SSB Sunday Gathering – November 12, 2017

Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

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-by Kathi

Discussion: The Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight

From Chapter 11 – The Bible and Women: Women in Church Ministries 1

McKnight continues Chapter 11 discussing that women in ancient Jewish culture were viewed as inferior. There were the stand alone women, such as Esther and Deborah, however, this was the general view.

This view then transitioned into the early church. One theologian who had a profound affect on the church is Augustine. Augustine’s view was that only man was made in the image of God and women were created solely for the purpose of procreation and to be helpers to men. Even though these views were propagated by early church fathers, there are still churches and Christian teachers who hold to these views of women today.

The question McKnight asks is:

Do we seek to retrieve that cultural world and those cultural expressions, or do we live the same gospel in a different way in a different day? Is this a return and retrieve it all, a return and retrieve some, a reading of the Bible through tradition, or a reading of the Bible with tradition? Or, and I think this is the case, is this a tradition that needs to be challenged?

There are three views of women that Christians face today:

Hard patriarchy: This is a hard literalist view of God’s design of order in gender roles.

A woman’s responsibility is to glorify God, to love God, to love others, and to love her husband and children. That is, if she is married and has children (exceptions duly noted). More narrowly now, she must submit to her husband in all things, she must submit to male leadership in the church and in all things, and she should also not find her way into leadership in society.

Soft patriarchy: Takes cultural considerations, but the principles are still necessary.

A woman’s responsibility is to glorify God, to love God, to love others, and – if married – to love her husband and children (if there are any). More narrowly now, while affirming the importance of submission and gender and roles, this view frees the woman to do more than the hard patriarchy view. She can work outside the home in any manner for which she is qualified and competent, always with her primary role being wife and mother. She can participate in an appropriate female manner at church, but this would not include being senior pastor or teaching or leading men in any way.

Mutuality: Views women and men in terms of oneness and otherness.

…also believes a woman’s responsibility is to glorify God, to love God, to love others, and – again if married and if with children – to love her husband and children. More narrowly, a mutuality view liberates women from the tradition because it believes the biblical context is cultural and that even the biblical teachings reflect that culture. Even more importantly, it knows that reading the Bible through a long-established church tradition needs to be challenged.

You may not find this surprising, but I lean on the view of mutuality. This was why I pursued a ministry degree and fortunately, found a place that saw value in my gifts and abilities to support me in that pursuit. In the end, the Holy Spirit does not view gender as a hindrance when gifting. For that, I am very grateful.

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I Corinthians 12

Brothers and sisters, I want you to know about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. You know that at one time you were unbelievers. You were somehow drawn away to worship statues of gods that couldn’t even speak. So I want you to know that no one who is speaking with the help of God’s Spirit says, “May Jesus be cursed.” And without the help of the Holy Spirit no one can say, “Jesus is Lord.”

There are different kinds of gifts. But they are all given to believers by the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve. But they all come from the same Lord. There are different ways the Spirit works. But the same God is working in all these ways and in all people.

The Holy Spirit is given to each of us in a special way. That is for the good of all. To some people the Spirit gives a message of wisdom. To others the same Spirit gives a message of knowledge. To others the same Spirit gives faith. To others that one Spirit gives gifts of healing. To others he gives the power to do miracles. To others he gives the ability to prophesy. To others he gives the ability to tell the spirits apart. To others he gives the ability to speak in different kinds of languages they had not known before. And to still others he gives the ability to explain what was said in those languages. All the gifts are produced by one and the same Spirit. He gives gifts to each person, just as he decides.

There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.

Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.

The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care. The parts that can be shown don’t need special care. But God has put together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any. In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy.

You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it. First, God has placed apostles in the church. Second, he has placed prophets in the church. Third, he has placed teachers in the church. Then he has given to the church miracles and gifts of healing. He also has given the gift of helping others and the gift of guiding the church. God also has given the gift of speaking in different kinds of languages. Is everyone an apostle? Is everyone a prophet? Is everyone a teacher? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in languages they had not known before? Do all explain what is said in those languages? But above all, you should want the more important gifts.

Proverbs 12: 3

A man cannot be established through wickedness, but the righteous cannot be be uprooted.

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***

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.

***
Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

 

Photo credit: Kathi – Welcome Fall!

SSB Sunday Gathering – November 5, 2017

Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.

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-by Kathi

Discussion: The Blue Parakeet by Scott McKnight

From Chapter 11 – The Bible and Women: Women in Church Ministries 1

It’s been a while since we have looked at Scott McKnight’s book. As a refresher, McKnight’s position is that the Bible should be read as a story. Verses should not be picked here and there but should be taken in context of the writer and the greater story.

I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to jump ahead and start covering why I appreciate this book so much. McKnight has been very supportive of women in ministry for many years on his blog, Jesus Creed. This book does not offer every single argument in favor of women in ministry because the majority of the book is about how to read the Bible. McKnight offers women in ministry as a “test case.” It is a good starting point for further study about women’s roles in the church and there are several excellent academic authors who offer more.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 1 Corinthians 9: 22-23

McKnight starts this chapter off with a story about a former student who graduated with a Master of Arts in Religion with an emphasis in New Testament. He states that he admired this student because she understood the Bible and theology, had good interpersonal skills, and was a good preacher. He thought she would make an excellent pastor. The problem, though, was that she was never able to find a preaching and teaching job. All roles offered to her were for children’s, youth, or women’s ministries. Even if she did accept one of these positions I’m sure she would have been given a title of director and not pastor.

McKnight compares this student to a blue parakeet (hence the title of the book); a woman that the church wanted to keep in a “cage and to keep quiet.”

Let’s look again at the Bible and I will show you in the next few chapters how many have discerned  what we are to do today with the blue parakeets, women, who think they are called to sing and fly in the ministries of the church. I will argue that we should let the blue parakeets sing, that in reading the Bible with tradition instead of through tradition, we are set free both to respect and challenge that tradition. Furthermore, the direction of the Bible itself encourages us to think of facing the future by expanding the church ministries of women.

As soon as I read this paragraph I became excited. I, too, was a ministry student that experienced the difficulty of finding acceptance in the church as a minister. It influenced me enough during my undergraduate time that I did a completely different major for my master’s degree. Looking back, it was a good thing for me because I found an area that I am more passionate about than preaching and theology. However, I knew women that I went to school with who were passionate about the Bible, theology, and felt called to serve as a pastor. I knew they would have a difficult time finding a preaching and teaching job in our “denomination” of churches (non-denominational Christian church – which really is like a denomination).

The rest of Sunday gatherings through this book will focus on women in ministry:

In this and the next few chapters we will offer a positive argument for why we think the Bible affirms the ongoing presence of women in church ministries. We will look at a variety of topics, including a quick sweep through the whole Bible to show how the Bible as Story informs our reading of these passages. Any discussion that defends women in church ministries can be responsible only if it examines in more detail the so-called silencing of women passages in Paul (I Corinthians 14: 35-35 and 1 Timothy 2: 8-15).

I hope you find his positive arguments interesting and hopeful.

Psalm 17

Hear, O Lord, my righteous plea; listen to my cry. Give ear to my prayer – it does not rise from deceitful lips. May my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right.

Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin. As for the deeds of men – by the word of your lips I have kept myself from the ways of the violent. My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped.

I call to you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer. Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.

They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance. They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground. They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a great lion crouching in cover. Rise up, O Lord, confront them, bring them down; rescue me from the wicked by your sword. O Lord, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life.

You still the hunger of those you cherish; their sons have plenty, and they store up wealth for their children. And I – in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.

Proverbs 12: 2

A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but the Lord condemns a crafty man.

***


 

***

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;

may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;

may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;

may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.

***
Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?

 

Photo credit: Kathi – Welcome Fall!

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:

As believers in Jesus Christ who want to please Him in every area of our life, modest should be something we take a deep interest in since the Lord has called us to be modest. Anything that is important to him should be important to us as well.

Where does Jesus talk about modesty – specifically, the type of modesty that Lori addresses with how women should dress? Matthew 5:28 does not count because Jesus addresses men specifically and how they look at women. So, that leaves us nowhere in the Bible where Jesus addresses how women should dress. (Although, Lori uses Matthew 5:28 later in the book as an argument for why women should dress modestly so as to not tempt men.)

Lori then attempts an argument about how women need to intentionally dress differently than men because of Deuteronomy 22:5.  With the same breath she states that we are not bound to live under Mosaic law. I think it’s pretty easy to tell the difference between men and women who wear jeans, t-shirts, or shorts. However, Lori tells us that she purposely does not dress to look like Ken to follow the intent of the verse, then jumps right into 1 Timothy 2:9:

I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes,

Hold on a minute! Lori doesn’t even take into account the fact that all of 1 Timothy, Chapter 2 focuses on worship. There are instructions for men as well as women in this chapter. The way that Lori addresses dressing modestly is based solely on one verse that is taken out of context. She states:

Most important to this discussion is 1 Timothy 2:9, which teaches that we are to adorn ourselves in “modesty,” which I believe [emphasis added] means we’re not to dress in an alluring and seductive manner. In other words, we should avoid sheer and clingy material, plunging necklines, short shorts, skimpy dresses, and so forth. We shouldn’t wear low-cut tops or dresses that expose half our breasts or offer guys a clear view. Modesty is an act of obedience to the Lord and an act of kindness to men by helping them to reign in their natural impulse to take long looks – which can lead to inappropriate thoughts.

Lori takes out of 1 Timothy 2:9 “women dress modestly,” and turns it into what she thinks it means. Men’s lack of power over their sexual urges, and women’s inability to stop men from having sexual urges, is one of the more frustrating arguments that modesty culture perpetuates. How do men manage to walk around all day without having sex with any or every women he sees? Also, what one man views as modest, another man views as a “stumbling block.” How is a woman supposed to keep up with the rules?

Lori then targets the dreaded yoga pants and talks about how Ken asked her not to wear leggings in the 80’s; therefore, she has no problem wearing yoga pants that “shape the derrière in ways that are like a push-bra for your bottom.” She is very specific about this.

Swimsuits then become the dreaded target. Bikinis are not modest! Because Lori lives in Southern California, she has lots of thoughts about swimsuits, as this is a common topic on her blogs. I know everyone has their own views of swimsuits, and I do understand why people might feel uncomfortable seeing a woman in a bikini, but for goodness sake! You can still look a woman in the eye and treat her like a human being.  Here is my thought….get over it!

I have spent many years at the pool with my kids either in swim lessons, swim team, water polo, or water aerobic classes for myself. I have seen all types of swim suits and all shapes and sizes of people. Allow me to let you in on a little secret….I have found the pool to be one of the least judgmental places for people who wear swimsuits (unless you’re a part of the modesty police like Lori).

For example, women’s competitive swimsuits are not designed to stay put over the bottom. During competition, or even casual swimming, suits move because people move. At the last water polo tournament many of the girls were walking around with their suits riding up their butts. I talked to my 16-year-old son about this. I asked him what the boys think about girls walking around in their swimsuits or seeing their butt cheeks exposed. He stated that they don’t really notice. They see each other every day at practice and they don’t view the girls in a sexual way.  It’s simply how it is. Speaking of boys, let’s talk about boy’s competitive swimsuits. If they’re not wearing jammers, they’re wearing briefs, basically walking around in super short, very tight, underwear. It’s simply how it is.

Allow me to finish with another quote from Lori:

Whenever I teach on this touchy subject (women wearing a bikini), I’ve heard some women retort, “Some men will lust if a woman is wearing a garbage bag. It’s their problem!”

Regardless, you are responsible to do everything in your power to not cause men to lust. The majority of men will not lust after women wearing garbage bags. They lust when a woman shows a lot of flesh or tightly fitted clothes.

When God directed us to dress modestly, He did that not only for our protection but for the men around us.

Here’s the thing….men will lust over women no matter what they are wearing. The problem isn’t with how women dress, the problem is with lust. Women could be covered head to toe, and men will lust. The onus of the problem of lust is always placed on the woman, and there is rarely talk about how men should view women as human beings created by God.

“Modesty” is also a problem. Women are to honor men, but there is no specific definition on how to do that given that individual men find different things attractive. Ken prefers Lori to wear skirts to her knees, but another man might find her knees sexy and she would be leading him to lust after her. Women are always reminded how to dress, but men are not reminded how to view women. Women are shamed that men can see their boobs, but they can see the shape of their boobs in anything they wear. Women have boobs! There is no getting around that!

Lori would probably have a fit knowing that I work (yes, first issue is that she would have a problem with the fact that I work) at a very prominent athletic company. We are all encouraged to wear products by this company, which means that women (and men) often come to work in tight-fitting athletic pants. We once even had on our screen saver a woman wearing one of our new line athletic bras. Guess what? I never heard any men mention that they had a problem with this. (She looked fantastic, by the way!) I work at an athletic company that makes athletic clothing. It’s simply how it is.

Lori ends this chapter with an old blog post about how she and Ken once took the grandchildren to the beach for the day. Ken decided they had to pack up and leave because “the view had changed.” Apparently, close by was a woman laying on a towel wearing a thong and her butt cheeks were showing. Instead of carrying on with their day and ignoring “the view,” they felt like this woman ruined their day, because:

Turning men on has to be an ego thing for them. They like showing off their sexy bodies because they feel pride knowing men are looking at them.

The half-nude women on the beach showed no discretion. I’m going to go strong here and say they were practically naked and unashamed when they were only supposed to show their bodies like this to their husbands.

Yes, men are commanded to flee sexual immorality, and this is why Ken informed us that we were taking off from the beach that day. It’s too bad that this young woman didn’t know she was causing great disappointment to our grandchildren when we had to pack up and leave due to her indiscretion.

Yes, I’m sure this woman wasn’t thinking of Ken and Lori when she went the beach on that fateful day. I’m sure she was simply thinking about enjoying a day on the beach. Why would she even think that she had that much power to destroy a child’s fun-filled day on the beach while she took a nap? I’m sure the children didn’t even notice until Ken and Lori decided to make such a fuss.

Women, wear what you want to wear. Wear what is appropriate for work or for play. If you’re not breaking the law, then you’re good. It’s simply how it should be.

 

Photo courtesy of Photopin.

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):

 

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Dear Julie Anne,

I found your older blog article as I was doing a search for info on cross-gender friendships in church. Unfortunately I may be leaving my church home soon and I wanted to see if anyone else has been in my shoes. I’m a musician on my church praise team and our male leader’s wife wants to have a chat with me. Her husband has been a good friend and sounding board, but I realize now that is a big no-no. I am almost 12 years older than him and have no interest in him other than an encouraging friend, but I sense some boundary has been crossed that I wasn’t aware of in this situation.

I am single due to divorcing an abusive, unfaithful Christian husband. As soon as I became single, I noticed a subtle change in how I was treated by other women in the church. My pastor’s wife has been one of the few that treats me like a friend and not a threat. She made an effort to get to know me. Our worship leader’s wife has been hot and cold with me which leaves me unsure. I’m not sure I want to open myself up to this chat she’s requested, she said she’s been praying for me but the tension was pretty evident.

I have no one to talk to about this situation so I hope you don’t mind that I’ve written you. I found your new site and am amazed at how much you’ve written rings true. Thanks for sharing your experience, it’s helped me a lot.

Blessings,

“Karen”

 

I don’t see this restriction in Scripture, but it sure seems to be a prevalent idea. In full disclosure, I have been on praise and worship teams during much of my adult life. I currently am on a praise and worship team and do maintain friendships with both married and divorced men. (The only single guys on the team are young enough to be my kids, and we haven’t spoken at any level of depth.)

Usually any discussions we have take place at church or places where we are involved in ministry work. I’m sure I have used some of these men as sounding boards (I love that phrase!) from time to time in the past, and even currently. I don’t have a problem with it, and no man has told me that he has had a problem with it (and no wife has, either).

It bothers me that this kind of stigma exists with single or divorced women. I’m not sure if there is the same stigma with single or divorced men, but in light of Scripture in which Paul said it is better to remain single than married, I find this common response troubling. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the subject.

  • The most important question: how would you respond to “Karen?”
  • If you are married, do you have relationships with single people of the opposite sex at church?
  • If you are married, do you have relationships with divorced people of the opposite sex at church?
  • Do you have any ideas of how the church can improve on this kind of situation, and create a safe place for those who are single and divorced?

 

photo credit: Infomastern Sunset silhouette via photopin (license)

Spiritual Abuse, PTSD, and the Aftermath

Spiritual Abuse, PTSD, Recovery, Beaverton Grace Bible Church, Chuck O’Neal

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12799416_211264669235735_6070303658308327161_nWhen someone deals with spiritual abuse, it can have lasting consequences. One popular response is making the decision to no longer go an institutional church. I get that.

I’m pretty sure I relayed the story either in a post, or in comments, that one Sunday, my current pastor read from Romans 12, the chapter that my abusive pastor went over and over for nearly two years. Yes, one chapter for 2 years! “Pastor” Chuck O’Neal’s favorite Bible translation was New King James Version (of course, specifically, the John MacArthur Study Bible in NKJV). As soon as my current pastor announced the passage, I could feel myself get tense. I later told him that if he had used the NKJV, I might have high-tailed it out of there, jumping over pews if I had to (I have long legs). Okay, slight exaggeration there, but the reality is, I felt very uncomfortable hearing those words, and I might have left if those feelings continued.

Yes, just simply hearing those words “Romans 12,” created a fight or flight response in me. I knew that my current pastor was not my abusive pastor. It’s been nearly 9 years since we left that “church,” but hearing or seeing something that reminds me of that experience sometimes takes me back to that place. I remember sitting in the pew thinking to myself: this is not Beaverton Grace Bible Church. This is not Chuck O’Neal reading Romans 12; this is my current pastor who has not harmed me, and thankfully, he wasn’t using the NKJV translation.

 

Bessel van der Kolk M.D. wrote a fantastic book called, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. He is considered an expert on trauma and how it affects the brain and body. I haven’t read the whole book, but have taken notes of excerpts that I’ve found very helpful in understanding the power of trauma and its effects on our bodies.

Here is one quote from the book. The bottom paragraph identifies a bit of what I experienced sitting in the pew (at a reduced level):

The left and right sides of the brain also process the imprints of the past in dramatically different ways.

2 The left brain remembers facts, statistics, and the vocabulary of events. We call on it to explain our experiences and put them in order. The right brain stores memories of sound, touch, smell, and the emotions they evoke. It reacts automatically to voices, facial features, and gestures and places experienced in the past. What it recalls feels like intuitive truth—the way things are. Even as we enumerate a loved one’s virtues to a friend, our feelings may be more deeply stirred by how her face recalls the aunt we loved at age four.

3 Under ordinary circumstances the two sides of the brain work together more or less smoothly, even in people who might be said to favor one side over the other. However, having one side or the other shut down, even temporarily, or having one side cut off entirely (as sometimes happened in early brain surgery) is disabling. Deactivation of the left hemisphere has a direct impact on the capacity to organize experience into logical sequences and to translate our shifting feelings and perceptions into words. (Broca’s area, which blacks out during flashbacks, is on the left side.) Without sequencing we can’t identify cause and effect, grasp the long-term effects of our actions, or create coherent plans for the future. People who are very upset sometimes say they are “losing their minds.” In technical terms they are experiencing the loss of executive functioning.

When something reminds traumatized people of the past, their right brain reacts as if the traumatic event were happening in the present. But because their left brain is not working very well, they may not be aware that they are reexperiencing and reenacting the past—they are just furious, terrified, enraged, ashamed, or frozen.

***

I did end up staying, and listened to the sermon. After a few moments, I was able to shake off the negativity associated with that particular passage and refocus. But it did take an intentional effort.

What’s interesting, I recovered from PTSD related to a major earthquake I experienced after 2 years of therapy. I can hear or read of earthquakes in the news, see the destruction, but I don’t go back “there” in my mind. It simply does not affect me anymore. But the spiritual abuse still does. Sometimes I do have to talk myself through it, even after 9 years.

 

Guest Post: If “Jane” from TMU were to seek “Biblical counseling” #DoYouSeeUs

Biblical Counseling, Nouthetic Counseling, “Jane” #DoYouSeeUs, John MacArthur, The Master’s University

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Book Review Series – Lori Alexander’s “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – The Chapter that Doesn’t Belong

The Power of a Transformed Wife, Lori Alexander, Dating, Sexual Purity

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Book Review Series – Lori Alexander’s “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Birth Control and a “Funny Story”

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

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How do you find rest for your soul?

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28
I just finished my junior year of college yesterday and now I am with some of the family at a lake house. As I was kayaking with my 11-yr old son, it was absolutely quiet on the lake. I could see pretty far down in the water. Various birds were circling around overhead, some would come down to the water and swim for a bit. 

As I closed my eyes and leaned back on the seat to rest a bit, I realized how long it’s been since I’ve deliberately taken a deep breath and heard the sounds around me. The idea that I have a few days where nothing is pressing is amazing. 

This is what I’ve been missing. Chillax time. Quietness. Breathing deeply. Listening to birds and the wind through the leaves. Walking barefoot on the sandy beach. Feeling the cool water on my feet. Watching the waves on the lake. This restores my soul. 

I look forward to reading a book and getting in some knitting and napping. Unwinding is good. 

What do you do for self-care? Hiw do you manage to take care of yourself when you are worn thin, emotionally and spiritually?

How do you find God during these times?

Dr. Dan Allender: Trauma, Our Personal Stories, and Recovery through Music

Dr. Dan Allender, Trauma, Music, Spiritual Abuse Recovery, Personal Stories


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Those who have been reading here for a while know how important I believe it is for survivors to tell their abuse stories. It took a while for us to believe the lies our church leader(s) told us about who we are and who God is. Eventually, through manipulation and deceit, we then told ourselves those lies. These “recordings” played over and over in our minds until they were perceived as normal. This is all part of thought reform, patterns of coercion, manipulation, and control, that cult leaders use to keep us emotionally and spiritually bound to them and their teachings.

When we are finally in a place where we can identify truth from lies, we still have to wrestle with the recordings that play in our minds that attempt to shift us back to the dangerous teachings we heard. I strongly believe that hearing ourselves speak the truth when we tell our stories will eventually override the old and damaging recordings in our mind.

I believe this is why many survivors have a need to tell our stories over and over again. It doesn’t mean we are living in the past. No. I believe it means we are validating our experience and further pushing that false and destructive narrative out of our minds.

Telling stories is empowering. It gives us strength to stand on our own two feet and use our critical thinking skills. We own our stories, even though they are negative. But now, as we tell our stories safe from our abuser, we are in control, not our abusive spiritual leaders. We speak not as one who remains stuck as a victim, but as a survivor who can incorporate the negative experience into the fabric of our bigger life story in a positive way. It shapes us, it softens and humbles us. It still hurts at times, but we can become more resilient and intentional with this trauma behind us.

May we never tire of listening to the stories of survivors. When we do listen, we validate them and help them to become whole. Also, if we are survivors, may we never tire of telling our stories without apologies. It may be just what a listener needs to hear.

Lately, I’ve been reading about our body’s response to trauma, and this 2-minute video is fascinating. In it, Dr. Dan Allender helps us to understand the power of music used as a healing agent in relation to trauma. Continue reading