BREAKING: Leaders at Doug Wilson’s Christ Church Put Woman in Abusive Marriage Under Church Discipline

Mike Lawyer, Counseling, Abuse in Marriage, Abuse of Authority

I have been in contact with a woman named Gen, who has agreed to let me post this letter she received from Mike Lawyer, “on behalf of Christ Church Session.” Christ Church is Doug Wilson’s church in Moscow, Idaho. If you would like to learn more about Doug Wilson and his extra-biblical and spiritually abusive ways, see his name in “Categories” in the side bar.

Gen told me she was in an abusive marriage. She was not physically abused, but was emotionally, verbally, spiritually, and financially abused. She and her husband sought counseling, and were in counseling both together and separately.

Gen also told me that she didn’t respond appropriately to the abuse – that she reacted by yelling and crying. I don’t think that’s an inappropriate response to abuse, do you? That seems very normal. I’m not sure where she learned that she was responsible for her response, but that concerns me because it takes the focus off the perpetrator and places it on the survivor – as if they are both equal sinners.

This following letter was sent to Gen on January 18, 2018. Mike Lawyer has decided he knows her spiritual condition and has determined that she is not living up to being a proper wife, etc. Because of her “unwillingness” to deal with her sins, she is being put in church discipline.

It’s important to understand that Doug Wilson believes that husbands are the heads of the home. He believes in Patriarchy. If husbands are the priests of the home, who do you think they would believe first, the husband or the wife?

MikeLawyer

photo from Facebook

 

According to Mr. Lawyer’s Facebook page, he works at Christ Church as well as Center for Biblical Counseling (aka Nouthetic counseling). He is also an instructor at New Saint Andrews school in Moscow. Basically, his life seems to be very connected with Christ Church and Doug Wilson.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is an image of the letter Gen received:

mikelawyer3

Gen sent me this note via Facebook Messenger:

mikelawyer4

Screenshot of note sent to me on FB messenger.

Text reads:

Initially, this letter was shared without consent from a secret Facebook group with out permission. This was not a local group. I’ve since given permission , selectively, to be shared while protecting my identity. Here are some important clarifications: I love my husband and he is not violent. I am safe as are my children. I want to seek outside counseling to work on marital issues.

I appreciate the concern from the Christ Church community, but I revoked my membership in October.

I do not have an attorney. I do not have a go fund me account. I do not have a Twitter account. I am not in control of what is shared or said on the internet.

I do feel this is an over reach of the church but I’m thankful for the time I’ve spent there and hope to keep friendships despite differences.

This is a breaking story and we will add more details when they become available.


***New update January 26, 2018:  XianJaneway left a comment about church membership in the comments below. Here is the part of the comment that I want to address:

XianJaneway said: I spoke w/ a former Christ Church member who said that ONLY a man can revoke the membership, not the woman. It’s highly unlikely that Gen wrote this note. 😦 I’m really worried about her.

Today, I asked Gen specifically about Xian Janeway’s comment. This was her response:

They denied it [revoking her membership]. They didn’t say because I’m a woman. They said I’m a doubting Christian.

So, I asked Gen specifically if she believes in the essential doctrines of the Christian faith (Jesus paid for our sins by dying on the cross, He rose again, etc.).  This was her response:

Yes, I do believe that.

She did admit the following:

I am questioning the interpretations, theology, ideologies, and applications of my faith, in my life.

Ok, that is not the same as doubting your faith or rejecting the essentials of the Christian faith. That is simply asking questions about secondary doctrinal issues. And in light of the fact that Gen has been at Christ Church which has Patriarchal teachings, and who knows what else, doesn’t it seem normal that she would be questioning these issues?

Yet in the letter, Mike Lawyer claims she has “denied the biblical Christ.” That is a LIE. This is inappropriate. And it is spiritual abuse. I am disgusted by the way they have treated Gen.

Gen, stay strong. We believe you. We support you!

Gen also wanted me to relay that she works full-time and has 5 children in the home, including one high-functioning child with autism.

~ja

219 comments on “BREAKING: Leaders at Doug Wilson’s Christ Church Put Woman in Abusive Marriage Under Church Discipline

  1. Not sure what “denying the Biblical Christ” means, but it seems that alone could warrant discipline without having to list the others.

    In fact, it seems pretty much straining the gnat to say, “yeah, you don’t believe in Jesus anymore, but LOOK HERE how dare you treat your husband this way?”

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  2. Seriously, though, I know about something similar. The husband was addicted to porn. The wife asked for a divorce. The church decided to counsel them because (of course) the marriage was salvageable. They said that porn wasn’t Biblical grounds for divorce.

    Long story short, the husband “cooperated” with the church because the church became the arms and legs of his emotional abuse. As long as the husband could keep up the act “since then he has made significant changes in every area of family life” the wife was emotionally and spiritually abused by the church who wanted to see her change in a commensurate way.

    Now, the punchline. She left the church and got a divorce. As soon as the church lost its ability to compound the abuse, the husband dropped the act. He stopped following their laundry list of requirements, stopped counseling and stopped attending. He ended up being excommunicated.

    So, while I truly hope that the husband has changed from his patterns of abuse, my gut-level reaction to this is that he is keeping up appearances, because the cost of looking the part is greatly outweighed by the benefit of being the “good guy” as far as the church is concerned.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Every time I hear or see the would submission I have a strong desire to cut myself.

    The three groups of people that love this word: dog trainers, men who own little girl sex slaves chained up in bondage, and conservative Christian men.

    Doug Wilson reminds me so much of my father and the loser unattentive child raping vomit that sexually abused me as a young child. He has all their same loser, insecure, needy, sexually sadistic, extream misogynistic fetishes. It is obvious slavery and rape turns the creep on.

    These kinds of men are terrified a woman or girl is going to tell them no and leave them. They can obviously see they are the kind of men women and girls would want to tell no and leave. If you can not tell someone (((NO))) and leave them you are a trapped slave. My mother and I were my scum bag father’s trapped slaves. He had the odious selfish male mentality that is in this misogynistic letter.

    The only way these Ariel Castro centric men can have females in their lives is if they have this; you cant leave me, you have to stay and kiss my selfish infantile bottom mentality. That is why they are drawn to these loser man cults.

    This woman should give this letter to Raw Story.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, Lea. It reminds me of my cult church experience. We left on our own accord and then a few weeks later he told us we were excommunicated and were shunned. Say WHAT??

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  5. Wait, she is refusing to meet with them, and they have determined her sins already (like having her children in daycare and not doing the majority of the housework)?! I’m pretty sure that there isn’t any proof text for that one, and I don’t see how that contributes to a toxic home. On top of the her revocation of membership 3 months ago!

    I’m glad she wants outside counseling; I hope that will be with someone who is a licensed mental health professional.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “This is not a threat, but it is a warning.”

    Funny how these spiritually abusive men always say things like that. It’s basically saying, “Unless you comply with our demands and submit to our authority, you are in danger – because God is on our side.” (@#%&*)

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  7. Dear Gen, I am so sorry for what has happened to you. Our daughter was also excommunicated from her church because of leaving an abusive marriage. The accusations against her sound very similar to the accusations they are making against you. Her church friends were told to “shun” her and the pain of that went very deep. She and her children moved in with us and later she got a divorce. So I understand what you are going through and will pray for you.

    Please be assured that Jesus will never reject you. In fact, in John 9 the Pharisees practiced “church discipline” on the man who had been healed of his blindness by Jesus. Their “law” had been broken and their “church member” had disobeyed them and so they felt justified in throwing him out (9:34). However, when Jesus heard about this injustice he reached out to the man in love (9:35). Yes, the man was thrown out of the “church”… but Jesus wasn’t there anyway… he was outside the “church” and he received this man with arms of love!

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  8. “We are really concerned for your eternal state.”
    But, she’s not welcome at the Table of the Lord. (Does this mean communion only?)
    Because they’re really concerned.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, Kathi, because they have deemed her unworthy to partake. Because they know her heart. And of course they have been in the house while all of this has taken place and can judge objectively (minus the fact that husband is head of home and they would defer to him first).

    My sarcasm voice was on in case you couldn’t tell.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh, I can tell when your sarcasm voice is on! 🙂

    I was curious about the statement that she is suspended from the Table of the Lord. If this refers to not being able to take communion, can she still attend the church? Or, does that mean she’s fully out the door?

    I also love how they accuse her of refusing to meet with them. I’m sure that’s what they’re most upset about than anything else. She refused to allow them to tell her what to do.

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  11. Kathi, I feel like I’ve seen several of these ‘we are super concerned that you aren’t doing exactly what the men folk tell you to’ letters. I think there is a template. I don’t think they realize how crazy it sounds outside of their patriarchal nonsense believing bubble.

    And of course they have been in the house while all of this has taken place and can judge objectively

    JA, I got into an argument somewhere that a woman in a relationship is obviously in the best position to judge whether her husband is repentant, changed, abusive, etc. they got really angry at me because apparently that’s crazy talk – obviously some church dudes who think woman are all emotional liars who should sit down and shut up are the best judges of character in these situations. Sigh.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I also love how they accuse her of refusing to meet with them

    Good for her. That’s smart.

    I am learning from reading these stories that an endless series of meetings is a delaying/abusive tactic in a lot of churches. Best bet is to skip it and tell em to pound sand.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m not sure of the specifics. I’ll see if I can find out.

    It must drive them crazy that a woman has independent thought and can make decisions on her own without her church leaders.

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  14. I spent a few years trying to engage with Pastor Wilson, to little or no avail. I rather like the man and I think it’s quite possible he just has some major blind spots when it comes to emotional abuse. I know about all the controversy, his history, but I genuinely wanted to have a discussion and to offer him some awareness of abuse issues, some skills that could help prevent future suffering in his church. Alas, he seems to believe he already knows everything, is not willing to discuss anything, and has now blocked me.

    As to Mr. Lawyer, and his CBC, I flat out threw up and cried half the night after reading his blog and thinking about an abuse victim having to turn to him for help. Or any woman, really. That is just the most horrific thing I’ve seen in a long time.

    As to the anonymous Gen, God bless her in seeking outside counseling, for finding a
    new church, and for hanging in there with a desire to try to make her marriage work.

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  15. As an agnostic or atheist (I have not decided which), I am the last person who is going to defend church elders or abuse of congregants. In this case, however, I think we need to be fair. The letter said that the individuals spent hundreds of hours with her and they acknowledged that the husband was acting inappropriate. Hundreds of hours is a whole lot and I doubt they charged her for any of it. Imagine what that would cost in terms of secular marriage counseling. They blamed him, as well, and they said he has reformed his behavior. She apparently has not and she is refusing to cook, clean and take care of the children. This is not exactly good behavior on her part, even if we take the religious elements out of it. She is not carrying her end of the marriage or the child rearing. What are they suppose to do?

    She is a member of an organization and she is not following the rules. If she works full time, that is one thing. If she is a stay at home wife and she is not cooking, cleaning or taking care of the children and he has to do it all ….and go to work, that is quite another matter. They are basically telling her to shape up or ship out. Why is that so wrong? She is a member of a religious organization and she is not following their rules. I don’t think she is happy in the marriage and it sounds like she is not happy in this church. Perhaps she is depressed and would benefit from medical treatment for this problem. She might also see a physician about whether she is depressed.

    My take on it is that the couple should try secular marriage counseling and she should take a break from this church for a while. I hope the couple can work it out. I do believe that when you don’t want to follow the rules of an organization in which you are a member, any organization, not just a church, you need to leave. You can’t stay in a particular church and then violate everything they believe in. Are we really being fair to the church administration in this case? Some of this responsibility falls on her. I got the impression that he is trying and made some changes.

    Getting out of that environment is probably the best thing for her. She does not want them and it sounds like they don’t want her, either. If I were advising this woman, I would suggest that she and her husband try separate churches or a while and that she select a non-evangelical church. Fundamentalism may not be well suited for her. Perhaps rules of a different church will be more to her liking and she can better conform to the expectations of church membership in a less extreme type of church.

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  16. The letter accuses her of not being a ‘good housewife’. That is, she isn’t keeping a clean house and cooking meals for her family.

    So I’m wondering if this is true?

    If it is true and she is essentially being lazy at home and not contributing to work around the house, I’m wondering if it’s such a wrong thing to have this addressed by the person selected to counsel the couple?

    If I decided to stop cleaning, cooking and looking after my kids then I can’t imagine my husband would be pleased with this as he works FT and I’m at home all day.

    If my husband raises this issue with me and I respond by ‘yelling and crying’ (as Gen admitted to doing) then is it possible that Gen actually does have some issues she needs to deal with?

    Women and wives are not without sin.

    I struggle daily with house works and cooking. Luckily I have a patient and helpful husband. Perhaps Gen’s husband is stressed from coming home from work and being left to do chores and tasks that would typically be taken care of by a SAHM?

    The letter leaves a few questions unanswered.

    Gen says her husband isn’t violent and she and her kids are safe so what’s the problem?

    Her husband helps her with food prep and cleaning and she’s yelling and crying about what exactly?

    Seems to me Gen might have some issues she needs to deal with here.

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  17. Salty, we are missing a lot of context here but two things we know, gen says she is in an abusive marriage, not physical but in all other ways. Two we know this is doug Wilsons church and I don’t trust their opinion as far as I could throw it.

    Also the letter says the kids are in day care so I doubt she is a stay at home mom. So both adults in the house should be doing housework.

    Now in a real non crec situation, if someone who had previously been very industrious suddenly stopped my question would be what’s wrong? Depression?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I have women in my family who go to school, work, take care of the kids, take care of the house, and take care of the yard without any help. I also have male cousins who work, cook, clean, take care of the kids, and take care of the yard without any help. It can be done. Of course, none of the women and men doing all of this are conservative Christian men. Conservative Christian men need the ego boost of having a trapped, subhuman, second-class, female slave at home taking care of all their selfishness.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Salty,

    She’s never going to be able to do enough housework to keep them happy when this is the pastor Doug Wilson who recommends church discipline if the wife doesn’t do the dishes fast enough.

    Plus Doug teaches that “every wedding is a coronation.” That husbands have a right to be king. Notice how upset they are at her for not accepting that role. If you ever have time to read Doug’s awful books—it’s pure Divine Right of Kings philosophy. Same line of reasoning that cost King Charles I his throne.

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  20. “The letter accuses her of not being a ‘good housewife’. That is, she isn’t keeping a clean house and cooking meals for her family.”

    What is so wrong about this letter is that so SELDOM are grown women like errant kids willfully refusing to do their chores. More often what you have is a hyper critical, emotionally abusive spouse who does not value anything she does. No amount of childcare and housekeeping will ever be good enough.

    Or, you have a wounded woman, depressed, resentful, overwhelmed, who is struggling to care for herself, let alone anyone else. Discipline is the worst solution for both of these issues.That is just like piling on the abuse, beating up on a woman who is already down.

    Ideally, in a healthy church situation, a lot of sisters would step forward to help her with childcare, have a cleaning party, bake her some casseroles for the freezer, invite her to a bible study, show her that love and nurturing that she is not getting at home.

    In a perfect situation, wifedom and mothering is emotionally draining, it depletes us, and women cannot give from an empty cup. Add in emotional abuse and you have a woman who is being drained of her ability to give to herself and others.

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  21. Salty, this blog is for survivors to get support. It’s not for you to be the judge or wonder if someone is really a survivor. Your response is what helps keep survivor’s trapped. Reg is reading this. Do you think your comment is helpful to her? It’s not. Please stop.

    You are also forgetting something very important. When someone is in an abusive marriage, they are likely depressed, have anxiety, are trying to survive and just waiting in anticipation for the next abusive event. If you don’t think this is going to have an effect on how they function in their daily lives, you need to think again. When I read that the husband was doing housework, immediately in my mind, I said, “good!” She needs a reprieve from emotional torment. I didn’t pity him whatsoever. Besides, if he has so much energy to be an emotional bully to her, he might as well put that energy to use doing something positive for the family.

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  22. Ideally, in a healthy church situation, a lot of sisters would step forward to help her with childcare, have a cleaning party, bake her some casseroles for the freezer, invite her to a bible study, show her that love and nurturing that she is not getting at home.

    This is a wonderful point.

    Of course the husband is doing cooking and cleaning and there is literally nothing wrong with that. Single people work full time and do all their own cooking and cleaning, unless they hire some of it out. I have little sympathy.

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  23. This reminds me of Marie from a little over a year ago and Karen Hinkley. Many preachers get p*ssed when men don’t get their bottoms thoroughly kissed. They even think pedophiles deserve to have a trapped bottom kissing female at home. Yes, Doug Wilson arranged for a young woman to marry a pedophile; the pedophile then proceeded to be attracted to his newborn baby son. That is more traumatizing than a man having to take care of his self.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2016/12/21/why-wont-heritage-bible-chapel-let-marie-go-peaceably/

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/05/26/part-2-the-village-church-doesnt-discipline-the-internet-child-sex-abuser-but-disciplines-his-wife/

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  24. I am so confused! And all of these real-life situations — like the homeschooled kids being abused and this wife thrown out of the church — add to my confusion!

    This stuff doesn’t seem to match up with the Bible. The Bible says God cares about the abused, the oppressed. It teaches that he will rescue them. But when does that happen? I don’t see cases of God directly intervening or the church loving and helping these people. Is it left unanswered when and where this will happen (it can’t be in heaven because we will all get the reward). Not seeing the oppressed helped begs the question of when those who disobey parents die young ( i can’t find any studies that confirm it) or whether it is true that you reap what you sow (even if this is only financial it may or may not apply). The family with mistreated kids had to rescue themselves! That brings me to the next problem.
    The interpretation in the church that suffering is from God and also that in self-denial we are not to seek our own happiness as a priority (this is what nonbelievers do). So the kids should have stayed in the home that they were born into? Of course not. So we can rescue ourselves when we are unhappy? Of course not. When do we rescue ourselves and give God the credit for it— while others in the church shun us for not being longsuffering and obedient enough (from their outside perspective)?

    Please un-confuse me! I do believe God is a loving God and cares about us. I am also in an unhappy marriage(?) and have a daughter who follows Doug Wilson and shuns me!

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  25. Doug Wilson preaches a different god. If Jesus were here, he would be overturning the tables in many of the fundagelical churches for the very reasons he proclaims against the Pharisees.

    The church has, by and large, returned to Pharisaism, by wrapping in in the ‘servant leadership’ lingo. That is, they aren’t legalists who are placing burdens on the saints. Instead, they are servant leaders assisting us in our sanctification process by giving us helpful reminders.

    The god they preach is not a loving god, but a god primarily of judgment and condemnation who continually frowns on us.

    I know this because I grew up in a denomination steeped in this error.

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  26. Irene, my understanding on this is that there is no sickness in Heaven, no oppression, no sadness. God is bringing about a process by which his will is brought to earth (thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven), but there are still demonic forces and evil people and a broken natural order.

    I believe God does use those who are willing to be used towards that purpose, but scripture says that it is the narrow path. For example, I believe God worked amazing things through Rachael Denhollander, but there was on Rachael and a whole lot more people who were behind Nasser allowing him to do his evil.

    In Jesus’ time, the religious system wasn’t about bringing glory to God and transforming Israel into a just, fair and gracious society. Instead it became about bringing glory to the religious leadership and allowing them and their rich peers to oppress and treat people unjustly, all while grooming society into seeing them as holy men.

    Jesus not only brought true justice and grace to the oppressed – the sinners and the outcasts, but he called out the “holy” people for their sinful hypocrisy, hatred and misrepresentation of God. For that, they brought up false charges against him and murdered him. As Jesus said, if they hate the master, they will hate the servants, so we should expect to be on the wrong side on the formal religious system when we follow in Jesus’s footprints, and ironically, it seems that the greatest opposition comes from those who claim to follow him, too!

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  27. Gen, I am so sorry for what you are going through.(((hugs))) I grew up in a church like this, where even physically abused wives who left, were put under church discipline and not allowed to have communion, anointing, etc. I was never one who cared for or liked going to church, and now pretty much refuse to go. I cannot tell you how freeing it feels to not worry about pleasing some other person’s “rules.” My heart hurts for those women, like you, who are treated so poorly in the name of Jesus.

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  28. Julie Anne,
    1) She sent me AND Dee the same note, word-for-word. I have to wonder if her husband or someone else got ahold of her email. 😦
    2) I spoke w/ a former Christ Church member who said that ONLY a man can revoke the membership, not the woman. It’s highly unlikely that Gen wrote this note. 😦 I’m really worried about her.

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  29. “Please un-confuse me! I do believe God is a loving God and cares about us. I am also in an unhappy marriage(?) and have a daughter who follows Doug Wilson and shuns me!”

    Irene, my heart goes out to you. I don’t believe you are as confused as you feel. I think you got it right. Indeed, God loves us dearly and actually wants us to find contentment, peace, love, joy, happiness even. These are fruits of the spirit!

    A great deal of our own suffering is actually self inflicted or inflicted by those who have lead us astray. God does not make bad things happen to us just so we can suffer. Sometimes there are some real treasures to be found in our trials, sometimes they are like training us, making us stronger, wiser, more compassionate, but God does not dish out suffering like many of the people who surround Pastor Wilson seem to enjoy doing. That is flat out spiritual abuse, emotional sadism really, being falsely promoted as the gospel.

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  30. My first impression is that this could be proxy abuse (husband engaging others who willingly enforce his “cause”). I wonder if her husband agrees with this letter, or if he is standing up and loudly protesting against the church session for doing this to her. Sounds like the husband is doing image-management with the church leaders, and blaming the wife for not cooperating sufficiently.

    Gen has been “emotionally, verbally, spiritually, and financially” abused by her husband. Now she is getting spiritually abused. A delusional, drunk-on-authority, all-male elder board sends a full page, single spaced declaration condemning a woman for the shockingly depraved sins of… dusty furniture and daycare….

    These guys would be laughable if the harm they did wasn’t so serious.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. XianJaneway, I have been in touch with her directly throughout the day yesterday. This was written by Gen. I knew she had been sending out the note and wanted to be sure that people included it with the letter.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. 2) I spoke w/ a former Christ Church member who said that ONLY a man can revoke the membership, not the woman.

    What? Good luck enforcing that in court.

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  33. “These guys would be laughable if the harm they did wasn’t so serious.”

    I have male cousins who actually do hard outdoor work and they would tell these men to grow the f*ck up! These men look like such babies and very Islamic to the real world.

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  34. Sounds like the husband is doing image-management with the church leaders, and blaming the wife for not cooperating sufficiently.

    That was my impression as well.

    These guys are all about men leading, providing, protecting, being strong. But in reality, for some, it’s just words to cover their weaknesses.

    Their are SO many contradictions in patriarchal Christianity it’s hard to wrap your mind around it.

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  35. Why can’t a woman revoke the membership?

    This group of sexually sadistic men is scared women are going to wash their hands of them, and tell them what my mother should have told my father. You are simply not worth it, get lost and don’t find your way back.

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  36. BREAKING: Leaders at Doug Wilson’s Christ Church Put Woman in Abusive Marriage Under Church Discipline

    SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW WITH GAWD’S ANOINTED JERK WITH HIS KIRK IN MOSCOW, IDAHO (Soon to be “DougWilsonRajneeshpuram”)?

    Remember “The Man PENETRATES, COLONIZES, CONQUERS, PLANTS! The Woman lies back and Accepts!”?
    Remember “Southern Slavery As It Was”?
    Remember marrying off his Pet Pedo?

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  37. @JulieAnne:

    It’s kind of funny. These guys are all about men leading, providing, protecting, being strong. But in reality, for some, it’s just words to cover their weaknesses.

    Posers.
    Legends in their own minds, laughingstocks to everyone else.

    Like Trids in my D&D days — whiny little wet noodles bragging to all around that they were Really Ninjas and Could Kill You All with their Little Finger.

    Or the 400+lb (none of it msucle) Survivalists with a couple Goering’s worth of stolen valor pinned to the chest of their cammies bragging about how they’re Tough Enough to survive Nuclear War, and how “after push comes to shove” Human Flesh will be the most plentiful food source.

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  38. @SongOfJoy:

    These guys would be laughable if the harm they did wasn’t so serious.

    Like that Austrian guy 70-80 years ago with the funny little mustache…

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  39. @AvidReader:

    If you ever have time to read Doug’s awful books—it’s pure Divine Right of Kings philosophy. Same line of reasoning that cost King Charles I his throne.

    His throne and his head.
    (And the reputation of being the second-worst King in England’s history, second only to King John.)

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  40. I was talking with my former pastor once, and he was describing how his view of church polity was superior to that of another local pastor. Former pastor thought of himself as a despot. Of course, he doesn’t tell his board this bit of insight – he just doesn’t think he answers to the board which is not happy with the pastor, and they’re losing membership.

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  41. Doug Wilson and his disciples want all the rights of kings with none of the responsibilities! No matter how awful the “king” behaves he is never held responsible. They really need to read the story of Rehoboam and a brief history of Europe and Asia. There’s a reason we opted out of an absolute monarchy in America.

    Doug Wilson’s assumptions that brutal husbands lording it over their wives and children are acting like Jesus Christ is blasphemous! And even the world sees how evil it is.

    Unlike many here I consider myself a fundamentalist Christian and attend church regularly. For the sake of the Church we must purge this blasphemy from our midst or Jesus Himself will put out our lamp in America.

    How dare men like Wilson tell men lording it over the “underlings” and beating women because they are the weaker vessels they’re doing what Jesus would do! I’m furious, not just for the sake of the women but for the sake of my LORD whom they are blaspheming! Since when do you break porcelain vases and shatter china plates just because they’re “weak vessels?” That weaker vessels argument just doesn’t cut it!

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  42. Irene,

    Sometimes there are really good reasons that people stayed in unhappy situations. This world is just a messed up place where even when we try to do everything right—people still choose to hurt us. Sometimes we really don’t have a lot of options for changing the situation.

    It’s really natural to wonder where God is in all of this. Even Jesus—while He was in the most important event of His life (dying for our sins) even Jesus wondered where God was in that situation.

    Don’t feel bad when you have those questions. It’s just part of living in the real world.

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  43. @ Rachel Nichols

    I grew up in an environment much like the one that turns Doug Wilson on. I don’t believe this group of men care if there is a God or not. Doug Wilson is polar opposite of the Jesus in the bible. He is the God of his own cult that caters to his misogynistic fetishes and insecurities.

    Doug Wilson reminds me so much of my father. I told my mother when I was sixteen I wish she had aborted me and she told me she wished her mother had aborted her too. We both wanted to be dead because of the demeaning lives we had to live to pleasure my father, and the consistent hate speech about the female race that we were born and raised in. My sister and I are both atheists now and my mother is happier when she is reading Buddhist books.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. So here is the part I don’t get. Granted it sounds like there is a whole lot of patriarchy and unfair practices in terms of impact on the woman. I agree. I can’t judge the husband, the pastor or the church elders because I have not heard their side of the story. Honestly, it sounds to me like the woman is not upholding her responsibilities but so be it. Perhaps there is more to this story than is meeting the eye. I am big on meeting one’s responsibilities. I’d have to know more about her circumstances i.e. whether or not she is a stay-at-home Mom or whether she works full time. Are the children in day care because she works full time or are they there because she is not taking care of them, nor the house? WHAT exactly is she doing in terms of her responsibilities in the marriage? We don’t know any of this.

    OK let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and say that the husband and the church are being abusive. Let’s say she is pulling her own weight and not slacking off. Everyone here seems to feel that is the case and what do I know. Then WHY do people stay in these abusive churches? I have yet to understand that. I am not a church goer and I am certainly not a Christian but there must be “nice” Christian churches out there. I personally have known some very nice ministers and I am sure they run their churches differently. If she is capable of holding a full time job outside the home, then she has to have enough smarts for self-determination. If she is not holding down a full-time job then she is SUPPOSE to cook, clean and take care of the children. That is her job. Help me understand WHY grown adults stay in these abusive church environments. If a person wants Christianity in their life and they also want church membership, why not join one of the many “nice” churches out there. At least one woman here has said how wonderful her church is. It sounded great to me based on her description.

    Here is a question I would pose to everyone and this is a serious question for folks to think about. To what degree are we truly “victims” and to what degree are we responsible for the choices we make and the situations in which we are embroiled? I have known too many people in my own life who complain, complain and complain YET they never take any action to change anything. Are we responsible to take action in our lives to improve it or is everything which happens to us someone else’s fault?

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  45. Are we responsible to take action in our lives to improve it or is everything which happens to us someone else’s fault?

    I could say a lot about the rest of your comment, but at the moment let me just address this because I feel you are being very harsh to the op, based solely on the letter written by a man who basically thinks of women as slaves. Which is probably not your best source.

    Actions the op has taken:
    Left abusive church
    Started counseling
    Realized counselors were ineffective and attempted to find better options.

    So she deserves none of this blame from you! She is actively seeking better options and not complaining. In fact, according to her, the letter was initially shared without permission. That doesn’t mean we can’t rip it to shreds.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. @AvidReader:

    Plus Doug teaches that “every wedding is a coronation.”

    Then Pastor Anglophile’s ripped off Byzantium.

    I understand that in Eastern-Rite Liturgical Churches (Orthodox & Eastern Catholic), both bride and groom wear special and elaborate “wedding crowns” as part of the wedding liturgy.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Lois, “Then WHY do people stay in these abusive churches? I have yet to understand that.”

    There is a good article referenced at A Cry For Justice that explains it. There is a process of grooming, which is still relatively poorly understood, but it leaves the abused somehow emotionally unable to escape.

    In the fundamentalist church, grooming happens like this:
    – Parents groom their children to be obedient (Dobson says “break their will”) by using violence and coercion.
    – The church reinforces the obedience message of the parents and adds that we are all “worthless” and worth of greater punishment for our sins then any human could dish out
    – The church adds on to that message that just like parents, we ought to obey church leaders
    – Just as parents raise children in fear of punishment, the church makes examples of people who strayed
    – Parents and Church are very skeptical of outside influences and encourage their member families to isolate themselves from outside influences
    – Parents and Church groom children/members to find their value in the opinion of people who matter (i.e. parents and church leaders)

    One great point the article makes is that the grooming and abuse process is poorly understood, because we have a “violence” model. That is, unless there is a violent incident, there is no abuse. So, for example, when I mention this or that abusive situation in my family or church, the response is typically that I’m overreacting or hypersensitive. Again, that reaction causes the abused to doubt him/herself and potentially return to an abusive situation.

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  48. I think in this situation, yes, it’s difficult for us to get the whole story, but when we look at patriarchal church patterns, we see common themes here.

    One that has been briefly discussed is depression, and I’ll add another: the discipline “checkbox”. Typically, when people seek outside help, it is not a “I could use a little help” situation, but more a “I’ve tried everything and this is my last hope.” This is especially true in the fundagelical church, because every marriage is expected to be amazing and satisfying, so there is a lot of browbeating that happens when a couple admits that their marriage is neither, and is, in fact nearly destroyed.

    So, the church, as it typically does, tries to resolve the situation. They identify the “sins” contributing to the marital issues and then pressure the parties to admit their faults and change. However, as often is the case, the church wants to pat itself on the back once justice is served, and in the case of marital issues, pressure like this rarely works. So, they “fixed” the husband and the marriage isn’t amazing and satisfying, so now they are going to turn on the wife.

    The wife may have the satisfaction of “justice”, but mere justice doesn’t fix everything (think of the girls molested by Nasser. Are they happy and whole now that Nasser is rotting in jail? NO! They still have to wake up every day with the emotional trauma of the whole experience) So, now the church has moved on to the next day’s news and this woman is still reeling from the emotional trauma. So, now the church is going to apply pressure on her to snap out of the emotional trauma. Now she is bitter and unforgiving, and is wallowing in self-pity because the church doesn’t know how to actually bring the healing that is needed.

    This situation happened, in this very church, with a sexual assault victim. The abuser got his wrist slapped, “repented” and moved on, and the church then washed its hands of the whole affair while the girl silently suffered without healing. (The man who “repented” went on to marry and abuse his wife, so we can probably gauge how rigorous the church discipline process was there for male abusers).

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  49. Re: leaving abusive churches

    People are told that the way of the abusive church is the “god sanctioned” way of Christianity. They should fear for their salvation if they leave – and these methods will cause them to live a ‘good’ life. Many of the same tactics used in dv are used in abusive church environments.

    Liked by 3 people

  50. Mark,
    But these are the “rules” of particular organizations – primarily Evangelical churches. You know that going into it. One knows that going into the deal. If you choose to become a member of such an organization, then you need to abide by the rules. It is not for the organization to change what they believe nor need the person stay in and whine about it. Now, to I believe this sort of belief-system is assinine and do I think the rules are absurd? Absolutely, I do BUT then I would not join or else remain in such an organization in event that I was born into it. I don’t believe it is appropriate to ever whine and complain about ones encounters with the people who belong to these churches or the church administration and then hold one’s self out as a victim. The pastor, the elders and the congregants have every right to believe as they do, however, dysfunctional you may feel they are. If you don’t like the rules, get out and and join a church where you DO like the rules. I grow tired of people ever claiming they are victims but never doing anything about it.

    Now, Mark, I know the story of your childhood and your father. I will hold that you WERE (as a child) the victim of what I consider to be a very evil man. You are a grown man now and you choose the church you wish and the people you want to associate with. I happens that you are not a complainer but rather an insightful man. If you were to be whining and complaining now, I would say “shut your mouth and get out of that organization – move on.” Does not the pastor, the elders and the congregants have the right to run their organization as they see fit? Are they the ones who need to change or is it the responsibility of the people who are unhappy in that environment to move on. How is what the pastor doing to this woman any different than the parent who stays “when you live under my roof, you follow my rules?” I have two relatives who never cleaned, never cooked and took very poor care of their children. One so much so that the state removed the children and put them up for adoption. These two relatives – both females – are the ones who do the most complaining and blaming of their circumstances on everyone else. I think it is ridiculous to hold membership in these organizations and then bitch about the rules.

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  51. “People are told that the way of the abusive church is the “god sanctioned” way of Christianity”

    Exactly. Look at the wording in that letter, “you have denied the biblical Christ.” And “we are concerned for your eternal state.” Ugly, ugly spiritual threats! Many victims tend to blame themselves, to falsely assume the problem must be them, and to fear losing their church family, their very salvation sometimes.

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  52. How is what the pastor doing to this woman any different than the parent who stays “when you live under my roof, you follow my rules?

    So so many ways Lois.

    Aside from the fact the he is not her father (!)

    She already left. Which you claim to respect although you’re talking in circles. None of his business at this point.

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  53. As someone who is also a former Christ Church member, I highly doubt the claim that only men can revoke membership. It sounds from the letter like they were aware of her desire to leave the congregation and were waiting to hear if she was going to transfer to a new church. It’s pretty common for churches to keep people “on the rolls” until they are settled somewhere new.

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  54. “The first time the dishes are not done, he must sit down with his wife immediately and gently remind her that this is something which has to be done. At no time may he lose his temper, badger her, call her names, etc. He must constantly remember and confess that she is not the problem, he is. By bringing this gently to her attention, he is not to be primarily pointing to her need to repent; rather, he is exhibiting the fruit of his repentance.

    He does this, without rancor and without an accusative spirit, until she complies or rebels. If she complies, he must move up one step, now requiring that another of her duties be done. If she continues to rebel after patient effort, he should at some point call the elders of the church and ask them for a pastoral visit. When the government of the home has failed to such an extent and a godly and consistent attempt by the husband to restore the situation has broken down, then the involvement of the elders is fully appropriate.” ~Douglas Wilson

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  55. We come to learn that Gen is a mother of 5 and works full time. OK that certainly gives her the right to have shortcomings in terms of cooking and cleaning. But here is the catch. Many members of this very forum state that they believe in the concept of being a “submitted wife.” OK fine but the scenario we are reading about is exactly what it means to be a submitted wife. It is absolutely ridiculous BUT folks say they believe in it and that is what they want. Well, this is what you get. You can’t say I want to be a submitted wife BUT only on my terms. I agree to do what Christ has “told” me to do but only under xyz conditions. That is called I want my cake and eat it to. I agree to the follow the rules but only to the extent that it suits me.

    You CAN pick and chose which religious doctrines you want to follow and which ones are so stupid that they are not even worth discussing i.e. the “submitted wife” concept but then you can’t also be a member of an evangelical church or at least you can’t be a member of this one. People want Christianity but then they want it on their own terms. I have rejected it altogether because it does not suit me. Still I adopt certain principles from Christianity because I believe they have much wisdom and make for a better individual and a better society.

    My point being when you sign onto something be it a church or a religion, you follow the rules or else you get out. Gen’s pastor has a right to lead his flock in the direction that he believes to be in their best interest. If Gen is not happy with that direction she needs to get out and find a leader or an organization who has a mindset more in line with her own. The bottom line point I am making is that you don’t stay in a situation and complain endless about it. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t demand that the organization change to suit you. One either shapes up or he ships out. Either way is fine with me but what I can’t abide – and what I see constantly around me including on this forum – is staying and then whining about it. Gen sounds like a great person to me. She needs to get rid of that church and find some competent secular marriage counseling. I hope she and her husband find a way to work it out. As much as possible couples should try to stay together and work it out. We have far too much divorce in our country because people want marriage BUT they want it only on THEIR terms – not going to happen.

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  56. Lois, you are victim blaming. That is not allowed here.

    I feel like she’s (or he’s) been here before.

    JulieAnne, five kids! That and the maddening thing about dishes from Doug put this letter into perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  57. Lois B, I sounds like you are not very informed on the dynamics of abuse and what abuse does to a person. I would like to suggest that you read the book “Why does he do that?” by Lundy Bancroft. It will give you a lot of insight into why an abused wife finds it hard to make decisions and why she doesn’t just “move on” easily.

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  58. Many members of this very forum state that they believe in the concept of being a “submitted wife.” OK fine but the scenario we are reading about is exactly what it means to be a submitted wife.”

    It is certainly not. I realize it is a complex issue, but there is a huge difference between submission and the kind of abuse and exploitation that is being enabled by many of these false teachings. I submit to the grace of the Lord. I submit to the grace of a husband, too. “Perfect love casts out fear.” If your submission is based on fear and control, then it is actually not love, it is abuse.

    There are actually many evangelicals and other Christians who have a beautiful understanding of marriage and do an amazing job of addressing abuse issues, submission, leadership, all in a biblical framework that truly honors women. Part of people’s negative response to Pastor Wilson, to Mike Lawyer, is that this is an aberration, this is not biblical, this is not the kind of behavior we would expect to see at all, not in those who honor Jesus Christ. I realize it is far too common, but it is still an aberration, meaning there is a standard this kind of behavior falls way short of.

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  59. Lois, “But these are the “rules” of particular organizations – primarily Evangelical churches. You know that going into it.”

    One of the facets of abusive relationships among adults tends to be deception. This sort of deceptive grooming is a mainstay in cultic organizations. My church, for example, has a Constitution. When someone is interested in joining the church, they are given a complimentary copy of the Constitution. It’s actually a pretty decent document in a lot of respects. The problem is that even with things written in black and white that the pastor, elders and deacons are sworn to uphold, there are glaring inconsistencies at every level, to the point that members really don’t know what they’re signing up for.

    Another hallmark of abusive churches is unwritten rules. So, a person may think they know what they’re getting into, and then slowly as they receive browbeating and scorn, they realize that there’s a completely new and separate set of rules. For example, I doubt there is any church document that says that children must sit quietly in church, but a person with ‘distracting’ children is going to get the evil eye, and probably thinly veiled negative comments.

    Liked by 3 people

  60. Gen,
    I’m so sorry for the way you have been mistreated by this church board… and despite what that horrible letter appears to suggest, I do not believe for one minute that you are not taking excellent and loving care of your family and home. Those guys are spiritually abusing you, and I hope their bullying doesn’t haunt you as you move forward with your life.

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  61. @Mari:

    People are told that the way of the abusive church is the “god sanctioned” way of Christianity.

    Which makes God a Cosmic Monster and Satan the greatest Hero of all time.

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  62. I am looking at these two back to back posts. Gen and Rachel. I googled Rachel’s husband , Jacob. He said.” It took one woman to grow up, go to law school. Pass the bar exam to do what one adult should have done years ago”. The humility of this man to live and support his wife is amazing , and his support is what has enabled her to be a super hero. Both are truly humble amazing people. Contrast that to Gens husband. Abusive, unsupportive. Grumbling about household chores. Which of these two marriages would anyone choose? Gen deserves to be loved and supported. 5 children are more than a full time job. Having a full time job and a whining husband to boot. An unsung heroine.

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  63. Why would anyone think that it’s okay for a pastor or church to have that much control over one’s home life? I understand that Gen and her husband may have sought out pastoral counseling for marital problems, but that does not give the pastor the right to criticize and say that she has “denied the Biblical Christ” because she doesn’t live up to the cleaning standard the church expects of her. Since when have household chores become a spiritual issue?

    This is spiritual abuse. The church has overstepped its boundaries by attempting to control people.

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  64. Lois: I am keeping 2 of your comments in moderation. This post is not about determining whether the husband is guilty or not, or whether Gen is telling the truth. The post is about how the leaders at Christ Church are treating Gen. You may not victim blame here.

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  65. “Gen’s pastor has a right to lead his flock in the direction that he believes to be in their best interest.”

    Doug Wilson arranged the marriage of a pedophile. The pedophile’s wife then had a baby and the pedophile was sexually aroused by the baby.

    Doug Wilson advocated for two child sexual abusers. Doug Wilson cares about the pedophiles and child sexual assaulters in his cult best interest, but not about the children trapped in his sicko cult. Look up the vile way he treated a sexually abused girl who went to his cult; Natalie Rose Greenfield.

    The two perverts Doug Wilson advocated for; Jamin Wight and Steven Sitler.
    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2015/10/01/doug-wilson-responds-to-rod-dreher-article-defends-perpetrator-shames-sex-abuse-survivor/

    Jesus Christ never told a woman to submit.

    Lois B, it sounds like you hate Gen. It also sounds like you have contempt for people who have been and are being spiritually abused.

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  66. Based on your unwillingness to deal with these sins, we are suspending you from the Table of the Lord until you realize that your choices have caused you to sin in these serious ways, and you confess your sin and repent. – Mike Lawyer

    Based on your unwillingness to deal with these sins, we are suspending you from the Table of the Lord because to partake with you we’d have to be reminded of our own unconfessed sins against you and of our own unworthiness to partake.

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  67. The humility of this man to live and support his wife is amazing , and his support is what has enabled her to be a super hero.

    I have long thought in all the talk of the proverbs 31 wife, we have missed that her husband is supportive and proud. He does not micromanage. He does not tear her down in front of others. Jacob appears to be such a husband.

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  68. Kathi, “Why would anyone think that it’s okay for a pastor or church to have that much control over one’s home life?”

    I can see this both ways. Presumably, she went to the church to deal with her abusive marriage, so she asked the church to be involved in resolving issues with the marriage. The leaders probably turned it into a “counseling” matter, at which point all the marital issues came out and now the leaders believe they need to resolve all the sin in the marriage.

    I struggle with the role of the church leaders, there seems to be a dual purpose of providing counsel, and providing judgment. However, it seems that churches are too quick to blur counsel and judgment, and this is just one example of how convoluted that becomes. In this case, if the church wanted to counsel, then they should have assigned one person to counsel them, and that person (presumably Mr. Lawyer) would then be barred from testifying or taking part in any judgment if there is a case arising from the matter. There might be no evidence to charge either party. I think “Biblical Counseling” arises from purposefully blurring these two roles, where the counselor gains trust, gets a person to expose their sins, and then, becomes the judge. No wonder it is so popular with pastors.

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  69. It’s really disturbing to see the victim blaming on this thread. Why are people jumping to conclusions so fast?

    Consider the line of reasoning:
    Because X says she can’t keep the house clean enough—therefore she’s not.

    Really? Says who? Why should we believe this guy when this whole group twists Scripture to set an impossible standard for women. Then they keep moving the goalpost forward. No matter how hard a woman tries, its NEVER going to be good enough for them.

    Maybe if I post some actual quotes from Doug Wilson, people have more sympathy for Gen and understand the tremendous opposition that she’s up against:

    Doug Wilson is LYING about the Bible when he teaches:

    “Our fond wish for a level playing field—this is a clear indication of envy…Once we make our peace with God-ordained inequities, we can begin to understand how we should proceed.” (Reforming Marriage p. 38)

    “A godly husband is a godly lord. A woman who understands this biblical truth and calls a certain man her husband is also calling him her lord. It is tragic that wholesale abdication on the part of modern men has made the idea of lordship in the home such a laughable thing.” (p. 80)

    “Feminist dogma, engineered by ungodly men, has managed to maneuver multitudes of women into the workforce outside the home.” (p. 31)

    “Women have been duped into working outside the home….” (p. 31)

    “Even though the workplace has far more women in it, the authority of men is still firmly intact.” (p. 31)

    “Because of how God made the world, men are always responsible for everything that happens in the feminine world…feminism is not the work of dissatisfied women; it is the work of ungodly men.” (p. 32)

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  70. Lois B is now in moderation. I have 3 more comments from her that won’t be posted which would have been devastating for Gen to read.

    She’s had trouble with this issue in the past, and people tried to carefully explain about abuse dynamics. Sadly, by her responses, it seems she doesn’t follow the ground rules I’ve set, and she doesn’t want to learn, based on her pattern of asking questions defending abusers.

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  71. Mark – I meant my question to focus more on home life issues such as child care, household chores, and food preparation (specifically mentioned in the letter). I understand a couple going for pastoral counseling regarding relationship issues. But for pastors or elders to state that someone is a lesser Christian because the house is not as clean as it should be goes way beyond counseling.

    If someone’s lack of caring for house and food was neglecting children or vulnerable adults, then a proper call to child or adult protective services would be in order. However, if this is a matter that the household chores, food prep, and children being in child care not done in a way that is pleasing or expected of the church and elders, these are not spiritual issues and do not make you less of a Christian.

    If church leaders are going to provide pastoral counseling to couples it is essential that they understand that couples do not belong in marital counseling when abuse is present. Abuse is not a married couple’s issue, it is an individual’s issue. Christ Church has shown that they don’t care about victims in abusive marriages. We’ve now heard three stories. It makes me wonder how many more victims are being held hostage in abusive marriages.

    Church leaders also need to admit when they are unable to provide non-biased counseling and refer to outside counseling sources if necessary. This is something I doubt the leaders at Christ Church would be able to do. I venture to guess that they believe they have spiritual/biblical authority over all things and are therefore are capable of providing counseling in all situations. Personally, I would not go to a pastor for counseling that does not involve spiritual matters.

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  72. Well, Lois, I figured your trajectory was taking you into the doghouse. Not surprised you’re in moderation now, although I hoped for better from someone who’s been active here for a while. Still, I wanted to address a few things you said, so I hope you’re at least still reading. If not, I hope someone will benefit from what I say.

    Gen’s pastor has a right to lead his flock in the direction that he believes to be in their best interest.

    First of all, I find it very hard to believe that Doug Wilson does anything in his parishioners’ “best interests”. Considering that he leads not only his own church, but also his own denomination, his own schools, his own seminary and his own vanity press, I’m convinced that everything he does is for his own ego, and nothing more.

    Second, are you sure that a pastor has the right to lead his flock in “any direction” he pleases? Even if that involves violating believers’ constitutional rights? Because by refusing to let Gen revoke her membership, by trying to discipline her after she quits, and by insisting on interfering with her search for a new church, that’s exactly what the “kirk” in Moscow is doing. This has been addressed before at the Wartburg Watch — you can check it out if you don’t believe me.

    I hope she and her husband find a way to work it out.

    Even if her husband remains a dangerous, abusive fool? In that case, I sincerely hope Gen gets a divorce and does whatever else she needs to in order for her and her kids to be safe from him.

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  73. “Our fond wish for a level playing field—this is a clear indication of envy…Once we make our peace with God-ordained inequities, we can begin to understand how we should proceed.” (Reforming Marriage p. 38)

    It is so rich when men come by and claim women are somehow Deficient for wanting to be considered equal to men. Women are wrong for wanting control of their lives, but men are not for wanting control of their lives. And women’s lives. And children’s lives. Women are wrong for wishing to do something in church but men are not? The motives they give…envy really? It certainly is easy to sit there in your diamond shoes and accuse someone of ‘envy’ for wishing for a pair of flats.

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  74. “I meant to say that when abuse is present in a relationship, couples do not belong in marital counseling.”

    Something that really bothers me about Pastor Wilson is that he does not seem to understand power differentials, or perhaps he just believes women are always dominant and rebellious? Regardless, anyone worth their salt will understand power imbalances, especially when it comes to counseling of any sort.

    Marital counseling can work in any situation, but you have to have someone aware of abuse issues and tuned into power differentials. If they are trying to mediate some kind of compromise, forget it. In a Christian context, this really annoys me, because we don’t mediate or negotiate with evil, we name it and get rid of it. If someone is an alcoholic for example, you don’t pretend nothing is wrong here and the people around them just need to negotiate and compromise more. That’s really unhealthy.

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  75. Studying Doug Wilson’s false theology rather extensively—here’s what I found:

    Doug has a pattern of flipping God’s laws upside down by labeling good as evil and evil as good.

    The root of his false theology that its sinful for women to work outside the home actually comes from the ancient Talmud—NOT the Bible.

    The Talmud taught the Ten Curses of Eve—including that because Eve sinned once, therefore all women ever born had the curse of being stuck in the house. That’s the root of these Christian books that attack the ability of women to have a career.

    Yes—many women are called by God to stay at home to raise a family. We need to honor the sacrifices that many women make for the good of their children. And we must honor the sacrifices that many single mothers make who don’t have this choice in the first place.

    What I’m trying to show is the huge difference between the mother who makes her own decision to lovingly sacrifice her career to raise her kids—and the false theology that women in the workplace is a problem.

    The Proverbs 31 woman did a whole lot of going outside the house to invest in real estate, negotiate business contracts, etc. etc. Nothing in the Bible ever told women to be stuck in the house. In fact Jesus commands us to “Go ye into all the world……”

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  76. So assuming I understand what occurred here, a patriarchal man’s man had to run and tattle on his wife for not meeting his standard of service. Kind of makes a real wimp out of him in my book. He could have called 1800-maid today , or visited flylady.net and learned how to run a vacuum. This shouldn’t involve the church busy body elders. The are supposed to be focused on “housekeeping” in the church not our homes. Sounds to me like this complaintant husband is a real weak pansy boy.

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  77. Lois, I am letting this comment go so others can respond to you. There is no way in hell I will allow the other one to be posted (that makes 3 or 4 stuck in moderation).

    Your responses are toxic to survivors. Your response is exactly why survivor’s stay silent. Until you can show compassion and empathy for survivors, you do not get a place to spout off here. This place doesn’t sound like a good fit for you. I hope you will educate yourself on abuse issues because you could really be harming people with your shortsightedness. I say that because many people have tried to explain things to you months ago, yet you are still repeating the same kind of comments.

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  78. Lois B,

    From what Julie Anne has shared in the last comment of hers I read, I understand you’ve interacted on this blog before. I’m not sure if anyone has suggested some reading in regards to the topic of spiritual abuse (apologies if they have) and if it’s okay with Julie Anne, I’d like to suggest a book if it’s still in print that was very helpful to me understanding what was happening to me and many people in various churches. Though I no longer refer to myself as a Christian, I still recommend the book to those who are hurting or need help understanding the topic of spiritual abuse/legalism.

    Book: The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse; Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church, by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen.

    Only a suggestion if you are interested.

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  79. Julie Anne,
    You cannot censure comments with which you do not agree and then delude yourself that you are doing anything different the the very people – i.e. the church leaders – you condemn. They censure also. Gen put herself out there by publishing a letter sent to her via private mail. When you put yourself out there, you need to expect that some people will agree with you and some people will disagree with you.

    It is not your role to control what everyone thinks. The people on this forum are very intelligent and I am sure that includes Gen. They can formulate their own opinions and respond as they see fit. When we all hear what one another has to say, we can better come to a position which best serves the greater good. We learn from one another and we evolve, hopefully into better people, because we hear a variety of perspectives. When you try to suppress comments with which you disagree, you are no different from the very people you condemn. If Gen were as delicate as you presume she is, then she would not have put forth her private letter on the web where millions upon millions of people can see it. Most importantly, I am not condemning Gen. I am simply pointing out where she had some responsibility in what happened to her and encouraging everyone to take responsibility for their actions.

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  80. I am posting Lois’ comment so people can feel free to help her understand what a survivor blog is and what it is not. I’m too tired and have too much homework to get into it tonight. Thanks, all!

    Liked by 1 person

  81. Lois B wrote, “…I have not heard his side of the story so I am not judging…”

    The trouble with that thinking is that it’s based on the idea that if you heard “his side” you would be able to discern the truth. But where there is abuse involved, there is a great deal of manipulation and game-playing going on. It takes a lot of education and experience to see beneath the surface to where the truth lies. That is why so many abusers get away with it for so long – because people observing from the outside assume that the facade they see is the real person. And so they become enablers to the abuse, leaving the one who has finally gathered up the courage to speak out about it even worse off than before.

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  82. “If Gen were as delicate as you presume she is, then she would not have put forth her private letter on the web where millions upon millions of people can see it.”

    Wow, Lois B, your lack of empathy is astounding! Those words indicate to me that you have no idea what years of abuse will do to a person, and maybe you really don’t care. But let me tell you that some of us got to a place where the desperation drove us to do some pretty “out there” things!

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  83. “I am simply pointing out where she had some responsibility in what happened to her and encouraging everyone to take responsibility for their actions.”

    Actually, I think she has done just that and beautifully, too. It’s not so easy to walk away from your church,confront your husband about his behavior, to send out a letter debunking some untrue gossip about you, to seek some outside marital counseling, and some emotional support from others, ALL while working full time and raising five kids.

    What I appreciate so much about Gen is that she IS being responsible, and strong, and actually responding to this situation exactly as I’d like to see someone respond. Victims like Gen give me a lot of hope because as painful as it probably all is for her, this is progress, this is what we want to see in women’s heart’s, a keen awareness that mistreating us is not okay.

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  84. Lois, read over your comment and try to figure out why I didn’t publish another comment of yours. You obviously are smart because you have initials behind your name. I don’t need to spell out the rules again. This is getting old.

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  85. Gen has taken responsibility and has tendered her resignation from the church. They responded months later by putting her under church discipline for not doing housework and having children in childcare. (they might have an issue with her seeking help from licensed mental health professionals, too) Their response sounds to me like typical things that people who are abusive say about their spouses and ways to ‘play the victim’. It would all be fine if she was at home (isolated) and doing what he tells her (controlled by him). When you know what you are looking for, it’s easier to see, even when the abuser thinks they are justifying their actions.

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  86. What Lois also needs to recognize is that Gen has lost her entire connection with this church by not acting the way the elders are demanding. Most likely the entire church has been told to have no contact with her as a result of her dismissal. She has probably lost years of friendships over this. Not only was she victimized by her husband’s emotional, verbal, spiritual, and financial abuse, but she was victimized by her church’s spiritual abuse.

    Lois, does that sound like something she would purposefully bring upon herself?

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  87. Lois,

    You are obviously stirring the pot. What are you getting out of this dialogue or trying to get from it? From my experience people are attracted to a church based on the PR of the church. Sometimes it is called love bombing. Few are aware of the bait and switch tactics until they are totallly mentally and emotionally entrapped. Then it becomes a spiders web. Or another scenario. A church presents itself well and it is what it seems. As leadership changes, things go south. No longer is this what was signed up for. Unfortunately other church members are just as frustrated and confused and church leadership pits the members against each other. It is not easy to distance one’s self from a toxic environment. In fact I have heard many refer to leaving a church as like getting divorced. Or like experiencing a death in one’s family. Those having the “ Fruit of the Spirit” are essential to helping these wounded ones. Love and empathy are the key. All else is “clashing cymbals “

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  88. I was wondering … after a person has left a church, how much involvement should the pastor have in that person’s life?

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  89. Mari – I think when one leaves a church, the church relationship is done. Unless they wanted to meet socially or something, I suppose (let’s say the kids are friends or you have other connections). But involvement in someone’s life??? No, I don’t think so. That’s why this letter is creepy. Gen said she was done with them, so Christ Church needs to let her go and leave her alone.

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  90. If this scenario is what belonging to a church is like, I am truly glad I never got involved in one. I would probably last about 15 minutes in that environment before they kicked me out. They seem so “nice” looking in from the outside. One gets this warm and fuzzy notion of how sweet everything is – all these people looking out for one another, doing community service, bettering the community, bonding with one another etc. I had all these idealistic notions of what they were like – people socializing with one another, doing great works for the community together – the whole hearts and flowers deal.

    Then, I come here and read about all this stuff and I just shake my head. I guess I did not miss much. I could never have tolerated what I am reading about here. I am not sure which would come first – either I’d be out the door in a flash or they would kick me out. I suspect the former. If I have learned anything here it is that it all starts with abusive parents beating up their kids and then it goes on from there. I mentioned in an earlier post about two women in my extended family who were very dysfunctional. At least one of them, my cousin, got beat up mercilessly as a child. Her parents were cruel. The other is my aunt (not my cousin’s parents) and I don’t know much about her childhood. My grandfather was abusive in a big way. He was said to be cruel and sadistic although he was never that way to me. He was loving to me. He was great where I was concerned but it is said that he beat up his wife and children mercilessly. Mom said he often threatened to kill all of them and she and her siblings were terrified of him. When her eldest brothers (there were 9 kids in all) got old enough to work, the family packed up and ran away from him – from Newark to NYC. They tell me that he found them in NYC – safely inside the house my my grandmother’s friend – whereupon he was walking around the sidewalk of the block crying, heartbroken and begging them to come back. They never did but somehow, eventually a detente was reached so that by the time I came along, he was a regular member of the family – no more violence. He visited with us (my parents and brother and me) every Sunday and was, by then, a very nice man. I only knew him as loving. He brought me presents all the time and sat me on his knee to tell stories and play with my brother and I. It is hard to believe he was as violent as they say he was. One of his son’s was very violent and married a violent woman. They are the ones who beat up my cousin who subsequently became very dysfunctional..

    So then, it seems like beating up your kids IS is a BIG deal,after all. Yet another Christian myth about sparing the rod busted. That’s what I am learning from here. All of this church abuse starts in the home when parents try to break the will of their children. My parents were great. Loving and never hit me. Mom also taught me to be assertive and stand up for myself. Now my Mom is 95 going on 96 and she lives with me and my husband in my house. She moved in recently. I try to take good care of her to pay her back for everything she and my Dad gave to me. More and more, I am gaining an appreciation for that esp after reading comments on this site.

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  91. Lois,

    Think about how you would feel if one day you’re at work in the hospital. Someone is brought into the emergency room with life threatening injuries. There’s a whole group of doctors, nurses, etc. gathered around, working on the patient. Everyone is working feverishly to save the injured person’s life.

    Suddenly a total stranger walks into the operating room and starts yelling at the doctors and nurses. This stranger starts telling everyone that they’re doing it all wrong. That they need to do everything differently. That this patient should have never gotten into a car. Didn’t they know better than to drive themselves to work? They could have rode to work on a camel. Don’t they know that cars end up in accidents? They should have taken the safer route and just used a camel like people have been doing for hundreds of years.

    The doctors and nurses look up in surprise. What is this stranger doing? Do they have years of medical training and work experience? Why are they mouthing off and blaming the medical team who’s busy actually trying to save a broken patient?

    Here’s the thing—emotional and spiritual wounds are just as real as medical wounds. It’s just as weird for a total stranger to start yelling at a team of doctors and nurses as it is for people who know nothing about healing emotional wounds to come here and try to lecture the moderators.

    The truth is that Lois would never allow anyone to talk to her the way that she’s been lecturing us.

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  92. JA – that’s what I would think, too. However, I have a real-life former pastor who seems to have problems respecting boundaries of people who have left his church.

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  93. Avid,
    Very good points. I absolutely do know NOTHING about this whole church business. You draw a very good metaphor. Thanks. From my perspective, it is like you are all from Mars. How COULD they put up with this stuff. I keep thinking – why don’t they all just tell the abusive clergy to stuff it sideways. I am incredulous. I loved the part about why did he not just take a camel to work – then none of this would have happened. I do believe you are correct. It is a world I have never known and never experienced. I want you guys to stand up to these bullies and shock them. I’d love to say to some of these abusive clergy “Excuse me, Sir, but that is none of your G__ D__ business.” It makes me crazy that you guys don’t do this. I want to scream at some of you “Tell him to ____ off…..but none of you will do this!”

    Avid, to take your analogy one step further – it is like the doctors and the nurses are all feverishly trying to save the patient and the outsider KNOWS what to do so a to save the patient ………….and they won’t listen to him. You have to STAND UP to bullies. Everyone is comforting one another, dabbing one another’s tears away, understanding one another……….all this lovely warm and fuzzy stuff. Meanwhile, nobody is confronting the bully directly. You all want to help one treat each others alligator bites – lovingly and sympathetically – and I want to drain the swamp (I used that expression before Trump came along). Come to find out that Gen did just that. She drained the swamp out of her life. Good for you, Gen. Here is another point that drives me crazy. Everyone keeps saying that when you boot out the church out of your life, you lose all of your friends. SO WHAT. If these people abandon you because you refused to be abused any longer, they were not your friends in the first place. You lost absolutely nothing. If I frustrate you folks, trust me, you guys frustrate me as well.

    I don’t like to see you all dabbing one another’s tears dry – comforting each others wounds while you are still being hurt.. I want to see you guys stand up to these abusers i.e. these bullies and get rid of them from your life. I guess, though, that if you did that, you would not be here in the first place. I guess in that case, you folks would not be abused because bullies don’t abuse people who stand up to them – they only prey on people they perceive as defenseless.

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  94. Lois,

    I get what you are saying. In fact I have dealt with abusuve churches by leaving . Bullying and subversive tactics just make me dig my heels in deeper and resist. However, people I love have been caught up in these tactics. Have felt their very Salvation is the umbrella theory, have had more children than they could cope with because they thought that was God’s will for their life. Not everyone is strong. As far as I can tell reading the Gospel is that Gods heart is to the weak and thise who follow him look out for and protect the weak.

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  95. Lois,

    We are asking you to listen, learn, and study on this subject.

    One of the easiest places to start your research is reading the book Why Does He Do That? By Lundy Bancroft.

    After you’ve read that book, things will make more sense.

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  96. I’d love to say to some of these abusive clergy “Excuse me, Sir, but that is none of your G__ D__ business.” It makes me crazy that you guys don’t do this. I want to scream at some of you “Tell him to ____ off…..but none of you will do this!” – Lois B

    Well I did. Only I said, S of a B. And yes, they heard me.

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  97. For what it is worth, I heard every word of that letter in closed session from the elders of my previous church. It’s odd. The vocabulary, the phrasing – word for word the same. Reading them now in this letter, is eery and a bit triggering. I was doing what I needed to do to heal. What had been recommended to me by experts, and the pastors/elders were saying those same words to me in person! I remember this setting me back (temporarily) into the fog for a bit. I was emotionally & spiritually wounded, confused. And…so very angry when my mind and spirit cleared and I saw what it was they were doing.

    Gen~ I feel your pain. You are doing the right thing. You are brave. You are stronger than they know. Keep taking the next step; whatever that is. May Truth and Light and Grace and Wisdom be yours.

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  98. @Lois:

    It makes me crazy that you guys don’t do this. I want to scream at some of you “Tell him to ____ off…..but none of you will do this!”

    Fear of being “keyed out” into Eternal Hell is quite a motivator to keep quiet.
    Above and beyond the Disconnect Decree LRH from Flag (shunning order).

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  99. @Charis:

    What had been recommended to me by experts, and the pastors/elders were saying those same words to me in person! I remember this setting me back (temporarily) into the fog for a bit.

    That was the whole idea.
    Keep her in the fog, Keep Her In Her Place.

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  100. @AvidReader:

    Suddenly a total stranger walks into the operating room and starts yelling at the doctors and nurses. This stranger starts telling everyone that they’re doing it all wrong. That they need to do everything differently. That this patient should have never gotten into a car. Didn’t they know better than to drive themselves to work? They could have rode to work on a camel. Don’t they know that cars end up in accidents? They should have taken the safer route and just used a camel like people have been doing for hundreds of years.

    Except in ALL CAPS and exclamation points.

    My first thought would be “SOCIAL JUSTICE SNOWFLAKE IN THE PERIMETER!”

    My second would be “Kyle’s Mom found a new Cause”.

    (Never mind that SJF has just broken the sterile conditions in that OR, which could threaten the life of the patient…)

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  101. @Julie Anne:

    Lois, read over your comment and try to figure out why I didn’t publish another comment of yours. You obviously are smart because you have initials behind your name. I don’t need to spell out the rules again. This is getting old.

    Next time, Lois, I’m just going to hit the trash can I on without explaining.

    Serena Joy just can’t stop lecturing Offred and the Handmaids, can she?

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  102. If this scenario is what belonging to a church is like, I am truly glad I never got involved in one.

    That’s just it, Lois. This is not what the church is supposed to be like. It’s supposed to be a safe place, and pastors are supposed to be safe people. Just like doctors are supposed to be ethical and trustworthy, and yet there are criminal perverts like Nassar in the medical profession. Abusive and uncaring people will seek out environments in which they can find those who are trusting and vulnerable. It’s simply how they operate.

    the outsider KNOWS what to do so a to save the patient ………….and they won’t listen to him.

    You might think you know what Gen needs to do, Lois. But there’s plenty that you don’t know: You don’t know her history or her personality. You don’t know her financial situation. You don’t know whether she has any family or friends outside of Wilson’s little empire that she can turn to for help.

    You seem to be making a lot of assumptions about Gen’s means, and how easy it would be for her to just tell off Wilson and his cronies, and then ride off into the sunset. And if you’re wrong, then the solution you present might not work out as neatly as you think.

    More seriously, you’ve come dangerously close to dictating to Gen what she has to do, and judging her for not being as strong as you. This is not the forum for that, nor does she need it.

    Based on what I know of that so-called church, I’m sure she’s had plenty of that already — men like her husband, and Wilson, and this Lawyer creep, decreeing from on high what she needs to do, along with lots of blaming, shaming and judging. That, I’m guessing, is why you were put in moderation — for behaving like the men who’ve abused her, even if you think you’re helping her. (If I’m wrong, Julie Anne can correct me. After all, this is her blog, and you and I are guests here. Please don’t forget that.)

    Gen’s life has been devoid of agency for far too long, I imagine. To get that back, she needs time and support, not more people telling her what to do with her life.

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  103. . If these people abandon you because you refused to be abused any longer, they were not your friends in the first place.

    Here. One single solitary point where I agree with Lois.

    want to see you guys stand up to these abusers i.e. these bullies and get rid of them from your life. I guess, though, that if you did that, you would not be here in the first place.

    And now you lost me. Gen is doing that but you judged her. I don’t have bullies in my life or my church. I am here to learn. I fail to see what you are doing but stirring the pot and making things about yourself.

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  104. OK, guys. I get it. This is your problem and I need to butt out. Here is what it feels like to me. I am sitting on a porch where there are three or four steps and they are all clear. On the bottom step, there is ice – lots of ice – which people don’t see. As I am sitting there, all manner nice people come walking down the steps and slip on the ice. They are now injured and hurting sitting on the grass surrounding the ice patch and supporting one another – wiping away one another’s tears, being “helpful” to one another. These are very nice people. I like them. I come over and say: “Hey Guys, here is what we(you) all need to do.” I then say: “Look here, we have a ice pick and a snow shovel. Lets break up all the ice with the pick and then shovel it away – far away from the bottom of the steps.” People then say to me: “This is not your porch and it is not your business.” or “We can’t do that – the worms in the grass will hate us if we do that” or “We will be shunned by the birds who eat the seeds in the ice as it melts.” or “You never fell so you don’t know what it is like to fall – looks like you just wear ice cleats on your shoes so just mind your own business.” or “This is terrible. You come here wearing your ice cleats, sitting in chairs on our porch and then try to tell US what to do.” Meanwhile, I am thinking: “What the heck. I am just trying to show them how to get rid of the ice so they won’t be falling anymore.”

    So I walk away, shaking my head and saying to myself “I am not going to get sucked into yet another one of their threads.” So for months I just go away and don’t post here anymore. Then I get an email in my box which sucks me again. Next time I get an email for a new thread, I will try to just hit the delete button and keep my suggestions to myself. One thing I do know – if you all DID did break up the ice and shovel it away, it WOULD work and who cares if the worms and birds hate you for it. No one sees it my way so I will try not to get involved in your threads and make suggestions. I’ll just keep my ice cleats on and my fingers off the keyboard. If God exists, he she or it made the delete button for a good reason

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  105. Lois, the problem is not so much your message, it’s the timing of your message. The timing of your message makes it a shaming message.

    Healing and recovery is a process. I’m sure you’ve heard of the grieving process before. If you skip any steps of the grieving process, you won’t heal. Anyone can give answers, but for those who are grieving their losses, they must go through the process of pain, anger, acceptance, etc. To jump ahead to the place where you are wanting them to go will only harm them.

    This is in essence how I was a prime candidate for PTSD. I did not appropriately deal with my abuse as a child. I wanted to get over it without looking at all of the ramifications and how it had affected my life physically and emotionally. I was able to function/survive for a while, but then it just didn’t work for me when I dealt with another major event (an 7.9 earthquake). My old ways of processing pain didn’t work with the earthquake and I got PTSD. Through therapy, I needed to learn how to process pain the appropriate way,

    I hope this makes sense. So, if you want to comment here, the best thing you can do is meet people where they are. You do not get to tell them how to move forward. You just sit with them as they process things in their own timing. That’s why this work is hard. It’s emotional. And it’s painful. There is no quick fix. Allowing people to move at their pace is the best way to allow for healing. And they do heal!

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  106. Lois – I’m pretty sure there is a way to notify Word Press that you no longer wish to receive e-mails. I would not be offended if you did that. But something tells me we will probably hear from you again. I hope next time it is with compassion and empathy for others. I truly do.

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  107. I hope so, too, Julie Anne but it is very hard for people like me to relate to all of this stuff when I see it as avoidable in the first place. I know it is unrealistic to expect people to get ice cleats (no religion in their life) but I wish they would use the picks and shovels to deal with the abusers.

    Remember Richard, Specht, the psychopath who killed 8 nurses. He he broke into their hotel room and told them if they listened to him and let him tie them up, he would not harm them. They reluctantly agreed not withstanding one nurse who kept saying – there is 8 of us, let’s just overpower him and call the police. No one would do so. He tied them up – one by one – and then murdered each one with a knife as she screamed in front of the others. The one nurse rolled under the bed and he lost count. She lived and told the story. It is frustrating to be the one who wants others not to give in and nobody listens to you…..when you KNOW what you are suggesting will work.

    I hear you, however, and I agree. What I am offering is apparently not helpful. Religion has a powerful hold on people. Most of the people came from very strong religious backgrounds – I did not and I am very grateful for that. My husband did and he broke away from it so it can be done. I will stop making suggestions and stopped getting sucked into these threads. People cannot be forced into wearing ice-cleats until they are ready and some will never be ready. Sorry, guys, if my suggestions were hurtful to you all. I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone – just trying to show people the way out of the abyss. The clergy are bullies and when you stand up to them, they fold like a deck of cards. They don’t know how to deal with someone calling their bluff. Ironically, they are persons whose salaries depend on church and congregant donations. They work for YOU not vice a versa. My apologies to all who were offended or shamed by my suggestions. I will try to stay out of your affairs in the future.

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  108. Lois – The thing is that anyone can find themselves slowly falling into an abusive church. Think of all the people who are enamored by Scientology. For those on the outside, it looks bizarre and thankfully Leah Remini is doing a fantastic job exposing the cult. But, something draws people in. The abuse is never seen at first when one starts going, but after time, leaders and fellow church goers start showing their true colors. When the spiritual abuse starts happening, you’re so sucked in that you don’t know if it’s worth risking getting out. For some people who do decide to leave, they may lose every important connection they’ve ever known.

    Gen finally did get tired of the spiritual abuse and decided to leave months ago. The problem is that the church continues to try and hold power over her. They can’t let her go because she poses a threat to their community. She is showing that they no longer have any power over her by releasing the letter.

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  109. Every day, people use cars to commit crimes. Does that make cars evil? Should we all stop driving cars because some misuse them?

    If Jesus had never walked the Earth, evil people would have still found all kinds of ways to do evil. The existence of evil people using religion to hurt others doesn’t nullify the impact that Christ had on the world for good.

    Jesus described His purpose as coming to set the captives free. That’s the whole essence of our faith. Just because some people misquote the Bible, doesn’t make the rest of us walk away from the words of Christ. Why should we give up on the power that actually can set the captives free?

    Yes, there are wolves in the church. The answer is not to burn the church down but to purge out the wolves. That’s what the whole group here is working towards. We are each doing our part to try to turn the tide.

    Look at history and you’ll see plenty of examples where removing Christianity from society didn’t bring some utopia. How many people did Joseph Stalin kill?

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  110. Anyway, that’s the answer if anyone is wondering why we all don’t just walk away from our faith when we see wolves doing evil in the church.

    The answer is that we actually do stand up to the bullies. The group here just doesn’t always talk about it when we do take that stand.

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  111. Good for Gen. I changed my mind about her. She is not a whiner – she is a doer. Gen, if you are reading this. I apologize. I should have read about you more carefully. The more people who shed these abusive spiritual haunts, the better. I did not realize, at first glance that she left. I do not see religion as doing much more than providing a means to control people but I am not about convincing people to leave their churches – just about standing up to bullies.

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  112. Lois, let me unwind this a bit for you. The authoritarian/patriarchal message has been around in various forms since the Fall. Evil people over and over have a way of selling that message in a way traps people. But, it’s not just in the church. The church has just been a victim of this message as has the rest of culture.

    For example, the Nassar case really showed us how blindly we trust doctors in our society. He was brilliant and clever and he was able to use people’s learned trust of the medical system to perpetrate his evil. Do you think his victims somehow ignored the wet ice at the bottom of the steps and slipped and fell? Or do you think that there was a systemic cultural problem that led to distrust of the victims and trust of the authority/professional (where have we heard this before???)

    In the same sense, we have this trust of policemen, for example (well, maybe not so much in fundamentalism), but as a society, if we see some guy handcuffed by a police officer and getting put in a police car, we assume they’ve done something wrong. That was part of the “Stanford Prison Experiment” – they initially created a sense of shame in the volunteer prisoners by having police come to their houses and “arrest” them. So, what do you think happened when police officers were given access to the FBI databases that contained incredible amounts of personal information? The police used that information to abuse women, then they were complicit in covering for each other to escape public scrutiny.

    So, evangelical churches are not somehow unique in their abuse. They are just another area of society where our cultural evil of authoritarian/patriarchal abuse comes out in another evil way and another area where victims get blamed, ignored and re-victimized.

    In a sense, we’ve been conditioned to ignore the ice. When someone falls on the ice, we love to point the finger at them and think them stupid for falling on the ice, but if we were in the same situation, we’d fall on the ice, too. I think we’re foolish to believe that somehow we are immune from grooming. Yes, I see red flags in churches, but that’s only because I, myself, fell on that ice and have had to heal and evaluate, and now I recognize it in evangelical circles, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t get sucked into an abusive job or and abusive relationship.

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  113. Kathi, their church, I’m sure, teaches a message that the leaders are more competent to counsel than “secular” psychologists.

    I agree with everything you wrote, but I want you to understand that, from the leadership point of view, when they are asked to “solve” a marital problem, they are given pretty much carte blanche access.

    In a similar situation, a friend protested a specific abusive action of the local church leadership. However, when the next level of church leadership was brought in, all aspects of the relationship between this man and the church were under scrutiny. It was actually fascinating how these leaders played the game of growing the level of scrutiny towards this man and yet minimizing scrutiny of the leadership (while even privately acknowledging that the leadership had significant issues!). In the end, they illegally (according to church polity) silenced the voice of the man, while giving the leaders a platform to slander him.

    I’m not saying that this is a “she should have known” what would happen, but I’m saying for OUR understanding, in an abusive fundagelical church, as most are in my opinion, requesting church help for an abusive marriage is just inviting further abuse, in the form of “counseling”.

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  114. If churches were totally evil wolves would not need sheep’s clothing since there would be no one to deceive.

    I liked what Scott123 said above. The Lord-It-Over guys like Wilson and others have some pretty weird, self-contradictory views of gender roles.

    Men are heads of the home. Not only that but God ordained them because He is truly amazed at their holiness and superior wisdom which no woman can attain.
    Men are sex maniacs who must have sex every night of the week and gratify their every whim or they can’t be held responsible for the consequences. Their foolish, inferior wives are responsible if the head becomes a porn addict.
    Headship is tough work. The only way to keep his headship is for a man to have a head too swollen for any hat. We all thought pride was a sin–but only for girls! A robust ego is necessary for these husband. Wives must flatter and pretend to admire their hubbies since deflating their precious balloons (egos) is a cardinal sin in some churches. Deflate a man’s ego and he can’t be held accountable for his actions.
    Women are spiritually stunted, weak, gullible fools. Despite this spiritual inferiority, wives can all do the following:

    A. Use their magical mind mojo to force men to lust after them–regardless of what they wear. Wives can also force husbands to view porn or run to other women. These spiritual giants just can’t help themselves…and cannot be held responsible for sexual misbehaviors.
    B. Use their mind mojo to take over the limbs of their husbands. Just like Dr. Strangelove! Dr. James Dobson swears women do it all the time–using telekinetic powers to seize control of their husbands’ fists. These poor men watch helplessly as these jezebels use their fists to punch themselves in the eye. Dobson himself has the gift of telepathy, since he can tell which women are guilty of this sorcery as opposed to actual battered wives.
    C. They can also use the mind mojo to transform a cruel, sadistic devil into a godly Christian gentleman. Just be quiet, walk on eggshells, obey his every whim no matter how impossible, unreasonable–or even wrong it may be. Never burn the roast. So what if he’s a monster? YOU can change him! Just like Abigail reformed Nabal.(Okay,God did by striking him dead. Chew on that Bill Gothard.)

    Like

  115. Lois, JA has pointed out to you how much your timing stinks, but that’s not your only problem here. Quite simply, you don’t understand these matters nearly as much as you think.

    The clergy are bullies and when you stand up to them, they fold like a deck of cards. They don’t know how to deal with someone calling their bluff.

    You really think it’s that simple? All of the time? Not all abusive men are just “harmless bullies”. Some are capable of doing real harm to people, and your declaration of their impotence doesn’t change that, or offer any help to their victims.

    Consider the Nassar case. There were girls who reported him right away after they were molested, but what happened? Their parents disbelieved them, the administrators and coaches ignored them, and the medical community supported Nassar. The girls and women weren’t up against a lone criminal pervert, but against a whole network of enablers (including their own families) that he’d built up for himself. How easy do you think it was for them to “stand up” to that? It worked eventually, but it took years before these brave women were able to reduce him to the snivelling, cringing coward that we saw in the courtroom last week.

    Kathi’s mention of Scientology is also on point. They’re a popular target for ridicule now, but that’s because they’ve lost most of their power (though not all — they have a ton of money). In decades past, it was a rare act of courage for any journalist to take them on, in large part due to the example they’d made of Paulette Cooper. She had written an expose on Scientology, perhaps thinking (like you) that it was a simple matter of “standing up to bullies”. It wasn’t. In retaliation, they conducted a coordinated campaign of harassment and character assassination against her, in order to get her arrested or institutionalized, or coerce her into taking her own life. They even manufactured enough “evidence” against her to have her indicted on federal charges for making threats of violence. Paulette barely escaped being convicted, and was later exonerated. So much for “bullies folding like a deck of cards”.

    Admittedly, Doug Wilson is small potatoes compared to Scientology, or probably even Nassar. But I don’t doubt that he has plenty of clout in Moscow, ID. And Gen lives there. You and I don’t. Until she tells us, we have no idea what price Gen might have to pay for “standing up” to Wilson and his minions. Therefore, we don’t get to tell her how easy it is. She gets to tell us how hard it is, and we get to listen and learn.

    It’s not always as simple as chipping away the ice on your steps, Lois. The ice can’t retaliate.

    Liked by 3 people

  116. @Lois B:
    You wrote:
    “Most importantly, I am not condemning Gen. I am simply pointing out where she had some responsibility in what happened to her and encouraging everyone to take responsibility for their actions.”

    This demonstrates to me that you have no idea what abuse is, or what it does to a person.
    If you genuinely want to be educated, listen to what people here are saying. Many of us have experienced domestic abuse ourselves.

    I would suggest as well that you do some research of your own before commenting. You need to understand the dynamics of abuse. Her husband is abusive. That is not Gen’s fault. Changing herself will not change him. He is not doing this because of any of her sins or failings. He is abusive because he chooses to be an abuser. He wants to control her, and so no matter what she does, it will never be enough. She is not to blame, and therefore it is not appropriate for you to be attempting to prove that she has any responsibility. It’s not true. She is not responsible for her husband’s abuse. He did it, not her.

    You say you’re not a Christian, and yet you seem to be very deeply concerned with Christians “following the rules” and “doing what they’re meant to do”. I find that very odd. Why are you so concerned with exonerating Gen’s husband and church, when she is the victim in this situation?

    Liked by 1 person

  117. Lois B, I want to add to what others have said. Abuse doesn’t just turn up suddenly like a man with a gun. It sneaks up on you. It is subtle. It builds slowly over time.

    In my case it was my husband. Before we married, he was lovely, gentle, friendly. He got a bit down sometimes, but doesn’t everyone? I didn’t realise his past story and how much of an issue control was for him. We agreed on most things in the beginning, so it wasn’t apparent.
    With each child, he got worse. The rages got more intense and more frequent. He started cussing and name calling and belittling. The more I wanted to be myself, the more he tried to control me. I couldn’t have an opinion, let alone a job outside the home. He was violent towards my special needs son. This did not just suddenly happen. It crept up and got worse and worse. I loved him. He was the father of my children. I was afraid of him. He had all the earning power. The car is in his name. He’s bigger than me, stronger than me, totally unpredictable, so while he’s never hit me, who knows what he’s capable of?

    I’m not stupid. I’m an educated woman. I have a good degree from a good university. My parents raised me to believe that men and women are equal. So this didn’t happen to me because I am stupid or ignorant, or because I had a repressive upbringing. It happened because my husband chose to do it. He hid his real self from me until we were married and I was trapped. I am getting out now, but it has taken me many years to get up the courage and the resources to do it. It’s not as easy as just standing up to bullies. That’s all very well if you’re on the outside looking in. But abuse ruins you, it takes your sense of self, your confidence, your ability to think clearly. It shames you and makes you feel guilty. My husband always told me I was to blame and that things were my fault, and that if I would just do xyz then the abuse would stop. It’s nonsense. And your ice story and you anecdote about a serial killer makes me feel the same way.

    Liked by 3 people

  118. You say you’re not a Christian, and yet you seem to be very deeply concerned with Christians “following the rules” and “doing what they’re meant to do”. I find that very odd.

    I find that very odd myself. Suspiciously odd, actually.

    Liked by 1 person

  119. There’s so much evil insanity in Lawyer’s letter… Wish I had time to analyze it line by line. Here’s a good quote in the meantime
    “The first time the dishes are not done, he must sit down with his wife immediately, and gently remind her that this is something which has to be done. At no time may he lose his temper, badger her, call her names, etc. He must constantly remember and confess that she is not the problem, he is. By bringing this gently to her attention, he is not to be primarily pointing to her need to repent; rather, he is exhibiting the fruit of his repentance. He does this, without rancour and without an accusative spirit, until she complies or rebels. If she complies, he must move up one step, now requiring that another of her duties be done. If she rebels, he must call the elders of the church and ask them for a pastoral visit. When the government of the home has failed to such an extent, and a godly and consistent attempt by the husband to restore the situation has broken down, then the involvement of the elders is fully appropriate.” ‘Not Where She Should Be‘
    By Douglas Wilson
    See more ar TheTruth About Moscow
    http://www.moscowid.net/2018/01/25/the-husband-is-responsible-for-all-the-problems/#comment-6904

    Like

  120. Insanity #1
    “I’ve spent hundreds of hours with you…”
    Followed by
    “Through all of this you have refused to meet with us…”
    Lawyer the unbiblical counsellor wasted hundreds of (paid?) hours on her but
    Lawyer the Kirk session member couldn’t get her to “meet” in the star chamber together with Wilson and fellow session-ers. This is unpardonable.

    Liked by 3 people

  121. Evil insanity #2
    “You really are in danger of being cut off.”
    But they’re Calvinists— if she’s reprobate, there ain’t nuttin’ she can do about it.

    Liked by 2 people

  122. #3. “You have denied the biblical Christ”
    Then
    “We would transfer your membership” (to an evangelical church)
    So they insist upon keeping a Christ-Denier as a “member” until they can transfer said “membership” to some other church?

    Liked by 2 people

  123. Ah,interesting, Dave. You know what ticked me off about that letter? It is hysteria and emotionalism, cloaked as logic and reason. That is one of my pet peeves. I can see all the logical contradictions, so the things you have marked as “insanity,” I would call red flags. One big red flag for abuse, at least for me, are logical inconsistencies cloaked in moral superiority. It is a dishonest projection.

    Liked by 2 people

  124. Insanitybytes22, are you accusing these manly men of hysteria and emotionalism?Tut tut. These are good complementarian men who cannot be swayed by such things. Hysteria is feminine; logic is masculine. Women are from Loonyland; men are from Vulcan.

    Like

  125. Lois B said,

    Then WHY do people stay in these abusive churches? I have yet to understand that.

    Lois B., why do some women stay in abusive marriages? The dynamics are very similar.
    Why do some people, even as adults, continue to have relationships with their abusive parents? The dynamics are similar.

    Why do people on the receiving end of harassment from a boss at their secular job put up with it rather than quit, fight back, or try to get a job elsewhere? The dynamics are similar.

    And it’s really not a “choice” to those who are stuck in the system.
    When you are raised in a Christian household and in Christian churches, it may not even occur to you that you have a choice to leave or to fight back due to the types of indoctrination you receive to be submissive to all authority figures at all times.

    Christian girls and women, above all, are taught under a Christian teaching called “gender complementarianism” to be dependent, passive, unassertive, and are told that it’s godly for them to lack boundaries and to tolerate abuse off people – and these women want to please God, so they will go along with these sexist teachings.
    See my post _here_ for more (and other posts on my blog), if you’d like a longer explanation.

    The woman in the OP may also be suffering from clinical depression and/or anxiety, and if so, she will not find a cure or relief in most Christian churches, because most of them are suspicious or hateful of mental health professionals and anti depressant medications.

    Her church will coach her to simply pray about her depression more and to read the Bible every day – and none of that will deliver her from depression (if she has depression).

    Like

  126. Lois said,

    “If you don’t like the rules, get out and and join a church where you DO like the rules.”

    Good churches are rare. Good churches are extremely hard to find.

    You have a greater chance of spotting the Loch Ness Monster or Big Foot than you do a good, decent caring church in the U.S.A.

    Most churches are greedy and run like businesses. Many pastors of many American churches are egomaniacs who do not care about their congregants. The pastors love money and power – not helping people.

    Most churches also tend to focus on married couples who have children and ignore anyone who is single (which could be never married, divorced, widowed) and who is childless or childfree.

    If you are a Christian who is a conservative yet an egalitarian (or mutualist) regarding gender roles, you will not be able to find a church. (Most churches are either liberal across the board or conservative.)

    Please, pick up a copy of “Quitting Church” by author Julia Duin to see what I mean.
    _Quitting Church: Why the Faithful Are Fleeing_

    Like

  127. Lois said,

    I grow tired of people ever claiming they are victims but never doing anything about it.
    …I happens that you are not a complainer but rather an insightful man. If you were to be whining and complaining now, I would say “shut your mouth and get out of that organization – move on.”

    I discussed some of this in a post on my blog here:
    _Victimhood, Victim Blaming, and Moving On_

    Like

  128. Lois said,

    If she is not holding down a full-time job then she is SUPPOSE to cook, clean and take care of the children. That is her job.

    It is?

    I think those are called assumptions or preferences.

    Every couple I’ve ever known, save two, the man is a gold digger who mooches off the woman (who has a full time job) and the man sits about in his boxer briefs watching football all day, so that when the working outside the home woman comes home, she has to do all house cleaning, too.

    Like

  129. It is sheer hypocrisy to condemn church leaders and the clergy for silencing persons who speak against their world view and then turn around and the very same thing to others. That is precisely what is happening here. I am trying to learn from people here and to a large extent I have done so. I hope I can bring about valid points as well, causing food for thought. Unfortunately, anytime I attempt to post anything which is at odds with the moderator’s world view, she silences me by deleting my posts. I put a lot of time and effort into what I see and my motive is to get at the truth i.e. reach a common boundary of understanding wherein (hopefully) the truth lies. I am going to practice what I preach and refuse to participate in this forum – interacting with a bunch of people I otherwise like and find intelligent – rather than subject myself to abuse of this nature from the moderator. It IS abusive to silence someone, suppressing what they say because one does not agree with it.

    So long as I am going to be treated in this egregious manner, this post is my last. I cannot abide persons criticizing others while turning around and doing the very same thing. I don’t buy that it is to “protect” others. That is precisely what your church leadership would say as to why they suppress persons in their organizations. They are “protecting” the flock. Nonsense. They are suppressing people who disagree with their world view and that is precisely what is exactly what is happening here. I can tolerate a lot but if there is one thing I cannot abide, it is a hypocrite.

    I really DO like the folks here and I have learned a great deal of good information and insights. Thank you all who shared much with me. I have learned a lot. Hopefully, I have shared some valid insights as well. If there is one thing I am NOT going to do is stick around and let your moderator abuse me in the way she claims others have abused her and her friends on this site. I put a whole lot of effort and thought into many posts – posts which she flatly outright deleted. Thanks but no thanks. I am about to demonstrate to everyone just how to deal with abusive people………you say good-bye. Good-bye, Ms Moderator. I shall blight your excellent forum no longer. Goodbye also to everyone else who have been truly great in helping me understand the dynamics involved in church abuse. I am not, however, going to be sticking around for any more of this abuse and hypocrisy as it pertains to me. I truly hope, the next time anyone attempts to abuse any one of you, folks here will do the same. Adios to all………………and Ms Moderator, if you have even a half of an once of guts, you will publish – versus delete this posting.

    Like

  130. Lois said,

    OK fine but the scenario we are reading about is exactly what it means to be a submitted wife. It is absolutely ridiculous BUT folks say they believe in it and that is what they want.
    Well, this is what you get. You can’t say I want to be a submitted wife BUT only on my terms. I agree to do what Christ has “told” me to do but only under xyz conditions. That is called I want my cake and eat it to. I agree to the follow the rules but only to the extent that it suits me.

    I don’t think you understand Christianity. There are different denominations and differing theology. Not all Christians agree on all topics.

    Some Christians do not believe in male hierarchy or female / wifely submission but in something called gender egalitarianism (some prefer the term “gender mutualism.”)

    Even among the Christians who believe in gender complementarianism, of which male headship and wifely submission are taught, there are degrees and differences.

    Complementarians disagree among themselves on what “wifely submission” looks like or consists of and how it should be practiced.

    Some complementarians cannot even agree to the extent of it: should only wives submit to their own husbands, or should all women every where submit to all men, even secular men? They can’t agree on this stuff.

    Christians have different ways of interpreting passages and verses in the Bible.
    This means some may not see the Bible supporting complementarianism, but others may claim to see it taught in the Scriptures.

    Among the ones who believe complementarianism is in the Bible, they disagree with each other about how it should work in practice.
    I don’t know if that is necessarily the same thing as ‘Cafeteria Christianity’ (they pick and choose what they want) or not. That may not be an entirely fair way of putting it.

    There may be some self professing Christians who do practice Cafeteria Christianity, but some of them are sincerely following the Bible the best they understand it, but they won’t always agree with other Christians who are also sincerely following it to the best of their understanding.

    You said,

    The bottom line point I am making is that you don’t stay in a situation and complain endless about it.

    It’s not as simple as that.

    For women in abusive marriages – if they have been brainwashed since girlhood to be pleasing to God, which consists of being submissive to a husband and obedient to church elders, and, if they are codependent, have no income and do not have a steady job, they are not currently capable of being independent.

    This means some Christian women are unaware that they have a choice and CAN leave and abuser, and even among those who come to realize they can divorce a creep, they may not have the financial means to do so.

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