So, really, the bottom line is love. Love your friends/family who are stuck in their abusive church. Show them what love is, what joy is, what freedom is, what mundane is. Invite them to share a meal with you (their favorite meal). Be boring. Be you. Be kind, loving, and accepting. This is so attractive to someone in a high-controlling church.
When we start marketing the stories of survivors for personal gain, we are no longer supporting survivors, we are exploiting them.
While I was reporting on abuse in the church in 2012 on this blog, this is what I was living in my home. And while I was sharing stories of domestic violence, including emotional abuse and spiritual abuse here, I was connecting with these stories in a personal way, weeping, and knowing one day, I'd be telling my own story here. The time is now.
". . . there was an intentional agenda. And we were forced to be on this bait-and-switch ride as we sat front and center in our lawn chairs."
So, in an effort to consolidate some of the personal stories, especially for those who would rather not wade through Twitter, I've compiled some important tweet threads here.
The key takeaway is this: anytime an abuser is given a platform, that space will never feel safe for survivors.
. . we can't change the culture of an abusive church, because while an abusive leader is in power, there is a system of abuse involved. We cannot change an abusive system. But what we survivors can do is provide a safe place where personal stories are told, heard, believed.
Let me be blunt: I believe Douglas Wilson has given the green light for all “Christian” men to sexually violate or rape their wives. Men penetrate, conquer, colonize, plant; women must receive, surrender, and accept.
My blog broke the story on two high-profile cases of clergy sexual misconduct. These are very difficult stories to report on, especially as I get to know the survivors and the ongoing emotional and spiritual trauma they endured with these highly influential church leaders. One common misconception I see repeatedly debated in comments on news… Continue reading Clergy Sexual Misconduct: Why Victims Should Not be Blamed
There should be no place in Christian evangelicalism for Mark Gungor's behavior which devalues, disrespects, and demoralizes women. If Gungor is allowed to continue having platforms, then it is a clear picture that Christian evangelicalism is not, and probably has never been, a safe place for women.
This post is an SSB team effort with the first draft written by Brad Sargent, with additions and edits by Julie Anne Smith. In This Post: Key Sources for Documentation, Details, and Discernment The Big Picture of the Last Six Months (September 2020 - February 2021) RZIM Individuals, Institutions, and Followers/Supporters Ravi Zacharias’ Followers; Issues… Continue reading Summary: What’s Happened in the Last Six Months with RZIM & Ravi Zacharias?
Nate is the first person to interview me specifically about the Ravi Zacharias sex abuse scandal and ask me why I thought it took so long for the collective church to "get it."
"Am I the only one bothered by the use of “failure” language in the rush of mea culpas that we now see bursting from the bowels of evangelical Christianity as Ravi Zacharias’s empire goes the way of the Titanic?"
"Sometimes people in leadership have to do things that are unethical" - Ravi Zacharias
Ok, popping in here for a quickie post for discussion. Notice this dude is a Master's Seminary Alum. This does not surprise me with the kind of pompous attitudes I have witnessed and encountered from John MacArthur's camp. Case in point, Bill Shannon reached out to me during my lawsuit case. I'll never forget how… Continue reading How Pastor Steve Swartz uses Scripture to Elevate His Position as Pastor and His Response to an Abusive Marriage #Blech
On December 23, 2020, RZIM / Ravi Zacharias International Ministries noted on social media that they released an intermediate report from the law firm of Miller & Martin PLLC on the investigation they commissioned into certain issues of reported sexual abuse by its founder, Ravi Zacharias. This report confirms he did engage in sexual abuse, and that more details are forthcoming. This official statement by RZIM is vindication for the women who reported Mr. Zacharias’ abuses: These were credible accusations–not mere allegations or false reports.
In light of this confirmation, I am compiling resources that provide crucial elements of the context to the overall situation for Ravi Zacharias as an individual and for RZIM as the institution he founded.
I hope this will be of help for those who want to understand the broader backstory, research and analyze the issues involved, and discern and decide for themselves what actions should be taken.
I pulled over to take a picture of the beautiful hoarfrost in College Place, WA. Wow - it's been pretty quiet around here, if you haven't noticed.The reality: Kathi and JA are a bit tired and overwhelmed with life at the moment, so we are taking a blog sabbatical, without apologies. Life has been challenging… Continue reading Where are Kathi and Julie Anne?
Redeeming Power by trauma psychologist Diane Langberg is the best book I’ve seen that introduces, equips, and challenges Christian leaders to deal with systemic abuse and historic oppression. Buy it, savor it, share it! ~brad/futuristguy I have survived multiple situations of spiritual abuse by people in positions of power in churches, ministries, and non-profits—starting from… Continue reading Redeeming Power / Diane Langberg–The Book I’ve Waited for, for 45 Years! Guest Review by Brad/Futuristguy
And now, Steve Baughman has uncovered more of the same . . . Ravi has a history of seeking sexual gratification for himself, using his position of power and trust to obtain those "favors." This is clergy sexual misconduct and spiritual abuse!
This power-over structure is harmful, demeaning, and depersonalizes women who were made in the Image of God.