Trying Something New for SSB Gathering – July 23, 2017

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

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-by Kathi

Sunday mornings are changing a bit at the Gathering. I thought it might be nice to go through a book and see how our discussion goes. I’ll continue to add a verse and music.

Let’s start off with The Blue Parakeet by Scott McKnight. This is one of my favorite books on how to read the Bible and the silencing of women in the church. Let me know what you think of this change.

From Chapter 1, “The Book and I”

Throughout this process of conversion and reading the Bible, I made discoveries that created a question that disturbed me and still does. Many of my fine Christian friends, pastors, and teachers routinely made the claim that they were Bible-believing Christians, and they were committed to the whole Bible and that – and this was one of the favorite lines – ‘God said it, I believe it, that settles it for me!’ They were saying two things and I add my response (which expresses my disturbance):

One: We believe everything the Bible says, therefore…

Two: We practice whatever the Bible says.

Three: Hogwash!

Why say “hogwash,” a tasty salty word I learned from my father? Because I was reading the same Bible they were reading, and I observed that, in fact – emphasize that word “fact” – whatever they were claiming was not in “fact” what they were doing. (Nor was I.) What I discovered is that we all pick and choose. I must confess this discovery did not discourage me as much as it disturbed me, and then it made me intensely curious (and it is why I wrote this book). The discoveries and disturbances converged onto one big question:

How, then, are we to live out the Bible today?

This question never has been and never will be adequately answered with: The Bible says it, and that settles it for me. Why? Because no one does everything the Bible says. Perhaps you expected this question: How, then, are we to apply the Bible today? That’s a good question, but I think the word ‘apply’ is a bit  clinical and not as dynamic as the phrase “live it.”

Have you encountered the mindset, “God says it, I believe it?” If so, how did you respond?

Have you seen any changes in your thought process of the Bible and God over your life? Where are you now?

Do you still find yourself trapped in toxic thoughts of “how God wants us to live” or have you found freedom from man-made rules?

What advice would you offer someone who struggles to break free from toxic ideology and is trying to find freedom in Christ?

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Psalm 7

Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me,or they will tear me apart like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me.

Lord my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands –  if I have repaid my ally with evil or without cause have robbed my foe – then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust.

Arise, Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around you, while you sit enthroned over them on high.

Let the Lord judge the peoples. Vindicate me, Lord, according to my righteousness,

according to my integrity, O Most High. Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure – you, the one who probes minds and hearts.

My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, a God who displays his wrath every day. If he does not relent, he will sharpen his sword; he will bend and string his bow. He has prepared his deadly weapons; he makes ready his flaming arrows. Whoever is pregnant with evil conceives trouble and gives birth to disillusionment. Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made. The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads.

I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.

 

Proverbs 11: 7

For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.

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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.

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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 – Cape Kiwanda, Oregon Coast

Lori Alexander Dishes Out Heartless Advice to Wife Who Was Sexually Abused

Admin note: This post is not part of Kathi’s ongoing series reviewing Lori Alexander’s book, The Transformed Wife, but is a “special report,” if you will. The following was brought to our attention, and Kathi and I feel strongly that this kind of “counseling” needs to be addressed publicly. This advise can cause great harm to women emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It is cruel! Thank you, Kathi for putting this post together. ~Julie Anne


The Transformed Wife, Lori Alexander, Ken Alexander, Sexual Assault

-by Kathi

 

Previously we have discussed Lori Alexander’s damaging advice about depression and how her teachings may keep women in abusive marriages. As of this writing, Lori has over 27,000 followers on her Facebook page. Many of these new followers are giving Lori push back on her teachings. In response, Lori is deleting comments as fast as possible.

Lori recently wrote on her blog Rebellious Women Defraud Their Husbands and a young woman posted a comment on The Transformed Wife’s Facebook page. I watched in disgust as Lori and Ken offered heartless counsel to this woman.

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Claire indicates that she was sexually assaulted in her past and even though she is in a loving relationship, she is currently experiencing physical symptoms (vomiting, “body reacts”) when having sex. A quick glance at this suggests that this woman may be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. How does Lori suggest taking care of this problem? By listening to Michael Pearl’s teachings on Romans. Ugh.

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Ken then chimes in and offers very little comfort. Why is Ken commenting anyway? He needs to get off Lori’s “women’s only” blog and Facebook page and keep his comments to himself. He has no right giving women advice if Lori isn’t allowed to give men advice.

Ken starts off by letting Claire know that Lori really can’t help her because, “Lori’s brief post cannot address such rare cases.” So Claire’s “rare case” is of no concern except to continue to push their agenda (and Michael Pearl too). Ken also addresses Claire’s inability to physically enjoy sex by saying:

To have a relationship in marriage you must seek intimacy, and to seek intimacy requires vulnerability and trust. If you cannot learn to enjoy sex with your spouse you are defrauding him. One can give any number of excuses why they are justified in depriving a spouse, but such things are all self-centered and not loving towards their spouse.

He dares to say this to a woman who has experienced sexual trauma! He is telling Claire that she is making excuses for her inability to enjoy sex with her husband. Nice, Ken. By the way, Ken is a consultant to orthodontists and has no expertise in the area of trauma, so why does he think he has the right to counsel someone who is a victim of sexual assault? What he should be doing is offering to help her find sexual assault resources in her area so she can begin healing.

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Claire responds to Lori and Ken by saying she can “try harder.” My heart is breaking here for Claire and my mind is raging at Ken and Lori. Claire needs to seek professional help to deal with her trauma. “Trying harder” isn’t going to work if she hasn’t dealt with her past experiences.

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Then Josh (why is this dude chiming in on a women-only page?) has the gall to tell Claire that she should be able to differentiate between sex with her husband and her past sexual assaults. Which leads heartless Lori to state:

Claire (redacted) if you truly believed that you are dead and freed from you [sic] sin and your past and that you are now a new creature in Christ, you would have no problem being intimate with your husband.

“If you truly believed…you would have no problem.” Nice way to shame a victim of sexual assault, Lori. Lori truly does not care about helping other people. She only cares about pushing her agenda and hoping that one of her blog posts will go viral again.

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By the way, you won’t see any of these comments on The Transformed Wife’s Facebook page because she deleted the entire thread. Lori and Ken could have offered compassion and understanding and assistance and given resources in this woman’s area. They could have kept the thread up and offered hope to someone else who has experienced what this woman is going through. But this is Lori. If another woman’s issue doesn’t fit in a nice, neat, perfectly submissive package, Lori doesn’t know what to do with it except delete.

I will reiterate again what has been said on previous posts; if you are here reading from Lori Alexander’s page, please stop looking to her for advice. You will only find her standard answers to everything as she seems to lack the ability to think about another person’s unique situation.

If you are a victim of abuse and would like help in finding resources in your area, please send us an email noted in the contact section. If you feel comfortable commenting on the post, you will find kind and compassionate people here to support you. If you are not comfortable with reaching out to us but would like information on abuse resources, here are some good places to start:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

National Child Abuse Hotline: 800-422-4453

*Special thanks to Facebook page, Lori Alexander Undeleted for capturing a couple of the screenshots that I was not able to obtain.

Book Review Series – Lori Alexander’s “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Shhhh…Be Very, Very Quiet, Part 2

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 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

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Chapter 8 – Part 2 – Win Him Without a Word

Due to the length and so much wrong happening, this chapter is broken into two parts. In Part 1 we looked at how Lori teaches wives that they are to be silent partners when it comes to their husband’s transgressions in order to win them to the Lord. Lori insists that a wife in a difficult marriage should continue to remain faithful, follow her husband’s lead, and win him over through her actions of love and service.

To the wife whose husband has had an affair, Lori states:

Now, I know many of you may say that a woman with a husband who is an adulterer has clear biblical reasons to divorce him, but what God has joined together, let no man tear asunder. If we are told to forgive someone seventy times seven and love our enemies, how much more should we forgive a disobedient husband, even it is it’s his seventh transgression?

If a wife continues to stay in this marriage because she believes Lori offers a biblical view,  she will continue to be devastated by her husband’s lack of personal self-control, lack of respect toward her, and disregard toward their marriage. Wives should not feel compelled to remain in a marriage in which she is not being honored and respected.

Surely Lori offers hope to a woman in an abusive marriage.

Some will accuse me of condoning abuse since, in their minds, a wife’s desire for submission always leads to abuse. On the contrary, a woman who is kind and gentle to her husband, seeking to please him, will more than likely draw him to herself instead of making him angry enough to abuse her…It takes a lot of strength to be a woman like this, and it is a weak woman who gives into her emotions and is led astray by her feelings.

I need to pause for a moment and let you all know that Snarky Kathi has stepped aside to allow room for Angry Kathi to show up.

In proper Lori fashion, she places blame toward the woman. If a woman is not kind, gentle, and led astray by her feelings then her husband may become angry enough to abuse her. I am inclined to think that Lori truly believes that it is a woman’s fault if she is abused by her husband. See why I am angry? Does Lori even understand the dynamics behind abusive relationships?

God does not ask a wife to submit to abuse, but too often the word abuse is used so frivolously that it does a disservice to those women who are truly abused. It’s the degree or method of control that determines whether behavior is truly abusive or simply bad behavior.

Is Lori going to inform her readers of what she considers “truly abusive” behavior? Of course not. And, here’s the deal, Lori doesn’t get to define what is “truly abusive!” We have laws and guidelines set in place to determine abuse. I wonder which of these laws and guidelines Lori considers “frivolous.” I sure hope that a woman who goes to Lori for counseling does not let her determine if she is “truly abused.”

Lori states that if a woman has been kind and gentle and yet her husband is overbearing and abusive she should seek counsel from a pastor, counselor, or the police. That all looks good written down, but in the end, Lori is going to tell a woman who seeks police intervention that she will need to remain faithfully married to her abuser. There is absolutely no room for divorce. What good does it do for her to give this advice?

Someone recently started a new Facebook page called Lori Alexander Undeleted. Here is the info about the page: 

This page is dedicated to exposing the dangerous teachings and heartlessness of Lori Alexander.
Coming soon: screenshots of callous statements and deleted comments that are intended to show she is not being bullied and only deletes to prevent respectful discussion.

The following screenshot is a comment that was deleted from Lori Alexander’s The Transformed Wife Facebook page.

 

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A recently deleted comment on The Transformed Wife’s Facebook page and captured by Lori Alexander Undeleted. Content: “First, a suicide hotline number was deleted and now this…I’d say this proves Lori really doesn’t want to help anyone.”

 

If any of Lori’s readers are here, please don’t go to her for advice if you are experiencing emotional, physical, sexual, or spiritual abuse from your husbands. Abuse in any form is never frivolous and should be taken seriously. When you are able, go to the police and a professional counselor for help. If you need help locating resources in your area, send us a message: SpiritualSB@gmail.com. We are more than happy to help you and support you.

There is more to this chapter, but why move on? It is filled with quotes from Michael Pearl and others who comment on her blog. Again, Lori fills almost half a chapter with other people’s words. I think it is more important to highlight the fact that while Lori gives lip service to seeking help for abuse, she is not concerned about helping women get out of abusive relationships.

 

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233. This is a 24/7 free hotline to call for help if you are in an intimate partner violent relationship. Questions regarding how to support a victim of domestic violence are welcome as well. Phone services support over 200 languages.

photo credit: Brian Tomlinson Quiet via photopin (license)

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

Blog Series: Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery by Pastor Ken Garrett, Wk 3

Spiritual Abuse, Pastor Ken Garrett, Spiritual Abuse in the church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery


Okay, we’re back to our ongoing series on spiritual abuse using excerpts from Ken Garrett’s dissertation on spiritual abuse, Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery. We will use excerpts from Ken’s dissertation as a springboard for discussion.

Pastor Ken Garrett, Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery

Pastor Ken Garrett

In the Introduction, Ken offers helpful definitions. Here is Ken’s definition for cult:

Cult – While most of the terms and ideas that I introduce are simple and easy to grasp, it is apparent in the project that I struggle greatly with the term cult in describing a Christian church. I will better explain and seek resolution to the struggle in subsequent chapters. But for a basic, consistent definition of the word, cult denotes a small, religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous.

While ideology and doctrine always have a role in the health or dysfunction of any religious group, increasingly a group’s status as a cult is derived solely from its actual treatment of its members, and not from its creeds, beliefs, and theology.

I agree with Ken’s definition and note that the treatment of members is key. When I looked at my church, the stories I read about Sovereign Grace Ministries, Doug Phillip’s church (Boerne Christian Assembly), Doug Wilson’s Christ Church, this is the pattern that has been explained to me. The people adopt a culture created by the cult leader, aka pastor. Not only do they adopt this culture, but they cultivate it, endorse it, enforce it, even to the extent that sometimes the pastor/cult leader doesn’t have to do all of the talking. He has raised his faithful devotees to model his expectations. Since all members are “on board” with this culture, any new person who comes to the group and questions it will be the odd man out.

spiritual abuse, Ken Garrett, Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery

Pic by Ken Garrett, taken on recent trip in Europe.

It does not feel good to swim against the tide, so there is pressure to join the group in their way of doing things. Next thing you know, that new person has become one of them and will also spread this culture and group think to additional new members, forgetting that at one time, they, too, had once questioned aspects of it. Continue reading

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

John Piper, Sexy Stones and Political Stones? Help!!!

IMG_5856John Piper does it again. A recent tweet from John Piper has me scratching my head. I need an interpreter, please!

Blog Series: Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery by Pastor Ken Garrett, Wk 2

Spiritual Abuse, Pastor Ken Garrett, Spiritual Abuse in the church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery


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Pastor Ken Garrett, Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery

Pastor Ken Garrett

Ok, here we go, plowing through Pastor Ken Garret’s dissertation about spiritual abuse. I used the word plowing intentionally. For some of us, it will be work. It is not enjoyable to be reminded about difficult experiences. However, some push that pain under the rug and haven’t been able to process it in a safe environment. If you feel ready to do that, come along and join us. Even if you don’t feel ready, you can still read. And for those who have never experienced spiritual abuse, I’m grateful that you are reading, too. Having compassion and understanding is so important in helping someone who has gone through spiritual abuse.

Just an FYI, Ken has removed his dissertation from his blog because he plans to publish it into a book. Ken has graciously allowed us to continue using his original dissertation for this series. (Thanks, Ken!!!)

Well, let’s dig in. Here is the very meaty paragraph we will start with this week:

Abusive churches, past and present, are primarily characterized by strong, control-oriented leadership. These leaders use guilt, fear, and intimidation to manipulate members and keep them in line. Followers are led to think that there is no other church quite like theirs and that God has singled them out for special purposes.

Other, more traditional evangelical churches are put down. Subjective experience is emphasized and dissent is discouraged. Many areas of members’ lives are subject to scrutiny. Rules and legalism abound. People who do not follow the rules or who threaten exposure are often dealt with harshly.

Excommunication is common. For those who leave, the road back to normalcy is difficult, with seemingly few who understand the phenomena of spiritual abuse.

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

New Blog Series: Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery by Pastor Ken Garrett

Spiritual Abuse, Pastor Ken Garrett, Spiritual Abuse in the church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery


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As I was reading through Ken Garrett’s dissertation, I had to stop and soak up what I had just read. It took time to process and I felt like if I continued reading, I might miss something. It made me want to reflect on how his words matched my spiritually abusive experience.  Mind you, Ken and I have spent hours talking/texting about spiritual abuse, how it has affected us and others. So, his words were nothing new to me, but they made me stop and think. We both have a heart to take what we have learned to help others. It dawned on me that Ken’s dissertation might be great for a series here, so I asked him if this was something we could do here at SSB, and he graciously agreed. (I knew he would because that’s the Ken that I know.)

Pastor Ken Garrett, Spiritual Abuse, Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery

Pastor Ken Garrett – Somewhere in Italy on vacation recently after submitting his dissertation: Spiritual Abuse in the Church: A Guide to Recognition and Recovery, and earning his DMin.

So, my goal is to do a post once a week, using portions of Ken’s dissertation as the jumping off point. It was in reading blogs about spiritual abuse that I realized I was in a spiritually abusive church. Reading personal stories that mirrored my own story made me feel like I was not going crazy, that what I was experiencing was real, and it was harmful. Ken’s dissertation is perfect for this venue. He’s a spiritual abuse survivor, he’s studied spiritual abuse in an academic setting, and he’s also a pastor downtown Portland, Oregon.

If you know of someone who has been harmed in the church, please pass this post along. If you know of church leaders who could benefit from learning about spiritual abuse from someone who has done academic research and is a pastor, this might be good for them as well.

Spiritual abuse like other forms of abuse doesn’t just go away. It becomes part of who we are. Does it mean that we have to abandon our faith? No! But it might look different than it was. And we will discover that that is okay.

The goal of this series is to interact, to learn from each other, to support each other. We’re going to start off with the Prologue from the dissertation. If you want to read ahead, feel free to do so. You can find Ken’s dissertation here.

~Julie Anne


PROLOGUE: A HOUSE OF MIRRORS

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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

SSB Gathering – May 14, 2017

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

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-by Kathi

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12: 9-15)

Today’s Gathering is going to be different than the usual Sunday. Mother’s Day can have different meaning and significance to everyone. If you have a mother in which you have a healthy relationship with, love dearly, and who loves you back, we rejoice with you. If you are a mother and have healthy relationships with your children, whom you love dearly and they love you back, we rejoice with you. If you are a mother figure to incredible people in your life, we rejoice with you.

However, there may be some here in which Mother’s Day brings conflict and turmoil. Perhaps you have struggled to become a mother and it has shaken your faith and relationships with other Christians; we mourn with you. If you are an adult child who lost a mother and the grief is overwhelming today, we mourn with you. You may have an unhealthy relationship with your mother in which there was abuse or mental instability; we mourn with you. Maybe you had a good relationship with your mother, but your religious views and faith have changed which has changed your relationship; we mourn with you.

The following was written by my dear friend, Tracey. Tracey struggled with infertility and relating with women and families in the church. I think we can all agree that the church has placed motherhood on a high pedestal. Sometimes that pedestal is unreachable to women and that may cause added pain and grief to the reality of not being able to bear children. At the time that I met Tracey I was a church goer and can honestly say that I never once thought about how women who struggle with infertility felt in the church. She opened my eyes with her raw honesty and I am forever thankful for that gift.

Tracey has given me permission to share her words with you today. I hope that you find them helpful. No matter how you feel today, please know that we rejoice and mourn with you. Continue reading