Saturday, January 3, 2009

Links to Blogs and Ongoing Discussions of Abuse in the Church

In an article I referenced in the last post, Ron Henzel notes that the term “abuse” gives many Christians pause and problems. He discusses what I call the “culture of victimhood” that was so encouraged 20 years ago when everyone was a victim of something and needed some sort of therapeutic measure to be made whole. It seemed like a select few people had been victimized and began to heal, and they projected that experience onto everyone else on the planet with the good news of their deliverance from their personal evils. And our culture drank too deeply from the fountains of the victim mentality and developed quite a sour belly full of it.

The problem is that there is a serious and what I would define as a growing problem with real abuse in the church today. Just because others have overused and extended the term should not turn into a reaction that ignores real abuse. We have problems with neglect of those we should be ministering to within our walls and outside of them, but that is not abuse as many have defined it. That problem is yet another problem, a different one. But I mean serious, actual abuse. Reflecting upon the Lord’s work in my life in recent years, a dear friend wrote to me yesterday, stating that “those times have given you the insight to address many of the imperious, life-strangling movements in today's church.” And I see more instances of abuse now than I did then, even when I was very hypervigilant and still suffering the active pain that those abuses brought with them.

There have been some noteworthy sites and blog pieces that I would like to mention, all long those lines. If you are interested in these topics, and perhaps if you are not, I think that they were noteworthy. Not all of them that I will list here, but many of them discuss abuse within the church. I list them in no particular order.

Wade Burleson rarely posts something on his blog that I do not find not timely, relevant and applicable to the church. Here are some of his latest postings:

A former member named “Noel” shares her story of the sexual abuse of her then 3 year old daughter by a young teen boy in their church. She describes the process of how the church not only demanded that no one in the church be told, but how the church still allowed the young man to work with toddlers, how they tried to disccourage the family from taking the little girl for medical care so that it would not be reported to the legal authorities, how they rallied to get the family to participate in a reversal of the court decision regarding the young man, and how the church shamed this family as they dealt with the abuse of their daughter. The site opened a second post because there have been more than 500 comments posted in response to the saga.

"Danni Moss" has a whole series on abuse within evangelical Christianity, and is currently discussing different aspects of domestic violence. The most recent posting discusses Rick Warren on Domestic Violence.

For those interested in more information about spiritual abuse, Dr. Barb Orlowski has posted her research findings and her very thorough investigation of the topic online at

The Hevensense blog has begun a series examining the True Woman Conference and the ongoing efforts to promote their manifesto.

Cal posted a very interesting article that doesn’t really have anything to do with abuse, but if you are in the Religious Right, you might find it abusive.