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.
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.
. . 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.
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."
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
This power-over structure is harmful, demeaning, and depersonalizes women who were made in the Image of God.
"I’ve decided to document pastors and individuals who promote patriarchy here on my blog. I will post screenshots of their tweets or social media posts, and name them and their churches as a public record."
Greg Morse at Desiring God has a problem with nice guys.
"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."
In black/white churches, you have two choices: follow along with the pastor, or you are immediately castigated as someone who has made the wrong choice. If people know of your "bad" choice, you may be called a sinner or rebellious.
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.
What's interesting is if you address these people and question the way they are attack you and your beliefs, they quip they are telling you this in love and they are being Biblical. It never feels like love. It's rude. It seems like a clanging cymbal to me. Love is patient and kind, right?
My heart remains heavy for those wounded by leaders whose arrogance use the Bible as a weapon to harm instead of to heal. I've been on the receiving end of that arrogance and it is not pleasant.