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

Domestic violence, Church response, Rob Porter


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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!

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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!


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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.

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I left the church forever at that point.

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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

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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

Domestic Violence: A Call to the Church for Action

Domestic Violence, Church Response, Action

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-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.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2: 14 – 17)

Once the church becomes educated about domestic abuse, it should be compelled to step into action to help victims. Telling a victim that you will pray for her, and not offer any help, does her no good. Below are some ways that the church can actively help a victim of domestic violence. Continue reading

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

Domestic Violence, Church Response, Beliefs

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-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

Book Review Series – Lori Alexander’s “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Shhhh…Be Very, Very Quiet

The Power of a Transformed Wife, Lori Alexander, Submission


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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 to catch up.

Introduction & Chapter 1   Chapter 2   Chapter 3   Chapter 4   Chapter 5   Chapter 6  Chapter 7


Chapter 8 – Part 1 – Win Him Without a Word

Due to the length and so much wrong happening, this chapter will be broken into two parts. Remember how the last chapter ended questioning whether or not wives didn’t have any words because they were too busy having sex? Oh, there’s so much more to winning over your husband.

Lori (ever so humbly) reminds readers again that she helps women who come to her complaining about their husbands. Lori’s “prescription” to winning over a husband is:

You can win him without a word by your grace-filled, godly behavior because a woman’s most potent voice is not the words that she speaks but the life she lives in front of her husband and children. This approach is reminiscent of the saying, ‘Preach the gospel at all times, and, if necessary, use words.’

Continue reading

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

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


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-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

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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)

 

 

Book Review Series – “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Wives Give Sex. All the Time.

The Power of a Transformed Wife, Lori Alexander, Sex in Marriage, Submission


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Screenshot from The Transformed Wife Facebook Page – 6/15/17

-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 to catch up.

Introduction & Chapter 1   Chapter 2   Chapter 3   Chapter 4   Chapter 5   Chapter 6

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Chapter 7 – This Thing Called Sex

Oh, goody…the sex chapter! Before I started reading this chapter I thought to myself: “Self, I wonder what wise words Lori will give women about sex? Let me guess…It will be about how husbands want sex all the time, and how wives are to give it to them anytime.”

Lori’s opening sentence:

Men like sex…a lot.

Oh, self, I am not disappointed in you. P.S. Lori, women like sex…a lot…too! Continue reading

Book Review Series – “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Don’t Argue. It’s That Easy.

The Power of a Transformed Wife, Lori Alexander, Marriage, Submission


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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 to catch up.

Introduction & Chapter 1   Chapter 2   Chapter 3   Chapter 4   Chapter 5

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Chapter 6 – Easy Conflict Resolution Continue reading

Book Review Series – “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Lori’s All About Submission and Ken’s All About Control

The Power of a Transformed Wife, Lori Alexander, Control, Submission


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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 to catch up.

Introduction & Chapter 1   Chapter 2   Chapter 3   Chapter 4

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Chapter 5 – What Submission Looks Like Continue reading

Book Review Series – “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Lori Has a Habit of Contradicting Herself

The Power of a Transformed Wife, Lori Alexander, Control, Submission


-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 to catch up.

Introduction & Chapter 1   Chapter 2   Chapter 3

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“Trey’s” review of The Power of a Transformed Wife on Amazon

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Chapter 4 – Allow Him to Lead

I have been warned about the poor editing job of this book. It is starting to show in this chapter. Lori jumps around from topic to topic which starts to make this book seem more like a mismatch of ideas. The reality is, there are no new ideas from Lori in this book. You can read either of her blogs, or Debi Pearl’s book, and find the same ideas. That being said, I’ll try to keep to the main points and not drag you through the rabbit trail. Continue reading

How Lori Alexander’s Teaching May Keep Women in Abusive Relationships

Lori Alexander, Emotional Abuse, Headship, Submission

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-by Kathi

I’ve been reading Lori Alexander’s blogs for quite a while now. Just when I think her writing is the same old boring rhetoric she always blathers on about, she ups her game. Her recent post, “How Not to Get Married” is one that actually should be titled, “Five Easy Steps to Ensure You Stay In an Abusive Relationship.” Continue reading

Book Review Series – “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – It’s All About Who’s in Control

The Power of a Transformed Wife, Lori Alexander, Control, Submission


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 to catch up.

Introduction & Chapter 1   Chapter 2

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Debi Pearl thinks Lori’s book gives “hope.” However, it seems that even she could not read through all of it.

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Book Review Series: “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Lori Reveals Her Mindset

Lori Alexander, The Power of a Transformed Wife, Book Review, Gender Roles

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

Bethlehem Baptist Church, Pastor Jason Meyer, Domestic Violence, Emotional Abuse, Spiritual Abuse

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Pastor Jason Meyer, Bethlehem Baptist Church

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. Continue reading

A Challenge to Abused Christian Women Regarding Teachings on Divorce

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Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 2016 Conference #CBMW16 Live Tweets and Complementarianism Cool-Aid

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

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