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Ebenezer — The Ultimatum

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Holy his will abideth;
I will be still whate’er he doth;
And follow where he guideth:
He is my God: though dark my road,
He holds me that I shall not fall:
Wherefore to him I leave it all.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
He never will deceive me;
He leads me by the proper path;
I know he will not leave me:
I take, content, what he hath sent;
His hand can turn my griefs away,
And patiently I wait his day.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Though now this cup, in drinking,
May bitter seem to my faint heart,
I take it, all unshrinking:
My God is true; each morn anew
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,
And pain and sorrow shall depart.

Whate’er my God ordains is right:
Here shall my stand be taken;
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
Yet am I not forsaken;
My Father’s care is round me there;
He holds me that I shall not fall:
And so to him I leave it all.

My dear friend often reminded me of that song during that difficult year. I was totally unfamiliar with it. It has a different character than I was used to hearing in so many gospel songs in my slice of the world. It wasn’t saying that I let God take care of me. It was saying that God just took care of me. Amen.

That summer, after we had submitted the document but before we had gotten a response, I participated in a bridal shower with my colleagues. It felt so good to be with them. I never told them that because I didn’t want to gush, but I had felt so isolated that previous year. It was just nice to chat about silly things like vacations and dishes. We did talk about the changes that were to happen in the coming semester. Jeanine Aumiller, whom I’ve known for forever, tossed out a little comment: “Take it from me. It doesn’t matter if you put in your resignation before Feb 1st or after. If they consider you a lifer, they’re always going to react badly to your leaving!” That was another room-spinning moment for me. I felt like I had been punched in the gut, but I couldn’t figure out why. We were staying!! We were committed for the long haul. But I couldn’t shake the comment.

We were out of town when we got the email response to our statement. The whole thing is a blur now. I think we were in Missouri. I just don’t know. Their response: they had “some concerns.”

It hit us both between the eyes. That’s it. We’re done. It was just a question of when. We both repeated over and over and over — “But we will not break contract. Not on your life. No sirree!”

After what seemed like an eternity, we all had the second meeting. On Friday the 13th (of July). Another ominous day.

We were handed one copy of a lengthy, single-spaced document detailing their response to our statement. And the presentation of their explanation began.

1) We were orthodox. Yes, thank you. We knew that. William Combs, J.I. Packer, Louis Berkhof, B.B. Warfield, Augustine, and the Apostle Paul are pretty good foundations.

2) “They” only disagreed in emphasis. Fair enough. I understand.

This criticism, in essence, came down to the fact that we were, according to them, “too Reformed” for their comfort — or for their presumed customer base’s comfort level. This point is important to understand no matter what the Campus Store sells: any optimistic predictions that the organization’s new administration is growing more tolerant of Reformed-leaning ideas are simply groundless. We know from the conversations with the very top echelon that that is not the case.

To further prove that particular point, when my husband was relishing the goodness of a gracious Sovereign, one of the gentleman seized upon what he thought was a loophole in Calvinism. “If grace is so irresistible, then why do you need to talk about it at all?” he said. I started to laugh because I recognized this sophomoric attempt to trip up TULIP. But Grant was truly just rejoicing in a good God and wasn’t trying to push doctrine or argue Calvinism (that’s how overtly Reformed we actually are). He tried to understand the question and finally just responded with, “What are you talking about?” while I continued to shake my head.

Like many, I was hopefully optimistic that a change for the better was taking place under BJU’s new administration. And as reluctant as I was to admit it before, during, and immediately after the meeting, I now see that really very little has changed in the last 81 years in the way that organization handles intellectual differences, faculty development, interpersonal disagreement, and administrative egos. Stories from the disenfranchised are legion, and if you compare our story to ones from 30 years ago, it’s plain to see that nothing’s changed. The direction that the meeting was about to take that unlucky July afternoon made that abundantly clear.

Somewhere at that point in the conversation, I asked for the document from Grant and flipped to the last page. Don’t know why really, but I knew the clincher was going to be there. . . . and I found it:

3) “If you cannot hold your position without openly promoting it in spoken or written communication to colleagues, students, or others at a distance from the University, we would have to come to a parting of ways.”

There you go.

I interrupted the conversation and asked what “openly promoting” meant. Stephen Jones said, “How about changing that to ‘proselytize’? That’s what’s in the Faculty Handbook.” I nodded and said, “Okay. I understand that, but this is still different. Before you all had said that we needed to keep these things out of the classroom, and I understand that. But this? What are the boundaries here? I don’t want to mess this up.”

And — no joke — we got a shrug. From Gary. Just a shrug. No explanation. No nuance. Nothing. Just a shrug.

I was reeling. Clearly they weren’t going to tell us. It was more vagueness. Gary Weier, who at my February meeting was so clearly blunt, was now being cagey. Now I had the deer-caught-in-the-headlights expression.

I do remember one other moment vividly. My husband was in rare form. He took off on Galatians. It was beautiful. “Paul doesn’t mince words there. He says that if you put yourself under a rule-keeping system, you ‘fall from grace.’ That’s sobering.”

Stephen Jones responded: “But Grant, you don’t understand. Paul is talking about a specific problem with the Judaizers. You can’t apply that to today.”

What?!! ::checking ears for ‘taters:: What did you say? Are we all fundamentalists in this room or mainline liberal Protestants? We were so stunned by the comment that we asked for clarification in several follow-up email messages. Despite those repeated attempts, it seemed we could not pin him down on the issue.

The rest of the discussion about the document was fairly academic. Grant and I really couldn’t come to any conclusions because we needed to read their response and talk it all through. But it seemed that all was to end pleasantly enough.

But then, like all our other Ebenezers, it turned rotten. I’m getting sick again just thinking of it.

Stephen appeared to be nonverbally wrapping up the meeting and turned to Gary saying, “Is there anything else?” Now, this was somewhat disingenuous because they admitted later that they both knew that there was something else — together they had been “praying about how to handle this situation” earlier.

Gary Weier said, “Well, there is one matter I wish I didn’t have to bring up. . . .”

::eye roll:: Anyone reading who’s been a student at BJU knows that this is just the scripted cue for lowering the boom.

He continued, “A staff woman had been doing some internet research on modesty, and she came across this blog post at ‘True Womanhood.’ And there was a comment you made there: ‘This is so interesting. I have to admit that I thought of you all while I was getting dressed yesterday. I was wearing an “uncheckably” lower neckline that was still, IMNSHO, modest. Christian liberty rocks.’ So . . . what do you have to say for yourself?”

Huh? Nothing. What’s the big deal? They obviously thought they had me in some embarrassing position. I wasn’t embarrassed. Stephen was feigning dismayed surprise (as if this were his first hearing of it) and then utter disappointment. I still wasn’t understanding the reaction.

But then I had this very sick feeling. . . . After that vague ultimatum about “others at a distance from the university,” I realized that this was all connected. It all the same big ball of wax.

I cried. It was too much. It was too personal. It was too petty. My sweet Prince Valiant came to my aid and explained to them what I meant in that post: that modesty is internal, that you can be immodest even if you “check,” and that it’s an issue between you and God.

I was so disgusted with this ignoble behavior. I finally burst out, “I knew something was up because I was getting a lot of hits on my statcounter from this IP address. I knew that someone from campus was googling me. A lot. . . . Why didn’t you send that staff woman to me? Why are we talking about this here at all? This is exactly the kind of gossip that I’ve been subjected to all year. This is the same-old, same-old. YOU should have sent her right to me instead of encouraging gossip and tattling by bringing it up here. I’ll tell you, I know exactly how the students feel.” I shook my head and clenched my jaw.

That staff woman was none other than Pat Berg, by the way.

But that thought kept ringing in my head. This. This is what Grant and I were objecting to from the start really. The gracelessness of a system that justified all sorts of secrecy, lying, and cruelty simply because of who was doing it. A system that claimed to be parental but was simply punitive. We had heard about it from our students. We had read about it in those books. And now we were getting it first-hand, in living color, right before our eyes, right from our friends. . . . I pray I never forget how that feels so that I’m never tempted to do it to another human being. I know that it was Pat Berg who had tattled and gossiped about me, and I continue to be terribly disappointed in the whole mess.

My outburst stunned them. I didn’t hear much else except a misinterpretation of James 3. I could only stare as I listened. My mind was reeling. I heard the Scripture used not as a corrective for those of us riddled with our total inability to save ourselves, but as a club to shut me up and as a prop for an ideological house of cards. “Classic spiritual abuse,” I thought, stunned at the irony. The book that I first read in denial I now was seeing demonstrated before me. The very book that I bought as a gift for this gentleman just a year before.

We left the “Holy of Holies.” Smiling and joking because that’s what you do after a whippin’. You learn to do that.

Ebenezer — The Ultimatum
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23 thoughts on “Ebenezer — The Ultimatum

  • March 13, 2008 at 8:02 am
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    The leader responded: “But Grant, you don’t understand…. You can’t apply that to today.”

    I about fell out of my chair when I read that!!

    But you have hit the nail on the head. It is a graceless system. They are so concerned to keep Reformed theology out that they have missed the best that the Reformation has to offer: a right understanding of grace.

  • March 13, 2008 at 8:37 am
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    I know, Carey. You’re exactly right about the foregrounding of Grace.

    And that’s an exact quotation, btw. It was so startling that it rang in our ears for months.

  • March 13, 2008 at 9:17 am
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    This is bringing back some bad memories… I’ve mostly moved past the despising stage, but then you read something like this. I guess that passage could have been left out of our modern translations.

    What a load of skubalon.

  • March 13, 2008 at 11:08 am
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    Is it safe to assume that you’ll be leading the parade at commencement- there is the little matter of the pledge we all have made to “shut the doors if (insert unnamed institution here) should stray . . .”. Ahhhh, but therein lies the problem. It becomes an interpretive necessity to view the world from inside the bubble should that pledge have any meaning. In other words, the interpretation of having strayed must fall along the accept party lines, or the interpreter has strayed. Seriously dangerous waters to tread. This type of rational implies that an institution has license to communicate meaning for a group of followers (yikes!).

  • March 13, 2008 at 1:06 pm
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    When I had summed up “Vista” for Don he said, “Tell her welcome to the ministry”. I started to form an email and thought, nah, I know I want to empathize but I can’t merge my brain cells to meet my empathy – not that this will be any better but I am compelled to not keep quiet (I know, shocking for me, ha!). To top that, I know I don’t know the whole matter which probably would land my note with a thud. I continue to read this saga (I’m addicted, like watching “24”) – we feel for you both! To have friends, relatives, fellow Christians twist your motive and demand that you don’t bother with the facts (like scripture in context or even events in context) it’s mind boggling and heart wrenching every time. As long as you use the Word as your “check”, don’t let the turkeys get you down. The truth we have always gone back to is that we (Don and I) are really dumb sheep. Unless God drastically forces us in another direction, we’d just keep going on as we are. Two of the many events we point out to our children as God’s blessing through drastic trial are our church family (a group I think I can assume you two would thrill at chewing the Word with) and a practical one – due to a 100 yr old septic system that couldn’t handle our large group of flushers – we had to move and then the opportunity to purchase land and a huge home in a fabulous neighborhood. If some freak opportunity pops up and you guys are in the Lansing area (ooh, it would be only God that could throw you into that scenerio, ha,ha!), so anyway – we would LOVE to have your family to our home and church.
    I think instead of dreading those “marker” dates on the calender – celebrate the glory of our Father’s directing, that you wouldn’t have it any other way than what it is, ‘cuz apparently He wouldn’t have it any other way? Come to think of it, this blog is that celebrating – you are recounting what God has allowed and done and how He has used it to change your lives at each step! Party on!

  • March 13, 2008 at 10:29 pm
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    Camille-It has been interesting to read your blog on the events that led to your family leaving BJU, and reading this post brought back many memories. I left the school abruptly in 2004. My situation was kept hush hush and the person that turned me in was never told to practice Matthew 18 with me. They of course were rewarded for turning me in because I had done wrong. I think that was the one of the biggest disappointments in the whole situation. I knew I had made some wrong decisions but I was repentant about them. However, that was not recognized and forgiveness was not practiced. It was more that I should be shamed.
    However, I am SO thankful for that situation in my life. God used it to open my eyes to Christian liberty instead of the law. It took a long time to put the 4 years of BJU behind me but I have now moved on. Like you, I never want to forget what happened to me so that I will never do that to anyone – saved or unsaved. God’s love is unconditional and His grace unmeasurable.

  • March 13, 2008 at 10:54 pm
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    “The gracelessness of a system that justified all sorts of secrecy, lying, and cruelty simply because of who was doing it. A system that claimed to be parental but was simply punitive. We had heard about it from our students. We had read about it in those books. And now we were getting it first-hand, in living color, right before our eyes, right from our friends. . . . I pray I never forget how that feels so that I’m never tempted to do it to another human being.”

    I know. I never went through it the way you did, but the last year of my time there was not happy–I felt like somehow I had gotten on the “bad” list and had fallen from grace. And suddenly I realized what it was like to be “other.” I needed that. All my life I had been the good kid, the insider, the deacon’s daughter, the teacher’s pet. Now I have a tiny, tiny taste of what the other side of the coin feels like–and I hope I never forget it.

    You’ve been through deeper waters. Thus deeper is your understanding.

  • March 14, 2008 at 12:17 am
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    Wow. My few experiences with “meetings” at BJ were terrible…but pale in comparison to yours. It’s a pity that they have such a terrible reputation for deceit and cruelty, etc.

    Hannah mentioned Matthew 18 in the above comment–well, i had a boss at BJ who informed us workers that Matthew 18 (the parable of the wicked servant) instructs us that we should go to him (the boss)to tell on fellow workers who were breaking any rules of the department without confronting them personally. Why? Because the servants went and told the Master what the wicked servant had done and apparently didn’t confront the wicked servant personally. So I guess that makes my old boss the Master and any misbehaving student workers wicked servants.

    And they accused YOU of misapplying Scripture?

  • March 14, 2008 at 1:33 am
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    “The leader responded: “But Grant, you don’t understand. Paul is talking about a specific problem with the Judaizers. You can’t apply that to today.”

    What?!! ::checking ears for ‘taters:: What did you say? Are we all fundamentalists in this room or mainline liberal Protestants? We were so stunned by the comment that we asked for clarification in several follow-up email messages. Despite those repeated attempts, it seemed we could not pin him down on the issue.”

    Someone once referred to fundamentalism as a house built on sand. When one takes verses of Scripture out of context and changes their meaning, it’s not a far stretch to start applying “liberal” techniques. (I have no real problems with applying an understanding of culture when interpreting Scripture. But, that is a hallmark of liberal Christianity.)

  • March 14, 2008 at 3:06 pm
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    “But Grant, you don’t understand. Paul is talking about a specific problem with the Judaizers. You can’t apply that to today.”

    That’s just sad. I know for a fact that the man who spoke those words sat under at least one teacher who drilled into the class the question “if what you just said is true, what else must be true?” I am almost certain that the speaker sat under two other teachers who made the same point.

    Always listening, but never perceiving, anyone?

  • March 14, 2008 at 9:53 pm
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    I find it amazing the journey God has guided you through. I remember the whole process as it unfolded when we were at GCM….the ups and downs….points where you had hope and points where that hope was broken to pieces.

    I am so proud of you! I am also thrilled to have you as a fellow sister in Christ.

    Keep writing…keep spreading Christian Liberty and Grace…keep it up, God still has a lot He wants you to do, of that I’ve no doubt.

  • March 15, 2008 at 12:48 pm
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    Yes, there is life after BJU. Reading rapidly through the Ebenezer posts, I’m coming away with a pretty strong sense that you outgrew BJU, and they actually did you a favor (although they probably could have done it in a better way) of getting you out the door. Clearly, it was time for you to go.

    BJU did me an awful lot of good—when I was coming out of an abusive, violent, highly dysfunctional family. Two of my siblings “got saved” and decided Jack Hyles was God’s number one preacher, and another sister went kooky Pentecostal. And I went to BJU, for which I thank God. And when the time was right, I left BJU, and I thank God for that, too.

    For me, BJU was like a hospital, a place where I recovered. And I did have a great time and loved it and did very well spiritually—up to a point. I became a grad assistant and then worked at the Press. But when I thought I was reaching that point of no longer agreeing with a lot of the theology and practice of BJU, I changed my status to Day Employee. And when I knew I was at that point, I gave two weeks notice and left.

    Within a year or two, all the hubub over your exit will die down, and some friendships you may think that you have lost might just come back to you. These days I document cases of church abuse, and I rake Fundamentalism over the coals plenty of times for its moral and ethical failings. I have lost most of my friendships from BJU, but I have kept a few. I think the same will happen with you and your husband. I certainly hope so.

    But really, though I think you have suffered a lot of stress in these matters, it is clear that it really was time for you and your husband to leave BJU. In fact, my guess is that your exodus from a certain stratum of Christianity is just beginning.

    Christ is your righteousness, and Christ is really your only vindication. He won’t disappoint you. And there will be many an exodus from BJU as the Doctrines of Grace continue to be taught, and as these sad cases of abuse and gross depravity in Fundamentalist churches continue to increase in number.

  • March 17, 2008 at 10:22 am
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    “Why didn’t you send that staff woman to me? Why are we talking about this here at all? This is exactly the kind of gossip that I’ve been subjected to all year. This is the same-old, same-old. YOU should have sent her right to me instead of encouraging gossip and tattling by bringing it up here. I’ll tell you, I know exactly how the students feel.”

    This is exactly what I have wanted to say to them for sooo long. I am glad you had the courage to say it!

    Your blog is a blessing and encouragement to me. I hope you and your family are doing well.

  • March 24, 2008 at 5:46 am
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    I graduated from BJU in 1980 and remained unreservedly “loyal” until 1991. I have heard that ‘things have changed at BJU’. Yet, I see from your following comment that little has changed at our alma mater:

    “Like many, I was hopefully optimistic that a change for the better was taking place under BJU’s new administration. And as reluctant as I was to admit it before, during, and immediately after the meeting, I now see that really very little has changed in the last 81 years in the way that organization handles intellectual differences, faculty development, interpersonal disagreement, and administrative egos. Stories from the disenfranchised are legion, and if you compare our story to ones from 30 years ago, it’s plain to see that nothing’s changed.”

    When I was forced to take a hard look at my alma mater, I came across an open letter to BJU’s president from Charles Underwood, BJU’s first Director of Church Planting written in 1983. Here is an excerpt:

    “…I cannot help wondering if you and your father ever consider that the two of you are not Bob Jones University. There are six thousand supporting alumni, thousands of former students, and friends, multitudes who, if ever asked, to tell you to clean up your act!

    We have attempted to explain to offended friends why you tolerate men on your board who are unequally yoked with Masonry; why you speak out against authorities with inordinate language such as only the ungodly employ; why you have no respect for graduates who practice what they have been taught at the university; and why you advocate building independent fundamental churches and yet excoriate those that exercise independence.

    I fully believe that most of the graduates, former students, and supporters would be deeply relieved ft BJU—in the persons of you and your father—would really stand for the scriptural separation you so loudly proclaim by openly denouncing Freemasonry for what you, in private correspondence, have written that it is.

    For over a year, beginning in 1970, I contacted men and women in California on behalf of BJU. I made approximately three thousand contacts by telephone and about a thousand face-to-face. When people faced me with the duplicity of the leadership of the university, I simply disbelieved it, and I went on trying to help build a school that I felt would stand for the truth of God until Jesus comes.”

    “…As I write in this vein about my alma mater, and let it be clearly understood that I am not talking about the university as an institution, nor am I talking about the thousand or more faculty and staff members who, out of love and loyalty for Christ, have given their lives, as I have, to what they thought was service for Christ. I am speaking about the chancellor, and the president who have betrayed so many alumni, former students, and supporters, that it makes me heartsick…”

    Every field of endeavor, whether in business, government, religion, education, sport, etc., rises and falls on leadership. The issues and the controversies involving my alma mater have changed many times during the 26 years since I left. But, one thing is clear, “…if you compare [y]our story to ones from 30 years ago, it’s plain to see that nothing’s changed.”

  • June 5, 2008 at 10:25 am
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    is the link to “our statement” broken or been moved, or the statement deleted? I’m getting a page not found, error 404, when I try to follow that link. Thanks.

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  • September 23, 2010 at 1:30 am
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    “I’ll tell you, I know exactly how the students feel.”

    It’s been over three years since I last set foot on that campus—long enough for the wounds to close.

    But reading this makes me cry. I sat across the desk from the Great Intimidator who seems to remain nameless on your blog. I’ve twiddled my thumbs waiting for him and his lackeys to decide my fate.

    It’s a gut-wrenching experience. Sadly, I never had the gall to do what you did. Maybe I was too scared.

    Or maybe I just wanted my diploma and then to get the heck out of there.

  • May 12, 2011 at 11:52 am
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    Hey Camille,
    I can relate a little to your ‘internal gut reaction’ to being ‘confronted’ about your private social life on the ‘true womanhood’ blog. Immagine someone SPYING on another person’s social conversations on line! Your upsetting experience was a lot worse than mine was. When over the phone I freely expressed my personal opinion that ‘I had been speaking to ——, another group member, and we both agreed that ‘there’s’ too much control, and not enough freedom in the prayer group.” The controlling leader’s reply really surpised me: ” You should not be talking with other members about prayer group matters without the CORE’s permission, ie ‘anything that the Core does not approve of,’ in other words WE don’t want you talking about ANYTHING , Something like that. YOU CAN SEE HOW THE ‘SUBTLE’ NO TALK RULE WAS ALREADY IN PLACE! Here I and —, two adults, had had a normal telephone conversation in the privacy of our own private lives, and the CORE didn’t want members talking to each other about prayer group matters? GIVE ME A BREAK. I was so annoyed. Then the controlling leader made fun of my practice of going to ‘other places’ which the Core also ‘did not approve of.’ This would be like, BJU leaders disapproving of ‘books’ you were reading that ‘they’ didn’t approve of. I remember being so angry and insulted by her remark, as the ‘other places’ that I went to, were places with so much Grace in them, that I was being set free more and more in them and by them, God doing this, than these controlling leaders were, who were actually at the timegoing backwards! They were so unhappy and so negative. UGGGHHH!!! And I was so happy and so positive by growing in true freedom. I ‘wasn’t’ happy at all with the group’s deterioration,as it was like ‘heaven’ when I had first joined and started fellowshipping there, and now it felt like it was becoming a prison,like, of the mind. People you could trust in the past, some of them, you didn’t really know if you could trust anymore. But how do you just walk away from people you’ve loved and served with for several meaningful years? At time of that phone conversation, it was already five years. I couldn’t believe the ignorance of this woman’s words judging me for going to other places WHICH WAS REALLY NONE OF HE D—- BUSSINESS ANYWAY!!!! As if I had some kind of a character flaw, and was emotionally unstable! “You go here and there for peanut butter and strawberry jam.” By then I was flaming mad, but self-controlled, thanks to the fruit of the Spirit. I was ‘so angry’ at her remark which was an insult to God, and all of the wonderful christian places and people, including wonderful teaching on freedom, grace and healing that I had been so blessed with for so many years! I remember something rising up in me, from that well of freedom and courage, God had been emowering me with for many blessed years. I had read a wonderful book by ——, in which he taught re , our own freedom and liberty, and our own individual authority as believers, and kid you not, I had not read that book’s paragraph since 1982, and this was 1996!!! This is what the Holy Spirit prompted me to say to her: “You do not have the right or authority to rule over my personal faith life!” She was stunned into temporary silence. Then she made a remark which was a cleverly religionaised judgement, coming out at my life which was really a subtle but very hurtful curse on my personal life and walk with Jesus as a faithful and loyal believer, and a mocking denial and rejection of the spiritual growth, development and healing journey into true freedom which God had so wonderfully graced my life with. It was such a false word, and a deliberate attack on what the Lord had done for me two years before. It was like saying,’God hasn’t done anything in your life. You’re just as messed up now as you were before.’ Two years later, God touched me deeply where that insult had landed, and three times he spoke the truth to my heart, “There is no———. There is no————. There is no————-. And as the tears ran down my face, the pain, hurt and burden of those cruel words lifted off my life. I alway ‘knew’ they were ‘a lie’. But it was their ‘effect’ which held that pain in. “Life and death is in the power of the tongue.” A year later, I remember a kind group member contacting me, encouraging me to return, as I had just left the group. The Lord had said to me ‘it was time to leave’. As this kind member spoke to me over the phone, I began to feel afraid. This is a normal human emotion afer experiencing spiritual abuse from leaders. I said to her” the core will not like us talking about the prayer group.” She responded , “We are two adults talking!” And we were! But you can see how, when we have been hurt like this, we forget that we are adults who actually ‘have’ any rights as adults, because our minds have become so brainwashed by the enemy, that we ‘don’t think right about our rights!!! Revisiting this has brought back some of the normal healthy gut reactions,of normal, healthy ANGER which is NOT SIN!!!, which reminds me how healthy free and honest God has helped me to be and remain as a christian living in reality and not a fantasy world of denial as a mental scapegoat. Being confronted about your blog remarks on True womanhood, was like saying, ‘we realize you have opinions, bu we do not like them, we do not approve of you expressing them. Not only that, we would prefer you not have any opinions at all. SO WHY DON”T YOU JUST STOP THINKING!!!!! The no talk rule intimidation is really an extension of a subtle no think rule. Don’t talk, don’t think, don’t be yourself. Because WE are the powerbrokers, WE are the ELITE, WE are the ONLY ones with ALL the rights. And YOU have none. HOW could anyone live like that, on the other end of the BIG STICK of WE KNOW WHAT’s BEST FOR YOU! ( more like they know what’s best for ‘them’,intimidation to control by fear…to maintain total control and domination to keep feeding their insecure need for power!)

    I saw the True womanhood blog for the first time today. It’s so refreshing to hear women talking honestly about the subject, and so freely. It reminds me of a lady pastor who shared with us ladies at a ladies day,about a suspicious phone call from a controlling husband, re a seminar the lady pastor was going to teach one day. It was about a bad spirit, called Jezebel. The man said over the phone, I’m going to send my wife to your seminar, because I’m sure that’s what she’s ‘got’! Another ludicrous phone comment made to this lady pastor by another man pastor, re same topic, women who have this ‘spirit’, “Well that lady pastor wears slacks and has a short hair cut, so she must have a jezebel spirit!’ I mean LAUGHABLE!!!! Any one can have a problem with a controlling spirit! But it is what is in the heart! Do we want to love others with real human love,which means we do not selfishly control people, the responsible control in that is our own Godly self-control in our own lives, which is a choice and a sincere obedience from the heart to God, and is manifested by a true respect for other people’s Godly rights and freedoms. One of my favorite sayings is “people are too precious to be abused.” I am so happy for you and Grant, that you have been loved into such healthy freedom by God. I feel so inspired by reading about your journey and others responses, in a non-judgemental environment. One where, nobody’s going to shake the ‘have you forgiven stick’ at you, and try to shame you for talking about your feelings and emotions from disturbing experiences. God has never been after us for his pound of flesh, ‘if you don’t forgive, I’m going to get you!’ That’s
    what judgemental man does to fellow man, to try to make him feel guilty, get him to stop talking about his pain, shut him down with guilt mongering, wave the big religious stick, about instant forgiveness, as if forgiveness was a magic wand, and everything painful would just suddenly disappear from our lives like a fickle rain cloud. And then if we fell for that false belief, we would then have to put a happy face on, an ‘I’m feeling fine’ happy smile, and put on an act to the world and to the church, that ‘we dont have any problems’. And ‘pretend’. Remember the line from that sinful song of the fifties or sixties?”Oh yes, I’m the great pretender.” You know the music that some religious people thought wuld turn their children into social and cultural criminals! And most of us who listened to it turned out almost normal! When we deny our pain, we deny reality. When we do that, we have to put on a happy face, while on the inside our hearts are just breaking. I believe Jesus came to set us free from all that counter-productive pretense. I would much rather have an honest and happy heart, than a sad one with an outward happy clappy chrostianity. I would rather be real. A real christian Not a perfect one, but an honest one. One with no need for a hidden agenda. Thanks for putting the link to True womanhood blog on your blog. It has inspired me to do some more thinking about what I would like to write do and speak about helping all of us wonderful women be more and more set free from the PATRIARCHS!!! I also have husband who is egalitarian, who believes women should have a lot more freedom to do things that God wants them to do too, so much more than society and religion holds them back from doing. Aren’t we blessed! I just don’t think my church is ready for a woman pope! Keep being free. And keep doing whatever God wants you to do. Sincerely, Barbara Quinn

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  • July 11, 2013 at 4:10 am
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    I just now realized some of the things you went through were similar to what my dad went through. He too was told that he could not discuss his beliefs with other students when he joined a church that was not on BJ’s approved list. This was back in the late 1970’s. His path did lead in a direction different from yours, though.

    Sometime I may need to set up an appointment to talk.

    • July 25, 2013 at 6:00 pm
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      Interesting. . . . I think I heard about that conflict back then. With People’s Bible?

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