Things I Think

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148 Responses

  1. Paige says:

    Thank you for the #10 comment. Timely for me this week. For some reason a “PTSD flare” is going on for me. Afraid of ‘surgeons’ and my ‘scars’ are bugggin’ me.

    Keepin’ my eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my/your faith.

  2. JoelG says:

    #6 is a hard teaching. As one who has been divorced and remarried, this teaching has caused much anxiety. How does one repent of remarrying? Get another divorce??

    I thank the Lord for my second wife, who is such a blessing to me and my kids. She has kept me from wandering off so many times. I also hope and pray my first wife returns to her Shepherd. I thank God for making blessings out of messes.

  3. JoelG says:

    Grace and Peace to you Paige. Amen

  4. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I taught on divorce and remarriage from Matt 5 a couple of weeks ago and I told the divorced remarried couples in the class that they were guilty of exactly what the passage stated – that there were no exceptions.

    But I also taught that it was not the unforgivable sin, and asked if they had asked their former spouses for forgiveness.

    Teaching on this topic is not difficult at all – as long as you have a spiritual backbone.

  5. Bob Sweat says:

    #1 – Good biscuits and gravy are difficult to find on the west coast.

    MLD – 🙂

  6. Michael says:

    Paige,

    I’m going through the same…a lot of anger and pain while dealing with folks with a lot of pain and anger.
    I’ve been reminded a lot of why I started this blog in the first place.
    I know I need to detox before I make a mess out of things…

  7. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Re; #; 4; 5
    Others of you need to call out those who call themselves evangelicals.

    I find them to be 100% failure and i don’t know why they still cling to the moniker.

  8. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    should be 3; 4; 5

  9. JoelG says:

    Thank you MLD

  10. Michael says:

    JoelG,

    Every divorce is different…my point is that we rail against threats to the family when we break ours up in the church all the time.

    I go back back to what I wrote yesterday…God speaks grace and peace to you and if you have sinned in this matter there is grace and forgiveness to move on with.

  11. Michael says:

    Bob,

    There’s a little country store that makes a mean batch near me…

  12. JoelG says:

    So true Michael, so true. Thank you. I pray Jesus continues to heal yours and others’ wounds. May the Great Physician heal your emotional and spiritual wounds. May He heal your broken heart. Grace and Peace to you Michael and all here on this blog.

  13. Dan from Georgia says:

    JoelG and MLD,

    I am husband to a wife who was previously married to an abuser and adulterer. Thanks for your comments and fellowship in this journey. I have come across in the past those who DO advocate divorce and returning to a first spouse, and you know what? Those that believe that are incapable of calling it divorce, but call it “giving up the adulterous marriage”. There is NO room for grace and forgiveness in their minds. Besides, I am my wife’s protector and I would never allow her former husband back into her life. And to others here that may believe this garbage, I will not engage you in debate, because your beliefs are not worth anyone’s time.

  14. Michael says:

    Dan,

    It’s an odd thing that happens whenever I speak of grace on the blog.
    As soon as I do, someone wants to counter it with a reminder of the law.
    We very much want Christ to forgive us, but we also want Him to take a chunk out of others before He forgives them.

  15. Dan from Georgia says:

    Re #3: So true. I work with one of these bible prophecy fan(atic)s, and it is truly tiring having to listen to over and over again “oh, look, there is an earthquake here or there” or “the U.S. just threw Israel under the bus…look out for God’s judgement…”

    Re #4: Again true dat! I have always felt that if I ever joined one of those mega-churches, that there would be NO place for me in leadership/ministry because, primarily, I don’t have a business degree or degree in ministry. What ever happened to having a pure and loving heart for the Lord?

    Re #5: Came across a blog last night from a progressive stating that there is need for missionaries for to bring the Gospel to those caught up in American Evangelicalism. Not sure if the author REALLY meant it, but I think he is on to something.

  16. Dan from Georgia says:

    Michael #14…true. I see this ALL THE TIME…people reminding others of the law. Classic line: “but we also want Him to take a chunk out of others..”. I love that!

  17. Michael says:

    Dan @ #15

    On my worst days I think we need missionaries to blow this thing up and start all over.
    This is one of those days…

  18. Josh The Baptist says:

    I don’t see much dealing with prophecy. Must be a Calvary Chapel thing.

    Biscuits and Gravy…GOOD biscuits and gravy grow on trees here is the south. It is our lifeblood.

    We have bible study every Sunday Night. Smaller crowd, for sure, but they are faithful. Now, only the real spiritual giants show up on Wednesday Night. (I rarely make it, and I’m on the payroll 🙂 )

    I am the king of nasty surgery scars, and I can’t wear a shirt to cover it. A ski mask, maybe.

  19. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Dan, it sounds as if your wife had a biblical sanctioned divorce. I don’t understand why it would come up and be questioned.

  20. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Dan,
    My name is MLD and I am a recovering evangelical. I have been in the 12 step program for close to 10 years now and have remained evangelical free. But I take it one day at a time. 😉

  21. Francisco Nunez says:

    In response to #2 and 6. Whether we want to admit it or not, divorce is essentially “a lawsuit” since it is a public complaint against a spouse to dissolve the covenant relationship made publicly before witnesses and before God.

    As Christians we are not immune to divorce however there is a difference between being served with divorce papers and being the party who files the dissolution of marriage complaint. May all of us who are despondent in our marriages and on the verge of putting our spouses away think twice and consider the consequences before proceeding with breaking Jesus’s heart.

    When we are unfaithful Christ doesn’t, hasn’t nor will He ever file a suit against his unfaithful bride …….nor will He ever put her away.

  22. JoelG says:

    Dan @13 – Hugs brother. Glad to have you as a companion on the journey.

    Francisco @21 – Amen

  23. Dan from Georgia says:

    MLD #19, it came up on a blog post on ChristianityToday.com in an article about divorce and grace. I think these individuals had no room in their beliefs for the so-called exception clause.

    MLD#20, although I am an evangelical, I seem to sometimes want to be a “former” evangelical.

    Thanks!

  24. Michael says:

    Good word, Francisco.

  25. Josh The Baptist says:

    Is “evangelical” another word for “boogy-man”?

  26. Xenia says:

    I love Evangelicals and I thank God for my 50 years among them. I thank them for:

    1. Teaching the core truths of Christianity
    2. Teaching me all the stories of the Bible, even the obscure ones
    3. Teaching me that God loves me and is on my side
    4. Teaching me that life is precious
    5. Providing me with one of the best friends a person could ever want
    5. Teaching me the value of going to church every week
    6. Teaching me respect for the Holy Scriptures
    7. Teaching me to be mindful of the truth that the Lord will return one day
    8. Teaching me that our relationship with Christ is the most important thing in our lives

    To all the evangelical pastors, Sunday school teachers, elders, deacons, church ladies, vacation Bible school teachers, nursery workers, ushers, musicians and all the rest, from the bottom of my heart I say THANK YOU for taking the time to teach me and care for me and my family.

    (I want to especially thank Pastor Globig who came to our house 45 years ago at 3 in the morning to sit with my family when my father unexpectedly died. And I want to thank Pastor Day who loaned us his car when we needed help. And Pastor Roger who baptized me in Lake Erie when it had barely thawed and did not drop me. And my CC pastor who let my kids stay at his house one weekend so I could go to a seminar.)

  27. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Is “evangelical” another word for “boogy-man”?”

    No, just the crazy uncle of Christianity 😉

  28. filbertz says:

    “Gravy” in NE Portland serves the best B&G I’ve had in the West besides, humbly speaking, our own cafe. Michael needs to make a sojourn to GP for some therapy…Paige welcome too.

    Love, grace, and mercy are the antidotes to lawsuits and legislation.

    Baal and Biblical prophesy…nice grouping. 😉

    Fantasy baseball is an oxymoron.

    I didn’t realize how dangerous my pulmonary embolisms two years ago were until Jerome Kersey died from them a couple weeks ago…scars are a more tangible reminder.

  29. Josh The Baptist says:

    Nice post Xenia.

    I’ve never considered myself evangelical, because it is such a slippery term. Around here it has come to mean “Stuff we don’t like”. That’s all fine, just seems unfair.

    For instance, I would assume you guys include SBC among Evangelicals, yet the SBC has an official ethics commission, but no “biblical prophecy commission”. If SBC is evangelical, it has to be the largest evangelical body, and it certainly puts more emphasis on Ethics than prophecy. More on evangelism than those two put together.

    So again, who are these evangelicals we speak of, and why do we hate them so?

  30. dswoager says:

    #4 is something that seemed like it was a problem when it was one or two people sharing stuff on facebook… then I got a twitter account… feel like I need a shower most days after trying to sift through some of that garbage.

  31. Kevin H says:

    So jumping off of thought #3 and some of the resulting discussion, a question pops in my head. I’ve seen/heard it a good bit over the last few years and now especially the last few days that Obama is going to bring judgment on our country for not supporting Israel. So leaving Obama out of it for the moment, my question is biblically, what obligation does the United States, or any country for that manner, have to support modern day Israel? A modern day Israel that has a secular government, and even if they had a religious government or theocracy of some sort, would still be rejecting God because they reject Jesus Christ. Do the verses in the OT that address this subject hold to this current manifestation of the nation of Israel in any manner whatsoever? Now I can anticipate the responses I would get from some here if they choose to chime in, but I’m still interested in any feedback/discussion.

  32. dswoager says:

    Michael, I have had a couple brief conversations with Matt B Redmond about baseball, and I’m fairly convinced that “not caring if you win” might be a healthy attitude in a league with him. Guy knows his stuff.

  33. Michael says:

    Kevin H,

    Excellent question and I hope we get a good conversation about it.

  34. Jtk says:

    I’m a fan of justice, and I stand up for victims ALL THE TIME.

    Where’s the best definition of “spiritual abuse” I can find?

    I’ve yet to see as many good definitions given relative to the charges made. And I KNOW it really does exist, so I ask.

  35. Jtk says:

    And can someone expound on #9. Or post a link.

    I’m clueless on this subject.

  36. Jtk says:

    Sorry, your FB post said “spiritual abuse” but #10 here just says “abuse.”

  37. Michael says:

    I’m on a conference call…I’ll try to offer some answers when I’m off.

  38. Jtk says:

    Miguelio,

    You know what refreshes me?

    Helping people in the local church, and those around me. I sense God’s presence in those times, and I’ve yet to find THOSE PEOPLE caring about statements of faith or end times matters, or the lay of the land in evangelicalism.

    And I know you care for the local people, so keep it up!

    I doubt many in the blogosphere will be at your funeral, but I know many you’ve connected with personally and ESPECIALLY those you’ve cared for locally will be. I’ll bet some kids from the skate park will be there too.

  39. mike says:

    4. “and He gave some to be CEO’s, some CFO’s, some public relations managers, and some secretaries to build the church corporation.” Hezekiah 4:1

    Priceless

  40. Francisco Nunez says:

    In resposne to #10. Good point.

    I’ve heard it said that although scars remind us of our past they don’t need to dictate our future.

  41. Kevin H says:

    So nobody wants to take a crack at my question at #31 so far. Chickens! I guess nobody wants to risk bringing God’s judgment. 🙂 Of course, I only ask because I’m not studied enough on the subject to give a confident answer myself.

  42. mike says:

    #6 on divorce
    I actually agree with John paper’s take on this one (yea.. weird huh?)
    #10 on scars
    Got em all over my soul. (Probably gave a few in my time too) 🙁
    Thankful for all of mine even though I’d rather not have gotten them “in the house of my friends” and family in Christ.
    Made me the cheery guy I am today 😉
    -mike

  43. Michael says:

    KevinH,

    The state is under no obligation to support any nation but our own biblically.

    The presuppositions are that our government is somehow “Christian” and that atheistic, secular Israel is still the apple of God’s eye.

    I don’t believe either.

    I believe there is still an eschatological role for Israel, but not as politically defined.

  44. JoelG says:

    Kevin I’m way over my head with this one, but I’ll give it a whack…. But wasn’t Israel “Israel” because of their faith in God? Isn’t the “Israel” of the New Covenant all who follow Jesus?

  45. Michael says:

    “Spiritual abuse is the mistreatment of a person who is in need of help, support or greater spiritual empowerment, with the result of weakening, undermining or decreasing that person’s spiritual empowerment.”
    “Spiritual abuse occurs when someone in a position of spiritual authority, the purpose of which is to ‘come underneath’ and serve, build, equip and make God’s people more free, misuses that authority placing themselves over God’s people to control, coerce or manipulate them for seemingly godly purposes which are really their own.”

    Jeff Van Vonderan

  46. Michael says:

    Jtk,

    The link between Luthers eschatology and his views on the Jews are pretty well documented.

    The best discussion is from Dr. Frank James in his lectures on church history from RTS that were available on iTunes.

  47. Jtk says:

    “Control, coerce or manipulate..for seemingly godly purposes which are really their own.”

    That helps. Thanks.

  48. filbertz says:

    a secular government, such as ours, would only support Israel out of political purposes. Our nation, with a handful of others, has been openly supportive of modern-day Israel since its (politically expedient) re-formation in 1948, so momentum is partly in play as well. I think what little sway evangelicals has had on political realities has largely been in exchange for financial contributions and the illusion of influence/relevance.

    …in my opinion (largely inflated and generally uninformed)

  49. filbertz says:

    “…evangelicals HAVE had…

    pluralverbalagreementfil

  50. Bob says:

    Joel

    “But wasn’t Israel “Israel” because of their faith in God? Isn’t the “Israel” of the New Covenant all who follow Jesus?”

    No.

    Israel was Israel (look up the meaning and the context by which Jacob received that name) because God chose and named him and his future descendants that.

    It is a family name as well as a nation of people. Today it s also a political name.

    Historically (it’s in the bible as well as historic texts) it is also the part of the nation of Jews who split away and decided to do their own thing. It is often called the “Northern Kingdom” and were prone to some nasty sacrifice stuff. We also see them referred to by some of the prophets as “Jacob,” a more worldly slant on them.

    The problem is Christians tend to only read Romans 9-11 and miss the rich history behind the identity (it is in other parts of the text) and think for some strange reason believe they are the true “Israel” and others aren’t.

    In my opinion Christians are those who receive the resurrected Messiah Jesus as Lord over all. They can be of Jewish ascent, but don’t have to be. The problem is the discussions eventually devolve to what part the Torah (first five books) play in the practice of Christians.

    Sadly people forget to read their bibles and see this issue was already solved by the first Christians (who were Jews) in Acts.

    Just follow Jesus and read what He told his followers and ignore the noise over who is “Israel” today.

    Blessings to you!

  51. RaptureReady says:

    I’ll ignore Bible prophecy after Iran blows Israel off the map — not before.

  52. Michael says:

    fil,

    Do you do biscuits and gravy all day long? 🙂

  53. papiaslogia says:

    It makes sense for America to support Israel from the perspective of their being a democatic state in the Middle East, as opposed to most of the other govts in tha area.

    Now if you personally want to support them for more reasons than that, have at it.

    If you choose to not support them, then you have to choose who you will support in that region, and why you would support another state.

  54. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “then you have to choose who you will support in that region, and why you would support another state.”

    Why support anyone over there? Let them work it out.

  55. papiaslogia says:

    MLD,

    As Dylan said, “You gotta serve somebody.”

    In terms of picking sides, you gotta pick one.

    You can’t be isolationist about everything except baseball…. 🙂

  56. filbertz says:

    eight to eleven six days a week & filbertz sightings on saturdays

  57. Kevin H says:

    Michael,

    @43 – the presupposition that our government is somehow “Christian”. Weren’t the commands given in the OT given in general to all persons/nations regardless if they were God-fearing or not? In that case if these commands are applicable to today’s Israel, it wouldn’t matter if a government was Christian or not, they would still be responsible to follow them.

    I guess at the very least, if one believes these commands are still applicable, they would expect a “Christian” government to follow them more so than a secular government.

  58. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Rapture Ready,
    “I’ll ignore Bible prophecy after Iran blows Israel off the map — not before.”

    How could Iran blow Israel off the map if it is God who put them back in the land for his “end times” purpose? Are you of little prophetic faith?

    Now, if Iran can get the upper hand on Israel, perhaps they are being used like Babylon or Assyria of long ago — why would you want the USA to interfere with God’s plan to expel them from the land once more?

    Which is it? 🙂

  59. filbertz says:

    If God ever smirks, it’s likely related to confident end-times prophetic interpretations.

  60. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    paps – “In terms of picking sides, you gotta pick one.”

    I am partial to supporting Peru.

    Hey Switzerland stays neutral – why can’t we?

  61. JoelG says:

    Bob @52…..Thanks for the info. I figured I was in way over my head with that one. Thanks for confirming it. 🙂

  62. RaptureReady says:

    “Do you do biscuits and gravy all day long?”

    What does that mean? It’s not even in my diet. 😀

  63. AA says:

    There is a local café that does great biscuits and gravy here in the Southland big city. And the chicken fried steak is excellent too! Unfortunately I noticed that it IHOP it’s 1900+ calories so this is probably in the neighborhood of 2500. I’ve decided that it’s in my best interest to just have the biscuits and gravy.

  64. papiaslogia says:

    “Hey Switzerland stays neutral – why can’t we?”

    Ouch – bad example.

    I wouldn’t call the Swiss Banks “neutral” when it came to Nazi gold…..

  65. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “I wouldn’t call the Swiss Banks “neutral” when it came to Nazi gold…..”

    Sure they are – they will take anyone’s gold … no questions asked.

    Scandinavian countries pretty much remain neutral … why not us(a)?

  66. Jim says:

    “You can’t be isolationist about everything except baseball”

    Big difference between isolationist and non-interventionist.

    George Washington’s Farewell Address: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp

    “The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave.”

  67. Linda Pappas says:

    Here’s a question relating to #6.

    If a woman has been married 4 times and divorced 3 times for the following reasons, who is her true husband:

    1) divorced due to having found her husband in bed with another on 2 occasions, then found a pregnancy test result of yet another women.

    2) beaten, tortured, and terrorized, while cheating on her with his ex-wife. He is dead due to suicide.

    3) husband found to be cocaine addict while claiming to know Jesus, yet practicing pornography, having sex with wife with wife no more than 5 times in a 10 year marriage, which also resulted in him kicking her our of their bedroom so that he could mastubate on a continual basis.

    4) She had applied and obtain divorce to all but the last marriage. She remains married, yet physically separated, due to his infidelity, taunting, terrorizing behaviors, including spiritual abuse, while he continues in the church, teaching and going on mission trips and calling her crazy. He applied for divorce but was denied due to his refusal to disclose his finances.

  68. Linda Pappas says:

    One other factor:

    Only husband # 2 had been married before. She divorced him due to extreme physical abuse and addiction issues. Second wife did not have a clue that he was an addict, nor had pistol whipped his former wife so badly that they had to fix her face. He was also part of the Mexico Mafia and had killed a person. None of the parties were Christians. Second wife married due to being pregnant and being told that if she did not marry him, her life would be in jeopardy. If she did marry him, the state could not make her testify against him. She, very young and very naïve—no drugs, alcohol, or any other involvement with this type of lifestyle. Just scared and pregnant.

  69. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t know the answer to the question, but I would have no problem saying that woman makes terrible decisions about men.

  70. Linda Pappas says:

    Let just say she is a trusting and loving soul who believes in the best of people. What she was initially led to believe turned out to be so much worse. As for the last spouse, he is very much involved with the church. Yet leads a double life, that only those gone before her have found out like her, he is not what his pastor and proxies think he is.

    Also, you might say regardless of being betrayed and abused, she never harbored any resentment towards men in general and believed that marriage was possible and a lifelong commitment. Thus, she married multiple times, perhaps projecting her own trustworthiness and goodness upon those who did not deserved it.

    One in every 4 women in the church, including the wives of pastors are being abused in similar and worse ways, along with or without their children.

  71. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Wrong choices 4 times???

  72. Babylon's Dread says:

    Linda

    I do not see the 4th marriage in the scenario above
    As for who is her husband
    She probably should cash in the marriage chips.

    Apparently she is married under the law and that is IT…

    Your vouching for her causes me to keep my counsel on any opinion

  73. Linda Pappas says:

    MLD

    I know it might seem easy for you to be so flippant towards this woman, while finding fault with her for believing each man (with the exception of husband #2) profession of love and commitment towards her. What I don’t think you realize though, MLD, is that all too often, this occurs, not because there is something wrong with the innocent spouse, but rather that there are people who will be attracted to others who are decent loving and God fearing, thus will take on an appearance of being like-minded, so that they will benefit from a one sided-faithful marriage. But when they are found out, they don’t want to repent, but would rather do much harm to the spouse to control them while persisting in their wretched way. So in this case, this woman chose to divorce them, yet she takes the risk of being ridiculed and told she has a bad picker, even though like those who happened to also turned out to have lasting marriages, also could have married likewise.
    Yet her marriage did not turn out so well, yet she went on with her life, being a wiser and more cautious.

    What I am trying to say is this: You really don’t know who you have married until you marry them. You do as much as depends upon you to do the best that you can to worked through the issues that come out of the closet, but if is not your closet and that person does not want to repent and get right with their spouse, there is a darn thing a person can do about it except to stand in the gap on their knees asking the Holy Spirit for guidance and speaking the truth in love while taking care to keep one self safe from harm’s way while and seek out other godly counsel to help you work through the decisions that are on your plate to make concerning the marriage and all that is related and involved concerning it. It does not help at all when people respond like you did, MLD. Particularly when you had just shared that you recently taught on the topic in your church.

    BD

    In the 4th marriage, there is no divorce or legal separation. As far as I know, scripture does not say it is automatic that a person is divorce due to one’s adulterous and abusive behaviors. It does say that if one’s spouse is such, then divorce is permitted, but not mandated. This woman is totally able to forgive and reconcile with this husband, but only if and when he repents and proves to her he will no longer be unfaithful and abusive towards her and her marriage.

    By the way, this scenario is quite common among those in the church. Maybe not having to do with 4 marriages, but nevertheless having to do with more than 1 or even 2 marriages on the part of the male or the female. The thread was speaking of adultery, abuse, divorce, and remarriage, so I thought I would ask the question: who is this woman’s husband in the eyes of the Lord? Not if she is entitled to divorce her last husband, as she has no interest in doing this.

  74. Paul A. Lytton says:

    Linda,

    you asked, “…who is this woman’s husband in the eyes of the Lord?

    Where the Bible states that a woman is to be submissive to her husband, it also says that the man is to guide the woman in spiritualism and to treat her respectively (of course I am paraphrasing). In my opinion God would not consider any of them, that do not follow this in full and honestly, as being her “husband” whether they obtained a humanistic legal paper certificate or not.

  75. Linda,
    I can’t address individuals and their circumstances, but let’ be honest – this woman is attracted to the bad boys.
    In my best Dr. Laura voice I would say this woman has issues with her father and brings around the bad boys to say “in your face.”

    I know when my daughter was a teen, and her and I would do family battle, her choice of boyfriends went in the toilet. I learned not to say anything to her about her choices because I didn’t want her to marry one of the stinkers just to tell me “in your face dad.”

    My son on the other hand had trouble getting dates in high school because he was all the girls best friends and would cry on his shoulder about their bad boy boyfriends.

    Whoever all these people are, I hope none of them breed as this seems to be a microcosm of this broken world.

    And I would agree with Paul L – none are thi woman’s husband in the eyes of the Lord – I think he would vomit before he would bless such unions. .

  76. Em says:

    one thing is glaringly clear regarding the serial used and abused women – they don’t know their value to their Creator or His design… so much has been lost in the last half century’s attempt to rid the Western World of the “puritanical values” of our forefathers …. and mothers (foremothers?)

    or so it seems to me

  77. sisterchristian says:

    Two topics that hit hard today

    Scars from leaders in the church and divorce…

    Double whammy…

    Two institutions that should be the most caring, protective places, the church and marriage… For some it just ain’t so …

  78. Linda Pappas says:

    Em

    Not so, this woman clearly knows the value that the Lord places upon her and the keeping of her soul and heart. Could be she loved much, yet was loved little by those who she placed much value on upon as well.

    Unfortunately, like sisterschristian alluded, no so within the church and those who trade between them brothers and sisters in the Lord.

  79. Linda Pappas says:

    You are funny, MLD

    The first two marriages took place prior to this woman becoming a Christian. Yet, every marriage between a man and a woman is recognized by God.

    The second two marriages were after she became a Christian, with each man presenting themselves as being quite sincere in their conversion, commitment, and faith in the Lord. Each ceremony was a full on engagement period with many brothers and sisters interweaved and involved in the respective social circles and interactions. Each marital ceremony was blessed and officiated by a Sr. Pastor, one having gone to seminary, and both required pre-marital counseling beforehand.

    Why on earth would this woman think for a second that either marriage would turn out to be in a very short time, adulterous and abusive when there was not one clue to indicate otherwise before it took place. Nevertheless, in the eyes of the Lord–each was as much marriage with covenant vows made before the Him and those who attended.

  80. Linda Pappas says:

    MLD

    Appreciated the link you posted.

    One thing though—these triggers can only be triggers if it is already in the heart to do. So not only do these triggers need to be avoided, the heart must be changed so that the attitude, belief, and value place upon these triggers will not have such a stronghold upon the person being tempted.

    These guy talked about movies, literature, the arts and certain environment, including not be alone. They did not mentioned that these triggers are found in the church and it doesn’t really matter if a woman is or is not clothed modestly, nor does it matter if she is someone’s wife or girlfriend. They are all the same—-something to get a hit of pleasure and to have, if they can get them to go “there” with them, either indirectly in their imagination, or by a moment of flirtation, or more directly, up front and personal, emotionally, psychologically, and or physically.

    It is the person being betrayed that carries the stigma with well meaning people who tells them to move on, but if she does, then she is told that she is the one who fell short in some way, rather than to supporting her in doing all that is possible to hold this person to an account so that healing and reconciliation may take place or if she decides to do so obtain a divorce and if so blessed be able to marry again, in the Lord, of course.

    And so, I posed the situation regarding this one woman who had married 4 times.

  81. Linda Pappas says:

    BD

    My apology: the fourth marriage is listed in #4, after divorcing her 3rd husband.

  82. Linda Pappas says:

    Here are more factors:

    Marriages:

    # 1 She was 19 years old. The marriage lasted 2 years.
    # 2 She was 26 years old. The marriage lasted 4 years.
    # 3 She was 36 years old. The marriage lasted 10 years.
    # 4 She was 50 years old. She is now 63 years old. She remains biblically and legally married to this husband, although he walks about as though she is not his wife.

    She rarely dated in between and never was for a moment unfaithful, always holding down a job, volunteering in the community, and looking after the needs of her husband and the household.

  83. Linda,
    It’s odd that you have not once made a move towards the fact that perhaps this woman may be the toxic party. you don’t find it at all odd that we are not just speaking of her having had 4 bad relationships in her life but has has 4 absolutely tragic marriages.

    I don’t blame her for the abuses that occurred, but perhaps at least for putting herself in those situations. I cannot believe that she does not sit back in retrospect and think “I should have noticed this” or “this was a common thread in all 4 marriages that should have warned me.”

    As I said, I may be limited in this area to just my life and years of listening to Dr. Laura … but I have a hunch I am correct on this.

  84. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    3 seems like an observation about futurist/dispensationalist interpreters of apocalyptic literature. Once I figured out (about 20 years ago) I was under no obligation in terms of scriptural interpretation to hold to a futurist/dispensationalist view I shifted views quickly.

    for 6, it’s often seemed to me in the last seven years that if Christian straights were honest with themselves about how and why they got married in the first place it’d be tough to make the case they got married for reasons any different than the reasons gays want to be married. Romance seems to be the ultimate consumer experience to purchase in this culture.

  85. Linda Pappas says:

    And to convoluted these factors as some may do:

    #1 husband became a Jehovah Witness, and married the girl he fathered a child during his high school years. No prior marriage. .

    #2 husband remarried, then later committed suicide. But before he did, he apologized to this woman for the harm he did to her. The evening of hanging himself, he made one phone call. He was crying and could not get the words out he wanted to say. This woman believes that when he had apologize he also stated that she was the only person he ever trusted, as all she ever wanted him to do is to repent and to know the love of the Lord as she did. And this is all she ever talked to him about as a friend to him, regardless of what he had done to her. He left 5 children, between 4 mothers. One prior marriage before and one marriage afterwards.

    #3 husband remains unmarried but living with a woman for 20# years, both being alcoholics and probable cocaine use.. No children. No prior marriages.

    # 4 husband: may have committed bigamy and fathered a child. At minimum have been involved with a number a women (concurrently and consecutively) at varying levels. No prior marriages. Cohabited with 5 women prior to becoming a Christian and this marriage.

  86. Babylon's Dread says:

    Linda,

    What you have done is chronicle the human suffering that could have been avoided had remarriage be forbidden to these people.

    It is a pretty convincing case…

    I might add gays are harping on remarriage as a foundation for their folly

  87. Linda Pappas says:

    MLD,

    As you know my experience and expertise in dealing with these issues goes far beyond Dr. Laura.

    I can quite confidently say that this women did ask herself these questions and at times held herself as being the common denominator towards the toxicity of each relationship. That is, until she came to understand what Narcissism, Sociopath, Psychopath (Anti Social Disordered) is and how it manifest itself, whereas, even the expert will have difficulty in identifying them. In this, she also learned that she was a victim who through no fault whatsoever, was taken in not because of anything she did or did not do, but because of the good qualities that she did possessed and that each wanted as they knew she would do them no harm except to tell them what they were doing was wrong. She thinking that love conquers all simply was not aware of the secret and unrepentant lifestyle each had been practicing when she wasn’t looking. In the last two marriages, not even those who were each husband’s friends knew, nor did their family know. Much to not knowing what to look for or having minimized it, being involved to one degree or another themselves. As for her, she asked the questions and spent time to observe, but nothing ever raised the red flags that would indicate they were anything other than what they had also portrayed to the body of Christ.

    It only takes one toxic person to turn a whole system upside down.

    But this still does not answer my initial question: Biblically speaking, who is this woman’s husband.

    Dr. Laura has little experience in the field of domestic violence, PTSD, addiction, including sexual addiction, in the trenches so to speak. She is a radio personality and in this, I would suggest you assess those experts whose expertise is in these areas, having years of experience of working with victims and perpetrators alike. Lundy Bancroft, who wrote: “Why Does He Do That?” is an excellent place to start as it speaks directly to those victimized, as well as, pastors, friends who are well-meaning, and other persons who would like to support the victim in their recovery and healing processes.

  88. Linda Pappas says:

    BD

    For the adulterer/abuser, yes, but for the innocent spouse—they are free to remarry.

  89. Linda Pappas says:

    BD

    Not only that, it is as true as it gets.

    Forbidding divorce is not going to stop a person who has set their mind and heart on those things that serve to abuse and betray their spouse, but very much feeds into their fleshly desire and need for control, and affirmation/adoration..They will just move on to the next one and repeat what they have already done. They become a little smarter and more sophisticated, simply because “they can,” since its obvious no one in the church will hold them to an account or love them enough to say to them, no we will stand with the person you have betrayed and harm while facilitating a process that will protect her while you are working on those issues that caused you to think so little of her to perpetrate such things while lying to us, as well as, to others, and grieving the Holy Spirit all at the same time. If she takes you back, it will be on her terms and when she feel safe and able to trust you–not when you say but when she knows without a doubt that your heart have been changed, that you truly have repented and that you also have vindicated her and her character in that what you said and did that led others to believe that she was the blame in any way for what you solely decided to do without any concern for any other but what pleased and cater to your own selfish and ungodly agenda alone. But until you do, know this–not even if she divorces you, are you free to marry another.

    .

  90. Babylon's Dread says:

    Linda,

    Practically speaking you make a poor case for this woman’s remarriage… her poor marriages affect far more than herself and after a while her innocence is not so convincing.

    Scripturally, you attempt no case at all and Jesus seems to forbid innocent parties from remarriage at times… of course we have outsmarted him.

    I really was just throwing in a sad reality when I commented… think of all the lives that could have been less negatively impacted had she just deferred. Her ‘innocence’ is costly to many

  91. Linda,
    I was joking about the Dr Laura stuff.

    Let me ask you this. why is it that 999 out of a 1,000 women can walk away from the ‘Narcissism, Sociopath, Psychopath’ (as you put it) person and see them for what they are, but your friend rushed to them head first 4 times?

    I do not understand why you, supposedly a trained professional cannot see that this person has no relationship skills and is ultimately doomed to continual failure without some very intense retraining.

  92. Em says:

    simply put, it isn’t the woman in Linda’s posts – don’t want to go back up to sort out the scenario as described in detail, but the first skunk that crawled out of the woodpile and into the church fellowship should have been “defrocked” and run out on a rail and that should have been the end of it (i’m assuming an impenitent attitude) – repentance? yes, but the onus is on the Church to promote holiness
    Linda’s dear woman, as described, has problems, yes and i stand by my observation that she is an example of today’s distorted view of what it is to be female. She may know in her head and respond in her heart to her value to God, but the fact of it isn’t internalized to the degree that it overcomes the drive to be affirmed by a man… more the rule than the exception and i don’t know the answer… just pontificating …. again
    hope this makes some kind of sense, to tired to reread
    God keep

  93. Linda Pappas says:

    BD

    Hmmm, interesting that you would say this.

    So based upon the assumption that because she was abused and betrayed, she did not have the right and the wherewithal to avoid being abused again in another marriage? Is there an assumption also that since she was abused and betrayed that she would never be able or fit to marry again.

    Or would you have her stayed with any one of these husband which in turn would most likely ended up in her being more severely harmed and even murdered?

    Like I stated in another comment: Just because a person leaves a marriage with biblical cause, this does not mean they cannot marry again.

    Where in the Bible does it say that a person cannot marry again if they have biblical cause to put away their spouse for adultery and or abuse?

    Please consider this: The woman is not damaged goods. She is a woman who loved a man who betrayed and abused her. It was nothing that she did. It was something done to her. Her next husband has no right to use this as an excuse to treat her in the same manner, nor does it justify anyone saying that because she had been betrayed and or abused, that she cannot hope to marry someone who would love and respect her.

    When did Jesus ever forbid the innocent party from remarriage. And when in any place in the Bible does it ever say that the sins of another belongs to an innocent party. Doesn’t the scripture say instead that for those who enables, covers up, or protect the wrong doer will have their bloods on their hands instead.

    Why would you or anyone else use the misdeed of each husband be used against her when it is they that chose to betray their vows by being unfaithful and abusive towards her. But if she had stayed and subjected herself to worse–then it is her fault for having done this as well. Yet, when she has had multiple marriages to men who are abusive and unfaithful over and over again, it somehow turns out to be her fault that she married them and could not safely remain in the marriage, therefore, she should not desire or give or consent to her hand in marriage again?

    I disagree with the assumptions that you have been premised upon the fact that she has been married multiple times. Even though, she had biblical grounds and even though she did everything humanly possible to avoid these divorces, she did divorce them given the biblical grounds that each husband provided. Having learned from the abuse and betrayals of these prior marriages, she married one more time and yet given all the factors presented regarding her current husband, she unknowingly entered into a marriage with yet another abuser and adulteress person. Yet, she still took a different course than permitting him to bully her into yet another divorce. That is to go about staying in the marriage while remaining safe while her husband chooses to run amok.

    Yet you would say that she thinks, she has outsmarted the Lord instead.

    I would say that she has walked quite closely with Him and in this mind how you judge her and determine if she is free to be married or choose not to divorce given what scripture has declared.

  94. Linda Pappas says:

    Em

    Agree with you, this can and is the case for many of a woman, however, in this case, it was not.

    This woman fought within herself to not repeat history. After her second marriage in particular she matured greatly and did not put her sense of value contingent upon another person, particularly a man. It didn’t stop the abuse being perpetrated by the next two husband, however. In the old clinical school of thoughts there is this belief that somehow a person will attract abusive and adulteress partners. What is now known is this. When it comes to addiction of pathology, it doesn’t matter how healthy another person may be, if they are targeted or being used to further the agenda of an addict or pathological person, nothing will stop them from doing so. Unless that person clearly understands addiction and pathology and what to look for in the process of being targeted.

    For a healthy person who has been seduced then set up to take a fall ( for eventually, sooner or later, when the validation/devaluation), she will eventually call the person out in such a manner that will hopefully prove to her that he is willing to changed his modus of operation, but if he does not, she will set the wheels in motion to set into place the boundaries that she needs to have to protect and to defend herself. For a woman that is a Christian, unless the church is there to assist her–her world is turn entirely upside down and her faith is more than severely tested on all sides.

    For those women who are more vulnerable and less informed or educated, PTSD and health problem are pretty much a given. Much which could have been defused had the church come along side of her being educated and far better informed about abuse and the betrayals that leads it on while making her appear as though something is wrong with her instead. Without this, the woman is on her own to do what she can to stay safe while standing in her faith not compromising nor negotiating anything that would lead her back into continuous abuse and betrayal be the husband that needs to repent and do some much more than to just say, “I’m sorry.”

  95. sisterchristian says:

    Linda Pappas-

    Question regarding this woman , or other believing women like her who have been profoundly and completely duped by sociopathic men in the church …

    Women who have married, men who held position, swooned leadership, friends and aquaintances in the church into thinking they are the ideal “Christian”… Only to find out later the completely duplucitous and insidious mess … Difficult enough to believe that man skirts any rebuke from the churchleadership , and the primary blame is heaped upon the wife as the problem ( she is deficient is some arena)

    Does she wonder; why did God allow this? And what would your response be to her…

  96. sisterchristian says:

    Clarification:
    When I refer to sociopathic men in the church- I am referring specifically to certifiably … Also known as social predators, or social psychopaths,
    Which I haven’t seen any references as to how many might possibly be in the ranks of the church, however in the general population are estimated to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 4%

  97. Linda Pappas says:

    MLD

    “Let me ask you this. why is it that 999 out of a 1,000 women can walk away from the ‘Narcissism, Sociopath, Psychopath’ (as you put it) person and see them for what they are, but your friend rushed to them head first 4 times?

    I do not understand why you, supposedly a trained professional cannot see that this person has no relationship skills and is ultimately doomed to continual failure without some very intense retraining.”

    Well, actually this woman which I speak did not rush as you phrased it, “head first,” at any time.

    If she had these types would probably have run from her—LOL.

    Also, it is not true as you say, ” 999 out of a 1,000 women.”

    If you are speaking of the woman having “no relationship skills,” you are in great error.
    If you are speaking of the man who may be narcissistic at his core, of not having any relationship skills you are in error as well.

    Both have relationship skills, but each for different reasons.
    One is genuine and sincere able to empathized with others, able to and concerned with how there words, actions, thoughts, and behavior have upon another, particularly in their own household, church, and community.

    One lacks empathy, but is quite able to give an appearance of being genuine and having empathy, but care only as far as it impacts them and their ability to maintain control of others while getting their “fixes” and while keeping anyone from exposing them.

    One seeks to build a relationship, but the other only want what is referred to as a source for narcissistic supply.

    As mentioned in the above, even the expert has difficulty identifying these and most of the time is only able to when the person is not controlling the communication. That is, the clinician has had either first hand experience or is able to break through the wall of silence constructed quite cleverly by the duplicity practice by this person to keep that wall intact and from being broken down and exposed.

    Concerning this woman’s husband. All betrayed and abused to one degree or another, but not all were Narcissist, nor were all Sociopath, Psychopath, or given to the same drug of choice or its alternate choice or medicating oneself. Nevertheless, this woman had to come to understand what was her part and what was not. As it turned out, her part was simply either being initially naïve and gullible or like most people including the expert not understanding that people will game you and then make themselves out to be the victim instead, while you are still trying to wrap your head around of what appear to be as real as Jesus and the salvation that is wrought by the blood He shed upon the Cross, but in truth only mimicked that which was a reflection of the person who was the true victim all along.

    MLD, there a lot being done on enabling lay people like yourself to enable you to understand how it is that the old school way of thinking about abuse and betrayal no longer suffice any more than thinking that if one spouse betrayed and abused with the other spouse, marital or couple counseling will be effective. In fact, it only serves and sets up the abused spouse to be traumatized, re-victimized, while placing her most likely in a situation that will bring about irreparable harm. That is, because these issues are not a marital issue at all, although it does impact the marriage and does harm to the other spouse. it is an individual issue that existed long before getting married and will continue on unless they do the hard and difficult work that would enable them to truly ready and equipped them to honestly and genuinely be reconciled to the wife they have harmed, embarrassed, humiliated, slander, and made out to be so much less in the eyes of others, as well as, in his own heart and mind.

  98. Linda Pappas says:

    Sisterchristian

    Good point.

    As for the percentage. this fluctuates between 4-10 per cent. At the same time, we now know that this percentage is difficult to determine as these types do not voluntarily seek out clinical intervention. And the sociopath that do are those who are under some type of community supervision or in custody or are incarcerated, thus also determining these percentage. The problem is, we know now that sociopaths and psychopaths are just two side of a coin called Antisocial and that at there core, the are NPD, as well. Which means that the psychopath are far less impulsive, more sophisticated, cunning, and yet as emotionally immature, unattached, and lacking empathy as much as their counterparts, but are not numbered in this 4-10 percent, simply because they are not in therapy, nor are they usually found under mandated supervision. From what I have researched, the numbers are actually as high as 1-28 persons, which may not seem much to others, but to those who know what they do and why they do it, just one can easily run circles around people, especially those who think they can’t be fooled or think they are a good judge of other people. It always but always amuses me when I hear someone say, “but he always was so nice and did this or that.”

    We also know that certain environments is prime for these types to enter in and to thrive.

  99. Linda Pappas says:

    Sisterchristian.

    #98 Excellent observation and question.

    However, I’m noticing that I’m making a lot of typs and errors in grammar, and looking at the time, seeing that it is quite late and no wonder.

    Will get back to you on this, hopefully by tomorrow. Hoping this is okay with you.

  100. Linda Pappas says:

    Do you know anyone like this:

  101. Linda Pappas says:

    Difference between the Psychopath and Sociopath

    Please remember the victim may be behaving in such a way that makes them appear as though they are mentally ill. However, given the type of abusive behavior being exacted upon them, they are behaving quite normally and to behave any other way in the face of very real danger, would indicate this person is either in shock or in fear that those that can be very helpful in enabling them to expose the perpetrator while remaining safe, will or have already been convinced by the perpetrator that she is crazy or mentally ill, therefore, she must guard against being victimized again for fear of further loss of her children, home, job, and reputation. In other words, the victim has learned from prior experience that she cannot rely upon anyone to “get it,” due to him already taken over her friends, their friends, and those who could help her to expose him.

  102. Linda Pappas says:
  103. Linda Pappas says:

    Whoops, Sorry

    Psychopath in the family:

  104. Linda Pappas says:

    The victim is conditioned to blunt their own emotions in order to survive. In turn, these emotions may manifest in PTSD and physical or medical conditions. They are not finding out that the thyroid literally shuts down, the women develops hypertension and a heart condition called cardiomyopathy which is known as broken heart syndrome. Cardiomyopathy will result in a heart attack if not accurately diagnosed and the patient does what she can to get rid of as many stressors as possible, often times having to leave her church, her community, her profession, and anything else that might trigger a panic response, such as not having contact with friends and family for fear she will be victimized again simply due to the lack of understanding towards what has happened to her and her need to feel safe, loved, and supported, instead of being blamed, fault, or told to just move on. Note: when the thyroid is affected, the person has a sudden extreme weight gain, and may experience extreme edema, dry skin, and loss of hair, lack of energy and ability to focus and to concentrate. When she understands what has happened to her, she even if others would like her to “move on,” understands she has to be her best friend and advocate in establishing the safest and firmest foundation that she can while never forgetting that it was not her fault what was done to her, but it will be up to her to do what she can to claim back what was taken from her—herself and her identity.

  105. Linda Pappas says:

    Narcissism:

  106. Linda Pappas says:

    Darn—trying this again.

    On Narcissism (which is the core of the Cluster B Personality Disordered). Also, it is not unusual at all to see the “N” while not seeing the more destructive parts of the Sociopath or Psychopath of the Antisocial Personality Disorder Spectrum during one interaction). But the victim sees it all—and have great difficulty trying to share with others what has taken place simply because normal people want to make sense of it by placing their own meanings upon these events and behavior being acted out on their victim. Thus, the victim is never quite understood nor is she helped in being able to protect herself and to enable her to remain safe.) It is by education that others will be able to help those victimized while being able know that no person victimized in such a way can possibly make up the things that she so earnestly tries to share.

  107. Linda Pappas says:

    By the way, birds of a feather do flock together and then feed up and recruit others to be their proxies. Here’s the video on this:

  108. Linda Pappas says:
  109. Linda Pappas says:

    Okay, I give up:

    Just go to: Narcissists – Full documentary – Youtube

    Victims spend much of their recovery time trying to figure out what was real and what was not real. When others also doubt what she is saying, it only adds to the struggle or sorting things out and regaining the confidence that he stole from her.

  110. Babylon's Dread says:

    Linda,

    Actually I am very liberal in my remarriage policy and practice. I hardly ever parse out all the reasons and so forth. I deal with the person in front of me.

    As for your example. I was yammering at you. I will admit this both the woman you cite and you are indefatigable in your efforts.

  111. sisterchristian says:

    Linda,
    Very appreciative of your comments
    Especially regarding the consequential PTSD and health issues women victims experience as a result of being married to such individuals …

  112. Linda Pappas says:

    For the victim, their world of peace, security, safety, and trust has been turned upside down long before they get a clue to what this person has been doing behind their back in terms of undermining them and discrediting them. Then it gets really crazy as what they are really guilty of doing has now been attributed to the real victim and they, the perpetrator has now taken on a persona that is really you, while you become more and more distraught and behaving quite normally in light of being so severely gas lighted and having the truth and reality totally discounted including your very existence. So as the victim attempts to climb out of this dark hole they have been cast into, they are also attempting find a safe harbor to process through the trauma while re-establishing or defending their reputation and all that they hold near and dear to their hearts. For those who hear from the real victims, the well has already been poison, thus when the victim gathers enough courage to break the silence of abuse to share with others what has happened to her, the abuser/adulteress will have already beaten her to the punch, as he knows what he has done but have put a spin on the truth of his transgression by leveling the playing field and by telling others that she might accuse him or this or that, but in “fact,” it is her that is off the charts and all he wants to do is to avoid further harm and injury that she has done to him. The victim ends up being ignored, dismissed, discounted, and left even more victimized as she believed that her friends, family, and pastor would come to her aid once she would be able to tell them about what had taken place and how it had impacted the marriage and her personally.

    http://psychopathvictims.com/psychopath/psychopathic-character-assassination

    So many victim just back off and wait until he trips up and someone else in that protective insulated circle he has created finally realizes that he or she has been exploited, manipulated, duped, and played and have rock solid evidence that they can produced to expose this person for who he truly is. Unfortunately, due to what is referred to as “cognitive dissonance, it takes a long time for people to admit that they have been duped and used to enable and protect this person from being held to an account regarding the abuse and adulteress behavior that was reported by the wife, whom they had been led to believe was unstable and out to cause distress and harm to this perpetrator.

    And this is why it is so difficult to ever trust again a pastor and those who stood by not lifting a finger to help her to do the right and God honoring thing to enable her husband to come to terms with what he had perpetrated far beyond the adulteress behavior. Like Christiansister stated in her comment #60: “Two institutions that should be the most caring, protective places, the church and marriage… For some it just ain’t so …

    His proxies only sees the person he wants them to see, but the victim sees it all. And once you have looked evil directly in the face and the church fails you at the same time, the world becomes very different and your faith in God is severely tested and all that you learned and was encourage to believe becomes that which more emulates that of what the perpetrator has proven to you, rather than that which you had once firmly believed upon. Has nothing to do with the level of your faith in the Lord or your trust in Him. What happens is you become more isolated and not so willing to join in or become a part of a faith community knowing only too well, that if you should share or if you should get to close or invested, unless you go along to get along—–regardless of your eyes now being wide opened and seeing similar things being perpetrated and seeing the eyes of other wives who are silently enduring abuse and their husband’s adulteress behavior, you then are forced to make a choice to either ignore it or call it out for what it is, or just leave altogether knowing full well that these things are not being appropriately addressed and that being so, there is much hypocrisy and leaven in the church while the women are actually being subjugated instead.

  113. Linda Pappas says:

    My question remains on the table. 🙂

  114. Linda Pappas says:

    BD

    A huge smile to you, Sir.

  115. Linda Pappas says:

    The videos I linked initially posted, but are not doing so now. So, I do apologize for any frustration anyone might experience do to this.

    If you play the first, the others will automatically follow afterwards. If I remember correctly, there are three more and in the posts, I have named what the topic was.

    This is a serious topic that needs to be addressed and understood, I, for one appreciate the tone overall of not having to read through responses that belittles or excuses such behavior that have done so much harm to those who have been abused and betrayed by those claiming to know the Lord.

  116. JoelG says:

    Linda your friend may have a hard time finding a loving husband but she chooses good friends. Your care and concern for this woman is awesome and needed. God bless you and her.

  117. sisterchristian says:

    Linda,
    Sadly due to experience, I can attest so much of what you have written underscores and identifies exactly what happens …. It’s an absolutely horrific nightmare of convolution at diabolical levels.

    Not only does it turn ones world upside down,..as in the case of those going through such experience who are very involved in ministry ….it’s as if ALL the walls of an untempered glass house have been completely demolished… Dangerous shards razor sharp debris are left everywhere… Afraid to step out, afraid to speak up., as others have been convinced the damage was self inflicted….

    Just today,
    I made a new attempt at attending a ladies study, at a new church…
    Huge step for me…

    But to be honest, it’s tremendously difficult to introduce myself,
    I feel So ill equipped to answer when kind people ask questions about my family, children…

    There is a gaping void
    Catastrophic loss and complexities that either cannot or should not be addressed…

    While I was blessed by the study of Gods word, I find it far easier to walk in late, and leave as soon as possible to avoid – what should be normal “get to know one another conversation”-

  118. sisterchristian says:

    Serious topic indeed! Wish I could copy and paste to more readily comment on some of finer points in this matter…

    However, will deal with the generalities…

    When one has indeed looked upon evil full face and the church fails to be there for support and encouragement …
    I’m hopeful that’s it’s more out of either being duped themselves by the charming social predator, or lack of understanding/ realization that such offenders exist…

    And correct me if I’m wrong Linda,
    But it’s my understanding that telling a woman who is in the throes of such a polite predator… To be more kind, loving, meek, gentle, quiet in spirit…
    To be even more of a prayerful servant to this spouse only serves to feed the ( forgive my expression – as I fail to find words here) monster ego and causes him to be even more bold in his private abuses….

  119. Michael says:

    sisterchristian,

    I don’t think it’s because they’re duped or because they don’t see the issue.

    I think it’s because the good old boys clubs cover each others asses.
    That’s what I think…

  120. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I guess I would ask the question – once they know, why do women continue to go to churches who are, let’s just say less than affirming to women?

  121. sisterchristian says:

    Michael-

    That’s more likely the reality…

  122. sisterchristian says:

    MLD
    Once they know- unfortunately tremendous amounts of damage –
    Has already been done…

    Once they know- one HAS to leave in order for self preservation … What’s little left of it

  123. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Sister, the reason I asked was I was wondering what type of church you aligned with for the new Bible study, where you felt you would be judged or condemned for your marital status.

    Did you return to a different but similar church ? i can assure you there are many church bodies if you introduced yourself and eventually said “yes, I am divorced – my husband was a brute” that you would get a big “Good for you girl!”

  124. Em says:

    i don’t understand how we justify looking for pat answers and definitive labels for solutions to human interactions … haven’t read all this thread as i’m on a little jumpy netbook and short on determination … 1- i suspect that this woman has great interpersonal and relationship “skills” … 2- sadly, many kinds of men do admire and gravitate to other men who are what i’d call “operators” – misogynist or no … the only thing that stands out to me as an absolute in all this? weak, compromising church fellowships – perhaps they not only leave it up to God to judge, but leave it up to Him to shepherd?
    come to think of it shepherding hasn’t worked out too well… oh well, we can work on coming to know Christ in all that entails of Eternal understandings and enjoy Him forever

    off to see what wisdom i can glean from Links today

  125. sisterchristian says:

    MLD-

    I have been searching for a “home” church for over 3 years… Have tried a variety away from Cc’s ( with about 20 yrs attendance/ministry involvement )

    I’m very wary of church leadership
    due not only to my own experience, but what close friends of mine have also undergone…

    When I refer to feeling uncomfortable meeting new people, the few times I have dared to briefly shared my story, it’s usually met with either indifference or they avoid me… Very awkward…

    When people ask,
    Did you just move to the area?
    What brought you here?
    Where did you live before?
    Do you have children?

    I honestly don’t know what to say,
    Because often times emotions start to overwhelm me…

    I think of my two children who are still in Europe, my daughter whom my ex- took and kept and moved to a different country, successfully completely alienating her from me and all of her stateside friends, siblings and family, whom I haven’t heard from or seen in over 3 years…
    I think of the work/ministry church I was forced to leave behind…

    That’s tame compared to the reason why I’m divorced…
    I hate the title … I hate the word
    And I have personally gained a new understanding of why God hates divorce…

    On a seperate note, two weeks back I sat next to the pastors wife, she was kind, in very general conversation it was brought up that I was divorced… She then proceeded to tell me that while my sin is obvious, she has sin on the inside that’s not so obvious…

    So, how does one begin to address the depth and complexity of the situation????

    So, you see, so far it’s easier for me to slip quietly in and out of church and avoid, what I find to be painful and awkward situations.

    I greatly miss days of ministry
    My home full of life, Hosting home fellowships and Bible studies… Hosting bible college students
    Leading out short term missions teams…

    I’m sorry, probably have expressed more than I should have

  126. Xenia says:

    Sister, when people ask you personal questions, just smile and say “it’s complicated, maybe someday I’ll talk about it” and leave it at that. If they press, turn your smile upside down.

    For those who don’t trust church leadership, ask yourself what it is you are expecting from a church. If “good” teaching is what you want. go, listen, and take notes. If you don’t trust pastors, then keep yer distance from the pastor. No one can force you to do anything you don’t want to do. If you suspect the pastor is a crook, go elsewhere. I do not believe most pastors are crooks. If you don’t want to tell your whole life story to over-friendly church folk, keep to yourself but then you can’t complain that you are lonesome.

    If you are one who believes in the Sacraments (Eucharistic Real Presence, etc) then go, receive, and be glad. Again, you don’t have to join the pastor’s inner circle, just be cordial and shake his hand at the end of the service.

    There’s no reason to assume that when you join a church that you are going to be closely involved with the pastor. You can if you want to, of course. Personally, we are happy to consider our priest and his family to be good friends. But no one is forcing this upon us. If we didn’t think he was trustworthy, we’d keep our distance. If we thought he was truly awful, we’d leave. We have had a few negative experiences over the past decades and we are not easy to fool, we know what to look for. I would hope this would be true for everyone.

    You can do anything you want, really. But we must take responsibility for our choices.

  127. Em says:

    SisterChristian, i think your story perfectly describes how poorly Believers of today understand sin … i know you were too polite to tell that pastor’s wife that it wasn’t your sin … what would she have done if you had responded, “Oh, it wasn’t my sin. But, like you, I do have others.” :smile::
    I fully understand how hard it is to find a place to function among the smug and ambitious souls that seem to set the tone of so many fellowships today – my heart aches for your wounds, your daughter’s loss and for the Church’s loss of your influence… your faith and words have blessed me many times here – keep on keeping on – like the old song says, “it will be worth it all when we see Jesus……,” eh?

  128. sisterchristian says:

    Xenia- thanks for the coaching…
    I’m awkward in social settings as is. That is helpful…

    What do I expect from a church?
    Jesus said;
    the world will know you are my disciples by your love one for another

    Ephesians states
    He Himself gave some to be … Pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry…

    a pastor being like a coach..
    A good coach…. ( sports fans add as you will…. )
    Knows his players
    Knows their strengths
    Weaknesses
    Encourages them
    Places them where their strengths benefit the team and the individual

    A poor coach
    Lectures,
    Knows little of his people
    Places players where he has holes to fill irrespective of gifts and strengths

    So, doesn’t it stand to reason that pastors would have a stronger congregation if they actually knew and encouraged those in the pews to exercise those gifts for the glory of God, the benefit of others and strengthen the spiritual hhealth of both the individual and church over all?

  129. sisterchristian says:

    Shouldn’t a church be like a “healthy functioning family”?

    So would it be possible to find a church that has a Holy Reverence for a Holy and mighty God,
    That preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ – clearly
    Teaches from the bible as the living word, inspired by God…
    That is a house of prayer
    That encourages and edifies the saints for the work of the ministry ( not just in word, but also in deed)
    Like a healthy family would uplift encourage, challenge , warn ?

  130. Xenia says:

    Sister, I actually do believe that a pastor should be involved in the lives of his congregation. I remember that Michael posted an article by an old Puritan pastor to that effect. But if one is gun shy of pastors in general, it would be better to attend church and keep one’s distance for a time than to wash one’s hands of church-going altogether. One is not obligated to tell one’s life story to everyone who asks, for example.

  131. Xenia says:

    Sister, I would say my parishes is exactly like the church you hope exists somewhere.

  132. sisterchristian says:

    Perhaps getting fully integrated into a church works like any close relationship.. Keep things at a safe distance until trust and mutual respect is established,
    Would that be safe to say?

  133. sisterchristian says:

    Xenia,
    Yes, I have often suspected your church was such.

    wasn’t that puritain pastor Richard Baxter? Who made it a point to visit all of his parishoners and also said something to the effect that 10 minutes of personal, individual communication/ conversation as to the state and well being of their souls was worth more – had more effectiveness than 100 sermons …

  134. Xenia says:

    There’s some folks (not talking about anyone here) who, when they begin attending a new church, ingratiate themselves with the pastor and his family. They start doing favors and try to make themselves indispensable. But they expect something in return, either the pastor’s confidence or having their own way all the time. But when the pastor reminds these eager beavers that he is the pastor of all the people, not just them, and doesn’t do all they want they are offended and stomp off, telling slanderous tales as they go.

    At the next church, these people will claim they were abused.

    I have seen this happen often enough that when a person begins to tell me how woefully they were treated at a particular church, I am inclined to be skeptical. I have seen more examples of abusive church members than I have of abusive pastors.

    We don’t discuss that much here, do we?

  135. sisterchristian says:

    Em,

    She left me in shock and speechless!
    I’m really hoping I misunderstood her, as this is the church I’m seriously considering to make as a home church…

    It was astonishing to think that she immediately labeled without considering it may very well been Gods leading me to divorce( please forgive my King James expression) a whoremonger? And that my actions were in complete obedience to Gods directives?

    Where the quandary lies at the moment is in “keep keeping on” as you have so kindly and thoughtfully encouraged me,,
    Is usually found nurtured in service and ministry to others.,, and I’m longing to be in a nurturing environment that will be supportive in that endeavor

    Thank you for your heartfelt words about my daughter… Any prayers you are led on her behalf would be greatly appreciated

  136. sisterchristian says:

    Xenia-

    That’s a well deserved observation
    And from what I recall wasn’t given much discussion time in the past

    surely there are abuses on both sides

    But isn’t the issue and reason for being in a healthy church body? Functioning in a way that when abuses occur at either side of the spectrum, there is proper rebuke to the abusive party , proper protective measures taken and timely encouragement and support for the wronged party?

  137. Xenia says:

    This all matters to me because of family history.

    When I was a kid, the pastor of our rural church was a weak, ineffectual man. Not mean, not wicked, just a Caspar Milquetoast given to many faux pas and awkwardnesses. His wife was quite fat and she didn’t keep the parsonage very tidy. They had a lot of messy kids.

    Certain people in that church hounded those poor people no end. I am sorry to say my own family participated in the jokes behind the back and other rudenesses. One family member declared loudly (and semi-publicly) that the situation was so disgraceful and they were so hurt by it all that they would never set foot in a church again. This was a rash vow and they kept it to this day, 50 years later. This person will tell you (gleefully) how horrible churches and pastors are.

    Yet as I look back on that story, my family members were the real abusers.

    So as I said, I am not inclined to believe every story I hear. Every story has two sides.

    I do acknowledge that there are abusive pastors but I think we should acknowledge that there are also abusive parishioners. Thing is, parishioners can blog and write on forums all manner of stuff about their pastors but the pastor, if he has any integrity, must not tell all he knows about his former parishioners.

    There is a case being displayed all over an EO forum where a (now former) parishioner had a beef with his priest and is slandering him from top to bottom, naming names, etc. Yet this priest cannot and will not come to his own defense, he has to let it go.

  138. Xenia says:

    Sister Christian and Em, it is so good to have you both here.

  139. Xenia says:

    there is proper rebuke to the abusive party<<<

    Well, this would be ideal of course! But if we are rebuked by a pastor, how many of us reject the rebuke and call it abuse?

    If a pastor dare to fulfill his pastoral duty by calling to our attention a sin, how many people will accept it? How many people instead become angry, declare the pastor is a control freak and the church is cultish?

    I had an Orthodox priest, not my own, who listened to my confession and said I was in danger of becoming a "superficial Christian" if I continued down a particular path I was following. I was shocked! But he gave me some good advice which I (thank God) took and I am thankful for the whole thing although I was a little shocked at the time. I was shocked because I was used to being patted on the back all the time. I had come to expect being patted on the back and being told what a good little church woman I was.

  140. Michael says:

    Sis, Xenia, Em… thank you for redeeming the blog tonight with this conversation.

  141. sisterchristian says:

    Michael
    🙂

    You know I was having somewhat of a set back today, getting melancholy and all… I have to say …. the phxp” family ” here has once again shined bright as the light, love and reason of the bride of Christ
    And pulled me out of the muck… Not only online , but in the background with personal emails too – parishioners and pastors alike

  142. Michael says:

    Sis,

    You’re much loved here…and I’m glad you know that and we showed it.

  143. sisterchristian says:

    Xenia
    It’s doubtful large numbers would be accepting and repentive at such admonishion…

    Yet wouldn’t you say that the prescription that priest handed to you was heeded due to two integral factors, your respect for his position and authority, and his appropriate application

  144. sisterchristian says:

    Michael

    Of all the hundreds of sermons I have heard over the years, the one that is most vivid in my recollection, included the phrase;
    ” you know when you are loved”
    Time stood still as I pondered that
    Thinking of my grandparents whom I don’t ever recall saying the words but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt , that they loved and it was a safe place ,,. And i thought of others … Yes, it’s true ,,,

    Love is a very powerful
    A powerfully healing force
    And there are many godly loving people who gather here
    That thanks be to God I have been given the priveledge to know and be a small part of

    And so thankful for all your efforts over the years to hold it together!!!!

  145. sisterchristian says:

    Time for me to chime out
    Have a good evening everyone
    Be blessed and be kind , tender hearted , steadfast and immovable in The Lord

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