we will all sing a new song to the Lord and won’t worry if someone hears us sing off key or play a sour note, because there won’t be any. We won’t care any longer about ourselves. We will only care about praising the Lord. It can’t happen fast enough as far as I am concerned. I’m packed and ready to go.

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  4. I have to admit, I was cracking up today because while I was at church seeing people posting on the altar call thread, my pastor did an altar call 🙂

    One thing my pastor mentioned was this verse: 1 Cor 6:9-10

    Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[a] nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

    He referred to the guy from Duck Dynasty who used this verse when he spoke out against homosexuals and my pastor rightly said that the guy from Duck Dynasty left out the most important part:

    11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

    He was emphasizing that God is a merciful God – -He accepts you as you are – even as a drunkard, fornicator, and then when you believe in Him, he washes you and sanctifies you. This is a message of hope. It reminded me how much CON used that verse as a weapon without giving the hope. We can’t forget the hope that God gives us.

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  5. Well one of the things I have been struggling with for the past couple of weeks is the lack of honesty, candidness and transparency among believers. Why do so many people avoid the blatantly obvious elephants, giraffes and hippos in the room? Why is it that people (believers) will invite you to a social event, but won’t do the hard work of reaching out to have a honest dialogue so that you can work through any problems b4 an invite? Why do so many believers seem to believe that as long as they confess their sins to God, that it begins and ends there? Obviously it begins there, but if you have done some really messed up stuff to another person, it doesn’t just end with Jesus. You should at least try to make a sincere effort at amends toward that person(s). Why is it that so many will say that “No church is perfect” but once something comes out that can shed a negative light on the church or pastor, the situation turns into Watergate? Everyone turns into politician’s that have to keep everything hush, hush, so that the church won’t look bad. But…but….but….everyone agrees that no church is perfect. So why not deal with the situation in a way that is going to be helpful and healing for all? In most instances it is the complete opposite.

    When did the church turn into a place where you can’t communicate and work through issues in a non-dysfunctional manner, versus the alternative which is silence and pretending to be okay with everything as it stands?

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  6. TC,
    “No church is perfect”
    That is a given. Why believers don’t want to get the darkness into the light and get it figured out, I have no answer. One thing could be that there is too much emphasis on smiling and being happy and showing others how great it is to be a Christian, when in fact living through this life is hard no matter who you are. I have my Rock and Comforter to be with me along the way, but life in general can be hard. We are meant to be a community of believers, one looking out for the other. When we have differences they should be brought out immediately and taken care of. That unfortunately is not the way it is in most instances.

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  7. (off topic)
    I was channel surfing and saw the first few minutes of the John Hagee show. He’s a preacher in San Antonio. He was selling an mp3 player pre loaded with Bible verses on it.

    The guy narrating the commercial said that this mp3 comes with – this is a quote –
    “biblical scriptures”

    “Biblical scriptures?” Is there any other kind? That is redundant.

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  8. Daisy,
    Thank you so much for that. MP3 player with “biblical scriptures” enlightenment. That is the funniest thing I have heard out of the Hagee camp yet. I have a friend that listens to him like he was the Messiah giving the Sermon on the Mount. If Hagee says it, it must be true. No need to look up scripture for yourself. Nonsense. The man is very rich on the listeners dime. I will have to ask if she bought one of these.

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  9. I used to listen to Hagee quite a bit on TV for a few years. I agreed with some of his views on some things, but I never, ever cared for his bombastic delivery.

    (When he rants against the rising divorce rates in our country, out of all the times I’ve heard him rant about it, he’s never mentioned that he himself is divorced. According to news articles I’ve read, the wife he is married to now was his mistress that caused him to divorce his first wife.)

    He’s also very over weight but consistently, over the past five years, has had diet speakers and diet product peddlers on his show, including one guy that appeared to be about 80 pounds or more over weight.

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  10. “When he rants against the rising divorce rates in our country, out of all the times I’ve heard him rant about it, he’s never mentioned that he himself is divorced.” The thing in themselves that they hate the most is the very thing for which they revile others the most. I think it’s Romans 2:1 where Paul says that those who judge others do the very things for which they judge.

    Want to know a preacher’s secret beating sin? Note whether he regularly, obsessively rants and raves about a particular sin.

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  11. TC, What you are describing is even more pronounced in the southern culture. I have quite a few family members who are very black and white about God and the Bible, but they would rather lie than face conflict or say no to someone. They see it as being polite, but generally people end up getting hurt and have to stuff their feelings. We had invited my brother and sister-in-law out to dinner to celebrate their birthdays. Several hours before we were to meet, my brother calls and says they can’t come because of problems with their college age child who had come home for the week-end. I knew that this child had already returned back to college and was doing fine. The conversation was strange and my brother got evasive and had other excuses. I said we could do it another time. It ends up (I later found out) that his wife was overwhelmed that day and didn’t want to go out. Why lie about something so small? What I didn’t understand was why we weren’t told either the truth or at least told that a private matter had come up. What hurts me is they projected their fears on me. I am sure they waited the last possible time to call ( because they hate to say no) and they would never consider this a lie. They consider it “sparing my feelings”.
    Their other child just got out of jury duty, because she told the judge she was leaving town and her boyfriend was giving her an engagement ring. (Which was not true-they have only dated 4 months) She got out of it and thought it was funny.
    It is like they live in a fantasy “Christian” world where twisting the world to meet their needs is ok. These are the same people who say they believe and follow every Bible verse and think gay people go to Hell, and that unpleasant or unwanted feeling are not acknowledged or expressed.. I am much more careful to choose friends (believers and non-believers alike) who are loving, but direct and authentic. I hope you can widen your circle to include such people!
    JA, I had “quit” Christian music for a while (especially the fighting for Jesus songs), but the songs you have posted the last few Sundays are amazing. Thank you!

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  12. “Why is it that people (believers) will invite you to a social event, but won’t do the hard work of reaching out to have a honest dialogue so that you can work through any problems b4 an invite? Why do so many believers seem to believe that as long as they confess their sins to God, that it begins and ends there? Obviously it begins there, but if you have done some really messed up stuff to another person, it doesn’t just end with Jesus. You should at least try to make a sincere effort at amends toward that person(s). Why is it that so many will say that “No church is perfect” but once something comes out that can shed a negative light on the church or pastor, the situation turns into Watergate? Everyone turns into politician’s that have to keep everything hush, hush, so that the church won’t look bad”

    ThinkingChristian, You have described the mega church world perfectly. Because acutally dealing with something is seen as negative and mean and no one wants to go there because taht requires a deepness about relationships they cannot handle. Totalitarian niceness which is fake –is the name of the game.

    These sorts of places feast on milk and cannot grow past it. They are shallow and not worth your time. They rarely change. And they miss it. Our being Born Again means our horizontal relationships are of upmost importance in how we treat one another. We are not doormats. And we are not to be shallow.

    You would not believe how many nice mega church stage persona pastors hate your guts in private and think you are an idiot. But please, give more money.

    So much of what we “see” is staged so we will believe certain things and act in certain ways. I wish more folks would see how easily manipulated they are. But they obviously get something out of it.

    I saw a class A manipulation situation this morning by an interim pastor that made my blood run cold. I left. But many were doing exactly what he said to do and think he is filled with the Holy Spirit (because he invokes the Holy Spirit every 5 minutes) Do they not understand that God is not mocked? I don’t think they do.

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  13. “Want to know a preacher’s secret beating sin? Note whether he regularly, obsessively rants and raves about a particular sin.”

    My mom used to say the same thing. And when they were overly concerned with gender roles, my mom would usually make some crack about him being insecure with himself.

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  14. Daisy,
    I don’t think there are too many people that I couldn’t find something to agree with them on. I have heard the same reports about Hagee. He was not going to be allowed to continue ministry in the church he was in because of the sin that caused his divorce, so he started his own. I sure wouldn’t trust someone peddling an over weight diet product salesman. It makes me wonder what the fee was for having the opportunity to sell there wares on his show.

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  15. “When did the church turn into a place where you can’t communicate and work through issues in a non-dysfunctional manner, versus the alternative which is silence and pretending to be okay with everything as it stands?”

    When more seminaries started churning out young pastors who see themselves as gurus instead of servants. They were always around but in smaller amounts than today. Now it is all about having followers and keeping the right image. Problems of any kind reflect badly on the pastor and image of the church so nothing is ever really dealt with in a proper manner. Silencing andStar chambers abound. You are told to not be judgemental, there is no perfect church (but there ARE pure ones!) and my all time favorite: Why not be wronged? (a proof text not talking about dealing with other believers but unbeleivers)

    I had some older retiring seminary profs warn me about this when I was in my 20’s. I had no idea what they were talking about. But the trajectory bears it out. Christianity joined the world of marketing with its own very profitable niche in music and publishing. Then conferences with celebrity gurus. Look to the seminaries. This has been around long enough it is pretty much ingrained. Ask yourself why people even bother to attend these place? Group think. Amazing how much we adults succomb to peer pressure and groupthink without realizing it. We had best teach our kids to think for themselves and respectfully question everything.

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  16. One who is unfaithful in a very small thing, Jesus said, is unfaithful also in much. When somebody lies to me about these little things, I know they’ll lie to me about anything, whenever they can rationalize it – and if they’re lying to everyone else, they will certainly lie to themselves.

    Everyone lies sometimes, as the scripture says, so this gets to be a difficult problem in practice. But when I see so-called Christians lying at least as much or more than others, I know that no relationship is possible. I may well deal with them – I deal with school district lawyers all the time – but it can only be business.

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  17. Way back in the day some mega church folks I knew went to visit Hagge church to check it out for ideas on building. He had bodyguards up front close to the stage. They thought that brilliant to protecf their guru and instituted that when their big building was built. You would never know they were there. And they are paid, plain clothes off duty cops. And the pew sitters have had no clue about this for 20 years now. And if you tell them, they think they it is wonderful. Even thought the pastor constantly preaches that God will protect them. Evidently the pastor feels he needs to be protected and does not count on God as much. (wink)

    Also, I guess about 5 years ago or so, Hagge had a non profit ministry that was so profitable it was embarassing. So he dissolved it and merged it with his church where the prying eyes could not see it. Obviously his members are not asking to see detailed budgets. They just give. But others were looking up the non profit on Navigator and freaking out at the money he was raking in and his whole family was paid a salary as officers. Under the law, the church does not have to make salaries of top officers public but non profits that are not churches, do.

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  18. “I am much more careful to choose friends (believers and non-believers alike) who are loving, but direct and authentic. I hope you can widen your circle to include such people!”

    Amen. But I am the rare bird that thinks direct and authentic is loving, too. :o) I will take that over fake niceness masquerading as love, anyday of the week.

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  19. These “non-profit” mega church leaders make it look bad for all of the churches who do not operate this way. Hagge and many others are raking in millions as “servants of the Lord”. If a few of those millions these guys are making were to go to the needy, maybe there wouldn’t be so many in need.

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  20. @Lydia:

    These sorts of places feast on milk and cannot grow past it.

    Some of “these sorts of places” can’t even handle milk.
    “OOOOOOOH —
    I WANT CANDY!
    I WANT CANDY!
    I WANT CANDY!
    I WANT CANDY!”

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  21. “If a few of those millions these guys are making were to go to the needy, maybe there wouldn’t be so many in need.” If they would quit robbing those who are already in need, there would be less abject poverty.

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  22. Personally, I think they should start making tents. You cannot become a celebrity guru when you have to make a living. Like the rest of us who are believers in the Holy Priesthood. There is nothing about paid pastors in the NT church. The reference they use to beat us with this referring to those traveling around spreading the Gospel and were usually “paid” with hospitailty and traveling needs. . Paul collected money specifically for those in Jerusalem who were being persecuted and could not make a living. There was a reason Paul made tents. He needed the money and did not want to live off anyone.

    Basically, we have all been sold a bag of manure since Constantine legalized Christianity and turned the pagan temples into churches with paid “orators”. Hey good news! We can all have the Holy Spirit. (1John)

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  23. “So much of what we “see” is staged so we will believe certain things and act in certain ways.”

    Lydia,

    Can you give some examples of this staging or what to look out for? Sometimes, unfortunately these things don’t come to light until one is already well involved in a church.

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  24. “I am much more careful to choose friends (believers and non-believers alike) who are loving, but direct and authentic.”

    That’s my normal criteria as well. I have never been a fan of fake, phony, and two-faced persons. However, in church I have found it to be an epidemic. Not all, but far too many. People really only want to be sugary, syrupy sweet with a big smile and all the right christianese words. It is almost impossible to get someone to communicate directly, let alone authenticly.

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  25. “Can you give some examples of this staging or what to look out for? Sometimes, unfortunately these things don’t come to light until one is already well involved in a church.”

    There is really no way to spot it if you don’t really know them. How would someone know if it is fake or not? Usually if it is a mega church it is faked. There is no other way to operate. It is a business that puts on performances/shows.

    My rule now is if I cannot know the pastor and his family personally I will never join. I grew up with all of us running in and out of each others homes all the time. They were real people and we knew them quite well no matter what church we happened to be in at the time. And I was in a lot of them due to my mom’s music ministry.

    One thing you can do is give the pastor feedback after a sermon by email. Be honest and ask questions. (In a mega you would be sending it to a staged email and an intern would be reading them to filter out and send back the appropriate canned responses under the pastors name. And others are are sent on to his secretary for review) See what kind of response you get. I did that recently with a church I visited and the pastor simply answered back and said: I love getting feedback. Okay. That is it? Did not even answer my questions which were sincere and professional nor did he inquire about me as a person at all. That told me a lot about him. Mark off list.

    And never join a church that won’t show you a detailed budget and where the congregation cannot vote on it. Money is a huge factor. I know people who went to megas for 20 years who decided one day they wanted to see a budget and were refused after much runaround. And it was turned back on them as if they were in sin for not trusting their leaders. Can you imagine what they were feeling. How they gave thousands upon thousands over the years and were treated like criminals because they asked to see a budget? It is interesting how that works. Once they did that, told people and left, others did the same thing and got the same treatment. Just what that one couple started about 100 people left in a short time going through the same process. What is 100 when you have 20 thou who won’t ask?

    Look to see if a relationship with the pastor/leader is looking like it is always “one way”. Even on pastor blogs of pastors in fairly small churches they will talk about the fact they cannot be friends with their members as if their members really know them it would be a problem. (And it would because they think they are above accountability to the average pew sitter who pays them). They already set themselves apart and that is a big mistake. it is not of Christ. It is not real.

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  26. Any tips on how to handle or deal with spiritual triggers? A Christian in my life who gleefully wields her abusive, evil god and throws him in my face, is triggering me badly.

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  27. Oasis,

    If she is knowingly triggering you after you have explained what happens, I’d put up boundaries with her; ie, we cannot discuss spiritual issues anymore.

    That is completely disrespectful and unloving. I’m sorry you are having to deal with this.

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  28. “Thinking Christian” I wanted to respond with a Amen to your post at 12:49. But, I hesitated & declined…

    My trust with so called Christians has been shattered to the degree that I can rarely comment here or on other blogs. I know, or at least I think I know, that the majority of people who write here are loving, decent. Y’all seem to know your theology, & I appreciate the wisdom shared, but it is such a learning curve for me.

    I am such a frikken mess, I don’t have all my ducks in a row, and I am still so confused & angry that I wasted 25 years of my life trying to be a step ford godly woman.

    Well meaning, kind, intelligent, thoughtful people who mean well, don’t always understand people like me who cannot or haven’t been able to find their way out of the mire. Call me stuck, hurt, dazed & confused. I don’t know what I believe anymore.

    The truth is I wouldn’t have the courage to say this if it wasn’t for 2 glasses of red wine. Pray for me.

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  29. Gail, I so appreciate your comment. If I didn’t have this homework, I’d be joining you with that wine. You don’t need to have it together with theology or any other thing. You are valuable just as you are. Cyber hugs to you.

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  30. J.A. But, I feel so stuck or stupid, I use to be able to articulate my beliefs. Thank-You for the cyber hug. Thankful for you. Study well, get that homework done. xo

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  31. Gail,
    I am praying for you. I am not a wine fan, but I’d have an iced tea, sit, talk and pray with you.

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  32. Gail,

    Maybe you are just at the place where God wants you to be. Maybe He doesn’t want you to be so concerned about theology and would rather have relationship with you. (I’m preaching to the choir, here.) I started listening to the audio of Ragamuffin Gospel and it is so good for those of us who have gone through spiritual abuse. Have you read it?

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  33. Gail,
    I don’t think you are stupid or stuck. Sometimes we need to take a step back. If your church is the problem or just what you believe. Start over. I had to do that a few years ago and am still working it through with God’s help. I spent most of my life in a church where I felt very comfortable and one day it finally hit me that what I had been taught wasn’t accurate. It is not that they were way off course, but enough that I had to be reprogrammed. I finally learned to discern what I felt God was telling me and what His truth is. Who He is. God is always good and he loves you.

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  34. Gail,

    I remember how you were there for Frank early last year when he was dying . I am reminded through this comment of yours that you are a conduit for God’s love:

    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2013/02/28/calvary-chapel-visalia-personal-story-tinas-story/comment-page-2/#comment-13927

    I do believe that those of you who love are greater in the Kingdom of Heaven than those of us who may know more theology. I know about Him. You are the embodiment of His very essence.

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  35. “I do believe that those of you who love are greater in the Kingdom of Heaven than those of us who may know more theology. I know about Him. You are the embodiment of His very essence.”

    Amen. A thousand times Amen!

    Gail, I don’t know how long it has been since you left that world but I was stuck for 5 years trying to figure out Who Jesus really was/is. I went the theology route because that is my natural bent, I think. I read only the Gospels for 3 years and no gurus. But that was me. I was gurued out!

    I was very concerned about how many people I had damaged so I started there. Talk about awkward!

    You said,

    ” I use to be able to articulate my beliefs.”

    Been there. Know the feeling. I did not realize how ingrained so much of it had become. I had to met Him all over again new and fresh and it is a journey. I am still trying to articulate them!

    may He shower you with peace and comfort!

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  36. I feel closest to God in a garden. My small patio garden of potted veggies and flowers may not be much, but it is enough. I sat out there for a while to pray and when I got to the Amen, I looked up and saw lightning bugs were all around. I was fascinated by them as a child, now as I have climbed over the hill in age, my spirit more than ever sees the brilliance of the Creator. Those tiny creatures with their flashes of light show just how awesome my God is.

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  37. “Any tips on how to handle or deal with spiritual triggers? A Christian in my life who gleefully wields her abusive, evil god and throws him in my face, is triggering me badly.”

    Wonder where Cindy is? She might have some good suggestions. This sort of thing makes my blood boil. Using God as a weapon against survivors. Hang in there, sweetie. See it for what it is—that person has the problem, not you. Sorry but cannot call them “Christian”.

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  38. I will visit this in the morning. Will, reply & respond. However, in the mean time, you guys make me cry.

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  39. Gail, I would rather be a person who doesn’t have all the answers than someone who doesn’t even know that there are questions. I know that you are not where you want to be but I suspect that you have learned a lot more than you are giving yourself credit for and that you have some wonderful talents you are under-valuing.

    I hate it when I feel that I have wasted a substantial part of my life so I can understand why you are resenting those twenty-five years. I spent 34 years in what became a desperately unhappy marriage (no one’s fault; my first husband developed a brain disease). Life is short and at first I focused on what we had both lost and worried about how much time I had left to be happy.

    But now I think that I learned a lot, took care of someone who desperately needed it, and was able to do advocacy in a much needed area that utilized more of my talents than anything else I have ever done.

    I would not have met my current husband
    I am so sorry that you are going through a difficult time.

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  40. Sometimes my cell phone refreshes and posts before I can finish a comment. Here’s what I meant to write:

    I wouldn’t have met my current husband otherwise. I really feel like he has restored the years the locust has eaten.

    I am so sorry for what you have are going through. You are a marvelously compassionate person and deserve to be happy. I really feel like you have not wasted anything.

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  41. Thanks, Lydia. I appreciate both your support, and also yours, Julie Anne, A LOT. So hard to deal with this stuff all alone sometimes.

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  42. “So hard to deal with this stuff all alone sometimes.”

    I hear ya. It can feel like the world has gone mad. Well actually most of what passes for Christendom has gone mad, come to think of it. But you are not alone. Thank God for the internet!

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  43. Lydia, agreed! Mad, like some kind of religious Wonderland or something.

    I guess “all alone” is not entirely accurate…I do keep forgetting that. Thank you both, your support makes a huge difference! 🙂

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  44. @ ThinkingChristian said,

    That’s my normal criteria as well. I have never been a fan of fake, phony, and two-faced persons. However, in church I have found it to be an epidemic. Not all, but far too many. People really only want to be sugary, syrupy sweet with a big smile and all the right christianese words. It is almost impossible to get someone to communicate directly, let alone authenticly.

    You might want to read the book “No More Christian Nice Girl” because it describes that issue. (You don’t have to be a woman to appreciate the book or learn from it.)

    My mother was like that. Not on purpose to deceive people, but she was codependent, and I think that mostly because she was raised in a home where her father was abusive.

    She passed that behavior on to me, and I did not break free until about two years ago, after reading a small library or books/blogs on the topic. I knew for years that something was wrong but couldn’t place my finger on it…

    The insidious thing is that codependency can masquerade as Christianity. Some Christians take Bible verses about putting other people first, dying to self, etc, to an absurd degree to the point they become doormats. They think being a doormat = being a good Christian.

    That was true for my mother. She was also a very sweet lady and felt if she was too blunt with other people that it would hurt their feelings.

    I got that from her a lot growing up, when I got bullied at school as a kid (or just having problems with a friend), I’d come home and ask her permission to confront the bully in a firm yet polite manner, and she always said “no.”

    I would sometimes ask “why,” and she would say, “because it might hurt the bully’s feelings.”

    I was therefore taught by her that nice Christian females bury their anger, hurt, etc, and not to say a peep. That turned out to create many problems for me as I grew older, in college, the world of dating, when I had my fiance’, with coworkers and bosses on jobs, etc.

    Anyway, some Christians are less than honest and tell white lies not to be jerks or pull one over on you, but in their distorted way of thinking, behaving in that fashion is being loving, kind, and considerate.

    They think any and all forms of conflict are wrong, unchristian, etc. They’d rather tell a white lie than risk hurting your feelings or teeing you off by being direct.

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  45. You know Julie Ann called “julie-anne-smiths-slander-biblical-men-ministries” I did not want to post the link without your permission and please feel free not to post this. But they did more to convince me that you are the real deal. Much of what they said sounded like voodoo mumbo jumbo that any type of historic religion Christian or other wise. I post this here because you out preach these clowns on a blog and oh my you are woman. I became aware of your blog over at cc abuse board and PP. I want you to know when you won in the lawsuit and got attorney fees I celebrated.

    The website called them men of God and quoted the ubicuous quote from the bible like a magic spell.

    “A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it.” (Prov 26:28)

    I laughed for well over ten minutes at the irony. I honestly think they dont get the irony, The list of Godly men included “Voddie Baucham, Mark Dever, Todd Friel, Wayne Grudem, Ken Ham, Phil Johnson, John MacArthur, C.J. Mahaney, Tony Miano, Al Mohler, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, and R.C. Sproul Jr” I will take them one at a time again I understand if you dont post this, as it is mainly to encourage you.

    I will only post on those I have an opinion about and that is what it is just an opinion. Ken Ham, he is self refuting on steroids but I believe very sincere, but a very calculative business person and entertainment provider. Phil Johnson of team pyro I think he is an honest person, a very well paid honest person but I still see him as sincere, cant stand his theology at all, but he seems to care for his family and is big in my book. John MacArthur this is personal for some strange reason I cant stand the man, even listening to some of his sermons makes me want to puke my guts out, especially his appearances on Larry King concerning evolution. I was totally embarrassed for him. When deepak chopra comes off as the “voice of reason” one has to wonder. I am totally angry with Pastor MacArthur and that is wrong, I have written him several emails trying to ask for his forgiveness concerning my anger. I personified him into all the things that make me angry concerning the evangelical religion. No response. I dont blame him for that I am sure I come off as some type of nut. C. J Mahaney he needs to repent, leave the pastorate and serve the poor and disenfranchised the rest of his life and he will live for ever.

    Tony Miano, I think mocking is a very good tool but I was sad he got arrested and saw the raw video and believe his version of events, Mr MIano want to do some good speak out against the abuse of children in christian ministries instead of standing on a box ranting at people who think you are a nut. You were a police man and from what I have read a very good policeman. Use those investigative abilities to expose abuse, when you stand on a box in front of those groups, this heathen will stand right by you. Funny thing is you would find Julie Ann standing right next to us.

    R.C. Sproul he is a very intelligent person, and very perceptive who basically got his kid out of trouble, I get that. He speaks well a bit pompous in my opinion especially where science is concerned because he is dead wrong. R.C. Sproul Jr He lost his wife do to a tragic disease, I could go on but wont, I just wish he would see what I am trying to say. I am not looking for apologetic points and from what I can see neither is Julie Ann she is just trying to find some justice this side of the grave. I think that is a noble cause.

    Al Mohler You are a PhD and a very strong voice in American evangelicalism and you say the things you say concerning the age of the earth, evolution, people who are gay. Sir, to a person I have known well over 60 people who are gay, most likely more counting the deeply “closeted” none of them made some choice and other than maybe two are far more conservative than myself. Personally, since this seems to be a big point, I live a celibate life, I think one should wait for marriage before one has relations. I have been called gay or a pervert because I did not marry. Sorry I was to busy taking care of kids, sick parents and a sick sister. Sorry about that. I know you have to shove your theology into some type of twisted cookie cutter but we are human beings and I am not some satanic soul looking to deceive. Just a person wanting to find a home. There I laid it out, I am an emotional train wreak and admit it. But it is people like Julie Ann that have kept me in the faith. Again Julie Ann if this is not appropriate please feel free not to post it. God bless Brian

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  46. I will visit this in the morning. Will, reply & respond. However, in the mean time, you guys make me cry.

    Gail, That was not the intent!!

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  47. Brian,
    Thanks for the comment, and I do know your name from CCA and PP. I’m glad you could see through the noise of that article. While he comes across as very CONvincing, I think the blog post should be required reading for those who want to understand the mind of a CON (or the real CON) and see how they work.

    BTW, I don’t think you are an emotional train wreck whatsoever. I see you as a very decent and honorable human being who has defended the weak and defenseless at a personal cost. I’d love to meet you some day and say this to your face because I truly mean it. You exemplify what Christianity should look like. No wonder you are bothered by frauds. I’m glad to be on this journey with you, friend.

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  48. JULY 20, 2014 @ 6:42 PM “Maybe you are just at the place where God wants you to be. Maybe He doesn’t want you to be so concerned about theology and would rather have relationship with you.”

    JulieAnne,

    That’s it, whoa, I have been so concerned that I cannot name or write what I believe, as you said “concerned about theology” I need to let that go. Light bulb moment.

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  49. I agree with Brian. I just visited the blog he mentioned. JA, you come off as the sane voice of reason. And Brian, it’s good to know you. Even though we may never meet here, consider me a sister. And that is a beautiful song. Thanks for making my Monday.

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  50. Gail, I don’t know how long it has been since you left that world but I was stuck for 5 years trying to figure out Who Jesus really was/is. I went the theology route because that is my natural bent, I think. I read only the Gospels for 3 years and no gurus. But that was me. I was gurued out!

    Lydia,

    I left that world 12-13 years ago. I didn’t know if I had backslidden, and at that point I didn’t care. (BTW I hate that word now.) I couldn’t read my bible, listen to christian music, when I tried to find a new church I would break out in a sweat, so eventually I gave up looking.

    I thank my body for responding that way today, because one of the churches I attended was University Reformed, Kevin DeYoung.

    I wandered in confusion, but Jesus was never far from my thoughts.

    About 3 or 4 years ago I read a article on Internetmonk that helped me immensely. A commenter named Eagle put a link up to TWW & SSB and my mind was blown. I didn’t know a Calvinist from a Baptist 4 years ago.
    I had no idea there were blogs that exposed the guru’s, & that there were so many who had been thrown under the bus );

    I am going to let myself off the hook for not being able to clarify what I believe, thank-you for sharing how you slogged through.

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  51. I heard something yesterday I’d never noticed before (though I’m told it’s common practice at the church we left). Communion was open to “members in good standing at any (some adjective I forget) church”.

    This sounds unbiblical to me. I don’t recall sharing the bread and wine to be restricted that way. I am going to look it up, but what I remember off the top of my head was Paul warning believers to examine their conscience before partaking.

    In my understanding, you’re supposed to be a baptized believer. But I’m not even sure of this, never having made a study of the subject before.

    How is “church membership” derived from scripture?

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  52. I’m glad you mentioned Gary’s comment, Gail. I had missed it. See . . . that’s what I’m talking about, Gail. Gary is spot on.

    Gary W, I’m in awe of your comment search skills 🙂

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  53. Refugee: That’s messed up. We had communion at church yesterday and my pastor made clear that communion was for all Believers whether you were regular attenders or not.

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  54. JA: Do you have to be a baptized believer? I know that baptism doesn’t confer salvation, but it’s an obedience thing, or that is my understanding. But I should think you’d be a believer even if you hadn’t had a chance to be baptized, from the moment the Spirit brought you to new life (or whatever descriptive phrase fits here).

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  55. Refugee: My belief (and understanding of the Word) is that you can be a Believer without being baptized. However, baptism is always encouraged because you are publicly acknowledging your faith in Christ among the church body.

    Baptism seems like it’s like the official party where the church gets to celebrate you being part of the Church family.

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  56. Hmmm?

    Communion???

    Have you ever wondered about the word “communion.”

    What does “communion” mean in the Bible?

    Not from a religious standpoint, or a religious tradition,
    or a religious sacrement, or a religious ritual…

    But – What does the Bible have to say about communion?

    Does your Bible even have the word “communion” in it?

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  57. Refugee

    You ask….
    “How is “church membership” derived from scripture?”

    The idea of “church membership” is NOT in the scriptures.

    Best I can figure – It’s a Commandment of men, a Tradition of men…

    Mark 7:13
    KJV – Making the word of God of “none effect” through your tradition…
    ASV – Making “void” the word of God by your tradition…
    NIV – Thus you “nullify” the word of God by your tradition…

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  58. Amos,
    l & ll Corinthians in the KJV. At my church we call it the Lord’s Table. At the church I was at most of my life it was called communion, with real wine and closed to member’s only. At the church I attend now Welch’s is used and is open to all believer’s with guidance to search your own heart.

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  59. Hi Brenda

    Hope, and pray, you’re doing well today. 😉

    And, Yes. – The word “communion” is four times in the KJV.
    A Lot of modern versions do NOT use the word “communion.”

    Have you ever checked this out for yourself?

    What does “communion” mean in the Bible?

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  60. Daisy said,

    “I got that from her a lot growing up, when I got bullied at school as a kid (or just having problems with a friend), I’d come home and ask her permission to confront the bully in a firm yet polite manner, and she always said “no.”

    I would sometimes ask “why,” and she would say, “because it might hurt the bully’s feelings.”

    I was therefore taught by her that nice Christian females bury their anger, hurt, etc, and not to say a peep. That turned out to create many problems for me as I grew older, in college, the world of dating, when I had my fiance’, with coworkers and bosses on jobs, etc.”

    Daisy, I can relate to a whole lot of this. I was labeled a “nerd” pretty early on in elementary school and often the target of bullies going into middle school. My dad was gone most of the time and my mom really had no idea how to deal with the situation. When I tried telling her about bullying incidents she would look sad, and ask me if I had prayed for them. (After all, the Bible says to love one’s enemies and pray for those who persecute you.) And don’t forget the verse about not taking revenge yourself but leaving room for God’s wrath.

    What I did not get was any realistic advice or instruction about how to deal with it, or any concrete intervention from her that I know of. I learned that no matter how bad things got, I could not depend on her or anyone unless some adult at school happened to witness the bullying. I wished desperately I could learn a martial art and at least be able to defend myself but my mom was totally against it–eastern religious influence, and it might turn me into a violent person. It was like my mom was a Christian doormat, and I was left with no option but to be likewise.

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  61. Hi Amos,   Doing quite well today, thank you for asking. I haven’t looked into this, but I will after work. Reference books all out, might as well dig in.   I’ll get back after I have done my homework.   Brenda 

    ________________________________

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  62. Brian Darby mentioned Al Mohler.

    Mohler also ridicules adults singleness. He thinks singleness is not as good as being married, so he “takes swipes” at adult singleness regularly in interviews and on his blog. If you needed another reason to dislike Mohler, there it is.

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  63. Daisy,

    I’ve been married. Being single is far sweeter than marriage ever was. I am not saying that it is that way for everyone or even for me with a different man, but right now I would say anyone who ridicules singles should go eat worms.

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  64. (part 2. I can’t get part 1 to show up. I hope part 2 makes it through)

    @ NJ

    Anyway, I read some books about these topics (ie, Christians being doormats) that helped me with this.

    One was, “The Disease To Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome” by H. Braiker.

    Sadly, Christians on the internet, and most (not all, but many) Christian books will NOT help you with this stuff, to break free from it… most Christian books re-enforce this, they will tell you to be even more of a doormat to other people.
    A lot of Christians think it’s your duty to keep going through life being a doormat, that being angry, showing anger, etc, defending yourself is wrong.

    I usually did what my mother told me, even into adulthood, if someone was mean to me, I stuffed my anger down and said nothing to the person.

    However, there were two or three incidents in my life (one when I was 18 years old, another when I was 30) when I got so fed up with people’s bullying, I lost my temper and bit those people’s heads off.

    After I bit their heads off, the first person became afraid of me and stopped bullying me, and the second one got angry but stopped exploiting me.

    My Mom thought being really nice to people was not only the “Christian” way to live life, but that it would guarantee people being nice to her in return.

    What I learned from these books (like “The Disease To Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome”) is that is false and naive, wishful thinking. As a general rule, the nicer you are to people, the more nasty they will be to you or take advantage of you.

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  65. Brenda,
    I was engaged for a few years to a guy. In some ways being single is a relief. Not to have to put up with the ex’s quirks, he was also very self absorbed.

    I used to listen to him go on for hours about himself, his job, whatever, but he never asked me about me or my job or my opinions. And I was usually too polite/ too doormat (thanks to my mother’s teaching that nice Christian girls stuff anger down) to confront the boyfriend/fiance about this.

    When I finally broke up with him, it was like a huge weight had been lifted. So there is definitely an upside to being single. But I was still hoping to find someone compatible and get married.

    My “part 1” post to NJ never did go through.

    I don’t know if I should try again later to post that. I so related to NJ’s post, NJ’s situation sounds identical to mine, my mom coached me to take mistreatment off other people and pray for them.

    I was taught that self defense was wrong, un-christ-like, and mean. I was supposed to go through life letting people be rude and nasty to me. I was supposed to show utmost sensitivity to other people’s feelings even as they were trashing mine. Being taught never to fight back made life ten times harder than it had to be.

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  66. Daisy, The Lord may still have someone in mind for you. It is never too late.

    I was never taught not to stick up for myself, unless of course you were married to him. Then everything changed. No sticking up for yourself. Be quiet and submissive. Somewhere along the line that word, “submissive” took a peculiar turn in meaning.

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  67. My mom taught me to deal with bullies, and a good thing. I was far and away the skinniest weakling in my class. A bigger, stronger neighbor kid beat up on me one day. It was about 5th grade. Didn’t do me much good to go crying home to mommy. Well, actually, it did do some good. I got a pep talk. Mom made me head back down the block to settle scores. Showed me to fight dirty, er, I mean, how to even the odds. I prevailed. I’ve been fighting bullies ever since, though not physically since high school.

    It is absolutely necessary to push back at bullies. It’s just that the rules of engagement change when we reach adulthood. Nothing physical except in cases of absolute necessity, in self defense. Even then, call the cops immediately. Be prepared to be accused of having provoked the confrontation, especially if you have become angry or even raised your voice (no, it isn’t fair). Of course, call the cops first if you can.

    If it’s a domestic situation, get out as soon as you have an exit plan. If necessary, get out without the plan. But if you’re a woman, start planning as soon as there is any hint you may be married to an abusive spouse. Become acquainted with your local domestic safety resource center, and start talking to them early, probably even before going to lawyers. If you wish to speak to a pastor, ask for references from your domestic safety resource center. They may know of pastors who actually get it. Memorize your domestic violence hotline phone number. DO NOT GO TO YOUR OWN PASTOR, especially if he is also your husband’s pastor. There is a built in conflict of interest. At best, your family’s pastor will be promoting peace and not your safety. If peace is purchased, it almost certainly will not be the husband that pays the price.

    Do I have any Scripture for all of this? Not specifically. However, I do think it is consistent with the commandment to love, most obviously if there are children that need to be protected. It’s probably even the most loving thing for the abusive husband. It will diminish the severity of the consequences he faces, both temporal and eternal.

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  68. Gary W.
    Do I have any Scripture for all of this? Not specifically.

    If anyone is in need of specific Scripture on abusive marriages I would advise reading Barbara Robert book: Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion. Also, Leslie Vernick’s books are all very good. I found both of these authors particularly helpful with undoing the brainwashing that I had regarding abuse and submitting to it in marriage. You and your kids do not have to continue life as usual with an abuser.

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  69. Hi Amos,
    What does “communion” mean in the Bible? Participation, Fellowship, unity That is of course, my take through my resources.

    I think one of the problems with looking for specific terms in the Bible is they are not there as we know them. Christians call the remembrance of Jesus through the breaking of bread (the body of Christ) and the cup (the blood of Christ) communion, the Lord’s Supper, the Lord’s Table and probably other terms that I wouldn’t use or think about: it’s all the same. Christians gathering together in fellowship, being of one mind: to remember Jesus and what he did for us. We participate together in unity as one body in Christ to remember Him, whether it is 2 or 2000 believers.

    As for church membership, I think it is more implied than outlined. In 1 Corinthians 5: 12-13 when Paul is speaking about judging those inside the church and God will judge them that are outside. That is saying to me that we need to be counted and accountable to others in the body. Not that others have a right to tell me what I should be doing, what my roll will be in the body or how I must live my life. God is my ultimate judge, but certainly do not want the judgment waiting the wicked that are expelled from the assembly or allowed in the first place. I also do not believe that simply because it says Church on the sign out front that the people inside are in deed a church. I can completely understand why people decide they don’t want any part of church membership. I know some very Godly regular attenders who have their reasons for not seeking church membership. They may not see it as necessary and I have no problem with it one way or another. For me I want to be a member of a local body. I haven’t found where there is a governing few that make decisions to judge, but the church as a whole is to do this. But, I’m always going to be learning.

    Different forms of abuse are not noted in the Bible with the terms that I would consider appropriate, but the lessons that we can learn, the right and wrong of them are all there in its pages. Praise God for people like Barbara Roberts who spent years studying and researching these truths, otherwise people like me would remain in the fog and believe what we have been told my Pastors and good willed Christians and just go home, try harder, be more submissive and if you are belittled, demeaned, sexually abused or physically assaulted God is being glorified if you stay and take it. Nonsense.

    I seem to have misplaced my copy of Barbara Roberts book. If anyone knows what I did with it, would you please lead me in the right direction. I should probably look in the refrigerator.

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  70. Gary, that is awesome. So glad you were able and encouraged to stand up for yourself. I occasionally wished I had been born a boy, if only because somebody might have been more likely to teach me how to physically fight. I’m an only child, and had no siblings to scrap with in my earliest years or who had my back at school. I was a complete tomboy as it was, and more comfortable being around boys than other girls, who were frankly worse when it came to bullying. Just knowing how to defend myself when physically threatened and ganged up on would have done wonders for my self-confidence and self-esteem.

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  71. Daisy,

    “My Mom thought being really nice to people was not only the “Christian” way to live life, but that it would guarantee people being nice to her in return. ”

    My mom also liked the verses about how “a soft answer turns away wrath” and by loving your enemies you would “heap coals of fire” on their heads. Not sure she thought it would guarantee a positive response, but it was at least the “Christian” way to respond every time.

    Disease to Please sounds like an interesting book, and I am a voracious reader. As far as people taking further advantage of you when you don’t push back, boy ain’t that the truth. You might as well be wearing the old “kick me” sign on your back.

    Isn’t it amazing how so many people in our society expect kids to just deal on their own with behaviors that are considered criminal in the adult world? Even verbal harassment is largely off limits, never mind theft, intimidation, or physical assault.

    “Being taught never to fight back made life ten times harder than it had to be.”

    Yep. The feelings of helplessness and futility are just awful. Even for a naturally independent introvert, it’s hard not to eventually feel like human trash when the place you are forced to spend the majority of your time has some of your peers regularly treating you that way, or ostracizing you for fear of becoming targets themselves.

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  72. I never learned how to deal with bullies, either. I remember when one of our kids was being bullied at school, and the mom of the other kid sat them down and talked with them, and I watched in astonishment as she cut through the conflict to the core and helped them resolve the issue with insight and understanding. When she was finished, she turned to me to ask if I had anything I wanted to add, and all I could do was shake my head. How do you learn this stuff?

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  73. (and understanding how to deal with this stuff would have come in handy when our younger kids became targets of bullying… I did my best but the bullying went on until the kids gave up on that particular group of friends which the bullies had taken over)

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  74. “Yep. The feelings of helplessness and futility are just awful. Even for a naturally independent introvert, it’s hard not to eventually feel like human trash when the place you are forced to spend the majority of your time has some of your peers regularly treating you that way, or ostracizing you for fear of becoming targets themselves.”

    Yes! This was our kids’ experience at church and in homeschooling situations (classes and activities) with church people. Exactly.

    And, I’m realizing, mine as well, with the women at that church.

    I feel like I have no clue as to how to make a friend or even be one. I’ve been wondering for the last few years: Am I fated to go through the rest of my life as a lone ranger? Sorry if it sounds like a pity party.

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  75. p.s. My childhood church called it “Communion”. The church we left called it the Lord’s Table, which leaves a bad taste in my mouth to say (isn’t that sad?), which is why I went back to using “Communion” in this discussion.

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  76. @Refugee: “I feel like I have no clue as to how to make a friend or even be one.” Well, you are among friends here. Still, cyber friends aren’t quite the same as sitting down face to face. Church ought to be a place where friendship comes easily and naturally. Unfortunately, many are so doctrinaire that you have to conform yourself to the prevailing groupthink to be received as a friend. Plus, you had better fit into the proper socioeconomic strata, bring no personal problems with you, and on and on and on.

    Looking back at my time growing up in a United Methodist church, I would say that people really were tolerant. Some would say too tolerant. I think about the only thing they refused to tolerate was intolerance itself. At present, I count myself as amongst the nones–no allegiance to any church, denomination, pastor, teacher, movement or anything else, excepting only Jesus. Still, should I ever decide to again participate in organized church, I would give serious consideration to returning to my United Methodist roots. It’s just that I’m not sure I’m sufficiently tolerant to fit back in.

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  77. I agree with what Gary W was saying.
    Don’t waste your time going to your pastor if you are in an abusive relationship. Most preachers are not educated in how to deal with abusive marriages, and most of them give stupid, ineffective advice anyway, such as, “submit to your husband more.”

    Even women in Non-Christian marriages get “blame the victim” advice from friends at times, like, “Honey, if you would sexually accommodate your husband more, he’d stop beating you,” or, “Have you tried cooking his favorite meal for him?”

    That type of advice (which presumes the abuse is caused by something the wife is or is not doing) seems even more prevalent among Christians.

    I’ve read a lot about codependency, and most of those books have a chapter about spousal abuse.

    I also read one or two books devoted to the topic of abusive husbands. In a nutshell, all these books say that trying to appease an abusive husband (or a bully at school or your job) is a form of enabling.

    These books explain that a lot of mean or abusive people view your willingness to stay in a nasty relationship as your approval of being mistreated, while some abusers say they simply have no respect for a target who won’t push back, and that is why they keep hurting you.

    In other words, a lot of codependent people mistakenly assume if they are really, really nice and loving back to a person who is being nasty and mean to them, that the mean person will be “won over” and start being nice back.

    However, the opposite is true – if you keep on being nice, never enforcing boundaries, the abuse* will be perpetual – and might even increase and get worse.

    *And by abuse, I don’t always even mean physical abuse. I’ve had people manipulate me or constantly guilt trip me out of my time, money, favors, etc. Abuse and exploitation takes many forms.

    It does not have to only be a man who punches or slaps a woman, it can be the guy who verbally harasses you, or a boss who intentionally creates a hostile work environment by being catty to you.

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  78. Regarding Brenda R’s response to Gary W, about,
    “Do I have any Scripture for all of this? Not specifically.”

    This makes me crazy. I do believe in sola scriptura, but the older I get, I am losing patience with Christians who insist on BCV (book, chapter, verse) citation for every single thing in life!

    I respect the Bible. I agree all doctrine should be compared against what the Bible says. I don’t mean to bash the Bible at all.

    But… I’m sorry, the Bible does not contain every single solution to every problem a human being will encounter. I used to have clinical depression and anxiety. Reading the Bible, prayer, having faith, etc, did not heal me of depression. I had to put the Bible aside and start studying things by other people (including Non Christians) to get a handle on the depression.

    With the topic of how to deal with bullies and abusers, the Bible, as it’s frequently taught, tends to do more harm than good.

    I believe one overarching principle in the Bible is that God views all people as equals, and everyone should be treated respectfully, and that you have a right to stand up for yourself and tell other people to back off if they are being rude to you.

    The problem is, many Christians will cherry pick one or two verses, or totally distort biblical principles or verses, to the point they end up supporting a lot of wrong things.

    Take my mother and codependency, for example. She, like a lot of Christians, focus only on the verses that talk about forgiveness, loving your enemy, dying to self, etc, but ignore examples where Jesus and Paul forcefully confronted people and chewed them out.

    Until the cross (where he was fulfilling thousands year old prophecy), Jesus did not take garbage off anyone! Jesus spoke strongly to people if they were rude to him.

    But folks like my mother, and preachers and Christian lay persons I’ve seen over the years, ignore those parts of the Bible and only fixate on the “love your enemies” and “don’t think too highly of yourself” type passages.

    I had to escape all that bogus biblical interpretation by reading blogs and books by Non-Christian authors. What “doormat Christians” were telling me that Bible meant, or how they said the Bible said I should live life, was not lining up with my reality.

    Sometimes, ironically, to get back to what the Bible really says about something, you have to step outside the Bible, consider common sense, your life experience, and what Non-Christian experts have said, on whatever the topic is.

    As far as my life experience, for example. My Mom implied (and seemed to teach that the Bible backs this view up), that if I was golly whiz nice to everyone, they’d be nice back to me. So I was supposed to keep being a doormat to everyone.

    But I noticed by my late 20s, no matter how gosh golly nice I was to people, I got treated horribly a lot anyhow. People were constantly taking advantage of me and saying mean things and didn’t care an iota about how they were hurting me. And it seemed that bullies and mean people were drawn to me like bears to honey precisely because of my niceness.

    There are still Christians today who want a BCV for all this. They really think they should, as a Christian, be a total doormat martyr all the time, unless you can point them to a passage that specifically says, “Bible Chapter Verse 5:34: “Thus saith The Lord, Christians do not have to be doormats.” It’s so sad and so frustrating.

    Also, it’s tough to explain this stuff from the Bible, because the majority of verses that are short and to the point (e.g., “Die to self,” “Love your enemy”) are more numerous than the ones for the non-doormat position. The non-doormat view is an undercurrent running through the Bible that is not nearly summed up in one or two verses.

    And these types of guys really don’t want to hear about personal experiences. I agree that Christians should not allow experience to trump the Bible in authority, but – when you notice the same behavior is not working for you in your life, you need to think “maybe my interpretation of the Bible on this is wrong, and I should study it some more.”

    I was helped with a few certain issues in my life only when I put the Bible aside and started reading stuff by Non Christian therapists, and a small number of Christian ones who get it.

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  79. [mod note: this comment was recovered from the spam box. Sorry! ~ja]

    NJ, I agreed with your post of JULY 22, 2014 @ 6:40 AM.

    I kind of discussed some of that more in depth in a reply to Gary W above so I won’t repeat it all here.

    I have found that at times advice such as “a soft answer turns away wrath” can actually work. The problem is it should not be given as blanket advice.

    IMO, you have to use discernment. There are times or particular people on whom being lovey in return can diffuse a situation, but – depending on the person or the situation, turning the cheek and speaking softly, etc, can be an enabling behavior and guarantee that the mistreatment will continue or ramp up. You have to be able to gauge the situation on its own merit.

    I have tried the “give a soft answer” to angry people before, and i has worked. But you have to use it with caution. That “be nice and loving and give soft answers” will only work in some cases, some of the time.

    My problem is that a lot of well meaning Christians – parents, preachers, etc- coach Christians to ALWAYS be lovey and nicey nice, with all people all the time.

    Not even God did that. If you read through the Bible, in Old and New, God sometimes struck misbehaving folks with blindness, death, whatever. God can be very graceful and merciful, but he’s not a doormat who just takes unending abuse off someone over and over. Jesus stood up to people, too.

    I usually did as Mom told me and was a doormat around people (well into my 30s!), but I did notice that more often than not, on the few times I did stand up to a bully, that standing up to a bully caused the bully to back down. They left me alone once I got up in their face and showed some hostility.

    All the months of being compliant, soft spoken, even doing the bully little favors (eg, treating them to a free lunch), did not stop the harassment (this was true for me in my late teens and in my 30s in a professional office setting). It only stopped when I got angry and chewed them out and told them I wasn’t putting up with their trash anymore

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  80. My response to NJ today did not go through. 😦

    Refugee said,
    “I never learned how to deal with bullies, either….. How do you learn this stuff?”

    Life experience is one way. I’m a bit over 40.

    I spent my teens, 20s, 30s, being a non-confrontational doormat, because Mom taught me that was how Christians should behave, but I noticed, by the time I was 40, that being really, really, really nice to everyone all the time, even mean people, never helped.

    No matter how nice I was to bullies (even adult bullies), that 99% of the time, it only made the abuse worse.

    Also, reading blogs and books about codependency helped, especially by Non Christian authors, taught me how. You can find a lot of free articles online about it.

    Well, my problem was not so much “how” can I stand up to bullies but “can I.” Once I learned that it’s okay for me to stand up for myself, the “how” wasn’t a huge problem for me.

    But some books will teach you how, like the one I mentioned above, “The Disease to Please” by Harriet Braiker. She has advice in that book on how to stand up to a bully and say “No” to people.

    The biggest thing for me was realizing that I even can stand up to rude people. Sometimes Christians are taught by churches that Christians should never stand up to anyone because it’s not godly, biblical, or loving.

    Another book some Christians find helpful is “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend, which I guess is okay, but the liberal sprinkling of Bible verses every other sentence was something I found distracting.

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  81. Daisy,
    I’m sorry if this was triggering for you, but when I went back through the thread, because I didn’t remember asking that question, I found that I hadn’t. Gary W had that sentence, “Do I have any Scripture for all of this? Not specifically.” in his post. I copied and pasted that from his comments. I did that to tell people if they did want scripture regarding abuse and divorce to go to a book Barbara Roberts wrote on abuse and biblical divorce because she had done so much research and put it together quite nicely.

    When I do ask people about scripture, it is generally because I have learned to respect them because they seem to have put a lot more time into their research than I have and think they might have more insight than I do.

    I really am sorry this upset you.
    Brenda R

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  82. Brenda R, no need to apologize!

    I wasn’t angry at you or Gary over that, or emotionally distraught over the topic, it’s just a pet peeve of mine when Christians always insist on a Bible verse to back up a view. 🙂

    I respect the Bible and agree with sola scriptura, and to a point, I am fine with Christians wanting to see scriptural proof for a view point.

    But I have grown to realize that the Bible does not address every single life situation a person will find herself in, so I don’t see the harm in a Christian reading books on a subject by Non-Christians to get help or answers. That was all I meant to get at.

    Some guy was scolding Jeff C. over at the preacher’s blog with the list of marital advice (that Julie Anne blogged about here a few days ago) for suggesting that Christians should read books about abuse.

    That guy’s view was, ‘No, all Christians need is the Bible and the Bible alone. They should not read books by therapists for help.’

    Given that so many Christians are handling domestic abuse (and other issues) incorrectly, it has become obvious to me that the Bible alone is not helping, but is even hindering people. The Bible alone has not helped Christians effectively help other people who are in abusive marriages (or who have depression, or whatever problem they are having).

    Using the Bible alone for some situations has actually acted as an impediment for someone’s recovery (e.g., telling depressed people they don’t need to see a doctor or use medication, “just read the Bible more”. That does not cure anyone of depression. It sure didn’t help me.)

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  83. Daisy,
    That makes me feel sooooo much better. I think Gary has some good insights and has done a lot of homework. I read that blog with Ps Jeff getting chewed. My pastor would have agreed with him, but will quote John Piper on a regular basis. Ugh!!. All things are referenced in the Bible in his mind. They may be, but not in the wording that we might need at the time. I also, don’t see anything wrong with seeing a counselor and have. I have read most of the books Jeff and Barb suggest. I am not opposed to hearing from those who have put in the research time to put it all together for you and then discern from there. After all, Jesus allowed physicians!!

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  84. Refugee, I can only say that my husband and I are learning as we go along. Near the end of the school year we had to deal with a situation where another boy who walks the same route home as our 3 oldest was acting up, including throwing rocks. I don’t just mean pebbles, but rocks big enough to do damage. Our kids are learning to bring this kind of stuff to us, and not stay silent about it. Their dad had to walk to a different part of the neighborhood and talk with the boy’s father. It stopped after that.

    What concerns me more are things that happen on school grounds but were not witnessed by an adult. Son #1 had yet another boy kind of picking on him just to get a reaction after being told by the teachers not to. My son was hitting back (literally), which of course they try to train the kids never to do. We have been teaching all our kids that you never start a fight, but if it really comes down to it, you be the one to finish it. If the school has a problem with that, we’ve got their back. Once they’ve had a chance to learn a martial art, I plan to encourage each of them to also be willing to defend another student from a bully if they can’t defend themselves.

    What may be even harder is learning how to respond to verbal bullying. Ignoring or trying to avoid it usually doesn’t work. I was never especially witty or quick with a clever riposte on the spot. Whatever I might say, I’d want to make it crystal clear I’m not going to put up with any of their bullsh*t.

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  85. Daisy,

    It sounds like you had more years of bullying to deal with than I did. For me, it mostly stopped once I got into high school. I was one of the band geeks, and we were sort of in our own little world. I may have had a handful (or less) of real friends, but I had them, which helped. One silver lining to come out of my experience was that I became largely immune to peer pressure. I couldn’t care less what any of the “popular” kids thought or did, or what was supposed to be cool.

    I’ve never been bullied at work, but I have seen it up close at least once. The manager in question ended up being fired herself not long after.

    *And by abuse, I don’t always even mean physical abuse. I’ve had people manipulate me or constantly guilt trip me out of my time, money, favors, etc. Abuse and exploitation takes many forms.

    I went through this during college and some months after graduation with someone I tried being close friends with. I finally had to accept that this person simply wasn’t safe, and had too many issues to deal with.

    “Another book some Christians find helpful is “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend, which I guess is okay, but the liberal sprinkling of Bible verses every other sentence was something I found distracting.”

    This book actually helped me process a bunch of crap I was struggling through at the time. The anger, bitterness, feeling manipulated and betrayed. I struggled to forgive and let go, if only for myself.

    When it comes to the Bible, I totally agree that a soft answer can turn away wrath in some situations, but discernment is needed. A lot of those statements are general principles, which always admit for exceptions. For me the most important thing to learn was that there is a difference between being persecuted for following Christ, and being on the receiving end of standard sinful bullying. The former sometimes calls for a response of perseverance depending on the situation, while justice requires the latter to always be opposed.

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