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.
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.
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
This power-over structure is harmful, demeaning, and depersonalizes women who were made in the Image of God.
"This performance is so sincere and heartfelt, shows a high level of skill, and may be the very one you love best of all. I think it is just awful, the perfect expression of a particular culture that I used to think was just distasteful and now believe to be rotten to the core."
The SBC has been getting push back about selecting "designated survivors" to speak. Was he doing damage control by mentioning the names of the survivors/advocates they chose not to speak? Were the ones chosen to speak selected so that the SBC can control the narrative?
Part 5 focuses on the other side of Mr Tchividjian's misuse of his platform as a Christian celebrity minister, speaker, and writer – his accountability system victims: superiors, peers, and subordinates.
What courage must it have taken to publicly post a call for Tullian Tchividjian to repent? To apologize for having amplified his impact? To resign from the board of his newly resurrected non-profit? To remove from their ministry website various resources he'd produced? To cancel contracts that would extend his influence?
What did it cost those who were close to him in terms of ministry – especially those who held authority to oversee his recovery plans, and those who'd been his platform peers?
These are the kinds of questions we should consider as we read this final piece in the case study of Tullian Tchividjian and the details of his abuse of systems, ministry, and accountability ...
It’s not the job of any supervisor, peer, or subordinate to prevent Tullian Tchividjian from sinning, whether he does so mildly or spectacularly. It wasn’t the role of his non-profit board, church sessions, publishing house legal departments, counselors, friends, etc. It’s not even possible. He himself is responsible for his own choices and their impact.
... there were over 150 individuals in at least 10 institutions who had direct connections with Tullian Tchividjian as his superiors, peers, or subordinates. And yet, it seems nobody could keep him from his two extramarital sexual involvements he has already admitted to (after they were discovered or disclosed), or from his reported predatory/seductive behavior patterns, or from his reported multiple failures to tell the full truth.
What does real-world remediation / repentance look like? How can we see what it takes in both attitudes and actions to accomplish damage repair? This post gives three examples of remediation (repair work) — one dealing with a product, one with a denominational organization, one with a social system. Each is notable for seeking to engage in a constructive way parties who were directly involved, and in some cases those who were indirectly affected.
Systemic abuse always includes a degree of relational manipulation to get/keep people hooked in, as well as deception in order to hide the truth.
But it makes me once again question those ideologies that led up to this point. It makes me think about spiritual abuse. It makes me think about Patriarchy. What significant changes were made in their journey? What ideologies did each one keep, and each one ditch?
Spiritual Abuse, Jonathan Hollingsworth This is the sixth and final blog post referencing an article by Jonathan Hollingsworth, What Not to Say to Someone Who’s Been Hurt by the Church. The article resonated with a lot of people, so I thought it might be a good idea to discuss these unhelpful statements one by one here,… Continue reading Spiritual Abuse: Is This Worth Dividing the Church Over?
"They taught me that sometimes the exit door of an abusive church is held open by the gracious hands of friends who have nothing to do with church, or even with Christianity, but who simply would never turn their back on a friend."
It's been a while since I have posted about Saeed Abedini or his ex-wife, Naghmeh. Naghmeh Panahi posted a public note on Facebook yesterday. You may recall that after Saeed Abedini was released from prison in Iran, Naghmeh filed for separation because Saeed would not get help for his abusive behavior in the marriage. Saeed… Continue reading Naghmeh Panahi, Ex-Wife of Former Iranian Prisoner, “Pastor” Saeed Abedini, Posts Public Statement on Facebook
*** NOTE: This is part of a series that began with these earlier posts: Classical Conversations #1: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Classical Conversations #2: What Led You to Join a Classical Conversations Homeschool Community? #ClassicalConvMadeKnown Classical Conversations #3: Leaders Delete Comments and Block Commenters Who Don’t Toe the Line Classical Conversations #4: A CC… Continue reading Classical Conversations #7: Business or a Non-Profit; Cult or a Christian Homeschool Group?
Tedd Tripp, Tom Chantry, Failure to Report, Mandatory Reporter, Spanking, Shepherding a Child's Heart *** *** In the late 1990s, I attended a parenting seminar by Tedd Tripp. It may or may not be significant to note that the seminar was held at a Sovereign Grace Ministries church in Chesapeake, Virginia. Shepherding a Child's Heart… Continue reading Tedd Tripp and Tom Chantry: Shepherding a Child’s Heart … or Not
"Why would she be told to use her social? That’s dangerous! If I wanted, I could easily steal her identity!"
Bill Hybels, Clergy Sexual Misconduct, Willow Creek Church *** Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed wrote a very important article about the Bill Hybels/Willow Creek sexual misconduct scandal. This is a very important article that summarizes the system that was in place which allowed Bill Hybels to not only go unchecked, but to be protected and… Continue reading Bill Hybels, the Willow Creek “System,” and Why the Women Needed to Speak Publicly