Designed to be a … Finger? – Another Bill Gothard Testimony

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."

St. Francis of Assisi

IMG_0010Coconut – Deb's 'Idol'

I have heard it said that you shouldn't trust anyone who doesn't love dogs (or any other type of pet for that matter!), and I believe it's true!  I grew up loving all kids of animals.  As a very young girl, I enjoyed petting all the cats and dogs in my neighborhood, and they loved me! 

When I turned eight my family bought a German Shepherd we named 'Heidi'.  We had her from six weeks old until she died of old age, and she and I had a special bond.  During my sophomore year of college, I wasn't able to come home that much.  I will never forget the weekend when I did make it home.  Heidi was so happy to see me, though she was extremely feeble.  It was during that visit that she died, and it was obvious she was waiting to see me one last time to say good-bye.  I'm tearing up as I write this.

Early in my marriage we acquired two black labs – Peanut and CoCo – and they were faithful companions for many years.  CoCo was the last one to die, and he would have been 16 on his next birthday.  I nicknamed him "Shadow" because he followed me everywhere and was always right under my feet.  He loved riding in the car and sat up just like a person.  We buried both of them on our farm under a huge oak tree, and I still miss them very much.  

When my older daughter went away to college, my younger daughter desperately wanted to get another dog.  Some dear friends had a Maltese (called 'Mr. Pip') that my daughters fell in love with, so that's why we chose that breed.  Coconut recently turned five, and she and I are rarely apart.  I cherish her companionship so much!  

I know not everyone is fond of dogs or cats for various reasons (fear, allergies, responsibility, and a myriad of other reasons), and that's absolutely fine, but when a Christian leader dictates to others how many pets they are 'allowed' to have and chides them for showing their pets too much love, they have crossed a line with me.  Them's fightin' words!  That is why the following post published on the Recovering Grace website really resonated with me. 

Susan, an Italian who loves horses, shares her story about how she was negatively affected by Bill Gothard.  We are grateful to the editors at Recovering Grace for giving us permission to republish Susan's testimony.


Designed to be a … Finger?

This post came to us from a seminar attendee, someone who was very much influenced by the teachings of Bill Gothard. While this site is mainly for former students to share their journeys to healing and grace we thought it would be beneficial to show that many people — even those not inside the Advanced Training Institute — were affected by the teachings of Bill Gothard through the Basic and Advanced Seminars.

“Females who enjoy horseback riding have a problem with rebellion.”  —  Bill Gothard

http://www.recoveringgrace.org/2012/10/designed-to-be-a-finger/I remember reading years ago that Bill Gothard allowed families to have one small pet dog, but not to give it too much love as it might become an idol. Just reading that made me cringe as I thought, “Boy, am I in trouble now!” I really respected — or rather feared — that anything written by Gothard was straight from God. At the time I had a horse, cats, dogs, and milk goats because my husband needed that milk due to a mystery illness. And they all got a lot of petting and love, and they usually stayed with us until they died.

I married my long-suffering husband in 1975. He knew I was different, and he still loved me. His Baptist mom was upset because not only was I from a Catholic Italian family, but I had made my feelings known about not wanting children. I cared little for the other things most woman did. Hair, make-up, clothing, and keeping house were just not on my agenda. I had graduated with a teaching degree, and I wanted to teach school, be an artist, ride horses, and have some cats and dogs as pets. So I did. But I carried a lot of guilt for these choices due to having been to a Gothard seminar where we were taught wifely submission and the importance of having lots of children. Animals, art, and horseback riding were not part of the formula for the perfect Christian life (i.e., God’s best!).

There were things I did for the glory of God. I was willing to work alongside my husband to help youth find their way to God. I was creative in many ways, but my personal style did not line up with the status quo on how to teach the Word of God. I rarely followed the Sunday school lesson as set down by the Baptist board. (They, of course, knew exactly what God wanted to say on that particular Sunday). I preferred to wing it or be led by the Spirit.

I thought I was doing my part well according to my abilities in the First Baptist Church in a little town in Arkansas where my husband was minister of music and youth. But one Monday morning, my husband was called into the pastor’s office. “What is wrong with your wayward wife?” the pastor stormed at my husband. We had been married for a little over a year at that time, and we knew each other as well as any newlywed couple could. My husband could not imagine what I had done wrong. All sorts of frightening thoughts went through his mind. Was she drinking or doing drugs? Adultery? Wearing revealing clothing?

“She rode her horse to church!” came the stern reply. My husband was dumbfounded. He explained that I had ridden to church alongside a little girl on her horse, as it was a way to get her to come to church. But apparently, on that same Sunday, there had been some bigwigs from the Baptist convention visiting, and this was not how the pastor wanted his church to be represented. My husband was firmly reminded that his wife was not allowed to wear pants at any time because of the position he held. (That was the first thing the pastor told me when we arrived in the little Arkansas town. “You are to wear dresses at all times, and pets are discouraged.” I told him that I could not find anything in the Bible about those things. I was incredulous at such ridiculous rules here in America. This was, after all, in the mid ’70s, around the same time that the movie The Stepford Wives came out.) We stayed at the church through the summer but left after the horse incident, even though the youth begged us to stay: “You two are the first to ever show an interest in our needs, desires, and questions about God and life.” But we were so radically different that the church was about to ask the pastor to leave because of us, and we did not want to be the cause of any church splits.

As it turned out, the old mare that caused such controversy was going to be our only transportation for several months, as our old car was on the fritz and we could not afford to get it fixed. God supplied her to be our transportation to church, work, and other places, until she passed away of old age.

Our next church got into Bill Gothard’s “authority” teachings (as in never, ever question the church leaders). That was also where I attended my first and only Gothard seminar. My husband was smart and ignored most of what was said in the sessions, but I read a great deal of Bill Gothard’s material. I quickly came to the conclusion that I would never be able to measure up to all those rules, especially how women should dress, keep an immaculate house, and have child after child. A visit to my house would find paintings, art supplies, saddles, and some cats throughout.

As for having children, I had had my fill as a teen, helping my mom run her babysitting business. I grew up always in trouble for what those kids did, and spent many a lonely hour in my room as punishment. Summers were the worst time, as I got in trouble daily for not taking better care of the children. As an adult, I liked kids, but had absolutely no desire to have one. As a teacher, I could be around the children and then send them home at the end of the day and have personal time for art and riding.

Gothard’s teachings were having an effect on me, though. The guilt of not living up to his standards for the perfect Christian wife often drove me to physical and mental sickness, because I believed that I was sinning by my life choices. I believed I would never be able to change. I believed that I must not love God enough to not be able to give up the things I loved in order to keep a perfect house and keep myself attractive with groomed hair and makeup, etc. But I just could not make myself do what it took to be living in “God’s best” according to Gothard’s teachings.

It all came to a head in 1986, after our home was hit by a tornado in 1982, and then again in 1985. Even though the house took a severe hit with lots of damage, God protected all the critters and the artwork.  For example, glass had flown throughout the whole house and was embedded in all the walls. Paintings hanging there could have been torn to shreds, but not a single shard touched the art or the frames. Every cat, goat, dog, and horse came through unscathed. God was watching over us, protecting us, and blessing us — yet all I could think about was how much I was failing Him.

For over a year, I spiraled into a deep depression and became  ill with an unspecified disease (probably post traumatic stress disorder from the tornadoes).  I had no strength and could barely function.  I just sat on the couch telling God to kill or cure me as I could no longer live that way.  I finally opened the Bible and spent three days reading scripture.  I neither ate nor drank anything, nor did I feel hungry.  (God’s fast is just that, God’s fast. I really did not want or need any intake.)  I finally felt connected to Him.

I felt that He said to me, “Here I am. Now tell me your sin.” I said, “I am an artist; I love horses and cats, and I do not have or want any children.” God replied, “No, not that. I asked you to tell me your sin.” I repeated, “I am an artist; I love horses, and I do not have or want any children.” God said, “No, no, that is not sin. Let me tell you what your sin is. Even if you were a missionary in deepest darkest Africa and had several children, never rode another horse or painted another picture, you still would not be pleasing to me because you have no faith.” He continued, “I gave you your art talent. I gave you your love of horses and cats. I made you the way you are, even all your faults and shortcomings. I made those in you for My purposes! I will use you to reach people that others cannot. You must walk and live by faith, for your likes, your dislikes, your personality, and even your faults are to be lived by faith.”

Whoa! What a load came off my heart and shoulders that day! My life was to be lived by faith in Him, led by Him, not following what men expected of me. I was to live how He expected me to live, and not what others said was right or wrong for my life. It was wonderful to feel free and happy for the first time in my life. I have come to understand that He is the Author and Finisher of my faith. And I know that there are many yet-to-be-written chapters.

Years have  passed. No, I never had kids. I still paint, teach art in public school, have two horses, and have rescued and found homes for many lost cats and dogs. The guilt has tried to work its way back in from time to time. I even prayed one time, “Please God, let someone else find the lost critters.” Two days later, driving on a very dark road out in the country, we came across a tiny white kitten, too young to be away from his mother. Of course, we had to stop and rescue it. This is how I was fearfully and wonderfully made. We still have that rescued kitten, and he is sitting at my computer desk in front of me as I write this.

A wise Christian lady, whose husband survived 12 bullets in a store robbery, once told me that God does not make “cookie cutter Christians.” I have come to realize that each Christian has to follow the individual path God has laid out for them. It is a personal relationship to be worked out, with many mistakes and wrong paths taken along the way. The problem is that sometimes the body of Christ thinks that God has exactly the same plan for every Christian, to walk, talk, dress, and live exactly the same way. That all Christians should be arms or legs. Who gets to be the less glamorous parts of the body?

1 Corinthians 12:14–25 (English Standard Version)

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.

If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be?

As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

Susan, an Italian, is an artist, horse lover, and struggling Christian. Married since 1975 to Stephen, they have no kids, but lots of cats, two dogs, and two horses. She is just getting back into riding her 31-year-old horse, who survived the second tornado (a miracle in itself). She has taught in public schools for 27 years and is currently teaching art at the middle school level. Her art can be seen here.

Lydia's Corner:   1 Samuel 24:1-25:44   John 10:22-42   Psalm 116:1-19   Proverbs 15:20-21

Comments

Designed to be a … Finger? – Another Bill Gothard Testimony — 190 Comments

  1. While I was reading this post, I was petting the cat and she was rubbing against my netbook. 🙂 What a freeing post to read! I am a teacher, am an older woman, never married, never wanted children. And I love cats. I have strong opinions and am not necessarily interested in all the feminine things like cooking or wearing fancy clothes and heels. I used to feel very condemned about this, and especially had trouble relating to Carolyn Mahaney. How is a person like me supposed to take her style and apply it to my life? Thank God for His grace that has permeated my life!

  2. FormerCLC'er,

    Love your comment!  You sound like you have a wonderful life!  How boring to be a Carolyn Mahaney clone.

    Never forget that you were made in the image of God.  🙂

  3. And what a wonderful finger you are, pointing out to everyone, that God uses us just as we are 🙂

  4. Six years ago I heard Al Mohler on his radio show talking about this very thing. He of course thought it was sinful to spend too much money on operations etc. for pets. You know there are things that might not be the smartest thing and then there sins. The Calvinistas LOVE creating new sins to whine and moan about.

  5. Thank you for sharing Susan’s story.

    How tiring to live by so many rules and regulations. These folks must be exhausted each night when they go to bed. How they have the energy to procreate on a yearly basis is beyond my understanding.

  6. Susan sounds lovely – thank you for sharing her story.

    That St. Francis of Assisi quote is very true.

    I have always had dogs and cats…. all strays that have found their way to our home where they are loved without reserve 🙂 At present we have two dogs and four cats who are my constant companions.

  7. I remember reading years ago that Bill Gothard allowed families to have one small pet dog, but not to give it too much love as it might become an idol.

    I remember, as a baby Christian, thinking the same nonsense – namely, that an idol was anything you liked, because maybe you liked it more than God. Actually the idols that God hates (if the Bible is anything to go by, and I think it is) are man-made creations that are supposed to represent God. Like Gothard’s stupid rules.

  8. “Females who enjoy horseback riding have a problem with rebellion.”

    Because pants…?

    “She rode her horse to church!”

    Ummm…that was pretty common in ye olden days. I guess all his noble Baptist ancestors were sinners.

    “I remember reading years ago that Bill Gothard allowed families to have one small pet dog, but not to give it too much love as it might become an idol.”

    So dairy farmers, pig farmers, etc. are automatically unregenerate idolaters? What about someone who breeds dogs/cats for a living? And can plants become idols too?

    I suppose my family is screwed… Last year our cat was on a feeding tube at home for a month after a really bad vaccine reaction. He developed a massive infection in all his abdominal lymph nodes (suppurative lymphadenitis) that the vets originally thought was lymphoma. It was apparently so rare they had never seen it before in a cat. The cat is hardly old and decrepit, it would not have been fair to him to let him die from something completely preventable which we had brought on him accidentally. What God-awful compassionate idolaters we are! ; ) Of course we have two cats and a bird so that finished us from the beginning.

    The PCA church I spent some time in a few years ago didn’t have an official no-pets policy, but none of the core families had pets. The pastor’s family had a cat when we got there, but it died shortly after. The wife expressed genuine surprise at how much she missed the cat. *facepalm* All the other people who had pets ended up leaving the church. It was very strange. Like Deb, I’m suspicious when that many people with no pets congregate in one place. Many of them were very serious people – you find yourself wondering, “Is a cat just too right-brained for you?” Shrug.

  9. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    . Actually the idols that God hates (if the Bible is anything to go by, and I think it is) are man-made creations that are supposed to represent God. Like Gothard’s stupid rules.

    +1

  10. “Females who enjoy horseback riding have a problem with rebellion.” — Bill Gothard

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life.

  11. Fellow Pet Lovers,

    You might be interested in a recent USA Today article that Mohler called attention to in his briefing:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/04/25/casket-maker-enters-pet-market/2111715/

    “Overall spending on pets has grown 29% the past five years despite the recession, and it’s expected to grow 4% this year, to $55.53 billion, according to the American Pet Products Association.

    Most of that is for food and supplies. However, 41% of dog owners and 30% of cat owners would buy something following a pet’s death — most commonly a memorial stone or urn — according to the association’s 2011-12 survey of pet owners.

    “The pet industry is recognizing (a need), and providing pet parents with more and more meaningful ways and options to memorialize their pets,” said Tierra Bonaldi, APPA spokeswoman.

    The 2011-12 survey found 62% of U.S. households have pets, vs. 56% in its 1988 survey.”

    I love the last sentence! 

    I guess Mohler and gang would rather have people spending $$$ on their conferences, books, etc. 

    Now I get it…

  12. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Actually the idols that God hates (if the Bible is anything to go by, and I think it is) are man-made creations that are supposed to represent God. Like Gothard’s stupid rules.

    Excellent point!

  13. Dee wrote:

    My three rescue pugs: Lilly, Petunia and Tulip roundly condemn Bill Gothard.

    So do Pokey and Pebbles, my papillon and mini dachshund! And because Pokey doesn’t have very nice manners (blame Mama!) he would express his disdain upon BG’s trouser leg, I’m sure. And you go, Pokey!

  14. This post is hugely encouraging to me. I have never fit in with the Christian cookie cutter model but I refuse to listen to these knucklehead fundamentalists, Calvinistas, et al. who believe that conformity is next to godliness.

    I first encountered this when I attended a strict Christian college that really emphasized these cultural prejudices about how women should think and behave. I was made to feel like a freak of nature because I would rather read than sit around the dorms with the other girls doing our nails. The pressure was enormous. I left the church over it, not because I wanted to cling to my “idols” of poetry and literature, but because I could not square these stupid, rigid rules with Scripture at all (is there an 11th commandment: Thou shalt wear abundant mascara?), and so it all seemed false. I was not mature enough to know how to throw away the shell and keep the kernel.

    After many years God called me back. I still struggle with doubt as well as confusion about how different I am from the “typical” Christian. But I keep seeing how it’s cultural pressure only and not God who is making me feel like I don’t measure up. This site has helped me so much in sorting out how to actually deal with struggles and doubts instead of sweeping everything under the rug out of fear of “sinning through questioning.”

    We ARE individuals, all of us, men and women both, and we all have responsibilities as individuals to try to figure out how to live, whether these authoritarian pastors like it or not. These people who block the path and try to keep others from God — because they’d rather be in that role — have a lot to answer for. Individuality is not sinful in and of itself. Trying to destroy all individuality is the way of the tyrant, not the way of our Creator.

  15. This pet prohibition is ridiculous! (that’s my printable response)

    Personally, I think my aquarium is practically a necessity, due to the stress-relieving properties of fish. Otherwise, the tension of living around church people who are wont to bring up the latest tripe from Mohler, Driscoll, et. al. could lead to serious medical complications.

  16. Oh, Deb, you made me cry with this post. Three weeks ago we had to put our cat to sleep at the end of her battle with kidney disease. She was a stray that wandered into our lives soon after my husband and I were married. She grew up with each of our children. Even when the little ones pulled her tail or rubbed her fur the wrong way, she never scratched or bit anyone. She’d simply get up and move out of reach. I miss her every day. She was such a gentle, affectionate companion.

    Years ago I read Proverbs 12:10, which gave me peace about my love for animals. “The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.”

    I know that not everyone is an “animal person,” but those of us who are should not be ashamed of it.

  17. Susan in the above testimony: “As for having children, I had had my fill as a teen, helping my mom run her babysitting business. I grew up always in trouble for what those kids did, and spent many a lonely hour in my room as punishment. Summers were the worst time, as I got in trouble daily for not taking better care of the children. As an adult, I liked kids, but had absolutely no desire to have one. As a teacher, I could be around the children and then send them home at the end of the day and have personal time for art and riding.”

    LOL! It sounds like she suffered the ‘parent’ stage a little too early in life and found herself in ‘grandparent’ stage at a time when the ‘norm’ (I use that word very loosely) would have been to be a parent. Nothing wrong with that! In fact, except for the fact that she spent too much time being ‘in trouble’ with her mom over stuff and having to bear too much responsibility too young, I think it’s great she’s doing ‘grandparenting’ while she’s young. She certainly has more energy for it. And it sounds like she’s in the center of God’s will which is the best place to be!

  18. anonymous wrote:

    “Females who enjoy horseback riding have a problem with rebellion.” — Bill Gothard
    This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life.

    I second that.

    Can’t help wondering: Did Gothard actually try to back up this tidbit with Bible verses, or did he just toss it out for people to swallow?

  19. I remember years ago reading an article by Keith Green on the topic of excesses with pets. It would’ve been interesting to see if he became more filled with grace had he lived. Though he still was a pretty awesome guy.

    As for trying to be clones of each other – how boring! Diversity is what makes the world go round. I work in the inner city and love the craziness that comes with being around different types of people. (Well, most days I love it.)

  20. Deb wrote:

    I guess Mohler and gang would rather have people spending $$$ on their conferences, books, etc. 

    Or maybe they want everyone to have a bunch of kids instead of pets. After all, animals can’t grow up into “culture warriors”, dontcha know? 😉

  21. Serving in Japan wrote:

    Deb wrote:
    I guess Mohler and gang would rather have people spending $$$ on their conferences, books, etc. 
    Or maybe they want everyone to have a bunch of kids instead of pets. After all, animals can’t grow up into “culture warriors”, dontcha know?

    Yes, that’s most likely the real motivation.

  22. @ BeenThereDoneThat:

    I am SO sorry for your loss BeenThereDoneThat 🙁 One of our beautiful old cats (also with the most wonderful disposition) has kidney disease. Every day my heart is sore as I try to help him have the best quality of life before having to take that inevitable, heartbreaking step.

  23. Maybe Gothard read Freud and thought there was something sexual about women riding horseback:)

  24. Why do they care if you have and love a pet??? I had tons of pets growing up but I never thought one was God!!. They just want to make up rules to bind you. They may be on the fast train to heresy.

  25. Thanks to Deb for re-publishing this for us all. I especially liked reading about Susan’s heart-to-heart with God, and how it freed her.

    Like @ lilyrosemary seems to, I struggle a fair bit with my awkward personality, and my mishmash of talents, preferences and faults. I’ve mentioned to a few people I know that sometimes I feel like a platypus — a critter that just makes no darn sense, least of all to me.

    I like to remember these words from C.S. Lewis in “The Problem Of Pain” (this is from memory):

    “A mold for a key would seem like a strange thing if one had never seen a key before. The key itself would seem strange for someone who had never seen a lock. Your soul has a strange shape because it is a key to open one of the many rooms in the ‘house with many mansions’. … Rest assured, the shape of your soul is no mystery to God; and one day, it will no longer be a mystery to you, either.”

    How I long for that day… Till then, gotta trust in Him.

  26. FormerCLC’er wrote:

    I remember years ago reading an article by Keith Green on the topic of excesses with pets. It would’ve been interesting to see if he became more filled with grace had he lived. Though he still was a pretty awesome guy.

    From what little I heard of Keith Green, he sounds like an on-fire young radical who at the time of his death was starting to mellow with age. Hard to maintain the energy level of The Angry Young Man forever.

  27. @ Serving in Japan:

    How could you back that up with Scripture? Gothard’s teachings are simply the product of his own imagination. The thing about cult leaders is that they can say absolutely anything, no matter how ridiculous, absurd, or insane, and their followers will hang on their every word.

    It angers me that evangelicals are so prone to chase after fads and be deceived by whatever snake oil salesman (like Gothard) who shows up and claims to have the “Biblical way to do XYZ.” And they don’t bother to check to see if the Bible actually says what the Gothards of the world claim it says.

  28. “I gave you your art talent. I gave you your love of horses and cats. I made you the way you are, even all your faults and shortcomings. I made those in you for My purposes! I will use you to reach people that others cannot. You must walk and live by faith, for your likes, your dislikes, your personality, and even your faults are to be lived by faith.”
    — God according to Susan

    What is Faith and what does it mean to live by faith? I have heard many definitions, to the point of confusion. I can’t help thinking of Blind Faith to the point of total denial (which I have also seen well outside any connection with God). I’m a possible borderline low-end Aspergers, which means I default to taking everything literally, with a runaway imagination that elaborates worst-case scenarios. (According to an old RHE posting, Aspies are often advised to keep away from certain faith traditions because of their literalism and vulnerability to runaway despair; my early exposure to Christ was through extreme splinter-church Evangelicalism.) I’m currently in the middle of a prostate cancer scare with my urologist due to rising PSA levels, which is triggering a worst-case cascade of old fears.

  29. Nicholas wrote:

    @ Serving in Japan:

    How could you back that up with Scripture? Gothard’s teachings are simply the product of his own imagination. The thing about cult leaders is that they can say absolutely anything, no matter how ridiculous, absurd, or insane, and their followers will hang on their every word.

    At the end of Revelation, isn’t there a curse pronounced on “those who add or take away from this book”? Often extended to mean the entire Bible?

    It angers me that evangelicals are so prone to chase after fads and be deceived by whatever snake oil salesman (like Gothard) who shows up and claims to have the “Biblical way to do XYZ.” And they don’t bother to check to see if the Bible actually says what the Gothards of the world claim it says.

    The keyword here is “Biblical”. Especially if accompanied by a fast and furious “barrage of Bible bullets” proof-texts. Evangelicals are often accused of Bibliolatry — putting so much emphasis on the Bible that it becomes a de facto Fourth Person of the Trinity. (And/or a micromanaging rulebook. And/or a grimoire of one-verse verbal-component spells, magical in and of itself.) With those undercurrents in play, the Evangelical mind would be pre-primed to where “Biblical” and a few proof-texts could justify most anything.

  30. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    Couple of things here, HUG –

    1) Maybe we should do a joint article on Bible-as-grimoire madness!

    And 2) I’d actually go even further regarding bibliolatry; it makes the Bible the Third person of the Trinity, invariably expelling the Holy Spirit from any realistic presence in the church. And the only person of the Trinity present among us.

  31. Serving in Japan wrote:

    Deb wrote:

    I guess Mohler and gang would rather have people spending $$$ on their conferences, books, etc.

    Or maybe they want everyone to have a bunch of kids instead of pets. After all, animals can’t grow up into “culture warriors”, dontcha know? 😉

    For what it’s worth, when I went online this morning, Yahoo News had a headline about the ongoing National Rifle Association annual convention (this year’s theme “Stand and Fight”):

    NRA Offical: “Culture War” more than Gun Rights

  32. @ BeenThereDoneThat:
    Your cat sounds like a real sweetheart. I’m sorry you had to put her to sleep. I lost my favorite cat as a child and it still makes me sad when I think of him, over 30 years later. The loss of a cherished pet is very painful.

  33. Serving in Japan wrote:

    Or maybe they want everyone to have a bunch of kids instead of pets. After all, animals can’t grow up into “culture warriors”, dontcha know?

    You know, he used to write that people should marry young and start having children. I always found all that strange considering he only had 2 children. And his daughter went to college and then to DC to work for a senator. Seems it was ok for her to have an exciting career first. But then, there was Mary Mohler admonishing seminary wives about modesty and the next event their daughter would show up in a mini skirt and spike heels. More of the pharasetical do as I say, not as I do.

    Always check out their own lives. And that is hard to do when you don’t really know them. (there is a clue!) And never trust parenting advice from guys like Voddie Baucham who start dishing out in books, sermons when their kids are small. I am seeing a lot of that sort of thing and it is ridiculous. The parenting advice you can get from some old grey heads ususally sounds very different.

    I have been cracking up at this:

    “Females who enjoy horseback riding have a problem with rebellion.” — Bill Gothard

    Let’s analyze this. What if females ride horses but DON’T enjoy it? Then it is ok? What if your job as a girl on a farm is to ride the fence perimeter to check on fencing. (My cousin did this often) Is it ok as long as she does not “enjoy” riding the horse? :o)

    Was there anything about that in Gothards Talmud for Christians?

  34. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I’m currently in the middle of a prostate cancer scare with my urologist due to rising PSA levels, which is triggering a worst-case cascade of old fears

    You hang in there! Keep telling yourself that is one of the most treatable and curable cancers. Repeat often.

  35. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Couple of things here, HUG –

    1) Maybe we should do a joint article on Bible-as-grimoire madness!

    According to some private correspondence with Martha of Ireland (another frequent commenter at Internet Monk), this was probably fallout from the Protestant Reformation, especially the extreme forms like Calvinism:

    The Reformation threw out the whole layers of acculturation that had accreted around popular Catholicism, and they went after it where it hurt — the folk religion. Not alone did they deny the efficacy of the invocation of the saints (whatever the leaders’ theological position on saints) but they deliberately broke open and despoiled saints’ shrines, broke open the tombs, either reburied or burned the relics, chopped up for firewood any wonder-working icons, crucifixes or statues (for example, what the Henrician reformation did to the images of Our Lady of Walsingham and others: “It was the month of July, the images of Our Lady of Walsingham and Ipswich were brought up to London with all the jewels that hung around them, at the King’s commandment, and divers other images, both in England and Wales, that were used for common pilgrimage … and they were burnt at Chelsea by my Lord Privy Seal”.)

    But not alone did they destroy all the official church paraphernalia, this meant that for the ordinary man or woman, you couldn’t even have a rosary beads, a crucifix, a holy picture, a relic , holy water in your house or on your person; nothing except the Bible (if you could read it and had a copy). You couldn’t even say a prayer to your patron saint; no more of Martin Luther in the thunderstorm promising St. Anne if she’d save him, he’d join a monastery. So all the protections that the ordinary people had relied on were whipped away in one fell swoop and they were left with naked faith.

    And with a lively belief in the devil still alive and kicking, and a view of God that may not have been meant as punitive but turned that way (as we’ve seen in the IM discussion threads about “if you’re sick, it’s God’s punishment or your own lack of faith”), they were left reliant on their own faith — ah, but wait! If you’re inclined to the Calvinist end of the spectrum, that may not be enough! Because how do you know this is real faith, saving faith, living faith as distinct from the dead faith that avails naught? God even permits some of the reprobate to feel they have a saving faith, even though they really don’t, and are not of the elect but are damned already despite whatever they may do or say.

    If all that will protect you from the Devil is your own faith, and you can’t be sure of that, of course all the alternative they had was to make a fetish of the Bible (as bad in its way as any magical charm-prayer or novena to saints in the Bad Old Days). All you can do is wave the Word around and see devils under every bush.

    And 2) I’d actually go even further regarding bibliolatry; it makes the Bible the Third person of the Trinity, invariably expelling the Holy Spirit from any realistic presence in the church. And the only person of the Trinity present among us.

  36. Anon 1 wrote:

    Always check out their own lives. And that is hard to do when you don’t really know them. (there is a clue!)

    Or all you can know of them is their PR Spin. (double clue!)

    And never trust parenting advice from guys like Voddie Baucham who start dishing out in books, sermons when their kids are small. I am seeing a lot of that sort of thing and it is ridiculous. The parenting advice you can get from some old grey heads usually sounds very different.

    There is a general law of nature (dating back to Job’s Counselors) that those who have NEVER experienced what you’re going through always Know The Most About What YOU Should Do About It.

    And a Sixties song about a burned-out activist:

    “Oh, I was so much older then;
    I’m younger than that now.”

  37. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Anon 1 wrote:
    Always check out their own lives. And that is hard to do when you don’t really know them. (there is a clue!)
    Or all you can know of them is their PR Spin. (double clue!)
    And never trust parenting advice from guys like Voddie Baucham who start dishing out in books, sermons when their kids are small. I am seeing a lot of that sort of thing and it is ridiculous. The parenting advice you can get from some old grey heads usually sounds very different.
    There is a general law of nature (dating back to Job’s Counselors) that those who have NEVER experienced what you’re going through always Know The Most About What YOU Should Do About It.
    And a Sixties song about a burned-out activist:
    “Oh, I was so much older then;
    I’m younger than that now.”

    Also, Bill Gothard never married or had kids, yet he pretended to be an expert on those subjects.

  38. @ rubytuesday:
    Thank you for your kind thoughts. I’m sorry that you are facing the same health issue with your sweet cat. I’ll be thinking of you.

    If you haven’t already seen this website, it was invaluable in helping me navigate the last few months: http://www.felinecrf.org/

  39. Anon 1 wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I’m currently in the middle of a prostate cancer scare with my urologist due to rising PSA levels, which is triggering a worst-case cascade of old fears

    You hang in there! Keep telling yourself that is one of the most treatable and curable cancers. Repeat often.

    The two prostate cancer survivors at work (one 13 year without relapse) keep telling me.

    My sister-in-law (the pharmacist — literally from Nineveh) keeps telling me.

    My main writing partner (the burned-out country preacher with an aged congregation) keeps telling me.

    Yet the memories of my mother dying of small-cell lung cancer in ’75 have left me with an extreme phobia of cancer, period; my GP even does additional tests every year for my reassurance. I figure I have a 50/50 chance of ending this year with a prognosis instead of a prostate, and there are three robotic laparoscopic surgical hospitals in my immediate area. (Assuming the emergency diverticulitis surgery I had six years ago doesn’t interfere with robotic laparoscopic prostate surgery.)

    I got the warning from a urologist visit a week and a half ago, and have had a hard time eating/sleeping normally ever since.

  40. P.S. My next urologist visit and test (which will probably be a go/nogo for biopsy) is at the end of July. According to medical second opinions, even the aggressive versions of prostate cancer progress so slow that two-three months between tests should not make a difference.

  41. @ anonymous:
    Thank you for your kindness. I’m sorry for the cat you lost. It does hurt, doesn’t it? Yet, I cherish every memory our family had with our cat. We are richer for having had her in our lives.

  42. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    Hmm… that’s really interesting, HUGs. And of course since YRR fundagelicals don’t really believe the devil does anything beyond spreading bad doctrine any more – serious enough given that they believe in justification by doctrine – the “devils under every bush” are now heretics on every blog.

  43. Susan sounds wonderful! She seems right where God wants her to be.

    I have a daughter who loves horses, rides, draws, wants a barn for animals and never talks about marriage or children. She is wonderful too!

    I wonder what Mohler would say about money spent on pet rats? (which make great pets BTW)

    Have these guys never heard of James Herriot? And one of the mandates God gave to the first family was to care for the earth and its creatures. But I guess they can’t use those verses to build their own kingdoms to well since their not veterinarians.

  44. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Oh, Deb, you made me cry with this post. Three weeks ago we had to put our cat to sleep at the end of her battle with kidney disease.

    I am so sorry. Animal lovers can really feel your pain because most of us have been there. It’s like losing a member of the family. We definitely mourn when we lose a pet.

  45. Josh wrote:

    This pet prohibition is ridiculous! (that’s my printable response)
    Personally, I think my aquarium is practically a necessity, due to the stress-relieving properties of fish. Otherwise, the tension of living around church people who are wont to bring up the latest tripe from Mohler, Driscoll, et. al. could lead to serious medical complications.

    Great comment! There is no question that pets (including fish) are good for one’s health, as revealed in this Web MD article.

    I found this part of the article very interesting:

    Date Magnets

    Dogs are great for making love connections. Forget Internet matchmaking — a dog is a natural conversation starter.

    This especially helps ease people out of social isolation or shyness, Nadine Kaslow, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University in Atlanta, tells WebMD.

    “People ask about breed, they watch the dog’s tricks,” Kaslow says. “Sometimes the conversation stays at the ‘dog level,’ sometimes it becomes a real social interchange.”

  46. If girls and women who love riding horses are rebellious, well then, I guess that explains everything about me! 😉

    I cannot for the life of me see how truly loving and caring for other creatures could ever be a bad thing – as per the quote at the beginning of this post (and other quotes I’m having a hard time recalling at the moment), so much about a person’s character is revealed in how they treat animals, children, the elderly and frail… I could go on.

    My animal pal (a rabbit) has been one of the best things that’s ever happened in my life – I never knew how much interacting with and getting to know another species could enrich one’s life. I am so grateful to have her living with me. (One of the reasons I’m fascinated by buns is that you really have to work to gain their trust; being prey animals, they are pretty well wired to distrust us, but they’re also highly intelligent, inquisitive, friendly – when approached on their terms, incredibly loving and loyal, not to mention pretty silly at times. It can be a win-win combination for sure!)

  47. Really great post, had a good morning cry reminiscing over the time God spoke to me in the same way, accepting me, after failing the Stepford test.

  48. Bridget wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    I am praying for you HUG and don’t be shy with those docs. Push them for earlier testing if you feel you need to. It’s your body!!

    Yes. This.

  49. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Yet the memories of my mother dying of small-cell lung cancer in ’75 have left me with an extreme phobia of cancer, period; my GP even does additional tests every year for my reassurance.

    Hug- I feel for you. I don’t know for sure, because I never researched this, but a therapist I worked with a few years ago, told me that science is exploring how traumatic experiences get recorded on our central nervous system, so when there is a trigger that puts one back into the old memory, all the old data starts to fly, phobia or fear starts playing back over on a track like loop in the brain. I was diagnosed with ptsd, so perhaps what she shared is the same thing.

    No doubt, it had to horrific to go through the pain & grief of losing your mom, and if you had to witness her suffering, putting those 2 experiences together I would say that having a phobia of cancer sounds right.

    I am not expert of any kind, I hope that doesn’t sound like I am trying to give you a pep talk, intent sometimes get lost in translation, just wanted to give you a hug Hug, you never fail to crack me up. My thoughts are with you, I pray you will get some rest, when I couldn’t sleep I was prescribed Ambien, sleep was my sanity.

  50. @ Deb: In some ways, buns are a lot like horses – even anatomically. (of course, in other ways, they’re very much *not* like horses, but still…)

    I’ve always loved the sound of horses grazing and eating hay in their stalls, so I think it’s not a surprise that I ended up with an animal that spends a great deal of time eating hay. There’s something incredibly soothing about that, and I get a big kick out of how much she enjoys nosing and digging for the tastiest bits. It’s as medicinal as a tranquilizer, and far superior, in some ways.

  51. @ Deb: Deb – and everyone else – here’s the quote I was trying to remember earlier…

    Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.

    ― Arthur Schopenhauer, from The Basis of Morality

  52. Deb,
    Coconut is just too precious!! I completely understand where you’re coming from because Mrs. Muff & I have two little hounds that we dote upon totally.

    numo,
    Loved the Schopenhauer quote! Here’s another that fits into the topic:
    “…Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man…” — Thomas Paine —

  53. Well it was a glorious day for rebellion here in Bucks County PA. I got up early and went to worship my horse and have a lovely dressage lesson. I returned home to further idolize my two rescue shelties.

    Some years back we became part of a Bible study and church that had a large group of Gothardites. It took me some time to understand why they gave me the “look” when I would show up in riding clothes at Bible study. What I found sad was how they swung back and forth with the burden placed on them by Gothard’s teachings about pets. When you have 7-10+ children there are going to be some that are drawn to animals. After some years I think that they just ignored that particular teaching.

    Some day when I have time I have to tell y’all the story about chickens and the umbrella of authority. LOL

    My mom always says “Where there is animal worship there is human sacrifice.” And she outta know she has 3 rescue dogs.

  54. @ Mykingdomforahorse: In Bucks County?! Wow… I wouldn’t have thought that Gothardism would find a welcome there, but…

    Your dressage lesson, horse – and dogs – all sound wonderful. ‘Tis a beautiful day at that! 🙂

  55. @ Muff Potter: The converse being that if God is good, then…

    I know people involved in rabbit rescue who use the Schopenhauer quote as an email sig. That’s how I learned about it.

  56. Muff Potter wrote:

    “…Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man…” — Thomas Paine –

    I’d love to know the context in which he said this.

  57. Mykingdomforahorse wrote:

    Well it was a glorious day for rebellion here in Bucks County PA. I got up early and went to worship my horse and have a lovely dressage lesson. I returned home to further idolize my two rescue shelties.

    Thank you for a good laugh. I am at a national meeting in Asheville NC and needed some levity!

  58. When I read my mom the original article she said, “So we can’t have more than one dog but we’re supposed have, like, eight kids?!”

    Apparently one’s children cannot become an idol. One’s cats, however… And why do we have God repeatedly blessing OT folks with lots of livestock and many horses?

  59. It’s TWW Trivia Time…

    If you were reading the post carefully, you discovered that Susan and her husband lived in Arkansas early in their marriage.  Susan wrote:

    ‘I thought I was doing my part well according to my abilities in the First Baptist Church in a little town in Arkansas where my husband was minister of music and youth. But one Monday morning, my husband was called into the pastor’s office. “What is wrong with your wayward wife?” the pastor stormed at my husband. We had been married for a little over a year at that time, and we knew each other as well as any newlywed couple could. My husband could not imagine what I had done wrong.’

    Since she and her husband were married in 1975, the episode described above would have happened in 1976.

    Which Southern Baptist leader pastored in Fayetteville, Arkansas from 1970 – 1975?

    A.  Jerry Vines

    B. Adrian Rogers

    C. Paige Patterson

    The answer is C… 

    Here’s a quote from the Baptist Press

    “From 1970-75 he [Patterson] was pastor of First Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Ark.”

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Susan’s husband worked at the same church where Patterson had served for five years, although there’s no way to know for sure.  😉 

  60. As I read Susan’s gracious story, I was reminded of something from when I was working in the foster care system (I was not a foster parent, myself, but an educator who provided training on a variety of early childhood and social service issues.) A majority of all the families who cared for foster children in the system also had pets… and most of the time more than one. There are all kinds of implications you can draw from that – and the types of personalities who would care for those who most need a refuge. In an environment filled with change and stress and real-life drama, I enjoyed working with those families.

  61. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Oh HUG , I’m so sorry to hear this. It sounds like we react very similarly to big stresses. When my Mum was dying, incidentally of lung cancer, I stopped sleeping (completely) & then couldn’t eat & then started throwing up. I eventually got through with some strong slerping stuff (very high dose) & some valium, all under my Dictors eye….when it all started to calm down, about 16 weeks later for me I came of it all step by step. Take some help if you need it. I will try & flex my rusty praying muscle & pray for you daily. You are dear to me & many here. X

  62. Phoenix wrote:

    Dee wrote:

    My three rescue pugs: Lilly, Petunia and Tulip roundly condemn Bill Gothard.

    So do Pokey and Pebbles, my papillon and mini dachshund! And because Pokey doesn’t have very nice manners (blame Mama!) he would express his disdain upon BG’s trouser leg, I’m sure. And you go, Pokey!

    As do Darcey & Linus my Patterdale Terriers. They have offered to poo on his books if you send them to me 🙂

    99% of the time I have a dog on or next to me when I’m on here. I have a deep distrust for those who dismiss animals.

    And Numo: my childhood bunny lived to about 12, I love all creatures, great & small. St Francis is my kind of saint.

  63. Robin wrote:

    Maybe Gothard read Freud and thought there was something sexual about women riding horseback:)

    After seeing an ad for a “horse power” fitness product from Korea, and then seeing Ellen demonstrate it while working her upper body with the “shake weight,” I’m very inclined to agree.

  64. BeakerJ wrote:

    Phoenix wrote:
    They have offered to poo on his books if you send them to me

    This sounds perfectly appropriate.:)

  65. Anon 1 wrote:

    I’m currently in the middle of a prostate cancer scare with my urologist due to rising PSA levels, which is triggering a worst-case cascade of old fears

    We will pray for you.

  66. Serving in Japan wrote:

    anonymous wrote:

    “Females who enjoy horseback riding have a problem with rebellion.” — Bill Gothard
    This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life.

    I second that.

    Can’t help wondering: Did Gothard actually try to back up this tidbit with Bible verses, or did he just toss it out for people to swallow?

    I suspect he finds it terribly unseemly to see a woman – the weaker vessel- on top of & in control of a creature more physically powerful than she. It’s just not submissive in spirit, is it? It is Freudian field day.

  67. @Deb – thanks for the encouragement about my life. Yes, God made me unique but awesome, as all of us are. Too bad that the church allows a lot of us women to feel so horrible about how we’re made and our personalities.

    On a somewhat similar note, it took me YEARS to appreciate my sensitive emotional nature because it led to a lot of depression, and CLC was so unhelpful in me dealing with this. But I finally do appreciate that part of my personality at last. The older I get, I really don’t care what other people think, so that helps.

  68. Hmm….as to being diverse parts of the same body, I was reminded of a conversation I was having with my former pastor about ten years ago. I mentioned how iI thought it would be good if various different churches worked together as part of one body.

    He frowned as looked at me like a teacher with a wayward student and said, “The hand and the foot have no need to ever touch each other.” I was confused and had no answer. Now, I wish I would have said, ‘Perhaps. But the foot will have a heck of a time tying its shoes without the hand and the hand won’t get very far without the foot to carry it.’

  69. @ BeakerJ: I know more than a few bunnies who would happily shred those books if allowed.

    beaks, 12 is up there for a bun! Sounds like yours got a lot of love and care.

  70. Hug, as a 66 yo male, who has a very slowly rising PSA but no other detectable sign or symptom, I have great sympathy for the fear. (by very slowly rising, the number after the decimal point goes up about one digit every two years — turtle slow!). So my lovely lady doctor checks it every six months and I have had a couple of pictures taken in the imaging department, with no changes or evidence of anything. So who knows. Will pray for you. Fear is an emotion that is difficult to explain, difficult to manage, and hard to escape. Remember though, that God’s love casts out fear. Praying for a successful love implant to deal with your fear.

  71. Once again, it’s TWW Trivia Time!

    Have you heard of the ATI Vessels of Honor course?  Here’s a brief overview:  (link)

    “At this course you will not only receive training to become a refined and gracious young lady, but you will also learn to cultivate an intimate relationship with Jesus, Who is the source of all that is lovely, charming, and gracious. Experienced speakers will give vital training that will equip you to deal with the unprecedented pressures and temptations of our culture. During afternoon workshops, you also will be taught skills that will help you fulfill your potential in Christ and prepare you to carry out the great works God wants to achieve through your life!

    It was held last fall (October 14 – November 10), and the cost was $2,400. 

    Now for the trivia question…

    Who taught during this vessels of honor course?

    A.  Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar

    B.  Dorothy Patterson

    C.  Bill Gothard

    And the answer is — ALL OF THEM!

    Gothard spoke via DVD to the ATI participants while I assume the other speakers were there in person. 

  72. Deb wrote:

    Who taught during this vessels of honor course?

    A. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar

    B. Dorothy Patterson

    C. Bill Gothard

    And the answer is — ALL OF THEM!

    Now that was a “must attend” seminar! Are they running another one this year? Will we see Michelle and Jim Bob in their modest swim attire?

  73. @ Steve D:

    Who knows, maybe they’ll feature segments of the Vessels of Honor course on that ‘hit’ reality TV show – 19 and counting – next fall. 🙂

  74. Anonymous & Anon 1,
    Just as I do not subscribe to everything Augustine and the Reformers (Calvin & Luther) wrote, I do not agree with all the tenets of Deism either. For example, Paine & Jefferson did not believe in Jesus’ deity or his supernatural miracles, I most certainly do. I cling to his very person (Messiah).

  75. Muff Potter wrote:

    Anonymous & Anon 1,
    Just as I do not subscribe to everything Augustine and the Reformers (Calvin & Luther) wrote, I do not agree with all the tenets of Deism either. For example, Paine & Jefferson did not believe in Jesus’ deity or his supernatural miracles, I most certainly do. I cling to his very person (Messiah).

    Muff, I totally agree with your conclusions about Deism. I linked the Paine letter because that was the context for the quote you gave. I do enjoy reading him as I find him extremely interesting and especially for that time. In many places he could have been tried as a heretic!

    I do think he makes great points in some of his later writings about the decisions and subsequent bloodthirst that resulted from historical religious councils that declared for the masses what is orthodox and what isn’t. I get so weary of that stuff being quoted as the standard for all God’s truth when the historical reasons behind them were political even if they got much right! :o)

  76. Arce wrote:

    Hug, as a 66 yo male, who has a very slowly rising PSA but no other detectable sign or symptom, I have great sympathy for the fear. (by very slowly rising, the number after the decimal point goes up about one digit every two years — turtle slow!).

    I’m 57 with BPH and always had a fairly high base PSA (varied around 3), but mine went up 2.9 in 2 1/2 years, which in combination with a suspicious free PSA ratio is what triggered all the alarms. According to the nomogram calculators, I have about a 40% chance of prostate cancer, with three-to-one odds it’s the “normal” kind as opposed to the high-grade kind. All DREs have been uniformly negative. And that’s all I know at this point.

  77. Deb wrote:

    At this course you will not only receive training to become a refined and gracious young lady, but you will also learn to cultivate an intimate relationship with Jesus, Who is the source of all that is lovely, charming, and gracious. Experienced speakers will give vital training that will equip you to deal with the unprecedented pressures and temptations of our culture. During afternoon workshops, you also will be taught skills that will help you fulfill your potential in Christ and prepare you to carry out the great works God wants to achieve through your life!”

    They make Jesus sound like Martha Stewart. I cannot believe Hyacinth Bucket…oops, I mean, Dorothy Patterson is involved with Gothard training. Do they know about her midnight buffet with Yasser Arafat in Saddam’s Palace? Her PhD?

  78. You guys forgot to list these important workshops which are also included in the low low price of $2400:

    • Charm and etiquette

    • How to dress for success

    • Tips on personal grooming, makeup, hair, and beauty

    • Principles of health and how to cook tasteful, healthy meals

    • How to effectively lose excess pounds and maintain your goal weight

    • How to carry on gracious conversations, ask wise questions, and become an effective public speaker

  79. Gail wrote:

    Hug- I feel for you. I don’t know for sure, because I never researched this, but a therapist I worked with a few years ago, told me that science is exploring how traumatic experiences get recorded on our central nervous system, so when there is a trigger that puts one back into the old memory, all the old data starts to fly, phobia or fear starts playing back over on a track like loop in the brain. I was diagnosed with ptsd, so perhaps what she shared is the same thing.

    It would not surprise me if I had low-grade PTSD due to some other experiences growing up (nothing sexual). I agree completely on how a seemingly-trivial “trigger” incident sets off an emotional cascade; it’s happened way too often. (And growing up I had an emotionally-abusive brother who liked to push the buttons and watch the monkey dance. Constantly. For sixteen years. Like a lot of abusers covered here at WBW, nobody else ever saw past the Sweet Little Angel facade.) Three years ago my acquiring a piece of fantasy art triggered an emotional cascade that put me into a two-month depression and had my sister-in-law hinting at a “spiritual warfare” type, and a passive-aggressive reply to a comment of mine at Internet Monk a month ago literally threw me into a blind foaming rage for over a day.

    And I have always had a runaway imagination and what my church calls “Excessive Scrupulosity”. The best mass-media dramatization of what that combination is like is Twilight Sparkle in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode “Lesson Zero” (Season 2 Episode 3), where the possibility of being late with one of her regular reports is a “trigger” which throws Twi into a breakdown. (That purple unicorn and I crack up in exactly the same way…)

  80. Anon 1 wrote:

    You guys forgot to list these important workshops which are also included in the low low price of $2400:

    That sounds a lot like Jerry Jenkins’ $1200-a-pop Christian Author course.

  81. Anon 1 wrote:

    You guys forgot to list these important workshops which are also included in the low low price of $2400:
    • Charm and etiquette
    • How to dress for success
    • Tips on personal grooming, makeup, hair, and beauty
    • Principles of health and how to cook tasteful, healthy meals
    • How to effectively lose excess pounds and maintain your goal weight
    • How to carry on gracious conversations, ask wise questions, and become an effective public speaker

    Hmmmm…..I bet these are just as effective as the relics and indulgences sold by the church. Irony…..

  82. @ Nick Bulbeck:
    “I’d actually go even further regarding bibliolatry; it makes the Bible the Third person of the Trinity, invariably expelling the Holy Spirit from any realistic presence in the church. And the only person of the Trinity present among us.”

    Amen! This is exactly what is happening. If the Holy Spirit doesn’t have any realistic presence in the church, then the “elders/leaders” have free reign to manipulate and control others through preaching and teaching that emphasizes THEIR “authority” and place in believers’ lives.

  83. @ Pam:

    There is no room for Christians in most American churches who don’t marry or have a child.

    Some Christians deliberately choose not to have a child (the preferred term by those like this, secular and Christian, is “Child Free”).

    There are other Christians, such as me, who were open to having a child but weren’t dying to have one, but I required a spouse first, but I never got a spouse.

    A quote from your page (“A few things you shouldn’t say to a childless woman”):

    The male host skipped through her bio with the clanger, ”You decided to choose career over family …” I will never forget my friend’s face, frozen in a smile that hid the angry tears I knew were welling.
    I was aware she had not chosen career over family as he so rudely surmised, but that she had miscarried her much-wanted baby late term and was told she would never have another as a result.

    That parallels myself and a lot of other Christians concerning marriage. I wanted to get married, but it didn’t happen.

    The assumption by a lot of Christian writers and conservative think tanks (and this is when they even bother to address this situation, usually they do not), is that if you arrive at age 35 or older and never got married, it’s your fault because you chose to remain single.

    According to these types of Christians, you chose to put career before marriage and/or you hate men (you’re a feminist).

    Maybe it’s too scary for these types of Christians to face reality: God does not guarantee every Christian woman a spouse, and not by age of 35, not even the ones who aren’t sleeping around, who were praying and having faith for a spouse.

    Some of us remain single into our 40s and older. I guess this worries them because they assume God should be pairing all Christian women up and by age 30, so they can have a few kids.

    I guess it’s easier to blame the victims (the Christian ladies who want marriage, but for whom it is elusive) than to admit it’s not so easy getting married any more, and God doesn’t seem to be intervening on behalf of all the singles.

    Just think of all the talks pastors give to teen aged Christian kids, promising them great sex if they just wait until marriage for it. There’s a number of us who aren’t getting married by the age of 25, 30, or even 35, and it’s not by choice.

    Another quote from your page:

    According to a study in Australia’s Journal of Population Health, many childless women in their 30s want to have children, but can’t due to reasons ”beyond their control” such as not having a partner, stable relationship, or partner that wants children.

    Yes, it’s kind of the same thing when it comes to marriage. You can want it to happen, but it might not.

  84. To HUG: I hope your health is okay.

    To anyone and everyone who’s lost a pet, I am sorry. I’ve experienced that, and it’s difficult, I know. 🙁

    @ Deb:

    Oh wow. That page made me want to throw up.

    Here’s a PDF that was linked to from it:
    Vessels of Honor, PDF

    On that page…

    “Our desire is that through this course, young ladies will be prepared to be used mightily by God to make an impact in this world for Christ!”

    I doubt it. These types of groups tend to suppress young girls.

    There’s nothing wrong with marriage or motherhood, but these groups tend to insist those are the only laudable, biblical, or worthwhile roles for a woman, or that other activities and roles are “lesser than.” So if you’re an unmarried and childless woman, you don’t quite fit in.

    At the bottom (under the bio for a Rebekah Swicegood):

    “… [she] was raised in the ATI program. After finding freedom from depression through memorization of scripture…”

    If it’s true she was healed from depression through Bible memorization, good for her, I do mean that. But that approach does not work for many Christians with depression or anxiety who tried it (it sure didn’t work for me).

    On the second PDF page, at the bottom (to the left of a photo of a young lady standing by a horse):

    “The girls will also have an opportunity to participate in activities such as horseback riding and hiking!”

    This event is sponsored by the same people, or who agree with, Gothard? But I thought he said (or implied) horseback riding is not good for ladies (it appeals to the rebellious ones or something)? But they’re promoting it at this event?

  85. Anon 1 wrote:

    [quote from Vessels of Honor page:]
    During afternoon workshops, you also will be taught skills that will help you fulfill your potential in Christ and prepare you to carry out the great works God wants to achieve through your life!”

    [quote by Anon 1]:
    They make Jesus sound like Martha Stewart. I cannot believe Hyacinth Bucket…oops, I mean, Dorothy Patterson is involved with Gothard training…

    It’s even funnier if you look at the PDF page… some of those ‘great works of God’ and the ‘purposes God has’ for those women apparently revolve around learning how to fix their hair and make up, and how to cook “nutritious and tasty meals” or something.

    I don’t mean to knock people who do make up and chef stuff as an occupation, but unless you do fall into that category (God has plans on using you as a professional chef later, let’s say), how on earth does teaching a bunch of young ladies how to apply lip gloss or braid their hair or cook pasta apply to “great works of God.”?

    re: Hyacinth Bucket

    I like Keeping Up Appearances! You now that last name is pronounced ‘bouquet!’ 🙂

  86. Anon 1 wrote:

    • How to effectively lose excess pounds and maintain your goal weight

    That reminds me, the “how to lose weight” type comment on their bullet list was bold-faced. Interesting that they chose to draw attention to weight loss and not other things on the list.

  87. Sexual Harassment at HQ [discusses alleged sexual harassment of young women by Bill Gothard]

    Here’s another one of their pages:
    Vessels of Honor – IBLP

    Once the girls return, they will stay at one of the facilities at IBLP Headquarters, where foundational training will be given by various instructors. Some of the topics include:

    -Relationships (with family, future spouse, etc)
    -How to hear God’s Voice
    -Overcome self rejection and resolve disabling fears
    -Discover meaningful life purpose
    -Become an effective soul winner and learn to make disciples
    -Get a jump-start on learning important principles of health, exercise, and nutrition!

    Also, the girls will learn many practical skills and homemaking arts, such as:

    -Photography
    -How to cook nutritionally
    -Hair cutting and design
    -True Spiritual beauty
    -CPR Certification
    -Etiquette
    -and more!

    Re: “future spouse.” Talk about assumptions.

    I thought when I was 20, 25, 35, I’d have a future spouse, that there would be a “Mr. Daisy.” That never came to pass.

    I hope they cover that possibility under the “and more!” bullet point. You know, prepare for the reality you may still be single past 40.

    For the PDF flier linked to on that page, once again, they have horse back riding listed as one of the activities.

  88. Daisy wrote:

    On the second PDF page, at the bottom (to the left of a photo of a young lady standing by a horse):
    “The girls will also have an opportunity to participate in activities such as horseback riding and hiking!”
    This event is sponsored by the same people, or who agree with, Gothard? But I thought he said (or implied) horseback riding is not good for ladies (it appeals to the rebellious ones or something)? But they’re promoting it at this event?

    LOL!!!

    This course is ATI (Advanced Training Institute), which Bill Gothard started in 1984 (see lower right corner of Gothard’s about page.

  89. Interesting coincidence?

    Look who wrote an article for The Theological Educator back in the Spring of 1976 entitled “The Theology of Bill Gothard”Paige Patterson (scroll down to the ‘Articles’ section)

    According to Susan’s story, her husband began working at First Baptist Church in some Arkansas town in 1976.

    Much to my tremendous disappointment, Adrian Rogers was a good friend of Bill Gothard, and Patterson and Rogers were very close colleagues. I haven’t read Patterson’s article on Gothard, but I suspect that it was an endorsement of Bill Gothard.

    Perhaps I’ll track down that Patterson article.

  90. @ BeakerJ:

    Beaker, I know we are talking about how wonderful our animals are on here so it is fitting that you speak your babies relieving themselves on these atrocious books. But I’d really like to see you fire up your wormery. That would miraculously turn worthless tripe into something useful for the environment.

  91. Deb wrote:

    Interesting coincidence?
    Look who wrote an article for The Theological Educator back in the Spring of 1976 entitled “The Theology of Bill Gothard” – Paige Patterson (scroll down to the ‘Articles’ section)
    According to Susan’s story, her husband began working at First Baptist Church in some Arkansas town in 1976.

    Much to my tremendous disappointment, Adrian Rogers was a good friend of Bill Gothard, and Patterson and Rogers were very close colleagues. I haven’t read Patterson’s article on Gothard, but I suspect that it was an endorsement of Bill Gothard.
    Perhaps I’ll track down that Patterson article.

    That would explain Patterson sending a woman back to her abusive husband. Here is the actual audio of Patterson’s speech where he recounted the story: http://archive.org/details/PaigePattersonsbcAdviceToVictimsOfDomesticViolence

  92. Daisy wrote:

    Sexual Harassment at HQ [discusses alleged sexual harassment of young women by Bill Gothard]

    Thanks for posting that. These guy always turn out to be pervs.

  93. Deb wrote:

    Interesting coincidence?
    Look who wrote an article for The Theological Educator back in the Spring of 1976 entitled “The Theology of Bill Gothard” – Paige Patterson (scroll down to the ‘Articles’ section)
    According to Susan’s story, her husband began working at First Baptist Church in some Arkansas town in 1976.
    Much to my tremendous disappointment, Adrian Rogers was a good friend of Bill Gothard, and Patterson and Rogers were very close colleagues.

    Oh that is a crying shame. 🙁

  94. Deb wrote:

    Perhaps this is a recruiting ground for the homemaking program at Southwestern.

    Yeah, they need to pay for all those kitchens they installed at SWBTS for the MRS homemaking degree. As you know, you cannot get homemaking information just anywhere. There is a specific way to make a Gospel Comp Lasagna.

    http://catalog.swbts.edu/womens-programs/bachelors-degree-homemaking-concentration/

    I sure would like to see the numbers enrolled in this concentration.

  95. anonymous wrote:

    Deb wrote:

    Much to my tremendous disappointment, Adrian Rogers was a good friend of Bill Gothard, and Patterson and Rogers were very close colleagues.

    I mean that is a crying shame.

  96. anonymous,

    I spent YEARS listening to Adrian Rogers and learned so much from him.  Then I bought his book Kingdom Authority.  It was some years later that I began to learn about Bill Gothard and how destructive his teachings are. 

    Imagine my absolute disgust when I read the following acknowledgement in that book written by Rogers: (link)

    “It would be monumental arrogance for me to fail to give thanks to those who have assisted me in writing this book.

    I first learned the principles of spiritual authority from Watchman Nee’s book Spiritual Authority.  Then these truths were reinforced as I listened to Bill Gothard in the early 1970s teach about true biblical submission…”  (page ix)

    I was nauseated when I first realized how close Rogers and Gothard were, and it still makes me feel sick to my stomach!

  97. She got in trouble for riding a horse to church? Uh… wasn’t that pretty normal about a hundred years ago? About 60 years ago in rural Nebraska my granddad would ride his horse to school (and “forget” to tie him up on days when he had tests, so he would need to go get the horse instead of taking the test!).

    I never had pets growing up because my dad is violently allergic to anything with fur or feathers, but when I go to my friends’ houses I always enjoy patting the cats, playing with the parrot, or giving the old lazy dog a snack now and then. And I certainly can’t remember any teachings against pets from back when I went to church. In fact, we learned the opposite in my high school religion class- Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam all teach kindness to animals, I don’t remember *anything* about not being allowed to have pets.

  98. Deb, your little Maltese looks just like our sweetie, Callie, who died early this year at the ripe old age of 17….I miss her so much! Malteses are the sweetest, fiestiest little dogs!!

  99. DebbyLynn,

    Feisty is right! I’m so sad that Callie has gone to doggie heaven. Have you gotten another Maltese to replace her?

    I remember seeing a 15 year old Maltese a few years ago, and you couldn’t tell it was old at all due to the white hair. My black labs turned gray around their snout when they were older. I guess Coconut will always look the same. 🙂

    Blessings!

  100. Wasn’t it Al Mohler who said, while threatening to fire seminary professors, that if “we (guess who) say that pickles have souls, that is what they will teach!”. Arrogance personified.

  101. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    And I have always had a runaway imagination and what my church calls “Excessive Scrupulosity”. The best mass-media dramatization of what that combination is like is Twilight Sparkle in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode “Lesson Zero” (Season 2 Episode 3),

    HUG,

    I tried to you tube that episode, it said it wasn’t available to view. So, I read about it!
    “By the time she meets her friends for the picnic, Twilight is panicking to the brink of insanity. Although her friends dismiss her concerns as overblown, Twilight becomes even more convinced that Princess Celestia will be furious if she doesn’t get her letter in on time.”

    Wow, sixteen years of torment by bro sounds like a living hell. Your sister in law, is she a piece of work? Did she mean well? Whattt… Pleezzeee not everything is spiritual warfare (as I know, you know.) Life sounds like it has been a wild ride, and by ride, I am talking about those terrifying roller coasters that take your breath away.

    At least you are in some good company with “Excessive Scrupulosity” Thérèse of Lisieux stated that she recovered from her condition after 18 months, writing “One would have to pass through this martyrdom to understand it well, and for me to express what I experienced for a year and a half would be impossible.” Ignatius of Loyola, Luther and John Bunyan I had to google it, but whatever the heck it is, it sounds awful!

    On a lighter note, when I am in the toy section shopping for my grand daughter and see My Little Ponies I always think of you and say Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy, a quick prayer for you. My best to you!!!

  102. numo wrote:

    @ Deb: Watchman Nee’s books were everywhere in the 70s, and they were trouble.
    Been there, done that…

    I heartily concur Numes….

  103. @ Gail: A lot of people classify it as a symptom of OCD, though I’m sure there are many degrees of it, and that some people are far more afflicted than others.

    Luther’s often-misinterpreted statement “sin boldly” comes from a letter he wrote to one of his colleagues (Philip Melancthon) who also suffered from excessive scrupulosity. If you read the whole letter (widely available on the internet) with that in mind, it takes on a whole different cast – he was trying to help Melancthon overcome his fear of doing the wrong thing(s) and being fearful of… life, maybe?

  104. Hanni wrote:

    Wasn’t it Al Mohler who said, while threatening to fire seminary professors, that if “we (guess who) say that pickles have souls, that is what they will teach!”. Arrogance personified.

    No, that was Adrian Rogers.

  105. @ numo: What it isn’t: an exhortation to go out act like a lot of college kids on spring break.

    it’s a letter from one sufferer to another; Luther had been able to get past a lot of what dogged him re. excessive scrupulosity and wanted to encourage Melancthon that he could, too, in time.

  106. Oh, I might add, MOhler says little in such cases, you just never know what hit you when you are thrown under the bus.

    Mohler just says that those who are not Calvinists just do not have the mental processes to understand it. Keep in mind he is saying this about A LOT of people in the SBC who give money that pays his salary. Now that is arrogance personified.

  107. Anon 1,

    I know that Adrian Rogers was staunchly opposed to Calvinism. He died on November 15, 2005. it seems to me that the New Calvinism movement revved up after his death, even though the groundwork had already been laid. Remember the Mohler/Patterson debate at the SBC annual meeting in 2006? Would that have happened if Rogers had been alive? Thoughts???

  108. numo wrote:

    What it isn’t: an exhortation to go out act like a lot of college kids on spring break.

    it’s a letter from one sufferer to another; Luther had been able to get past a lot of what dogged him re. excessive scrupulosity and wanted to encourage Melancthon that he could, too, in time.

    I am always glad to hear when people get past what has dodged them, good for Luther. OTOH, I know several people who have been tormented for years by whatever name we might call it, rather excessive scrupulosity or ocd. Their lives are very difficult & yet in their suffering they cling to Jesus & long for that day when every tear will be wiped from their eyes. Amazing people for sure.

  109. @ Gail: I honestly don’t know how *far* he got, but he clearly wasn’t tormented by it in the way he had been prior to his “”aha!” moment re. justification by faith. Prior to that, he was terrified of hell and – even for a person of his time – was seen as “off” in his excessive penances (includes self-inflicted physical pain and hardship).

    So there had to have been some sort of gain; enough for him to be able to live with himself in a way he couldn’t for most of his life prior to his personal breakthroughs in faith. But given how long ago he lived, we’re mostly going on guesswork.

    (I realize that OCD is an incredibly difficult thing to cope with, so I don’t want to sound as if I’m minimizing the suffering that so many endure daily.)

  110. Here’s info on the pickle comment:

    http://forums.baptistlife.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10542#p142655

    “In 1987, SBC president and Memphis pastor Adrian Rogers summarized the demands of fundamentalists.

    Concerning Southern Baptist seminary professors, he said: “If we believe that pickles have souls and they can’t teach it, then they shouldn’t take our money.”

    For moderate Baptists, the statement was viewed as encapsulating fundamentalists’ raw desire for power and disrespect for sound theology and dissenting perspectives.”

    Here is what David Rogers, son of Adrian, said of the pickles quote of his father:

    One of the most referenced (and misinterpreted) quotes of my father, Adrian Rogers, by those who opposed the “Conservative Resurgence” is that SBC seminary professors much teach “whatever they are told to teach. And if we tell them to teach that pickles have souls, then they must teach that pickles have souls!” Of course, the point he was making, and with which I agree, did not have anything to do with whether or not pickles have souls, nor whether or not a small group of people in the SBC ought to be able to dictate what others believe – but rather the need for those who receive their salary from the Cooperative Program to be accountable for their doctrinal views to those who pay their salary: the churches of the SBC.”

  111. I can’t believe I went and looked at the “Vessels of Honor” PDF. You couldn’t possibly make this stuff up. And did all the pink curlicue font make anybody else queasy?

  112. And for the women getting “homemaking” degrees at SBTS….Deb wrote:

    @ Patricia Hanlon:
    As the mom of two daughters, I feel so sorry for the girls brought up in this ‘system’. Their lives are so restricted now and in the future.

  113. Deb wrote:

    know that Adrian Rogers was staunchly opposed to Calvinism. He died on November 15, 2005. it seems to me that the New Calvinism movement revved up after his death, even though the groundwork had already been laid. Remember the Mohler/Patterson debate at the SBC annual meeting in 2006? Would that have happened if Rogers had been alive? Thoughts???

    His son comments a lot on Reformed blogs and I read a while back (cannot remember where) where he implied folks got it all wrong about his dad being against Calvinism. But I remember a while ago some Bellevue folks who had a blog talking about his calling Calvinism “doctrines of demons”.

    So not sure what is going on. I find his son very confusing at times.

  114. Anti-cult ministries like Personal Freedom Outreach and Midwest Christian Outreach have exposed people like Bill Gothard for years. That people like Paige and Dorothy Patterson and Adrian Rogers would willingly associate with and promote Gothard, ATI, and IBLP is just evil. As Dee has said, these people are messing with people’s lives. Now I can see why Gothard’s influence is so pervasive. Isn’t Patterson a founding member of CBMW?

    I wonder how many mainstream evangelicals are promoting Doug Phillips?

  115. @ Numo & Gail:

    I know I’ve mentioned it before, but see also Michael Wigglesworth for the Puritan Calvinist flavor of excessive scrupulosity…sans recovery. In fact I’m pretty sure that a lot of Puritan folks, if they saw you recover from your excessive scrupulosity, would say that you were backsliding/lost because you weren’t “striving after holiness,” “hating sin,” etc. At least that’s all I ever got out of reading Puritans.

  116. Daisy wrote:

    @ Deb:
    So they both promote and criticize women horseback riding. Ironic and inconsistent!

    It’s hard for legalists to be consistent with all those rules that they make up.

  117. @ Deb:

    Are they kidding with that? So “godly woman” = “instruction in homemaking skills”?

    From their page:
    “We uniquely recognize the need to challenge women … intellectually…”

    Again, being a wife and mother is fine, I’m not knocking it, but… I don’t know how “intellectual” or challenging it is to run a vacuum, mop a floor, or bake cookies.

    My mind tends to add the word “Camp” at the end of their “HOMEMAKING CONCENTRATION” course title. 🙂

  118. Nicholas wrote:

    It’s hard for legalists to be consistent with all those rules that they make up.

    I wonder, though, if the horse in question is a Baptist who abstains from all alcohol drinking and is a weekly church attender, if that would change Gothardites’ views on women and horseback riding? *ponder ponder ponder*

    I know they’d not approve of any horse who listens to Christian contemporary music or secular rock.

  119. Deb wrote:

    Much to my tremendous disappointment, Adrian Rogers was a good friend of Bill Gothard, and Patterson and Rogers were very close colleagues

    I used to watch Rogers on TV. I thought he was a good preacher.

    I visited his website a few years ago. It had a section where he answered reader questions. A woman wrote that her husband was abusing her. I was disappointed by his advice to her. He told her to separate from him for a couple of weeks but to return.

  120. @ Nicholas:

    “Gothard: There’s No Such Thing as a Victim” (which talks about how Christ willingly laid down his life and so on)

    There are a few things wrong with his response, but just to discuss one I see… Christ was fulfilling prophecy for pete’s sake. Old Testament prophecy said the Messiah would suffer and die.

    I don’t see how a preacher can apply that very narrow, specific application to all women every where for all time who are in abusive marriages.

    Christians may be healed by Christ’s work (his stripes, suffering, atonement), but they are not healed by a Christian lady getting the soup beat out of her by her spouse.

    “Gothard: There’s No Such Thing as a Victim”

    So, if someone breaks into his house, steals his TV set, and beats him up, he would be, what? If someone mugs him as he’s walking down the street at night, he’s a what, a happy participant?

  121. Hanni wrote:

    that if “we (guess who) say that pickles have souls, that is what they will teach!”. Arrogance personified.

    I’ve never understood why some Christians feel it necessary for an animal to have a soul for him/her to go to heaven.

    I think God can do as He pleases, and that would include permitting a dog, cat, horse or other creature into Heaven, even if they don’t have a soul – he’s God, He can transfer or reconstruct that creature, even if it doesn’t have a soul, in Heaven if He so likes.

    The book of Revelation mentions Christ returns on a white horse. I take that as literal, but even if someone wants to read that book or portion as allegory, would God even mention an animal in an allegorical sense, if He takes issue with animals being in Heaven?

    The Bible also mentions there are trees, rivers, plants and fruit in Heaven. Heaven is not filled only with God, angels, and humans.

  122. Patricia Hanlon wrote:

    And did all the pink curlicue font make anybody else queasy?

    It was very girly, that’s for sure – the whole design, and down to the color scheme.

  123. @ Nicholas:

    Yes, I’ve seen that attitude around for years, these preachers who think divorce wrong all the time, in about every situation (see an opposing view).

    They act like divorce is a greater sin or evil than a woman getting abused or possibly murdered.

    If I were an abused wife, I’d go ahead and divorce the husband – even if one wishes to argue divorce is a sin, God forgives sin (or haven’t they heard? David committed adultery and murder, and God forgave him). So what is the point in staying with an abusive spouse?

    Since so many of these pastors and churches believe adultery is the only “biblical” reason for divorce – and recalling the mid-wives in the Old Testament who lied to the king (they hid Hebrew babies, went against king’s orders to kill them), what would prohibit an abused Christian wife (if she feels she needs church support), from telling her pastor that her verbally or physically abusive husband has been committing adultery, even if he has not?

  124. Daisy wrote:

    @ Deb:

    Are they kidding with that? So “godly woman” = “instruction in homemaking skills”?

    From their page:
    “We uniquely recognize the need to challenge women … intellectually…”

    Again, being a wife and mother is fine, I’m not knocking it, but… I don’t know how “intellectual” or challenging it is to run a vacuum, mop a floor, or bake cookies.

    If you’re trying to invent a recipe completely then maybe it’s intellectual/challenging. I tried to make ice cream as a kid by mixing together milk, orange juice, and cordial and freezing it (surprise surprise it was awful). But I’m guessing that degree doesn’t cover inventing new foods, just here’s how to bake a cake (which, yes, I know is a challenge for some people!).

  125. @Daisy

    Dr. Instone-Brewer’s article is very good. Sadly, Piper balked: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/taste-see-articles/tragically-widening-the-grounds-of-legitimate-divorce

    After Piper posted his response on Oct. 18, 2007, Dr. Instone-Brewer’s article at CT was flooded by comments from Piperite drones. For example, towards the end of his response, Piper wrote: “He is radical, not accommodating.”

    Here are the comments on Dr. Instone-Brewer’s article: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/channel/comments/allreviews.html?id=50329&showall=true

    On Oct. 19, 2007, someone called “Patrick” left the following verbatim comment:

    “I cannot believe that CT would publish such a misinterpreted, secular-world-pleasing view of the scriptures stance on divorce. Has God-centeredness ceased to exist? Are we here to please ourselves, live a decent life, and avoid unpleasent situations (i.e. an abusive spouse)? No, we are called to live radical, tough, God-centered, God-glorifying lives at any cost, even those very lives, just like our Lord Jesus Christ. I pain over the constant stray from TRUE biblical theology the church has committed itself to when such world-pleasing teachings are both published here and taught on Sunday.”

    Notice Patrick’s use of the word “radical,” a day after Piper posted his response. Notice also that “Patrick” calls an abusive spouse an “unpleasant situation” and wants battered women to “live radical, tough, God-centered, God-glorifying lives”, apparently by remaining with their abusive husbands. And Patrick’s overuse of “God-centered” and “God-glorifying” removes any doubt that he is a Piperite directed to Dr. Instone-Brewer’s article by Piper’s response to it.

    It is obvious that “Patrick” cannot, or at least does not, think for himself. He and those like him follow whatever their favorite Christian celebrity teaches, in this case John Piper.

  126. Anon 1 wrote:

    Deb wrote:
    know that Adrian Rogers was staunchly opposed to Calvinism. He died on November 15, 2005. it seems to me that the New Calvinism movement revved up after his death, even though the groundwork had already been laid. Remember the Mohler/Patterson debate at the SBC annual meeting in 2006? Would that have happened if Rogers had been alive? Thoughts???
    His son comments a lot on Reformed blogs and I read a while back (cannot remember where) where he implied folks got it all wrong about his dad being against Calvinism. But I remember a while ago some Bellevue folks who had a blog talking about his calling Calvinism “doctrines of demons”.
    So not sure what is going on. I find his son very confusing at times.

    Here is a clip of Adrian Rogers that appears to demonstrate he did not embrace Calvinism.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bgcF0ZMJ40

    And if I recall correctly, Rogers had these words in his study: “Whosoever will”. They were a mantra that he spoke often.

  127. Jesus’ response to the accusation that he was breaking the Sabbath by healing people is surely instructive here. If he ever attempted to argue its validity on a legal technicality, it’s not recorded in the gospels. Instead he argued it on compassionate grounds – if you’ll rescue a donkey on the Sabbath, how much more should I heal a son/daughter of Abraham? Though actually, he described sweeping and noble concepts like justice and the love of God as being “the weightier matters of the Law“! In other words, the point of God’s Holy Word™ on marriage and divorce is not that God wants us to enforce the rules at any human cost. It’s that he wants us to show mercy and compassion. To force a woman to stay in an abusive marriage in the deluded belief that this somehow upholds God’s word is to strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

  128. @ Nicholas:

    Apparently it’s now “radical” to go back to the actual contextual meaning of a work? I thought it was “realistic.” I bet these same people get hopping mad when someone takes flowery, romantic-sounding friendship language from 19th-century letters, decontextualizes it and claims that Abraham Lincoln was actually gay.

  129. @ Nicholas:

    Bradley’s article made some good points. I saw this a few years ago when my ex-pastor shared an article by a visiting missionary from Japan who had come to the church. He claimed that any and all giftings could be used on the foreign mission field, which might be true in the strict sense but the overall message was clear: if you’re not doing foreign missions, you’re a lazy Christian. Ergo, all Christians, in a perfect world, would be doing foreign missions. What I envisioned after reading this was a world where the native Christian population of a given country completely “swaps out” with another country, i.e. all the American Christians go to Namibia and all the Namibian Christians go to America. Because…well, because. FOREIGN MISSIONS!!!

    Oh, cultural common ground helps to spread the Gospel? …We try not to talk about that.

    But then my ex-pastor did get obsessed with David Platt shortly before he left…

    (Per the pressure to be awesome thing, the idea that you have to live a “FB-worthy” (i.e., busy and excitement-filled) life doesn’t help either.)

  130. @ Hester:

    Actually, Piper called Jesus “radical,” (with the implication that Jesus held to Piper’s position on divorce). I should probably have put the Piper quote in context.

    Piper and his followers like to call themselves and their views “radical.” I’ll agree that they’re radical (with all the negative connotations of that word intact).

  131. @ Hester:

    I absolutely agree. Once a stable native Christian population exists in a country, there is much less need for foreign missionaries. And as Dr. Bradley points out, evangelicals have no doctrine of vocation. They don’t understand at not everyone needs to be a preacher or a missionary.

  132. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Jesus’ response to the accusation that he was breaking the Sabbath by healing people is surely instructive here. If he ever attempted to argue its validity on a legal technicality, it’s not recorded in the gospels. Instead he argued it on compassionate grounds – if you’ll rescue a donkey on the Sabbath, how much more should I heal a son/daughter of Abraham? Though actually, he described sweeping and noble concepts like justice and the love of God as being “the weightier matters of the Law“! In other words, the point of God’s Holy Word™ on marriage and divorce is not that God wants us to enforce the rules at any human cost. It’s that he wants us to show mercy and compassion. To force a woman to stay in an abusive marriage in the deluded belief that this somehow upholds God’s word is to strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

    Amen, fellow Nick! This gets right to the heart of the matter.

  133. @ Hester:

    The ideas that “you gotta achieve your full potential!” and “you gotta go do something great for God!” are all the rage in the seeker/consumer-driven megachurch movement (which YRR increasingly seems to be merely the Calvinistic sector of).

  134. Uh-oh. One of my favorite cats growing up was a rescue animal who came to us (unexpectedly) in the midst of my very deep depression, and actually contributed to my depression easing. I eventually concluded that this animal’s sudden appearance was a gift from God to bring a little joy into my life.

    Gothard and God are going to have to have a little chat about this, because I’m pretty sure that doesn’t fit Gothard’s prototype.

  135. Re: Piperites on abuse not being grounds for divorce: Gordon Hugenberger, senior pastor of Park Street Church in Boston, is a brilliant, irenic voice in the Reformed world. Our family attended his church (a smaller church in Gloucester MA, before he was called to Park St.) for 20 years, and I recall a series of sermons on marriage and divorce. He sees marital abuse as a form of desertion, and grounds for divorce. He also stressed that a second marriage was not a “second-best” marriage. (He was/is positive on women as elders and pastors). Piper, et.al, attract more attention because they provide simplistic answers.

  136. Patricia Hanlon wrote:

    He sees marital abuse as a form of desertion, and grounds for divorce.

    Yep. Desertion or neglect. In any case it’s a blatant failure to fulfill the vow to love, honor, and cherish and so breaks the marriage covenant/contract. The abused party may file for the divorce, but the abuser caused the divorce by the unrepentant breaking of the vow to love, honor, and cherish.

  137. As I sit here in the midst of a pounding thunderstorm with a quivering 85 pound Australian Shepherd on my lap, it occurs to me that Bill Gothard is just full of it.

    I am so sad for his followers, who appear to have been cheated and deceived out of enjoying many of God's greatest blessings. My prayers are for all of the hurting.

  138. Patricia

    i was a member of Park Street Church and met my husband there. That church got my faith off the ground. I was there during the day of Paul Toms. i also grew up in Salem.

  139. Daisy–let me preface my comments by stating that I do have a fine education, we educated our daughter, who holds a master’s degree, and see nothing at all wrong with women working outside the home. I’ve taken quite a bit of flak for my feminist ideas.

    But some of your comments are coming off quite patronizing to women who view their career as full time homemakers. Done properly and done well, running a home and raising children is every bit as intellectually stimulating and demanding as any career.

    There is great value in education to that end. Certainly our families would fair better if someone in them seemed to have a gnat brained clue as to balancing budgets, nutrition, basic preventive medicine including cleanliness, safety, and child development.

    Choose freely what works best for you, but please do not insult those who have a different vocation (in the Lutheran sense) than you do.

  140. Years ago my younger brother and some of his friends went to a Gothard conference. One of his friends, a funny kid, joked about Gothard with the following satirical “quote:”

    Your father was a hammer and your mother was a chisel. Your father beat your mother, and that’s why you are the way you are.

  141. linda wrote:

    But some of your comments are coming off quite patronizing to women who view their career as full time homemakers. Done properly and done well, running a home and raising children is every bit as intellectually stimulating and demanding as any career.

    You usually don’t like my comments on this blog, I have noticed.

    I don’t agree with your view point.

    I am against secular feminism which tells women that only a career counts, and motherhood is nothing.

    My Mom was a housewife. As much as I love her, and realize being a full time mom can be a busy time consuming job, I cannot see how doing typical housework (dusting, etc) is intellectually stimulating or stretches a person such as taking courses in politics or history or what not.

  142. Gail wrote:

    I had to put my sweet dog of sixteen years down in Sept. Her name was Charity, she was the official LOVE puppy. My husband thought one dog was enough, yet, I wanted faith & hope, but settled for Charity, she was pure unconditional love in a furry body. I miss her a lot.

    John closes his Gospel saying that there many things about Jesus that never got written down. I’m betting that a tender heart for animals was one of them.