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No Longer Trapped: Insights on Spiritual Abuse Recovery
Survivors of spiritual abuse can feel justifiably averse to anything having to do with God or spirituality after emerging from the war zone of spiritual abuse. However, cutting off the aspects of oneself that are yearning for healthy, edifying connection to something other than the self—the essential definition of spiritual expression—can be equaling damaging.
When spiritual abuse drives people from churches, and the wounds remain
We’ve been hearing a great deal lately about people who leave the church. Here is a website that is devoted to helping those people whose exiting may have resulted from having suffered spiritual abuse.The website is a ministry of Dr. Barb Orlowski, who lives the Canadian province of British Columbia. She researches, speaks, and writes on recovery from spiritual abuse.
The unrecognition and too easy dismissal of spiritual abuse
Once again, David Hayward, whose “Naked Pastor” blog and cartoons were introduced as a Link of the Day last week, presents a cartoon that packages an important truth in a simple drawing and a few words. His graphic illustration and his additional commentary highlight the pompous, self-righteous attitude of some religious leaders when their spiritually abusive behavior is pointed out to them.
Don’t try to rush abuse victims through their natural emotions of anger
In this "anger clock" post, David Hayward, the Naked Pastor, writes: “Give [anger] all the time it needs. Don’t let people turn it around to make it your fault or a symptom of your weakness. Don’t allow people to guilt you into thinking you’re sinning when you’re angry. They are just spiritualizing their discomfort and protecting the perpetrator and blaming the victim.”
Eve’s Revenge: Women and a Spirituality of the Body
Moreover, Barger labels androgyny as an "obscuring [of] the true nature of oneself" (140) which is an "assault on the female body" (25); drag as the "mocking of gender" (141); and same-sex relationships as contributing to the "frayed edges" of community (73).
Refuge From Abuse
One of the biggest impediments to applying biblical passages to sub-topics on abuse is that there really are not many passages that focus on women in general, much less women suffering at the hands of husbands or boyfriends in one-to-one relationships. In fact, many of the biblical reflection passages used in this book have male subjects.
Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse
This quilt of text and music is not a warm, cozy listening experience... It is very challenging music and painful text, richly expressing the anger, despair, and, ultimately, courageous healing and hope of survivors of child sexual abuse.
The Christian Narcissist and the Misunderstanding of Belief
"How this must devastate the God of truth, such abuse being carried out by the cruel hands of those who claim to love, honor, worship, and represent an all-loving Supreme Being..."
The Humble Gathering Schedule
Home > The Humble Gathering > Schedule The Humble Gathering Season Two Schedule Subscribers had access to recordings of all previous presentations and Q and A...
2020 Gathering Presenters
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 CFT Gathering has been cancelled, and replaced by a year-long online presentation series, The Humble Gathering. The information...
An Interview with Ashley Easter
"... forgiveness is more about getting to a place where the abuse no longer controls your life. Pastors and church leaders often advise to 'forgive and forget.' You can never forget. Being a Christian doesn’t give you selective amnesia; you never forget. "
Confession Time: I Pray the Rosary
The way I see it, beauty and spirit are all around us, and the rites and rituals of the faith I choose help me facilitate that connection in a way that is moving and meaningful.
Domestic Violence Allegations in the Faith-Based Community: How Shall We Respond?
Thus, I too suggest we commit ourselves to hearing all voices, even if it makes our hearts ache. Let’s not protect the ones in power simply because they are our friends and we cannot imagine such things. Let’s be willing to believe people who claim they were violated. Let’s listen to their stories.
It’s impossible to “hold Jesus hostage,” but some churches try.
David Hayward says of Jesus, “No one owns him . . .he cannot be released or freed because he already is.” But some people don’t know that. Some churches don’t preach that. And some authors don’t write that.
Faith, Rebellion, and a Larger Story
As a college sophomore I went into the office of my professor of Christian Doctrine, breaking down in tears and telling him why I was going to give up my faith. I could not submit to these expectations of submission and subservience placed on my femininity within the church circles I knew, and I could only assume there was therefore no place for me within Christianity. I was either committed to women’s rights or I was a “Bible-believing” Christian. I could not, surely, be both. (It seems that my black- and-white, either/or thinking, so trained in me by fundamentalism itself, was even at work in my recanting!)
Remembering, Grieving, and the Pursuit of Wholeness
Hi Letha, I just finished watching the trailers of the movies you mentioned in your last letter, and I look forward to watching the actual...
The Humble Gathering: Presenters
Home > The Humble Gathering > Presenters The Humble Gathering Presenters Presentation topics are listed on the schedule page. Learn more about the series on the main...
Tender Songs for Tough Times by Mary Ann V
"'Be Kind to Strangers' begins with an upbeat rhythm followed by three notes... which echo later after the words “Be kind” in the chorus. What better message for times like these, even as we interact behind masks?"
Making Peace with the Body
"Let’s celebrate the body, embrace it for all its humanity, and allow the body to transform our pain and carry us home to the larger wonder that connects us all."
1 Timothy 5:3-16 — The Politics of Too Many Widows!
Lesson 12: "The author of 1 Timothy assumes that independent women with some social standing and wealth not only pose a threat to the patriarchal structure of the “household of God” but also are attracted to the heretics, who, by forbidding marriage, encourage female independence."
Catholic Women in the Midst of It All
“First, injustice is injustice, and it is made all the more egregious by having to do, in this case, with issues that are deeply formative, spiritually rooted, and that affect people in profound ways. Put bluntly, I will not allow another generation of girls to be fed the lies previous generations received. We know better, and we will implement better theology.”
An Interview with Letha Dawson Scanzoni
I think God doesn't waste, and the church shouldn’t be wasting talent and blessing. If a woman has an ability to preach or teach and the Holy Spirit has given her a gift for that and yet the church leaders say, “No, no, you can't use that,” that’s ridiculous!
Gender Equality: Walking Away from Division and Anger into a Place of Compassion and...
Thanks to the tireless work of Tarana Burke and #MeToo, the conversation in our society has finally mutated from cowed acceptance of patriarchal systems to a demand for civility and equality for all persons. As the stories of abuse and sexual harassment are finally told, there is not a single profession left untouched.
When #MeToo and #TimesUp Came to Church
By January, 2018, #TimesUp, a related movement for empowerment was gaining ground, led in part by celebrities in the entertainment industries who wanted to call attention to lesser known grassroots activists who were doing amazing work for social justice
Dr. Molly T. Marshall writes about “selective inerrancy”
May 31, 2018 In her column, “The perils of selective inerrancy” on Baptist News Global, Dr. Molly T. Marshall, president and professor of theology and...
Gathering Presenters 2018
2018 CFT Gathering Plenaries Home > Conferences > 2018 Gathering > Plenaries Alicia Crosby (Racial Justice) Plenary Presenter Alicia Crosby is the cofounder and executive director of the Center for Inclusivity (CFI). Her...
Where can I find music and hymns that use inclusive language?
Hymns, anthems, and other songs that don’t jolt women out of their seats are available and becoming more widely used. “I will make you fishers of men” is so last-century.
A Provocative Representation of The Divine Feminine: Eric Drooker’s “Crucifixion”
I view this piece and know I can gather the hurting world in my womb. I can allow my feminine-specific suffering under patriarchy to be the conduit for my passionate pursuit of justice and my spark of love I extend toward others. For truly, I am the arms stretched out inside the fallopian tubes. The darkest night of my soul under patriarchy can become the very hope for others to find light.
2016 Christian Feminism Today Gathering
Too, we are committed to equality for all people, believing that God’s gifts are not given through roles but through individual gifts to be developed and celebrated. We strive to show empathy, to create an atmosphere of acceptance and love. We are educated and enjoy being challenged by what we learn.
Encountering God in Tyrannical Texts: Reflections on Paul, Women, and the Authority of Scripture
Gench describes each text in its own chapter, then places it in its literary, cultural, and political contexts. For example, the first five texts are all prescriptive, a man or men telling women what not to do, which indicates that women must have already been doing it.
Developing A Divine Feminine Version (DFV) of the New Testament
"Of course we were confronted with innumerable problems and questions as we worked through the text. We understood that our task had to be about more than simply swapping out a few words and changing some pronouns. "
What We Can Learn from Christianity Today’s Interview with Saeed Abedini
Allowing Saeed a public forum in which to further denigrate Naghmeh, Christianity Today also denigrates every woman who has heard an overuse of the word 'I' as they were being beaten, and shames every victim who takes the blame on themselves when it’s not theirs to take. The consequences of this piece reach further than one victim.
Joan Chittister: Her Journey from Certainty to Faith
This book serves as a useful introduction to an important spiritual figure. It also works to deepen her readers’ perspectives on her life, and to whet the appetite for seeing how the octogenarian feminist religious leader and her cohort continue to shape the monastic tradition in postmodern relief.
A Brief History of Biblical Inspiration
Lesson 3 "Through worship and study, the written word became divine revelation... By the time some of them returned to Jerusalem from exile (permitted by the Persian ruler, Cyrus, beginning in 539 BCE), they had a collection of writings that became guides for their priests, prophets, and all the people of Yahweh (see Nehemiah 8:1-12)."
Link of the Day – 2012 Archives
Click here to view links posted after December 31, 2012. Welcome to an archive of links chosen and annotated by Letha Dawson Scanzoni in 2012,...
Abounding in Kindness: Writings for the People of God
Elizabeth Johnson’s marvelous last chapter, “Peace over an Angry Sea,” is a sermon preached in 2002 for her colleagues at Fordham University who had recently lost family members... Christian faith focuses us not simply on the letting go but on a divine catcher. Lovely, I say, and a nice coda to this theological volume.
Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justice
“Yet, humbling though parts of the story may be, this is a history that needs to be heard. It isn’t wholly a story of stumbles. It’s also a story of honorable words and courageous actions, often undertaken in the face of great hostility. For that, we can all be thankful. It’s also a non-static story of growth, evolution, and change. Again and again, you’ll find evidence of that Wind that blows where it wills.”
Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God
We confront the “self-hiding God” or at least hints of that fullness but never a final face-to-face experience during this life. Winner states, “The self-hiding God seems to be the God who wills Her own disclosure”(p. 236).
She Lives! — A New Book by Jann Aldredge-Clanton
"She Lives!" (the exclamation point is part of the title), helps us move beyond the limited gender binary to see God as both male and female, yet strictly speaking, neither male nor female, and at the same time inclusive of all gender identities.”
Feminist Faith-Based Social Justice
Backlash is a subtle thing. It can result in even the bravest of us stepping back from what we know to be right because the cost is so high—the loss of a job, perhaps, because of principles, or some dreaded implication for our children, who can become pawns and/or casualties in social justice skirmishes.
Christian Ecofeminist Theology Today or Gaia, Sallie McFague, and You Walk into a Bar....
Patriarchy and an industrial military complex, whether implicitly or explicitly, promote masculine conquering of the feminine or the perceived weaker "other," as is common in complementarian and/or hierarchical understandings of the world and Christianity.
EEWC-CFT describes itself as “inclusive”. Does that mean it’s an organization primarily for lesbians?
Learn why EEWC-CFT welcomes and celebrates all people, including lesbians, in our work to promote gender justice.
Ordered Order—Conservative Christians’ Love Affair with Hierarchy
"In times of social change, any hint of change in the status quo stirs up fears of disorder. The more rapid the change, the more loudly come the calls for clamping down, holding back, conserving the status quo, stressing hierarchy over equality, law over grace."
Man Meets Woman at a Well—John 4:1-42—Part II
Lesson 9 - But place does not matter, asserts Jesus. God is spirit; we must worship God within our spirits, for God is actively seeking such people to relate to (23-24). This is a bold assertion. “Place of worship” was what separated Samaritans from Jews. For a Jew, only the temple at Jerusalem was sacred. Now Jesus challenges place, just as he had Jewish ritual law at the Cana wedding! (Lesson 4). For a moment she pauses, uncertain. “Well, when Messiah comes, he’ll tell us the truth about everything!”
Submission, Subjection, and Subversion in Household Codes
"... the overarching message of Jesus throughout the New Testament is a call for those in power to give it up or lay it aside for the sake of the powerless or for the greater good of the community. The theme of “little ones” being greatest in God’s kin-dom saturates the Synoptic Gospels. Jesus flees popularity, risks his life to defy rigid structures that oppress “little ones,” and finally endures the shame of crucifixion as a rebel against Roman domination."
Wild Goose Festival 2013 – Jared Byas Interview
My whole life has been about trying to “change the world” but now I understand Jesus to be calling us to obscurity, to changing not the world but our world, by the way we pay attention to those around us.
Wild Goose Festival 2013 – Jared Byas
I like to think that this is where Spirit moves, in the underlying dynamics of what we find ourselves involved in here. In our lives and in our world, I see Her as being what flows through everything, but She's too often obscured by all our bluster, pretension, and ego. Perhaps She is most knowable in the spaces that often go unnoticed, unobserved.
The Justice Conference 2013
EEWC-Christian Feminism Today's Marg Herder is attending and reporting on the 2013 Justice Conference, currently being held in Philadelphia, PA.
Changing Church: Stories of Liberating Ministers
Jann Aldredge-Clanton, a Baptist minister, is crystal clear about the relationship between God-language and social systems: “The strongest support imaginable for the dominance of men is the worship of an exclusively masculine Supreme Being.”
Integral Christianity: The Spirit’s Call to Evolve
What would Christianity look like if every Christian interpreted the Bible through the lens provided by the actions and teachings of Jesus? The answer is: very different from how it looks today! And our guide in making some very rich discoveries along this line is the Reverend Paul R. Smith, who for almost fifty years has been leading Kansas City’s Broadway Church from a traditional Southern Baptist congregation toward a model of integral Christianity.
Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found...
I’d heard that Franky had been expelled from boarding school and never finished high school. He’d gotten one of the young and lovely L’Abri students pregnant and they were newly married. Yet it seemed clear that despite his history, and all the gifted, spiritually mature L’Abri members (including his sisters), Franky was L’Abri’s heir apparent.
The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and...
[The book] recurrently focuses on Lewis's changed life after conversion (which Lewis wrote about at length) and on Freud's continued hopelessness and misery. He persistently lets his protagonists present a low-key case for the psychological benefits of believing in God. Read this if you want your faith stimulated or renewed.
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home
Her memoir’s final image beautifully captures the healing power of those surrounding her. On a one-day bus excursion with her parents and other elderly Mennonites, Janzen stops at a lavender farm; the group is swept up in spontaneous hymn singing (as Mennonites sometimes are).
Blessed the Waters That Rise and Fall to Rise Again
If this organization is to survive and persevere; if we as individuals are going to sustain our work of love and justice, we need to know that behind the ebb and flow of waves and water there is a Power, an Energy, a web of Wisdom we call God, creating, empowering, sustaining. "Blessed the waters that rise and fall to rise again."
A Third Wave Feminist Speaks Out
My first conference was one of the only times I have felt positive, inspirational feminist community. Should this privilege be reserved for the few women who discover an EEWC poster and tentatively attend? Should we not be more "out there" with our God-filled organization? Women of EEWC, I ask you to reach out to my generation with your message.
Feminism and Evangelicalism: An Interview with Virginia Ramey Mollenkott
What Christian evangelicals have in common is the conviction that meaningful living requires a direct personal relationship with God, and that the Bible should be taken seriously. But what that means can differ widely, and our social attitudes differ tremendously."
Songs as Yet Unsung
by Mary Louise Bringle My vocation as a Christian feminist hymnwriter began accidentally—and perhaps even a bit irreverently. Never let it be said that God...
On Being Evangelical and Ecumenical
Some limit use of the word evangelical and call themselves "biblical feminists" or "Christian feminists," as did the women who published Daughters of Sarah.
The Inclusive Bible
Not only is the appearance of one-way submission corrected in a way that is actually more in line with the Greek text, but the insights are made accessible to people in nontraditional relationships. In fact, the Priests for Equality frequently use the word partner where the Oxford version sticks to the more traditional husband and wife...
New Feminist Christianity: Many Voices, Many Views
Women in the ministry and students at seminary surely should read New Feminist Christianity, but also women’s studies classes and religious studies classes, feminist book clubs, and spiritual practice groups. Just give a copy to all your friends. Tell them that this is who we are.
The Andrea Yates Tragedy: Three Commentaries
by Anne Linstatter On June 20, 2001, many people were reading and talking about the latest sensational news story: a mother in Texas, Andrea...
A Profile of Writer Susan Campbell
“I think today’s girls are given a great advantage for understanding the sky’s the limit,” she says. “Now if we could only tailor our appetites in the media to reflect more on the beauty of the girl inside, rather than the surface nonsense that gets in the way….”
More Thoughts on the Writings of Elisabeth Elliot
Hi Letha, As you know, I’ve just returned to school, after spending a summer working in the Pacific Northwest. It feels good to be back...
More Thoughts on Women and Pride, also the Interplay of Lookism and Racism
Dear Letha, Now it is my turn to apologize for my slow reply to your last letter! As you know, this past month has been...
2008 EEWC Conference
It was an event in the planning for 20 months, so its arrival was anticipated with enthusiasm by those of us on the conference committee. We had put our hearts and souls into every aspect of this conference; and as we prayed together before we left Sharon Bowes’ house to head to the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel.
Onmigender: A Trans-religious Approach
his book compassionately explores the dilemma faced daily by “both”, “neither” and “other” categories of humans and proposes that Christ and the Jewish and Christian scriptures demand compassionate acceptance of all people, regardless of their genital or sex chromosome configuration.