Update from Alex Grenier on His Reconciliation with his Parents Who Sued Him

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Earlier, I posted about the reconciliation between Alex Grenier and his parents. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before — reported on a situation that has a positive outcome. The thought of restored relationships after years of harm makes me cry. This has been so amazing. When I first got involved with Alex’s story and then formed a group to work on the “Who Would Jesus Sue” campaign to bring media attention to this story nearly 5 years ago, I don’t think I ever expected to see such a positive outcome. My thoughts were that hopefully Alex would win the court case, but I don’t think I ever imagined that something this beautiful could have occurred.

Alex is my friend. We have many things in common, and I love him like a brother. After he lost the first couple of rounds in the court process, I saw him change. I saw him go downhill spiritually and emotionally. He was angry (and rightly so). The new Alex was more cynical. I saw close his circle of friends get tighter. He became serious and driven, and he had to do things his own way. There were several friends I know who remained steadfast in their support of him, even though Alex sometimes lashed out.

About 6 months ago, I noticed a change in Alex. He wanted to prioritize the important things in his life: his family, his business, and I think it was around this time that he also wrestled with his God. For me, it was difficult to observe this long process over the years. I was watching the fruit of what happens when someone is harmed. We all know it can happen, but when you have been closely connected to someone, the sadness is real. You know there’s nothing you can do except continue to extend love and grace. You just hope and pray that your “brother” will get it all figured out. Alex is one tough dude and I knew he’d have to get hit hard (because he and are so alike). The nearly five years of legal battles, and all of the emotional and spiritual strain in his life, left him spent. He was done. And apparently, it was in this place where Alex was humble, and was able to find truth, love, and healing.  I love you, Alex.  I think this is your life verse, literally:

I have fought the good fight,

I have finished the race,

I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:7

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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

A Father Shares the Fallout His Family is Facing after Being in a High-Controlling Church

Spiritual abuse, children, mental health, high-controlling church, NAR, New Apostolic Reformation


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Special note:  I am in Chicago until 11/5 and would love to get together with survivors or those interested in helping survivors. If you would like to meet up, please contact me and let’s see if we can arrange a gathering.  spiritualsb@gmail.com   ~Julie Anne

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Today, we are going to read a brief personal story from Andrew. Andrew shares with us the harm his family faced and is still facing after being in a high-controlling, abusive church for 15 years.

There are a number of thoughts that struck me when reading his words.

  • First, Andrew seems to have a good understanding of what he and his family endured, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes this process can take years.
  • Secondly, he is not minimizing or trying to move past the current emotional and mental state of his family. It appears that he is appropriately addressing each conflict or bump in the road right now. Many times when people are in a spiritually abusive church, they want to move on so quickly (understandably), that they forget to take care of themselves and get their wounds healed.
  • Thirdly, Andrew is aware that this healing process is a journey. He’s taking a realistic look at where he’s been, what is happening now, and the work ahead, and knows there is no quick fix.

I believe there is a recovery process to get to wholeness after spiritual abuse. Process is the key word. It doesn’t work well to close the door to spiritual abuse and act like it never existed. It did exist and it did have an impact on lives. If we are quick to put it behind us without doing the necessary recovery work, we are likely to fall into similar traps.  When we go through recovery, we gain knowledge, understanding, have a new fresh perspective on who God is and how He relates with us, and we learn to forgive ourselves.  ~ja Continue reading

Help! My Family Member or Close Friend is Trapped in a High-Controlling Church or Cult. How Can I Encourage Them to Leave?

How to help a family member or friend leave a high-controlling church group or cult: spiritual abuse, trapped, thought reform, mind control, freedom


 

“Mind control is the process by which individual or collective freedom of choice and action is compromised by agents or agencies that modify or distort perception, motivation, affect, cognition and/or behavioral outcomes. It is neither magical nor mystical, but a process that involves a set of basic social psychological principles. Conformity, compliance, persuasion, dissonance, reactance, guilt and fear arousal, modeling and identification are some of the staple social influence ingredients well studied in psychological experiments and field studies. In some combinations, they create a powerful crucible of extreme mental and behavioral manipulation when synthesized with several other real-world factors, such as charismatic, authoritarian leaders, dominant ideologies, social isolation, physical debilitation, induced phobias, and extreme threats or promised rewards that are typically deceptively orchestrated, over an extended time period in settings where they are applied intensively.”
Steven Hassan, Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-Selling Guide to Protection, Rescue and Recovery from Destructive Cults

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I’ve heard it said that losing a child to death can be a parent’s worst nightmare. Now imagine having lost your adult child and their family, not to death, but to a high-controlling church or cult. Imagine not being able to celebrate birthdays or major holidays together. Imagine having only limited contact with your adult child and their family. How could your loved one entirely dismiss you, act like you are a stranger or enemy when you did nothing to them? Continue reading

If Being Hurt by the Church Causes You to Lose Faith in God . . .

 

This meme was posted on Facebook. For those who have been harmed by church leaders/people, what does this message say to you?  I’d love to read your first impressions of this meme.

 

 

 

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JA has put herself in blog time-out

 

 

image

So, yesterday I read a tweet that left me reeling. It made it difficult to concentrate on my school work, and got me thinking and emoting quite a bit. I’ve tried numerous times to put up a blog post today and yesterday and realize that I just need to let my emotions simmer a bit.

I guess this is a reality check for me (and my readers) about the effects of spiritual abuse. Most of the time it comes and goes and I can function normally. Sometimes, however, it hits hard, and I know I need to face it head on. I had several good cries yesterday and thought I’d be fine today, but apparently, I need to chill a bit more (except for one college test due by midnight).

I’ve learned the hard way that if I bury my emotions, they will resurface with a vengeance, so now, even though it’s inconvenient, I try to deal with myself honestly and ask the tough questions: why does this have so much significance for me? Why does it make me cry? What do the tears represent?  This is the grieving part – coming to the truth of what happened and its effects on me.

Once I’m done with that part of the process, I can finally move on to acceptance. I accept that I am where God wants me to be, even if it was not what I expected, and that it’s okay to move forward now.

I’ll be fine. I hope to be able to type out what happened and why it affected me so much. I think there are many who will relate.

Thanks for your patience with me as I go through this bump in the road for these couple of days. I’ll be blogging this coming week.

I’ve also wanted to say thanks for your patience as blog posts aren’t as timely as they used to be now that I’m a full-time student.  About 3 years ago, a friend and I were talking about college. He said, “Four years is going to come whether you like it or not, and you’ll have a degree or you won’t. Which do you want?”  It took one year to get the courage to register for school. Those words have come back to me many times in this process. After Spring term, and after 2 years of school, I will have my Associates degree  (half-way there). I’m truly thankful for all the support you’ve given me.

The Fallout of Spiritual Abuse on Our Children

Children Harmed by Spiritual Abuse

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Four Primary Conditions that Result in People Leaving Abusive Churches and Cults

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A Spotlight on Abuse and Death of VCY America Founder Vic Eliason

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Abuse Survivors Question the Idea That Nothing Happens in Your Life – Even Abuse – That God Does Not Permit

 There is nothing that happens in your life that God does not permit – – even abuse?


We got in a heated discussion in the comments on the last post regarding the determinist belief that nothing happens in our lives that God does not permit. For people who have been abused, that is a tough pill to swallow. For abuse survivors, please be careful. This discussion could be triggering.

determinist teachings 6834815688_4686d663db

This determinist belief seems to contradict the idea of a kind and loving Father who protects His children. Gail asked Pastor Wade Burleson specific questions and I thought it would be best to put them in a new blog post to keep this topic together.

Here is Gail’s comment to Wade which I also sent to him in an e-mail:

Wade,

I just listened to one of the sermons that Oasis linked on the other thread. I have a few questions & observations. I will be quoting some of what you said to clear up any confusion to those who didn’t listen.
“Every affliction in your life is of the Lord, all of it is.”

I was molested at five years old by my father, by another again at seven the list doesn’t stop there, for time sake I will be brief. Do you believe child rape is a affliction?

I do not understand what you meant when you said “affliction is of the Lord” but “not from the Lord.” What does that even mean?

“Nothing happens in your life that God either permits, promotes or prohibits”
Okay, so God could have prohibited my abuse? Or He permitted it? Wow, that sounds like God was implicit in what tore me to shreds as a girl.

Can you understand why your words cause turmoil inside of me?

I trust that you meant what you said in your sermon, that you are learning, growing from this interaction also with Oasis.
Would you consider that perhaps you miscommunicated with her? You keep insisting that you are not in the wrong at all, that she has her perception which makes it her reality, which implies at least to me that she is not telling the truth.
I will be out the rest of the afternoon, if I don’t respond I am not ignoring you, just have a full day.

Wade responded back to my e-mail and gave me permission to post his response to Gail’s questions:

I can sure understand that there are triggers for anyone who has undergone abuse. I would like to answer Gail’s questions, and feel free if you would like to use them.

(1). “Every affliction in your life is of the Lord, all of it is”

God says “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7). The word disaster is better translated (in my opinion) “affliction.”

However, there must be some caveats and qualifications with any understanding of this Isaiah passage of scripture. The Bible never contradicts itself – ever. We also read “For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone (to do evil); But each one is tempted (to do evil) when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust (James 1:13-14). So when I (or anyone) says God “affliction is of the Lord” it NEVER means He causes, designs, authors, or creates EVIL.” Not at all.

“Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). God only creates good. Man and fallen angels create evil. When I say “Affliction is of God” I mean God is able to take what man creates (evil) and orchestrate good from it. Evil is not good, nor is good evil – rather, God is able to turn what man meant for evil into good. God is never responsible for evil. He is only and always the author of good.

(2). “I was molested at five years old by my father, by another again at seven the list doesn’t stop there, for time sake I will be brief. Do you believe child rape is an affliction?”

Rape is evil. Rape is a crime. The rapist alone is responsible for the unspeakable horror. What I believe is that somehow, someway, God will produce good from evil. For example, the punishment of the rapist at the Judgment will be a good thing. The ultimate healing of the victim of rape through the love, mercy and kindness of God will be a good thing. The question that you seem to be asking is simple: “DID GOD CAUSE THE RAPE?” My answer: “GOOD GOD NO.”

I do believe that God allows evil to occur (that He doesn’t cause) because He will ultimately bring about an eternal greater good.

My example would be the beheading of the Coptic Christians in Lebanon. Did God cause this to happen? No. Will ultimate good come from it? Yes.

“For we know that God works all things together for good to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

(3). “I do not understand what you meant when you said ‘affliction is of the Lord’ but ‘not from the Lord. What does that even mean?”

It simple means that God does not create, cause or author evil (‘from the Lord’), but God will allow and permit evil because of an ultimate greater good that is coming, including the display of His holiness and justice in the punishment of the sinner and His mercy, goodness and kindness in the redemption of the victim.

(4). “Can you understand your words cause turmoil inside me?”

Yes. Absolutely. There’s wisdom in simply being there for someone whose been abused in the beginning, showing love. However, if I didn’t believe that ultimately the only hope of real recovery from deep, intense scars of past abuse is the knowledge that good IS COMING (the abuse is NOT GOOD), but good is coming, then I would remain silent about these things forever. I only speak of what I see Romans 8:28 to teach when asked. I never offer it until asked.

(5). “Would you consider that perhaps you miscommunicated with her (Oasis)?”

Of course. I also have no hesitation in apologizing. I just need to be shown (because she said it was in writing), and in my opinion, I have never – ever – said “God designs sexual abuse.” I have only and always said “God designs good” and I do not believe in any form or fashion sexual abuse is good.

Wade also added the following:

I am out for the rest of the week. This is all I can offer. I would suggest that those who would like to read further what I believe to go to the link “The Prince of Evil Overcome by the King of Good.” http://www.wadeburleson.org/2013/10/the-prince-of-evil-overruled-by-king-of.html

photo credit: [As seen on my run.] via photopin (license)