Tag Archives: abuse

Naghmeh Abedini’s New Year’s Exhortation to the Church

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“I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.” – Jesus

On New Year’s Eve, Naghmeh Abedini (who we posted about here and here) shared this exhortation on her facebook page:

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The full message says,

Happy New Year! May this be the year that the daughters of the Most High and the church rise up in one accord and say “Enough is Enough.”

May this be the year that we discover who we truly are in Jesus and that the knowledge of His Great Love for us sets us free and brings much healing to us and to the body of Christ.

I implore you church leaders to stand up for the abused and oppressed and say that it is not acceptable for daughters of the King to be used and abused in such a way . I implore you church leaders to stand up and keep leaders and heads of families accountable and say in one accord that it is not acceptable for those who call themselves Christians to be in such bondage to pornography, adultery, control and abuse. I implore you church leaders to bring back the discussion and the importance of repentance. I implore you church leaders to call the church to repentance and that we would turn from our wicked ways, and turn to God.

May this be the year that as the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we show the world what a true model of marriage looks like and that many would see the light and beauty of Jesus in our transparency and brokenness and that many would be saved.

Love you all! We serve a mighty King and He is in control.

 

Amen!  May it be so!!

Naghmeh links to an article by Gary Thomas, “Enough is Enough,” in which he denounces the abuse many women face in Christian marriages.  For instance, he says,

Another woman told me about putting up with her husband’s appalling behavior for over forty years. I was invited to look in her face, see the struggle, see the heroic perseverance, but also be reminded that counsel has consequences. So when I talk to a young woman in her third year of marriage and it’s clear she’s married to a monster, and someone wants to “save” the marriage, I want them to realize they are likely sentencing her to four decades of abuse, perhaps because of a choice she made as a teenager. When these men aren’t confronted, and aren’t repentant, they don’t change.

Jesus said what he said about divorce to protect women, not to imprison them. Divorce was a weapon foisted against women in the first century, not one they could use, and it almost always left them destitute if their family of origin couldn’t or wouldn’t step up.

How does it honor the concept of “Christian marriage” to enforce the continuance of an abusive, destructive relationship that is slowly squeezing all life and joy out of a woman’s soul? Our focus has to be on urging men to love their wives like Christ loves the church, not on telling women to put up with husbands mistreating their wives like Satan mistreats us. We should confront and stop the work of Satan, not enable it.

Physical, emotional, sexual, psychological and financial abuse are a silent epidemic in our country and around the world.  In the comments under Naghmeh’s post, she elaborates to say she believes that 70% of Christian wives are living with one form of abuse or another in their marriages.

10653672_540932686036868_4005151008959911077_nUnfortunately, most pastors are unequipped to respond appropriately to abuse.  My husband and I went through seminary and hardly heard a word about domestic violence in our classes.  Because women suffer in silence, trying trying trying to pacify their controlling husbands with submissive and meek obedience, pastors may never hear anything from a woman until she is reaching hopelessness and desperation.  And he will likely encourage her to do more, be more, suffer more for the sake of saving her marriage.  He will not understand the psychological impact of living in an abusive relationship for years.  He may bring both in for couple’s counseling, without personal expertise in abuse, and further damage the woman through treating this as a marriage issue rather than as the husband’s sin.

In conservative churches, where headship and submission are taught, women can be subjected to abusive relationships with no hope of relief.  Men have full reign to lord authority over their wives, controlling them rather than living as one with them.  The stigma of divorce leads to shunning of women who leave abusive marriages, and traditional gender roles leave women financially dependent on their spouse, unable to leave without a way to make a living.  The teaching that headship and submission image the relationship of Christ and the Church leads husbands and wives to strive harder to achieve cultural constructs of gender roles rather than becoming more the individuals that God created them to be.

In Rachel Held Evan’s post, “Is patriarchy really God’s dream for the world?”, she says,

If scripture is not enough to convince you that patriarchy is a result of sin, you need only look at the world to observe its effects.

  • Worldwide, women ages fifteen to forty-four are more likely to be maimed or die from male violence than from cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, and war combined.
  • Every 9 seconds, a woman  in the US is assaulted or beaten. Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. I wish I could say that all complementarians categorically condemn female submission to male violence, but John Piper has said that, in order to model godly submission, a woman may need to quietly “endure verbal abuse for a season” or “getting smacked one night” before “seeking help from the church.” (He says nothing about contacting authorities). Similarly, in Created to Be His Help Meet, Debi Pearl advises a woman whose husband pulled a knife on her to “stop complaining” and focus instead on not “provoking” her husband’s anger. This is destructive advice and reveals something of an assumption that the preservation of male hierarchy is more important than preservation of a woman’s dignity.
  •  At least 3 million women and girls are enslaved in the sex trade.
  • Study after study shows that societies characterized by the subjugation of women are more violent, more impoverished, and more unjust than societies that empower women.  In their excellent book Half the Sky, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn argue that “in this century the paramount moral challenge will be the struggle for gender equality in the developing world.”  Empowering women increases economic productivity, reduces infant mortality, contributes to overall improved health and nutrition, and increases the chances of education for the next generation. Several studies from UNICEF suggest that when women are given control over the family spending, more of the money gets devoted to education, medical care, and small business endeavors than when men control the purse strings. Similarly, when women vote and hold political office, public spending on health increases and child mortality rate declines. Many counterterrorist strategists see women’s empowerment as key to quelling violence and oppression in the Middle East, and women entering the workforce in East Asia generated economic booms in Malaysia, Thailand, and China. (You can find all of these studies cited and analyzed in Half the Sky, which I highly recommend.)

Interestingly, John Piper discussed the unhappy dynamic of much of his marriage in October.  Piper is one of the most influential proponents of complementarian theology (the belief that God designed strict gender roles for men and women), co-founding The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and The Gospel Coalition, a massive coalition of churches which holds complementarian ideology as a core aspect of their beliefs.  In my experience and observation, couples that treat each other as equals (whether they are complementarian or egalitarian) are far happier than couples that function as a hierarchy with the husband at the top.

unsafe relationshipI truly believe that mutual submission between husbands and wives is the correct Biblical teaching.  Giving husbands authority over households rather than all living under the authority of Christ as equals leads to unhealthy and ungodly dynamics and often, abuse.

If your marriage is emotionally destructive and you need to establish boundaries as you work toward healing, here are some resources:

Immediate Help:
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233.  Crisis help or to develop a safety plan.
Family Renewal Shelter: 1-253-475-9010 (24-hour crisis line) or 1-888-550-3915 (toll free).  A Christian resource for crisis help and assistance developing a safety plan.
American Association of Christian Counselors

Support Resources:
Document the Abuse: Assists women who fear for their safety in developing an Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit.
Women’s Law: Provides state-specific legal information and resources.
VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday): Allows crime victims to obtain timely and reliable information about criminal cases and the custody status of offenders.
Lighthouse Network: 1-877-562-2565.  Assists individuals and their loved ones in finding effective treatment for drug, alcohol, psychological or emotional struggles, 24/7.

Books:
The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope – Leslie Vernick
Why Does He Do That?  Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men – Lundy Bancroft

Other:
The Emotionally Destructive Marriage:  Free resource page
Self Centered Spouse:  Series of blogs by Brad Hambrick
A Cry for Justice: A blog addressing the needs of the evangelical church to recognize and validate the reality of abuse in the Christian home.
Myths about Domestic Violence


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Best of Summer Link-Up

We have a lot of catching up to do, Beautiful Kingdom Warriors!  Once again, it has been a busy summer here in Vacationland.  Thank you for being patient and sticking with Becky and me even when our lives are overflowing with non-blog-related activity.  Every day, we post great links on our Facebook page, and I have just scrolled through to share my favorites here from July and August.  But first, feast your eyes on the scenery around my home in Maine.  Then you’ll understand why it’s such a popular destination!

~  On Biblical interpretation  ~
6 reasons 1 Timothy 2:12 is not as clear as it seems
“A broad principle we might derive from 1 Timothy 2:12 is “bad or bossy teaching is not permitted.”

Indispensible: Women Who Plant Churches “It’s hard to imagine a stronger affirmation of women as indispensable church planters than Paul gives the women of Philippi. Church planting efforts multiplied because he broke with tradition to partner with his sisters in Christ.  The mission Jesus entrusted to his church is demanding, so demanding that it requires a Blessed Alliance of men and women working together. In this challenging post-Christian world, we are learning afresh of God’s desire for the partnered ministry of women and men in seeing the gospel embodied and advanced through the planting of new churches. We must reclaim the biblical and apostolic conviction of the indispensability of women in church planting!

~  On how patriarchy hurts men and women  ~
How the Christian ‘masculinity’ movement is ruining men
“The Christian Bible paints for us a view of manhood that is much more complex than these simple stereotypes allow. For every biblical reference to warriors like Samson or Saul, we read of characters like young David, a harpist, who through no power of his own defeated a giant. We meet Simeon, known for patiently waiting decades to see God’s promise revealed. Jesus himself notably refused to fight back, even giving up his life and physical body in a history-making display of spiritual strength.  A closer reading suggests that the Bible’s heroes aren’t meant to be models of outward toughness but exemplars of inner fortitude. So why have so many Christians accepted secular standards of masculinity as the basis for biblical manhood?”

No, Focus on the Family, I do not want to civilize a barbarian
“I think our problem is a society that encourages men to be violent, not that women should be whatever-definition-Glenn-T.-Stanton-has-for-feminine so they can motivate men out of being a malignant cancer. If appreciating a woman’s opinion is life-changing, let men and boys, single and married, respect women and their opinions in every sphere of society – including in politics, in church, in the home, at work and in social settings.”

Why Donald Trump is Good for Evangelicals
“Kinder-gentler versions of manhood and calls for men to ‘man-up!’ and take charge that thunder from evangelical pulpits and appear in books addressing men merely situate evangelicals on the cultural manhood continuum. Such definitions are woefully inadequate and run the risk that men, like Trump, will take things too far. Worse still, they fail to offer men and boys the indestructible identity, dignity, meaning, and purpose that their Creator intended when he bestowed the imago dei on all his sons and daughters.”

Its Not OK, and We’re Not Alright
“Just because not everyone experiences the fallout of an oppressive system in the same way does not mean that the oppressive system does not exist. When someone reduces all the harm, damage, and trauma of purity culture down to something “weird” or calls our responses “melodramatic,” they are erasing us and dismissing our legitimate grievances. This happens because they have had the privilege of living in an oppressive system and not being significantly harmed by it.”

~  On abuse and protecting your children  ~
The Courage Conference – Lynchburg, VA   October 28-29
“Did you know that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience abuse in their lifetime, including those in church? And, for the last five years, child sexual abuse has been the number one reason Churches or Religious Organizations have ended up in court.  The Church is often the first place victims of abuse go to seek help and healing. If we are not educated and equipped to properly serve these hurting individuals, we can unintentionally neglect or even re-victimize them. This is why we created The Courage Conference. 

Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife –  A Review “Reading this book also requires a willingness to reconsider one’s view of marriage. This is no simple task because her story raises questions regarding deeply held beliefs about marriage roles, male headship, and female submission that many evangelical Christians consider sacred and nonnegotiable. Yet the “silent epidemic” of domestic abuse that concerns Tucker is so dangerous and life-threatening within Christian circles, and so easily concealed, we cannot afford to brush her off and refuse to listen.”

5 Phrases That Can Help Protect Your Child From Sexual Abuse
“That’s your vulva.”
“Stop.”
“No secrets.”
“Did you feel safe?”
“High five, wave, or hug?”

5 everyday ways to teach your kids about consent.
1. Ask for their consent often.
2. Teach them that their “no” matters.
3. Model to your child that “yes” can become “no” at any time.
4. Seek to understand.
5. Keep “regard” at the forefront of your mind.

~  On the complementarian vs. egalitarian debate  ~
Someone mansplain complementarianism to me (ormen, what is wrong with us?)
“Because ironically, the greatest argument against this elevated religious view of men—is men. We’ve created a historical body of work reprehensible enough to make Complementarianism laughable. If the abhorrent behavior of men is trying to make an argument for moral superiority, we ain’t looking’ that good, fellas. I think we need to make room at the table and the pulpit and the office, and realize that it’s been a long time coming and it’s a really good thing.” 

5 False Assumptions about Egalitarians
1. Egalitarians don’t respect Scripture.
2. Egalitarians are wishful thinkers when it comes to the Bible.
3. Egalitarians don’t understand complementarianism.
4. Egalitarians deny that men and women are different.
5. Egalitarians undermine the church.

History of Complementarianism – Part 1 and Part 2
TWW Commenters Weigh In On Complementarianism
A FUN read full of gems like this John Piper spin-off:

“If a complementarian man finds himself being taught by, or under the authority of a woman, I think he should endure it for a season.”

Mary Kassian Compares Women Who Teach Men in Church to Fornicators
“Kassian’s boundaries are difficult to follow since it appears that she finds loopholes for just about anything so long as she is doing it.”

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~  On sexism  ~
Are U.S. Millenial Men Just as Sexist as Their Dads?
“Taken together, this body of research should dispel any notion that Millennial men ‘see women as equals.'”

9 Non-Threatening Leadership Strategies for Women
Let’s finish this link-up with a bit of humor.  It’s funny because it’s true. 🙂

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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“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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The Failure of Complementarian Manhood — Carolyn Custis James

This is a MUST READ from Carolyn Custis James:

“There is no togetherness for the gospel when the victim stands alone.” —James Kessler The recent 2016 Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference in Louisville, Kentucky put on public display one of the biggest complementarian manhood failures in recent history. Not only did the leaders of this all-male organization refuse to stand by their masculinity […]

via The Failure of Complementarian Manhood — Carolyn Custis James

Myths about Domestic Violence

I wanted to share these excellent posts from TrueLove Homes with you:

MYTH #1: Domestic Violence only happens to poorer, uneducated women
MYTH #2: Domestic violence doesn’t affect that many people
MYTH #3: Abuse only constitutes physical injury
MYTH #4: Substance abuse causes domestic abuse
MYTH #5: Once we (fill in the blank), he will no longer abuse me
MYTH #6: He’s saved so he must be safe
MYTH #7: If it’s that bad, a victim of domestic violence would just leave
MYTH #8: The abuse must not have been that bad or she would not have returned to him
MYTH #9: All victims of domestic violence get custody of their kids
MYTH #10: Upon leaving an abusive relationship, life gets better

factsaboutdv

February Link-Up, “50 Shades of Grey” Edition

Today is the long-anticipated release of 50 Shades of Grey in American theaters. As I work on this post, people are sitting in theaters being entertained by an abusive relationship in which a woman is battered, degraded, coerced and tortured under the guise of “romance.”

TBKW firmly stands against the dehumanization of God’s children, in any form. Here are some excellent articles on the topic of this cinematic blight on society:

ACTIVISTS SAY SKIP 50 SHADES AND GIVE TICKET MONEY TO A WOMEN’S SHELTER – Take Part, Liz Dwyer

The campaign was started by women from Stop Porn Culture, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, and the London Abused Women Centre in Canada. It’s inspired by 50 Shades Is Abuse, an effort begun nearly three years ago by Natalie Collins, a British advocate for domestic violence victims. She and other activists worry that the flick will send women the message that being stalked, controlled, and manipulated by a significant other is sexy and romantic.

50 SHADES OF BROKEN – CBE, Jenny Rae Armstrong

There are cultural, psychological, and even physiological reasons why some women gravitate toward threatening “heroes” or violent sexual fantasies. Women’s bodies respond to perceived sexual threat by becoming physically aroused. It’s a defense mechanism to minimize injury if they are assaulted.4 Knowing this may help us understand how fiction that celebrates sexual violence could be an easy way for inexperienced teens or exhausted moms to experience a bit of a tingle. Yet, this age-old storytelling medium has played a crucial role in promoting an unhealthy view of sexuality and relationships, one that has been passed down from a dysfunctional, and often violent, patriarchal past. In a blog post titled “The Brain on Lust,” Sharon Hodde Miller, a PhD candidate at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, explains that “whenever you learn something new, your brain changes, both physically and chemically. As that new information is stored, your brain creates new neural pathways and strengthens old ones…The more you use certain neural pathways, the stronger they become, whereas others weaken with lack of use.”5

In other words, our minds are, in the most literal sense, moldable. The more time we spend thinking about something (hours submersed in romance novels featuring domineering or abusive heroes), and the more our associations are reinforced (domineering men are sexy, and relationships with them will lead to happy endings), the stronger those neural pathways become. Just like pornography, romance novels can rewire our brains, overwriting reality with unhealthy fantasies that we increasingly associate with pleasure.

50 SHADES OF GREY IS A STUDY IN 50 SHADES OF ABUSE SAYS STUDY – Care2, Steve Williams

The researchers assert this analysis show that Fifty Shades of Grey depicts emotional abuse “in nearly every interaction” between the central couple…

The study concludes:

Despite the pervasive abuse patterns we uncovered in our analysis, popular reviews have suggested the book is liberating for women’s sexuality, providing women with an “opportunity” to openly experience erotica in an otherwise hyper-repressed culture.54 Our analysis did not set out to unravel the validity of the popular claim that the book is liberating for women’s sexuality. However, what our analysis sheds light on is the following: While Anastasia is depicted as experiencing “pleasure” during some of the couple’s sexual interactions, our analysis shows she is simultaneously confused and terrified that she will be hurt in such interactions, and she yearns for a “normal” relationship; in addition, Anastasia’s consent in the sexual activities is coerced through the use of alcohol and intimidation/pressure.

TRUTH ABOUT 50 SHADES OF GREY: MOVIE GLAMORIZES SEXUAL VIOLENCE, DOMESTIC ABUSE – End Sexual Exploitation, Dawn Hawins

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The reality is that if you take away the glamour, “Fifty Shades” is just a sensationalized lie, telling women that they can, and should, fix violent and controlling men by being obedient and devoted, and that, somehow, this is romantic.

FIFTY ABUSIVE MOMENTS IN 50 SHADES OF GREY – The Rambling Curl

In case you weren’t convinced yet…

ABUSE IS NOT ROMANCE: ADS FROM 50 SHADES WITH ACTUAL INSANE QUOTES FROM THE BOOKS – GOOD, Adam Albright-Hanna

Ahead the highly anticipated film’s release, there’s a growing outrage aimed at 50 Shades of Grey. Last week, GOODwrote about a campaign called 50 Dollars Not 50 Shades, in which domestic abuse activists are urging people to donate $50 to women’s shelters in lieu of purchasing a movie ticket. They feel that the book’s lead romantic interest Christian Grey is often “extremely controlling, possessive, and forceful.”

Tumblr user The 6th Sirens of Pandora agrees, and to further illustrate her point she’s taken to reimagining the film’s movie poster to feature some of the most attrocious quotes from the book. Check out the images to read for yourself how insanely violent the book really is.

99 REASONS TO LEAVE YOUR ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP – Free Indeed,

  1. He hurts you physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

Enough said.

THE CHRISTIAN PORN CONVERSATION – God Loves Women

The Christian conversation on “porn” has (in the main) these aspects:

  1. Purity: viewing defiles the person looking.
  2. Addiction: people get addicted to viewing and so it becomes treated as a medical disorder.
  3. The redemption narrative: (mostly) men sharing their stories of moving from sin (watching “porn”) to redemption (no longer watching “porn”)
  4. Neuroscience/Intimacy: After Dr William Struthers (neuroscientific theologian) wrote a book covering the ways viewing pornographic content affects the brain and communicated the solution as greater intimacy, this is regularly talked about and he is the go to person Christians usually quote or invite to talk about “porn”.

Though all of the above can be part of the issue, I would suggest of greater significance are the following layers underpinning the spectrum of pornographies:

  1. A gendered analysis: this is about men consuming women.  Man as subject, woman as object.
  2. Industry: people make vast sums of money from selling pornographic material.  Viewers are groomed into harder and harder core porn, in order to bring financial benefit to (mainly) white men.
  3. Power: as we’ve seen in the latest power plays of The Sun around Page 3, pornographic material is more about power than it is about any sort of meaningful sexual experience.
  4. The broken lives: the (mostly) women who are groomed, used, abused and discarded by the industry.

LUNDY BANCROFT ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN POPULAR CULTURE
This is such an insightful and important series of videos.  I’m linking to Part 1 of 7.

LET’S CALL 50 SHADES OF GREY WHAT IT IS: PERVERTED – Charisma Magazine, J. Lee Grady

2. It glorifies violence against women. Last year a researcher from the University of Michigan did a study on the effects of Fifty Shades of Grey on women readers. It showed that women who read the books (it is actually a trilogy) were 25 percent more likely to have an abusive partner; 34 percent were more likely to have a partner who stalked them; and 65 percent were more likely to engage in binge drinking.

Just as there is a link between violent video games and violent behavior in teen boys, this study showed that women who read graphic porn novels tend to gravitate toward the types of abusive relationships depicted in books like Fifty Shades. The study also showed that these women were more likely to have eating disorders. (Interestingly, the dominant male character in Fifty Shades carefully controls his girlfriend’s eating habits.)

WHAT EVANGELICALS FAIL TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT CONSENT – Sarabeth Caplin

I would hate to see this much-needed dialogue turn into a debate about BDSM between consenting couples, which the church has no business policing, and not about the real issue at hand: what abuse looks like in real life. Given the number of people in the BDSM community who say this series misrepresents what it’s all about, it’s a dialogue worth having.

50 SHADES OF CONFUSING: SEARCHING FOR A #TRULYHUMAN PERSPECTIVE – Missio Alliance, Karina Kreminski

A reign of God perspective on sexual desire sees that we are embodied beings given a gift by God which is to be used with discernment, wonder and joy. As we engage with this gift well, we become the true humans that God had always designed us to be.+

Will we react to the issues around sexuality in our world with simple moral outrage or will we rather seek to engage with, relate to and speak into a world that is broken and needs restoration?

50 SHADES: WHY THE OUTRAGE HURTS WOMEN – Michele Phoenix

Here’s the problem: by our disproportionate outcry, we in the Christian culture are subconsciously conveying that WOMEN seeking out indecent content are so much more disgusting than MEN doing the same.

The message we send with our selective displeasure, even implicitly, is that sexual materials aimed solely at WOMEN are a greater shame than those designed for mixed or male audiences. We’re saying that audiences of female BDSM fans deserve more scorn and judgment than male audiences entering porn stores, watching (often sexually-exploited) women online or just “being boys.”

TO STOP VIOLENCE, START AT HOME – The New York Times, Pamela Shifman and Salamishah Tillet

THE pattern is striking. Men who are eventually arrested for violent acts often began with attacks against their girlfriends and wives. In many cases, the charges of domestic violence were not taken seriously or were dismissed.

WHY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS DON’T LEAVE – TED TALKS, Leslie Morgan Steiner

Cannot recommend this video enough.  A survivor of domestic violence shares her story.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: EVERYONE IS IMPACTED AND THE CHURCH NEEDS TO BE MAKING A DIFFERENCE – TBKW, Ruth Perry

A post from October with DV statistics and resources.

DAVE BARRY LEARNS EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING HUSBAND FROM READING 50 SHADES OF GREY – Time, Dave Barry

This seems so wrong to share after all the others.  This is just for fun – I was laughing hysterically all the way through!


As I am finishing up, I just saw my friend post this fantastic note on Facebook (food for thought as you encounter this book and movie in your community):

I just submitted this letter online to Hannaford via this link and encourage others who share my concerns to do the same. Thank you!:

http://www.hannaford.com/content.jsp…

I love our ___ Hannaford. The staff could not be more helpful, friendly, or efficient. Our family of 8 shops there 2 – 3 times a week, and we almost always fill 2 large carts. While checking out recently with my kids, however, I was extremely shocked and disappointed to see that “Fifty Shades of Grey” was being sold at the check-out. Not only is it a XXX book, but it depicts the most unhealthy kind of relationship. This book glorifies dating violence and abuse. As a store that promotes healthy choices, I fail to understand why it would sell such dangerous garbage. I have many friends who feel similarly and I have encouraged them to contact you about this important matter as well. Thank you for your consideration and prompt action.  Sincerely, ______

Like my wonderful friend and the authors and speakers in these links, let’s be brave and courageous Beautiful Kingdom Warriors as we speak up for the dignity and worth of every human being.


EDIT:  this one is amazing:
EVEN THE CO-STARS OF THE MOVIE “50 SHADES OF GREY” THINK IT IS AWFUL (AND MAYBE EVEN A BIT LIKE HITLER).