Participants Needed for Research Work on Spiritual Abuse
I received an e-mail from Kathryn Keller Lamar with whom I have corresponded with and networked in spiritual abuse and survivor communities. She is finishing up her doctoral dissertation to complete her studies and I told her I’d be happy to pass along the information. Spiritual abuse continues to be largely misunderstood in the world of psychology and counseling and the more credible research we have on this subject, the better equipped mental health providers will be able to assist the growing number of people hurt by church leaders who spiritually abuse. If you have experienced spiritual abuse, please consider taking this survey. Here is the note Kathryn is sending out:
If you are interested in supporting academic research on spiritual abuse, you are invited to complete the following survey for a doctoral dissertation on spiritual abuse. Feel free to contact the researcher, Kathryn Keller Lamar, for any questions about the study or for general conversation about the topic of spiritual abuse. The academic literature seems to be lagging behind popular culture’s discussion on spiritual abuse (via blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), so please help us “catch up” so we can better understand it. Kathryn is a psychology student at Texas Woman’s University and intends to use this study to enhance clinical work as well as further research. The following link will direct you to the survey. It takes less than 30 minutes. Thank you!
Can you help get Barbara Robert’s book, “Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery, and Desertion” in the hands of ministries, shelters, abuse programs, and organizations?
One of SSB’s regular readers/commenters, Brenda R., contacted me about a project she took on and I want to pass it along to you. I think it’s a great project and hope that my readers can help get this important book in places where survivors of domestic violence can get better understanding about divorce when there is abuse. This is one area I think the church has failed women and their children in a horrific way. ~ja
Last fall, I took on a project to search out ministries, shelters, safe houses, abuse programs of all kinds both Christian and secular for the purpose of distributing books. Barbara Roberts and her dad have graciously sent a large number of her book, “Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion” to the U.S.
Barbara spent 3 years in research in order to write this book and it is excellent. Barb’s book is one of the reasons that I live free from abuse today. During this time, I have run up against a few stumbling blocks: the internet’s information is not updated, shelters no longer exist or have moved (10 years ago). I was even told by a Christian based organization that they could not hand out Christian materials because of their grant funding. Go Figure. Out of 96 letters sent to CA at the end of December about a third of them were returned with no forwarding address, however with the responses that I have had I have been able to promise 102 books. So all is not lost and all of the remaining books will find happy homes in God’s timing.
Rather than continue with sending letters to programs that no longer exist, I have begun asking for help from people on my favorite blog sites who live in the U.S. and Canada who might possibly direct me to programs that exist in their little part of the globe. Yesterday, I put out a similar request at another site and have promised over 100 books since then. I am ready to do some singin’ and shoutin’, but have a long ways to go before this project is complete. The reason that I say that books are being promised is they took a slow boat from Australia, where Barbara is from. I am told they should be arriving in the U.S. today (happy dance here) and then have to make their journey to the person’s home who is going to do the physical shipping of the books. There was much red tape to get through to make this happen, but we seem to be about through all of that.
If anyone knows of any of the types of organizations, ministries or programs that I spoke of that are operational in their area, I would so very much like to hear from you. If even one person reads this book and is saved from the ultimate sacrifice of abuse, it will be worth it. Oh, one last thing. This is a gift. There is absolutely no cost to those that respond and can use the books.
If you are interested in helping to get this book in places where survivors of domestic violence can access to it, please contact Brenda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And last, but certainly not least, I think it’s high time that we hear from Kathi. As most of you know, last Spring, I started back at college full-time. This has obviously made an impact on the blog in that I do not have the same amount of time to produce the kinds of articles I was producing, or with the same frequency. Kathi has been helping to feed and moderate the SSB Facebook page and has assisted in moderation on the blog. She’s contributed blog articles, and also for the last few weeks, has put together the SSB Sunday Gathering posts. This has really been a big help to me.
So, with Kathi’s more prominent presence at SSB these days, I think it’s important for you to meet Kathi. She’s been a long-time reader since the lawsuit days. We actually lived in the same town when I was going to BGBC, but didn’t realize it until after we moved. I wish we would have known each other back then as I know we would have had fun getting together and knitting. We met for coffee on one of my trips to Portland and then last summer, Kathi invited herself to come visit me. I loved that spontaneous visit. We had a great time getting to know each other and especially enjoyed our picnic lunch in kayaks going down the Columbia River.
What I appreciate about Kathi is her heart for those who have been marginalized in the church. She can easily see through nonsense talk from church leaders and calls it what it is. She has spunk and compassion – I love that. I asked Kathi if she’d write a bio to share and she has done that below:
My church experience has spanned from Roman Catholicism to conservative non-denominational evangelical Christian to now considering myself a none/done who still has faith in Jesus.
I attended a non-denominational Christian college and earned an urban ministry degree and now live in the suburbs of Portland (another story for another time). Even though the college I attended was very supportive of women in ministry, while taking homiletics I realized how unsupportive the local church (even in Southern California) was in regard to women in ministry. I have always hoped that I would see a change in the church in regard to women in ministry during my lifetime. I am still waiting.
I ended up in a social work program and during college found myself in placements that worked with children who were abused. My passion for working with and advocating for those who are abused developed during this time.
After the birth of our second child, we decided that financially it made sense for me to stay home. I can honestly tell you that if I would have known in college that I would be staying home and raising children I would have laughed. That was not what I had thought I would do with my life, but it was how life was presenting itself. Also, if I would have known in college that I would also spend 10 years homeschooling said children I would have laughed even harder. Again, life was presenting itself this way and I followed along. While I started out homeschooling with all intent to lead my children in a Biblical understanding of the world, I found that our church experiences were leading me farther from focusing on the Bible to making sure that my children were well-rounded academically and socially.
Our recent church experiences have included a pastor that aspired to become a megachurch pastor. A pastor who strong-armed his way into the pastoral position who later proclaimed that we were not to question God’s anointed. And a house church pastor’s kid who bullied one of ours. When the pastor made light of the situation we decided that we were done with church. We had had enough experiences and had lost enough friendships along the way because we decided not to tow the party line.
Several years ago I found myself reading survivor blogs such as SSB. There were few during that time, but I found it refreshing. I truly believe that one can find genuine community among an online forum. That is what I hope SSB will be for many. Please know that you will always find a listening ear from me. I believe that everyone deserves to tell their story and to have it listened to.