A Personal Story and a Sad Conclusion When Pastors Failed to Respond Appropriately to Domestic Violence

Domestic violence, Church response, Rob Porter


***

You may have heard in the news recently about Rob Porter who worked for President Trump in the White House. Porter recently resigned his position as White House Staff Secretary after allegations of domestic violence from his two ex-wives surfaced in the media. It was disheartening to hear that both women reported the abuse to elders in their churches and to counselors. Somehow, he was able to get a job in the White House, although it was known by White House staff months before his resignation. (Source)

“When I tried to get help, I was counseled to consider carefully how what I said might affect his career,” Willoughby wrote in a blog post last year, adding later, “Friends and clergy didn’t believe me. And so I stayed.”

She also told The Intercept that when she went to her bishop about Porter’s anger issues, he cautioned that it could hurt Porter’s image. “Keep in mind, Rob has career ambitions,” she recalled the local LDS leader saying, according to the online news outlet.

“It wasn’t until I went to a secular counselor at my workplace one summer and told him what was going on that he was the first person, and not a male religious leader, who told me that what was happening was not OK,” she told the Daily Mail. (Source)

Although the above example was in the LDS church, I’ve written a number of blog articles about domestic violence in Evangelical Christian churches, and many times the response is the same.

Here is where I stand on this issue at the moment. If someone contacts me about domestic violence, I am very leery to encourage them to talk to their pastor or church leaders unless they know that their church has a proven record of helping survivors of domestic violence and has plans in place. Time and again, these women are subjected to secondary harm: spiritual abuse and emotional harm by their spiritual leaders who do not know how to handle these cases appropriately.

This tweet I saw recently was profound!

***

Yesterday, a comment came in on this post: Bethlehem Baptist Church Excommunicates Victim of Domestic Violence, but since it is an older post, not many will read it. I have posted the comment below. It needs to be read. Is this the outcome the church wants? Then church leaders need to get their collective acts together and help the survivors, and report the perpetrators!

I am so freakin’ tired of these stories!


***

delete

When I went to my pastor for help he would not even meet with me, he sent his wife instead. All she had to say, despite me being very clear that I was in fear for my safety, in addition to the emotional torment I was subjected to for years, was to keep praying for God to soften his heart. I was told to look inward and ask God to help me be the best godly wife I could be, because I should be the example of God’s love to my husband. My husband would see God working in me, as evidenced by me not fighting back, being submissive, always staying calm even in the midst of his chaos, and loving & respecting my husband despite how he was treating me.

When I did finally tell my husband I was filing for divorce, even though I had repeatedly been told that God hates divorce, I endured the worst physical assault ever dished out by him. I had a knife pulled on me, was threatened with death, and my 4-year old son ripped from my arms as I tried to flee after being held hostage for hours. I was finally able to get to a phone.

He went to jail. The divorce was finalized 3 months later. I called the pastor’s wife to tell her what happened. I got the standard, “I’m so sorry, if you need anything let us know.” I had no job, he had taken money from our account and hid it. I had 60 days to move out before the protective order expired.

I never got a call from the pastor, or his wife, checking on me. Instead, the pastor was talking with my husband, because according to my pastor, “It takes two to fight and divorce was not the answer.” Again, it was my fault. All the church ever did was put the onus on me to be a better wife, pray for him, and extend him grace because his heart was hardened. No responsibility on the abuser. No support was offered to me, not even any kind words.

***

I left the church forever at that point.

***

I had already been made to feel like I just needed to do better, and now, I was the sinful one for leaving. I left the church forever at that point. And I left the misguided teachings of an ancient misogynist book we call the bible, behind as well.

My story is not unique and that is the problem. My story is rampant in churches across the entire world. Quite frankly, I came to the conclusion that if God really loved the church, He wouldn’t have allowed man to destroy it. But man has destroyed it because man built it, just as man wrote the book that dictates the lives of people that attend it. I finally realized it was all false teachings.

I refuse to believe in a God that allows this to happen – that allows his teachings to become so twisted that women literally die because they are told not to leave. I don’t want any part of it. And letting go of all of it was the most freeing thing ever.

But to all of you in the church that enable this to happen, that do nothing more than say “well those people aren’t real Christians.” you are failing your own make-belief god, because his church is the very reason that I no longer buy into the fantasy. My son was traumatized beyond what any of you could imagine, and I will not ever teach him that God will use his horrific experience to help others, or that this was all part of a divine plan. Unlike the Godly father, I will do everything to protect my son, never allowing him to think that his suffering is justified, so that it could glorify the holy narcissist in the sky.

These teachings, that boom, and the man-made institution of the church are dangerous. I’m glad this site is speaking out as if some people have enough sense to know that the sanctity of marriage is never more important than the sanctity of life, but it is too late for me. We would have been spared a lot had it not been for the fact that God hates marriage so much. Who cares about an eternity in hell if you are already living it here on this planet? At least I’m safe now, my son is safe, and I’ll gladly burn forever to stand up and speak out against a church and a God that allows this to happen to women.

 

 

photo credit: heinltier emotions via photopin (license)

Bethlehem Baptist Church Excommunicates Victim of Domestic Violence

Continue reading

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

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

***


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

Domestic Violence: A Call to the Church – Reevaluate Your Beliefs

Domestic Violence, Church Response, Beliefs

purple ribbons

-by Kathi


I am pausing our Sunday Gatherings for the rest of October. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and I would like to take this time to talk about how the church can effectively respond to domestic violence.

 

The church can be incredibly helpful to victims of domestic violence, or, it can be incredibly damaging to victims. The way in which a church responds to a victim depends upon the beliefs that the church has about domestic violence. This is an open challenge to the church to re-evaluate a few beliefs which may keep victims within abusive relationships. Continue reading

“Taking marriage seriously” – what does that mean for a Christian?

Christian Marriage, divorce, domestic violence, abuse, marital counseling, extramarital affairs


***

-Taking marriage seriously- means taking the vows seriously and having real consequences for breaking them. The idealists and perfectionists who are trying to turn -marriage- into a protected space for all man.png

***

My friend, Valerie Jacobsen posted this statement on her Facebook page and I asked permission to share it. I found it powerful, and yet, so contrary to the way marriage is handled in the church – especially when abuse is involved. I’m sick and tired of women being forced by their pastors/elders to bear the brunt of evil in their marriages by staying in their evil and harmful marriages.

I do not believe for a second that it is godly advice for pastors tell abused wives to remain married to their chronically evil and reviling spouses. If marriage is supposed to be representative of Christ and the church, an abusive marriage is a mockery to Christ. It seems that pastors would want to help rid the church of the blot of evil when there is an abuser clinging to his marriage and refusing to change his evil ways.

Women who leave their chronically cheating and/or abusive husbands are saying NO to evil. It is their husbands who abandoned the marriage long ago when they started their evil ways.

We need to stand beside these women and tell them they are free to go when pastors tell them otherwise. Pastors who give this bad advice are not living with this evil. And I’ll bet that they would not say this kind of thing if it were their daughter living with an abuser. Let’s stop this crazy business!

 

 

 

h/t Hannah Smith for image (taken in Hawaii)

 

 

Survivor of Tullian Tchividjian’s Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse Goes Public with Her Story – Part 5

Tullian Tchividjian, Personal Survivor Story, Clergy Sex Abuse


Statue of Lady Justice © Sebastian Duda, Fotolia #35822634.

Statue of Lady Justice © Sebastian Duda, Fotolia #35822634.

LINKS: My Story: Part #1Part #2Part #3Part #4Part #5.

Editors’ Note: This is Rachel’s story, and she is sharing what she recalls of her relationship with Tullian Tchividjian. She is sharing her facts, opinions, and what she believes to be true. Tullian is a public figure of interest. It is not defamatory to share opinions, beliefs, and personal stories publicly. In order to prove that she is being defamatory, it would need to be shown that she knowingly told lies, and did so with malice. Continue reading

Survivor of Tullian Tchividjian’s Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse Goes Public with Her Story – Part 1

Tullian Tchividjian, Personal Survivor Story, Clergy Sex Abuse


Statue of Lady Justice © Sebastian Duda, Fotolia #35822634.

Statue of Lady Justice © Sebastian Duda, Fotolia #35822634.

LINKS: My Story:  Part #1Part #2Part #3Part #4Part #5.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

An Introduction, from Julie Anne Smith and Brad Sargent

Several of those who have alleged victimization by Tullian Tchividjian have contacted me (Julie Anne) over the past year and a half. Rachel (which is her real first name) was one of them. She is the survivor of Tullian Tchividjian’s clergy sexual misconduct in the spring and summer of 2015. She’s also named as “Woman #2” in our recent Partial Timeline post. Discovery of their sexual relationship by staff at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (CRPC) led to Tchividjian being asked to resign as Senior Pastor there, and his being “deposed” by the South Florida presbytery (i.e., having his ministry credentials removed).

Rachel’s story is critically important to consider, in part because she tried to inform multiple Christian leaders – mostly men who were supposedly responsible for overseeing or counseling Tchividjian – about what she experienced as his patterns of lies, seduction, and spiritual abuse. She herself admits, she didn’t always do this in the best way, with rants and emotional comments on posts. But she and her family had been harmed, and she was also trying to get Tchividjian to follow through in repaying over $11,000 he had borrowed from Rachel and her husband to hire a private investigator.

So, it turns out that her personal story intersects with the three main ministries that have been parts of Tchividjian’s platform during the past several years: Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (Fort Lauderdale, FL), Willow Creek (Presbyterian) Church (Winter Springs, FL), and the Liberate Network. At this point, we know of no other survivor whose actions connect with all three. We are grateful she has agreed to share her story so that others can be warned about wolves in the Body of Christ, and also learn about what real repentance and recovery can look like. Continue reading

Survivor of Tullian Tchividjian’s Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse Goes Public with Her Story – Part 2

Tullian Tchividjian, Personal Survivor Story, Clergy Sex Abuse


Statue of Lady Justice © Sebastian Duda, Fotolia #35822634.

Statue of Lady Justice © Sebastian Duda, Fotolia #35822634.

LINKS: My Story:  Part #1Part #2Part #3Part #4Part #5.

Editors’ note: This is Part 2, a continuation of Rachel’s story which began here. The remaining parts of the series will be posted soon.

Edited to add 11/30/16: This is Rachel’s story, and she is sharing what she recalls of her relationship with Tullian Tchividjian. She is sharing her facts, opinions, and what she believes to be true. Tullian is a public figure of interest. It is not defamatory to share opinions, beliefs, and personal stories publicly. In order to prove that she is being defamatory, it would need to be shown that she knowingly told lies, and did so with malice.  ~ja Continue reading

Survivor of Tullian Tchividjian’s Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse Goes Public with Her Story – Part 3

Tullian Tchividjian, Personal Survivor Story, Clergy Sex Abuse


Statue of Lady Justice © Sebastian Duda, Fotolia #35822634.

Statue of Lady Justice © Sebastian Duda, Fotolia #35822634.

LINKS: My Story:  Part #1Part #2Part #3Part #4Part #5.

Editors’ Note: This is Rachel’s story, and she is sharing what she recalls of her relationship with Tullian Tchividjian. She is sharing her facts, opinions, and what she believes to be true. Tullian is a public figure of interest. It is not defamatory to share opinions, beliefs, and personal stories publicly. In order to prove that she is being defamatory, it would need to be shown that she knowingly told lies, and did so with malice. Continue reading

Survivor of Tullian Tchividjian’s Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse Goes Public with Her Story – Part 4

Tullian Tchividjian, Personal Survivor Story, Clergy Sex Abuse


Statue of Lady Justice © Sebastian Duda, Fotolia #35822634.

Statue of Lady Justice © Sebastian Duda, Fotolia #35822634.

LINKS: My Story: Part #1Part #2Part #3Part #4Part #5.

Editors’ Note: This is Rachel’s story, and she is sharing what she recalls of her relationship with Tullian Tchividjian. She is sharing her facts, opinions, and what she believes to be true. Tullian is a public figure of interest. It is not defamatory to share opinions, beliefs, and personal stories publicly. In order to prove that she is being defamatory, it would need to be shown that she knowingly told lies, and did so with malice. Continue reading

Tullian Tchividjian – Partial Timeline of Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse and Spiritual Abuse

Tullian Tchividjian, Clergy Sex Abuse, Spiritual Abuse

Tullian Tchividjian, Clergy Sex Abuse, scandal, spiritual abuse

Facebook profile photo

This is a partial timeline of the situation involving Tullian Tchividjian. It focuses on his various publications since 2007 (if a book title appears twice, the first is a hardcover version and the second is paperback), his church ministry roles since 2009, and his publicly revealed illicit sexual involvements. We’re limiting the timeline to these topics and key events, to help focus attention on the overlaps between his ministries and publication writing periods that were paralleled by emotional and sexual grooming of women who were in some way within his sphere of influence. Continue reading

Ex-Pastor Tullian Tchividjian Speaks Out at Website for Ex-Pastors

Tullian Tchividjian article at ExPastors.com, clergy sex abuse, suicide, repentance, restoration


***

Only one month after Tullian Tchividjian remarried, he has publicly released a new article at a site for former pastors, ExPastors.com. In the article, The Freedom in Losing it All, Tchividjian shares lessons he has learned about himself since his sexual scandal.

 

The following is an excerpt from the article: Continue reading

A Challenge to Abused Christian Women Regarding Teachings on Divorce

Continue reading

Pastors Tullian Tchividjian + Bob Coy + Sexual Sin + Church Leaders Who Protect Immoral Pastors = A Broken Church

Continue reading

Tullian Tchividjian and Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church Discussion: “He demanded that people be loyal to him.”

Continue reading

Domestic Violence is NOT a Marriage Issue, but an Abuse Issue

Domestic Violence, Naghmeh and Saeed Abedini, Divorce, Marriage, Abuse, Church Response to Abuse

Continue reading

Three Pastors Challenge Dr. James Dobson’s Advice on Domestic Violence Which Could Put Victims in Harm’s Way

Continue reading