Spiritual Abuse: When People Tell You, “No Church is Perfect”

Spiritual Abuse, What Not to Say, Jonathan Hollingsworth

spiritual abuse, ken garrett, cults

 

Being hurt at church is tough, and sometimes it’s a lonely journey. You may have experienced something that other congregants have not experienced. Some people may have good intentions, but say things that are not helpful, and in fact, may be hurtful. This can lead to more isolation as you don’t know who is safe to talk to. This can lead hurt people to stay away from church entirely.

One of the most confusing things about spiritual abuse is that not everyone is able to identify spiritual abuse. I remember dropping hints to people seeing if they would acknowledge my experiences or even add to them. Thankfully, many did, and I didn’t feel alone.

I posted an old article by Jonathan Hollingsworth, What Not to Say to Someone Who’s Been Hurt by the Church, on Twitter and the SSB Facebook page which seems to have resonated with a lot of people. I thought it might be a good idea to discuss these unhelpful statements one by one here, and give people the opportunity to share their experiences.

Remember, one of the best ways for others to learn about spiritual abuse is for them to read the personal stories of others. When people can identify with your story, and you are naming it as spiritual abuse, it opens their eyes to the reality that what they experienced could have been abusive. Some people can sit with that uncertainty for years, but it will be one person’s story that will wake them up to their spiritually abusive reality.

Here is the first bad response that many of us have heard:

“No Church Is Perfect.”

Jonathan Hollingsworth writes:

Instead of empathizing with those who have been hurt by a church, some Christians go right into defense mode.

They might argue that the victim just had a “bad experience.” Or they’ll say the church is full of imperfect people who are “only human” and make mistakes just like the rest of us.

But can we agree that these excuses only distract from the problem? No one wants to be told to “focus on all the good things the church does” when they’ve been hurt by one. It doesn’t matter how many thousands of people have been positively affected by a church or ministry. The good experiences don’t cancel out the bad ones.

When I heard this said to me, it minimized the abuse and said that I need to toughen up and put up with what I was experiencing. It’s kind of like telling a victim of domestic violence that their violent husband is not perfect, just cut him some slack. It also could imply that other churches could be worse.

Did anyone say this to you? How did you react/respond to this unhelpful response?

 

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96 comments on “Spiritual Abuse: When People Tell You, “No Church is Perfect”

  1. It is true that no church or person is perfect but when wrong things happen there should be the machinery in place to address this. Some times churches with a seemingly large congregation and an appearance that they are live and successful can have these kinds of problems underneath that are not addressed. The other problem is that people might complain to others about the leadership instead of going direct to the person involved. That just makes things worse. We should always go to the person involved first. If no headway is made we must ask if God wants us in another church as we are not fitting in there.

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  2. Another popular saying goes: “If being hurt by the church causes you to lose faith in God then your faith was in people not in God”. I feel like both statements are a form of blame shifting. Instead of the “church” taking responsibility for times when people have been hurt… and taking the initiative in demonstrating humility, confession and reconciliation… and then taking steps to insure that more people aren’t hurt… it’s much easier to just put the blame on the hurt person. In a sense they are mocking the wounded person for having any expectations of seeing the love of Jesus in a church.

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  3. Thank you for bringing attention to this. My husband and I have had one bizarre encounter after another with pastors and church leaders who are strangely uncomfortable with the fact that we have a ministry to women in abusive relationships. We are done trying to convince Christians that what are doing is a good thing. Yet when we meet fellow believers, the first question is: Where do you go to church? When we say we don’t, they scowl at us, like there’s something wrong with us. “No church is perfect,” they say. True enough. We weren’t looking for perfection, just acceptance. Not being a member of a local church seems to make others doubt our faith, which is doubly ridiculous. We’re among the “nones and dones” now. No regrets.

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  4. Cindy Burrell, it seems as if you and your husband are busy ‘being’ the church. It’s hard for me to understand why attending a local church takes precedence over being the church. And why is attending a local church more important than being a part of the universal church?

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  5. I’ve usually heard a condemning addendum: “No church is perfect…and if it was, it would no longer be once YOU started attending.”
    Yeah, thanks for that.
    And as Cindy Burrell mentioned being in the “dones” category, it seems that is the new mission field for urban churches. Pastors oversimplify the reasons people are “done” and encourage the congregants to proselytize to their “none and done” friends. It is the rare pastor who attempts to understand the complex reasons of the “none and done” group.

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  6. Agreed that “No church is perfect” is generally a “nice” way of saying “suck it up, buttercup”, or some such thing, a way of sort of listening to your complaint without actually taking it seriously.

    One thought that occurs to me, though, is that sadly, the word “abuse” has taken on such a wide range of meaning that….it’s about to lose all meaning, at least in my opinion. Would other terms be better and/or more descriptive? I’m saying this, BTW, as someone who has experienced what a lot of people probably would say is “spiritual abuse”–a pastor who pursued me for a couple of months after my family had left the church he headed with KJVO materials, insulted my wife’s housekeeping (while his dog did his business on his kitchen floor, BTW), suggested concern for my spiritual condition because I wasn’t KJVO, etc..

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  7. My husband and I have had one bizarre encounter after another with pastors and church leaders who are strangely uncomfortable with the fact that we have a ministry to women in abusive relationships.

    Are you interested in expanding on this? Is it because they are afraid of divorce, don’t believe women, or some other thing? No pressure just curious.

    It’s a wonderful thing that you are doing.

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  8. Also those ‘no church is perfect’ people would probably be unhappy with your attending what they consider ‘liberal’ churches too. Eh.

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  9. Cindy Brunson, I agree! We often tell people that we don’t go to church, we ARE the church. While we had hoped to find a church where we could connect and be active, it’s odd that we simply convey that I work with abuse victims (which I’ve been doing for 9 years now), and most pastors seem unwilling to acknowledge the issue even exists. Furthermore, since both my husband and I are divorcees, we seem to be discounted right off the bat. (Yes, we’ve seen pastors’ facial expressions change when they hear that, too.) Regardless, we’re just fine right where we are. 😉

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  10. Interesting question. Yes, we always get the impression that the primary fear is that we might encourage “easy” divorce. Whether or not to divorce is not my call – but it isn’t theirs either! My focus is always truth, and that includes the truth that marriage a covenant governed by the oaths that define it. If those oaths are being overtly, habitually broken, then the covenant may be broken, as well. Any decision to remain or divorce is between the individuals in the marriage and God. But I think they prefer to maintain full control and to focus on “saving the marriage,” which actually gives abusers power, too – but that’s another blog post altogether!

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  11. I remember that one. It’s just a diversion. People are not looking for perfection but empathy, understanding, and acknowledgement/change if there are patterns of harmful behaviors and attitudes.

    In my mind, the root problem is the theology of church and church authority, which is usually unhealthy. Cindy, I’m a “done” as well, because I discovered following Christ has nothing to do with attending what we call “church”. Modern concepts of church are optional, but people have made them into an idol. Church leaders are also insecure about someone else’s ministry outside the church (or just being a “done”) because of their bad theology of “church” leadership. You know, “but you don’t have a covering if you don’t go to church.”

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  12. Hmmm. I heard some variations of this… One was ironically the sermon that put the nail in the coffin of my former church. The sermon was on “Mother Kirk” and the concept was that the church was our mother, and essentially, the church can screw up big time, but she’s still your mother (i.e. don’t leave). It was then that I realized that my “Mother Kirk” was abusive and studying abuse came to the conclusion that going no contact was the best way to deal with it.

    When I did leave, someone said, “well our church isn’t for everyone.” My two thoughts (which I chose not to say out loud) were: 1) why ISN’T the church for everyone? Are you picking and choosing which people fit your model for people that deserve your love? 2) is it only for the people that are holy enough and obviously if someone leaves, they’re damaged goods?

    I must be really fortunate – I walked out of one church and into another, after having done some research. Lots of divorced members and leaders, including the pastor. There’s a single mom ministry and overall, I think, a pretty good balance between standing for truth as well as being gracious. I think if it weren’t for finding that church, I’d probably be a ‘done’ as well.

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  13. But… it is a very hard decision to leave vs. stay and fight. I just don’t know how to fight an abusive and authoritarian church. Part of the “Mother Kirk” awakening was realizing how widespread the abuse was – this was a guest pastor brought in for a conference.

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  14. “Another popular saying goes:: “If being hurt by the church causes you to lose faith in God then your faith was in people not in God””

    Oh, Mary – – that one is said a lot, too! It really is not helpful at all!

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  15. I have experienced one pastor who understood why sometimes I didn’t come to church. I never was shamed at all. My friend and pastor, Ken Garrett, also is this way. Many in his church have gone through spiritual abuse and he completely understands why sometimes people can’t do church. When you are treated with kindness and grace, it makes church feel more safe.

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  16. Mark said: “But… it is a very hard decision to leave vs. stay and fight. I just don’t know how to fight an abusive and authoritarian church.”

    I don’t think you can fight an abusive and authoritarian church just as you can’t fight an alcoholic, a narcissist, an abuser. They are what they are.

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  17. I heard it ad nauseum. It’s just another way of dismissing someone’s pain so that people don’t have to get involved and actually deal with the abuse that happened. These days when anyone says it to me, I let them know that I’m not asking for perfection, but that I do expect to see fruit in keeping with the things that christians profess.

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  18. The “imperfect church” and “imperfect leaders” was a typical buzzword that so many would use at Covenant Life Church and Sovereign Grace Churches. What was really disappointing is that despite the repeated use of these phrases leaders would rarely if ever admit their imperfections. It wasn’t until exposure came out that they would admit “imperfections.”

    Thus they used this excuse but never really admitted. Leadership might change policies after perhaps determining that they were wrong but rarely admitted the mistake they made.

    C.J. Mahaney use to force leaders to step down due a leader’s children misbehaving. Then Mahaney had a son and rather than either accept the consequences he imposed on others either hid his sin or silently changed the policy on removing leaders. Never did C.J. admit that maybe he had it wrong on his previous policy of disciplining pastors.

    Sad

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  19. I have heard these statements in 2 different churches after my husband, another family member and I attempted to explain spirituality abusive incidents:

    “But no church is perfect”,
    “But look at all the good things the church does”, “But he said some good things”,

    and the one that triggers the most frustration in me:

    “But you have to forgive.”

    Notice that each of these statements start with ‘but’ which is clearly defensive. Many times we were unable to finish speaking before being interrupted by a ‘but’ statement.

    The way I have reacted is to rarely attend a Sun morning service. Books like So You Don’t Want to go to Church Anymore and Finding Church are helpful.

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  20. I think often a smaller church works better. More like a family. The scripture shows that everyone has when we come together but this is very difficult in a large church which tends to operate from the front without it happening from the congregation as well. We are three churches put together from Jan 18 and many who shared before just sit passively in their seats now. Fortunately I run a housegroup and also go to interdominational small prayer meetings and outreach but the main Sunday meeting now leaves me a bit bereft so it is a time of adjusting.

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  21. I think often a smaller church works better.

    I think people have distinct preferences here. I prefer a larger church. More places to get involved, people you might click with, etc. But people want different things and that’s fine. A house church sounds like torture to me.

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  22. The church is not our mother. The people are the church. Every one of them is part of the body all with a different function. Although we need leadership the hierarchical thing can create a wrong kind of distance between believers. Where the body is functioning correctly we need every member to work out what God wants it to be. It’s not only about leaders but about the whole body functioning.

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  23. There is a balance somewhere Lea. Previously 150 now 350 I think it makes a big difference in people functioning in the meeting. I run a housegroup meeting as part of our church and we have learned to pray together, share the word together and some social things. I would like more of the gifts of the Spirit to be used but we are not there yet. That can’t happen with 350 people unless the leaders really want it to.

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  24. Regarding leaves vs. “stay and fight”, it strikes me that at one level, it’s a loss to a church simply to have members show up as empty pews. However, when it gets to a certain level–doing things that will get people hurt, or have already gotten people hurt–then you might do well to raise a stink if it won’t hurt you too badly. To be honest, I actually just prepared (but did not use) a resignation letter when I got an “updated” version of a child safety manual I’d prepared–more or less, a lot of the best practices I’d put in there had been either eliminated, or were outright replaced with some worst practices like eliminating a requirement to fully comply with investigations, and adding permission for the pastor to do investigations.

    I didn’t pull the trigger because the pastor understood when I said “none of the changes are acceptable” and provided reasons why, but if they’d circled the wagons, my resignation letter was going onto Facebook. At this point, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt that they don’t get the issues yet.

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  25. That can’t happen with 350 people unless the leaders really want it to.

    What ‘can’t happen’? Prayers? Gifts used? Social things?

    Balance is important everywhere, but again, I think church size is very much a preference. Things can be poorly run at any size.

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  26. To be honest, I actually just prepared (but did not use) a resignation letter when I got an “updated” version of a child safety manual I’d prepared–more or less, a lot of the best practices I’d put in there had been either eliminated, or were outright replaced with some worst practices like eliminating a requirement to fully comply with investigations, and adding permission for the pastor to do investigations.

    Wow. that’s bad.

    I didn’t pull the trigger because the pastor understood when I said “none of the changes are acceptable” and provided reasons why

    Did you ask why they changed them in the first place and where they got the idea to do so in such a way? I’d be curious who was influencing that decision behind the scenes if I were you, and who was influencing them.

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  27. JA, Thank you for your post! When we moved back to my hometown about seven years ago, I also had to deal with family members who held this mentality. I live in the town where Providence Baptist had the huge scandal where a youth leader molested young pre-teen boys. I heard so many excuses for the church’s poor response and the lack of victim support.
    My family’s favorite defense for bad behavior in the church is, “We are all hypocrites”. (Therefore the tough stuff is excused). I want to tear my hair out! Does anyone know a good response to this? Ann

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  28. Lea, I know the guys who did the changes, and I’ve asked for a sit down meeting with them to explain why these are really bad ideas. More or less, I know from elsewhere in “my tribe” that a lot of people are ready to put a generic child protection program in place, but persuading people that the attitudes they learned in Bible college are outright harmful is a lot more difficult.

    Those attitudes result more or less from an over-emphasis and misplacement of 1 Cor. 6 and an under-emphasis on the Romans 13 power of human government, combined with a lack of appreciation for how powerful the techniques of subpoena power to compel testimony and collection of circumstantial/physical evidence are for both convicting the guilty and exonerating the innocent. Plus, when you notify the police, they’re the ones to blame for a lousy investigation, not the church.

    (side note; I wonder how much the abyssmal rate of convictions for sexual assault would improve if civics education de-mystified the process of making a report, what makes a case stronger or weaker, and the like…..)

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  29. Tony, “I think often a smaller church works better. More like a family.”

    It’s a definite tradeoff. Family is a good analogy. My family was abusive and the smaller churches I went to were similarly abusive because it only took one or two people to make things really tough.

    However, I would say a better analogy is a business. Small churches are like small businesses. They are going to be much more driven by the personalities of a few people and if those people are good, then it will be a wonderful place and if those people are bad, then it will be a bad experience. With large businesses, there tends to be a lot more of a consistent mechanism. For better or worse, there is a lot more process and a lot more red tape, but the ability of any one given person to have a broad effect on the business (even the CEO) is somewhat limited. That isn’t to say that a really good or really bad leader can’t change the culture, but there is a lot more inertia.

    BB: “civics education”

    Yeah, it would be hard to cover that. Even understanding how laws are made at the Federal level is grossly oversimplified. But, definitely, understanding how the various pieces come together in the civil and criminal justice system.

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  30. Mark, I’m talking really simple things, stuff like how one fleshes out a crime report to make a case. How character witnesses, corroborating evidence, circumstantial evidence, and the like push the needle from “do we investigate this?” to “this is worth an arrest” or “this is worth an indictment”–or on the flip side from “do we investigate this?” to “probably not” to “do we consider charges of making a false report?”. I wonder if a lot of the reluctance to report has a lot to do unfounded fears of what the process will look like.

    And of course, a part of the rest is based on well-founded fears of what the process will look like. The flip side of my point is that we probably ought to take a good look at tactics and start to say “what is and is not out of bounds?” in terms of examining and appraising the allegations.

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  31. Ann – My family’s favorite defense for bad behavior in the church is, “We are all hypocrites”. … Does anyone know a good response to this?

    To say such a thing to my mind is an admission that they are only pretending to be Christian believers, they are ‘acting’ the part, external appearance of piety, but without the inner reality. Whitewashed tombs and dead bones; cold hearts saying things learned by rote.

    That could be your reply: ‘oh, so the church building is a whitewashed tomb, and the people who attend it are a load of dead bones then. I see what you are getting at’!

    If they said ‘we are all imperfect’, that would be true of everybody, but it’s not something to justify being content with a second or third rate level of Christian discipleship and experience, let alone the toleration of blatant wrong-doing that is so common in too many fellowships.

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  32. @CindyBurrell:

    Interesting question. Yes, we always get the impression that the primary fear is that we might encourage “easy” divorce.

    When a preacher goes all Hellfire-and-Damnation against divorce, I always wonder if he’s a wife-beater whose Winsome Wifey Punching Bag would bail out on him if she could.

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  33. @Ann:

    My family’s favorite defense for bad behavior in the church is, “We are all hypocrites”. (Therefore the tough stuff is excused).

    That’s just Christianese for “Everybody’s Doing It!”

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  34. @Mark:

    2) is it only for the people that are holy enough and obviously if someone leaves, they’re damaged goods?

    Didn’t that Rabbi from Nazareth snub the “people that are holy enough” and hang out with the “damaged goods”?

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  35. I heard this one many times. It’s kind of like if your husband was beating/abusing/cheating on you and your friends said, “well, no husband is perfect.” It’s a way to minimize the harm being done and put the responsibility on you, to keep going and keep trying to make it work regardless. The thing about it is, it’s a one-sided relationship. The church isn’t going to change, you will have to do all the adjusting. Stuff your feelings, ignore the red flags and just keep going. As soon as you don’t, you’re gone and forgotten.

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  36. “My family’s favorite defense for bad behavior in the church is, “We are all hypocrites”. (Therefore the tough stuff is excused). I want to tear my hair out! Does anyone know a good response to this? Ann”

    I guess I’d want to say, “Really? Are you? In what way are you a hypocrite?” and once that was explained I’d want to know how all the others were hypocrites as well. That would be an interesting conversation.

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  37. I am sick and tired and even a little pissed off at that lame statement.

    First off I was sexually abused by a pastor and church members. That being said that is beside the point in my thinking.
    When I read scripture there is a a distinct call to christians to be like Christ, and examples, parables, exhortations, and encouragements on what that entails and how to do it.
    So for me these are things to attain to, not in a self condemnation God will strike me dead if I disobey, but in deeply loving Christ and not wanting to devalue him by being not handling my own sin by his measurements. His example. And I think this comes from understanding and knowing him.

    I think the key is apathy and love for ourselves more than him. The church doesn’t really know him or care.

    If we walk around making excuses for our sin, essentially giving us a way to escape out the back door on our behaviour by not being accountable at all.

    The church, the people of Christ have the power of the Holy Spirit to help us in our weakness and to overcome. I don’t say it as a cliche. I just dont think we believe our sin is bad, I think we like it, and Sometimes I don’t think we want to access the power of the cross because we really don’t want to count the cost it takes to change.

    So we make excuses. We say the church isn’t perfect, giving free reign on sin to invade our churches.

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  38. I just want to say, I don’t attend church. I don’t plan on it either. We have been churchless for 24 years. My husband and myself have experienced more growth, and thirst for God outside church walls than we ever did from within.

    IT seems to me we were faced with our own failures, sin, and questions about God and Christianity because the church was not there to falsley buffer us from ourselves.

    Does that make sense?
    We left the church enormously broken people. We couldn’t pretend anything. And in that space which still continues we keep learning, changing and loving God. And in turn he reveals himself to us because He is faithful to us. It goes in ebbs and flows. Dry times, and overflowing times but it continually changes.

    Someone said above people are too busy being the church rather than going to church. Being the church is a 24 hr thing. Not just twice on Sunday and Wednesday night.
    I just wanted to clarify because there is a segment of the church that reigns down heavy on condemnation and wrath and that is not what We are about at all.

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  39. @HUG, “Didn’t that Rabbi from Nazareth snub the “people that are holy enough” and hang out with the “damaged goods”?”

    Yes, and I find it fascinating that the Evangelical church has somehow spun things so that we somehow are adverse to doing the very things that Jesus modeled. As a small example… it appears that Jesus did not follow the Billy Graham rule.

    @Bunkababy, I think this is the same sort of thing that HUG was saying – we are doing the very opposite of what we are supposed to. The letters to the churches aren’t about keeping a nice looking exterior and hiding the true sins of fellow believers. It’s taking a bigger view and struggling with each other against the common enemy of sin. The world sees the hypocrisy of the church clearly when the sins of the “little people” are publicly exposed, but when the “big people” sin, the church feels the need to hide it.

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  40. I can’t remember who said it, maybe Cloud or Townsend or someone else I was reading at the time, but whoever it was said, “Life is too short to deal with legalistic and judgmental people.”

    Basically this person was saying that he got tired of trying to gently correct people who were like that and finally decided that the only real solution was to tell them upfront that they were legalistic and drop the conversation. I’m still working on that because I’m too polite to cut off conversations, but it seems like good advice.

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  41. Update: I led training for youth workers today, giving the whole crowd the rundown on how I helped expose a pedophile as a child, and emphasizing how for the sake of accused and accuser alike, the best thing is to get these things to authorities. It is just freaking exhausting to tell 100 of your best friends that you’d experienced abuse and exposed worse in the process.

    (as thousands of people who’ve experienced far worse than I have say “tell me about it”)

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  42. @ Bike Bubba

    Do you tell women who are being sexually abused by their husbands and beat by their husbands not to divorce them?

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  43. CH–I’ve actually suggested divorce to my sister-in-law when her husband claimed to be “evangelizing” at strip clubs. No, I am not making this up. Given such a case–and I suspect I know of a recent one where I’ve not been told things “point blank” among members of my church–my counsel would be (if my church does it well) church discipline, separation, and if there isn’t clear repentance, that will tend to lead to divorce–the victimizer will tend to move on.

    Yes, I’m suggesting a fairly big cultural change in fundagelicalism.

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  44. I think the police need to be involved, if possible. Even if a church is good at church discipline, someone who is excommunicated can easily move to the next church and be welcomed with open arms. I doubt my new pastor ever talked to my old church or pastor, and even though I have my “letter” saying that I was in good standing when I left, I never did anything with it.

    So, some violent man abuses his wife. She goes to the church, which faithfully prosecutes the matter internally, excommunicates him and recommends divorce. He just picks up his bags and moves on, without any sort of trail. On the other hand, if she goes to the church and the church gathers around her as she reports it to the police, then this man potentially has a criminal record, and it’s not so easy for him to act as if nothing happened.

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  45. Mark, yes, recommending a victim go to the police is definitely something that a good church discipline effort ought to recommend from time to time.

    One other thing that occurred to me recently; many point out the (thankfully) low rate of false accusations in sexual assault cases (2-10%, 2-7%, whatever) in a way that almost suggests they’re not terribly worried about it. Given that even 2% false reports generates thousands of victims of the same–lost jobs, relationships, finances drained billable hour by billable hour, etc..–I think it might be more productive if we simply emphasized that the same tools that take an accusation to the point of a criminal going to jail are the exact same tools that take a false accusation to the point of an exoneration and perhaps even a perjury charge.

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  46. At the risk of saying too much on this thread, let me emphasize something many have probably muttered under their breath while reading my previous comments; many fundagelical churches do a really bad job of church discipline per Matthew 18. Again, big cultural change is needed.

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  47. “No Church Is Perfect.”

    After reading what happened to Shauna and Billy.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2016/03/09/shauna-and-lakeside-bibles-biblical-counseling-fuhgeddaboudit-shut-up-and-be-happy/

    And how Matt Chandler dealt with pedophiles coming to church I have wondered how my favorite uncle (his name is Bubba) would deal with pedophiles, rapist, and perverts coming to church with his nieces and nephews. He was a deacon at my grandfather’s church and he has always been very protective of all children. He still is. He would fight someone over them and get in anyone’s face over them.

    I think he would tell his preacher that pedophiles, rapist, and perverts could NOT come to church with children and women. But, men from the church could get together with the pervert at someone’s house were women and children would not be and minister to him there. If the preacher said, “No. The pervert can come here.” My uncle would stop going to such a church.

    It seems that men who are not preachers would run much better churches than the men who are preachers do.

    One of my friend’s father started a church out of his living room (his wife left him and he raised his two little girls alone) and the people that go to his house seem much more down to earth and caring.

    Mark, you have said things that made me wish you had your own church.

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  48. @ Bike Bubba

    Have you not said here at Spiritual Sounding Board that you believe a wife should stay married to the man who has beat and sexually abused her?

    You have said offensive, demeaning, misogynistic, creepy things here for years. Things that would bring a satisfied agreeing smirk to the man who sexually abused me face. Things my wife beating father would say.

    Are you still a follower and promoter of Doug Wilson? Do you still think men should train their wives?

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  49. CH, you’re reading things into what I’ve written, I’m afraid. My major difference with many on this thread–really many very significant activists in the area of protecting women–is that I think before one goes to divorce court, one ought to attempt a rebuke and corrective action first because divorce is a very real trauma on both sides of the courtroom that can tend to “harden” people who otherwise might have repented.

    That’s not equivalent to saying a wife ought to stay with an abusive husband, or vice versa for that matter. It’s saying that before one makes a decision that destroys a relationship and has huge costs (as when a home or business must be sold to settle a divorce), you confront the accused and give them a chance to mend his (her) ways. If you don’t, you risk hardening the accused in his (her) sin.

    Regarding “support” of Doug Wilson, no, never have and never will give him unequivocal support. There are things he has done very well, and things he has done very poorly, and quite frankly if you want to make him a demon from whom one must utterly separate or be demonized, you’re doing the same kind of secondary/tertiary separation nonsense that the fringe of fundamentalists indulge. People are more complicated than that.

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  50. @ Bike Bubba

    “divorce is a very real trauma on both sides”

    It is crystal clear that you do not comprehend that being beaten and sexually abused by your husband and being a little girl living with such a man is very traumatic. But, you are a follower of Doug Wilson. Why should the wife beater and wife sexual abuser’s side matter?

    “you risk hardening the accused in his (her) sin.”

    So a woman should have to stay with the man who sexually abuses her for HIS sin benefit? You are trying to sprinkle sugar and sh*t. It is a comp thing to do.

    “and quite frankly if you want to make him a demon from whom one must utterly separate or be demonized, you’re doing the same kind of secondary/tertiary separation nonsense that the fringe of fundamentalists indulge.”

    This is not true at all. And very easy for a man like your self who has never been repeatedly raped as a female by a bible quoting misogynist to say.

    Bike Bubba, you have all the same opinions and excuses as my father and the man who repeatedly sexually abused me as a child.

    Should Keith Raniere be demonized and should people separate from him and his fetishes?

    “A man penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.”

    Doug Wilson

    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2016/01/15/pastor-doug-wilson-on-rape-submission-feminists-and-boobs/

    This is an extremely vile evil traumatizing opinion and fetish to read for a raped woman or raped little girl.

    Now, no man or women who loves and respects any woman or little girl could stomach or promote Doug Wilson. Doug Wilson is a vile evil perverted extreme enemy of women and little girls. And it is easy for a cohort misogynist to say otherwise.

    “There are things he has done very well,” What has he done very well in your male opinion? It is not men he says evil things about. He is not advocating for men to be used, degraded, trapped slaves.

    “he has done very poorly” That is an understatement. He has advocated for child rapist and pedophiles. He has ruined women’s and girl’s lives. He has trash talked a victim of child sexual abuse all over the internet.

    He does, however, say many things men like Ariel Castro and Incels can get on board with. If it makes little girls wish they could die and soon; big deal.

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  51. You know, CH, if you think that advocating separation first in cases of physical abuse is equivalent to telling wives to stay with battered husbands, and that expressing severe disagreement in many cases is equivalent to being a “follower” of Doug Wilson, I don’t know that we can have an intelligent discussion here.

    And if you think I don’t know about the consequences of abuse, I watched it up close with my parents. I just happen to have some different ideas than you do about how to deal with it which happen to be informed by what I saw.

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  52. “intelligent discussion here”

    Are you implying I can’t have an intelligent discussion?

    I am a woman advocating for a woman who has been sexually abused by her husband. That she should not stay married to him or be manipulated by MEN who attempt to gather propaganda to keep her with the sexual abuser. I grew up with men who sat around on their butts coming to conclusions about what women should and shouldn’t do. Things that hurt women and their little girls and things that the men wanted at the woman and little girl’s expense. The men were not the ones having to do it.

    No one who takes sexual abuse of women seriously and hates it would advocate that she stay married to the man who would or has done that to her. To want a woman to stay with the man who sexually abused her minimizes sexual abuse.

    When someone sexually abuses you; you should never have to see their face again, hear their voice again, or feel their hands again.

    You are man advocating for the man who sexually abused his wife. That HE not lose HIS victim. You are on the sexually abusive husband’s side and I am on the sexually abused wife’s side.

    I can have an informed discussion about sexual abuse of children, misogyny, and wife beating because I was born and raised in the misogynistic toxic cult of complementarianism. Because I was raised in such a dysfunctional penis worshiping cult I have little education and I am bad at English. But I know the excruciating misery of your ideology and your preferences. I lived and remember it like it happened today.

    The reason I post here when I am bad at English, dyslexic, and hate reading this painful stuff is to advocate for trapped, demeaned, powerless, used, abused, unloved women like my mother was. I am also advocating for little girls who are being raped every week and having to listen to male supremacy rhetoric. The stuff you peddle BB is selfish and extremely misogynistic. It hurt my mother and me very much.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. My struggle with divorce is somewhere along the lines of “no marriage is perfect”. Marriage is a covenant, and it is clear to me that I and my wife both break that covenant regularly, even though I think we would both say we have a good marriage. I don’t treat her as she should be treated and she doesn’t treat me as I should be treated.

    I definitely believe that abuse is grounds for divorce, but at what point? I have a pattern of leaving things for my wife to clean up – not purposefully, but just because I don’t feel like dealing with it at the moment. It does bother her but I’ve never really spent the energy to change my behavior. Does that become a form of abuse, and if abuse, worthy of divorce? I definitely believe that any form of violence crosses that line, but I also believe that there are more subtle forms of violence that we’ve all experienced that leave deeper and longer-lasting scars. If my dad had “just” hit me things would have been much better, I’m sure, but the pattern of behavior seemed to be geared towards destroying any right I had to be a different person.

    That’s why I tend to agree that we need to trust the participants in the marriage to make their own decision. For me, it was being unhappy with my codependence in marriage that led me to assert myself, and that led to a strengthening of our marriage. However, when I asserted myself in my church, I found that being my own person was rejected. That led me to a different church where I discovered that the complementarian God was also abusive. But… it was a long journey. I’m sure that people told me throughout my life that my church was authoritarian and legalistic, but I just didn’t grasp what that meant. I guess I just come back to the view that the Holy Spirit needs to do that work and we just pray for the right words at the right time.

    BB: re Wilson. I’m not sure what of Wilson is worth reading. He’s authoritarian and legalistic and that pervades all of his teaching about the God, the church and marriage, which is pretty much all he writes about. His view of the church is heretical – if you listen to his talk at Auburn Avenue, his claim is that there is no distinction between the visible and invisible church. Specifically, he says that the pastor does not have to hedge the benediction as many Reformed pastors do (you who are in Christ…) because everyone who is in the church is “in Christ”, and those who aren’t will somehow be discovered and kicked out before they die.

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  54. @ Mark

    I am talking about hitting, punching, pulling hair, trying to take the wife’s bra off against her will, calling her a c*nt, fingering her in her sleep just to prove he can, getting in the shower with her against her will.

    Someone told me years ago that one of the girls on Teen Mom; I think that is what it is called. She would scream at her kid’s father calling him fat and stupid. He had every right to stop letting her touch him.

    I have told my sister’s male friends to call the police and get restraining orders on some of the unhinged women in their lives.

    There is a group of Christians that want women to minimize their sexual abuse and stay with the guy doing it. It did not look like Arial Castro thought he should ever lose his trapped slaves. In Christiandoom/complementarianism a marriage certificate justifies and makes hitting women and sexually assaulting women legitimate. All a man needs to do is marry the woman and he can do whatever he wants to her and it is her job to kiss his @ss before he does, while he is doing it, and after he does it.

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  55. @Mark. So many things… You “didn’t feel like” upholding your share of responsibility and left it to your wife. It seems the message you sent her consistently was, “I don’t care.” Done habitually, that is pure selfishness, not love. You admit that you consistently broke your covenant – as did she – which means neither of you took it seriously. That is sad. Yet I agree that divorce is not a matter for others to decide, but is only between those in the marriage and God. I have no idea what you mean by “the complementarian God was also abusive.” I came out of an abusive marriage (and my husband never hit me), and the man to whom I am married now is to me a king in the best possible sense. He is a protector, leader, caretaker and provider, a man who sees me and cherishes me in daily, practical and personal ways. I would follow him anywhere, because he is altogether trustworthy, and I don’t want the job. I am not less than or lower than him. We are equals but with complementary roles. I think our marriage functions as God intended, although what we have seems to be somewhat rare. There is no abuse here.

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  56. Tony Conrad said,

    It clearly is very important to choose a husband carefully or a wife for that matter. Character is everything.

    That is true, but, a lot of abusers don’t show their abusive sides until after the wedding day takes place.

    Seriously. I’ve seen a lot of women say that their husband was “Mr. Nice Guy” until he slapped them around, or began kicking or punching them, their wedding night, or X months or years into the marriage.

    As for my ex fiance. I was with that idiot for several years, and not all of his flaws were readily apparently from the start, that combined with my lack of dating experience also meant I overlooked some of the Red Flags in the start.

    Also compounding that issue, my codependent mother and the Christian complementarian churches I was raised in essentially taught me to be a passive doormat with men, and to expect and to tolerate, being abused or taken advantage of in dating or marriage.

    Like

  57. Julie Anne said,

    I think women need to stop asking men permission to get divorced when there is abuse. When they are married to an abuser, then they can decide for themselves.

    I agree, and may I say, IMO, this is applicable to many other situations in life, not just divorce / marriage.

    For example, if you (like me) had / have anxiety (or clinical depression), and you discuss this with other Christians, many of them will convince you to rely on “faith only” means to cope.

    The problem is, “faith-only” methods of dealing with anxiety / depression (church attendance, prayer, waiting on God for a healing, volunteering at soup kitchens etc) didn’t work for me, and doesn’t work for many other people, either (I’ve read Christians on other forums discuss this).

    So, you have to make up your own mind how to deal with your mental health – are you going to try therapy? Anti-depressant medications?, etc.

    You have to tune out Christians who yell and scream at you, or arrogantly lecture you, and tell you how they think YOU should handle problem X in your life, and their suggestions are usually based on THEIR (possibly faulty) interpretation of the Bible.

    The older I grow, the less I understand Christians insisting that this- and- that issue should be treated “biblically,” since most Christians cannot even agree with each other on what the Bible says, what it means, and how it should be applied.

    Ergo, you might as well make up your own mind about how to deal with divorce or mental health, or whatever life problem, rather than twisting your hands in worry that you’re not dealing with your situation “biblically,” or with how your preacher, Sunday School class, or church says you “should” deal with it.

    I wrote a big old blog post about all this a few months ago:
    _Christians Cannot Agree on Christianity – Not Even the Essentials of The Faith – So Why Base All Life Choices on the Faith or the Bible?_

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  58. A P.S. to this from my post above:

    You have to tune out Christians who yell and scream at you, or arrogantly lecture you, and tell you how they think YOU should handle problem X in your life, and their suggestions are usually based on THEIR (possibly faulty) interpretation of the Bible.

    I don’t mean to say I am averse to people ever giving other people tips, advice, or insight on how to deal with a problem, provided it’s done with some humility and kindness, and not in a bossy way.

    I just see too many Christians with a very arrogant attitude about it, or some of them don’t have any clue what someone else may be going through (domestic violence, or with depression, etc), and they will presume to tell this other person what they think is the God-approved, spiritually “right” or “wrong” way to deal with something…,

    “No, you cannot and should not ever divorce if you’re being abused because it’s not biblical,”
    or,
    “you should never see a psychologist, because that would not be biblical,” or,
    “you should never, ever use a dating site to get dates or to get married, because that would not be biblical.” etc etc.

    If that sort of advice is coming with a side helping of spiritual certitude / arrogance / insensitivity / know- it- all attitude, is what turns me off.

    Like

  59. (post 1)
    Regarding some of the comments above by Mark, Christianity Hurts and a few others.

    Abuse comes in many forms, not just physical battering or sexual molestation or rape.

    Verbal and emotional abuse counts as abuse, too. And verbal abuse is not confined only to yelling profanity, insults, and name-calling; it comes in different flavors and types, which are described in this book by Evans:

    _The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize it and how to Respond by Patricia Evans_

    Abuse can extend to social relations: is your husband pressuring you from keeping in contact with friends and family? That is abusive.

    Is your husband controlling your finances? Not letting you keep your pay checks? Financial exploitation is also a form of abuse.

    Mark said,

    I definitely believe that abuse is grounds for divorce, but at what point?

    I’m not totally clear on what you’re asking here, but I’ll throw this out.

    Usually, a behavior is considered abusive if it has become a sustained pattern.

    The book “Why Does He Do That” by Lundy Bancroft addresses this. I believe the blog “A Cry For Justice,” which Julie Anne has linked to on this blog’s Blog Roll, also has a “FAQ” page explaining things like, “What is abuse?,” and, “when is it acceptable for a woman to divorce a dude?”

    I had co-worker at one job who I usually got along very well with.

    One day I went to her office to ask her a work-related question, and she went off on me, snapped. I just quietly left her office without saying a thing and went back to my office.

    She came up to me the next day and apologized. She said she was in a bad mood the day prior.

    That was the first and last time she ever mistreated me like that, so I accepted her apology and moved on. That was a one-time thing for her, it was not consistent behavior.

    My older sister on the other hand, pretty much has a habit of biting my head off, being hostile, screaming profanity at me, insulting me, 98% of the time I am around her or chat with her on the phone.

    The behavior in and of itself (the yelling, name calling, threats) is abusive, but it’s also a long standing pattern with her, which is also what makes it abusive. So I have limited contact with her in years past, which has been very helpful.

    Like

  60. (post 2)
    Mark went on to say,

    I have a pattern of leaving things for my wife to clean up – not purposefully, but just because I don’t feel like dealing with it at the moment. It does bother her but I’ve never really spent the energy to change my behavior. Does that become a form of abuse, and if abuse, worthy of divorce?

    I would probably leave that up to your wife to define for herself. For me, my personal answer would be “maybe” or “possibly.”

    As for me. I was in a long term serious relationship with a guy who was financially abusing me, he was a slob around his home (which I often visited and cleaned up because I don’t like living in grime).

    He was consistently self absorbed showed no interest in me, but expected me to take an interest in him, his life, his job.

    When he did things that got me into trouble, and it caused me to cry or get stressed out, he didn’t care – he was totally dismissive of my feelings. I could go on with other issues I had with this ex.

    He never physically hit me, but his behavior was on some level abusive, or very unacceptable.

    On one level, the behavior you are describing (about not cleaning up your spills around the kitchen leaving them for your wife to take care of) sounds to me like run of the mill, garden variety Husband Doofish-ness,
    but if I’m the wife having to forever run up after you to clean up your sandwich crumbs up off the counter, that resentment can build up over the years. I know I would really grow to resent that.

    My sister had a long time, live- in lover boy, “Dwayne” (fake name), that she finally dumped after 20+ years.

    Dwanye cheated on her twice with two other women. He seldom had jobs.
    When he did get his small part time jobs, he would keep the money he earned to buy gadgets for himself, rather than help my sister pay for food and rent.

    Would sit around all day on the internet chatting with his online friends.

    He would never put away clean laundry, and she had to repeatedly ask him to take care of dirty dishes and to mow the lawn and take the trash out.

    She would come home daily – after ten plus hours of her job – to have to sweep the floor, take the trash out, etc, all the junk this dude should have been doing while she was at work during the day but did not do.

    Why did she finally dump Dwayne, after 20+ years of this behavior?

    Because she came into the kitchen one day to see that he had once again left his dirty spoon sitting on the sink’s edge. That was what it took for her to decide she was finished.

    She had spent 20+ years cleaning and putting away the dirty spoons he would leave sink edge, and that she had asked him repeatedly to clean and put away but he would never do it. She had had enough.

    To a point, I can see how such utter self-absorbed behavior (leaving all the heavy lifting of adult responsibility and maintaining a relationship to one party) can be considered abusive to the person who is being taken advantage of.

    Would I stay married to a guy like Dwayne, or like my ex, who financially exploited me and never took an interest in me, yet expected me to molly coddle him, stroke his ego, and listen to him talk about himself for hours? NO. No I sure would not.

    NO. I would happily run down to a local divorce attorney and not feel the least bit guilty for divorcing a dude who sits around in his boxers all day watching NFL (because he’s selfish and/or lazy) but won’t help me around the house ever.

    No amount of Bible moralizing, shaming, and quoting things like, “But the LORD GOD hates divorce” sermonizing would put a dent in my resolve to dump that kind of guy.

    Like

  61. (part 3, Re: some of the comments / topics above by Mark, Christianity Hurts, and others)

    It used to be that legally and in workplaces, women who were being sexually harassed in some form had a difficult time getting H.R. to take them seriously.

    Because what would happen often is that if a woman, let’s say “Becky,” complained to H.R. (Human Resources Department) that her male co-worker “Bob” was making inappropriate, sex-based jokes around her, and it made her un-easy….

    …Bob would wiggle his way out of it by saying stuff like,
    “But I don’t find that behavior the least bit sexist or sleazy! Becky just needs to develop a thicker skin and stop being such a kill-joy. All the other men who work here find my jokes about women’s boobs funny. Even some of the other women who work here giggle at those jokes. The problem is Becky, she needs to lighten up.”

    Then the H.R. would typically say in those situations,
    “Sorry Becky, but you’re just taking his jokes the wrong way” – and then not do anything about it.

    So Becky would have to go into a job every day feeling humiliated, distracted, and frightened to have to be subjected to Bob the co-worker’s nasty jokes at women’s expense.

    Until at some point (I don’t recall when or why), the American law and culture changed, so that the criteria for determining what constituted a sexually hostile workplace was based on what the TARGET of the behavior felt/ said/ believed.

    In other words, if Becky says that Bob’s jokes are sexist and made her uncomfortable, then they are sexist and are creating a hostile work environment, even if Bob swears up and down his jokes are not sexist and are not meant to be sexist, that his intent is pure hearted.

    Ditto, if I remember right, on racism and other forms of discrimination on the job:
    The target of the behavior gets to determine if the “jokes” – or whatever other actions, comments, or behaviors – are bad / wrong / hostile / sexist / racist to him or her,
    NOT the person doing the behavior.

    And H.R. then has to tell the “joker” to STFU about it, knock it off, and stop with the offensive behavior.

    This means guys like Bob cannot tell raunchy jokes at work and make constant sexist based put- downs of women on the job, especially if and when women he works with consider his form of humor (jokes or whatever) hostile, sexist, off putting, discriminatory, etc.

    So. If you’re in a marriage (or dating relationship), the person who is on the receiving end of the behavior (your behavior that they are complaining about), I would think, should get more of a say-so in this area.

    (continued in part 4)

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  62. (part 4)
    Of course abusers don’t generally think there is anything wrong with their behavior, or even if they do, they will not admit that their behavior is abusive.

    Some of them, when confronted as being abusers, will deny it. They think their shoddy treatment of people is normal, right, and good.

    Here is one classic example of this in action.
    When I finally began confronting my verbally abusive big sister for the first time ever about her mistreatment of me a few years ago, she either…

    (1) Denied there was anything wrong with her behavior towards me – she thinks she is entitled to walk all over me, scream at me, because she is under a lot of stress. She at times gets even more angry when I confront her and tell her that her behavior towards me is unacceptable.

    She really thinks I am absolutely obligated to be her willing victim and to just sit there quietly and allow her to keep screaming at me, if we are visiting in person (she lives in another state from me).

    She gets incensed or confused now if I walk out of her rants, or slam the phone on her (if the abuse is taking place over the phone).

    Or
    (2) my sister, when confronted on her abuse, goes into the “pity me” mode, where she says I should be more accepting and understanding of her verbal / emotional abuse against me, because golly, she has life SO, SO HARD, that poor, put-upon thing.

    She goes into this shtick that I should feel sorry for her and be totally fine playing the role of her Human Garbage Dump where she backs up to dump a bunch of her Toxic Emotional Junk on to me.
    (She’s even pulled this on me via social media a time or two.)

    In books about verbally / sexually / financially / physically abusive men by domestic violence experts (and by psychologists who write about relationships), they will tell you that seldom do abusers admit to anyone- to their target, to the therapists, and not to themselves – that they are abusers.

    Some abusers are in denial, because to admit out loud they are abusive means they’d have to deal with their own issues, while a lot of them use abuse to get what they want.

    Abusers are entitled, self-centered, they don’t give a whit about their victim and her needs, they think their victim exists to only meet THEIR needs, and they use abuse to control her and keep her catering to HIS whims. They view a relationship as a thing to exploit to get their own needs met, they do not care about YOU or YOUR NEEDS.

    Abuser have to deny that they are abusers to keep justifying their nasty behavior and to keep up the charade with their victim (who is usually a spouse).

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  63. Cindy, “which means neither of you took it seriously”

    It’s interesting you reacted that way, because, yes, that’s what it may seem to be from my description, yet I think my wife and I would both say our relationship is 8 out of 10 or better. And that’s part of my point. Maybe if you were looking at our situation, you would say, Mark is being unloving and uncaring and that is grounds for divorce because he’s not taking the covenant seriously. And maybe it truly is, but I’m not sure that my wife would agree with you, partly because we look at the marriages of our parents and ours is much, much better. But, we DO take our covenant seriously, and I think part of that covenant is choosing to accept who the other person is and not turn them into the person we want them to be.

    CH, Completely agree with you. Maybe I’ve been a similar situation – I left an abusive church and when some of my friends asked me about it, they pretty much agreed that the church was abusive, but for one reason or another didn’t want to leave. They still attend. While I think they don’t realize how horrible an affect the church is having on them, I still am going to respect their decision to stay, but pray that God would help them to grow despite the abuse. I have other friends that have suffered much worse abuse than I have, yet they felt “led” to remain in the abusive church.

    I think the best way I can support them is explain my experience, why I left, and be ready to support them if they choose to leave, but I can’t make them leave, and if they’re not ready, they’re not going to be receptive to what I have to say anyway.

    Daisy, yes, and what I’m saying is that something can be a pattern and be unloving, but not necessarily abusive, and it may even depend on the couple. Maybe to some women, consistently finding my shoes in the living room or not put away would be a make-or-break issue, and to such a woman, it may be something that I really needed to work on changing. For my wife, I think there are much more important failures of mine that need to be addressed, and scattered shoes pale in comparison.

    I think there needs to be a better word than abuse, because the word itself seems to trigger some sort of victim justification response. For example, my siblings may admit that my father was unnecessarily violent. They may recognize that there was a pattern of unloving and even violent behavior, but to call it abuse is, I guess, to call into question our superior pedigree or something. They refuse to recognize what I experienced as abuse partly because it doesn’t fit their belief that I was the spoiled brat, and they couldn’t possibly admit that they were abused.

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  64. (part 1)
    Regarding this from the OP:

    Instead of empathizing with those who have been hurt by a church, some Christians go right into defense mode.

    They might argue that the victim just had a “bad experience.”

    Or they’ll say the church is full of imperfect people who are “only human” and make mistakes just like the rest of us.

    But can we agree that these excuses only distract from the problem? No one wants to be told to “focus on all the good things the church does” when they’ve been hurt by one.

    It doesn’t matter how many thousands of people have been positively affected by a church or ministry. The good experiences don’t cancel out the bad ones.

    I agree. I have seen this often from many Christians.

    Most Christians want to immediately jump to playing “Defense Attorney for God” and defending God’s character, rather than just hearing you out and empathizing with you when you explain how a church or Christian people have disappointed you or let you down.

    Or, if you mention you are frustrated with God or that you at times even wonder if there is a god, many Christians jump instantly into Apologetics Mode, instead of just hearing you out and empathizing.

    (I think that may be because 99% of Christians are terribly uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity, at least in spiritual matters and / or big life problems.)

    I’ve been thinking of doing a blog post about these very topics on my Daisy blog for a year or more now.

    I’ve gotten all the usual lines from Christians.

    There was even a woman who used to post here on this very blog who pulled this (she doesn’t post here as often any more).
    An atheist guy did a guest post here months ago explaining one reason he turned atheist was seeing how awful or hypocritical so many Christians are, and this woman actually left a comment in the comment box scolding him.

    It was so arrogant. She said something to or about him like,
    “If you leave the faith due to the actions of men, you never believed in God in the first place. You were putting your faith in man, not God.”

    That was so very dismissive of that guy’s story. But many Christians do this.

    And I’m sorry to say, the Bible says that yes, you, a self professing believer, can have that impact on others and how they view God and the faith, whether you want to admit it or not.
    If you are a Christian, you’re supposed to be an ambassador for Christ, but a lot of Christians don’t take that job seriously.

    I do not, and have never expected, every church or Christian to be perfect at all times. Nobody is perfect.

    The moment you say you can’t stand church any more, though, some Christian will pop up with the “but no church is perfect” rhetoric.

    There’s also some kind of typical Christian rejoinder, usually told by pastors who think they are stand- up comics, to anyone who complains about there being hypocrites in the church, and it goes something like this,
    “If you ever find the perfect church, please don’t join it. You’d spoil it because you’re a hypocrite too.”

    That come back is totally dismissive of the very real problem in Christianity today.

    I think it’s a straw man argument, too. I don’t think most who’ve been hurt by the faith or by churches are saying they demand absolute perfection from any church, but churches fail to achieve even a small amount of what the Bible says they should be doing.

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  65. (part 2)
    I at least at a minimum (MINIMUM) expect self-professing Christians to at least demonstrate a modest base-line of Christian behavior – of what Jesus taught, about caring for others, showing empathy, etc. But I find it’s common to see Christians not even meeting a baseline of Christian behavior.

    One example of what I mean:
    My mother, my Dad, and only a tiny number of other Christians I’ve seen or known actually DO STUFF.

    By doing stuff, I mean:
    When elderly neighbors were sick, my mother would clean their homes for them, bring them home cooked dinners, drive them to doctor’s appointments.

    That is how I grew up – I would actually get off my butt and DO STUFF for troubled or hurting people who crossed my path – not just spew religious platitudes at them.

    But most Christians only pay lip service to helping others and all they do is spout off Bible verses at people who are in need, which is in violation of James 2:16.

    Another example. I actually lived out the Bible’s instruction to sexually abstain until marriage. I’m in my 40s now, still celibate, but I see a lot of self professing Christians diddling around outside of marriage and / or writing books or sermons excusing, defending, or minimizing pre-marital diddling.

    Furthermore, of the pastors giving the (now rare- these- days) anti- pre- marital- diddling sermons are later publicized as having been seeking affairs on “Ashley Madison” sites or as groping kids at their church.
    That is hypocritical. That sort of thing turns me off.

    I had an online Christian friend, “Tina,” who went through a faith crisis years ago. She would type the most profanity laced, hostile, nasty things about Christians, God and Jesus I had ever seen.

    At that time this took place, I was still a run of the mill, Southern Baptist Christian.
    I did not scold Tina, shame Tina, lecture Tina, or quote Bible verses at her, no matter how vile she got about Christianity. I just listened to her and empathized – this went on for about 2 or 3 years (YEARS).

    Shoe was on the other foot, when, a few years later, I fell into my own faith crisis. I began sharing with her (minus her rancor, no profanity, no hate towards God, Jesus, or Christians) my issues with the faith. Some of my issues with Christianity were identical to Tina’s, as a matter of fact.

    Tina by this time had decided that she was a Christian again. When I began sharing with her how my faith was shaken (and I explained a few of the reasons why), she was incredibly hateful.

    Tina reminds me of my big sister – very emotionally abusive. Tina did not show me a shred of the empathy and compassion I had shown her when she was in her own faith turmoil prior to mine.

    I think churches and Christians should aim for being consistently caring and empathetic towards everyone, and that would go a long way in rehabilitating their poor reputation in today’s culture.

    (continued in next post).

    Like

  66. (part 3)
    And by everyone (see my part 2 right above) – what I am getting at – sorry to be a broken record on this, I know I’ve harped on this before on this site

    my experience after my mother died, is that many Christians are not willing to extend help or compassion to “every day” people going through (common) tragedy, like with me dealing with my grief over my mother’s death, for example.
    Most Christians I went to for comfort did not give me comfort, encouragement or empathy.

    Christians I went to in real life instead pointed to other, “exotic” groups (such as children sold into sex gangs in India or what not)
    and their attitude towards me was,
    “Because I believe your problem (grief) is not as horrible as what those in ‘situation X’ are going through (such as girls being sold into rape gangs in India), I am not going to help you”
    -then they would maybe also launch into a very infuriating, condescending “stop the pity party” type lecture, or “there are worse things in life than a parent dying on you, so suck it up buttercup and move on”.

    There is just this very weird, gross view in American Christianity that only certain groups of people (such as homeless people, orphans in Africa, etc) deserve help, compassion, or empathy, and every one else is just a “self pity partying loser cry baby”
    -which means folks like me stop viewing church as a place to get our needs met, so we stop going to church.

    I’ve learned to stop trusting 99.9% Christians, so I don’t open up to them face- to- face so much any more and get real with them about what’s troubling me, because I know once I open up with them, I will receive a volley of judgement, shaming, victim blaming, and criticism.

    I visited a lot of other blogs, forums in the years after my Mom died, and I saw other people sharing many similar experiences – when they went to a Christian or a church in their time of pain, they weren’t met with help or emotional support. Nope, they got shamed, judged, and/or pushed aside.

    I guess I don’t really have a good come-back line I use on Christians who utter those hurtful platitudes towards me about “stop expecting church to be perfect” – I just stop talking to most of them to start with, I try to be careful about what I reveal to them, if anything, and I basically stopped going to church a few years ago. I’m not getting my needs met there. I was getting a lot of shaming.

    I have no interest in going to a building of people who want to shame or judge me every week or whenever I show up.

    Like

  67. @ Daisy

    “That is true, but, a lot of abusers don’t show their abusive sides until after the wedding day takes place.”

    One of my grandmother’s sisters has told me that men pretend to be nice until after the wedding. I know women do this also. She and another one of her sisters say all the time they both wish they had never gotten married. They are both great-grandmothers now.

    As someone who grew up in complementarianism, I am so grateful I have never been married and feel I really lucked out. With all my problems I can say; well at least I am not married. When someone tells me they want to get married I am like; god you are naive.

    “Abuse comes in many forms, not just physical battering or sexual molestation or rape.”

    Yes. And a person can tell you what their spouse is doing to them and it doesn’t sound that bad. One of my cousins has been being abused (not physically) all year by his wife but if he says what she is doing people would think it isn’t that bad or bad at all. My sister has been going over to comfort him when he has problems with her and can attest to it is really bad. Even his wife’s THREE sisters are pissed with her, have stopped having anything to do with her, and has told him to divorce her. But, my sister and these three women have actually seen and heard it for themselves.

    Sexual abuse is an extream form of abuse and Bike Bubba talks as if divorce is worse than sexually abusing your wife. It is easy for a spoilt entitled man to sit around on his butt rooting that a woman stays married to a man who would sexually abuse her. And if you think a woman or girl should EVER have to be touched by the man who sexually abused her or sleep in the same house with him again you do not hate sexual abuse, you do not love women, and you are just heartless and extremely misogynistic.

    But, that is the mentality of complementarian men. They do not know nor care what it is like to be raped as a woman or beat by a man as a woman. Comp men sit around telling themselves they know everything about everything. And comp men pretend what they want to be true is true and what they don’t want to be true isn’t true. All things that benefit them and hurt women and little girls.

    About a year ago multiple people called Bike Bubba out on his misogyny and he refused to answer the questions and ran off. I think he knows if he answers the questions he will sound like a comp-Taliban. If he is a nice man that loves and respects women why can’t he answer the questions? Maybe he wants me to shut up and let him and his group of Doug Wilson like men decide what is good and okay for me. What does and doesn’t hurt me.

    Quote of Bike Bubba’s about Doug Wilson.

    “and quite frankly if you want to make him a demon from whom one must utterly separate or be demonized, you’re doing the same kind of secondary/tertiary separation nonsense that the fringe of fundamentalists indulge.”

    Imagine if someone asked this about Keith Raniere or Mufti Ismail Berdiyev. Maybe these two guys should not be demonized and have some good qualities.

    ISIS and Boko Haram believe a woman should stay married to the husband that beats and sexually abuses her also.

    Like

  68. @ Julie Anne

    “I think women need to stop asking men permission to get divorced when there is abuse.”

    Yes.

    My great aunt was being beaten by her preacher husband and her devout bible studying father told her wife beating was not listed in the bible as a reason one could get a divorce. So she stayed married to the man. She got cancer and died. Her nurses believed she got cancer because of the ulcers in her stomach. Ulcers she had from dreading her husband getting mad at her and beating her. She was sweet, amiable, submissive, she only weighed 90 pounds, and she had two kids under the age of fifteen. I have wondered if her father sat at her funeral thinking about how he made her last years on earth twice as bad as they had to be. But, he was comp and I have never known comp men to care about women or blame themselves for anything. I am sure he was pleased that her husband did not lose what he wanted.

    My mother’s father did not care that she was being abused either. My father was a foot taller than my mother and weighed 200 pounds more than her. It is so creepy and disturbing that her father did not care. My mother acted like a scared seven-year-old little girl.

    But, her father did inform his wife, two daughters, and three granddaughters one Christmas Eve that God taking the rib out of Adam was symbolic that women are half of what men are.

    Like

  69. ” Tina did not show me a shred of the empathy and compassion I had shown her when she was in her own faith turmoil prior to mine.”

    Years ago a woman came on http://new.exchristian.net/ and told us how odious we all were for leaving Christianity.

    Months later she came back on and apologized. Apparently, her big sister had been trying to have a baby for years and had many miscarriages and then a stillborn. Very traumatizing. The brother in law stopped going to church and started questioning his faith. A man at their church got mad at the brother in law for stop going to church and said he had a vision or God told him that the man was going to lose his faith and that is why the sister gave birth to a stillborn. The sister was so sick the man blamed her husband for the nightmare she stopped going to church and lost her faith also.

    Empathy is the most attractive quality a man or woman can have. It is so rare and a sign of critical thinking. If I notice someone is empathetic I want to have a conversation with them because they are unique and wise.

    Liked by 2 people

  70. “Empathy is the most attractive quality a man or woman can have. It is so rare and a sign of critical thinking. If I notice someone is empathetic I want to have a conversation with them because they are unique and wise.”

    Dear Christianity hurts,
    Amen. You have stated a most wonderful and wise statement based on your intelligence and human behavioral observations. What an amazing, knowledgeable and astute woman you are and I personally, have great admiration and respect for you, as a defender of the truth.

    In meditating upon our Holy Scriptures, I love those folks with whom Jesus expressed care, compassion, and empathy towards, verses those with whom He called “you brood of vipers, you white-washed tombs, you hypocrites”………..those “religious leaders” of His day.

    I will never believe that the Sovereign LORD of our Scriptures is a “complementarian” LORD, for Jesus’ Words outweigh the vain philosophies of mankind…….for Christ made it clear “it shall not be so amongst you (the ecclesia-called out ones/Body of Christ.”

    Liked by 2 people

  71. I think women need to stop asking men permission to get divorced when there is abuse. When they are married to an abuser, then they can decide for themselves.

    Still making my way through the responses, but this is really the long and the short of it. You don’t need anyone’s permission, and you decide if your husband gets another chance. Nobody else. Period.

    Of course, by the time a divorce happens in cases of abuse, there have likely been endless chances, and endless pleas for the behavior to stop. It’s almost like those things aren’t being counted, because they only involved the spouse, not some random dude.

    Liked by 2 people

  72. She had spent 20+ years cleaning and putting away the dirty spoons he would leave sink edge, and that she had asked him repeatedly to clean and put away but he would never do it. She had had enough.

    Hi Daisy! This is apparently not an uncommon phenomenon. I’ve been reading some relationship drama over on reddit, and someone referenced this essay which is an interesting perspective from a husband:

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/she-divorced-me-i-left-dishes-by-the-sink_b_9055288

    I think he does a LOT of minimizing, including this part: “Men are perfectly capable of doing a lot of these things our wives complain about. What we are not good at is being psychic, or accurately predicting how our wives might feel about any given thing” (because he knew perfectly well I’m sure that this behavior bothered her, as Mark knows).

    I do think there can sometimes be a mismatch between how people like to keep the house (food out drives me crazy and I always put it up for instance, but the dishes don’t bother me as much). But if your partner matters to you, you will make some sort of effort to figure this out, imo.

    Liked by 1 person

  73. I have wondered if her father sat at her funeral thinking about how he made her last years on earth twice as bad as they had to be.

    CH, I think it’s important for the ‘divorce is always people’ to realize that in some circumstances and situations…divorce is a gift and a blessing. You cannot fix a wound, physical or mental, if it is constantly reopened. You need to let it heal. Some relationships are a constant, open wound, that will never heal unless you leave.

    And when you meet someone who is all those wonderful things that are the opposite of so many terrible stories we hear – who really a truly listens to you, and cares, and acts? It’s makes it crystal clear that anything less isn’t worth fooling with.

    Liked by 1 person

  74. Pingback: Spiritual Abuse: When People Ask You, “Are You Working Toward Reconciliation?” | Spiritual Sounding Board

  75. CH said,

    One of my grandmother’s sisters has told me that men pretend to be nice until after the wedding. I know women do this also. She and another one of her sisters say all the time they both wish they had never gotten married. They are both great-grandmothers now.

    There are people out there who think if you marry a jerk or a bum, it’s on you, because you “should have known.”

    There is so much wrong with that view that I could get into, but all I will say here is to reiterate, from what I’ve read about domestic violence and men who financially abuse their long-time girlfriends or wives, is that a lot of them keep their violent or jerk side hidden until after a certain point, whether that is until after the wedding, after X months of marriage, or until after they move in together.

    And by then, the woman has sort of invested a lot of time, energy, and money and may have other reasons in hesitating about leaving the guy. Some women may be too shocked at first to even know what to do if their man starts abusing them.

    Pat Robertson is a Christian host of a Christian television show who takes questions from television viewers. He’s a conservative, complementarian Christian.

    On a small number of occasions, I have heard Robertson say it’s OK for a wife to divorce her abusive husband, but usually, he does not do that.

    As a matter of fact, Robertson usually victim-blames the wife.

    Robertson will often tell the woman who writes in describing her terrible marriage where her husband is abusing her in some way (or is maybe an alcoholic who is having numerous affairs, or is mis-spending their rent money on more beer, whatever), that “you picked this guy, lady.”

    In other words, Robertson tells these women it’s their duty to remain married to a dead beet or a loser in part because they knew what they were getting into when they married the guy in the first place (even though that is not true for all women: some women don’t know that their husband is abusive or terrible until AFTER the wedding, when the guy starts acting abusively or like a great big jerk.)

    There was an example on You Tube of Pat Robertson blaming a woman for not realizing the guy she was marrying was a loser jerk face, and he insulted her by saying that she ‘had the discernment of a slug.’
    Robertson didn’t put responsibility on the loser husband, where it ultimately belonged, but ragged on the wife who wrote him with a question, kind of telling her the whole thing is her fault for marrying the loser, that she should’ve known better.

    You can hear Robertson’s response to this lady on this site (it’s the second letter discussed on the video):
    _Pat Robertson Answers Viewer Questions on 700 Club (marriage)_ – on the CBN site

    I tried to find that same video on You Tube, but so far I’ve not found it. I did find these gems:
    _Ugly Wives Ruining Marriage says Pat Robertson_

    Also on You Tube, videos with these titles:
    “Pat Robertson Cheating Comments: ‘Males Have a Tendency to Wander'”
    “Pat Robertson: Divorce Wife With Alzheimer’s”

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  76. CH said,

    As someone who grew up in complementarianism, I am so grateful I have never been married and feel I really lucked out. With all my problems I can say; well at least I am not married. When someone tells me they want to get married I am like; god you are naive.

    I am an ex-complementarian. I was brought up in it but rejected it in adulthood.

    I hope you’re not disappointed with me, here, but… I do still want to get married.

    But I know I deserve to be treated with respect, and if I were to marry a user or abuser, I would try to divorce him, if I had the means to do so. I sure wouldn’t stay married to a jerk or abuser just because Christians think the Bible teaches that divorce is wrong.

    I spent years keep walls up and keeping people at a distance, in part due to how my mother raised me to be a doormat.

    I was not allowed to have boundaries, and the only means of self-protection my mother permitted me to have was avoidance.

    So I would keep people at arm’s distance.

    I was reading a book about codependency and the psychiatrist who wrote the book had this comment in the book that made me stop and think.

    She said something in the book like, ‘yes, you can go through life keeping people at arm’s distance and you probably won’t get hurt, but you will also find yourself very lonely, too.’

    Being in relationships, whether platonic friendship types or romantic/ dating/ marital types involves risk-taking.

    Roy Orbison (who was a great singer, by the way!) kind of sang about this situation in his song “Only the Lonely”:

    <

    blockquote>Only the lonely
    Know the heartaches I’ve been through
    Only the lonely
    Know I cry and cry for you

    ….Maybe tomorrow
    A new romance
    No more sorrow
    But that’s the chance
    You’ve got to take
    If your lonely heart breaks
    Only the lonely
    If you want love and/or companionship, you have to risk heart-break.

    I think it’s funny how when I complain, post about, or rant about male- against- female sexism on some blogs (like my Daisy blog) these women who say they are against male-on-female sexism never- the- less jump into “hyper defend men mode” to accuse me, or they hint they think I am, a misandrist (a person who hates men).

    I find that funny, because not only have I been open on my blog, the other spiritual abuse blog, and this one, about having been mistreated by women relatives, friends, and bosses of mine, but I’ve said I’d still like to marry (a man) some day.

    Obviously, I must not hate all men if I would still like to marry one.
    (My view is that the really decent, good guys, and the ones I’d be compatible with, are difficult to find. They’re a needle in a haystack.)

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  77. CH said,

    Yes. And a person can tell you what their spouse is doing to them and it doesn’t sound that bad.

    One of my cousins has been being abused (not physically) all year by his wife but if he says what she is doing people would think it isn’t that bad or bad at all.

    My sister has been going over to comfort him when he has problems with her and can attest to it is really bad.

    I’m sorry your cousin is in a difficult marriage.

    I’ve noticed a lot of Christians, especially if it’s a situation where a woman says her husband is abusing or mistreating her, have an easy time doling out advice that’s insensitive and unfair to the woman (or whomever is in trouble)… but they don’t care, because they’re not the ones who have to live in the situation themselves.

    A lot of these Christian complementarian men who lecture women to stay in unhealthy, unfulfilling and/or abusive marriages, are not the ones who have to live under the same roof day in and day out and be literally or figuratively slapped around by the man.

    Some of these abusive Christian husbands are 6 foot 4 inches tall and weigh some 200-odd pounds, they are much physically bigger than their wife they are abusing, who may weigh 110 pounds and stand at 5 foot 3 inches tall…

    But do the complementarian pastors (some of whom are 6 foot tall themselves and weigh 300 pounds) care about the power and strength imbalance going on in a lot of marriages?

    Nope, because THEY are not the one getting punched in the face by the man or on the receiving end of the man’s ranting, fuming, hostile tirades that may go violent. But these pastors expect the women to just stay and put up with this garbage.

    Another example of this at work in Christianity. For years, I had depression and still have anxiety.

    There are many Christians out there who have never had either depression or anxiety, but they feel very comfortable arrogantly directing me on how they think I should handle it, and who feel perfectly at ease telling me that using anti-anxiety medication is wrong and “Unbiblical.”

    One key to me getting out of a lot of my fear of people and depression was realizing that contra to my mother’s parenting and the church’s teaching, there is nothing wrong or selfish about having boundaries.

    On this very blog, we’ve had a self-professing Christian man on here (you know who he is) who was mocking the concept of boundaries as being psychological hog-wash.

    It’s very easy for people not dealing with problem “X” to offer off-the-cuff, simplistic, dismissive advice to those who are living with problem “X.”
    And many Christians do this sort of thing quite often.

    Like

  78. CH said,

    But, that is the mentality of complementarian men. They do not know nor care what it is like to be raped as a woman or beat by a man as a woman.

    Comp men sit around telling themselves they know everything about everything. And comp men pretend what they want to be true is true and what they don’t want to be true isn’t true.

    All things that benefit them and hurt women and little girls.

    All very true (along with the other stuff you said).

    I think a lot of Christians take marriage TOO SERIOUSLY.

    Many Christians complain that secular culture “doesn’t take marriage seriously enough” – which may be true – but there is such a thing as going too far in the other direction, which Christians do.

    Jesus of Nazareth corrected the religious leaders of his day – he said that Sabbath was made for humans, that humans were not made for the Sabbath.

    Today, I believe Jesus would correct the Christians who have turned marriage into idolatry that, “Marriage was made for humans, humans were not made for marriage.”

    Marriage is – contra Christian marriage book peddlers – supposed to be fun, happy, and fulfilling for both people in the relationship.

    If a marriage is causing you pain (physical, emotional, or financial), and especially if it’s on-going pain (weeks, months, or years of the same awful behavior), divorce the spouse. Leave.
    And don’t look to other people, Christians or no, for permission or validation to divorce!!
    Don’t put the institution of marriage above your safety, mental health, or well-being.

    Get out, and don’t feel guilty about getting out.

    CH said,

    About a year ago multiple people called Bike Bubba out on his misogyny and he refused to answer the questions and ran off. I think he knows if he answers the questions he will sound like a comp-Taliban.

    If he is a nice man that loves and respects women why can’t he answer the questions?

    Maybe he wants me to shut up and let him and his group of Doug Wilson like men decide what is good and okay for me. What does and doesn’t hurt me.

    Did Bike Bubba do that? I wasn’t aware.

    I know I visit this blog quite a bit, but I sometimes don’t visit for days at a time, or only barely glance over the comments, so I guess I missed some of that.

    Doug Wilson is a slavery apologist (he thinks whites owning black people back in the 19th century was okay and beneficial to black people(!!)), and, Doug Wilson basically thinks that marrying a pedophile to a woman is a “cure” for pedophilia.

    A few years ago, Wilson married a woman to a known pedo, and they had an infant son together, and the pedophile husband in that marriage later admitted in one of his mandatory therapy / treatment sessions that he was sexually attracted to his own infant son.

    Normally, I am not a supporter of the Genetic Fallacy (if Doug Wilson says that two plus two equals four, that remains true despite the icky source), but,

    I wouldn’t give Wilson credence on anything considering the source – especially not anything that disgusting man has to say about Jesus, God, the Bible, marriage, women, sex, relationships, racism.

    Doug Wilson has a proven track record of being a racist and a misogynist.

    CH said,

    Quote of Bike Bubba’s about Doug Wilson.

    “and quite frankly if you want to make him a demon from whom one must utterly separate or be demonized, you’re doing the same kind of secondary/tertiary separation nonsense that the fringe of fundamentalists indulge.”

    Bike Bubba, I want to be sympathetic with your quote there, and to a degree, I kind of agree or see where you are coming from.

    I am definitely not a liberal SJW type of person, and I think some of them and/or Independent Fundamentalist Baptists, do go way too far in the “if a person disagrees with you on even one topic, demonize them,” philosophy, but.

    There are, IMO, certain categories of people who absolutely should be shunned or shouted down – like…

    “NAMBLA” (“National Man Boy Love”) members, who argue that child-adult sexual relationships should be legalized (they actually think that children enjoy having sex with adults and want to do it, if only culture or the courts didn’t criminalize it).

    Like white supremacists who think all non-whites should be jailed / deported / murdered.

    Like Islamists who think anyone who doesn’t want to convert to their faith should be beheaded.

    From what I’ve seen of Doug Wilson’s world views, he’s racist and misogynist. I don’t see how or why you’d want to read his blog and try to pick through the garbage to find a few gems, or to defend him on any level.

    There are some ideas, or people who espouse certain ideas, who it may be good to keep a distance from, not defend, and not associate with.

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  79. CH said,

    But, her father did inform his wife, two daughters, and three granddaughters one Christmas Eve that God taking the rib out of Adam was symbolic that women are half of what men are.

    that is a total misreading of that passage.

    The point is actually the opposite as the text itself says: the woman was Adam’s equal counter-part, which was noted several times over in Genesis.

    Even Adam himself said to and about the woman, “She is bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh.”

    The text also says that, “in his image God created the man and woman.”

    The Bible does not say God only created the one in “one half” of God’s image.

    God also told the man AND THE WOMAN to rule over creation TOGETHER. There was no “male headship.”

    God did not ordain male rule of women – that is a male complementarian fantasy read back into the book of Genesis.

    Male rule of women is a consequence of the fall, of sin entering the world, which God brought up in Genesis. It was not God’s design or intent for men to be “boss” over women.

    Like

  80. (part 1)
    CH said,

    Years ago a woman came on http://new.exchristian.net/ and told us how odious we all were for leaving Christianity.

    Months later she came back on and apologized. Apparently, her big sister had been trying to have a baby for years and had many miscarriages and then a stillborn. … (etc)

    That woman sounds like she was initially pretty obnoxious or insensitive on that site / forum, but it was nice or her to come back and show some humility.

    Oh yeah, I have had an online acquaintance for over a decade now who is a Non-Christian who used to post to the Ex-Christian site years ago and would occasionally tell me about it.

    It’s always easy for a (Christian) person who is not going through a trauma in life (or who has never really experienced one) to lecture and scold others who are going through stuff, especially when it concerns questioning the Christian faith or the existence of God.

    There was a Christian co-host named Kristi Watts who used to be on the 700 Club Christian show for many years. She left that show. Then she came back one day a few years ago to discuss a new book she had just written.

    What I found wonderful about her guest appearance (when she came back to market her new book) is that she apologized to the tv audience for her previous years on the show.

    She said the first few years she co-hosted that show, she would sit there all perky and bubbly about how the Christian faith is so great and Jesus will solve all your problems.

    She said what happened a few years into co-hosting that show is that her personal life fell apart.

    Kristi Watts said her then-husband divorced her shortly after she gave birth to their son. He put her down before he bolted, too – he told her things like, “you’re not pretty any more.”
    So they divorced, if I remember right. The husband didn’t have much to do with their son, leaving her to raise the kid alone. The husband later died of AIDS, I think.

    Anyway, Watts said that was a very difficult time in her life, and she now realizes how naive it is to sit there on a Christian show and spout off, and in a super perky and happy-clappy manner, that “Jesus will meet all your needs!!”

    She said real life is not that easy (so true), and she said that being a Christian isn’t going to necessarily make your life all better.

    Even having Jesus in your life doesn’t make things go easier or better, she seemed to indicate.

    I admired her for those admissions. I wish we saw more of it on Christian TV shows.

    I get annoyed or frustrated with Christians who get annoyed or upset with those of us who’ve tried the Christian faith but who say “it’s not worked for me.”
    That really ticks off a lot of believers.

    As I said above, I think a lot of people (religious types in particular) are very uncomfortable with uncertainty. They want 100% certainty in their lives, in their religion. They don’t like doubt or ambiguity, and don’t feel comfortable around people who raise very uncomfortable questions about God, faith, etc.

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  81. (part 2)
    CH said,

    Years ago a woman came on http://new.exchristian.net/ and told us how odious we all were for leaving Christianity.

    Months later she came back on and apologized. Apparently, her big sister had been trying to have a baby for years and had many miscarriages and then a stillborn. … (etc)

    It’s been about three or four years since this spat I had with this online friend of mine I mentioned above – I had known her online for several years and had been so supportive of her – that it still smarts.

    This ex-friend used me emotionally for years.

    I sat there and gave her encouragement and empathy for all her years of stress, anger, even during her years of hating God (this is when I was a mainstream Christian), but she did not return any of that encouragement, empathy to me when the roles were reversed, and I was the one undergoing some bad things and having doubts about Christianity.

    So it’s kind of interesting you had a reverse situation with that lady on your Ex Christian forum / site – she started out chiding you for doubting the faith, but she came back a year later to eat some humble pie and to say she can understand why some of you doubt God now.

    My ex-Friend, who used me, started out being a very gung-ho Christian, said she was an atheist before flipping back and saying she was a Christian again, cussed me out and said very hurtful things to me before our friendship broke apart.

    This ex-friend of mine was the biggest hypocrite.
    She wasn’t able to extend to me the courtesy and sympathy to me I had shown her for YEARS, and her non-stop complaining about (usually very trivial) issues was so tiresome, but I bit my tongue and just listened to her over the years.

    It’s also hypocritical and it’s glaring how she thinks she’s this great Christian now, and she was accusing me of being an atheist (which I told her I am not), etc, but she was screaming profanity at me in e-mails at times during our disagreement.

    I was like, let me get this straight – you’re cussing me out, insulting me, biting my head off (and with no provocation from me) etc? That is not “Christian” behavior, and I quoted Bible verses at her which was condemning the very horrible behavior she was engaging in.

    Only at that point did she back down a tad, but while she cut out much of the profanity, and maintained a super judgmental, hateful, insensitive attitude towards my struggle.

    And my struggle was almost identical to hers that she had undergone in the past 3 – 4 years that I had lovingly helped her through!!

    That situation with that ex-friend of mine, who claimed to be a Christian, played one role of several as to why I am one foot out the door done with Christianity. It’s not the only reason, but it is one of a few.

    Like

  82. (part 1) Lea said,

    Hi Daisy! This is apparently not an uncommon phenomenon. I’ve been reading some relationship drama over on reddit, and someone referenced this essay which is an interesting perspective from a husband:

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/she-divorced-me-i-left-dishes-by-the-sink_b_9055288

    I think I may have read that Huff Po page before.

    I think in my sister’s case, the dirty- spoon- by- the- sink was the straw that broke the camel’s back; it was not the ONLY reason she finally dumped the live-in boyfriend of 20+ years, though.

    She had many things she was upset with him about, but the spoon thing just stuck in her craw, and it was the snapping point.
    She said she saw his dirty spoon by the sink one morning, and it just dawned on her she could not do another 20 years of that spoon, or that guy being oblivious and not caring about her and what she needed.

    And what I think a lot of men don’t “get” – is that the whole thing wasn’t really about the spoon. The spoon was a symbol or a summary of everything that was wrong with that guy that she’d been enduring for years.

    It was mostly what the spoon represented: that he was a selfish lout who didn’t care about my sister or about her needs.

    A lot of men just think disagreements like that are about the spoon only, but it is not always about the spoon, or it’s more than the spoon.

    BTW. A lot of men fail themselves on this stuff. They don’t listen to the women around them, and they should.

    A woman should not have to ask you, a man, more than once or twice to please put the spoon away or take out the trash…
    (and when the men ignore the women, and the women keep asking because they’re not heard or responded to the first time, men joke around or complain that this is “nagging.”
    So-called nagging is the result of men blowing off women and their concerns. Much of the time, men have only themselves to blame for “nagging.”)

    A lot of men I’ve noticed, like to act lazy in a relationship.

    They think once they marry, or move in with, their woman that they are “done” and can just kick back in their recliner and relax and do nothing but drink beer and watch TV.

    Then all the housework, making sure bills are paid on time, etc, and maintaining the romance, falls to the woman, and most women do NOT want that.

    It also becomes more of a relationship where the wife (or GF) is more like a mother figure, the husband is like a son. Most women don’t want that, either.

    But a lot of men actually sit around scratching their heads acting befuddled that their wife or GF dumped them in these scenarios.
    -As though women are supposed to enjoy, be happy, and be fulfilled doing 99% of the relationship work 99% of the time and doing housework and having their needs ignored, and as though women are supposed to be thrilled being with a husband who feels more like a teen-aged son who needs to be taken care of than an equal life partner.

    Women shouldn’t have to remind men to do housework, or to remind the spouse to take the kid’s to their dentist appointment (or to schedule the appointment in the first place), or to notice the family is getting low on toilet paper and to go to Kroger’s and buy more, btw.

    That is one form of “emotional labor” that a lot of men are ignorant of.
    A lot of men seem to think that the toilet paper just magically appears in the house, thru no human effort.

    Like

  83. (part 2)
    Lea said,

    I do think there can sometimes be a mismatch between how people like to keep the house (food out drives me crazy and I always put it up for instance, but the dishes don’t bother me as much).
    [second part]:
    But if your partner matters to you, you will make some sort of effort to figure this out, imo.

    All true.
    And the second half – if one of a person’s actions is driving the other up the wall, the mature / altruistic thing to do is to knock it off because you care about your partner.

    A dirty spoon on the sink may not bother you, but if it’s a hot button issue for your partner, you should maybe probably start caring not because of the spoon but because it matters to your partner.

    There was a news story out a few years ago about a politician who wanted to change his state’s divorce laws to make it a tad more difficult for women to divorce because he said too many of his male friends said they were “blind sided” by their wife slapping divorce papers in their faces.

    This gets into another thing, related to what I said above. Most women will sit a man down a billion times over a period or weeks or months and say “I am unhappy with this marriage because X, Y, Z.”

    Do the most men care? Nope. They won’t change or address the problems.

    So the woman has enough and divorces. The man comes home to see that his wife’s (or GF’s) stuff is cleaned out of his side of the closet.

    Then these men have the nerve to complain that they were shocked and did not see that divorce coming.

    The reality is that most women will tell a guy a billion times in advance she will dump him if he does not change X, Y, or Z, but most guys ignore this, or just blow it off.

    A lot of men, from what I’ve seen (and experienced) don’t like to do relationship work. It’s easier to just sit about in their boxer shorts watching NFL and assume it will blow over.

    There was an example of at ACFJ blog of a Christian woman who finally divorced her verbally abusive Christian husband after 20 years of his obnoxious and hurtful behavior.

    I just remember that the guy wrote a book or did a video admitting yes, he had been emotionally / verbally abusive of his wife.

    But he sat there blubbering and complaining in the book/ video that he thinks God should restore his marriage and the wife should give him a second chance, but she refuses to.

    I don’t remember what all else the guy said in his book/video, but I bet you anything the wife gave him years of warnings and discussions about how his behavior was hurting her before she finally left him.

    Like

  84. For Lea
    (or any woman who’s ever been frustrated by a man in a relationship, and the guy just does not get it)…

    _The Lemon Scene From The Movie ‘The Breakup’ (on You Tube)_
    -the male commentators leaving comments under that video don’t get it, and I bet they will remain forever single.

    The lady character tries explaining to the guy (her boyfriend) that it’s not just about the lemons, or the dinner, or the dirty dishes.

    Their fight continued here:
    _The Break Up – Kitchen Fight Scene (on You Tube)_

    If those videos ever gets yanked from You Tube, there are copies on other accounts on there, just search You Tube for “Lemon scene The Breakup” or “Fight scene The Breakup”

    “It’s not about the lemons!!!”
    “It’s not about the flowers!!! It’s not about the dishes!!!”
    “It’s not about the ballet! It’s about spending time with someone you care about!!!”

    I so relate to that movie and those scenes. The dude in those scenes remains clueless, totally clueless as to what the woman is trying to tell him.

    Like

  85. Daisy,

    I used to watch/follow/idolize Pat Robertson years ago when I sat as a dumbed down pew sitter in an abusive baptist c’hurch with an assembly of god pastor man…..and oh, how blind I was allowing the blind guides to “m’inister” to me.

    Truth be said, according to the fruits of Robertson, I honestly cannot say that he is a believer and follower of the Jesus of our Holy Scriptures. The things that come out of his mouth, stemming from his heart, show signs that he is following another jesus coupled with his pride of this life……..earning a living using the Name of the LORD our God in vain. And I was once a “membership fee paying, card holding, and faithful supporter promoting the c’hristian coalition to others, until I saw the Light of Christ……would Jesus, in fact, be a member of Pat’s “leadership team” should He be walking amongst us this day? No.

    I believe he truly is a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” leading many blind folks down the road to hell.

    Like

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