Thursday, December 20, 2007

Getting Back on the Same Page

[Late entry/addendum 21Dec07 AM: I have been asked to make a qualifying statement, so as not to misinterpret the and make false associations regarding the League of the South. My point in mentioning specific groups or individuals who argue for Dominionist or Christian Reconstructionists views as a source for knowledge about the League was meant to highlight that the knowledge came from a source that was viewed by us to be completely reputable and reasonable. It was because of our trust in the integrity of certain key persons or organizations that we trusted in the integrity of the other organizations that they would have recommended many years ago. I am now of the conviction that one is in error to argue slavery or to use other statements from those who advocated for slavery such as RL Dabney without a qualifying statement that repudiates the practice of slavery. Gary DeMar is one example of someone who does so online in qualifying articles about Dabney. Many of these groups or affiliated individuals many actually do so. My germane point references the Dominionist and other Chiristian Reconstructionists as trustworthy sources and not to imply racial related impropriety. My apologies to not stating this more clearly initially. /CMK]

Coming out of spiritual abusive systems is not an easy process. I spoke with someone a few weeks ago who mentioned to me how she and her husband are on different pages in their process of recovery. After writing my last post here, I find myself thinking about that conversation with her.

My cultic church loved Gothard’s material, but they were also strongly influenced by Christian Growth Ministries and New Wine magazine. The church had an elder who participated in Bob Mumford’s ministry (one of the Ft. Lauderdale Five), and Bob participated with Chalcedon. We already supported the Tax Payers Party and American Vision through listening to Marlin Maddox on the radio. I enjoyed some of the Chalcedon material to which our elder introduced us , but when we left that Shepherding/Discipleship church, I wanted to stop support of Chalcedon. I didn’t want anything in our house with the word “Covenant” written on it, quite frankly.

I don’t know for sure where we heard about the League of the South. John Lofton sticks out in my mind, and I don’t know if he talked about the group in a Constitution Party meeting back in Maryland or whether we became aware of the group because of Chalcedon. If I had my druthers, I would have stopped all support to all Dominionist and Covenant Theology groups. In particular, I definitely did not like the sound of the League of the South at all. But there was my husband’s Virginia nostalgia to consider, and it was a bit of a novelty. He really contended for it, so what could I do, really?
That’s a tough place to be after emerging from the “Woman Submit” environment (something that my friend’s husband still says to say to her in anger). In accordance to the sole wedding vow that I made to my husband, I submitted to his desire to continue to support these ministries. I vowed to submit to him as unto the Lord. And I submitted to many things, perhaps for far too long during that time after leaving a spiritually abusive environment. He wanted to go to the OPC. So we went to the OPC (under my protest). I just visited a local AME church on my own when I got the chance! (How ironic.) Little by little, and with much work with one another, we ended up back in agreement and on the same page.

Charitable giving was perhaps the most difficult point of conflict. We stopped supporting an Assemblies of God missionary first after many, many years. Infrequent support of the League of the South was the first Dominionist thing to go!!! (Though I think there’s still a LS coffee mug around here somewhere.) We did the hard work of reevaluation together, changing and refocusing our priorities over time. And this year, a full ten years after I first asked my husband to stop support of this group, we finally stopped all support of Chalcedon. I’m pleased that I did not manipulate and threaten in some childish attempt to get my way like I know that many others have done. I waited for God to change my husband’s heart. I think that each of us respects one another more because of it all.

It’s been a long journey and a long time coming. It just takes time and a lot of consistent work at communicating with one another. Sometimes, I wonder if I could have done things a bit better, but it doesn’t really matter. I held to my vow. And I think that the two of us do a better job of keeping our simple marriage vows to one another with the benefit of experience and more practice. It gets better and better with time.

Jen said...
Thank you for sharing this, Cindy. I'm finding this to be a significant issue in our own lives as well. We both have very different ideas of what life "after" should look like. It's really hard.
December 20, 2007 11:20 AM

Cindy said...
The first year out was hard, but we were both very motivated to get well. My husband and I dealt with things very differently, and that was really rough for me. We moved about a year after we left the church, and my husband dove into his work, working far too much. I tended to withdraw.I really wanted him to stop reading a lot of the Dominionist stuff, and I was really bothered by his RC Sproul, Jr interest. But what could I do? I expressed my feelings, my wants and my needs. I required the same of my husband, and I learned a great deal of patience. And eventually, my points were received. It was very satisfying to hear my husband say that I was right all along about RC 2.0, however. He started getting weirder about the time we left our cultic church.
December 20, 2007 11:41 AM

adventuresinmercy said...
We have very different opinions too. Jeff suggested we go 100/100, which is to say, egalitarian, with both of us working together to make our home a good healthy place to live. If we can't agree, then the caveat is that whoever is pushing for change will have to wait. Things will stay like they are until we BOTH agree that it's time to change. WE have very different ideas too. You know how we handle this most of the time...(lol)...we don't talk about it at all. I just love him. I am learning more and more about love...and offering grace...and just loving, with no strings, no stupid roles to try and make the other person fit into (and to try and fit myself into). Gosh, what a bunch of bull all that was. I'm so glad to be OUT OF IT. Why did I think that the only way I could submit was that way? Sheesh, I submit all the time...but on this side, it's because I CHOOSE to. :o)Like you mentioned, I am noticing that in many ways, Jeff and I end up seeing things the same's just that we came to the conclusions in two totally different ways... I was so worried at first, because we were SO SO SO not on the same page...but am seeing it starting to come together, in such beautiful gentle Spirit-filled ways. So the quiet patient (just don't talk about it much!) way seems to be really really really beneficial, I think particularly because we came out of something that was full of "this is how you need to think." The LAST thing we need to be doing right now is continuing with those ways of relating to eachother.I am letting him be free to be who he is, to learn how he learns, to think what he wants, to walk how he wants... and he is giving me the same freedom (and in the beginning, when I quit patriarchy but he didn't, I just *gently, respectfully* took it).In patriarchy, we didn't have those freedoms, man or woman... I mean, everything was prescribed. "This is the godly way to do this, and here is the godly way to do this..." It is good to be on the other side and to just BE. Be who we are. Took a little while to remember who those people were in the first place...Like finding yourself all over again. LOL--it took a little while to realize the lightening wasn't going to strike when I went out and bought the latest U2 album (SO not allowed under our old paradigm!!!I was so guilty-feeling and my husband was SHOCKED (that I bought the album, and that I bought it without consulting him-lol)...I saw the look of fear in his eyes...She bought a secular music album?????? Oh my gosh, hell is next!...can I really leave the children home with this woman???LOL...As I listened to the album, it came to the song, "Yahweh" and I cried and cried and cried...with tears streaming down my face and arms raised in worship. It was like something in me just melted, the ties that were binding me breaking. FREEDOM. Freedom to worship Him...Freedom. Takes a little while to learn how to walk out in the big wide un-fenced world...and it takes a little while for our husbands, too... I think the best approach is one of waiting with our opinions mostly kept to ourselves and our arms wide open in acceptance of them, whatever the outcome. Grace is a good good good thing. :)
December 20, 2007 7:44 PM

Cindy said...
Molly,Thank you for sharing this insight here. It brightens my memory of my own experience.I was struck by two things that you wrote: It is good to be on the other side and to just BE. Be who we are. Took a little while to remember who those people were in the first place...Like finding yourself all over again. About being:I left our church at the end of January, and I was asked to perform Amy Grant's "Breath of Heaven" several times during that Christmas season. I believe it helped prepare me for this just being. In fact, now that I think of it, it is much like the same message that I posted a few days ago:
My Favorite Advent MeditationI can completely relate to the finding of oneself again. Realizing that I had been so deceived about that which I heald most dear and studied my whole life, I felt like I awakened into a type of existential nightmare. I could not trust those who I believed to act in my best interest nor could I trust my ability to discern. I felt lost, and my unchanging fulcrum, the Word of God, had been twisted and used against me. My own virtue had been exploited and desperately damaged.This finding of self was a solitary process and a journey that I had to make alone with only the Lord. Mine didn't center so much around the role performance but upon my grief over losing that which I believed could never be taken from me so long as I remained healthy and well. I was sorely mistaken.Getting back on the same page was intensely personal, and I found some consolation in St John of the Cross' "Dark Night of the Soul." I'm not sure if it would make well for regular reading, but that mystical work ministered to me during the mile that I walked alone (without the degree of intimacy that my husband and I shared emotionally, that is). And I always knew that I was never truly alone, but I was without understanding for a great deal of that time.Oh, but how wonderful the healing refreshment of the Lord is when that dark night is over! All glory to the Most Holy and Merciful Lord.December 20, 2007 9:34 PM