ABUSE & VIOLENCE IN THE CHURCH, Biblical Counseling, Christian Marriage, Church Discipline Process, Complementarianism, Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence and Churches, Doug Wilson, Marriages Damaged-Destroyed by Sp. Ab., Patriarchal-Complementarian Movement, Personal Stories, Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Bullies, Women and the Church

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

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. @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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  14. @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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  15. @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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  16. @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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  17. 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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  18. . 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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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. 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

  30. 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

  31. @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

  32. 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

  33. 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

  34. 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

  35. 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

  36. 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

  37. #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

  38. 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

  39. 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

  40. 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

  41. 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

  42. 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

  43. 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

  44. 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

  45. 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.

    Like

  46. Lois said,

    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.

    This is assuming she realizes she CAN leave (she may not realize this – a lot of Christian women do not realize they can make choices for themselves or ever put their own needs first – most churches heavily indoctrinate girls and women to never get their own needs met, to make decisions for themsleves, etc.),

    Your comment there assumes that Gen has the resources to leave (a job, income, or a friend’s couch to crash on).

    While Gen may have the resources to get out and leave, not all women – Christian and NonChristian – do.

    I believe the OP said she already left this church (?) If she already left it, I don’t know why you are blaming her still.

    And, once more, finding a church in line with your beliefs that will treat you well are very difficult to find.

    So far as I remain a Christian (I’m somewhat agnostic currently), and as far as doctrine goes, I’m probably pretty close to Southern Baptist views on many a topic -EXCEPT FOR- gender roles. Southern Baptists are gender complementarians, but I am not.

    If you can find me a church that’s similar to Southern Baptists theologically, except it is gender egalitarian in nature, let me know. Finding that sort of church is like trying to find a four leaf clover.

    Like

  47. I wanted to say something else about this remark:
    Lois said,

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

    I’ve been on both sides of this issue.

    I come from a family of complainers (except for my mom – she did not complain much). I’ve had two or three online friends who are constant complainers.

    One thing these complainers I knew all had in common is they did little to nothing to make changes to get out of the situations that make them upset.
    Yes, it gets tiresome and frustrating listening to these types of people go on and on about their problems, especially when you know they aren’t doing anything to solve the situation that is making them miserable.

    However. I would not add domestic violence to this list, or child abuse – or even spiritual abuse. It’s a completely different topic.

    If you’ve been brainwashed your entire life (by parents and/or church) to think you deserve abuse, or
    that sticking through abuse is godly because it will make you more like Jesus Christ, or you’re taught trying to get out of suffering is wrong, or you’re constantly discouraged from being assertive and having boundaries, you are not going to realize you can change.

    You’re not going to realize you can leave an abusive situation, nor do you realize that you can or should change the dynamics.

    Also, on a related note. After my mother died, it hurt like hell.
    I’m the sort of person who processes, gets over, and copes with pain, anger, stress, depression, and anxiety by talking about it to a non-judgmental, supportive friend.
    (My mother was once that person for me, but she died.)

    After Mom died, I read books by Christian and Non-Christian authors/ psychiatrists and therapists who said grieving alone and bottling up the pain was not healthy for me, so I should reach out to others, talk things over with others, and lean on them emotionally.

    Okay, so everyone I went to (mostly Christian people) to open up about the grief were non-supportive.

    From those I went to, I got a lot of criticism, judgement, shaming – no empathy or encouragement. I got a lot of speeches about ‘Suck It Up Buttercup’ and ‘Shut Up Whiny Cry Baby Because There Are People That Got Life Worse Than You.’

    And those insensitive attitudes compounded my pain (the grief over the death).

    Sometimes when people complain to you a lot, it’s because they are in a lot of emotional pain. There is nothing they can do to change or fix the situation.

    The only thing they can do to get through the pain is cry and work through it – and talk to someone (an empathetic, non-shaming, non-judgemental someone) about what they’re experiencing.

    There was absolutely nothing I could have done to raise my mother back from the dead.

    There are some problems in life that cannot be fixed or changed. You have to learn to deal with those things that cannot be changed.

    Lois, I would hope if someone ever comes to you seeking compassion because they are hurting, afraid, or upset about something (especially something significant, like domestic abuse, or losing a loved one to death), that you would just listen and offer empathy rather than, “if you don’t like situation X, just change it, you cry baby” type rhetoric you’ve been employing on this thread.

    There may be a time and place for such rhetoric depending on the person and the specifics, (I have a couple of online friends and one family member that come to mind – they complain constantly over issues most of us would likely find trivial), but I don’t think most people are in that category.

    Like

  48. Lea said,

    I feel like she’s (or he’s) [Lois B] been here before.

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

    I get the impression from reading her posts that she doesn’t truly understand abuse dynamics ~or~ Christianity.

    Some situations in life are not all cut and dried, as she seems to think they are.

    If anybody and everybody had the financial means or psychological health to just change a situation they didn’t like (or to just walk away from a bad church or abusive spouse), it would be easy, and everyone would do it.

    But there’s a reason a lot of people see psychologists, psychiatrists, take anti-depressant medications, or commit suicide.

    When people are in emotional pain and/or under a lot of stress, they are not always able, or have the energy, to change their circumstance, nor are they always thinking clearly or logically, so they are unable to make plans or put change into motion.

    I especially got the impression that Lois B. does not grasp or understand complementarianism or Christian patriarchy and how they work, and how they make makes girls and women more susceptible to being abused or enduing abuse for years and years.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Kathi said,

    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.

    I’ve been thinking for a long time about making a post on my own blog about this, or something similar to it.

    I’ve noticed a lot of people (and unfortunately a lot of Christians would fall into this habit as well) think that once someone gets vulnerable with them – if someone admits to a weakness, a failure, that they are anxious, depressed, whatever and shares some struggle they are having in their life – the other person who is listening to this then feels it is their right to pass judgement on that person over the matter.

    Nine times out of ten, if someone confides in you over something that has them upset, they are doing so in order to receive compassion, understanding, empathy, and encouragement – they are not sharing their flaws, problems, or personal dirty laundry with you to receive judgement, criticism, advice, condemnation, or victim-blaming.

    If someone opens up to you over something they are having trouble with, that is not your (generic “your” there, not saying this about Kathi) right to judge and criticism that person.

    To use my situation as an example again – when I sought comfort from Christians about my mother’s passing, a lot of Christians I went to viewed my sharing and transparency as their opportunity, opening, excuse, or right to judge and criticize me over how I was dealing with the loss.

    How tacky of them. I was seeking and wanting support from them, not condemnation, shaming, or nit-picking over my reaction to the loss.

    Like

  50. Christianity Hurts said (in regards to Lois B),

    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.

    That could be, but, Lois B. may be the type of very, very, super analytical and logical types of people. Such people have a very difficult time understanding how and why emotions can hamper other people from making the same logical decisions they feel they would make if they were in the same situation.

    It would be rather like telling Spock, the Vulcan from Star Trek about your bad day at your job and what a jerk your boss is. He would probably tell you to “Just get another job if you don’t like your current boss,” when all you were hoping or expecting for was some empathy, e.g., “I’m sorry to hear about your bad day at your job. I hope tomorrow is better.”

    I’ve tried confiding in super logical, overly rational people before – and walked away feeling misunderstood, or as though they just don’t “get it.”

    Like

  51. Regarding Avid Reader’s JANUARY 27, 2018 @ 7:07 AM post, I agree.

    For those of us already deeply familiar with complementarianism and/or with Doug Wilson and his views, we can pretty much instantly spot all the problems in Gen’s story and how the church let her down.

    Like

  52. insanitybytes22 said,

    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.

    One of the problems with any one wanting to use marital counseling for abusive marriages is that a lot of marriage counselors have been trained to think in terms of “50-50” responsibility.

    So, if one spouse says the other is yelling at them or beating them, the counselor will assign partial responsibility to the abused person and ask them, ‘What role did you play in that? What did you do to cause your spouse to hit you?’

    Such counseling or advice shows a total lack of understanding of the dynamics going on in an abusive marriage (or any abusive relationship).

    There is really nothing, or not much, a the victim can do to “change” the abuser, nor is it the responsibility of the victim to change the abuser. The abuser is responsible for the abuse and for changing his or her behavior.

    There is no justification for abuse – it doesn’t matter if the abused spouse – say a wife – did not iron the husband’s shirt, or clean all the crumbs off the table, or whatever the abusive husband is claiming to have been the trigger for his verbal or physically abusive outburst.

    If you are a man who is upset your wife didn’t iron your shirt, you calmly talk to her about it, maybe say you’re disappointed about it, and then iron the shirt yourself. What you do not do is beat your wife over it, or scream at her, or calmly tell her she’s a big loser and a piece of trash.

    Another thing one learns from reading stacks of web pages and books about abusers is that they abuse because they can, and because they have a mentality of entitlement.

    Abusers abuse because they like to control their victim, and usually they like that control because that means they get THEIR way in the relationship at all times, they get their needs met, but they “coast.”
    The abuser gets to be lazy in a relationship. They don’t have to compromise or ever give in and do what their spouse wants and prefers.

    The abuser does not have to iron shirts for the victim, cook meals for the victim, mow the lawn, wash dirty dishes, do other chores or errands, nor does the abuser have to meet the victim’s emotional needs.

    The abuser is 100% responsible for any abuse, but a typical marriage counselor will believe (quite wrongly) that the victim is partially responsible and needs to make changes to avoid ticking off her abuser and thus avoid getting abused.
    But that’s not how abusive relationships work.

    Like

  53. One of the techniques of verbal abuse is ‘crazy making’ – statements that contradict each other. This makes conversations quite confusing and more emotionally laden. I think the “insanity” notes by Dave are examples of the technique.

    Liked by 2 people

  54. scott1253 said,

    <

    blockquote>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.

    <

    blockquote> Very good points. Complementarians like to say God supposedly put men in charge of all women all the time, but these same guys turn around and do this pansy stuff, as you were putting it.

    I read a secular book by a therapist lady.

    She said one of her patients came to her depressed because her husband kept nit picking at her all the time for not folding his underwear “just so” and for letting a drop or two of water hit the floor when she watered their plants in the kitchen, etc.

    She told her therapist she felt she was failing her husband, etc etc., and this was one thing leading her to feel depressed.

    The therapist told her to consider that maybe her husband was a controlling, nit picking, control freak jerk – he was the one with the problem, not her!

    (I don’t know if that couple was Christian or what their religious beliefs were because the book didn’t say. But I don’t think it matters much.)

    And it’s been forever since I’ve read about the Fly Lady site! I read about that site years ago but haven’t been there for years and years.

    Like

  55. Zoe – your book suggestion –
    The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse; Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church, by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen.

    If I’m not mistaken, I think a copy of it is for free online.
    I think Dee or Deb or someone once posted a link to it? Some site uploaded it for free, where you can read it all. (?)

    At least a few chapters from that book can be read on Google books for free:
    Google Books site: “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse”

    Liked by 1 person

  56. I’m curious what kind of word count Lois would need to hit before she no longer feels ‘silenced’.

    Every couple I’ve ever known, save two, the man is a gold digger who mooches off the woman

    For real daisy? I haven’t seen that often at all. Occasionally yes.

    Like

  57. Daisy you are right that you pretty much have to pick between egalitarian and conservative where church is concerned with some rare exceptions. I know what’s more important to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  58. Re: Lois (JANUARY 27, 2018 @ 4:01 PM) post.

    I can maybe agree with a lot of what you’re saying in that post, but I’d agree only if what you’re saying is applied to other contexts.

    I think this is primarily an abuse survivor blog, so it’s meant to be a spot where the wounded can feel safe talking.

    I am aware of domestic violence abuse blogs which do not permit abusive men to leave comments questioning or criticizing their anti-abuse posts or the comments their visitors (who are mostly abused wives) leave on those blogs.

    Surely you can see how it would be harmful to allow abusive husbands to leave critical comments up and down blogs posts meant to support abused wives?

    If I’m coming on to this blog to spill my sorrows about some hurt I’m going through in life, I have no desire to be lectured by you, or anyone else, that I’m a big dummy or whiny complainer, for not just stopping it, changing it, or leaving, etc.

    I don’t think Julie Anne is trying to ‘control what everyone thinks’ here. She probably thinks you are welcome to your own opinions where you like to nit pick the stories of abuse victims – just not on her blog.

    This is a spot where victims like to read or post.
    They don’t want to be grilled on their stories (as though they are lying or partially responsible for being abused), nor do they want to be blamed, shamed, and criticized – often times, they’ve already received that type of behavior from their churches or from other Christians.

    (continued in another post)

    Like

  59. continued – reply to Lois B.
    Lois B said,

    When you try to suppress comments with which you disagree, you are no different from the very people you condemn

    That would depend on the specifics – the contexts, motives, etc.

    Personally, I tend to support abuse survivor blogs where they don’t allow nay-sayers and “negative nancies” to come on in the comments box to pick apart the stories of victims who post their stories of abuse.

    There are certain times or places in life where it wouldn’t be wise or compassionate to critique someone’s experiences, views – like at a funeral, for instance.

    Would you really choose the funeral of your friend’s mother to go up to your friend and criticize your friend about something, or to hound her to re-pay you the twenty bucks she owes you from three weeks ago? I doubt it.

    I am not against being factual, logical, and analytical, but there is, IMO, a right and wrong place to behave in that manner, and I don’t think a blog where people share their emotional wounds and spiritual or marital abuse is the time and place to do it.

    The people posting here, many of them, are looking for connection, support, and empathy (from having been hurt in some way by a church or Christian), they are not looking for someone to pick apart and criticize any and all choices that caused them to stay in or join a rotten church (or spouse).

    Which isn’t to say I’m against people educating other people on how to spot abusers in the first place (what red flags to look for) or how to leave an abusive church or marriage, but it would depend on how you go about it, and the timing, etc.

    I just don’t think abuse survivor blogs is the time or place to lecture people or cross-examine them on their thought processes, choices, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  60. @ Lea,

    For real daisy? I haven’t seen that often at all. Occasionally yes.

    Yep, really.

    Most married couples I know (or live in lovers) the woman has the full time job while the husband (or boyfriend) sits at home all day in their boxers playing video games or watching football.

    Off the top of my head, the only married couples I can think of who had traditional marriages (husband works full time, wife stays at home and cleans house) were my parents, one Aunt-Uncle of mine (though the wife in that marriage later worked for a decade or more as a sales clerk), and one of my online friends.

    All the other marriages / live-in long term relationships I know personally, the lady works full time and pays all the bills AND she does all (or the majority) of the housework, while the male sits at home all day.

    Well, with one Aunt-Uncle of mine, the Aunt works all day AND does all the housework, while the Uncle is usually at a bar in their neighborhood drinking beer.

    So I am mystified when I see men complain about women gold-diggers. Most gold-diggers I’ve seen are men, not women.

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  61. Lois B said,

    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.

    I am seriously wondering if you have Asperger’s or Autism? You don’t seem to read social cues or social situations very well. (I am not saying that to insult people with Asperger or Autism.)

    I am seriously wondering how anyone could be so obtuse on how to talk to someone who’s been abused.

    You say you’re not condemning her, but nit picking her story to death as you are and then telling her that her own choices are to blame for joining or staying in a lousy church or marriage sure sounds rather condemning to me.

    There is maybe a time or place to gently suggest that people ask themselves if and how their choices led them into whatever painful situation they’re in, but I don’t think a survivor abuse blog under a post about domestic and spiritual abuse is it.

    Or, you’re going about it the wrong way (more on that below, under Tone Policing).

    When or if women who feel they are being abused posts their stories to the internet, I doubt most of them are clamoring for people to analyze every line of their story to nit pick it, criticize them, and judge their actions, choices, and reactions.

    Just like when I went to Christians after my mother died to discuss the grief with them, I was wanting and expecting empathy, hugs, support, and encouragement.
    I did not want or need shaming, blaming, un-solicited advice, or anyone nit-picking my reactions, motives, or choices (but that is what happened most often).

    Where is that KAS guy? He’s big on Tone Policing.

    Well, if your heart is in the right place, Lois B., and you’re just saying you want Gen to never be in another hurtful church or marriage again, and here are the steps she can take (Steps 1, 2, 3), that’s fine (I.M.O.), but your tone in how you are getting that across sounds condemning or judgemental.

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  62. Lois said (is this the same Lois as Lois B. or is this another Lois?)

    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.

    In many ways, my parents, who were/are Christians, were / are great.

    Most who looked at my family of origin would’ve assumed that my family was The Brady Bunch.

    There was no physical abuse in my family. I got all my material needs met – my parents got my toys and goodies every birthday and Christmas.

    Not all abusive beliefs passed on to the kids comes wrapped in overt abuse or physical violence.

    My mother was very loving but also very much a codependent who taught me to be codependent (and she based part of this on biblical teachings and interpretations about Christian girls and women needing to be submissive).

    My father was somewhat emotionally or verbally abusive. But he did not hit me.

    Not all toxic beliefs and teachings that keep Christians in emotional turmoil or abusive marriages is always brought about by physical abuse in the family of origin. Sometimes toxic, harmful beliefs come wrapped up in shiny, pretty packages with bows.

    My mother and churches I went to as a kid had me convinced that Jesus really wanted me to be a compliant, submissive doormat. It sounded good and loving at the time. But as an adult, I realize how badly such teaching held me back and left me vulnerable to being targeted by users, bullies, and abusers.

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  63. I apologize for making so many posts. I hope nobody minds.

    I am just stunned by some of Lois B’s remarks, and I find other comments by others good or interesting and like to comment on them. I don’t think I own the comment box or anything. I also haven’t posted in several days, and it’s nice to post again.

    Re: (by Avid Reader):

    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.

    Your entire post was spot on.

    I also very much like this analogy.
    There is a time and place and tone (hello Kas!) to “lecture,” correct, or advise people – and then there are times, places, and tones where it’s so wrong and insensitive to do so.

    Like

  64. Lois said,

    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 kind of relate. I sometimes wonder too, since I began drifting away from the Christian faith a few years ago and stopped going to church a few years ago.

    Now that I have something resembling self esteem (I lacked it totally for many years), and now that I know about boundaries, and that it’s OK to have boundaries and be assertive, I do sometimes marvel at why and how so many other Christians continue to put up with the nonsense and abuse they do.

    But, I also grew up in this stuff, and I remember what it’s like. I have to sometimes stop and concentrate and remember what it was like, but when I go back, I can see why they do what they do.

    Like

  65. @ Julie Anne.
    I just sometimes feel bad, guilty, or embarrassed to make a lot of comments in a row on a blog.

    I don’t mean to look like I think I’m the blog owner, or that my views are more important than anyone else’s, nor am I an arrogant jerk who thinks anyone is hanging on my every post or word.
    Sometimes, lurkers are afraid to start posting if they see someone (the same person) making a lot of posts – I hope that’s not the case. I don’t mean to turn anyone off from posting, or intimidate them.

    I genuinely care about the topics being discussed here and/or find the conversations illuminating, which is why I sometimes go through bursts where I make a lot of posts in a row or on a few threads.

    Like

  66. Hi Daisy, I’ll go out on a bit of a limb and say that the RCA and CRC might be near what you are looking for. I’m sure they’re all over the map, but I was able to find one that was both conservative and egalitarian.

    To the rest of the comments, I think it is spot on. I find that there are very few people that understand the dynamics of abuse. Most of the people I know that understand abuse have been abused themselves and then somehow had “too much” and their eyes were opened.

    The other quadrants are people who grew up without abuse and are completely ignorant about how it could happen (e.g. Lois), or people that are still being abused, and no matter how much you try and explain the abuse dynamics, they think that everything is awesome. Maybe they see a few incidences, but they can’t put together the pattern.

    I have a blog elsewhere and I was really surprised. I got a “you sound angry and bitter” comment. I went on and on to explain that anger isn’t a sinful emotion, that Jesus himself was angry and that if we are to be more and more Christlike, then there must be situations where we are going to get angry, and I think those situations revolve around injustice. We, as Christians, should be angry at injustice, whether it is gymnasts being sexually abused, children being chained to beds or wives being beaten by their husbands. I think suppressing and demonizing anger is one of the main vehicles for perpetuating abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

  67. Lois said,

    (Point 1).
    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.

    Now that I’m reading some of your more recent posts, I think I may see where you’re coming from.
    I may even sort of agree with some of what you’re saying (if I am understanding you correctly), but I think HOW you are communicating it is what is causing much of the push-back.

    (Point 1). I see what you mean, that these weren’t “true” friends to start with, but. However.

    Now that I’m in my mid-40s and have never married or had children, I’m pretty much alone. Some of my family members have died. The living ones tend to be verbal abusers, so I have to keep my distance from them.

    Going through life alone is at times difficult emotionally and in practical terms.

    If I’m sick and cannot drive myself to the doctor’s office, who is going to do that for me, for instance? If I’m sad and discouraged who can I call or talk to in order to be cheered up and comforted?

    If I were married to a jerk and going to a church (and all my friends were at the church), that would be my only family and source of community support.

    If I leave and divorce the jerk spouse and then my church ostracizes me because they don’t believe divorce is biblical, suddenly, I am all alone, without the support and companionship I once had.

    I think that is the dilemma a lot of these abused Christian wives are in when they leave their spouse.
    Suddenly losing your entire support system can be painful, stressful, and difficult for some people.

    It’s not going to be until after the divorced women recovers after months and months that she comes to realize that those church jokers were never her real friends to start with.

    In the meantime, someone in that position might come to a blog like this to pour her heart out, be heard, and get the emotional support she needs.

    When you lose all the people you thought were your friends, it can be stressful and require a shift in your thinking and coping to lose all of them.

    You have to start from scratch all over again, and IMO, making friends is not easy, not for every one. Friends don’t just fall from trees.

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  68. Mark, I guess I can google for it, but what is RCA and CRC?

    RCA reminds me of a recording label. The one that I think had the dog listening to the phonograph as a logo?

    Most every church I’ve read about that supports gender egalitarianism also tends to be very liberal on other issues (and no offense to liberal readers), I don’t think I’d feel comfortable with that sort of church.

    Not that I’m in a big trusting spot at this stage in my life to ever try another church again, LOL. I don’t know.

    Like

  69. Lois said,

    (Point 2.)
    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.

    If I am understanding you right, you’re saying you’re not blaming the victims for being in a church, staying in it, or in an abusive marriage –

    You’re saying you don’t understand why the victims do what they do, but you are frustrated they don’t beat their bullies up – you are rooting for them to stand up and fight.

    If that’s where you’re coming from, I think I see what you mean. If that is what you mean, then I’d perceive you as being pro- victim but you just stated your views in a way that we misunderstood where you were coming from.

    Sometimes I feel that way, too, sometimes I find it frustrating to see, for example, a woman say in a post that she’s in an abusive marriage / church, but she won’t stand up to her abusers. You’re rooting for her to fight back. I get it.

    I sometimes see people who say they are in a terrible marriage or a horrible church, and I wish they would just get the courage to stand up to the abusers and/or walk out.

    But then I remember my upbringing and stuff I was taught in churches I went to as a kid, and such indoctrination leaves a person unprepared and ill equipped to deal with these issues when they’re older.

    I was not only not taught to have boundaries and be assertive when I was growing up (by Christian parents and churches) but, at times when I intuitively began doing those things on my own, my Christian and codependent mother (and occasionally my father) would DISCOURAGE me from doing those things.

    For example. I remember as a teen going to my mother asking for advice on how to handle bullies who were picking on me at school.

    I finally asked her straight up, “Can I at least politely tell the bully that he’s offending and hurting me and to please leave me alone?”

    And my mother’s eyes grew big and wide, she inhaled sharply, and said (in her sweet little girlish voice she sometimes talked in),

    “Why honey, no! You might hurt the bully’s feelings if you did that! Do you really think Jesus would want you to hurt the bully?”

    So, some Christian women teach their daughters (like me) that being assertive, even politely, is wrong, because girls should be submissive, other people’s needs and feelings matter more than hers, you should tolerate abuse or mistreatment because God wants you to (because that’s the loving thing to do, it’s being sensitive to your abuser’s needs and feelings), etc.

    It’s the “Turn the other cheek” view point taken to an extreme (mixed in with ideas that the Bible allegedly teaches that God wants women and girls to be doormats at all times). Christians focus on verses like that – “turn the other cheek” – and ignore all the places where Christ spoke sharply to his critics.

    Is that messed up and backwards? Heck yes it is. But you don’t always realize it when you’re living in the middle of it, like a fish is in water all day and probably doesn’t notice the water any more.

    Part of me as a teen suspected it was wrong, but, out of love for my mother (who was hurting a lot of the time and felt unlovable, and others in my family verbally abused her), I complied with her wishes. I didn’t want to hurt Mom’s feelings by disagreeing with her parental instruction.

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  70. Leslie said,
    “Not everyone is strong.”

    Very true. Some people are hurting, going though a tough time, and are incapable of fighting back.

    Others are born with sensitive, shy natures and have a difficult time standing up for themselves.

    Yet others are conditioned to be passive and act like doormats and are taught it is always wrong to fight back.

    In my case, it was a mixture of some of those things. I was born with a shy, fearful nature, plus, my family taught me to behave like a doormat.

    Like

  71. After reading Serving Kids in Japan’s excellent post in this thread (of JANUARY 28, 2018 @ 9:29 AM) there was no need to me to make about 90% of the posts I just made.

    Sigh. Sorry everybody.
    SKIJ said it better than me, and in one post.

    Like

  72. Lois said,

    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.

    I don’t think your analogy quite fits to the topic in the OP.

    You are assuming that nobody here sees the problem (the ice on the step). Most of us do see that there is ice on the step.

    Gen slipped on that ice and hurt herself, to go with your analogy. The people from her church did not help her up and brush her off, as they should have done.

    Instead, they lectured her for slipping and falling.

    You’re lecturing her for supposedly not seeing the ice in the first place, or being ‘dumb enough’ to step in it.

    Most of us here spot the problems – controlling churches, abusive spouses.

    You said,

    “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.”

    I do think this part of your analogy fits – it fits you.

    I don’t think you understand what it’s like to be in a church, to depend on a church like you would family (so losing that family, no matter how awful they are, can be a lonely or scary thing), etc.

    I don’t think you grasp what it’s like to have a fearful personality type, to be codependent, to not be able to make choices for yourself (because you’ve been raised since childhood not to), etc.

    I think everyone posting here really does understand there is a problem.

    We’re just not agreeing with you on how to speak to the victim of the problem.
    Most of us are not making assumptions about the victim (that she has the money or the courage to leave her abuser(s)), etc.

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  73. Julie Anne said, >blockquote>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.
    Absolutely correct.

    I’ve been thinking about doing a post on my blog about this subject.

    So, so many Christians I’ve run into (seeking empathy for once having had severe depression, or later, grief over Mom dying) are so ignorant of all that. They don’t understand that a lot of painful things in life and getting over it or to terms with it is a PROCESS.

    Getting over or through depression, grief, abuse, etc, is a time consuming journey one must walk through. It’s not like flipping a light switch, where presto!, you can get over it in one second.

    So many Christians I ran into act like a person should get over a painful event in life in a matter of mere moments, and…

    They think you should get through it ALONE, that it’s lazy or shameful to ask someone else to grant you emotional support.

    I ran into those two thoughts repeatedly during my years of depression and later, grief. You’re supposed to get over pain instantly and all by yourself, is how like 98% of Christians think.

    Liked by 1 person

  74. Lois said,

    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.

    I don’t want to write volumes about why I’m having a faith crisis and am somewhat of an agnostic. I can partially agree with some of your sentiments, but not all.

    In your nurse example, religion or belief in a deity didn’t apparently play a part in any of it? Was the killer motivated by religious belief to do what he did to the nurses?

    Religion or certain religious beliefs can be problematic, and the Bible can and is misunderstood and misapplied by some who say they believe in it, but a lot of people find comfort in believing in a deity, and they believe that deity to be Jesus Christ.

    I think it’s a little simplistic to blame all theism for evil done in the world. My mother was a devout Christian, and she pretty much consistently lived out her Christian beliefs the best she could, which involved doing good deeds for neighbors around her. She would take home made chicken soup to sick neighbors, spend days sweeping out trash from the flooded homes, etc.

    She got all that partly from her inherent sweet, kind nature, but also due to her beliefs that Jesus Christ wanted her to help people in duress.

    There is both good and bad with Christianity.

    Like

  75. Mark said,

    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.

    I’ve raised a similar point on TWW blog many a time.

    There is a lot of overlap between abuse in marriage, abuse in secular workplaces, bullying / abuse by kid- against- kid on the school play ground, and abuse in churches.

    The dynamics of abuse, and how victims react to abuse, or how victims are treated after they report their abuse, are very similar – whether or not religion is involved.

    I was bullied in a secular, full time job, by one of my bosses. I have no idea what my boss’s religious views were – maybe she was not religious at all, I don’t know.

    I asked Deb and Dee at the other blog years ago to read some books about secular workplace abuse, because how employers handle abuse in their workplaces is creepily similar to how churches deal with it, or vice versa.

    Come to think of it, in the recent news coverage of abuse in Hollywood or journalism by guys such as Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer, the abuse dynamics are similar in those fields as well, and covered up or mis-handled just as badly by those secular groups as they are in or by churches or by religious groups.

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  76. Mark said,

    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”.

    That deserves repeating.

    In general terms, too, I’ve learned to be far, far more cautious about when or if I get vulnerable with Christians in real life.

    I’ve learned to be a lot more cautious about who I divulge stuff to or if I do or how much I reveal in real life, because I’ve discovered that many Christians, once you share your personal dirty laundry, view that as an invitation to judge you, criticize you, shame you, or gossip about you and your problem behind your back.

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  77. SKIJ said,

    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.

    I do agree with your post, but I sort of see where Lois was coming from with her standing up to bullies commentary.

    It may depend on who your bully is and if he or she is backed by an institution or toxic work culture.

    In two of the very few cases I ever stood up to bullies (one in a sales job I had as a teen, and later, as an adult on a full time job with a bratty coworker), both bullies did back down and leave me alone.

    However, I don’t think my employer had any intention of taking down my Boss Bully. Most books I read on workplace abuse will educate you that H.R. departments exist to protect the company, not you – so if you go file a complaint about your abusive boss, the company will fire YOU and protect your bully.

    So, there are times when one will fight a bully and win, and other times, the bully will win, because the bully has more power, money, and/or the company backs the bully/ abuser. I guess you have to know when or if it’s safe to stand up to a bully.

    Like

  78. Post Script. I said:
    “In two of the very few cases I ever stood up to bullies (one in a sales job I had as a teen, and later, as an adult on a full time job with a bratty coworker), both bullies did back down and leave me alone.”

    I mean, in those cases where I stood up for myself. My mother taught me to be a doormat and forbid me from defending myself.

    However, she never explicitly said I could not defend other victims, so any time I saw people getting bullied, I normally jumped up to their defense and got in the bully’s face (I did this as a kid and as an adult).

    Like

  79. Liz said,

    (point 1)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.

    (point 2)
    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.

    Point 1.
    Yep. In an abusive relationship, the victim is not responsible for triggering the abuser, and nothing the victim does (or stops doing) is going to get the abuser to change. The onus is purely on the abuser to stop the abusing (which they seldom do, is my understanding having read many books / blogs on the issue).

    In an abusive relationship, there are not “two sides to a story,” as though we need Gen’s husband to come on here and give “his side” to hear him out.

    Even if he did so, if he came on here and tried to justify his mistreatment of Gen, there is no excuse for him to verbally, financially, or physically abuse Gen anyway.

    Point 2.
    Thank you for expressing that. I had the same thought reading Lois’ posts as well.

    I think part of that is that Lois didn’t grow up going to churches. I tried explaining up thread that not all churches or Christians operate the same way, they don’t all have the same religious beliefs, or agree on everything.

    Lois seems to be treating all churches or religious believers as though they are all identical, but they’re not.

    Like

  80. Lois said,

    I am about to demonstrate to everyone just how to deal with abusive people………you say good-bye.

    Leaving an abuser is not always that simple, though, as several of us have explained in posts above.

    If a woman has no self esteem, has been depressed, stressed out and afraid for years due to her abusive husband’s controlling nature, constant name calling and/or physical abuse, AND if she has no income, no money, no place to stay should she leave him, she’s not going to have an easy time leaving her abusive spouse.

    Similar with abusive workplaces. If you decide to leave you have to be all stealthy about job hunting so your boss doesn’t get wind of it.

    Like

  81. Mark said,

    The other quadrants are people who grew up without abuse and are completely ignorant about how it could happen (e.g. Lois), or people that are still being abused, and no matter how much you try and explain the abuse dynamics, they think that everything is awesome. Maybe they see a few incidences, but they can’t put together the pattern.

    I have a blog elsewhere and I was really surprised. I got a “you sound angry and bitter” comment. I went on and on to explain that anger isn’t a sinful emotion

    I don’t want to go into a ton of detail here, but yes, I have been greatly misunderstood at times on my own blog, on other people’s blogs, or social media.

    I’ve had people mis-read my motives, accuse me of views I don’t even hold, etc.

    What really freaks me out are the occasions I’ve written about a topic, was quite calm at the time of writing it, but someone comes along and says I sound so angry. -Which is news to me, because I was not the least bit angry when I wrote the post or comment.

    I have definitely been misunderstood on my own blog.
    Some lady on there a few months ago was angry with me because I dared to write several posts mentioning that secular psychology and psychiatry did not fully help me with my problems (not that I am anti- secular mental health medicine at all, I just mention it has its flaws at times).

    That lady was expecting me to use my own blog to only say positive, great things about psychology and was angry at me for writing anything critical about it.

    I’ve had other stuff like that happen there, here, and on other sites or on social media.

    And yes, I too keep running into people who do not understand sexual harassment or abuse dynamics. You see the same ignorant comments and objections all the time about, “why did the victim wait X number of years to complain?,” and that sort of thing.

    Like

  82. Daisy – and tone (hello Kas!) to “lecture,” …

    Morning Daisy. Even KAS knows there is a time to speak and a time to be silent!

    I’ve never particularly wanted to lecture anyone on anything. I reserve judgment on Wilson and the goings-on of his elders, assuming I need to make a judgment. There are few unbiased sources of information. I strongly suspect I wouldn’t fit in in his church or one of its affiliates. I like my freedom in Christ too much!

    I know there are resources dedicated to him, but in the past I spent far too much time reading them. I had to stop – one more blog and comments section dripping with bitterness or verbal abuse and I would have gone mad. It really really got me down. Ironically it’s the origin of my argument against foul commenting, not just because it is unrighteous but also counterproductive. Hence my hesitation, even now, about saying much about Wilson.

    Please do continue to discern Wilson’s teaching and practice and how it affects real people, I absolutely don’t want a fruitless discusion of the ‘tone’ thing to de-rail the thread. But at least you are now in the picture.

    Like

  83. Daisy,

    Enjoyed reading your posts. In education research they say that it takes the average person about six or seven times of hearing the same thing before they properly absorb the new topic. Don’t feel bad that you accidentally repeated everything that others had already said. We needed to hear both perspectives.

    Like

  84. Daisy, RCA = Reformed Church in America. It’s a dutch Reformed church. I’m sure it’s all over the board, but I was surprised how conservative it was given that they’ve had women leaders for a long time.
    CRC = Christian Reformed Church. They were conservative enough to be in NAPARC with the OPC and PCA, but were kicked out when they allowed women to be ordained. Also dutch Reformed.

    I will say that I’ve tried very hard to not get engrossed in the doctrinal details or leadership structure of the church I attend. So, I don’t know if my church is a non-legalistic anomaly in an otherwise legalistic church or whether we are more conservative than usual.

    Reformed = Calvinist, but there are two main strands of Calvinism. The Neo-Calvinists (although it’s more a continuation of the old Puritan-style Calvinism) focus more on God bringing his kingdom through church leadership and a church that is an example in holiness. Also, there is an inherent pessimism – that is, that the world is going to get worse and worse and the church is somewhat an island of righteousness within an increasingly dark world. Change comes primarily from the top down, which is why Christian Reconstruction is so appealing. The other strand is, from what I understand, dutch/Kuyperian, which is that God is bringing change thought the Holy Spirit’s work in each one of us individually, and that there is more of an optimistic approach that the world is headed in the right direction.

    One of the principle litmus tests is the the interpretation of a passage of scripture. Is the purpose of the pastor “for the equipping of the saints; for the ministry” or “for the equipping of the saints for the ministry”. Neo-Calvinists tend to think of the work of the ministry being done by the pastor and professional church leadership, where the members primarily bring warm bodies to be ministered to. Kuyperians tend to think of the work in the church being done by the hands and feet and not the “head”, where the pastor is primarily an encourager and structure provider and not the primary minister.

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  85. KAS, I used to be a Doug Wilson fan. That changed pretty significantly when I heard his Auburn Avenue lectures and his screwed up views on justification. I still held pretty similar complementarian views, since he didn’t put too much garbage in his books, but his view of the church and of salvation is really bad.

    When I started understanding the difference between complementarian systems – patriarchy vs. “final decision and church roles” vs. quasi-mutualism, I realized that Wilson was much more patriarchal than I was as a mostly mutual + church role complementarian. That opened my eyes that many of the analogies he used were much more patriarchal under the surface than I first understood. For example, I had understood the dishes analogy primarily under the division of labor and mutual agreement viewpoint rather than the wifely duty, but when I understood the patriarchal undertones it was a pretty horrific read.

    I found Natalie Greenfield’s personal blog to be (surprisingly) much less bitter and verbally abusive than the other Wilson blogs, although some of the Wilson blogs have much better documentation and source material.

    Like

  86. I am seriously wondering if you have Asperger’s or Autism?

    Not everyone who is a jerk has a diagnosis. (neither is everyone with dx like this) Sometimes people know very well what they’re doing, but they like to play games.

    Daisy – and tone (hello Kas!) to “lecture,” …
    KAS

    You summoned him! Ha.

    Liked by 1 person

  87. Going through life alone is at times difficult emotionally and in practical terms. If I’m sick and cannot drive myself to the doctor’s office, who is going to do that for me, for instance? If I’m sad and discouraged who can I call or talk to in order to be cheered up and comforted?

    Daisy, I’m lucky in that I have family and extended family to depend on for things like this. However I will say I read a book by Brene Brown about being ‘vulnerable’ and how important it is and I realize that is something I am very bad at and am trying to actively become more so. To the point of actually letting friends take care of me, or relying on them, in small ways, instead of just family. Being more open. That is a hard thing for me to do, but I think it’s necessary.

    Like

  88. In your nurse example, religion or belief in a deity didn’t apparently play a part in any of it? Was the killer motivated by religious belief to do what he did to the nurses?

    Daisy this is a famous case (Ramirez?), the killer was not iirc motivated by religion at all.

    The nurse was raised in a different culture, interestingly. I believe she was Filipino? I’m not sure that Lois’s view of that whole thing is entirely accurate, but there was a lot of discussion about whether they should fight back and the one nurse who managed to hide was able to live through it because Ramirez got so crazy killing (and raping) everyone he couldn’t remember how many nurses he had.

    Liked by 1 person

  89. What really freaks me out are the occasions I’ve written about a topic, was quite calm at the time of writing it, but someone comes along and says I sound so angry.

    It’s also very common for women to be accused of being ’emotional’, which 1. is not always true and 2. is not a bad thing.

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  90. It IS abusive to silence someone, suppressing what they say because one does not agree with it.

    Oh, Lois, for heaven’s sake. If you can’t tell the difference between Julie Anne’s management of this thread, and the way Gen was treated by her so-called “church”, then you’re a long way from understanding anything about abuse. And you clearly don’t realize what this blog is for.

    JA gave you a lot of leeway. It’s awfully rich for you to call her abusive just because she won’t let you outright hijack a thread.

    Liked by 2 people

  91. Sigh. Sorry everybody.
    SKIJ said it better than me, and in one post.

    Aw shucks. Thanks, Daisy. (^_^)

    But no need to apologize. As JA said, we’re all on different schedules. After reading Lois’ ill-informed lectures, I felt I just had to say something in response. But my new job has been so crazy lately, I also had to distill it down, and keep it as concise as possible. So much to say, so little time.

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  92. ‘It’s also very common for women to be accused of being “emotional”‘
    As Insanitybytes22 observed, “It (the letter written by men) is hysteria and emotionalism, cloaked as logic and reason.”

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  93. In honor of the contradictory “super blue blood moon” (around here, clouds came in before moon went out 😦 ) I will henceforth use the term “lunacy”.
    Lunacy 5 courtesy of Moscowid.net
    “In summary, we are disciplining you for the sin of refusing to take responsibility for your share in creating a toxic home.” —Mike Lawyer
    “But the husband is responsible for all the problems. This is the case for no other reason than that he is the husband.” —Doug Wilson

    Like

  94. JA gave you a lot of leeway. It’s awfully rich for you to call her abusive just because she won’t let you outright hijack a thread.

    Like 30 paragraphs worth!

    Like

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