The Lost World of Adam and Eve with Dr. John Walton

I just learned something MIND BLOWING about the creation of Eve that has astounding implications for understanding the equality of men and women as God’s original design and intent.

I have been listening to lots of fascinating podcasts as my summer cleaning has kicked into gear here in beautiful coastal Maine.  I cannot be subscribed to enough podcasts as I spend around 40 hours a week allllll byyyyy myselllllffff tidying up vacation rentals.  This past week, one particular episode from the Phil Vischer podcast stands out.  They had on Old Testament scholar and Wheaton College professor Dr. John Walton to discuss the creation account in Genesis.  In particular, he was discussing his books, The Lost World of Genesis One and The Lost World of Adam and Eve (with contributions from N.T. Wright).  If you cannot listen to the whole podcast, start at 29:00 to hear Dr. Walton’s thoughts on the creation of Adam and Eve.  Your world will be rocked!  Here is the entire discussion, and I will highlight the conversation’s main points below.

  • Ancients were more interested in discussing FUNCTIONAL origins rather than MATERIAL origins.  It’s more about ORDER than about STUFF.
  • Reading the text with our modern lens DISTORTS the text.  We ought to read the text exactly for what it was written for.  Read it according to the author’s intent, understanding the language they used and the culture they came from.
  • A Hebrew word and its meaning cannot always be reduced to an English word.  We have no suitable translation for some Hebrew words, like bara translated “create,” asah translated “to make,” and yatsar translated “formed.”
  • We assume because of our modern worldview and culture that these words are material in nature, but in Hebrew it can refer to PROCESS. For instance, with asah, the subject is somehow involved in a causation process, but it does not necessarily denote direct causation or to what level the subject is involved.  It also means we cannot prove a literal six day process just from the text.
  • Adam is used in Genesis 1-5 in a variety of ways, sometimes with a definite article on it (the adam), so that this is not his name, this means “human.”  “Adam” and “Eve” are Hebrew, which didn’t exist at the time, so these were not their names until Hebrews wrote their story down.  We have an Israelite account written to Israelites in a particular period.
  • We assume Genesis 2 is giving us more detailed information about day 6, but day 6 never mentions man and woman, it talks about the creation of HUMANITY.  Perhaps more than two people.  This makes more sense when we get to chapter 4 when Cain finds a wife and says “anybody who finds me will kill me” when he is driven away, and forms a city.
  • At 29:00 they begin to talk about the Creation of Adam and Eve–This is a must hear!  Dr. Walton asserts that forming from DUST and building from a RIB in ancient near eastern accounts are ARCHETYPAL claims, not claims of material origin.
  • “Dust” pertains not to chemistry but to mortality. Humans in the Bible were NOT created IMMORTAL.  Creationists argue, “There can’t have been evolution because there was no death before the Fall,” but Dr. Walton asserts they were created mortal but given an antidote, the Tree of Life.
  •  At 38:30, they start going into Eve’s creation.  The translation “rib” is not represented in the Septuagint or Latin or Aramaic.  This is the only place in the Bible that the word tsela is translated “rib” instead of “side.”  It is an architectural term, “this side of the temple,” “this side of the ark,” and there are always TWO sides.
  • Adam knows this is not just a bone; “this is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.”
  • “Deep sleep” has two possible contexts.  It could pertain to a situation where there is imminent danger and the person doesn’t know because they are asleep.  Jonah in the bottom of the boat, Saul is asleep in the camp when David is creeping in, Sisera is asleep in Jael’s tent when she drives a tent peg through his head.  Or “deep sleep” may have to do with a visionary experience.  Daniel falls into a deep sleep and has visions in chapters 9 and 10.  Adam falls asleep and has a VISION in which he sees himself cut in two, out of which one half God builds Eve.  Eve is the SAME AS YOU, is made of the same flesh.  
  • The original audience was more concerned with the theological and basic identity implications of the creation story rather than the scientific implications.  This story is about WHO WE ARE, our IDENTITY.  We are frail, mortal beings, dust.  We are gendered pairs, ontological EQUALS, of the same essence and matter.  The Bible does not speak to biological origins.
  • This interpretation does not challenge the traditional understanding of marriage, sin, or the existence of Adam and Eve.  This also does not contradict Paul, as N.T. Wright explains in the book.

“I have suggested that one can accept the historical Adam without thereby making a decision about material human origins.  This has the advantage of separating scientific elements, material human origins, from exegetical and theological elements with the result that conflict between the claims of science and the claims of Scripture is minimized without compromise.” – Dr. John Walton


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Saeed Abedini bares his misogyny for all to see

Early this morning (around 3 a.m.), Pastor Saeed Abedini posted an anti-Hillary rant on Facebook that centered around his personal views on male headship and women’s submission to that authority.

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Those were the pictures I took around 10:30 this morning.  Since then, Saeed has edited the second-to-last paragraph to emphasize the point of his message:

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Not surprisingly, this post has incited some lively discussion.  In the past 22 hours, there have been 182 reactions, 154 comments and 44 shares. And just now, as I am typing this, I tried to look at the post again and see this:

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Evidently, I’ve been blocked!

There were some really lovely comments made by egalitarians in response to Saeed’s post, and now I wish I had captured more screenshots.  Marg Mowzcko, the scholar behind the egalitarian exposition of Scripture at newlife.id.au, left several powerful comments.  This was my favorite:

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The Chiasm in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16

And Debbie Folthorp made an important observation:

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AG – The Role of Women in Ministry

I replied to a couple comments and left one of my own:

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I am hopeful that others are also responding to Pastor Saeed’s incorrect and damaging views on women in leadership.  It is important that examples of blatant cherry-picking of Scripture and patriarchal interpretation be publicly refuted and challenged so that those who may not otherwise hear another view may perhaps question these teachings.

If you are unfamiliar with Pastor Saeed Abedini beyond his 3.5 years of imprisonment in Iran and the powerful movement among Evangelicals to have him freed, Spiritual Sounding Board and A Cry for Justice have many excellent posts and links to articles explaining his history of marital abuse and questionable character.  We also posted about The Courageous and Wise Naghmeh Abedini and abuse in marriage, which is important for the Church at large to be educated on, as victims of abuse are almost always further victimized in the process of protecting the celebrity figures and reputation of the organization at large.

May we continue to pray for healing in the Abedini family.


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An egalitarian and a complementarian walk into a blog…

I noticed that our post, “The Theology of Empowering Women: Part 1,” which is a transcription of a Kris Vallotton sermon, gets a fair amount of traffic, so I was scrolling down taking a fresh look at it this morning and saw in the comments section this interaction I had with a complementarian.  I want to share it in its own post because it seems to cover a broad spectrum of differences of perspective between the two ideologies, and also the misconceptions that complementarians have of egalitarians.

Your commentary is flawed in several areas.

  • Thank you for your comment, Jed. Can you show us how? This is a transcription, not my own commentary. I welcome yours.:)

    • The first and most obvious is that the author seems to distinguish between the extent of inspiration of Paul’s writings and the writings recorded about Christ.

    • He never says anything about inspiration. He talks about context. Paul was writing letters to specific congregations with unique cultural contexts. He is not suggesting that Paul’s words were uninspired. His words were just what those churches needed to hear – the intended audience for his letters was narrow, not larger like the Old Testament books of law, etc.

    • To generally make Paul’s writings only temporary and cultural has the same effect as destroying their authority which is gained from their inspiration. If one can dismiss Paul’s teaching about headship as only cultural and because of male dominance then the impact of the headship teaching is destroyed.

    • Yes, absolutely. But I wouldn’t say that Paul’s teaching is destroyed…only an incorrect interpretation of his meaning. Which is a good thing, if you’re misunderstanding someone’s meaning, to come to a right understanding.

    • Of course, there is the rub. What did Paul actually mean? Did he mean what thousands of people, hundreds of commentators over centuries have taught, or did he mean what some recent reinterpretation, in my opinion, diminution, of his teaching is now propounded. Modern reinterpretation is not necessarily better, indeed it could be argued to be worse, than is traditional teaching. If women should now be elders, in spite of hundreds of years of other teaching, then inherent to that teaching is the assumption that all of those commentators and all of those men and women over the centuries have been wrong. That seems to me to be a bit bordering on, if not outright, egotistical. “We now know better than did all those poor uneducated, culturally enslaved, predecessors of ours.”

    • I believe that highly educated people can be predisposed to see something from a culturally socialized perspective. we have deeply ingrained beliefs that stem from our environment and what has been modeled/taught to us. I’m learning that to see an issue from another perspective takes humility, not pride. Here is an excellent explanation of how this happens:https://thebeautifulkingdomwarriors.wordpress.com/2014/06/20/bob-edwards-fascinating-discussion-on-the-origins-of-male-authority-in-the-church/

    • While I don’t have the time now to respond in detail, what I do see is that the question Pilate asked, “What is truth?’ is still very much with us. If when Eve was created God did not intend for her to be a “helpmate” (older English) to her husband, why did the author of Genesis write it that way. If the Holy Spirit inspires God’s word through human authors, then He knows the future and the cultures of the future. He gave a trans-cultural principle in the creation of Eve. She was a helper to her husband. That in itself does not define male dominance, but it does speak to the Christian husband/wife relationship. Sorry, don’t have time right now for more. I do see a very dangerous slippery slope away from truth and inspiration to re-definition from a modern cultural perspective.

    • JN, I really appreciate you taking time to interact with me. I understand your concern. I come from a complementarian background myself, interpreting the Bible through that lens for nearly 30 years, as well as through my seminary years. I have only been studying this issue for the past four years after I was baffled by a call from God to co-pastor with my husband. Here is an egalitarian explanation of our understanding of “helpmate” that I found to be very ‘helpful’:). Again, thank you so much for your comments. I am enjoying our conversation!http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/a-suitable-helper/

    • The following Stott commentary gives a deep sense of the Biblical intention of the husband/wife relationship. The stereotypical condemnation of those of us who see equal value but differing roles is unfair and consequently without merit. One needs only to look at the human body to see the differences. If biologically we are different then emotionally, sociologically and spiritually we are different. Why to women want to be men or women want men to become women, as seems to be the case with some feminists and even some Christian feminists? For husbands to fulfill their God-given responsibilities they must be different than their wives. This by definition is complementarian. I know the Stott comment is long but I believe it will be helpful to keep this discussion Biblical not so strongly cultural. There is much more to be said, but this is already too long.

      THE MESSAGE OF EPHESIANS. A Commentary by John Stott.
      Ephesians 5:21-33 Summary.

      Taking the husband first, what Paul stresses is not his authority over his wife, but his love for her. Rather, his authority is defined in terms of loving responsibility. To our minds the word ‘authority’ suggests power, dominion and even oppression. We picture the ‘authoritative’ husband as a domineering figure who makes all the decisions himself, issues commands and expects obedience, inhibits and suppresses his wife, and so prevents her from growing into a mature or fulfilled person. But this is not at all the kind of ‘headship’ which the apostle is describing, whose model is Jesus Christ. Certainly, ‘headship’ implies a degree of leadership and initiative, as when Christ came to woo and to win his bride. But more specifically it implies sacrifice, self-giving for the sake of the beloved, as when Christ gave himself for his bride. If ‘headship’ means ‘power’ in any sense, then it is power to care not to crush, power to serve not to dominate, power to facilitate self-fulfilment, not to frustrate and destroy it. And in all this the standard of the husband’s love is to be the cross of Christ, on which he surrendered himself even to death in his selfless love for his bride. Dr. Lloyd-Jones has a striking way of enforcing this truth, ‘How many of us’, he asks, ‘have realized that we are always to think of the married state in terms of the doctrine of the atonement? Is that our customary way of thinking of marriage?… Where do we find what the books have to say about marriage? Under which section? Under ethics. But it does not belong there. We must consider marriage in terms of the doctrine of the atonement.’
      As for the wife’s duty in the marriage relationship, it surprises me how unpopular this passage is among many women. When it is read at a wedding and it provokes a feminine outcry, I find myself wondering how carefully it has been read and in particular whether it has been read in its total context. Let me spell out five points which will, I hope, demonstrate that it is not the blueprint for oppression which many think, but rather a charter of genuine liberty.

      a). The requirement of submission is a particular example of a general Christian duty.
      That is, the injunction ‘wives submit’ (verse 22) is preceded by the requirement that we are to ‘submit to one another’ (verse 21). If, therefore, it is the wife’s duty as wife to submit to her husband, it is also the husband’s duty as a member of God’s new society to submit to his wife. Submissiveness is a universal Christian obligation. Throughout the Christian church, including every Christian home, submissiveness is to be mutual. For Jesus Christ himself is the paragon of humility. He emptied himself of his status and his rights, and humbled himself to serve. So in the new order which he had founded he calls all his followers to follow in his footsteps. ‘Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility towards one another.’ (1 Pet.5:5). Should not the wife even rejoice that she has the privilege of giving a particular demonstration in her attitude to her husband of the beauty of humility which is to characterize all members of God’s new society?
      This is specially so when it is seen that her self-humbling is not coerced but free. It must have been very obvious in the ancient world. The wife had no status and few rights, as we have seen. Yet the apostle addresses her as a free moral agent and calls upon her not to acquiesce in a fate she cannot escape, but to make a responsible decision before God. It is this which ‘begins the revolutionary innovation in the early Christian style of ethical thinking.’ Voluntary Christian self-submission is still very significant today. ‘Jesus Christ demonstrates rather than loses his dignity by his subordination to the Father. When a person is voluntarily amenable to another, gives way to him, and places himself at his service, he shows greater dignity and freedom than an individual who cannot bear to be a helper and partner to anyone but himself. Ephesians 5 supports anything but blind obedience or the breaking of the wife’s will. Rather, this chapter shows that in the realm of the crucified Servant-Messiah, the subjects respect an order of freedom and equality in which one person assists another – seemingly by renouncing rights possessed, actually in exercising the right to imitate the Messiah himself…A greater, wiser, and more positive description of marriage has not yet been found in Christian literature.’
      ________________________________________
      The John Stott Bible Study is taken from The Message of Ephesians: God’s New Society. The Bible Speaks Today John Stott. Used by permission of Inter-Varsity Press UK, Nottingham. All rights reserved.

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    • I think it is important to note that the earliest copies of Ephesians do not repeat the word “submit” in verse 22. Paul wrote in vs. 21 to all Christians to submit to one another, and goes on to describe what that would look like in marriage. There were also no verse numbers or titles when Paul wrote his letters, so vs. 21 and following were more clearly connected thoughts. The injunction, “wives submit” was edited later on and does not come from Paul. I agree with Stott’s commentary about mutual submission, which I think this passage in Ephesians is fleshing out.

      I would also like to say that I do not condemn complementarians. I respect your viewpoints and I understand your heart in the matter – you love Jesus! You love God’s Word! You are here talking with me because you care about truth. It would be unjust of me to think poorly of you and not give you the benefit of the doubt.

      And I don’t think the idea is to make men women and make women men. Feminism is about equality between men and women. Egalitarianism is a worldview that believes God’s heart on the matter of gender roles is that there is no more male or female, we are all one in Christ. Not that biologically we are not different, but spiritually God gives gifts and callings regardless of gender, and leadership in the Church is open to women.

    • No male nor female clearly is not a statement of redefinition of cultural roles or Paul would be denying himself. The matter of value is the issue. Men never were more valuable spiritually before the Lord, but you cannot read Scripture and not distinguish role differentiations. You have not Biblical basis to say that all Scripture was tainted by culture and is therefore invalid when the culture changes.

    • I never said Scripture was “tainted” by culture, or that it is invalid when the culture changes. I said you have to consider culture when you are interpreting the meaning of a particular passage. We all read Scripture through a cultural lens, interpreting according to our deeply ingrained cultural associations.

      What would Paul be denying himself of? I don’t think Paul’s spiritual authority came from his maleness. It came from God.

    • Paul cannot both say there is not difference in everything in one place and there is a difference in other aspects in another place.

    • There is the question that first bothered me as a complementarian. If male-only authority is the rule, then why are there so many exceptions to that rule throughout the Bible?

    • What exceptions? If you are referring to the female judge, she herself was reluctant to exert that authority. Almost every principle has a few exceptions. Is there ever a time to lie? The pretend beggars with worn clothes and dried bread lied. The mothers of Egypt lied when they hid their male babies. So, obviously there are exceptions to good principles.

      The clear historical teaching of Scripture is the male headship of the home. The male eldership in Israel. The male eldership in the church. Why does the modern feminist movement believe it has the right to contradict the Bible. Male leadership is not male dominance nor female subservience at its core, it is order. The human body has a head. The visible church in the world has a head (the group of male elders). Why does anyone think that what God prescribed in the Old Testament and described in the New Testament is less acceptable now because we have feminism demanding “equality.” There is no such thing as equality in function. Equal value, yes, but never equal function.

    • Here are some more exceptions: http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/the-propriety-of-women-with-authority/. This article talks more about N.T. female church leaders:http://godswordtowomen.org/pastors.htm. And this is an excellent post about women’s leadership in the early church:http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/1988/issue17/1706.html.

      I would highly recommend reading this article by Dr. Walk Kaiser, former president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, on the Biblical teaching on women:http://www.cbeinternational.org/files/u1/resources/14-kaiser-pdf.pdf.

      And here is an article on Paul’s main point in Ephesians 5:21-33: http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/pauls-main-point-in-eph-5_22-33/.

      Also, this article on “Kephale and Male Headship in Paul’s Letters.: http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/kephale-and-male-headship-in-pauls-letters/

      I strongly disagree with you that Egalitarians (this is not a feminist movement) believe they have a right to contradict the Bible. People have had different views on many issues since the beginning of Christianity. Egalitarians are not demanding “equality” because of a new cultural viewpoint on the Bible, they are demanding equality because they strongly believe God’s design is not hierarchical, that hierarchy is a result of the fall. They are trying to work with God towards reconciling the world, abolishing the effects of sin. I am sharing these articles to demonstrate the Egalitarian perspective. It doesn’t come from an agenda but from an interpretation of Scripture. Both complementarians and egalitarians have a high view of Scripture. In fact, we have a whole lot in common. Just not the idea of male-only authority.

    • Dr. Walt Kaiser is a fine scholar. I however do not agree with his interpretation of the Genesis passage. Without that interpretation his extended arguments are much weaker, if indeed they can be maintained at all. The fact still remains that all the elders of the OT and the NT were men. All the description of responsibilities in the NT are for men. Paul does not say the elderess should be the wife of but one husband. He does say the elder should be the husband of one wife (technically, a one-woman man and not a one-man woman).

    • As you said, it comes down to interpretation. We can continue to go back and forth, but we are coming from very different perspectives and it is unlikely that either one of us is going to change our mind today. I was hoping more than anything to demonstrate that egalitarians are sincere followers of Jesus and that this is not a matter of rebellion towards God and His design. Jesus prayed that we would have a spirit of unity, and I believe that you and I can still affirm each other as brother and sister in Christ and go on with genuine love for each other despite our differences. I appreciate your interaction here on the blog and hope you continue to be a reader.

    • I have no problem with fellowship as open doors make such possible.

      What I do have a problem with is that there seems to be a willingness on the part of egalitarians to assume that we complementarians have a low regard for women. I don’t think that is fair nor do I think that women who are complementarians are in any way, for that reason, limiting themselves.

      The matter of headship is not only a Biblically correct thing, it is a freeing thing. As Christ is the head of the church, we are freed to respect his responsibilities toward us. As the husband is the head of the wife, she is freed to allow him his role. If his role is filled with love, it is not an onerous thing. It does bring order to the home as the head brings order to the body and as Christ being head brings order to the church body. If she “reverences” her husband, he will be strengthen and able to lead in a humble godly way as he should.

      But as you say, we will not likely persuade each other. Minds that are made up are hard to change.

    • I wholeheartedly agree that we shouldn’t assume negative things about other people. Egalitarians should not assume complementarians have a low view of women, and complementarians should not assume egalitarians have a low view of Scripture. Because you know what happens when you assume something? You make an “ass out of you and me.”:)

      Thanks again and God bless.

    • URW


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      Also, I had to Google “URW” – in case you are also unsure what that means, it is “You’re welcome.”  I appreciated having this very civil conversation with JN!

Remembering Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey: the Mothers of Modern Gynecology

anarcha-4cdd4b616830b906e48c20887a65333d0bb64d46-s800-c85For many modern women, the advancement of gynecology has improved the safety and experience of child birth.  I have had three children and the second two births were relatively easy.  When I listened to “Remembering Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey: The Mothers of Modern Gynecology” on NPR’s podcast The Hidden Brain last week, I remembered the trauma I experienced with my first birth and my heart broke for these women and others whose names have been lost.  Their tormentor is celebrated in the history books as their suffering is largely forgotten and ignored.  And I know to some degree what their suffering was like.

When my labor began for my first child, nothing was happening the way I had learned to expect.  I had taken a birthing class, read several books, and watched countless episodes of A Baby Story.  I felt prepared.

A week before my due date, labor hit suddenly and hit hard, with contractions one minute apart from the get go and searing back pain.  We went to the birth center but were sent home because I had not dilated ‘enough.’  I was in agony all day, writhing in pain and throwing up.  When we came back that evening, I told the midwives I didn’t think I could manage without pain medication and I wanted to go to the hospital across the street, but they told me I could do it.  For the next ten hours, my contractions continued one minute apart, my back pain was unbearable, and I was getting increasingly weak.

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Josiah and I are survivors.

When hard labor hit, I pushed for nearly four hours, repeatedly begging to go to the hospital.  They insisted I was delivering a small baby and just needed to push harder.  The midwives kept whispering in the corner , excluding me and my husband and mother from their decision-making, and eventually decided I needed an episiotomy.  They cut me twice without anesthesia, telling me the next day that the scissors were dull.  I contracted, they cut, I screamed hysterically.  A minute later another contraction began and I begged them not to cut me again but they did.  At that point, I gave up entirely and began to fade away.  I was dying when they brought me to the hospital for care.  With pitocin and the nurses and midwives arguing over me, Josiah was born weighing 10 lbs 7 oz, and then the youngest midwife in training began stitching me up, taking an hour of tugging and pulling and pain.

My birth was traumatic and scary and when I began to die, I felt ready and eager to go.  My husband and mother were terrified they were losing me and Josiah right before their eyes.

When I listened to the NPR Hidden Brain podcast describing the horrific experimentation that several black slave women endured at the hands of the “Father of Modern Gynecology”, Dr. James Marion Sims, I couldn’t help but remember what it felt like to be cut and stitched without anesthesia.  My heart ached for them as I listened.  It is horrifying to realize that modern gynecology advanced at the expense of human lives, women who deserved dignity and care.  Today, we can honor them by acknowledging the injustice of their torture and sharing their story with others.

I encourage you to take a listen to this important episode here.


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Twitter sheds light on non-physical forms of abuse

The Twitter handle #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou, started by the BBC, has given victims of emotional, spiritual, financial and other forms of abuse a platform to share a glimpse into their experiences.

Often, the pain and trauma of non-physical abuse is dismissed or ignored.  Because the bruising to a victim’s psyche and soul are not visible, they do not receive the help and healing needed or the support to leave.  Slowly, they are beaten down to a place of low self-esteem and self-doubt and they begin to believe the lies of their abuser.  They experience symptoms of PTSD or anxiety or other conditions from their distress and this gives their abuser the added ammunition to claim they are the crazy one, they are the cause of the abuse.

Sadly, these types of abuse are very common in patriachal, fundamentalist religions, and pastors typically respond poorly, disbelieving the “allegations” and giving preference to the man’s reputation over the woman’s well-being.  Women in abusive marriages are urged to remain with their abusers rather than escape the abuse and begin the journey to healing and wholeness.  For example, John Piper, a prominent leader in Evangelicalism, gave this advice to an abused woman:

John Piper first giggles at the question, then diminishes the severity of non-physical abuse.  I can only imagine how the abuse would ramp up if this wife turned to her church leadership to intervene.  Abusers insist on keeping the family dynamic a secret.  Therefore, she would rather remain silent so that the abuse does not escalate, as she will not be given the support needed to leave the relationship.  “Emotionally abusive people are very concerned with their public image,” counselor Amanda Perl is quoted in the BBC article. “They are often extremely charming to the outside world in order to undermine any case you might have to discredit them or bring a spotlight on their behaviour.”

And don’t even get me started on sexual abuse in Christian marriage, where a woman’s body is not her own and she is taught to never say no, to submit in everything.

There are some excellent resources on the internet for Christian women in abusive relationships.  I recommend the blogs A Cry for Justice and Spiritual Sounding Board as well as the books and blog by Leslie Vernick.

Here are a few examples of #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou tweets:

And my own contribution:

EDIT:  After receiving the following excellent comment, I changed “non-violent” to “non-physical” throughout this post.

I take exception to labeling these actions as “non-violent.” I think that specific mislabeling is part of why these forms of abuse are dismissed out of hand.

These forms of abuse are not *physical*, but they are very violent. If I hold someone at gunpoint and take his money but never lay a hand on him, my actions will be called “ASSAULT with a deadly weapon.” The tongue is also a potential weapon, and anyone who thinks it cannot be deadly should research how many suicide notes mention something someone *said* (not did) to the victim before he or she chose suicide.


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#GodHatesAbuse #AbuseIsGroundsForDivorce #YouAreWorthyOfLove

“Somebody Say Something” – Pastor Howard-John Wesley on Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in the Church

This is a POWERFUL sermon from Pastor Howard-John Wesley on the epidemic of domestic violence and sexual abuse in our churches, where the response to abuse is almost always cover-up rather than speak-up.  He is preaching on the story of Jephthah and his daughter from Judges 11 (a “text of terror”).  I am thankful for Pastor Wesley using his pulpit to defend the powerless and most precious people in God’s house and pray that more leaders will take his cue and bring awareness to the prevalence of violence against women and children, and also bring healing to the victims.  I pray our churches cease to be sanctuaries for abusers and places where victims are re-victimized by shame and disbelief.

Listen to the whole sermon and then forward this important message to your pastors.

Some important points from the sermon:

  • 1 in 4 U.S. women experience domestic violence in their lifetime
  • In 2013, there were 679,000 children under 18 abused and neglected
  • Of those, 1520 were killed; 79.4% were abused by their parents; highest percentage of those were under the age of 3; and the percentage of those abused with chronic illness or disability was twice as high

SOMEBODY HAS TO SAY SOMETHING

“This is NOT the will of God and God is NOT present in that violence!…God did not shape you in your mother’s womb for you to be birthed and then to be beaten on.  God did not make you in His image and say,’You are fearfully and wonderfully made’ to allow some man to call you out of your name.  God did not die on the cross and give you abundant life for you to be disrespected by anybody!  THAT IS NOT THE WILL OF GOD!”

“Somewhere there are has to be a community of faith that says, ‘We’re not afraid to talk about what’s really happening.’  Somewhere the victims need a voice.  Somewhere the abused need a refuge.  Somewhere there’s a body of Christ that says, ‘we not only send water to Flint, we put deposits on apartments for victims to be in a safe space outside from where they’re being abused.’  Of a place where there’s spiritual support, where there’s counseling for the Jephthah’s, where there’s confrontation and compassion.  But most importantly, where somebody stands up and says, ‘This is wrong.’  It’s wrong for a man to put his hands on a woman and its equally wrong for a woman to put her hands on a man.  It’s wrong to shake a baby because they wont go asleep.  It’s wrong for a priest/a preacher/a pastor/a coach/a counselor/a teacher to engage in sexually inappropriate behavior with a minor because they got relationship.  It’s wrong.  It’s wrong to ball up your fist, to throw a plate, to break the television. It’s wrong.  That’s not normal, that’s not healthy, that’s not godly, that’s not love.  It’s wrong.  It’s wrong to take an extension chord and beat a child for ANY reason whatsoever.  That is just dead wrong.  And just because somebody did it to us, does not mean it’s what we ought to do to somebody else…And just because it’s in the Bible does not mean God is saying it’s right, He’s saying it’s real.  We have every right in our godliness to look at it in Scripture and say, ‘It’s wrong.’  So that when we see it in church, it’s wrong.  When we see it in the community, it’s wrong.  When we see it on the news, we train our children, it’s wrong.  Somebody has to say something.”

SOMEBODY HAS TO SAY SOMETHING

 

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I Like to Think of Harriet Tubman

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I Like to Think of Harriet Tubman
A poem by Susan Griffin

I like to think of Harriet Tubman.
Harriet Tubman who carried a revolver,
who had a scar on her head from a rock thrown
by a slave-master (because she
talked back) , and who
had a ransom on her head
of thousands of dollars and who
was never caught, and who
had no use for the law
when the law was wrong,
who defied the law. I like
to think of her.
I like to think of her especially
when I think of the problem
of feeding children.

The legal answer
to the problem of feeding children
is ten free lunches every month,
being equal, in the child’s real life,
to eating lunch every other day.
Monday but not Tuesday.
I like to think of the President
eating lunch on Monday, but not
Tuesday.
and when I think of the President
and the law, and the problem of
feeding children, I like to
think of Harriet Tubman
and her revolver.

And then sometimes
I think of the President
and other men,
men who practice the law,
who revere the law,
who make the law,
who enforce the law
who live behind
and operate through
and feed themselves
at the expense of
starving children
because of the law.

men who sit in paneled offices
and think about vacations
and tell women
whose care it is
to feed children
not to be hysterical
not to be hysterical as in the word
hysterikos, the greek for
womb suffering,
not to suffer in their
wombs,
not to care,
not to bother the men
because they want to think
of other things
and do not want
to take women seriously.
I want them to think about Harriet Tubman,
and remember,
remember she was beaten by a white man
and she lived
and she lived to redress her grievances,
and she lived in swamps
and wore the clothes of a man
bringing hundreds of fugitives from
slavery, and was never caught,
and led an army,
and won a battle,
and defied the laws
because the laws were wrong, I want men
to take us seriously.
I am tired wanting them to think
about right and wrong.
I want them to fear.
I want them to feel fear now I want them
to know
that there is always a time
there is always a time to make right
what is wrong,
there is always a time
for retribution
and that time
is beginning.


I am so inspired by Harriet Tubman’s remarkable life and love this poem by Susan Griffin. A truly beautiful Kingdom Warrior!

Harriet Tubman Ousts Andrew Jackson in Change for a $20
Get to Know the Historical Figures on the $5, $10 and $20 Bills

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