Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Hello. I'm glad you're here.

This blog is a resource for those who have been bruised by legalism, spiritual abuse and Christian patriarchy, and are finding their way to freedom and healing.

If you have been burned by Christian fundamentalism, you may feel disillusioned. The foundations of your whole belief system may be crumbling.

You might feel like you want nothing to do with any form of organised religion again.

You might feel like you do not want to give up on Jesus and the Bible - but surely, surely, he is not really like the "teachers of the law" say he is?

You might be in a state of mind where you feel 'allergic' to the Bible. Or can't listen to what used to be your favourite worship music. What you're going through is not unusual. It could be you are experiencing a form of PTSD and these things are triggering you.

You may be in a place in which your hurt and yearning for freedom is leading you to question the doctrines you have been taught, but there is still a part of you wondering, "Is it me? Maybe I do have an 'independent spirit'. Maybe I am rebellious. Perhaps I am a 'Jezebel'."

Wherever you are at, you are welcome here. This is a safe place. You can say what you really think, how you really feel. I am posting anonymously, and you can too, if you wish. You can share, or not share, your story and gain encouragement and validation from others.

Thousands of people in the USA are fleeing the doctrine of 'Biblical Patriarchy' being widely taught in parts of the country. This doctrine has filtered through to Australia and New Zealand and impacted churches here. There are a host of sites in the USA popping up to support those exiting extreme doctrines there. This blog is particularly (but not exclusively) for people Down Under, in Australia and New Zealand, who have been affected by the far-reaching effects of the various forms of this doctrine.

When I am ready, I'll share my story. When you are ready, you can, too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"When you teach your daughter, explicitly or by passive rejection, that she must ignore her outrage, that she must be kind and accepting to the point of not defending herself or other people, that she must not rock the boat for any reason, you are not strengthening her pro-social sense; you are damaging it—and the first person she will stop protecting is herself."
Martha Stout

Henri Cartier Bresson

In the FLDS, they called it "keeping sweet".

In Christian fundamentalism, it was "keeping a quiet, submissive spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight".

There's nothing wrong with being kind. Or being quiet. Or being submissive. Or being sweet. Sometimes. Men too, not *just* women.

There is something wrong with using virtue as a tool to keep women in their place. There's something wrong with socializing girls to be passive, to doubt their inner voice, to be uncomfortable wielding their own personal power, to be apologetic for taking up space on their planet, for occupying their real estate.

There is something wrong with the way that down through the generations, and *especially* in Christian fundamentalism, we send our girls the message that they need to stay under the radar, heads under the parapet, and not paint targets on themselves, by being all they really are, and by being vocal, assertive, activist and loud. Because deep in our DNA, we know what happened to women who attract notice, who stand out, who speak up, who lead the way, who make revolution, who won't be silenced, who stand strong, who engage with their inner wisdom and who employ the gifts God has bestowed on them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

When we spend 30 years speaking out against oppression, gently trying to disentangle women from the yoke, watching with rising concern the compromises women make just to stay safe and to dodge penalty, when every gain is so hard fought, when basic equality meets resistance and dismissal at every turn ... and we see, in the halls of power, people elected, people who epitomize and endorse the very abuses and doctrines we have struggled against for decades ...

Then we can take a lesson from women, and from all people of colour, and from indigenous people, and all people through history who have ever experienced oppression and injustice, and Maya Angelou comes strongly to mind ...

and we say ...

We know this feeling. We have been here before. 

When you said, he's teasing me and they said, oh don't be silly. 

When you said, he's hurting me and they said, he just likes you. 

When you said, he harassed me and they said, you need to learn to forgive. 

When you reported the harassment and they suspended YOU from school, as well as the perpetrator, instead of just the perpetrator. 

When you were told you couldn't play on the boys team, even though you were the second best player, because you were a girl - and there was no girls team. 

When the police came, but they said, "But Mrs Pearson, what did you do to provoke him?" 

When you really thought the courts would understand, and you carefully followed your lawyer's instructions - but they found in favour of your ex. 

When you tried to articulate the abuse and its impact on you and your children, and they said, "Is that all? That's it?"

When you knew you'd get the promotion because they'd assured you all along that you had the best credentials, experience and performance, but he got it, after only a few months with the company. 

When the pastor listened compassionately, then gently counseled you to go home and work on building his self-esteem and on submitting to him in the little things. 

When your eldest goes to stay with him, and then suddenly, no longer wishes to have contact with you again, and you see the child of your heart being moulded into a replica of the man you escaped. 

When, to your horror, decades after you thought they'd stopped blaming rape victims, they actually asked your daughter what she was wearing. 

When you announced your pregnancy, and you lost your job, but they said it had nothing to do with your pregnancy.

When you reported the harassment and the outcome was, YOU got demoted or retrenched or transferred, and got branded as a "trouble-maker".

You know this feeling. The disbelief. The heaviness. The utter exhaustion. 

The feeling of being mad at yourself for resorting to resignation. 

But there is also something older, and deeper, and stronger. 

There is a resilience. There is an assurance. That the truth IS the truth even when liars have the platform, that justice will not fall in the streets forever, that there will be a dawning, a morning. 

So familiar. Old turf, on an old path. 

Still, we rise. (Thank you, Maya).

Nevertheless, we persist.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Written by Rachael. A vibrant young woman, just a few years older than my own daughters, who attended the same good Christian high school. Describing the way low-level Christian sexism, even with the very best of intentions, clips the wings of the girls God made wild at heart too. When boys get to go to Man Camp and scale cliffs and forge rivers and build go-carts, and girls go to Princess Camp and do nails and hair and cupcakes, and listen to talks on hygiene and how real beauty is from within.


I remember it like it was yesterday.  Sitting on that school bus, defeated, or at least feeling that way.  Ten years ago, a thirteen year-old changed her life on the spot. It was completely intentional, completely simple, and completely stupid.  It took both resolve and determination; that determination that she knew she had too much of, and a sad resolve that for it, she would never be likeable. 

Too loud, too wilful, too confident.  That was not how a girl was supposed to be.  A boy, maybe, but a girl with these traits, well, she was obnoxious and unpleasant.  That was not what 'girly girls' were like.  It was not the right way to be a girl. No, the girls who were liked, who were approved of, they were quieter, milder, meek.  They did not speak up in class, lest they sound too smart. They were weak in P.E lessons; playing the damsel as they'd been taught. They sat daintily, dressed fancily, spoke softly.  They humbly despised their bodies. They had the sought-after 'Spirit of Gentleness'. 

But this girl was none of these things. She was fiery and bold, strong and confident, plain and raw.  She didn't like nor dislike her body; Actually, she'd never given it much thought. She loved her friends, adored her family, and lived in awe of her God. She was sad about poverty, drug-abuse, suicide and divorce. She was learning about the world she lived in, and she wanted to make a difference. She didn't have the answers. She was only a child. But she had a future full of time; Time to love, to work, to fight, to make change where change was needed.

But high school stole that future. At least, it tried it's very best.  She realised pretty soon that a girl was better sweet than strong. That opinions and intelligence were off-putting to the boys. And so, staring out the window of that bus, she decided. She'd become more likeable. Starting now, she'd be quiet and ladylike, sweet and shy. It would be better this way. So, overnight she changed. How easy it was! Like a wild goose; wings clipped, ready to be tamed.

The learning never stopped. Bit-by-bit, one well-meaning self-esteem workshop at a time, she discovered that she wasn't meant to like the way she looked.  Every time they split the girls and boys, she heard 'Your body...' this, and 'Your body...' that. 'You're beautiful, and gorgeous'. And 'Girl, true love is waiting'.  But the truth was, she didn't care. Or at least she hadn't until now. She'd wanted to talk about changing the world, about travelling, caring for the sick, and serving her God.  But alas, there were more pressing matters. For one, the shirts and jeans she donned each day were 'distracting' and 'immodest'. That scoop-necked tee showed too much of her pre-pubescent chest. She had dressed without a thought to how she looked. She'd dressed for practicality, and somehow, unknowingly, she'd put her brothers in harm's way. And so at school they gave her a large, bright-yellow top to wear. It may as well have said across it, 'SLUT'. For the remainder of the day, she hung her head in shame. 

She stopped trying in PE class, and she learned to quiet her opinions. She learned to hate her body, and to seek a man who'd lead. She learned to giggle, rather than laugh, tip-toe, rather than run, whisper, rather than speak. For years she kept it up. And it became her, it seemed.

But then, one day, when her report card said she ought to speak-up more, she saw her parents look at her, eyes full of confusion and surprise. In that moment, she realised what she'd done. She realised how she missed that loud, bold, daring girl.  She knew, now, she'd gone too far. But she didn't know how to go back. She cried, she grieved, she prayed. She wallowed for a while. She knew there must be more, and that she'd made a hideous mistake, but she'd lost herself, entirely.   The wild goose, now tamed, had forgotten how to fly...

There is catharsis in the re-telling of painful events, but it must be known too, that there was more to her story. There was healing, and there was hope. There was a God who never changed, and a fire that He stirred. There was a woman, who emerged, more confident than ever. There was the rising of a Jesus feminist*; strong, courageous, sure. And there is so much growth to come, of that I am convinced!

*Credit to Sarah Bessey for the term 'Jesus Feminist'. On point Sarah. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Samuel S. Martin has written an excellent resource for Christians seeking a soundly biblical basis for parenting without corporal discipline. The free e-book is available here, thanks to Samuel's generosity. Please consider donating to Samuel's on-going work which is ministering grace and mercy to many families. (He has no idea about that last bit :) )

Click here:

That above link takes you to Why Not Train a Child, a clearing house of information and Christian arguments against the teaching of the Pearls. Great place to find gentle, sane alternatives to bringing up children.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Do you sometimes feel inundated with doctrine and teachings upholding male headship and refusing to address the need for gender balance and equality in Christianity?

I stumbled across this post on Facebook this week. I am impressed! Who are these folk? (Wade and Rachelle Burleson).

Have a read and see what you think:

Male Sex Mobs Targeting Women Is the End Result of Not Knowing God

Men and women are God's image-bearers and both genders must be seen, treated and respected as equal representatives of the character of God. 

Some Christian men often see themselves as leading their families and churches like they view God leads the universe. These men see Christian women as 'helpers,' given to them by God so that the women can follow the man's authoritative reign. Sadly, this emphasis on male god-like authority has placed Christian women in a similar status to that of Islamic women. 

Therefore, men, when you seek to dominate a woman (or vice-versa), you are rebelling against God. When you use a woman as an object to fulfill your sexual desire--rather than as a person of equal personhood with whom you enter into covenant--then you break covenant with God. Whatever a man does to or against a woman, he does to or against his God.

MSN reported this morning that in the country of Egypt "...male sex mobs are targeting women because men have no fear of being caught."

Let me write a better headline that applies to the world: "Male sex mobs are targeting women because men have no fear of God when it comes to His image in women."

Men mistreat women because they don't know their God; that's true in Egypt, and that's true in America-even in our churches. I am hopeful that my five-week December series will give to Christians at Emmanuel the proper view of God and give us strength to take action when women are treated as if they are servants to men instead of image-bearers of God.

And check out some of the comments!

I'm appalled at the lack of outrage Christians express at the treatment of women worldwide. I suspect that the feminine attributes of God will be marginalized and minimized. How can one respect the feminine attributes of God while disrespecting females? The logical outcome (in view of the wide-spread "headship/authority" beliefs today is to maximize God's masculine and minimize the feminine. If that doesn't work, go with the God (boss) Jesus (servant) aspect of the trinity. If that doesn't work.... let's try the Sarah/Abraham "lord" verse. After that....

Cynical? You bet! We have "male mobs" targeting women in our churches and they attack her sexuality; they attack her psychologically, and her sense of value and worth. She is battered with scripture until she recognizes her "place" and passively learns to feign contentment as is expected of her.

Again, I'm appalled at the lack of outrage expressed among believers at the treatment of women everywhere.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

From silencing women to women finding their voice

The message of the patriarchy movement to women boils down to "don't feel, don't think, don't talk" ... which ultimately leads to don't be. You lose your authentic self and nothing must interfere with your programming as you fulfil your roles and rules like you're meant to.

This article, "The Problem with Men Explaining Things" (about "mansplaining") gives some background to the self-doubt and self-silencing many women struggle with - even women like the author, brought up with affirmation and encouragement to validate her own thoughts and perspective and to assert her own voice confidently.