Trite, Unhelpful, and Demoralizing Responses to Wives in Harmful Marriages

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I am posting a comment that came in on yesterday’s post Book Review Series – “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Stuffing Feelings and Pretending to Be Joyful by someone who used the name, Auislucky. Auislucky mentioned at the bottom of her comment that she didn’t want me to post her comment if it would hurt someone. I don’t think it will. In fact, I think it will help many who read it. Auislucky’s marital issues, and the responses she’s received are not uncommon. They are harmful. They give no hope, and they put the blame and responsibility on the victim, not the perpetrator. This is not right!


 

by Auislucky

Read the Bible, pray and don’t rely on others to make you happy.”img_4363

The advice I’ve been getting for 17.5 years. My story is far less serious than so many others but I’m so sick of faking it. Is it really God-honoring to present to the world a happy little family while dying inside?

3 months into the marriage he got fired from his job as youth minister for looking at pornography on the church computer. And it was my fault. He felt I was favoring my dog over him. Every time he fell back into it, it was because of something I said or did. He says he knows it’s wrong and wants to quit so everyone believes his sincerity. I see him controlling the outward results without dealing with inner issues. We don’t share a bed (my choice because of the shame and humiliation), barely talk, don’t do anything alone if at all possible.

For my part, I got myself into an 8-year affair. I don’t blame him directly for my choices but even my counselor says it wouldn’t have happened had I not been so lonely and betrayed. I haven’t had contact with the other man for 1.5 years and we’ve been in counseling for a year. Nothing has changed. Everyone rushes in to “help” when I have a breakdown but then it’s back to ignoring it as long as I will pretend it’s ok. He’s willing to go to counseling and remove temptation but does that prove sincerity if he doesn’t address root issues?

“He doesn’t come home drunk and beat you.”

Yes, I know it could be much worse. But there are times I wish he would hit me so I have a “legitimate” reason to leave. I realize how ridiculous and disrespectful that sounds. By no means do I want to demean those in worse situations, I just say it to show where my messed up mind goes. I would live this life 100 times over to save one woman from real abuse. I struggle daily wondering if I’m just being selfish and ridiculous.

Please don’t post this if it will hurt others. I’ve been following this blog for some time and just felt I needed to get this out. I really appreciate how you give a voice to those who feel they have none.


 

What would you say to this woman that would be helpful, encouraging, and give her hope?

Book Review Series – “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Stuffing Feelings and Pretending to Be Joyful

The Power of a Transformed Wife: Lori Alexander, Trusting God, Emotions

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-by Kathi

This is a book review series of The Power of a Transformed Wife by Lori Alexander. If you are just joining us, you may click on previous chapter reviews if you’d like to catch up.

Introduction & Chapter 1   Chapter 2   Chapter 3   Chapter 4   Chapter 5   Chapter 6  Chapter 7   Chapter 8 – Part 1   Chapter 8 – Part 2    Chapter 9  Chapter 10   Chapter 11  Chapter 12   Chapter 13   Chapter 14

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Chapter 15 – The Disciplined Mind: Trusting God & Doing Good

I must admit, it is getting more difficult to read through The Power of a Transformed Wife and garner up the motivation required to continue writing these reviews. I guess I need to trust God to get me through.

This entire chapter can be summed up with the following: 1) Life sucks, 2) Trust God, 3) Think good thoughts, and 4) Do good. Well, this is all fine and dandy if you’re not in an abusive relationship, dealing with anxiety or depression, dealing with a looming financial crisis, or experiencing a chronic medical condition – all of which Lori’s readers have commented on her blog or Facebook page. But, wait! Lori does deal with chronic pain, so what is her answer? Continue reading

Happy New Year and Personal Update

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I hope everyone has had a good Christmas and New Year’s holiday celebrating with family and loved ones. I’ve had a nice break from school. I had plans to get things done, but wasn’t too successful. But that’s okay, I’m listening to my body tell me that self-care is more important, and things can wait. That’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way before!

Word Press sent a notice congratulating me on 5 years of blogging. Spiritual Sounding Board went public on January 1, five years ago!  Prior to that, I had a different blog, primarily about my personal experience at Beaverton Grace Bible Church and the goings on of the defamation lawsuit my ex-pastor filed against me and four others.

Last year was difficult, yet rewarding. Most of my regular readers know that I went back to school a few years ago to get my Bachelor of Arts in Cyber Security. I didn’t know if I could keep the blog going with my full-time school load. Thankfully, between Kathi’s and my busy schedules, we’ve been able to keep plugging along. Continue reading

Guest Post: My Dinner With Ravi: An Atheist meets the “Great Apologist of our Time.”

Ravi Zacharias, RZIM, Steve Baughman, Apologist, lawsuit, sex scandal


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Ravi Zacharias, sex scandal, falsified credentials, lawsuit

Twitter photo

This article was originally posted at the blog, Ordinary Times on culture and politics and was reprinted by permission.

It is written by attorney Steve Baughman who has spent the last 2-1/2 years trying to get Ravi Zacharias to come clean with his exaggerated academic credentials and claims. Why would I want to post an atheist’s writings here on a Christian blog? Good question. I found Steve to be a very interesting and respectable guy. He got upset when he discovered that Mr. Zacharias wasn’t completely honest about his academic credentials because he was led to read his works based on his so-called credentials. It’s kind of like when I once poured 1% milk in my kids’ whole milk jug. They were expecting what was on the label: whole milk. The jug concealed the true color of the milk, so when they poured it, they saw that it was not as creamy, and felt cheated. It was upsetting to them. Would they feel certain that the milk in the jug was always going to be whole milk after I tricked them? Probably not. We all can understand that disappointment. (I don’t do that anymore.)

A couple of things to note: this dinner invitation came about soon after social media was picking up on the story of Mr. Zacharias’ inflated academic credentials. Take special note that Mr. Baughman mentioned getting together many times before, but now that there was negative pressure spreading in social media, Mr. Zacharias made that dinner happen.

Why was that? Was it so Mr. Zacharias could soothe things over with Mr. Baughman? Think about it – if you have a nice and friendly dinner with someone, and they pick up the tab, is it going to make it more difficult to write negative things about the person?  I suspect so.

As I have studied the ways in which religious leaders work to draw people in, the first thing that happens is the charm. You will read about this in Mr. Baughman’s account. Steve and I talked before going to dinner. I’m pretty sure I reminded him to try to stay on topic so he could get his questions asked. That didn’t happen. He was charmed.

It’s important to note that neither I, nor Steve Baughman, mean any ill-will toward Mr. Zacharias. What we are looking for is honesty and transparency. What we’ve seen publicly is a failure to deal with these issues head on. We hear a lot of fluff, but no real substance.

In Mr. Baughman’s dinner account, you may read some new information that has not been released by mainstream media. (I have shared some of this info on Twitter.) It’s important to note that I have the e-mails from Ms. Thompson and Mr. Zacharias. I received them long before there was any threatened lawsuit. I also have a 20-page narrative. We’ve only heard from Mr. Zacharias, yet Ms. Thompson must remain silent.

But I was not part of that settlement agreement. And until Mr. Zacharias comes clean, I will continue to release more information. Ms. Thompson was not the instigator in sending nude photos as Mr. Zacharias has publicly claimed. He needs to own up to his part in the relationship. There will be more to follow. ~Julie Anne Continue reading

Bethlehem Baptist Church Excommunicates Victim of Domestic Violence

Bethlehem Baptist Church, Domestic Violence, Emotional Abuse, Excommunication, Spiritual Abuse


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Over a year ago (November 1, 2016), I posted the article, 1-1/2 years Later, Bethlehem Baptist Church Doesn’t Seem to get Domestic Violence: A Personal Story. I have a followup to that article.

For those who have never read the story, I will repost most of the article here, and then will catch you up on new developments.


1-1/2 years Later, Bethlehem Baptist Church Doesn’t Seem to get Domestic Violence: A Personal Story

Nov. 1, 2016

Almost 1-1/2 years ago, I wrote an article about John Piper’s former church, Bethlehem Baptist Church (BBC) regarding domestic violence, Encouraging Shift from Bethlehem Baptist Church Regarding Domestic Abuse and Care for Abused Women. Around that time, BBC pastor, Jason Meyer, preached a sermon and humbly expressed how he and his church had not handled domestic violence appropriately.

You can listen to the sermon or read the transcript here: Fooled by False Leadership

The following is the opening paragraph of the Elders’ Statement which was also released at the same time:

Elders’ Statement on Domestic Abuse
We, the council of elders at Bethlehem Baptist Church, are resolved to root out all forms of domestic abuse (mental, emotional, physical, and sexual) in our midst. This destructive way of relating to a spouse is a satanic distortion of Christ-like male leadership because it defaces the depiction of Christ’s love for his bride. The shepherds of Bethlehem stand at the ready to protect the abused, call abusers to repentance, discipline the unrepentant, and hold up high the stunning picture of how much Christ loves his church.

I was cautiously optimistic about the steps Bethlehem Baptist seemed to be taking. They brought in professionals to help them learn and understand domestic violence signs. They professed to want a heart to empathize with women who were harmed by domestic violence.

One domestic violence case was ongoing at that time. Natalie had reached out to the Bethlehem Baptist leaders for help years earlier. But now, the church leadership was doing a complete overhaul in how they were going to counsel when there was abuse involved . . . . or so they implied.

One of the most destructive forms of abuse is emotional abuse. It’s destructive because it can go on for years. A wife (or husband) can get so beaten down by emotional abuse that she minimizes her own abuse, or blames herself for the abuse. When a woman finally understands what is happening to her and eventually reaches out for help, a lot of time has gone under the bridge. The very last thing she needs is to prove to her church leadership that she is being abused. But that is exactly what happens to so many survivors. The victim has to plead her case before her church leaders and is put on trial to see if the abuse she has claimed is in fact true.

It’s important to note that the church leaders at BBC were trained to understand about emotional abuse. Here is a quote from Pastor Meyer’s sermon from 1-1/2  years ago:

Emotional abuse is a pattern in the use of words and actions to assault, reorder, and control the emotions and affective state of the other person for the achievement of selfish ends. The more intense and longstanding the pattern, the more destructive it is to people.

So now, 1-1/2 years later, where is Natalie, and how has her case been handled?

I’ll let Natalie’s words speak for herself: Continue reading

Resource Archive and FAQs on the Ravi Zacharias and RZIM Situation

INTRODUCTION

The team at Spiritual Sounding Board has written on numerous situations of reported spiritual, emotional, and sexual abuse/misconduct by church and ministry leaders. These are typically complex situations that involve investigating theological beliefs, ministry practices, organizational systems, cultural context, and other elements for relevant details and patterns.

We present this Resource Archive to help readers who want to do their own studies into the emerging situation of Ravi Zacharias and Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), to develop their own informed conclusions. We seek to provide a range of select links that offer observations, analysis, and interpretations of events and evidences. Along the way, we present our opinions and understandings of relevant issues through the questions we ask and the ways we organize the material in response to questions that readers/commenters here and elsewhere on social media are asking.

Initial edition of December 8, 2017, compiled by brad/futuristguy, with input/review from Julie Anne Smith on link selections, issue analysis, and FAQ answers. Additional questions, links, and notations may be added to expand this post. We will usually note when new material is added, but the nature of this post is to serve as an archive that is updated.
Continue reading

Ravi Zacharias, True Apologist? The Actions Aren’t Matching the Words

Ravi Zacharias, Academic Credentials, RZIM


 

Ravi Zacharias, sex scandal, falsified credentials, lawsuit

Twitter photo

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I am not done dealing with the issue of Ravi Zacharias and the way his honorary doctorate degrees were used freely, and in my opinion, recklessly, in order to present an image of academic excellence. In the public statement released at the RZIM website, there are a few statements that are concerning. The words say one thing, but the evidence shows the contrary. Continue reading

Important New Video about Apologist Ravi Zacharias: Alleged False Credentials, Lawsuit, Online Relationship with Married Woman

“The Case Against Ravi Zacharias”, lawsuit, falsified credentials, RZIM


Ravi Zacharias, sex scandal, falsified credentials, lawsuit

Twitter photo

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School deadlines prohibit me from making a longer post, but this video is important. I suspect things will be shaking up in the near future with regard to well-known apologist, Ravi Zacharias.

Attorney, banjo player, atheist, and blogger, Steve Baughman has been following Ravi Zacharias’ story for a while, appealing to Christian leaders to take a look at his (Steve’s) findings, to no avail. It appears that Ravi Zacharias has misled people about his credentials.

Not only that, a lawsuit filed by Ravi Zacharias, against a woman with whom he had an online relationship. was settled out of court. This relationship went on for some time (and included nude pictures), and should leave us all with questions.

Why did he fail to tell his board about this relationship? Why has he not come clean on his credentials? Why did he settle the lawsuit rather than go through the court process?

I spoke with Steve Baughman today. While he readily admits he is an atheist, I can find no other reason that he has investigated Zacharias, written about him, and made videos, other than his disgust that a man who claims to be a godly leader is instead misleading the multitudes by puffing up his credentials. It’s just not cool to be a fraud.

There is a problem when we Christians cannot police our own camp, and a self-proclaimed atheist needs to point it out to us. Hello!!! The world is watching!

Here is Steve’s video. Take a look and see what you think.

 

 

I never know if Word Press is really going to embed my videos, so here is the link in case it doesn’t work. https://youtu.be/w0X0YzHISnY

 

 

 

First #MeToo, Now #ChurchToo: Sexual Abuse, Harassment, and Mishandling in the Church

#MeToo, #ChurchToo, Sexual Abuse, Harassment, Church

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The hashtag #MeToo has been trending for quite some time on Twitter. Women who have been sexually harassed or abused have been identifying themselves as survivors of sexual harm, indicating it with the hashtag, #MeToo. But now, there is a new trending hashtag, #ChurchToo. The stories that you can read in one little tweet are heartbreaking.

I wanted to share some here, and also invite those who have been on Twitter to feel free to share more here if they like.

If you are new to Spiritual Sounding Board, this is a blog that deals with abuse in church or church groups. We have dealt with all kinds of sexual abuse: sex abuse of children, sexual abuse in marriage, sexual abuse by clergy, wives of pedophiles, church leaders who have failed to report sexual crimes, church leaders who have blamed victims for sexual crimes, and also spiritual abuse which often occurs when a church leaders are involved in any capacity (perpetrator, counselor, spiritual advisor).

If you have been harmed sexually, this is a safe place. If you would like to share your story in more detail, you can in the comments, or to me privately: spiritualsb@gmail.com. Please feel free to comment using a pseudonym. This is your place to use your voice where it will be heard.

~Julie Anne Continue reading

Lori Alexander Refuses to Talk About Abuse

Lori Alexander, Domestic Violence, Biblical Submission

Lori Alexander, domestic violence, abuse

Images used on The Transformed Wife blog posts. Left: “Married to Angry Men” on 9/9/17. Right: “Too Many Angry Wives” on 7/20/17

-by Kathi

There is nothing new under Lori Alexander’s sun. She still writes about submission, and I’m sure she always will. Every once in a while she will write a post that gives us an extra glimpse about how her teachings may keep women in abusive relationships. In “Sweating Bullets While Teaching Submission,” Lori tells us why she does not write about abuse.

Lori will write about submission and never mentions abuse because:

If you read other biblical marriage blogs, you will see that most of them have warnings all over them about abuse and what submission doesn’t mean. If you notice, my blog doesn’t have this. I have written many posts about submission and never even mentioned the word abuse on most of them. I do this purposefully because abuse and submission don’t go together as many today try to do by twisting and perverting the beauty of submission. (Yes,  I have a post on my side bar for those who are in marital crisis but it has nothing whatsoever to do with submission since even wives who aren’t submissive are physically abused.)

On purpose, Lori will not discuss abuse because she believes that “biblical submission” is not abusive. Continue reading

Former Florida Megachurch Pastor Bob Coy Allegedly Sexually Abused 4-yr-old Child

Bob Coy, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, Pedophile, Sex Abuse


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Miami New Times investigative reporter, Tim Elfrink, did a stellar job investigating the shocking story of fallen Calvary Chapel megachurch pastor, Bob Coy.

Some long-time readers may remember I posted about Bob Coy’s moral failure in a blog post dated April 8, 2014:

You may have heard of the recent scandal by Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale Pastor Bob Coy.  The church elders called a special church meeting on Sunday where it was announced:

“On April 3, 2014, Bob Coy resigned as Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, effective immediately, after confessing to a moral failing in his life which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church he has led since its founding in 1985.” (Source)

58-yr old Bob Coy with his wife founded Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale nearly 30 years ago. The church reportedly has over 20,000 attendees and a staff of over 1,000 at 10 different campuses.

Michael Newnham at Phoenix Preacher blog reported:

We have confirmed  that Coy has admitted to at least two affairs in the past year alone and has had a long standing “problem with pornography”.

Continue reading

Book Review Series – Lori Alexander’s “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Repeat Five Times: Yoga Pants Are Not Modest!

The Power of a Transformed Wife, Lori Alexander, Modesty

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The only thing anyone should be lusting over is being able to do that fantastic yoga pose. Oh, how I would love to be that flexible!

-by Kathi

This is a book review series of The Power of a Transformed Wife by Lori Alexander. If you are just joining us, you may click on previous chapter reviews if you’d like to catch up.

Introduction & Chapter 1   Chapter 2   Chapter 3   Chapter 4   Chapter 5   Chapter 6  Chapter 7   Chapter 8 – Part 1   Chapter 8 – Part 2    Chapter 9  Chapter 10   Chapter 11  Chapter 12


Chapter 13 – How are You Dressing?

We have finally come to the chapter in which women are temptresses in their yoga pants and swimsuits. Yes, I admit to having read some of this chapter whilst wearing tight-fitting exercise pants. In order to not offend some readers, I shall wear loose-fitted pajama pants while writing this out.

Let’s start with the very first paragraph: Continue reading

Single (Divorced) Woman Asks About Her Friendship with a Married Man from Church

Single Christians, Divorced Christians, Cross-Gender Relationships, Church Response

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A woman found SSB and sent me an e-mail about her situation. The e-mail is from a single/divorced woman and the friendship she has with the praise and worship leader at her church. She, too, is on the praise and worship team. This kind of situation seems to get people nervous. Evidently, single women should not have a friendship with a married man.

Here is her e-mail (which she gave me permission to post): Continue reading