ABUSE & VIOLENCE IN THE CHURCH, Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence and Churches, Misuse of Scripture, Women and the Church

Pastors and Church Leaders: do you know who is in your audience? Well-intentioned sermons may be harmful to survivors.

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“Huge door-slamming, yelling fight”

Recently, Pastor Judah Smith of Churchome Church in Seattle, WA, posted an Instagram wishing his wife, Chelsea, a happy 20th anniversary and included words from his wife’s #MarriageMonday series” as quoted below:

Happy 20th Anniversary to my beautiful wife @chelseasmith. LOVE YOU FOREVER.

I absolutely love her weekly #MarriageMonday series so I thought I’d repost hers from this week.

#MarriageMonday | This is a special post, because tomorrow, November 5, Judah and I will have been married for TWENTY YEARS!!! First that makes me feel old, and I love getting older!! Second, I realize that this marriage is the hardest, most fulfilling thing that I have done with my life. I have cried more tears over this relationship than anything else in my life. This marriage has produced my three beautiful children and a church community I’m obsessed with. Last night we got into a huge door-slamming, yelling fight. Last week we had the most incredible sex. How can one entity produce the most extreme circumstances? LOVE. This is love. This is love for 20 years. There is beauty in the pain and pain in the beautiful. It’s what makes us human and makes us alive. I wouldn’t trade a single moment of these 20 years for anything else…these moments are the greatest story of my life. Happy Anniversary my love…I hope we keep having door-slamming fights and mind-blowing sex for 80 more years and 100 more lifetimes.

Instagram Link

It is so, so important that church leaders have an understanding of who is in their audience.

In this day and age, posting personal happenings on social media is commonplace. However, not all personal happenings should be posted. Furthermore, as a church leader/pastor, it is so, so important that church leaders have an understanding of who is in their audience.

I was alarmed when I read about a “huge door-slamming, yelling fight” by Chelsea, written so flippantly. What does this message send to congregants and followers? My friend and domestic violence victim advocate and expert, Pastor Neil Schori, left a comment on the Instagram post:

Yes! Neil nails it – many victims will stay longer because they are looking to their leaders for cues on what is healthy or unhealthy in a marriage.

I reached out to Jeremiah Rice, a new friend I recently met on Twitter. He’s been in full-time ministry for 15 years and currently pastors a church in Minnesota. He also engages in the challenging and rewarding work of domestic violence intervention as a certified facilitator of the Duluth Model. I asked Jeremiah what he thought of the Instagram post and asked if he’d like to give me a statement. Boy, am I glad I did. Read his wise words:

I’m not familiar with Judah or Chelsea Smith or the ministry they lead. Yet, as someone who weekly confronts male batterers about the beliefs they hold – beliefs that enable them to abuse the woman in their life – this social media post is alarming. I have no way of knowing whether the Smith relationship is defined by domestic violence. I have no doubt that domestic violence victims are among those who sit in their congregation and subscribe to their social media.

Door slamming and yelling are red flags of domestic abuse. This post normalizes those behaviors. Women who view this post are now more likely to minimize the occurrence of abuse in their homes because “Oh, it happens to the pastor, too.” No! If a woman is EVER afraid of the man in her life, the relationship has been redefined as one of power and control rather than one of equality. This message is too important to risk the unintended consequences of normalization!

Neil is absolutely correct: 1 in 3 women have or will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetime. That is a huge number of women. Imagine gathering one in three women at your church and having them stand. What number would that represent? Now, think of the Instagram message being read to those specific survivors. What message would those women hear when they heard about the yelling and slamming doors? Would it tell them that yelling and slamming doors in anger is normal? Because listen . . . it’s not normal. That is an inappropriate way to express anger.

Now think about abusers or potential abusers in your church. Imagine what they would feel or think when hearing that message. Would they pat themselves on the back and think their abusive behavior is “cool” since the pastor and his wife just admitted they go off the rails like that?

Do I believe that Judah and Chelsea Smith have an abusive marriage? Is that what this is all about? No, not at all. This post is to encourage pastors to think carefully about what they post online and what they preach from the pulpit.

Preach as if one in three women listening in your audience are victims of domestic violence.

Please preach and communicate as if one in three women listening in your audience are victims of domestic violence. Let their faces come to mind as you prepare your sermons and when you talk about “trusting God” or “submitting” or “suffering for righteousness sake.”

Keep in mind that the victims of domestic violence who are listening to your words are trying to hang on to their faith and cling to your every word because they are desperate. So, when you say to just “trust in God,” “submit more,” or “suffer for righteousness sake,” they are likely going to apply it to themselves. Are you wanting them to submit more to an abuser?? Are you wanting them to trust God and remain with an abuser? Are you wanting a victim of domestic violence to suffer for righteousness sake? Of course you aren’t!!!!

But sometimes victims cannot differentiate which words are for them and which words are not. Many times they are minimizing the abuse and so they will hear those words and think they need to trust God more, submit more, and suffer more for righteousness sake. They need to hear from you that you are NOT talking about them. Please give them a disclaimer. They need to hear it!!

What I know about survivors is they are very simple. Most of their energy is gone and they are simply surviving. It takes too much mental and emotional energy to think through your words. They are trusting you, so if you say to suffer or trust or submit, they will want to follow your teachings. But you aren’t meaning those phrases for them. Again, I need to say it again firmly: do not be stingy with your disclaimers. They need to hear it, and your whole church body needs to hear it. It’s not a waste of time. It’s that important!

Well-intentioned sermons may be harmful to survivors.

I remember one time I was listening to my pastor’s sermon and I heard the “trust more” message through the eyes of a victim advocate. It dawned on me how a survivor might respond – – by putting herself in harm’s way based on her pastor’s words to trust God more!!! Do you see what can happen? Well-intentioned sermons may be harmful to survivors.

Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer!

So, I like to encourage pastors to be liberal with disclaimers. When you say, “trust God more,” or “submit,” or “suffer for righteousness sake,” be sure to add the disclaimer, “I’m not talking about abuse here.” Tell the congregants: “when you are living with an abusive spouse, you do not submit to abuse, I want to make that clear. Do not submit to abuse!”

When talking about trusting God, say to the congregation something like: “When I say trust God, I don’t mean to stay with an abuser and expect God to protect you.”

And when talking about suffering for righteousness sake, be sure to say something like: “When I say to suffer, I am never referring to suffering abuse.” They need to hear these disclaimers.

Using the disclaimers does a couple of things:

  1. It tells domestic violence survivors that you are not talking about them and their situation!
  2. It addresses the topic of domestic violence and abuse from the pulpit and tells the congregation where you stand on the topic. It tells them that you believe it is a real issue, that it is harmful, and that you care about survivors. In doing so, you are establishing that your church is a safe place for survivors and you want to support them.

So, to cap it up, pastors and church leaders, please preach as if one in three women have or will experience domestic violence. How are they going to respond to your words when they are barely surviving? Are any of your words going to be putting a survivor in harm’s way? If so, be liberal with disclaimers and assure them that you never want them to be in a situation where there could be more harm.

Now I’m going to add a disclaimer: I used women as victims in this blog post because women are more likely than men to be abused. Men are also victims of abuse, so the same precautions go for them as well.

55 thoughts on “Pastors and Church Leaders: do you know who is in your audience? Well-intentioned sermons may be harmful to survivors.”

  1. We might note that there are a lot of areas where we ought to be a lot more sensitive. I remember once when I was steaming about a particular issue, and got talking with a friend, whose wife was steaming over the presentation of another issue–mental health care. Interesting thing was that in both cases, the issue at hand was that the preacher had gone well beyond what Scripture actually says. In one case, he’d denied the Biblical goodness of wine (in moderate consumption of course), and in another, he’d railed against mental health care and psychotropics.

    I’ve also bumped into people who’ve been hurt in the darnedest places. Dunno why. Maybe I’m a bit more approachable than average, or maybe I’m just crazy enough to listen. Or maybe I’m no outlier at all.

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  2. YES!! Thank you Neil and Jeremiah for being pastors who care about abuse victims and survivors. It is so refreshing to see pastors who understand the power and control dynamics of domestic violence and boldly say to people, “This is not okay.”

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  3. Bike Bubba – Thank you for being crazy enough to listen. Listening to others tell their stories is a great act of compassion and kindness.

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  4. “I hope we keep having door-slamming fights and mind-blowing sex for 80 more years and 100 more lifetimes.”

    This is the sentence that especially bothers me. Someone in my life used to latch onto statements like that and use them against me. “See? This godly pastor’s wife WANTS her husband to do x,y,z and there is something wrong with you for not loving it when I do the same thing!” No matter what it was that I didn’t like, found disgusting, or caused me actual physical pain, this guy always knew someone who LOVED that very thing and therefore my thoughts and feelings on the issue were to be disregarded.

    Apparently this is a common tactic. I know many other women who were shamed, silenced, and dismissed in much the same way.

    Personally, I hate door-slamming fights. I think they are horribly immature — we were forbidden to slam doors in our home growing up, and I recall having to “practice” opening and shutting my bedroom door as quietly as possible what seemed like a gazillion times once as a punishment.

    Plus, I’m tired of pastors and their wives bragging about their “mind-blowing” sex lives. Dudes and dudettes, grow up and get a filter. Learn some discretion. And get ahold of those tempers of yours.

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  5. I can see both sides of this issue. On one hand, it’s difficult for pastors to preach to the 80% of the congregation when there is, perhaps a 20% minority with different experiences, and maybe even a 1% with some sort of medical or psychological issue.

    My pastor’s approach is pretty reasonable, but I still think it doesn’t fit every case perfectly – he says that God does his best heart work in crises, and that at the moment we want to give up, God may want us to press in. In a lot of respects, it’s not legalistic, but I can see how someone in an abusive relationship would take that as a directive to return. His advice isn’t in isolation – he talks openly about toxic people and breaking ties, he talks about listening to the Holy Spirit, he talks openly about having offended people and given bad advice.

    In my experience, though, pastors preach to what they would consider the 80%. So, perhaps 80% of people in the church can be more sacrificial and involved, but when the pastors preach that people should be more sacrificial and involved, it’s the 20% that are already giving 110% that are hearing the message and it is not a message of joy, but a message of inadequacy and pain. A sermon on the blessing of children may hurt the 20% and be even more harmful to those struggling with fertility issues.

    I think that it can go too far, though. Should babies be banished from the service because of those who struggle with fertility or miscarriages? Should PDA be banished because of struggling singles or divorcee’s? It seems any sort of legalistic approach to meeting the needs of the minority should be met with some skepticism. Yes, I think disclaimers would be a healthy approach to preaching to the 80% whose marital issues are primarily selfishness and lack of respect, while standing up against abuse. I would say that instead of disclaimers, pastors should be spending much more time on domestic violence. Something that affects one in three women shouldn’t just be a disclaimer.

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  7. It takes less than 10 seconds to give a disclaimer that might prevent an abused person from being put in a harmful place based on the pastor’s words. I think it’s reckless to not include a disclaimer when it is so easy to do it.

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  8. Also, my “Hmmm” filter is wondering if the pastor is trying to gaslight his wife by getting outside support of his abusive tactics. i.e. “See, honey, it can’t be abusive. I got 1,000 likes!”

    I know of a situation where an abuser would use certain items or Bible passages in his abuse, and then post things on social media using those items or passages, and I can only assume that it was used to normalize his abusive practices.

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  9. @JA, I agree that at the present time, pastors really need to make it abundantly clear WHO they are talking to in the sermon, whether it is a disclaimer or carefully choosing words that make it clear they are talking only about healthy marriages.

    I just think that long-term, there has to be a better way to set the stage because I’m sure that people have been hurt and abused by many, if not most of the Biblical teachings being taken out of context.

    This may be part of the balance of the weaker brother argument – pastors need to understand their audience and be especially sensitive of the cultural context.

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  10. “I hope we keep having door-slamming fights and mind-blowing sex for 80 more years and 100 more lifetimes.” This statement stuck out at me too. I think this is a red flag and shows that their marriage may not exactly be healthy if this kind of dynamic is going on AND he longs for more. I don’t know how many couples have fights like this, but I would be willing to guess that in a healthy relationship, door-slamming fights are not the norm and are not something to strive for. And sex can cause someone to quickly gloss over the pain and bring a quick “restoration” to the relationship that isn’t real – “see we had mind-blowing sex, you can’t still be hurt, upset, etc.” Especially after a big, highly charged fight. Also, it’s really easy to conflate passion with intimacy. While they can exist together, they aren’t the same thing.

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  11. I hope we keep having door-slamming fights

    I feel like anyone who would hope for door slamming fights in some way thrives on drama, or is alternately trying to rationalize away her severe dislike of said fights. I would never romanticize that.

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  12. Actually, a lot of preachers and authors make a lot of assumptions about their audience. One huge assumption being, the people I’m talking to are just like me and need to hear the exact same things that I needed to hear. Things that changed my life.

    I can think of one huge example.

    The Purpose Driven Life. Someone loaned it to me. I couldn’t get past the first chapter because it was all about saying, “It’s not about you!”

    That was not the message I needed to hear. Because I already know it wasn’t about me. I already experienced that it was never about me because I was married to and living with a guy with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. And everything was about him.
    The book I needed and eventually found said that, actually, sometimes it really is about me. Sometimes it is about my needs that have been buried. Sometimes its about my inner healing.

    People really need to get outside of their own heads more often and stop thinking that everyone else is in the same place that they are.

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  13. he talks openly about having offended people and given bad advice.

    Mark, I think i would question how much generic advice pastors should be giving. Most advice should be targeted? I guess it depends on how it comes off but maybe we could question that as a sermon choice in general.

    I don’t think this lady was actually giving advice, and I don’t love too much criticizing people for things that are just personal expressions – but I think romanticizing door slamming fights is deeply strange in general so…

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  14. In my experience, though, pastors preach to what they would consider the 80%. So, perhaps 80% of people in the church can be more sacrificial and involved, but when the pastors preach that people should be more sacrificial and involved, it’s the 20% that are already giving 110% that are hearing the message and it is not a message of joy, but a message of inadequacy and pain. …A sermon on the blessing of children may hurt the 20% and be even more harmful to those struggling with fertility issues. I think that it can go too far, though. Should babies be banished from the service because of those who struggle with fertility or miscarriages? Should PDA be banished because of struggling singles or divorcee’s? It seems any sort of legalistic approach to meeting the needs of the minority should be met with some skepticism. Yes, I think disclaimers would be a healthy approach to preaching to the 80% whose marital issues are primarily selfishness and lack of respect, while standing up against abuse.

    So, i have thoughts about this, Mark.

    If you are consciously targeting ‘80%’, whether you are talking about children or marriage, or sacrifice….you are consciously choosing sermons that don’t apply to a significant portion of your audience. Also! Why are your sermons about the bible NOT for everyone? What is the choice/calculation made here???? Is the bible not for everyone??? That’s what you’re saying consciously or not.

    That’s what we hear from people who focus on marriage and family and all the other things they think apply to ‘80%’ (but may not!). They are ignoring so many people. They should consciously think about whether they want their sermons to be for everyone or only for the people they actually care about/think about.

    I showed up to a valentines day church service with a friend years ago (who I visited to distract myself from a breakup trauma) and the entire sermon was about marriage and a tiny toss off to ‘singles, you’ll get married someday, now back to the rest of hour long sermon that doesn’t apply to you’ was not helpful. Maybe sermons should be for everyone.

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  15. A sermon on the blessing of children may hurt the 20% and be even more harmful to those struggling with fertility issues.

    Oh and I meant to pull this out because if you are doing a sermon solely on how people with kids have been blessed you might seriously want to consider if your implication is that people without them have NOT been blessed, or alternately cursed. And you may not want to give that sermon, because it is WRONG. Infertility is a deeply painful thing to people and the last thing they need is a church telling them they are infertile because they are consciously not being blessed.

    Can we possibly make church and sermons not being actively harmful to anyone a general goal? Cause that would be nifty.

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  16. Lea’s comments suggest to me that a sermon on Isaiah 56:4-5 might be in order. At least if the preacher can avoid mucking it up completely.

    4. For this is what the LORD says: “To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, who choose what pleases Me and hold fast to My covenant— 5I will give them, in My house and within My walls, a memorial and a name better than that of sons and daughters. I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.

    I remember single days and the joy of Valentine’s Day. Blah. One time I got together with friends and “celebrated” it as “Black Thursday” with a feast of Coca-Cola, spinach noodles with sauce, and brownies, all on the blackest plates we could find. By candlelight, and I think I even found black napkins. If you guessed I tend to orneriness, you guessed right.

    To be a little more serious about matters, yeah, I think we can find ways to talk about marriage and parenthood that are a bit more sensitive to the half of adults who are not married and the fifth (?) of adults who are infertile, or who have lost children too young. Hang in there, single folk!

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  17. I don’t follow Judah Smith on Twitter, so I don’t know how much he brags about his sex life in general, but it’s hilarious he used the opportunity of his wife bragging about it to repost on his own feed. Got it, Judah – you’re an animal in bed!

    Who else feels a general sense of unease about pastors bragging about their sex lives? How many times has he posted about how awkward sex was? Or how he just wasn’t able to perform the way he wanted to? Maybe he does…

    I tend to think that part of a healthy sex life is privacy. Not that we can’t talk about sex in situations that call for it, but posting about it on Instagram or Twitter? I think it might be an indication of insecurity in a person’s sex life…singling out the instances when it was great and ignoring the instances when it wasn’t. Better to keep both off the internet.

    I know this SSB post focuses on abuse, but there’s also going to be people who will read Smith’s post and are simply struggling in their sex lives and will be given another indication that they’re not quite the man or woman the Smith’s are. Satisfying sex comes from a lifetime of trial and error, awkwardness, getting it wrong, hurt feelings, probably some tears, and loving commitment…and nobody reaches a finish line, nobody “arrives”.

    Assuming the Smith’s aren’t in an abusive marriage situation, I’m happy for their sex life. Awesome! Go for it! But exercise some discernment about the level of privacy that necessarily accompanies satisfying sex.

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  18. Is it appropriate to turn every aspect of one’s life (even the most intimate and personal [ie, fights within marriage and one’s sex life]) into opportunities for brand management and promotion across social media platforms? Maybe the Smith’s answer to this question (a resounding “Yes!”) is what troubles me the most about a post like this.

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  19. Who else feels a general sense of unease about pastors bragging about their sex lives?

    I literally want to hear about NOBODYS sex life, or lack thereof.

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  20. Lea, I don’t think it’s wrong to preach to a section of the congregation. If a pastor preached on the passage BB mentioned above, it would be applicable to some and not all. But, as JA says, if you’re not preaching to everyone, it is very helpful to say what the bounds are – i.e. this is about resolving conflict in a healthy, non-abusive marriage.

    I also want to avoid the zero-sum game. Having children is a blessing, sure, but being single is also a blessing. It’s one church, one body, and in each station of life, people have things to give, but they also have needs to be met. One of the best small groups I was in was a mixture of singles, families and even older couples. It was followed by one of the worst small groups, which was just single young career people.

    I can’t really put my finger on what is offensive about it. There are lots of bits – for example, if I’m not in the 80%, and there isn’t a disclaimer, then I’m going to be tempted to feel like my experience is invalid. I might feel left out. I might feel opposed. I do like the idea of a disclaimer vs. trying to get everyone in the same mold. And maybe part of the difference is between preaching to the 80% and spiritually abusive preaching. For example, one pastor said, “if coming to worship on Sunday isn’t the highlight of your week, you might not be a Christian”. Was he really preaching to the 80% or was he kicking people who were already down? It was a very joy-less church and I’m guessing he was telling the 90% who were unhappy to stick a smile on their faces because the leadership wasn’t going to make it any happier.

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  21. Lea, I don’t think it’s wrong to preach to a section of the congregation.

    I think my issue with this Mark, is if you are singling out a demographic and saying this message is only for them. Well, why did anyone else bother to come then?

    If it’s a general message, ie, something about grief that may really speak to one portion of the population at that moment but be similarly applicable to another population at a different time, that might make sense. Some messages seem to hit on whatever I’m really thinking about or dealing with that week, and others less so. But to narrow it to ‘singles’ or ‘couples with young children’ or ‘dudes who like to golf’ seems needlessly exclusive. I don’t think those things make fundamentally good sermons. Save it for a retreat or sunday school or something if it will not apply to half the congregation.

    And this is to my mind, a difference in the way people view what sermons are even for. If you are preaching out of say the lectionary, you take a passage and maybe hit on certain themes, but you are not excluding. It’s different from devoting a sermon to, say, specific marriage stuff.

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  22. One thing that strikes me is that if you cannot make a given passage–yes, even one in Song of Solomon or such–relevant to the vast majority of congregants, maybe one ought to question one’s aptness to teach and qualification for the pastorate. To use the passage I noted before, just because one has children doesn’t mean one can’t stand in awe of the fact that God chooses to give eunuchs an inheritance even greater than the greatest things we desire and often obtain on this earth.

    Or, put differently, if one thought that passage was restricted only to eunuchs, I guess you’d end up preaching to survivors of testicular cancer (8000 new ones/year, about 1/250 men) and transsexuals, both of which just might be like hens’ teeth in a typical church. That noted, I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of pastors would avoid that passage for precisely that reason, as well as the discomfort of explaining to kids what a “eunuch” is. (yes, #ornery)

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  23. BB, not to be #ornery, but “To use the passage I noted before, just because one has children doesn’t mean one can’t stand in awe of the fact that God chooses to give eunuchs an inheritance even greater than the greatest things we desire and often obtain on this earth.”

    Sure, I could preach a sermon on parenting and say that non-parents can stand in awe of the way God works through parents.

    However, Jesus and the other NT prophets/authors did have exclusive teachings, so I don’t think exclusivity is an issue as much as I think the issue is turning the Bible into Play-Doh to be squeezed through a patriarchal, Evangelical cultural lens. — even the passage on eunuchs – I’ve never heard a sermon on that, but oh boy! husband, wife, children, bosses, church leaders are the bread and butter of today’s sermons. Even having been in a church that is “expository” where supposedly the message comes from the passage of scripture and pastors love to slog through books, it shouldn’t be surprising that everything can be molded back into the pastors hobby horse topics. In the middle of a bitter church split, a former pastor was preaching on a passage about divisions existing among us, but his hobby horse was Christian Reconstruction. The sermon had 0% to do with divisions and 100% to do with reconstruction.

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  24. Mark, I will spare you my ranting on hobby horses until we #ornery people can get together for a beer or something. :^) Seriously, what I’m getting at is that as one “digs” into a passage, one should find any number of “angles” to the passage that will help one make it relevant to any number of people. I won’t waste everyone’s time going through all of that on any given passage here, but if I allow/force myself to dig deep in a passage, it’s just wonderful. Or maybe I’m just a nerd.

    Back to the original topic, it strikes me that if I’m going to talk about my marital relationship with someone, or for that matter how I do or don’t argue with my wife, maybe….the setting matters. That original bit bothers me, and yes, partially because he mentions slamming doors and that kind of thing.

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  25. Lea, “I think my issue with this Mark, is if you are singling out a demographic and saying this message is only for them. Well, why did anyone else bother to come then?”

    Many people have crossed my path and I think it helps me empathize with them to hear the sorts of struggles that other people in different situations can face. Some of it is applicable to the future me, perhaps.

    What if those around me had heard sermons on wolves posing as pastors and spiritual leaders and could help me see that my church was abusive? I doubt that a wolf is going to preach a sermon on identifying wolves, so a sermon on wolves is probably never applicable directly to the hearers.

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  26. What pastor worthy of the name wouldn’t be aware what has gone on in the lives of the congregation? If he is not, perhaps the church is too big.

    I tend to think pastoring is implementing the word of God individually with church members – privately. Teaching is more to do with the church collectively, and given in a public setting.

    Someone teaching from the scriptures must make faithfulness to what the text actually says their first priority. Without fear or favour. It’s actual relevance to those listening will vary from person to person and time to time. Coming from a background at times which was influenced by Willow Creek seeker-sensitivity (which please note!), I think the preacher must avoid tailoring the message to suit the felt needs of the congregation, this is exactly what he mustn’t do. When this happens, one ‘need’ that never gets addressed is man’s sinful condition and his need for forgivenness.

    I well remember visiting the church I have in mind which had a new pastor, actually going through whole books of the bible, gently saying ‘marriage is between a man and a woman’, and a woman walking out at this point incandescent with rage. There are plenty of issues where the bible is diametrically opposed to modern culture, and the church had clearly failed to address them. When you make the message about building self-esteem or generally feeling good about yourself, or unconditional acceptance with God, you will inevitably have to miss out a great deal of bible that says things we need to hear but don’t want to. Mercy and severity need to be balanced. A massive over-emphasis on a God of love can lead to all sorts of trouble.

    This is never going to be easy. You cannot miss out ‘after death the judgement’ even if you do have members who might have just lost loved ones who weren’t Christian believers. I have read a great deal about the NT on marriage and divorce, but have never heard a sermon on the latter in any church I have been in. Pastoral nightmare.

    I’ll add my own disclaimer that I take it as a given that anyone teaching on a subject such as marriage and the ‘s~’ word will make quite certain that it is not misunderstood. No message that is faithful to scripture could ever leave anyone with grounds to justify abusive and unloving behaviour towards others.

    I would also say, and unfortunately this cannot be taken as a given, that we have the right and responsibility to read the bible and learn doctrine for ourselves, and should check any sermon to ensure it is reasonably in line with what the bible itself says.

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  27. Many people have crossed my path and I think it helps me empathize with them to hear the sorts of struggles that other people in different situations can face. Some of it is applicable to the future me, perhaps.

    Thats great if you are talking to individual people. That doesn’t mean a sermon needs to focus exclusively on one demo and just hope other people maybe file it info for later or maybe not. You can talk about say something in a way that is open to everyone. You may preach on the prodigal son to talk about the father, but that doesn’t mean that story is solely about parenting. It’s deeper and broader than that, or it should be. I don’t think there are many stories in the bible that can’t be discussed in a way that includes rather than excludes and the people I see doing the later are doing so because they’re on their own personal hobby horse. JMHO.

    What if those around me had heard sermons on wolves posing as pastors and spiritual leaders and could help me see that my church was abusive? I doubt that a wolf is going to preach a sermon on identifying wolves, so a sermon on wolves is probably never applicable directly to the hearers.

    I don’t know what sermon you’re envisioning here that couldn’t be expanded. If someone tells a story about deception, and spotting liars and manipulators in general? That applies to all of us.

    I think these people are doing bad sermoning if they are just picking a group and pitching a sermon solely at them.

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  28. I find this pastor’s comments concerning for a variety of reasons, not just because he sounds and looks like a pervert. First off if you are having door slamming fights you have serious marital issues that ” mind blowing sex ” won’t solve. Time for serious counseling and if you are an elder, STEP DOWN and deal with your issues. Second I think we have this trend in ministry for an over focus on sexual topics and frankly a bit too much openness from our pulpits on the topic. A few years ago the video of Mark Driscoll telling his congregation that he likes having anal sex with his wife went viral. His message about what is ok in the marriage bed and what is not was pretty x-rated and resulted in a lot of push back seeking scripture for his bizarre assertions. I thought that incident brought focus on the inappropriateness of this coming from the pulpit and showcased the underlying issue of abuse if a spouse is being pressured, and thus abused sexually. I thought that perhaps pastors would address sexual abuse within marriage when discussing marital intimacy issues. I thought wrong, and this pastor and the article a friend sent me from biblical gender roles .com (Is oral sex in Christian marriage a sin? If it is not a sin is it optional or is it a requirement for Christian husbands and wives in marriage?) further demonstrates that abuse is being taught under the cover of a wife’s submission.

    Warning: this article is a bit over the top but is demonstrative of some of the garbage that is being sold as biblical submission. bla bla bla …….

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Mark, no. Just no.

    I usually agree with most of your posts on Julie Anne’s blog, and you’re usually a pretty empathetic guy, so I’m surprised to see you not showing much understanding on this one.

    I’m a never married, almost 50 year old adult.

    The church is and has been obsessed with Family, Marriage and Kids for decades. In the process of meeting the needs of married w/ kid couples, the single / childless adults are constantly overlooked and undervalued.

    Most church programs, sermons, classes and social functions are for married with kids adults.

    No, it’s not up to me, the single adult to create and maintain church based programs for other singles: that should be the church staff that does that, since they already cater to married people and to the “youth groups.”
    It wouldn’t kill churches to start and maintain programs for singles, to direct sermons for and about singles in church.

    I’ve sat through a billion “Mother’s Day” sermons in churches and on Christian television networks and “How to have a great Marriage” sermons. I don’t need yet another one.

    Often, pastors who at least have a clue there may be a Single Adult in the pews will try to “soften” the obnoxiousness of another marriage sermon by informing us singles that,
    “One day you will be married, and you can apply my tips to your future marriage”
    and/or, “You can apply my marriage tips to your career and sibling relationships”…

    OK, still not married here, may never marry, so you are wasting my time,
    secondly, if I can apply your marriage tips to my relationship with my boss or with my Auntie Selma, then why make the sermon marriage specific to start with?

    Why not just say offer a general sermon as in, “Here is a sermon with tips on how to resolve conflict with anyone you know,” or, “Here’s how to add spice to a dull friendship.”

    Single adults are either
    1. Ignored in Christianity,
    or, when not ignored we are
    2. Treated like the church’s slave class, to set up chairs prior to pot luck suppers, because all singles supposedly have all this free time (we don’t), and we LOVE being treated like maid service (we don’t)
    and

    IMO, most insultingly of all, in most any sermon, podcast, article or book I’ve read that is by a married Christian to a single adult, it is assumed that we singles should exist, are are designed by God only, to serve married people, and for single women like myself (who does not like babies or children),
    I am told I should offer free baby sitting services to all the married with kids couples.

    It’s sexist, it’s presumptuous.

    I have never ever seen an article or sermon where the married people are told how to help their single and childless adult friends. Never.

    It’s always assumed that single adults exist to serve the needs of the married people.
    It’s sometimes assumed by employers, culture, married people, and churches that married with kids people have more tiring, exhausting lives than single, childless adults – and no, you don’t. Single adults can and do face challenges that marrieds do not.

    We singles may be caring for elderly relatives. We do not have a spouse to clean up the house and run errands when we are recovering from surgery or down and out with the Flu.

    Anyway, most Christians are hideous at refusing to aid, help, or benefit singles… they want it to flow all in one direction: singles are supposed to be free baby-sitters to married parents.

    As a recovering codependent who wasted her life repressing her needs to meet the needs of other people, I refuse to play that game any more.

    I have zero intention of baby sitting someone’s crotch fruit so they can go shopping, take a nap, or go on a golf game.

    BTW, single adults are now in the majority in the USA. It’s the married people w/ kids who are the 20%.

    Since 2014, single adults have out-numbered the married with kids faction. You can Google it to find the studies.

    So if you’re really into snubbing the 20% to favor the 80%, you have to realize singles are now like 51 or so percent, and last I read, married with kids people are around 20 some odd percent… meaning, preachers would then have to tailor their sermons for single and childless adults.

    The church needs to repent of their idolization of Married With Kids family units, they need to apologize, and make amends by STFU about the Nuclear Family and marriage and put more programs in place to meet the needs of singles in their communities. They’ve been snubbing anyone who does NOT fit into that demographic (married w kids) for decades now.

    And it’s not just the USA – in other nations such as Japan, marriage rates are also down, and people are remaining virgins into their 30s and older. Churches have yet to catch up that not everyone is as marriage, kid, or sex obsessed as they are.

    Like

  30. I agree with Julie Anne’s OP, that pastors need to be careful when sermonizing or tweeting or IGing about relationship commentary, because their comments, which may be about a “normal” marriage can be perceived quite differently when read or heard by someone who is in an abusive relationship.

    And… a reminder… this does not have to be limited to Marriages or Dating relationships.

    Plenty of people are in abusive or otherwise harmful and dysfunctional relationships with family members and platonic friends.

    For example, I was emotionally and verbally abused by some of my family members from the time I was a child.

    It wasn’t until I was in my middle aged years I even recognized my family’s behavior towards me as being abuse.

    I did not like being yelled at and consistently put down by my family, but I didn’t know what to do about it. I was taught it was “normal” to be treated that way, and/or that I should just endure it in silence and not fight back.

    Along the way, my codependent and devoutly Christian mother taught me – and churches and Christian culture also taught me – that the response to treatment I don’t like is to sit in silence and take it, because to fight back, to protest, to be assertive and to have boundaries was supposedly, ungodly, “not turning the other cheek,” it was mean, or selfish.

    Many Christians out there teach other people, (not just wives in abusive marriages, but anyone in any type of relationship), to be absolute doormats.

    These sorts of Christians cherry pick and misapply Bible passages about loving one’s enemies and turning the cheek to incorrectly teach everyone in any sort of abusive relationship to put up with bullying, abuse, or rudeness.

    But that is NOT what the Bible is teaching. The Bible is not asking anyone to lack boundaries and to be a “push over” and a wimp.

    You’re actually given examples in the Bible role modeling that you are supposed to confront people if they tick you off or mistreat you.

    It is not “Christ- like” or Godly to endure suffering endlessly and repeatedly, especially not from the same person repeatedly for weeks, months, or years on end.

    You can count on a Christian such as John MacArthur or “KAS” who posts here to run around insisting that it’s wrong to maintain boundaries, that God wants you to suffer, God wants you to put up with poor treatment.

    But these sorts of “it’s Godly to be a doormat, God wants you to put up with suffering at the hands of other people” is common among Christians, it’s a message everyone gets, not just women married to abusers.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Also. Preachers and Christians need to stop telling folks who have depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, PTSD, etc. to “just trust in the Lord” and “just read your Bible more.”

    No, people with mental health problems should not rely on spiritual means alone to deal with having a mental health problem.

    Most people are not healed of mental health problems only from Bible reading, or only from prayer, or only from trusting Jesus as Savior.

    Most people need help dealing with or managing mental health problems by seeing a therapist, taking doctor prescribed medications, or using other secular / non-Christian means.

    I can see how someone sitting through a sermon about “toughing things out” and “just trusting in God” or “submit to God more and everything will just naturally work out” could be misconstrued by anyone with mental health problems as well, not just spouses in abusive marriages.

    Like

  32. Scott1253 wrote,
    “Second I think we have this trend in ministry for an over focus on sexual topics and frankly a bit too much openness from our pulpits on the topic. A few years ago the video of Mark Driscoll telling his congregation that he likes having anal sex with his wife went viral.”

    Yes. I either roll my eyes or laugh when anti-sexual-purity / pro “sex positive” advocates run around on these types of blogs ranting that churches have idolized virginity.
    No, they don’t. They really don’t.

    The days of churches actually promoting or defending abstinence until marriage (especially in sermons) died about 20 to 25 years ago. Those days have been long dead.

    Churches and Christians are just as obsessed with sex and talking about it, even from the pulpit, as secular culture. They are into promoting it, not encouraging folks to hold off until marriage.

    I think the BiblicalGenderRoles site you mention may be a troll site. There are articles exposing it on other sites.

    There are already Christian men who are Marital Rape Apologists, and yes, most of them are complementarian.

    KAS, a complementarian guy, who posts to this blog, defends Marital Rape on this blog. We went round and round with him on that a year ago on that topic.

    KAS speaks out of both sides of his mouth, saying a woman cannot biblically deny her spouse sex, but, he doesn’t support a man raping his wife. She can say No, I think he finally conceded,
    but he simultaneously argues she must ALWAYS have sex with her spouse, even if she is sick, tired, or just not in the mood… which makes that sort of sex rape… you have to have consent.

    So, KAS defends marital rape but doesn’t want to admit it or be caught out saying so plainly. But he does, as do complementarians like him, who choose to interpret the Bible in that manner.
    (Yes, it’s a choice you’re making, complementarians.)

    Complementarians will misapply and distort some text written 2,000 years ago and that was only meant for people in a specific region and church and try to apply it to all women today.
    Yes, Christian men abuse the Bible to rape their wives. It is perverse.

    Like

  33. Mark said
    Should babies be banished from the service because of those who struggle with fertility or miscarriages? Should PDA be banished because of struggling singles or divorcee’s? It seems any sort of legalistic approach to meeting the needs of the minority should be met with some skepticism.

    And that is Spoken like someone who has not lived a life time being in the overlooked, insulted, or marginalized group.

    You’re in the majority and being catered to, so of course you don’t see it as a problem.

    Some of the most nasty hate-filled people I’ve ever seen online are Christian mothers who are absolutely vitriolic under blog posts by other Christians saying,

    “Maybe we churches should curtail Mother’s Day services, since they injure so many people who are infertile, have dead mothers,”

    And I’ve seen some absolutely hair raising, hate filled screeds by mothers yelling about how culture does not esteem them ENOUGH for being mommies,
    they say the infertile people can STFU and suck it up buttercup who cares about them, they DEMAND that churches honor them yearly and they DEMAND they get that flower and the butt-kissing sermon from the preacher extolling how Wonderful Mothers Are.

    I’ve also seen a few self identifying Christian men (it’s not just the women) jump into comments under such blog posts and the men are just as hateful as the entitled Moo Cow Mothers they are defending.

    They say, “Screw the infertiles and other women who find the church’s mother’s day services painful, what WE want matters more, we’re more important.”

    Mother’s Day is a secular invention and not even a biblical thing, btw.

    It’s baffling to me that Christians want to take a secular holiday and elevate it as they do.

    Nobody is asking children to be banned from churches, Mark.
    That’s a totally insensitive stretch and a total straw-man argument.

    As a never married, childless lady, I am just asking for a fair compromise… churches should either devote equal time to single/childless persons and issues, or halt sermons about motherhood, marriage, etc.

    Christians and churches excel at “rejoicing with those who rejoice” but they don’t give a sh*t about “weeping with the one who weeps.”

    If you want to drive away the single and childless from churches, just go on and continue to ignore them and/or continually create these “family centric” churches that fawn all over Kids and Marrige all the time.

    In Julia Duin’s book “Quitting Church,” which was published several years ago, she pointed out that more and more single adults over 30 are already leaving churches in droves, because depending on which type of church they attend,
    they and their needs are either being ignored by the church, they are being insulted or shamed for being single constantly, or exploited as free labor.

    Just a few weeks ago, SBC Al Mohler implied that childless or childfree people are not “human.” He said to “be a human is to be a parent.” The Bible sure doesn’t teach that. Jesus of Nazareth never married or had kids, I guess Mohler is denying that Jesus was fully human, in addition to being fully divine?

    Like

  34. Mark said
    “Many people have crossed my path and I think it helps me empathize with them to hear the sorts of struggles that other people in different situations can face. Some of it is applicable to the future me, perhaps.”

    Your reasoning here doesn’t work, because for eons now, we singles have been drowned in a torrent of Marriage Sermons and Marriage Metaphors IN sermons.

    For the love of god, we hear constantly how human marriage is supposed to be a picture of God’s love for us or what not. We get this stuff all the time

    When is the last time you heard a sermon on marriage, being childess, or being celibate?
    If you reply by saying, “Why just two months ago”
    Okay, please tells us another sermon where the topic was singleness / being childless / celibacy?
    Not too many, are there?

    Yet I can recall having heard in my almost 50 years on this planet a billion marriage sermons, or sermons peppered with marriage or parenting illustrations by the pastor to illustrate a point.

    Like the married with kids people cannot go outside of marriage or parenthood for relatable stories, like “Hey, everyone here is a sermon illustration about my dog Spot” or “My friend Brenda” or “My Uncle Jake” or “My postal man Fred who delivers my mail every day”

    Why do all sermons have to be about marriage, parenting?

    I’m a single woman who is ALWAYS expected to be able to relate to YOU MARRIED PARENTS.

    You married parents are never asked to look at things from a single, childless view.

    This is like asking the far right wing male weenies to stop ranting every time Hollywood “gender flips” a movie to put women in place of men… the male far right and male sexist scream and yell about it.
    They argue they are being replaced.

    Sorry, no sympathy for me on that, because since I’ve been a girl, most (not all, but most) interesting, butt kicking roles have gone to men, and as a woman, I’ve had to imagine myself in the position of a male protagonist.
    That’s how I feel about “all marriage all the time” in churches, what with their sermon illustrations about married people.

    Like

  35. Where I said above,
    “I have never ever seen an article or sermon where the married people are told how to help their single and childless adult friends. Never..”

    Even if you could point me to an example of a sermon like that, it would be vastly Out-Numbered, 100 to 1.
    For any “hey married people here’s how you can minister to single adults” there are a billion more that say
    “Hey single women, the church does not care about YOUR needs, you exist only to mop church floors and be a free baby sitters to those Christian married parents”

    Like

  36. Was it Bike Bubba who said this.
    “To use the passage I noted before, just because one has children doesn’t mean one can’t stand in awe of the fact that God chooses to give eunuchs an inheritance even greater than the greatest things we desire and often obtain on this earth.”

    Sorry to Lea who says she hates people talking about their non-sex lives, but sometimes it is necessary because Christians snub those of us who are celibates/ single.

    To Bike Bubba and guys like him.

    I’m a virgin lady. I want to be having sex. I had wanted to be married.
    But I Never got married.

    Please be aware that some virgin people are Virgins / Single By Circumstance, not due to God’s doing or due to choice.

    I am not “gifted” with this.

    I don’t want to be disrespected for being single and sexually pure, but, I also tire of Christians who act like it’s a cake walk or a delight and joy, or that God chose this for me, or that is was my choice.

    The church (as author Julia Duin pointed out in her book) should be acting as an aide to singles who would like to marry, if those singles want the help.

    Marriage does not happy by happen stance, or by prayer. God is not sending singles like me mates. I was taught as I was growing up by churches that if I trusted God to send me a husband, and prayed, God would send me a husband. I tried that. It didn’t work.

    God did not remove my libido or my desire to get married.
    I’ve just learned to accept my singleness status more and more as I’ve gotten older is all.

    But please watch it with these assumptions that anyone and everyone who is single and/or celibate past the age of 25 LOVES it all the time, or that it’s always easy, or that we all chose it (not all of us chose it) and please stop assuming God directed us or foreordained our singleness.

    The older I get, I believe God just leaves it up to people, and if you want to get married, it’s up to YOU to get married, it requires human effort

    (And yes I have tried dating sites. Those sites did not work for me. Been fixed up on blind dates too, that did not work. And yes, I also have been to singles classes at churches, the ones that have them (not all have them), and that did not work, either)

    Like

  37. Mark said
    However, Jesus and the other NT prophets/authors did have exclusive teachings, so I don’t think exclusivity is an issue as much as I think the issue is turning the Bible into Play-Doh to be squeezed through a patriarchal, Evangelical cultural lens. — even the passage on eunuchs –
    ~ ~ ~~~ — ++ ! + ~~~~ ~~~

    Mark, this is all funny considering Jesus actually discouraged what you are defending in this thread.

    Jesus did not tell Christians to extol Marriage and Parenthood,
    nor did Jesus tell pastors to preach 90% of their sermons about marriage, and while ignoring single adults.

    Jesus actually made comments like this:
    “Whoever loves their sons and daughters more than me is not fit to be my disciple. Whoever loves husband or wife more than me is not fit to be my follower.”

    When some dudes told Jesus as he was teaching a group of people,
    “Your Mom is outside to see you!!”

    The Bible says Jesus replied,
    “Who is my mother?”

    And pointing to the SINGLE CHILDLESS WOMEN sitting before him, who were of NO BIOLOGICAL RELATION to him, Jesus said,
    “HERE ARE MY MOTHERS. Whoever does the will of my Father in Heaven is my mother.”

    Jesus was “anti family values,” as American Christians understand the term “family values.”

    Churches are supposed to be promoting the spiritual family as family, not biological ties That was the same mistake the ancient Jews made… they were always consumed with having heirs, obsessed with marriage, the women would cry and cry because they were barren.

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  38. Daisy said, “The church is and has been obsessed with Family, Marriage and Kids for decades.”

    Christians have made the words family and marriage so extremely ugly and toxic. I did not have to be brainwashed to want to be a stay at home mommy. I sincerely wanted to. I literally wanted to have twenty kids. But, Christians turned it into slavery.

    And this is why I see that most Christians have a self-serving agenda.

    If I get married I am no longer free from a man’s rule. I then have an owner and have to have sex against my will. I become a three in one slave for a Christian man. Why would I sign up to be a trapped slave? When most Christian men tell me it is wrong of me to divorce my husband for beating and raping me.

    Me being a free woman who can tell men NO is very traumatizing for so many Christians.

    If I am a church member, I need to have as many children as possible to empower Christians to be able to have their way with none Christians. More republican votes in the future. The children’s needs, wants, fears, and pains are irrelevant.

    I also need to have as many babies as possible so preacher/conman can have plenty of future customers.

    Family, marriage, and kids in Christianity is not sweet, happy, love. It is a selfish, cold-hearted, incel-man-benefiting, power trip. Fathers and husbands live like king/gods and children and wives live like subhuman minions.

    I have learned from Christian men that if I do get married it will be to an atheist man who is not using my children. A man who treats them like actual human beings and not like chattel.

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  39. Scott1253 said, “A few years ago the video of Mark Driscoll telling his congregation that he likes having anal sex with his wife”

    This preacher was so reminding me of Mark Driscoll.

    “Last week we had the most incredible sex. ”

    “I hope we keep having… mind-blowing sex for 80 more years”

    This is not how confident mature adults talk. Pastor Judah Smith sounds like an insecure VIRGIN ninth-grader boy.

    It makes me think the people who are buying what these preachers are selling are people who are isolated and inexperienced.

    Conservative preachers are always begging people to believe two things about them. One is they are a manly man. Two they have so much good sex. It is such a turn off because it is so ninth grade.

    If my husband said these things about me, I would say don’t you touch me until you act over the age of 18 because I am not attracted to children.

    My mother has a million nephews and half of them have lived with us at one point. She has popular nephews that girls will not leave alone and nephews who make girls leave the house when they see him.

    The nephews who girls could not stand talked like this man. They had so many girlfriends, they had sex all the time. They were in ninth grade and lived with us; so I knew they were lying.

    The popular boys never talked about sex or girlfriends. They talked about fishing, hunting, music, and sports. But our phone rang off the hook and girls come over all the time. My friends were always saying I hope you know Billy is a total slut.

    Growing up it grossed my friends and me out so much when a preacher would talk about sex. One of my friends said one time, “Man, no one wants to think about you and sex at the same time. You and sex don’t go together.” The last man you want to hear talking about sex is a preacher.

    Before I left Christianity I was addicted to Christian TV. In sermons that could not possibly have anything to do with sex, the preacher would start talking about sex and porn. It was so jarring. It made me think this preacher has so been looking at porn and can’t stop thinking about sex.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Daisy, I usually appreciate your comments, and I think that we may have to just disagree on this one, but I think it is unfair that you are trying to put words in my mouth.

    You might be misunderstanding my point. I’m saying that if the church population is split 80/20 on something, then it is wise to consider both angles.
    For example, extrovert/introvert is about 75/25
    normal vs. highly sensitive is about 80/20
    non-abused vs. abused is about 67/33
    single vs. married (adults) is about 53/47

    So, as a general rule, pastors are doing a disservice to their congregation if they are completely ignoring significant portions of their congregation week to week.

    I was trying to balance that with a question about the 1%. In a former church, there was one woman who struggled with infertility. I would say that pastorally, they could have treated it with a lot more sensitivity, but on the other hand, I don’t think it would have been appropriate to cease preaching any sermon that might be upsetting, or cease baptizing children, or whatever… But, definitely domestic violence is a common enough issue that it needs to be dealt with when talking about these sorts of relationships.

    And, yes, there is a lot in the Bible about personal relationships that is not the marriage hobby horse, but the Bible does not shy away from these sorts of specific instructions. (I would say that pastors today, especially complementarians, pretty much ignore peer relationships in their instruction)

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  41. My point mark is that it is t appropriate to constantly do sermons that are excluding anyone. Literally no one has said kids should be banned or baptisms banned or anything of that nature so I wish you would stop with that.

    , I don’t think it would have been appropriate to cease preaching any sermon that might be upsetting

    I think you aren’t really hearing what is being said here. Why are you preaching things that are actively harmful to people with infertility? If you are preaching sermons that hurt on the regular??? Rethink it.

    Like

  42. https://worldchildlessweek.net/dear-christian-church

    “For everyone else these things are a source of happiness. Children sing alongs, unwrapping gifts, their chubby cheeks, their sweet way of looking at the world, how they just do absolutely everything in the cutest of ways and “Don’t you just LOVE the sound of the children playing?!” Maybe we say nothing to these things. Maybe we mutter a non-committal word of agreement to feign interest and move on in the rest of the child-centered conversation and sit quietly praying for it to be over, or a way to change the subject so we don’t have to listen to you ohhh and ahhhh and sigh over all the children. What would we say anyway? How might we respond if we were feeling brave?

    “No. I don’t love it. It’s NOT a happy thing. Not when you’ve wanted a child for decades and the only one you managed to conceive is dead and you know you will never have another. Its like a knife through the heart, a crushing weight holding you down. The sight of a baby brings me to tears, the sound of children’s laughter is like nails on a chalkboard and I really don’t want to be here anymore.”

    This is a real person who wants to be part of the church, and I don’t think her antagonism is misguided at all. The question is… what is the pastoral response? If she is hurt by the sight of a baby, does the church purposefully hurt, or does the church banish babies? It’s an honest question and not a straw man.

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  43. Mark that person said the baby made her sad not that the church should ban babies.

    And we were talking about sermons being sensitive originally. So yes I think those are massively different and they are taken differently by people. I can look and see someone who has something I would like a be a little sad but that is massively different from hearing a sermon praising someone else for having that and by implication saying that those others are lacking…

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  44. So, I think we’re saying the same thing – I was just using “hurt” in the same way that you are using “sad”. This woman is obviously hurt, but it is probably a combination of understandable sadness plus a church culture that makes childless women seem inferior.

    What I think we’re saying is that it is okay for occasional sermons that include topics that may be sad for some – those who have suffered significant loss or pain or even unmet expectations – as long as there is not some implication that it is tied to righteousness. And there is definitely a lot of space for sensitivity and respect.

    I feel “sad” when there are sermon illustrations about positive parent/child relationships, but not as much “hurt”, so I can understand that. My relationships were not so positive.

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  45. A few comments here:

    This woman is clearly in an abusive marriage. It she has not yet been hit, it will most likely elevate to that. Slamming doors and yelling is losing one’s temper and should be considered sin, not normalized and romanticized.

    To Daisy:

    I completely relate to everything you have said, particularly about family abuse. My family was/is very abusive and I did not realize it until I grew up, etc. You are not alone with this crap.
    And churches do marginalize single, childless women. Also, I don’t really think God answers anyone’s prayers. I believe in a creator, but so much crap happens in life and to people who are prayed for.

    I know this is not going to be popular, but I do think the root of abuse is the Bible itself. I think it does degrade women from cover to cover and command that women submit to harsh men.
    There are many passages suggesting that women are the property of men (ex. pulling eve out of the rib of man, woman was created for the man, not vice-versa, submission verses, exclusion from roles with authority, etc). People are attracted to Jesus, I get that, but then they
    must accept all these other harmful beliefs.

    Finally, has anyone read the latest venom spewed from John MacArthur? Apparently, empowered women weaken men:

    ” “MacArthur suggested that when women take up places of authority in society, it leaves men weakened and the level of vulnerability “keeps escalating.”

    “When women take over a culture, men become weak; when men become weak, they can be conquered,” he said. “[W]hen all the men have been slaughtered, you [women] can sit there with all your jewelry and junk. You’ve been conquered, because you overpowered your protectors.”

    “Don’t misunderstand this: This is what we are living in today,” he warned. “Empowering women makes weak men. Weak men make everybody vulnerable to danger.”

    “Let me tell you something, if children are in charge, we’re in trouble,” MacArthur continued. “If women are in charge, we’re in trouble. And if you look carefully at our nation, you would have to agree that it’s childish, young, inexperienced, ignorant women who are ascending into power. When you overthrow the divine order, the results are always disastrous. And again, it’s not anti-women any more than it’s anti-children. But it’s a divine judgment on a nation that its young and its women are in power.”

    MacArthur also touched on “typical women’s sensibilities,” which he identified as “compassion,” “mercy,” and “kindness” and “care.” Because of these “sensibilities,” he explained, women are “more vulnerable” and susceptible to deception.” ”

    WTF?? (Reflect on the condition of the world/churches with men in charge and tell me how women in charge (or children for that matter) could make this any worse. Is he suggesting that compassion, mercy and kindness are not needed of our leaders? Good grief)

    Liked by 1 person

  46. If sex is confined to marriage then marriage is the place for children to grow up. The bible is full of exhortations to family life. What Jesus was saying is that our ultimate relationship is with Him and everything else second. Families are wonderful but being subject to Christ makes them work better.

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  47. The problem is that the husband is enforcing the subjectivity to himself when it was only addressed to the wives to work out. I never quote it to my wife neither does she say “the bible says you have to love me”. Again it is for me to work out before God.

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  48. Sounds a bit like my brother who is seperated from his daughter and grandchildren. It really pains him that there are couples in the church with children. There is nothing wrong with the couples but he is working through a problem which he has as they represent to him what he has lost and doesn’t have.

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  49. “MacArthur suggested that when women take up places of authority in society, it leaves men weakened and the level of vulnerability “keeps escalating.” ” quote Libby

    And your continued quotes Libby, bear witness and testimony to the true nature of MacArthur’s heart. He clearly defines women’s role within the visible c’hristian c’hurch as one of submission, subjugation, and slavery…..to man.

    I listened to JM years ago and was not encouraged, inspired, or led to the Jesus Christ of our Holy Scriptures by him or his little minions, for theirs was a false gospel of lordship salvation as well as the lordship of man over woman. Jesus never said that the “man was the lord over the wife” or vise versa, and mistranslations over the years have bore witness to the spirit of the anti-Christ spirit that is prevalent with the false c’hurch systems who worship hierarchy rather than focusing on the servant Jesus and His Word/Instruction to all of us who believe in Him.

    JM’s beliefs concerning the role of women directly lines up with Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and a host of other religions he would call “paganism.” So how then, can the true Christianity of Jesus Christ resemble any other religion not identified as Christ believers or followers?

    I, personally, have a difficult time with this, especially having studied the beliefs of Islam as well as domestic abuse, for eleven years of my Christian life.

    I have read many a “m’inistry” site where they quote “women preachers and teachers” are the main reason c’hurches have become apostate. And yet, our Scriptures quote that “the man of perdition is the anti-Christ.” Now does the noun “man” in these particular Scriptures literally mean “man or woman?”

    No, the “man” of perdition, that one and only final leader that the world will follow, embrace, believe in, and do his evil and wicked bidding in killing Christians, will, in fact, be a “man.” A literal “man.” Not a woman.

    To even speak of a weakened society, let alone a “weakened c’hurch” makes folks like me just shake our heads in disbelief, for to “blame women for the fall of all mankind,” to me, speaks of the viperous venom poured out by the Pharisees of our day, the JM’s, and pretty much every p’astor man and their yes m’en henchm’en (as well as the women who have been brainwashed into the c’omplementarian belief system) within the so called c’hurch.

    Can women since the beginning of creation, truly be born again via the power of His Holy Spirit, and saved by our Master Jesus Christ, without the intervention of any male figure?

    Absolutely! Praise JESUS!

    And regarding the teachings of Judah Smith; I believe without a single doubt that he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, another individual, who is using the Name of our LORD Jesus in vain, for his own glorification, his own kingdom building to suit his narcissistic/misogynistic ego, and to earn an easy living from gullible people who freely give him money from their personal earnings with their own two hands. (The Apostle Paul worked hard making and mending tents to earn a “secular living” so as to not burden the visible Body of Jesus Christ.)

    Judah Smith is a charlatan, liar, a user of people, and hater of Jesus Christ, as I believe JM is as well. Liars blame women for the “fall of the visible 501c. 3 c’hurch system as well as for the fall of m’ankind.”

    Perhaps we need to get back in line with the literal teaching of Jesus Christ……the real One of the original writ.

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  50. Libby references “woman was created for the man.”

    I’m probably in the minority opinion here, but I always took this verse to show a strength of women. God saw that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone, so he created Eve. The implication that Adam needed Eve. But nowhere does it say that Eve needed Adam.

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  51. Reading most of the comments, I have to disagree on this topic. I’m too not familiar with Judah or Chelsea Smith(never heard of either of them before), but reading his post, I didn’t find anything disturbing at all. It just refers to the couple once having a huge argument that involved some door slamming. That is not so unheard of in a family be it parent/child relationship with rebellious angry kid, or in some cases the two spouses. I didn’t get the impression that there was any elements of domestic violence and even if it was why assume that the wife is the victim as one commentor stated. Why does there have to any victims but just a couple who got into a yelling match with each other which does happen in a lot of marriages in which both sides could be at fault. Mrs. Smith didn’t mention how often it happens or is this was a one time thing but even if it did happen too much, I agree counseling should be considered. As for her looking forward to more door-slamming arguments, I took away that she meant she is looking forward to more years with her husband taking the good and even the bad including the marital fights that go with them. I read the comments on Mrs. Smith’s instagram post and most the comments seemed positive with a couple that found it disturbing. As for the two pastors who are specialize in domestic violence, it’s they seem to mean well but I don’t think it’s a good a idea to speculate into a couple’s marriage with little information other than one verbal fight that involved yelling and door slamming that couple be mutual and not knowing how often it happens. Again, if there is a pattern of this type of fights, it does show signs of the marriage being toxic possibly on both sides and requiring marital counseling . I do take any forms of domestic abuse seriously be it physical, emotional, mental and even sexual which do wish any couple is in that situation get serious professional help, but I can’t did get that sense with the Smiths, maybe I could be wrong but I’m just didn’t pick that up and would need to know more to get to that conclusion. God Bless

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