1-1/2 years Later, Bethlehem Baptist Church Doesn’t Seem to get Domestic Violence: A Personal Story

Bethlehem Baptist Church, Pastor Jason Meyer, Domestic Violence, Emotional Abuse, Spiritual Abuse

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Pastor Jason Meyer, Bethlehem Baptist Church

Almost exactly 1-1/2 years ago, I wrote an article about John Piper’s former church, Bethlehem Baptist Church (BBC) regarding domestic violence, Encouraging Shift from Bethlehem Baptist Church Regarding Domestic Abuse and Care for Abused Women. Around that time, BBC pastor, Jason Meyer, preached a sermon and humbly expressed how he and his church had not handled domestic violence appropriately.

You can listen to the sermon or read the transcript here: Fooled by False Leadership

The following is the opening paragraph of the Elders’ Statement which was also released at the same time:

Elders’ Statement on Domestic Abuse
We, the council of elders at Bethlehem Baptist Church, are resolved to root out all forms of domestic abuse (mental, emotional, physical, and sexual) in our midst. This destructive way of relating to a spouse is a satanic distortion of Christ-like male leadership because it defaces the depiction of Christ’s love for his bride. The shepherds of Bethlehem stand at the ready to protect the abused, call abusers to repentance, discipline the unrepentant, and hold up high the stunning picture of how much Christ loves his church.

I was cautiously optimistic about the steps Bethlehem Baptist seemed to be taking. They brought in professionals to help them learn and understand domestic violence signs. They professed to want a heart to empathize with women who were harmed by domestic violence.

One domestic violence case was ongoing at that time. Natalie had reached out to the Bethlehem Baptist leaders for help years earlier. But now, the church leadership was doing a complete overhaul in how they were going to counsel when there was abuse involved . . . . or so they implied.

One of the most destructive forms of abuse is emotional abuse. It’s destructive because it can go on for years. A wife (or husband) can get so beaten down by emotional abuse that she minimizes her own abuse, or blames herself for the abuse. When a woman finally understands what is happening to her and eventually reaches out for help, a lot of time has gone under the bridge. The very last thing she needs is to prove to her church leadership that she is being abused. But that is exactly what happens to so many survivors. The victim has to plead her case before her church leaders and is put on trial to see if the abuse she has claimed is in fact true.

It’s important to note that the church leaders at BBC were trained to understand about emotional abuse. Here is a quote from Pastor Meyer’s sermon from 1-1/2  years ago:

Emotional abuse is a pattern in the use of words and actions to assault, reorder, and control the emotions and affective state of the other person for the achievement of selfish ends. The more intense and longstanding the pattern, the more destructive it is to people.

So now, 1-1/2 years later, where is Natalie, and how has her case been handled?

I’ll let Natalie’s words speak for herself:

 

Full text:

Last night the elders of Bethlehem Baptist shared a few blatant lies along with some half-truths spun in context of those lies. They planted a few false ideas that never came up in my case (infidelity?) as well as left out pertinent information in order to flavor their testimony against me to the congregation. They did this publically and shamelessly. They murdered me last night in the eyes of many people who will never have access to the truth. I’ve been scared to death for years of what they could do to me. How they could ruin my life. But I’m pretty sure lying about me and shaming me is the worst they can do. What they’ve indirectly done to my children is the thing that really breaks my heart and pisses me off.

Are you my friend? You scared to stand with me? The BIG D for Divorce will be on my chest soon, and I’m the one who initiated it! Sinner Woman. Jezebel. The unforgiveable sin. I’m a pariah now. An outcast. All because I couldn’t gut out the hell of being married to my Ex for another 25 years.

I’m sick to death of living in fear of destructive men and organizations who control other people by using THE BIBLE. By claiming they have the radar on God while others don’t. They say I was not emotionally abused by my Ex for 24 years. Like they know. They call my story a “biased narrative” so they can minimize and dismiss it. They say I have no right to divorce him. They dismiss the 23 years I worked my butt off trying to fix my marriage, cooperate with all the men-leaders, be respectful, be vulnerable, grovel in sorrow and repentance, and obey – and when I finally say I can’t do it anymore – my kids need me, I need to heal, to focus on God, to move forward, they call me “resistant.” I needed and asked for friendship and love. They betrayed me with a smile on their face and a Bible verse on their lips. They use spiritual abuse to control women and children and even other men. This is reprehensible, and I will spend the rest of my life exposing it wherever I see it.

Call me angry. Call me rebellious. Call me a lunatic. Call me a bitch. Call me whatever you want. Spew out your venomous lies to serve your misogynistic agendas. My Creator calls me Beloved. He calls me Daughter, and I choose to believe and obey Him. No more groveling. No more apologies. I wanted to keep this private and protect my Ex and my church. But Bethlehem is just chomping at the bit to excommunicate me publically [sic]. Fine. You want to bring this to the public square? (And don’t drivel about how it’s “private” within the church. That’s a silly notion rooted in unreality.)

I dare you to show support. And if you can’t – you’re no real friend of mine and no real friend of women and children, in general. You’re only a cog in the well-oiled system of abuse. Be gone from me.

Yes. There’s a big, fat, deep line in the sand, and it’s time to rock and roll.

I think BBC leadership has forgotten what they were committed to do 1-1/2 years ago:

Remember the point of these passages in 2 Corinthians and the emphasis on deceit, disguise, and cunning. Abusers are not walking around wearing wife-beater shirts any more than Satan’s servants are going to carry pitchforks or have 666 tattooed on their foreheads. Abusers can be so charming around other people—that is part of the deception. Do you think they will really show their true colors in public? Don’t judge by appearances and discount what a woman says with flippant incredulity. Think about how much she is risking by saying anything at all. Take it seriously. Tell her that you believe her, that God hates abuse, and that you are committed to help her.

 

Yesterday, after reading Natalie’s post, I was angry about Bethlehem Baptist Church’s response to Natalie, and the many other cases of domestic violence I have heard and read. I tweeted the following:

 

 

Bethlehem Baptist Church, will never walk in Natalie’s shoes. They will never experience what she has experienced. They are re-victimizing again when they put blame on a survivor.

BBC, please stop the facade of helping domestic violence survivors. If a woman contacts you about domestic violence, tell her to notify authorities, refer her to outside domestic violence resources and outside counselors, and come alongside her in practical ways as she negotiates her new life away from her abusive husband. Let her call the shots on whether she wants to stay separated or divorce. If she divorces her abuser, support that decision. She is protecting her life and her children’s lives. Be the church that defends and protects the weak and oppressed.

146 comments on “1-1/2 years Later, Bethlehem Baptist Church Doesn’t Seem to get Domestic Violence: A Personal Story

  1. Plain and simple: BBC is a false church, and I bet its “counseling” involved ACBC frauds that do more hurt than anything else. Shall I say it out loud? YES, and I am not afraid: Calvinism and everything connected to it is evil. Sue me if you want.

    The way in which Natalie has been treated is criminal, and the impostors who pose as “elders” and whatnot in this false church should be exposed and banished from ever working in a ny form of ministry.

    Natalie needs proper help, and she is not going to get it at this false church. Really, what else must happen before people wake up to the horrors of this man-made philosophy and its physical and emotional dangers to women? WHAT?

    Natalie writes, “I’m sick to death of living in fear of destructive men and organizations who control other people by using THE BIBLE. By claiming they have the radar on God while others don’t.” And she is right.

    BBC. Liars. Evil men. Flee.

    Pray you peace, Natalie. And I pray you find godly people to help you on this road. SSB is a very good place to start.

    Yes. There’s a big, fat, deep line in the sand, and it’s time to rock and roll.

    Amen!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Another mens club disguised as a church, all talk & no action to truly care for a abused woman. That said, their freaking actions are speaking louder than all their phony rhetoric. How dare they publicly humiliate Natalie. I hope they reap what they have sown. Natalie, if you are reading, I am cheering you on & I loved your sass & fire in your facebook response. No doubt you have gone to hell and back with this thing called a church. I am so sorry for what you have lived through. I highly recommend you join my club, there are a bunch of us, we are called DONES. Prayers for you today.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “Men’s club disguised as a church”; you are right, gm370. These guys and their doctrine, power, and imagined “authority” (which they do NOT have, by the way) are revolting.
    The DONES; now there’s a fine club, gm370. No abuse in any shape or form and no liars to try to cover it up or turn the victim into the devil.

    Yes, I love your spirit, Natalie. You show ’em, right?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. BBC is heaping spiritual abuse on top of the abuse that she endured for so many years. These are spineless men who only care about themselves. Not only do they do Natalie a disservice, but her children as well. They claim to hold up high the picture of how Christ loved the church and this is what they do to one of their own?! Shame on them!

    For those who attend BBC, I hope that you will wake up and hold these “men” accountable for their actions!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Emotional abuse is definitely the most destructive. The mental/emotional abuse I endured for the first 17 years of my life has left me with severe depression, anxiety, and several (potentially) life-threatening auto-immune conditions. No family history anywhere; it’s hard to believe that I just spontaneously developed such horrific ailments, with no outside influence.

    So here’s a big fat sneer for all the church people who told me I wasn’t sick, and punished me for not “participating enough.”

    Liked by 2 people

  6. What a shame. One would always hope they could have learned, and changed.

    What I seriously don’t get is why ANY pastor or other uninvolved person thinks they can judge, from outside, what happened inside a marriage???? To the point of excommunication, especially? That takes so much hubris!

    To me, if two people have different stories, you accept that you don’t really know.

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  7. YES, and I am not afraid: Calvinism and everything connected to it is evil. Sue me if you want.

    I’m not going to sue you 🙂 But it’s not Calvinism that makes these men stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for not suing me, Lea. 🙂 But I’m still boiling at their blooming arrogance!
    But you get my underlying point. I’m simply speaking from experience, Lea, mountains of it. Ya, it’s more than one thing that make those men stupid, on that I agree!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Boston Lady, I recently joined the ‘liberal’ Calvinists and it’s the only church I have EVER been to that prays openly in church for victims of domestic violence.

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  10. Which is to say merely that it is something else that is at play. It may be that some of them are stuck in ‘cage stage’ Calvinism, which is a thing, but I am more inclined to believe this jumping to ex-comm a woman is more about comp and overly conservative interpretations of the importance of marriage – and maintaining marriage in the face of terrible things. And an authoritarian bent that way too many churches are happy to jump on, because otherwise they would know that it is NONE of their business.

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  11. indeed it is not the doctrines of grace that is evil. Bethlehem Baptist also has on their plate being full blown charismatic, and it is in this that we see the errors emanate. This woman is frustrated with the arrogance that she sees in the leadership(?) at BBC. And taking matters to excommunication without fully checking all sets of facts from both principals, certainly is an unbiblical way of
    dealing with situation. Remember as leaders we are accountable to God to do what
    is right, as He knows all things, even our hearts. The Greek word idios which means
    one’s own, and this is what an idiot is, one who is totally wrapped up in themselves
    so they cannot see anything else, should not be used when an elder is being an
    servant leader. But in this day when we have so many spiritual pygmies (no offense
    to the pygmies) and they get placed in a position of spiritual leadership, well you can
    see how this has effected churches everywhere. My heart goes out to those who sit
    under such leadership. my advice is to not walk away, but to run.

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  12. I tried to withdraw my membership peaceably several months ago. They refused to allow me to do this voluntarily due to my “sin” of filing for divorce and refusing to obey them rather than my conscience before God. This is part of the “warning” letter I received from them:

    “In becoming a member, you agreed to abide by the Relational Commitments which include an explanation of how we handle cases of divorce. They outline that divorce may be permitted in cases of continued, unrepentant sexual immorality, desertion, or abuse that results in physical danger to the victim. We don’t think your case rises to this level, and so, without at all minimizing the pain you’ve experienced, we ask you to please reconsider this course of action. We believe that to proceed with this divorce constitutes a serious sin for the following reasons: divorce without Biblical grounds; refusal to follow the counsel of the leadership of your church (or other counselors); and a refusal to live in harmony with the relational commitments you agreed to live by in becoming a member here.”

    So Bethlehem victims of severe physical abuse, you may be allowed to eventually divorce your spouse without being publically shamed. Key words: may and eventually. (The elders will want a few years to work on reforming your abuser, so you’ll need a little patience.) But victims of other forms of chronic abuse must stay married, although it is permissible to be separated, presumably for the rest of your life. Because that, apparently, brings glory to God.

    Women at Bethlehem will continue to stay silent if they are living quietly under emotionally and spiritually abusive men. My hope is that by taking a stand against the sinful arrogance of controlling men, these women will find the courage to rise up and stand as well. The unforgiveable sin at Bethlehem isn’t abusing others. It’s disobeying the elders who audaciously play the part of God by claiming to know better than suffering wives and children what’s good for them.

    I would like to publically reiterate that I wanted to divorce my ex and withdraw my membership quietly and without incident. Bethlehem has chosen to make a thing of it, and therefore, I have no choice but to take a public stand.

    Liked by 12 people

  13. I hate what these men think they can do to women like Natalie!! Sadly few if any in the “church” will stand up against these bullies or reach out and help the women abused by them.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Natalie,

    Yours is such a sad case, but this paragraph here clears it up even more.

    “We believe that to proceed with this divorce constitutes a serious sin for the following reasons: divorce without Biblical grounds; refusal to follow the counsel of the leadership of your church (or other counselors)”

    Oh, yes, the CONTROL and playing “god”-syndrome. So, it’s a serious “sin” in their indoctrinated eyes to “refuse to follow the counsel of leadership…or other counselors.”
    Say what? So, it’s a sin to listen to snakes and to the snakes’ “counselors”? I rest my case right here.

    Natalie, come out from them and be separate. Please, sister. Choose life. Today.

    Lots of love! And buckets of peace, real heavenly peace as only Jesus can give, you brave woman!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Natalie, you are an inspiration! May God multiply your strength and resolve! I cannot believe the arrogance of these men in presuming to pass judgment on your private life and tell you what you, or anyone else, are “allowed” to do.

    I personally think it’s a mistake to try to tie this behavior only to a certain theology. It is present in all kinds of churches, and in other religions, anywhere the organization has power and control over the personal decisions of the followers; and where the rule is exclusively male, it is the worst. Obviously, some theologies do even codify this mindset into doctrine. But in this case, look at the great language in their statement and then look at the reality. The statement is not enough to have an effect on what they do in practice. The power and best interests of the leadership is ultimately going to dictate their position on anything that comes up.

    The leadership of every church has a conflict of interest as soon as there are bills to pay to keep the church running. The hope is that leadership is sincere and trust God enough to follow Him rather than self interest whenever there is a fork in the road. The bigger and more powerful the organization, the greater that conflict becomes. In a “church” that is all about hierarchy and power, the good of the organization (“church”) will always trump the good of the individual.

    It makes my blood boil to think of women being held hostage in these situations. I think Jesus would be overturning tables.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. “Boston Lady, I recently joined the ‘liberal’ Calvinists and it’s the only church I have EVER been to that prays openly in church for victims of domestic violence.”

    Lea, i can promise you they don’t practice Calvin’s Calvinism. Most mainlines don’t. They play down the determinism and are much more socially focused. Thankfully!

    Calvinism is inherently focused on authoritarianism. I mean that the authoritarianism is doctrinal. Read up on Calvin’s Geneva and his Institutes. Other non Cal/non determinist denominations just add it in, sadly.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. look at the great language in their statement and then look at the reality

    True. We see this all the time, they say one thing and do another. And then they tell you you are lying when you don’t believe the empty words! Give em hell, Natalie.

    Lea, i can promise you they don’t practice Calvin’s Calvinism. Most mainlines don’t. They play down the determinism and are much more socially focused. Thankfully!

    I am totally ok with that! I’m not actually a Calvinist, I just like the church 🙂

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  18. Natalie, your fire and vigor is so healthy! I am so proud of you!!

    What is it with people who don’t get fired up about these patterns of doing harm to someone? Who don’t get fired up over arrogant ignorant elders? Not only that but they deceived people in telling them they had changed.

    They scare me. What frauds.

    Did they think their super duper special elder/ pastor anointing could fix your ex and you were just to go along wirh them after all these years? You deserve peace. A new normal. Like your ex, they are toxic, too.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. I’ve only have time to skim through this posting and some of the comments but already I’m feeling sick to my stomach as the contents pierces my heart.
    Recently a professing Christian who rarely keeps in touch with me emailed to ask how I was. She has known ‘my story’. I replied and updated her on the truth of the evil that ‘he’ and others were still inflicting on me. This woman rebuked me for seeking vengeance and that I should be displaying mercy towards all whom Christ had died for. (she quoted many Scriptures)
    I must confess to being hurt as all I did was ‘reply’ to her question … I did not seek her advice … and recently someone told me that the man I married still professed to ‘be in the faith’. I cried, “then why is he doing this to me?”
    I’m exhausted with “the churched” people heaping more abuse on those who are trying to move on with God’s wisdom and strength as our ultimate guide.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. None of their rules have anything to do with following Christ. It is all about remaining a member in good standing of their club. Jesus doesn’t put all of these rules and requirements on us, he set us free from the rule of laws and sent his Spirit to guide us. He gives us the freedom to make decisions and judgments based on our understanding of his word and the help of the Spirit.

    “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

    You know, this situation puts me in mind of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”:

    Off with her head!’ the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.

    ‘Who cares for you?’ said Alice, (she had grown to her full size by this time.) ‘You’re nothing but a pack of cards!’

    Natalie is grown to her full size and recognized these pompous and arrogant self-proclaimed leaders are really nothing and have no power over her.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. healinginhim, I hear you. Loud and clear, and my heart bleeds. There is one mediator between God and man and that’s Jesus. Let’s focus on Him, okay? You know, in His eyes, we are new creations, equals and he loves us all the same. God is not a respecter of persons.
    Take heart, healinginhim. Hang in, and be assured of Jesus’ love for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. “I’m exhausted with “the churched” people heaping more abuse on those who are trying to move on with God’s wisdom and strength as our ultimate guide.”

    I hear you.

    Oh, but they really care about your eternal soul, you know. But not about your emotional, physical and spiritual well being here and now. Funny how that works for them. They hear these ridiculous platitudes in the church bubble and apply them everywhere. Sound bite Christianity. They have no clue about real repentance, what forgiveness ISN’T or what real fellowship IS.

    I gave up on these types. Now I say, fine, and are done with them. Wipe your feet and keep moving on.

    Like

  23. Natalie,
    You are one courageous woman. These guys DO NOT speak for God any more than I, Muff Potter, speak for the Wonderful Wizard of OZ.
    You’re right to go with your conscience and moral compass within.
    Shy1 is right too, they have no power over you.

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  24. Natalie,
    I am sorry this has happened to you. I just want to reach out to you and remind you that you are able to figure this out on your own – indeed, you already have. You don’t need the ‘power’ of invisible spirits, you don’t need the ‘blessing’ of those asshats blatantly trying to exert their power from their own little kingdom. You can do this because you have your own power – your intelligence, your keen sense of justice, and your perseverance. Oh, and a good lawyer, I hope. 🙂

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  25. “True. We see this all the time, they say one thing and do another. And then they tell you you are lying when you don’t believe the empty words!”

    Master manipulators always have an agenda within an agenda.

    I remember the timing on Meyers big announcement about DV. It was becoming a big issue the TGC was addressing. BBC was becoming known around the blogosphere as the church where” wives should take abuse for a season” due to Piper. And where husbands can ask the wife to engage in a menage a trois, but she has to decline without him losing his leadership. Sigh. (I am serious. The very creepy but wildly popular, Piper, taught that)

    The Piper gaggle was trying to present a bit of rebranding from that perception.

    But we must always make them define every word and outline the process. It usually means: we are the authority and we care about you and God has appointed us to define the problem for you and design a solution within our doctrinal boundaries. As patriarchal elders will do, this means they get to decide if you can divorce. Why not just join a mosque and be done with it?

    Liked by 2 people

  26. As patriarchal elders will do, this means they get to decide if you can divorce.

    So, in these churches, better to ask forgiveness rather than permission?

    Or maybe either one gets you kicked out.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Natalie, so evidently all of that talk in Jason Meyer’s message I linked to was a farce. Emotional abuse means nothing to them. This response by BBC leaders is disgusting. I’m feeling the need to tweet to get rid of some anger now.

    Liked by 4 people

  28. My former church also did NOTHING to help me. In fact, my ex still attends like nothing ever happened, while I left due to their inaction and lack of support for the TRUE victim. I met with pastors, three times. I took mountains of proof. I was told that there were ‘strong accusations from both sides’ and has to remind them that No, I wasn’t ‘making accusations, HERE is the proof!’ Abused women are shunned when they dare to speak out and beg for help in churches. I was a twenty year member, 13 of those teaching Sunday School. But I’m a woman bringing proof against a ‘fellow brother.’ Churches are an excellent cover for sinful wolves. And they don’t care about the righteous judgment and discipline Matthew 18 requires. Accountability? No, it’s too hard,, because eventually she’ll shut up and leave, so the facade of holiness can continue.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. PS – Natalie, Thanks much for commenting here and sharing more info. It’s helpful for people to see exactly what you and so many women have gone through, not only at BBC, but other churches who get to play judge and jury and say emotional abuse doesn’t count. I’m just sick!

    Liked by 2 people

  30. “or abuse that results in physical danger to the victim. We don’t think your case rises to this level, and so, without at all minimizing the pain you’ve experienced”

    Sorry, but that statement is nothing but callous minimization.

    Natalie, God bless you for speaking up.

    Liked by 4 people

  31. Natalie,
    You’ll most probably be taken to task for not asking “permission” to leave a comment or for talking “out of church”, you know? Like that who*e thing about what “happens at a bachelor party stays at a bachelor party” nonsense.
    In any case, here you have dozens of women (and some guys, I’m sure) ready to defend ya. Here you’ll always be welcome. I can tell that many of us are boiling hot under the damn collar, and rightly so, I reckon. People like Lydia and Julie Anne are showing their righteous anger, and rightly so, but because of your stance, others have spoken out tonight (healinginhim and pbandjenn, for instance). And that’s good.

    Natalie, you are not alone. This evil against women in church MUST end.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. I started speaking out. My ex is taking me to court because he thinks he deserves my silence about what he put me through–it was okay that he did it, just not acceptable for me to talk about it to help other women suffering at the manipulation of psychologically abusive men. It’s absurd!!! And churches do NOTHING, which in an abuser’s mind means they are RIGHT.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. This makes me so mad.

    Natalie, I wish we all lived close and could provide ‘on the ground’ emotional support for you and your family.

    You sound like a woman I wouldn’t want to cross. May God use you to make some mighty noise in that disgusting religious club.

    Healinginhim… I’m so sorry. I ‘get you’.

    That lady is religious and doesn’t know the love of Christ. It’s her religion talking.

    When you get out of the system and seek the Lord your eyes open to all the nonsense.

    Natalie, do you have anyone in your life close to you that is helping you?

    Is ANYONE from the ‘church’ standing with you?

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Aughhh, I couldn’t even read the Bethlehem response (but I didn’t need to, honestly). After twenty-plus years of marriage and relationship with a mostly emotional abuser, I’m too fragile right now, trying to pick up the pieces for my kids and myself.

    I had to go through a similar defense of myself with my church elders when I finally decided to separate, and then divorce, my abusive, substance-abusing husband. I’d almost completely lost myself in the marriage, had quit working to raise and homeschool kids, friend and family support whittled down to almost nothing, poor health, absolutely no self confidence.

    I had it lucky, as far as having to prove one’s case for abuse goes; my ex-husband couldn’t keep the slick facade quite well enough in place for enough people, so the elders chose to believe me. I got one-time financial support, and lots of promises to come alongside us as we tried to figure out how we were going to survive without my ex-husband’s income.

    The rest of the story is important, but I’m not well enough to write it all out here at the moment. Suffice it to say, two years later, my teens and I are currently Dones. Of all the times not to have a spiritual family to come alongside, to listen, to help out, to provide backup when I’m ill… That’s the problem with being a Done, I guess.

    Natalie, I’m super proud of you, and am right here with you in spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Persephone, let us know where you are somehow (contact Julie, I suggest). I am sure someone will come alongside you physically. You are a Done, but not Done.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. From Natalie: ” They outline that divorce may be permitted in cases of continued, unrepentant sexual immorality, desertion, or abuse that results in physical danger to the victim.”

    I think they need some training on what abuse is and how emotional, verbal and spiritual abuse equally causes pain to a victim.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Natalie, to get out from under these people, send them a snail mail letter informing them that you withdrew your membership as of the date you first attempted to leave. Point out to these Geneva wannabes that you are NOT a part of them and you reject any action taken against you since the original letter you sent trying to get out. Remind these guys that church membership in the US is voluntary and the moment you say you’re out, you are OUT.

    Just do it and walk away, you don’t need their spiritual abuse in your life. -dee holmes

    Liked by 2 people

  38. I do have overwhelming support from people who know me – my family, people I grew up with, those who knew me in college and when I was in ministry before I got married, and my close friends now etc.. There are people at Bethlehem questioning this action on the part of the elders. The elders don’t know me, personally. What they do know is what my ex has told them (BIG eye roll here) as well as a handful of conversations they had with me in 2015 that revolved around this issue only. Based on these crazy interactions and my ex’s personality disordered perception of me, they even told me to my face that I didn’t know God. My world tilted, it was so painful. I wrote them a letter vulnerably (and STUPIDLY) expressing my pain and never heard from any of them. No apology. No explanation. Just crickets. Total abandonment. This is what we are dealing with at Bethlehem. If you do everything they say, you are good with their version of God, and you’ll be loved and cared for. But make a different choice? The door will slam on your face faster than you can blink. I just wasn’t feelin’ the love there, man. My sister told me I should have gone to the meeting on Sunday and begged the congregation to just vote me out then and there. Lol. Just get it over with. “I’ve been trying to withdraw my membership for 6 months. Please, oh, pretty please, vote me out so I can move on with my life!” But no. I have to wait another three months for the NEXT quarterly meeting where they get to drag me through the mud AGAIN and officially vote me out. Sigh. I guess we’ll have to let them have fun playing their ugly game to the bitter end.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. Natilie, YOU have to officially withdraw your membership with a letter sent verified mail. Tell them you are officially resigning from membership. There is now a legal reason you should not be discussed at church now since you are no longer a member.

    If you send that, they will be in a legal pickle if they discuss you at church or to other churches or your business contacts. This is serious stuff that often comes back to haunt people years later because they did not deal with these charlatan abusers seriously.

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  40. Natilie, YOU have to officially withdraw your membership with a letter sent verified mail. Tell them you are officially resigning from membership. There is now a legal reason you should not be discussed at church now since you are no longer a member.

    This sounds like excellent advice. I’d love to hear more about this whole quandary of withdrawing membership from a legal standpoint.

    The idea that any uninvolved person gets to decide what level someone else’s suffering “rises to” just makes me furious.

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  41. Thank you, Shannon! I was on the run earlier and had no time to look for the template which was produced by a lawyer.

    In these hotel California churches if one does not officially resign membership, you are voluntarily giving them the legal right to continue trying to control your situation. Don’t wait them to excommunicate. Ever. Send it even if they have already. Sever the tie officially and legally for yourself so they don’t have a legal leg to stand on if they decide to discuss you at all.

    Then tell everyone you see you did so.

    I know church leaders who have ruined people’s businesses. This is serious stuff.

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  42. “This sounds like excellent advice. I’d love to hear more about this whole quandary of withdrawing membership from a legal standpoint.”

    Shy, what is going on out there in church land is why I will never ever officially join a church again. I have witnessed decent churches taken over by stealth then using the official membership as a way to control people. (Usually a small group tweaks the charter or something giving leaders more power). People have no real clue what the nice new guy is really doing consolidating power and such. Church people are extremely tolerant and forgiving wanting unity and love. Perfect set up

    It is unbelievable to me how much control these leaders think they have over people. and the sad part is people volunteer for it and have no legal leg to stand on if they start harassing you in any way short of criminal behavior. Churches can get by with a lot.

    The sickest thing is they also try to get to people through their kids. Just try explaining to a kid why mom or dad is not the bad person the pastor they once supported says they are. Pure evil.

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  43. I second following the link that Lydia put up to TWW post on the subject. Please send a letter like that, don’t wait, just get the heck out of that spiritually abusive situation. You have the power, they do not. Cut these Geneva wannabes off at the knees.

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  44. “The way in which Natalie has been treated is criminal, ” and in many professions would be, at a minimum, actionable. Most other professions must comply with a basic level of competence IE not putting people at physical / psychological harm might be one. For some reason, this does not seem to effect the all knowing “experts” who are the “leaders” of this fine lady who is being put at risk. They really dont get it.

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  45. “I think they need some training on what abuse is and how emotional, verbal and spiritual abuse equally causes pain to a victim.”

    I know we want to think the best but I doubt they really care. One of the shockers to me working closely with some mega pastors was how hard hearted and calloused they were in person –away from the stage. Nothing was more important to them than their image. For BBC, I think it is doctrine. Doctrine trumps people. It is a Thought Reform characteristic. Ideology is more important than individuals. They are the North Korea of hermeneutics. Everything has to fit within their interpretation at the expense of actual people. And “marriage” is more important than individuals in a marriage.

    To discuss a victims pain makes them even more callous. They despise victims. If their victims knew how much they despised them, they would cut their losses and run. Victims threaten their bubble and the doctrinal parameters or image bubble they operate in. That is why they twist it and make the victim –the “real” sinner.

    I learned to never appeal to an individuals hurts and pain. That makes them worse about attacking and/or controlling the victim. See, I don’t think we are really discussing Christ seekers or followers at all. We are discussing charlatans who use Jesus lipstick for personal gain whether it is power, ego or even wealth. These are men who serve an angry controlling false god they invented for their own use.

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  46. ” These are men who serve an angry controlling false god they invented for their own use. ”
    I would have to disagree with you there, Lydia. They are following the god of the Bible (Yahweh) – just as the men who wrote the Bible had in mind. I think you – and all other women – should be digging a little deeper.

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  47. Thanks, Lydia. You’re saying what I tried to convey yesterday, but I was wayyy too upset to get my words out. I have been throught it like I know you’ve been too. With this paragraph, however, you’ve summed it up, right down to its rotten core:

    “We are discussing charlatans who use Jesus lipstick for personal gain whether it is power, ego or even wealth. These are men who serve an angry controlling false god they invented for their own use.”

    And may many eyes open, and may many leave that place and similar places. Wow, can’t they see their actual lives are at stake, be it physical, emotional, etc.? I ask again: what must it take for people to see?

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  48. One of the shockers to me working closely with some mega pastors was how hard hearted and calloused they were in person –away from the stage.

    This has been the BIGGEST shock to me, reading pastor blogs, twitter, etc.. They are just not good people. And yet they are proud!!

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  49. Every single time I think I have seen it all, along comes another tragic example of church abuse from a source that has been made synonymous with orthodox Christianity. In this case, it is BBC, the former home of the Neo Cal pope himself. How pathetic…to strain out a gnat as they do yet continue to swallow the camel.

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  50. “These are men who serve an angry controlling false god they invented for their own use. ”
    I would have to disagree with you there, Lydia. They are following the god of the Bible (Yahweh) – just as the men who wrote the Bible had in mind. I think you – and all other women – should be digging a little deeper.”

    I hear you, Carmen and respect your athiesm. I don’t read scripture through a determinist or inerrant literal filter nor view it as the 4th person of the Trinity. You won’t read me referring to it as “the word of God”. I am grateful for it, in any case.

    I hope you can respect that, too.

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  51. It was not spoken in disrespect, I can assure you. It was a statement that I believe in, after a great deal of research. I am hoping to reach out to younger women who read this thread — please take some lessons from women who have ‘bought into’ the idea that being a submissive ‘helpmeet’ is a good (and godly) thing. Some of those women are paying the ultimate price for believing it. 😦

    In this age of information, ignorance is a choice.

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  52. Natalie, my heart goes out to you and your children – the forgotten most harmed victims and to all of the women and children who have been harmed by these false teachers. Your membership is with the true Church – not the one created by these false self made gods.

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  53. Don’t have time to read all the posts, but ack! Abuse resulting in physical danger is the only type of abuse that is a justification for divorce! Seriously? These people supposedly learned about abuse? They obviously know NOTHING about how abuse works.

    My church knew there were serious problems in my marriage, and despite my reaching out to them for help, did nothing until I finally moved in with my parents and filed for divorce. Then I got called before the elders. Guess it wasn’t a problem until the paperwork was actually filed. Then, they were only concerned about fixing the marriage and not holding him accountable for his abuse. He told them all the right words and tried to get us back together. After a scare incident with him, I finally told the elders and the pastor to leave me alone, which they did. I have never regretted getting divorced, I still attend this church and they are now supportive of my situation. We all learned a lot from the process.

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  54. One more thought, my ex professes to be a Christian. We even met working in a church children’s ministry together. I truly doubt his salvation due to the abundance of his negative and sinful patterns of behavior. It recently occurred to me that he is a pathological liar, and who is the father of lies? Satan is, and my ex is acting just like his father, Satan.

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  55. I think Christians tend to read the Bible through a Patriarchal filter. It’s hard not to but there is an interaction that keeps standing out to me:

    Matt 19:3-9: “Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” They *said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

    It’s funny how this gets interpreted today. Jesus is bashing patriarchy here. The men were misusing the divorce law to abuse women, and Jesus was saying. That’s not the point. The divorce law was to PROTECT women. Now the Patriarchists look at the verse and it has become another tool to ABUSE women – keep them in abusive marriages by forbidding divorce.

    The philosophical gap here is that the Bible was written to a certain people in a certain culture. We look at it today and say that the OT prohibitions were backwards and misogynistic. However, God was not trying to write a perfect law that was out of reach by the Israelites. Think about it, perhaps the law about carrying a shovel to bury your crap was because most Israelites couldn’t be bothered to do that, not some “aha” moment that just codified common sense. He was moving them one step closer to perfection (i.e. picking his battles), and that’s why there had to be laws like the divorce law. God hates divorce, but the alternative (spousal abuse, desertion or even murder) would be much worse.

    I think this is also how to interpret Paul. Paul was taking the next step away from misogyny and patriarchy, but still within a culture that was backwards in that respect. I think that is part of what is meant here:
    “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?”(1 Cor 3:1-3)

    Many of the common arguments against this really misunderstand the culture. If Jesus had picked a female apostle, would his message have been lost in the misogynist outrage?

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  56. J. Lee Grady needs to investigate this church and is Patriarchal Dogma and EVIL AS WELL AS THE SECULAR NEWS, Christianity Today, Charisma, Rick Alan Ross (report church abuse institute) etc.. This is a CULT. Wonder what PERVERSION ALL THESE MEN ARE INTO AND WHAT EVIL THEY ARE HIDING like Pornography, Child Molesting when YOU’RE THIS EVIL THERE IS SOMETHING VERY WRONG AND HIDDEN. These are SATANISTS; NOT CHRISTIAN AT ALL; behaving more like Warlocks.
    NATALIE: FLEE. Natalie: Google All Email/Mailing and Notify Media to investigate on a pre-paid USPS postcard.
    Pastor’s like this in EVERY denomination. Woman was telling me in her City, Foursquare Pastor (Roger Wheeler) wanted a wife who had a child (not to mention how many others like) to be abused by her husband and told the entire church NOT to help her that she was to return to her abusive husband (who would have beat her to death if she hadn’t left) and Alma (named changed) told me that wasn’t the only church Pastor that gave that advice in the City. They need to be exposed. Alma intervened for Maryann (doesn’t go to church) and someone in the church told Alma “she was the problem and this battered wife would have gone back to her husband by now if Alma hadn’t intervened and helped woman”=SICK PEOPLE OUT THERE IN THE GUISE OF THEIR EVIL RELIGION WHICH IS NOT OF God, Jesus and or Holy Spirit. Alma said Maryann’s husband would have beat her to death and feigned the Bible thumping husband like he looked like a wonderful guy in court=snakes hiding behind their religion=”snakes in suits” look at those reviews on Amazon=sociopaths unfortunately the church is full of them just read “Don’t Call Me Brother” by Austin Miles and Titles of J. Lee Grady’s books “10 Lies the Church Tells Women, Lies Men Believe etc. Look at “Men Who Hate Women, and the Women Who Love Them by Susan Forward to me it was AMAZING ALL THE ABUSE Women put up with and or stay and still no help in our society much; or “Stop Walking on Egg Shells by Paul Mason MS/Randi Kreger; Verbal Abuse by Patricia Evans. Just Google: Verbally or Emotionally Abused.
    Google: http://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/ (someone had brought up Gaslighting to me and someone sent me this that helped them “never run back to what broke you”; had to research Gaslighting).

    Ms. O did a Show on this very thing and love yourself enough to go to an Agency and listed the agency’s on her website (notice NO help in the false churches/leadership, BEEN at it for over 40 years and had relatives abused by their husbands in the Foursquare and whatever else church and the church/pastors did nothing=NO HELP). Betty Ford places, used to live next to one a home for battered women, Sheepfold by Fran Lundquist.
    Natalie: THIS CHURCH NEEDS TO GO DEFUNCT=CLOSE. If, they’re giving you this advice, they’re covering up lot’s of other items and NOT helping those who need help=they are NOT LIVING THE BIBLE. SHUT THEM DOWN. Make it known, spread the word, get help NOW we know people get together to protest evil churches. We need to do this. Can someone help Natalie do a mailer? Natalie, write articles, book keep exposing injustices and abuses. Contact Jeff Van Vonderan and ask him to help. ALL THESE EVIL MEN ARE JUST LOOKING OUR FOR SELF-PRESERVATION THEIR JOB/MONEY NOT ABOUT PEOPLE AT ALL.
    Camer out of a very murderous church also, amazing that people tithed, attended and stayed especially when NOT living the Bible or Christlikeness.

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  57. Why should he get it?
    He’s a PASTOR, and not only does he have a penis, the atmosphere is so rarified that high in the Presence of God that he’s got serious oxygen starvation.

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  58. Carmen, a lot of women have stayed in abusive churches and relationships specifically because they are afraid that to step out means they will lose their faith. They have been made fearful that if they stop obeying, if they think for themselves, total shipwreck of their faith is the next step.

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  59. I guess I’d have to ask them, “So it’s better to destroy who you are, as a person, (and expose your children to that kind of emotional/physical toxicity) than to destroy what’s in your imagination?” I am shaking my head.
    Please, ladies, start thinking rationally.

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  60. Please, ladies, start thinking rationally.

    Rationally might mean simply choosing another church, one that doesn’t push this stuff. You want women to think for themselves – consider that they have and don’t want to lose their faith. They see something in it that you do not, even if it has been abused and misapplied by men who want power. It is perfectly rational to reject these men, or these systems, while not rejecting faith.

    Liked by 1 person

  61. I think Shy1 was referencing a different set of circumstances than what you are referring to, Lea. The topic of this thread is a topic Julie Anne has dealt with many times before – how women end up on the losing end – so many damned times – in churches that exercise tight control over them. Yes, absolutely, women should be able to just simply ‘pick another church’. The problem is, as Natalie’s case clearly demonstrates – many women cannot. Not only do they NOT get help from their pastors for the abuse they are suffering, but they are ostracized and demeaned when they finally do break free.
    As I mentioned further upthread, my comments are addressed to younger women who might be reading along. It seems to me that many get sucked into these controlling churches because they see it as a noble thing to do – indeed the GODLY thing to do.
    It’s a great system — for MEN. That’s my point. Again ladies, for your own safety and self-preservation, I am encouraging you to think logically.

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  62. Headless Unicorn Guy:

    About your last comment: I have not laughed that much since that one particular “Everybody Loves Raymond” episode.

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  63. The problem is, as Natalie’s case clearly demonstrates – many women cannot. Not only do they NOT get help from their pastors for the abuse they are suffering, but they are ostracized and demeaned when they finally do break free.

    And that is terrible. But we live in a country where you absolutely leave your church, and pick another church. The people at your church might be absolutely jerks about it, they might hold meetings and lie about you (in which case, a lawyer could be useful), and kick you out after you leave, which is the equivalent of ‘you can’t quit, you’re fired’, or even shun you all of which is appalling but you can still leave.

    What I think Shy is saying is that they think they cannot leave without retaining their faith? Which may means they need education and I don’t know how best to do that. sometimes people won’t see something until the worst happens. Maybe I’m a fatalist, I don’t believe people can ever be convinced of anything unless they are ready to be.

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  64. Lea, not always that easy. I left my former denomination. Their constitution says that members “request” removal from membership, and that the leaders can refuse that request under certain grounds, especially if they feel the member is trying to escape church discipline.

    A former elder in that denomination that I was talking to said that it would be “beautiful if I could get my old elders and new elders together to transfer my membership”. That’s the male side of Patriarchy – so, I’m just like a daughter in the OT that gets given away. I decided I would wait until my old church had to pay their per-member tax to the denomination and that they would be very interested in removing all of the non-attending members at that point. So, after two years of non-attendance, I got my dismissal letter.

    I also held onto my membership instead of requesting removal at first because I was really on the edge for being a “Done”. It was surprisingly hard to get into the car and drive to a new church, and even then, it was hard not to turn around before I got to the door. I’m glad I did, because it is a decidedly non-abusive church, and I heard many of the things I knew I needed to hear.

    But, I can understand the reluctance. I nearly walked out 24 years ago when I had a very bad interaction with some members and felt generally blah about it at that point. I was looking for any reason to stay and it didn’t take much. Many of the people I talk with have similar experience, but they don’t want to leave their lifelong friends.

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  65. Carmen, “So it’s better to destroy who you are, as a person, (and expose your children to that kind of emotional/physical toxicity) than to destroy what’s in your imagination?”

    It’s a completely screwed up system. I see it more clearly now, but when I was in it, it all seemed to make sense. Typical Reformed scholars like to jump back and forth between spiritual and temporal. For example: If you don’t have a smile on your face (temporal), then you are not experiencing joy (spiritual). If you are not experiencing joy, then you are sinning and need to confess that before God. That’s an equivocation between emotional and spiritual joy. The end result is Christians who get caught in a philosophical trap. If you spring this trap in other areas, like marriage, where someone’s temporal state in marriage is presumed to be a spiritual state, then many people are going to do whatever they can to whitewash that tomb. That is the leaven of the Pharisees. It’s a completely false portrayal of God, and, no surprise, when the real God showed up, the Pharisees HATED HIM.

    The book Boundaries, had a fascinating quote (I’ll try to paraphrase). If your marriage is broken, why do you think God wants you to pretend it’s not? Does God somehow check the “married” box and move on?

    It’s no surprise, because churches teach exactly that.

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  66. If your marriage is broken, why do you think God wants you to pretend it’s not?

    This is the thing that drives me crazy about the ‘separation (permanent if necessary) but never divorce’ crowd. It’s a farce. Defacto divorce, just without the piece of paper.

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  67. @HUG:

    No, perhaps I missed it or was busy with something like raising kids, yes? But your BBC sounds similar to my BBC, innuendo-wise. No right place for a woman, it seems, either way, right?

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  68. healinginhim said

    I’ve only have time to skim through this posting and some of the comments but already I’m feeling sick to my stomach as the contents pierces my heart.
    Recently a professing Christian who rarely keeps in touch with me emailed to ask how I was. She has known ‘my story’. I replied and updated her on the truth of the evil that ‘he’ and others were still inflicting on me. This woman rebuked me for seeking vengeance and that I should be displaying mercy towards all whom Christ had died for. (she quoted many Scriptures)
    I must confess to being hurt as all I did was ‘reply’ to her question … I did not seek her advice … and recently someone told me that the man I married still professed to ‘be in the faith’. I cried, “then why is he doing this to me?”
    I’m exhausted with “the churched” people heaping more abuse on those who are trying to move on with God’s wisdom and strength as our ultimate guide.

    I’m so very sorry. I’ve had similar things happen to me by Christians.

    Sometimes, I approached them or they approached me, but regardless, the initial trial I was going through was made even worse by their judgement, critical comments, or shaming.

    Some Christians are talented at adding insult to injury or pouring salt into an already gaping wound.

    It’s especially infuriating that the woman initiated this conversation with you then once you replied she nit picked your answer. She can go get bent.

    Liked by 1 person

  69. Lea said,

    This is the thing that drives me crazy about the ‘separation (permanent if necessary) but never divorce’ crowd. It’s a farce. Defacto divorce, just without the piece of paper.

    Yep. I am in complete agreement with this, and it drives me nuts as well.

    And it’s so, so easy for some guy to sit there and admonish a lady who is being verbally abused day in and day out for 20 some odd years that she ought to stick it out another five years or whatever.

    It’s like hey, clown, you’re not the one on the daily drum beat of getting your feelings ground into the dirt, so why don’t you go take a hike.

    As much as I love my mother, this is one thing I am still angry at her for (she died years ago).

    As I was growing up, my mother would teach me to just sit and take bullying from kids at school, or from co-workers as an adult at jobs I had.

    (My Mom thought it would mean-spirited, un-Christ-like, or un-lady-like for me to stand up for myself and tell the bullies who tormented me to go drop dead.)

    It dawned on me one day it was quite easy for my mother to dispense that advice to me (to tell me to just sit there and take abuse), when she sat at home all day watching TV (she was a S.A.H.M., in a traditional marriage to my dad), and I was the one having to shuffle off to school or a job daily where I got slapped around or emotionally abused. Me.

    I was the one having to trudge off every day and get my face slapped or get mistreated… while she sat at home all day reading books or watching the television. So, it was easy for her to a point to lecture me to put up with that trash. (Though she was codependent herself and she did allow neighbors and my siblings to be rude to her.)

    Liked by 1 person

  70. Mark said,

    The book Boundaries, had a fascinating quote (I’ll try to paraphrase). If your marriage is broken, why do you think God wants you to pretend it’s not? Does God somehow check the “married” box and move on?

    It’s no surprise, because churches teach exactly that.

    All of that is true, but I suspect other churches have other motives or misunderstandings for why they do this.

    A lot of Christians seem to have this penchant for putting the institution of marriage above the health and safety of the two people who comprise it, for one thing. So weird.

    They put more importance on the concept of marriage than even the Bible mentions God having for it.

    Then some of them get into this stuff about how they want to model Jesus Christ to out-siders, so they figure one way to do that is to have such perfect looking lives (including great marriages) that Non-Christians will get jealous, or wonder if the Christian faith will work for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  71. I’m just asking: Is this Bethlehem Baptist “church” from where this brood of vipers are operating (the criminal way they’ve treated Natalie is apprehensible) the same one where the confused writer of the “God’s Design” rubbish, that we’ve been talking about for a while, also comes/came from? Sally Michael?
    If it is, then I can say this awful, ungodly place is least consistent in its errors and its arrogance, and in the spreading of its poison. And its sick programme “God’s Design” is reaping some rotten results, not so? Wow, expect more sickness from this toxic tank down the line. A diabolical dump to avoid at all costs, either way.
    http://www.prpbooks.com/authors/sally-michael

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  72. What? “Apprehensible”? I meant “abominable.” Geex, I should not type with the lights off and maybe read before I press “enter.” Silly geek.

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  73. Lea/Carmen,

    People go to church because it’s what they have always done. It’s what you DO when you’re a good Christian, correct?

    I suspect that those who leave the clubs and still retain faith are of the sheep variety.

    I’m sure there are sheep in the man made churches sitting along side a mass of goats.

    The goats don’t leave the clubs to follow Jesus in simplicity.

    Mark:

    “This all shouldn’t be surprising, since Patriarchy is the curse.”

    Patriarchy IS the curse.

    Christianity says the exact opposite.

    Houston, we have a problem!

    HUG needs his own website. Funny 😂

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  74. Mark/Lea, all this membership and denomination stuff is absolute 💩💩💩.

    Where is any of this in the Scriptures.

    It’s all control tactics.

    Jesus IS the Only One building HIS church (singular). It’s not a place or club. It’s US.

    We are the temple of God. (Amos-where are you ha)

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  75. On a practical note:

    A friend of mine got divorced not long ago.

    She was made to feel bad by her ex, his family and other Christians. They used bible verses etc.

    He touched their kids and physically assaulted her.

    He’s a drug user who ‘goes to church.’

    She comes over a lot. Surprisingly, through supporting her emotionally (and other ways where it hurts) I’ve found an open door to point her to Jesus/God’s love.

    LOVE and COMPASSION are powerful tools in an evangelistic sense.

    Our task is to carry the Good News.

    God with us?

    Absolutely.

    Liked by 2 people

  76. Natalie,

    We’re praying for you. What they’re doing to you is SO WRONG! But we are proud of you for still standing your ground even in the face of heavy pressure.

    You never know how many other people are watching you right now and will gain strength from your example of not backing down.

    (((HUGS)))

    Liked by 2 people

  77. Carmen,

    I totally agree with you that we all need to “dig deeper.” To analyze everything with logic and critical thinking skills.

    Exactly what you suggested is what I’ve devoted my life to doing—research and study. Along the way I’ve found a lot of interesting things.

    The more you study history the more you see that for thousands and thousands of years—the common worldwide view was that the regular people only existed to serve their lords and masters.

    Jesus turned the world upside down by directly attacking that entitlement mentality in many different ways—including raising the common people to the same level of value as the ruling class. In fact, He said the whole reason He had come was to destroy the works of the devil—destroy every form of oppression—and set the captives free.

    I could go on for days about how it was the words of Christ that pioneered the whole idea of human rights—moved humanity from the Dark Ages into the period of Enlightment and caused people to rise up and fight all forms of oppression from slavery to human trafficking to domestic violence. It was Christians who were locked up in prison for running the Underground Railroad—Calvin Fairbanks was a Pastor who served fifteen years in prison and Charles T. Torrey was a Pastor who died in prison for risking their lives to help others. Don’t get me started on how it was Christians that started the whole women’s rights movement in America—that fought tooth and nail to give women the legal status of adults instead of being treated like children.

    Yet just like how it was the religious leaders that opposed Christ, today the church still has too many leaders with that same entitlement mentality that views the common people as disposable. They are mixing the liberating Gospel of Christ with the deadly poison of misogyny to create the “doormat theology” that destroys so many lives because they will do anything to line their own pockets.

    Here’s the thing—everyday some people get in their cars and go commit crimes. But just because some people use cars to commit crimes doesn’t mean that the cars themselves are evil. Yes, there are many evil people who twist religion into a weapon that hurts others but that doesn’t change how Jesus came to free women from all types of “doormat theology.” That real Christianity is to help the oppressed.

    Just like you I cannot believe in a misogynist God.

    It was logic and critical thinking that led me to follow the greatest liberator of women in human history—Jesus.

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  78. I didn’t think to ask this when I was here last night, but is this a complementarian church? I assume it is. Pardon me if it’s not… but I still see complementarianism as playing a big role in a lot of domestic abuse stories I read about online, so maybe this will still be applicable.
    (I apologize in advance if my HTML formatting for this post below doesn’t work out, because I’m going to try to put a blockquote inside a blockquote. 🙂 )
    I wish complementarians would give up the pretense that they or their gender theology is deeply respectful, protective, and good for girls and women. It’s anything but.
    Complementarian spokes-head Mary Kassian was quoted in some CT magazine page a few months ago feigning ignorance of how it is so many people keep saying complementarianism is harmful to women and/or contributes to domestic violence (and other abuse against women).
    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that when you have a system of theology that teaches one entire group (men) has final say and authority over an entire other group (women) that this is going to enable, create, water-down, or perpetuate abuse.
    Here is something I posted at the other blog about this
    (I hope this formatting looks okay and isn’t jumbled after I hit the submit button):
    (Aug 2016)
    Speaking of Kassian [who is complementarian]. She is still clueless or perhaps willingly obtuse in how complementarian beliefs and teachings undergird and/or perpetuate domestic violence.
    Behind the Trinity Tussle by Kate Shellnutt – from CT magazine
    From that page:

    ….“I get really tired of people who argue that complementarianism leads to abuse or subservience of women. It mischaracterizes the complementarian position,” said Mary Kassian, women’s studies professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary…
    ~~ ~(end snippet from CT page)~ ~~
    I think she must have said this some time after reading Ruth Tucker’s book, ‘Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife: My Story of Finding Hope after Domestic Abuse’ ? If so, her attitude there is inexcusable.
    And again, it’s very typical of complementarians to be arrogantly dismissive when confronted of the real word implications on very real lives that their gender teachings produce.
    She was also relying on the “No True Complementarian” type of argument, once more. She thinks cases of complementarian men abusing women are abnormalities of complementarianism.
    Complementarian churches rarely stand by domestic abuse victims. They expect the victim to stay married to the abuser or play the role of “Holy Spirit” to the abuser and either pray him into a Good Person…
    Or they expect the wife to submit ten times more in the hopes that all the extra submission will cause the guy to turn a new leaf. I’ve never really seen any of those strategies work out for women. They end up enabling the abuser and prolonging the abuse.

    Like

  79. ” the guy to turn a new life”-
    I meant, “Turn a new LEAF” –
    I guess I was thinking, ‘to change his life’ when I should’ve been typing “leaf”

    Like

  80. Avid Reader –
    I agree with you on every front except I’d leave the ‘Jesus’ bit out. . . smile. I think women can do it without the supernatural ‘influence’ – they’ve just had it hammered into their heads that they MUST have some form of authority. I know many women (your blog host, for instance) who is doing a great job of leading by example. I know, I know, JA – you still hang prefer to lean on the spiritual shoulder. I certainly respect your belief(s) but here’s mine: I believe in women – their strength, their endurance, and their untapped power. You are exercising it every day, you just don’t recognize it. You really do have the power to change your own life. Some of you already have and some just need a little nudge (seems to me I’ve said that before!)

    Like

  81. Daisy, know what is scary? That some women accept this willingly: the beatings, the humiliation, the unspeakable (and unprintable) abuse) because of a fear of “God.” Not enduring these things, they say and believe, is contrary to “His pleasing will” and so on. They even believe these abuses will earn them extra merit with God; extra rewards…if they live to be 40, that is.
    And that’s why I’m hard on this specific stream of sect: Been there. Know other who ARE there. And it’s hell. This sext is the first to say something along these lines, always, always, always: “Complementarianism does not see women as inferior or men as superior, but………” Right there they are letting the veil slip, aren’t they?

    I enjoyed your last entry, Daisy. God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  82. Daisy, Bethlehem Baptist was John Piper’s church for years. He is patriarchal! He retired a few years back. Moved to Nashville. His son works for LifeWay.

    Liked by 1 person

  83. Carmen,

    I respect your point of view on this and totally agree with you in believing in the “strength, endurance and untapped power” of women. Of course each person has the ability to change their own life and shouldn’t wait for permission from “authority” to make their own personal choices.

    My point is that there’s a reason we aren’t still living under the system of feudalism that thousands of people suffered under during the Dark Ages. Think about all the different cultures that have existed from the beginning of time. What if we had been one of those poor victims born under the rule of the Aztec Empire who practiced human sacrifice? Aren’t you glad that we don’t live in ancient Rome where people were fed to the lions for refusing to sacrifice to the gods of Rome?

    It was Jesus that caused humanity to leave behind the oppressive systems and move towards the freedoms and rights that we enjoy today. Without Christ the world would still be under darkness of following horrific barbaric ancient practices. I could give all kinds of examples of this but I don’t want to get too graphic since this is a family friendly blog.

    The more research and study we do the more we see how the spread of Christianity pioneered the rights that we enjoy today—including your right to be free from any type of religion.

    Like

  84. Avid Reader, I’m not going to get into what I found out in my historical search but let’s just say it was not what you found. However, you are certainly free to give Jesus (who may be a myth) all the credit for enlightenment if you wish. I’ll leave it at that. Besides, it’s with present-day oppressed women in cults we should concern ourselves. As indeed Julie Anne does. 🙂

    Like

  85. I am currently in an abusive relationship and I am scared to come forward to the elders because of what happened to Natalie. The abuse I have endured is verbal in nature and hard to prove. I’m scared to leave Bethlehem because all my friends are there. I don’t know any details of what went on but I hope I can escape this patriarchy before they run my name through the mud.

    Like

  86. Boston Lady said,

    Daisy, I also need a pair of new darn glasses. I am messing it up more than I usually do. Sect becomes sext, for goodness sake!

    I didn’t even notice your typeo. But that is a hilarious typeo, so don’t feel bad about it 🙂

    Like

  87. Lydia said,

    Daisy, Bethlehem Baptist was John Piper’s church for years. He is patriarchal! He retired a few years back. Moved to Nashville. His son works for LifeWay.

    Thank you for that information. I couldn’t remember exactly who this guy was or what his church was, but I figured he was more than likely a complementarian or patriarchal.

    Like

  88. Admin note: This Lydia is not our regular Lydia. I’ll modify her name when I get home to avoid confusion.

    Lydia, I’m so sorry to hear about the abuse you have endured. You are going to need to get support elsewhere, not at BBC. You don’t need to go on trial defending yourself with people who should be defending and protecting you. I’m not sure what the answer is about your friends already there. You are in a tough situation. Please feel free to comment here any time you need support, even if the post is not related. That’s what we are here for. You can also email me and maybe we can discuss your options. My heart really goes out to you. 😢 Spiritualsb@gmail.com

    Like

  89. Lydia,

    We’re here for you if there’s anything you need to talk about.

    If you feel that talking about your situation to leadership in that environment would make things worse—your gut feeling is telling you something really important. It’s ok to give yourself as much time as you need to figure things out on your own without any extra pressure.

    Like

  90. Lydia,

    I am so glad you are here. First of all, you don’t have to “prove” it to anyone. That is one of my biggest pet peeve’s with the whole patriarchal/comp church movement. They have you believing you have to prove wrong treatment? Well, abusers are really clever like that. They are rarely abusive in public or around other people. Most are charming.

    I wish there were a strategy to deal with BBC to minimize the pain but based on my experience it doesn’t work that way in that patriarchal environment. I have seen these type dangle women for years with commands to pray harder, submit more, be more joyful while being verbally abused etc. etc. They tend to view women in these situations as redeemers. You are responsible for him changing? What a load to carry. That is his job. Not yours.

    You don’t sound ready yet but I want to put the idea out there for when you are: officially resign your membership in writing, certified mail. At that point they have no right to deal with you at all. If your BBC friends are real friends and not just church friends, they will support you. Don’t count on it at all. Church People tend to have allegiance to the church and its leaders. Not individuals in the church. It can be a rude awakening. Start widening your circle now outside church. Church can become a sort of bubble world.

    Like any abused woman, get an exit plan in place first, quietly. You don’t say if you are married or have children.

    Btw, verbal abuse is not ok. It is a big deal and will wear you down to a pulp. It becomes your normal. Don’t let it. You are a valuable daughter of a King. You deserve to be treated with basic respect. Your personal life should be a sanctuary of sorts. Not a minefield.

    My rule is I will only put up with it if I am paid well in a contractual situation and the client is a jerk. :o) but even that is short term.

    Liked by 1 person

  91. For the new Lydia (with the blue and white avatar by her name) who posted above who said she is being verbally abused by her husband. I am sorry your husband is abusing you.

    I was slightly verbally abused by my ex fiance’ during the last year or so of our relationship, but I have been verbally abused on a consistent by my older sister in a more harsh way for years, going back to my childhood (my sister is way more verbally abusive than my ex ever was).

    This book by Evans helped me make sense of the verbal abuse; it might help you too:
    Sample chapters:
    The Verbally Abusive Relationship, by Patricia Evans
    – (Google books, free preview of several book chapters)

    I had friends years ago who, after I described to them how my sister treated me, they told me that my sister’s behavior towards me was verbal or emotional abuse, but I was sort of in denial about it at that time.

    It took me a long time to accept that yes, the constant criticism, put downs, attributing motives to me (she acted like she could read my mind), threatening me, and the on and off screaming of profanities at me, etc, was indeed abuse.

    This book by Evans also drove home that my sister’s behavior was abuse.

    Unfortunately, a lot of Christians out there don’t consider verbal or emotional abuse to be serious – not as serious as physical abuse – so they act like it’s no big deal.

    Some of my family members are like this – when I described to my father a year or so ago (who happens to be Christian) how my sister verbally abuses me in private, he acts like I should just let it slide off my back like water off a duck. He seems to think I am too sensitive or thin-skinned (he doesn’t get it).

    A lot of Christians don’t understand how painful and psychologically damaging it is for a person to be on the receiving end of verbal abuse on a regular basis.

    It’s not a matter of developing thicker skin or reciting “sticks and stones may break my bones….” It’s not that easy getting over or ignoring consistent verbal abuse.

    Like

  92. Julie Anne: Is Piper worshipped by his congregants over God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit? Haven’t read all the comments. Was thinking of Ted Haggard’s wife where was she going to go with the lifestyle home she had and monies, perks and five children and if she left splitting of attests, struggling and poverty; he was making $10,000 a month salary and how much in bonuses and perks with being a Pastor; heard there was an $80,000 year end bonus and wonder what all the other perks were given being a Pastor. Be interesting to see what his and all their assests, lifestyles, salaries are and perks, cars, houses, vacation homes, planes etc., in entirety own.
    Headless Unicorn Guy: Like your comment about thinking with the wrong kind of head=too funny. 11/2 at 10:13 a.m.
    Lydia: Will pray for you and that you will find a safe place and church. Sometimes you have to leave it all behind and start a new and that’s NOT a bad thing/item=new family, friends and HEALTHY=LIFE GIVING! Joy Unspeakable!

    Like

  93. “I wish there were a strategy to deal with BBC to minimize the pain ”

    Perhaps a bus load of assertive (non comp) women accompanying these women who want out could be a winner.

    Seems like an Eldership vs one abused party isn’t fair game.

    Maybe they need a taste of their own gang mentality.

    Nothing is more threatening than a bunch of angry women who love Jesus and know their Bibles.

    Ha

    Liked by 1 person

  94. To the BBC Lydia:

    Don’t approach the elders. Listen, because of the publicity concerning current affairs, they’d be phoney to you (more fake and insincere than usual; and they are not qualified or equipped to deal with cases like yours; that is so evident). Take Lydia’s advice (NOVEMBER 3, 2016 @ 8:11 PM) and get the heck out of that church, ASADP.

    Remember, you’re not leaving Christ, and stay away from “counselors” in any shape or form, no matter the pressure, and whether these so-called counselors are “certified” or not, it does not matter! True friends will understand; if they don’t, well remove them from your life like as you would bubblegum from a shoe.

    I can guarantee you that once you’re free from that “church’s” shackles, things will look so much brighter because they will be so much brighter.

    And contact Julie Anne too, as she has suggested. SSB is a smorgasbord of hit-and-runs, hit-and-stays, black-and-blues, touch-and-go’s (you know?), etc. But we are here to encourage and help. We’ve been through it, some are going through it, and some will still go through it.

    Lots of love, and don’t be afraid. Jesus is with you always.

    Liked by 2 people

  95. Daisy

    My typeo was kind of funny, yes? Sect to sext; before long readers will think that I might need some Freudian pils. 😉

    Like

  96. Lydia,

    I just want to add my voice to the supportive people on this thread. Avid Reader is correct – if your gut feeling is that something is wrong, heed it. You know you better than anyone. You are not the problem, no matter how many people are pressuring you to believe that. Verbal abuse is every bit as serious as physical abuse; it’s all about power – the goal is to make you feel powerless, which is what you are indicating has happened, in your comment. The effects of verbal abuse are every bit as devastating to the person on the receiving end.

    You are worthy of respect and genuine affection and you are deserving of same. I hope you can get out of the situation and make a new life for yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  97. For New Lydia,
    You’re probably up against a double-whammy (as I was) in that these types of churches are usually spiritually abusive. One of the best things I did was to educate myself!! It helped remove the haze and lift the fog. I would recommend The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderan. It helped me immensely!!! You need some help getting out of there so you can deal with life without the extra pressure of the church putting the heavy load on you. Praying for you! This group has been very good for me. I don’t comment much, but I read a lot and have been building my own strength. These things take time. ((Hugs))

    Liked by 1 person

  98. (new)Lydia,
    First of all, you don’t have to “prove” it to anyone. That is one of my biggest pet peeve’s with the whole patriarchal/comp church movement. They have you believing you have to prove wrong treatment? Well, abusers are really clever like that. They are rarely abusive in public or around other people. Most are charming.

    Seconded! Just remember you know the truth, you don’t have to prove it to anyone else.

    I would prepare for the worst as far as church goes. If you ask them to approve your divorce they will stall and be difficult. If you go ahead and do it and even resign they can’t do anything about it but be angry.

    You may find out who are your true friends.

    Liked by 2 people

  99. You must understand that just as an abusive spouse will tearfully apologize, feigning regret (which only serves the abuser, who perceives that they might truly lose the victim if they don’t do something fast to show they’re empathetic, and the one thing above all that terrifies an abuser is losing the one they so love to terrorize and hurt), that unless there’s a true change of heart, which is sadly so rare with abusive personalities, they’ll go right back to abusing, because abusers abuse, it’s like oxygen to them.

    And so it is with institutions set up by fundamentally abusive people, they take on the heart and soul of the abusers who run them and become a reflection. Perhaps a year or so ago was Bethlehem Baptist’s “tearful apology” (when the leaders perhaps rightly perceived they might be in danger of losing members whom they love to lord it over), and now, they reveal their true hearts.

    Liked by 1 person

  100. Truth detector, I was alluding to the same thing in my previous comment. Eventually, these fakes’ true colors show…it’s all about them, always about them and no one else. Their crocodile tears fool only some; they feel nothing for the victim.

    You call this “church” an “institution(s) set up by fundamentally abusive people.” So right you are.

    But how many more lives are these spiritual fakes going to destroy? One’s too many. Someone else has said it: “Vote with your feet.” Get out of there, and let their money bags run dry; the sooner, the better…for everyone concerned.

    Like

  101. Salty wrote:

    “Nothing is more threatening than a bunch of angry women who love Jesus and know their Bibles.”

    These guys are utterly TERRIFIED of the primal power of women period.

    Liked by 1 person

  102. (Part 1)
    I just wanted to echo Truth Detector and Boston Lady’s observations above.

    I know from dealing with my verbally abusive sister and in reading books about verbal (and domestic) abuse by experts, abusers usually respond one of the same several ways.
    Don’t fall for the abuser’s excuses and cop outs, and don’t allow church elders, family members, or anyone else, make you feel as though you need to accept your abuser’s excuses or rationales and keep putting up with the abuse. You have a right to be treated with respect, no matter what.

    In the Evans book about Verbal Abuse I mentioned earlier, she said it’s futile to tell a verbal abuser that he (or she) is a verbal abuser, because they will almost always flip the script and scream at you that YOU are the verbal abuser, not them (even though this is not true at all).

    As far as my sister goes, she has one of two standard reactions when I call her out on her abuse (I only started standing up to her a few years ago after a life time of taking verbal abuse off her), and I think this is somewhat common with other abusers:

    When I stand up to my sister when she gets into her verbal abuse tirades, she either-

    1.- Gets even more angry and starts screaming at me even louder and insulting me more, and she has the nerve to act INDIGNANT that I have the audacity to stand up for myself (rather than sit there in silence like I used to and be a doormat)

    or-

    2.- She paints HERSELF as a victim.
    She will tell me, “Pity me, feel sorry for me because I am only being nasty and hateful to you because my life is SO, SO very hard! My boss yells at me, my boyfriend cheats on me, my health is poor, my insurance won’t cover my medical bills” -(and on and on with a list of complaints)

    As for point 2, I used to buy that as my sister’s excuse.

    My parents raised me to think my feelings do not matter, but the feelings of other people do matter, even if that person is a bully who is picking on me. My mother taught me to be pathologically nice, pathologically understanding and empathetic.

    So, what happened in the past, on the rare occasions I stood up to my sister or left the room in one of her tirades, and she’d be like, “Don’t get mad or hurt with me. I cannot help being mean to you. It’s not my fault. You see, I scream at you because my life is so hard.”
    -and my mother taught me that someone saying THEY are hurting or stressed out like that is a valid reason for them to mistreat me.

    Liked by 2 people

  103. (Part 2)
    One thing I learned from reading books like the one by Evans is that there is NO EXCUSE for someone abusing someone else.

    I’m not talking about an average (non abusive) person having a bad day. Even non-abusers have a rotten day at work, and yes, they might come home and snipe at a spouse or friend once in a blue moon – but this is not consistent behavior, and they usually feel remorse and apologize for it later.

    Verbal abusers however, it is a consistent habit with them.
    Verbal abusers choose to deal with their anger by lashing out (in private) at one or two targets.

    I seldom deal with my anger by taking it out on an innocent party. I had a job once where I was harassed by a total jerk for a few years.

    However, at no time did I take my work frustrations out on my sister or other people. I dealt with my work abuse by coming home and crying about it, going on bike rides, etc.

    It dawned on me that since I am able to deal with work stress in ways that don’t hurt someone else, my sister dang well could also do the same, but she makes a choice to phone me and scream bad names at me and insult me.

    Liked by 1 person

  104. (Part 3)
    Many abusers (whether they are verbal abusers or physical ones) will always try to make the victim feel as though the abuse is her fault, or else they might do something like say THEY are a victim, so they should not be held accountable for dealing with their pain in life by abusing someone else.

    That is bunk. They are totally responsible for how they choose to deal with their anger or stress (even when they are under job stress or whatever other trial in life they are under going) and they do NOT have the right to take anger, marital stress, or job stress whatever, out on YOU because they are having a bad day or bad month.

    (Not only do books and blogs by psychologists confirm what I am saying in this post, but I’ve seen it in action with my sister and a few other verbal abusers and bullies I’ve had to deal with in my own life.)

    Liked by 1 person

  105. (Part 4)
    Don’t let anyone convince you – the abuser himself, friends, pastors, church elders – convince you that it’s compassionate, biblical, God’s intent, or your Christian wifely duty (or however they frame it) that you need to be this endlessly patient, understanding, sweet, ever- loving doormat who should stick around and endure verbal abuse off some guy, because that poor, poor guy is under so much stress, he’s so sad, his job is so tough, etc.

    There is NO EXCUSE for this guy (or anyone else) to verbally abuse you, no matter how difficult his (or their) life is. You don’t deserve the abuse and shouldn’t have to put up with it.

    It’s not up to you to change the abuser (you cannot do so anyhow), though goodness knows most preachers will try to convince you that you can change your abuser by submitting more, praying about it, being really, really nice to him, etc.

    It’s up to the abuser to change himself, which he has to want to do himself. (That may involve him doing things such as getting into competent (probably secular) therapy or programs specifically to treat abusive husbands.) I would NOT rely on church counseling, biblical counseling, pastoral counseling, etc, for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  106. New Lydia,

    If you get the chance, I’d also encourage you to read Why Does He Do That? By Lundy Bancroft.

    Right now you need as much support and strength as possible. Taking some time to study what your gut feeling is telling you could make the difference later in keeping you strong later when your friends don’t understand the reality that you live with everyday.

    The other books suggested by everyone are also really good too. But I’d suggest starting with Bancrofts book.

    Like

  107. what if I record what he is saying to me on my phone? will that hold up in an elder discussion? I’m terrified of going through what original poster went through. I am able to record him on my phone and get some doozies that they can’t deny. Or am I just fooling myself? honestly, I have no self esteem left to really deal with all of this.

    Like

  108. Other Lydia, stand back and think clearly. Have a plan. Contact Julie Anne by mail; she’ll guide you in the do’s and dont’s. No one is going to hurt you; they don’t dare.
    Always a good idea to let the cellphone roll while the action is on, but have a plan, okay? Get witnesses, etc. My advice? Speak to Julie Anne; she is a fantastic generous helper and assistant…she WILL help you the right way.

    Have no fear, Other Lydia. Please don’t, okay? A brighter tomorrow is waiting. You are already very much loved here, can’t you tell? So, there, take comfort in that, and always take comfort in Jesus. Have peace, Other Lydia. 0)

    Liked by 1 person

  109. Other Lydia, es, I don’t like the idea of you meeting with the elders of BBC. They are not to be trusted. Please speak with Julie Anne. Please.

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  110. Daisy — our abusers sound so much the same. It’s taken a long time for me to verbalize it but my abusers have become deceitful ‘compulsive liars’ … one lie must be covered with another.
    I am saddened that so many professing Christians will not come to the aid of the victim and then wonder why we walk away from the assembly. I have never forfeited my devotion to Jesus Christ, however I am convicted to NOT give financially to the assembling together of those who profess to be Christians but their obedience to the ‘full counsel’ of God’s Word is negligent.

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  111. OtherLydia,

    The more evidence you have the better your chances are in a real court of law. However, you might want to ask an attorney if its legal to record someone in your state.

    Keep in mind that even if you had a recording of what’s happening and played it for the leadership—if this is John Piper’s church—what are the odds that they believe the teachings of Piper? Stuff like every woman has to submit to every man in every situation even down to the housewife having to focus on being submissive when giving directions to a complete stranger. That’s an impossible standard.

    If that’s what you’re facing right now—then we are all really worried for your emotional health. No matter how much evidence you have, it sounds like you’re in an environment that doesn’t want to hear your side of the story.

    If anyone doesn’t believe that Piper actually said stuff like that—here’s the actual quotes
    https://www.amazon.com/review/R2VX1SIIUS1IIM/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00265VGGO

    Like

  112. Avid Reader,

    I’ve just read your cool piece on Amazon. The pied piper is…I don’t know how to put it, honestly…well,..a few donuts short of a bakery, sandwiches short of a picnic, six beers short of a six-pack? The clock is not ticking in there, is it? It never did, mind you.

    And he has followers who worship him, and THAT is the scary part. It’s a nightmare. And he has like-minded amigos who have followers and worshipers. The nightmare is growing.

    Like

  113. Boston Lady.

    Watch Piper praying before his ‘sermon’.

    Piety central.

    Then compare it to Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:5.

    The ultimate Matthew 23 profile.

    Like

  114. Salty,

    You are an inspiration today. Thank you (on latest Phillips’ post too).

    “Piety central.”

    Priceless.

    Come, Lord Jesus.

    Soon.

    Please.

    Like

  115. Thanks I sent an email to the site owner. I am scared and frustrated that life can be so hard. I have 3 kids and being a single mom scares me a lot because my family lives far away. I won’t approach the elders but I hope that Jason Meyer is better with this stuff than Piper.

    Like

  116. New Lydia,
    Let JA guide you further. I pray you ladies well! (I am not comfortable in my mind with this Meyer guy, cut from same cloth, sad but true).
    Anyway, God be with you both! (and with your kids; remember; Jesus is with you).

    Like

  117. “what if I record what he is saying to me on my phone? will that hold up in an elder discussion? I’m terrified of going through what original poster went through. I am able to record him on my phone and get some doozies that they can’t deny. Or am I just fooling myself? honestly, I have no self esteem left to really deal with all of this.”

    Ask yourself why it is so important to you they believe you? To what end?

    Do you really think they have the power and Authority to change your husband? They will most likely chide you for covertly recording your husband. How can you be trusted if you would do that, they will probably ask. This is how they think. They might even come off as fake sympathetic. That is how you get sucked into their discipline. They “care” about your marriage.

    Remember, the goal is saving the marriage. Not you.

    You have to take into consideration that doing this could actually make your day to day life worse. Now he knows you recorded him. So do the authoritarian elders.. It will just make him more vigilant to abuse.

    Save it for a judge and if he is threateningly abusive in front of the kids, call CPS.

    This stuff is hard to wrap your head around. Patriarchy talks a good game about protecting women but it is all talk. They view you as lesser, easily decieved and rebellious if you cause trouble. You are characterized before you even begin. You have not seen it in action. They are not who you think they are.

    You need a well thought out exit plan. Many here know what that is.

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  118. Lydia,
    Indeed many know the exit plan, Lydia; sadly, there is no winning with this cult, is there? Well, not immediately…
    “They are not who you think they are.” There it is: the key to the whole thing.

    Like

  119. Lydia00,

    Really great points. The only thing I could add for OtherLydia is another word of caution. It sounds like you’re in the type of environment that sees women as children and doesn’t understand your ability as an adult to make the changes you feel are necessary for the safety of you and your children. Chances are even if you could walk on water they’d still find something to criticize. But the good news is that you don’t need their permission or approval to follow your own conscience.

    Like

  120. The ‘other Lydia’…

    You do not need to say anything at all to ‘the elders’ nor to a man who like the title of ‘pastor’.

    You answer to the Lord.

    You have my full blessing as a self titled servant of Christ to get the hell out of that dung pile wrongly calling itself the Church and find a safe place for your sweet kids.

    Don’t answer anyone’s questions.

    It will not profit you a thing.

    No one will hear you. They will just wait to load you with bible verses to guilt you into conforming with their religion.

    Trust God.

    You don’t need to stay with an abuser.

    I grew up in an abusive house. It damaged me in many ways but I’m still standing because Christ is stronger.

    You will be OK.

    Lean on Jesus.

    If you need to move to be close to family… do whatever it takes to get away from the danger.

    Like

  121. I am wondering what exactly Jesus/God is supposed to DO. It seems to me that people would be of greater service to Lydia at this point. I am hoping that JA can offer some tangible suggestions as to real HELP for Lydia. All the best to you, Lydia,and I think you will find that you’ve got reserves of strength that you can rely on – and real people in your life – to help you out of the toxic situation you have found yourself in. Hard work and helping hands can achieve much.

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  122. Carmen,

    Yes, real help from people is needed, that’s why we’re all here.

    You’re lucky to not have been raised in an oppressive religious environment. Please understand that the necessary steps for women to break free from these groups may seem strange to people who were raised in healthy environments but are still very important stepping stones to freedom for those who were raised in damaging environments.

    One of the first steps in breaking free from an oppressive religious environment is untangling ones self from years of being taught to follow the leader. For us who still want to believe in God, the easiest way to do this is recognizing that they can trust God without having to trust people. That they can hear God directly without assistance from any human mediator. That’s the really important point Salty was making because one of the deepest fears we’ve all had (we meaning people of faith) is that disobeying the group leader is the same as disobeying God.

    For those of us who still believe in God, we have learned to see the difference between the God that loved us enough to sacrifice for us and a religious leader that demands we do all the sacrificing for him, opening our eyes involves realizing that we can let go of this group without letting go of God.

    Please respect the fact that many of us want the comfort of knowing that the atonement of Christ covers our sins so we don’t have worry about being good enough to get into heaven. Yes, we respect your belief that heaven doesn’t exist but for us it’s a comfort knowing that all the good we’ve done in this life that was ignored or forgotten will be rewarded in the next life and all the really evil people who got away with hurting others in this life will face justice in the next.

    So what does God do?

    That gut feeling that warns us of danger and points us in the right direction to find help, we believe is God speaking to us.

    Liked by 1 person

  123. “I am wondering what exactly Jesus/God is supposed to DO. It seems to me that people would be of greater service to Lydia at this point. I am hoping that JA can offer some tangible suggestions as to real HELP for Lydia. All the best to you, Lydia,and I think you will find that you’ve got reserves of strength that you can rely on – and real people in your life – to help you out of the toxic situation you have found yourself in. Hard work and helping hands can achieve much.”

    I actually agree with you. That is how it is supposed to work. Even for Christians. This idea that God forcibly changes people because they prayed for them more is hurting so many. The person has to want to change.

    And tangible help comes from other people. All kinds of people.

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  124. Very sensible, Lydia. Good for you! My wish is that you’ve got many good and helpful people in your life. You sound to me like a wonderful person whose pragmatism will help you help YOU. Concentrating on THIS life and discarding the notion that you are somehow unworthy and sinful is a healthy start. We make mistakes – it’s the human condition; it’s how we learn. Onwards and upwards! 🙂

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  125. Carmen,

    I know someone who has donated thousands & thousands of dollars quietly behind the scenes here on this blog and others. He doesn’t blow any trumpets about his giving, that is one way, of many ways, that Christians are being the body of Christ, being his hands and feet to the hurting. Lots of things go on behind the scenes that people are not aware of, my hope is that some will offer tangible help to the other Lydia. I know you don’t believe in God and I have no problem with that, IMO HE/SHE believes in you. When I was in one of the darkest nights of the soul & I reached out to others for prayer, I was comforted by the Holy Spirits presence, not every time, because I was in this very scary, anxious, depressed place for years. There are no words to describe it when you are in agony & people pray for you & a pin prick of light gets into your soul. So, I encourage people to continue to pray for the other Lydia and remember God works through his children. Christ has no body except for ours, we, those of us who believe, listen to His voice & care for the poor, needy, widow & victims of all kinds.

    Liked by 2 people

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  128. Carmen.

    I love you.

    Jesus told us to give in secret and not toot our own horns for man’s praise.

    I like His advice.

    Far better to get his praise at a later time.

    He loves you Carmen. 😚😚😚😚

    Like

  129. Natalie,

    My heart goes out to you and your children. I am so sorry that you have been subjected to such spiritual tyranny. Jesus would never do that. Others have given you excellent advice about how to withdraw your church membership in writing. Please do it, if you haven’t already done so.

    Don’t give up on the institution of the Church, though. If you want an evangelical denomination, try the Evangelical Covenant Church. Their local governing body, a church council can (and usually does) include women. About 15% of their ministers are women.

    If you want a Biblibically-based liturgical church, try the Anglican Church of North America. Their local governing bodies, vestries, also almost always include women, too. This denomination has a diocese-by-diocese option about women’s ordination. I think the diocese that includes Minnesota allows for female deacons, but not priests.

    I’ll be praying for you. Your courage is an example for many women in situations like yours.

    Your sister in Christ,

    Sue

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