Tom Chantry and the Not So Incredible Shrinking ARBCA


“Mercy, detached from Justice, grows unmerciful.” CS Lewis

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We humans are rather odd when it comes to our associations. Most Christians quickly align with a group of people who they believe are doing it right: the right theology, the right leaders, the right way to do church, etc. And when something happens to challenge the assumption that we picked the right church or denomination, we become upset. Most of us think of ourselves as intelligent, thoughtful, devout believers. We would NEVER choose a church or a leader or an association that was corrupt, would we?

Except, of course, there is that pesky thing called pervasive sin that challenges us to take another look at our presumptions. Now, quite a few of us would rather stick our heads in the sand, pretending to *see no evil.* We want to protect our own but not out of a sense of loyalty. Instead it is to avoid when must happen when the evil is made evident. We have to do something about it and it could be yucky. We don’t want to hear about the bad stuff. We want to hang around those who makes us feel good about our choices.

For those of you who are just joining us, ARBCA stands for Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America. In my opinion, this group is Calvinism on steroids. However, they have a great deal of support from other Reformed factions such as the Southern Baptist Convention or MacArthur followers. From my observation, there appears to be an affinity between ARBCA and Sovereign Grace Churches which both groups would heartily deny. But then again, I predicted that CJ Mahaney would one day bring his churches into the SBC and I was told I was nuts. (As an aside, my prediction is not due to ARBCA’s devotion to the term “Sovereign Grace.”)

It is from those supportive Calvinist groups and individuals that there came some objections to Todd implicating some of the ARBCA leadership in the Tom Chantry scandal. Why? Was it tribal? Was there an assumption that this couldn’t be because they were Calvinists? Was there a feeling that the Calvinist crowd couldn’t be covering up another abuse scandal, could they? Or was it simply an individual thing as in “I couldn’t be this wrong, could I?”

Todd Wilhelm has worked many long hours in exposing Chantry’s crimes and following his trial. However, as he began to write about the possibility that there were those in leadership in ARBCA who might be trying to cover up the scandal which involved the abuse of children, he got some Twitter pundits who pooh poohed his well researched conclusions. Unless a critic has spent the hours and hours of research on the matter, I would suggest a back seat driver take a different approach. Ask a question such as “I wonder why Todd believes this?” Send him a note and inquire about his information and then read it.

Sadly, it is this sort of knee-jerk protectionism that gives abusers a green light to proceed. I wonder if those BFFs ever consider this possibility. As one shoots from the hip to discredit a well researched observation, that person could be tagged by abusers as an easy mark, especially if that person is a pastor or leads an organization.  A predator might say “Oh, he leads the Evangelical Most Ginormous Church of Topeka. Maybe I’ll give that place a try. I bet he’d overlook things.”

Thankfully, it is the devotion of people like Todd Wilhelm who care enough about children to actually investigate what’s going on instead of joining in on the back-slapping gala of “I’ve got your back, buddy.”

According to Todd, numerous churches are resigning from ARBCA, citing the Tom Chantry scandal as the reason. Why would these churches leave their association if all was well with the leadership?  Does this point to institutional sin in the ARBCA? Seems so to this observer.

Thankfully, there are a few good churches/leaders/members within ARBCA who are beginning to see the light. Todd is the one doing the exposing and he gave me permission to reprint his most recent work. As you read this, think about two things. Are you witnessing an implosion of ARBCA? Will ARBCA dissolve and reappear under a different name(taking a cue from CJ Mahaney?)

I am posting a good bit of two posts but recommend that readers go to Todd’s site and read the full articles.

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Chantry Legacy Grows – Former ARBCA Church in Hales Corners, WI is Dissolved, Building Sold

Below is a photograph of Thomas Chantry and his father-in-law, Al Huber. Huber preaches at Grace Reformed Baptist Church, an ARBCA church located in Rockford IL. Little did the two men know at the time of this photograph that the dark secrets they were keeping would soon land Tom Chantry in jail, followed by a trial where he was convicted of two counts of felony assault of children. Chantry was then arrested again on nine additional counts of assault and sexual abuse of children and has been in jail since September 10, 2018. Chantry currently is awaiting a trial on the new counts as well as a retrial on four counts of sexual abuse of children from his first trial.

Meanwhile, the ARBCA organization is crumbling. Numerous churches have resigned from the Association, citing deception and coverup of Thomas Chantry’s horrific crimes by ARBCA officials intent on allowing Chantry to join their Association back in 2016.

Acting on a reader’s tip that the church Chantry formerly pastored – Christ Reformed Baptist Church located in Hales Corners, WI, was dissolved and the building sold, I conducted some research and found that my reader’s information was accurate.

I found out from a realtor that the church property was sold on December 12, 2018.  I would recommend ARBCA Coordinator, Steve Martin hire some additional help as he is obviously having problems keeping the ARBCA website up to date as it relates to their church directory!

By the way, Steve – have you seen fit to remove your positive endorsement of the book authored by Thomas Chantry and David Dykstra, or will you go to your grave defending a disgraced felon?

 

I did not find out what the selling price was, but if there are any ethical, upright churches remaining in ARBCA, and I know there are at least a few, they need to pay close attention to the ARBCA books. It is my opinion that those in leadership positions of ARBCA cannot be trusted.  I would guess the CRBC  property sold for $550,000 or more and I would guess the church property was likely paid off. Regulations state that when a non-profit organization dissolves, the cash they have can only be donated to another non-profit organization. While I would personally recommend the money be donated to the Humane Society or almost any other non-profit organization besides ARBCA, the unfortunate reality is that the few remaining members who attended CRBC prior to its collapse were likely blind loyalists to ARBCA and therefore will give the money to ARBCA.

I feel sad for the former members of Christ Reformed Baptist Church. They were badly duped by ARBCA leadership who knew full well of Thomas Chantry’s scandalous past and yet felt no compunction to advise the members of this prior to dumping him on their church. Then they were further scandalized after Thomas Chantry was arrested; ARBCA leaders Don Lindblad and Steve Martin showed up at their church in January of 2017 in an attempt to quell an angry uprising among members who demanded truthful answers. Unfortunately they did not receive any, rather, in my opinion, they were fed more lies and coverup.  These members did not buy the lies they were fed and continued to search for the truth. When the truth became known the good folks left the church. (My sources told me about two thirds of the congregation resigned their memberships.) These lay people attended the church for years. It was their hard earned money that was donated to pay for the church property, and now they have to face the fact that what they purchased will, in all likelihood, be donated to the corrupt organization that foisted Thomas Chantry upon them and ultimately forced them to leave their church.

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2. Redeeming Grace Baptist Church of Matthews, VA Resigns From ARBCA, Cites Thomas Chantry Scandal

Redeeming Grace Baptist Church, located in Matthews, Virginia has resigned from ARBCA.  Pastor Van Loomis has penned a concise letter of resignation which can be viewed below. Once again, the primary reason given for their resignation is “the reconmendation and admission into ARBCA of Christ Reformed Baptist Church, Hales Corner, and specifically their former pastor, Tom Chantry.

I am always encouraged by local churches that take a principled stand! May God bless them for doing so.


With so many churches withdrawing their membership from ARBCA, it would seem church planting is imperative to ARBCAs continued survival as an Association. At some point one must wonder if an ongoing Association is the Lord’s will. At any rate, I am doubtful a two day “school” will reverse the trend of shrinking numbers.


Comments

Tom Chantry and the Not So Incredible Shrinking ARBCA — 72 Comments

  1. “By the way, Steve – have you seen fit to remove your positive endorsement of the book authored by Thomas Chantry and David Dykstra, or will you go to your grave defending a disgraced felon? …

    “I did not find out what the selling price was …”

    The review is still up on Amazon, but the book is shown as unavailable.

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  2. Christians don’t seem to want to deal with issues in the church. Yet, a thorough reading of the NT epistles will let any reader know that things will happen if proper safeguards and good leadership aren’t in place. A church will never be perfect, but I salute leaders who refuse to participate in an association that is rotten to its core.

    I salute the ARBCA leaders who refuse to be part of a church association that is rotten to the core.

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  3. These members did not buy the lies they were fed and continued to search for the truth. When the truth became known the good folks left the church. (My sources told me about two thirds of the congregation resigned their memberships.) These lay people attended the church for years. It was their hard earned money that was donated to pay

    TWO-THIRDS OF THE CONGREGATION GOT UP AND WALKED ALL AT ONCE?

    I remember back in ’82 when my entire department did the same to a crooked management.
    And about ten years later I advised a guy who had an abusive boss to do the same. Entire staff walked.
    It’s called “Leave the A-hole High and Dry”.

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  4. Max:
    Wisdom says drop the potato when it gets too hot.

    Did Gollum drop His PRECIOUSSSSSSSS when he fell into the Sammath Naur?

    “No! No! Somebody’s WRONG on the Internet!”
    — XKCD

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  5. I feel sorry for those good folks who became ensnared in ARBCA. There’s so much church going on in America which is not the Church at all. Believers just want to worship, but there is a spiritual leadership crisis in Christendom which is preventing them from that. I have a feeling that God is about to make some major corrections to the organized church by picking up the pace to expose the counterfeit, unmask the charlatans, and shed light in dark corners. He’s coming back for a church without spot or wrinkle … but He’s going to have to do a lot of washing and ironing first!

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  6. Linn: Christians don’t seem to want to deal with issues in the church.

    No they don’t.
    They just wanna’ go and hear the ‘softly spoken magic spells…’ (ala Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon) and that’s it.

    The timid amongst them are like the Eloi, easily cowed and herded, while the zealots will manufacture just about anything to blunt a reckoning, from ‘satan attacking the body of Christ’, to invoking ‘Matthew 18’.

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  7. It’s definitely a small outfit for sure. In the growing DFW area there are only TWO affiliates, both in the Fort Worth suburbs (NONE on the Dallas side). (Then again it appears that 9Marks has become the hot group for Deformed churches to join)

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  8. Mark R: 9Marks has become the hot group

    Same spirit as ARBCA in a more culturally-relevant package … a cool offshoot of the New Calvinist movement as opposed to the more archaic reformed belief and practice of ARBCA … but just as unhealthy for those ensnared by it.

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  9. Dee, I appreciate the work you do in exposing abuse as well as Todd Wilhelm’s work on exposing these ARBCA guys and their lies. It’s more helpful than you ever know.

    My wife and I left an ARBCA church a couple months back after a certain narcissistic “pastor” tried to push his elders aside for exposing his sin (see Todd’s excellent post on the lies of Giarrizzo and the report that exposed his deception). We still learn more about the situation almost every week and more and more the decpeption is exposed. I hope all of the corruption is brought to light so justice is done for the victims of Tom Chantry and for those of us who have been lied to, slandered, abused, and deceived by ARBCA pastors and leadership. Most of all, I want to see people truly repentant and converted to Christ. I don’t long to see people eternally damned for their sin but rather turn from their wicked ways and truly trust in Christ rather than some phony association.

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  10. Muff Potter,

    I disagree. As someone who has studied various manifestations of this kind of militancy for many years, I can say that’s there is either no similarity between them or only a very superficial similarity – usually only to be found in the mind of passing anti-Calvinists who have read little of Calvin and even less of the other person.

    You can consult various academic publications but you might find this one quite expansive.

    https://arabdigest.org/visitors/sample-newsletters/intersection-wahhabism-jihad/

    The one drawback is that if you want to follow up the references, you need to be able to read and understand Arabic. 🙂

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  11. Max: I feel sorry for those good folks who became ensnared in ARBCA.

    Agreed, they may face a heart-wrenching choice.

    When good people quietly and obediently remain in corrupt churches, they whitewash the tomb. By sticking around for some perceived greater good, people ensnare their own children and lure neighbors into their own trap. We all have a responsibility for knowing, for listening hard and insisting on answers when an allegation is made of criminality or other evil.

    If people do knowingly stay in a corrupt church, they need to expose the evil loudly and clearly, and work visibly, to make the joint safer and more honest.

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  12. Muff Potter: The timid amongst them are like the Eloi, easily cowed and herded, while the zealots will manufacture just about anything to blunt a reckoning, from ‘satan attacking the body of Christ’, to invoking ‘Matthew 18’.

    Either way, the Morlocks in the pulpits feast.

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  13. Pingback: After Alleged Mishandling of Molestation Scandal, ARBCA Hurting – Pulpit & Pen

  14. Max: Mark R: 9Marks has become the hot group

    Same spirit as ARBCA in a more culturally-relevant package … a cool offshoot of the New Calvinist movement as opposed to the more archaic reformed belief and practice of ARBCA … but just as unhealthy for those ensnared by it.

    I suspect that false teachers will continue, as they always have, to change names, titles, dress, worship styles and all else. What remains the same is the agenda to suppress the genuine gracious, loving, just and merciful nature and heart of God for his creation. It matters little to the false ones what must be fabricated to take its place, as long as people are hurt, frightened, oppressed and turned away – ‘devoured’ in King James English.

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  15. ION: Sport

    Athletics

    I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Edinburgh International Cross-Country Thing will actually be held in Stirling this New Year; this is rather nearer hame. I don’t know much else beyond the fact that wee Laura Muir will be running.

    Parking in Stirling is tricky, but it won’t need a train journey. This is a big plus because most Scotrail services in the Central Belt, or indeed absolutely anywhere at all in Scotland, are cancelled these days Due To A Shortage Of Train Crew.

    Cricket

    In the Third Test between Australia and India in Melbourne, India declared their first innings on 443-7. The 3-match series was level going into this, the final Test; India are seeking a first series win in Australia since quite a long time ago. Australia survived the six overs before stumps on Day Two without mishap, closing on 8-0. The pitch remains a good batting track, though, so while all three results remain possible, a draw is perhaps marginally the most likely at the moment.

    Fitba’

    Following the Boxing Day fixtures that marked the halfway point of the Premiership season, Liverpool are on top, 6 points clear of Spurs and 7 clear of defending champions Man City who slipped to their second successive defeat away to Leicester yesterday.

    What this means is that if we win our next 18 games, we’ll be guaranteed the title. That’s not going to happen, though. (Naeby wins 18 games in a row in English league fitba’.) As Reds manager Jurgen Klopp has pointed out, there’s a long way to go yet.

    Dr Fundystan’s West Ham United are away to Southampton in this evening’s solitary Premiership fixture; at the time of writing, they’ve been playing just 8 minutes and the match remains goalless so far.

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  16. I spent 30+ years in non-denominational church (unaffiliated) pastoral ministry. During that time there were two crisis situations in our church. One was a youth pastor molester who was jailed for 40 years and has spend 20 years in a Texas prison.

    The second was a infant who contracted aids via a blood transfusion (early to mid 80s) and had b een cared for in our nursery prior to diagnosis. That was a challenge: caring for the family of the child and working with the fear in the congregation at a time when the aids panic was strong. By God’s grace we were able to care for the family who lost their child while we drafted an aids policy and implemented it.

    By the grace of God either situation could have been much worse.

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  17. “We humans are rather odd when it comes to our associations. Most Christians quickly align with a group of people who they believe are doing it right: the right theology, the right leaders, the right way to do church, etc. And when something happens to challenge the assumption that we picked the right church or denomination, we become upset. Most of us think of ourselves as intelligent, thoughtful, devout believers. We would NEVER choose a church or a leader or an association that was corrupt, would we?”
    I would say we are just odd. But it does make one wonder what the heck is going on with us. Why do we so easily fall for this? Sometimes when I look at the church overall today I think I understand all to well Jesus question “And when the son of man returns, will he find faith on the earth?”
    Sometimes I think the worst thing that can happen to a pastor is that he can sell a book or become famous enough that he will make the speakers circuit. He has a reputation he must uphold and he is beholden to people who are the source of the cash.

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  18. Sorry this is off topic. Would someone please help me? My faith is in a wreck right now. I think it all started late last year. My Continuing Anglican church turned out to have a lot of misogyny under the hood. I fled back to the ACNA to my old women’s ordaining diocese. I am a 100% egalitarian now, rather than partial (like within marriage). But, the damage has been done. I feel so hurt. Combined with my abuser father dying last year, and having to receive harmful words from my extended Christian family (they’re codependent), I feel like a wreck. I had also late last year been doing some historical research on domestic violence and the church, going back to medieval times to the modern era. What a mistake. I wish I could wipe my brain and be naive again.

    I’ve reached this point where I don’t trust men. They gross me out. They scare me. They seem like unfeeling machines rather than human. I’m sorry if you are male and reading this. I don’t want to be grossed out by you. I don’t want to be a misandrist. Really, I don’t. I just can’t see men the same way anymore.

    What’s worse is I’m scared of God. I suppose I always have been, but I can’t shake it anymore. God as Father? My earthly one was so awful. I’m scared. Why do men hurt women? Why do Christian men demean us and hate us? How many decent men who actually stand up for us are out there, really? Like 0.00001% of the population? I’ve never met one up close, I don’t think. All around me is misogyny and domination and patronizing attitudes.

    I just want to be loved. Does God love me? How can He, when He made the world this way? Women seem to exist to be abused. Why? Why didn’t God put limits on abuse and rape and all the awful things in the world? Why does He allow it in His church? Where did His Holy Spirit go? Why didn’t He guide His church into all truth? Unless male domination truly is the truth and God wants it that way. Why?

    I can’t reconcile it anymore. Where did God go? Why won’t He help me overcome this feeling of despair and the depression? Why won’t He help me? I feel so abandoned. Please, somebody help me. I don’t want to be like this anymore. I’m scared. I’ve been stuck in this mental rut for over a year now. I managed to get over it for a few months, but it came back, and this time I have a thyroid issue, too. I can’t help but wonder if I’ve made myself physically sick from all the stress.

    My faith is in shambles. I’d get therapy, but from whom? The therapists I’ve had before in childhood all sided with my abuser. And no, they weren’t all into nouthetic counseling. I never got help for trauma. And it sounds like the help they give is to make me relive it even more. How is that supposed to help? That’s my exact problem! I can’t snap out of it. I relive it and relive it and I can’t move on. I want all the pain to go away. I want to see the bright side of things like a normal person. I don’t want to see all this darkness in the world anymore.

    I almost wish I had never found ACFJ either, in spite of the good work they do. It’s like I got stuck there, reliving it all. I should have heeded the trigger warnings. And then more church scandals come out. I feel so lied to, so betrayed. Churches are run by power-hungry men. I go to church, but I’m like a zombie now. I’m just waiting for something bad to happen while I’m there. Some new trauma, because I was born to be a punching bag.

    Please, help me. I can’t stop crying. It’s affecting my job. For months now. I care for a disabled parent and I can’t afford to be fired. There has to be some hope. Where did God go? Why can’t I ever feel Him? He said He’d be with us. Where did He go? Why does His church teach such bad doctrine, all through history, and He does nothing to stop it? Where is is guiding? I feel so sick inside.

    Please help. This one of the few communities I have where I can cry.

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  19. Clockwork Angel: Please help. This one of the few communities I have where I can cry.

    My heart is with you. I will be thinking about you and praying for you, as will others at TWW. Right now so many things in your life are causing you pain and anguish.

    A long time ago, when I was in hardship, a friend said, “Jesus is sitting here with us, crying for you and with you.” That helped me. It is good that you have reached out to others. If you can take a break from anything (church, websites that call up your pain), please consider doing so.

    God does love you. God is also strong enough to accept your doubts. After all that you have endured, you have reason to think and feel as you do. I hope you will have some peace, composure, and clarity in the days ahead. Please stay in touch, whether or not you start to feel better right away.

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  20. Dear Clockwork Angel – I can echo much of what you said. You have a courage to speak honestly that I appreciated as I read your words. I am glad you can cry – it is important.

    My faith in God has carried me through much personally, but where I trip up is concerning my children. Why hasn’t He rescued them from an abusive situation? Why does my youngest have to go through so much pain and heartache? Why does God allow her to be treated so badly? I feel so helpless. I have no church, it was torn away, and I cannot face walking though the door of any church at the moment. Like you, it is a couple of places in the internet community that I derive support from, even though I am not so active myself.

    I wish I could help, but I’m too afraid to say something that would add to the pain. But I will pray, and like Friend, reiterate that God loves you and can more than handle all your doubts and questions. He is a big God and He is trustworthy.

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  21. RC,

    Thank you. for your comment. Todd has become a good friend of mine as we have shared our mutual concern about abuse in the church. I’m sorry what happened at your church. Maybe this would help. When a group of us confronted a mishandled pedophile situation at my. former church (he is I prison) we. got more than we bargained for.All of us subsequently left the church dismayed at the behavior of the pastors and elders. I remember apologizing to one of the men who left with us. I said I was sorry for upsetting the apple cart. He had been a deacon in that church. He said that I shouldn’t be sorry. It opened his eyes to what was all around him and he didn’t see it. He is grateful that he was finally able to see the truth. I hope that will be the same for you.

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  22. Most of the Psalter is full of laments, Psalm 88 in particular has nothing positive to say about God at all. Sometimes that’s just how we feel and sometimes it certainly seems as though God hasn’t held up Her end of the covenant. So feel free to rail at God and curse all the injustice and sin.

    Clockwork Angel: God as Father?

    If it is any consolation, God is neither male nor female. God created men and women to be equals. Patriarchy was part of the curse in Genesis 3:16 (despite the horrendous and political re-translation by the newest edition of the ESV). Sin fractured humanity’s community with animals, each other, and the earth itself. So, throughout the Bible and history, the horrible sin of misogyny and patriarchal societies continually rears it’s ugly head. But God is not male nor female. There is a lot of female imagery for God, but we don’t recognize it because we have been trained to view God as only father, and not mother as well. Whenever God refers to Herself as a tree, that was a feminine image when scripture was written. God refers to Her relationship with Israel as a mother nursing a child. Jesus even compares himself to a mother hen. God is not a man who would lord over women. Rather, God is God and nothing like the abusive men you have encountered.

    God loves you and grieves with you. Further, you are loved here on earth as well. You will be in my prayers.

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  23. I am so very sorry, and I know it is not enough, but I will be praying for you. It is difficult sometimes to go on in a world in which so much evil exists. I don’t imagine I can offer much that will help. I too sometimes simply weep, feeling as if my heart will break, begging God to bring all of this to an end.

    I do believe God looks upon our breaking hearts with deep compassion, and longs to wrap us up in his loving, comforting embrace and say ‘Only a little longer’. When Jesus said ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’, I believe he meant it. I do not blame this evil world upon God. I prefer to view it as what living without God, opposed to his ways, leads to. Perhaps, in his wisdom, he perceives that we have to see this with our own eyes before we will reject the wicked, self-serving, flesh pandering life that Satan seduces us into. God will not force us to reject evil, but allow us to see it in its full blossom, so that all will freely reject it as something we never again want any part of.

    It does hurt. Many days, it seems as if it is not worth going on. The entire history of this world echoes with the cries of the wounded and oppressed, and I can only cry out to God that I do not understand it, and I hate it. My spouse mocks me, accuses me of thinking I am Jeremiah or something. I only know that my heart aches for the misery that so many endure.

    I can only suggest allowing yourself time to mourn and heal, and avoiding, as best you can, at least for a time, sites and thoughts that trigger your grief and pain. I wish I could do something to help. It isn’t much, but I really do care, and my heart aches for you. If you wish to interact directly with someone, perhaps you could ask Dee to pass on your contact info and I will contact you if you wish. I am not sure that I can do much, other than assure you that there are others like you who struggle with pain and sadness, and must cling tightly to the promises of God that he will bring all things to a good end.

    I, too, sometimes wish that I could go back to the day when I simply did not know what I now know. The best I can do is pray that God will bring something good; will use you, me, and others who mourn, to warn, help and be a vital part of bringing good to a world that so desperately needs it.

    I do hope that you have someone you can trust, a sister or friend to whom you can turn for advice and support. Please know that God is good, that he loves you, and that there truly are many genuinely kind and loving people in this world.

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  24. Muff Potter,

    maybe it’s a reaction to change, and the unease which a conservative perspective has with change. the more conservative the more afraid.

    but to avoid the conservative/liberal foodfight, we can think in terms of the need to control because of fear of change in general. the greater the need, the more they double down on preventing change through control and predictability.

    requiring a literal and wooden reading of a religious text makes it ultra-predictable and binding on all.

    an ancient text understood literally with application for the present sort of reaches forward from the past, kind of holding things down in the present and holding things back from the change that wants to happen.

    there’s comfort in that. change is too scary. especially for those who have something to lose (like power) — who have a throbbing need to pursue or protect that something, so much so that controlling it by controlling associated people is of much higher value than the freedom of those people.

    & change is certainly what’s on the menu these days.

    technology is moving faster than ever (i presume), which means lots of things are changing. including availability of the internet and how that brings instant exposure to information on any conceivable topic or person or thing. a catalyst for exponential change right there.

    & justice is on the menu.

    “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”–Martin Luther King, Jr. (i brought this up recently, but it seems a propos here, too)

    …which means equality. which means power wants to be fairly shared.

    it’s like it’s trying to squirm out of the hands of those who are used to having it in large proportion, and it’s wanting to jump into the hands of those who have had so little.

    power to be as dignified as human as the next person. power to have an equal share of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    well, that’s what i see, at least.

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  25. Clockwork Angel,

    oh clockwork angel. i’m so sorry.

    thyroid imbalances can cause depression and a feeling of chaos. i hope you have a dr. who is open-minded about finding the right balance.

    medication from a psychiatrist has helped me greatly, as well.

    i understand what you’re feeling. little blessings, little positives (like a friendly conversation with someone, or even one moment of happiness) can be like a power vitamin.

    you’re in my thoughts.

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  26. Clockwork Angel,

    So sorry that this is happening to you. My heart breaks for you. I am praying for you. I can see that it would be hard to trust a “father” since your own father was so awful. I am not a trained counselor. Now that you have seen the worst of fathers, can you a least picture what a wonder father should be, could be? God is better than we can imagine. in fact He can not be a bad father. Isn’t this Satan’s original lie. Telling them in the garden that they really could not trust God? He was holding out on them. He really didn’t have their best in mind. God is good! He longs to gather us up like a hen gathers up her chicks to protect them. We are sinful. All of us. We can’t be trusted to do right, none of us ultimately. As Jesus told Jerusalem, he longed to gather them up, but they were unwilling. Jesus is so good that he came to pay the price we couldn’t pay in order to restore us to God and make it all back to perfection some day. I say God can be trusted. Many times I don’t understand it all either. In the midst of this sin sick world there is good. The sun rises each day on all of us terrible people. God holds out His hand want us to come and get the comfort only He can truly give. But, it is by faith and faith alone.
    I don’t think it is going to be easy for you or me or anyone else. We all will have times of trials. Times where our faith is tested. God is good. Many have been tested and have come out to confess that He was there. We may never know all there names. God Bless!

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  27. elastigirl: it’s like it’s trying to squirm out of the hands of those who are used to having it in large proportion, and it’s wanting to jump into the hands of those who have had so little.

    power to be as dignified as human as the next person. power to have an equal share of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

    Funny, as that has been growing within me, it even bubbles over to my relationship with my young adult kids. I find myself demanding to be viewed as a person, not simply a parent/Santa.

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  28. Clockwork Angel,

    You deserve to be free. Free to be yourself. Free from abuse. Free to think for yourself. Free to say no or yes, and be taken seriously. As you search for answers and help, consider the works and thoughts of former-fundamentalists-turned-psychologists Valerie Tarico and Marlene Winell. They are easy to find on any Internet search engine like Google or Bing. I think it is useful to approach problems and challenges in radically different ways in order to break harmful or unproductive patterns in our lives.

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  29. Clockwork Angel,

    I am so sorry. I can relate to much of what you say because I, too, had an abusive dad (verbally abusive in my case), and to this day I find it difficult to relate to God as Father.

    I can also relate to your thyroid issues. Years ago, I developed Graves Disease, and it triggered the worst OCD and panic attacks I have ever had in my life. As you have your thyroid issues treated medically, you may want to ask about meds for your emotions as well. SSRIs (specifically Luvox) saved my life. I am not exaggerating!

    As an Anglican, you probably believe in the Communion of Saints. May I prayerfully suggest that you draw close to the Blessed Mother? She is always there for us as our loving mother, comforting us and keeping us safe under her protective mantle. She leads us to Jesus, ever so gently and lovingly. Just rest in her love and leave everything to her prayers. Jesus refuses her nothing.

    Also…I pray you can find a therapist who will not side with your abuser. They are out there!!!

    You are in my prayers. God bless you!!!

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  30. elastigirl: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”–Martin Luther King, Jr. (i brought this up recently, but it seems a propos here, too)

    Love the King quote!
    I just saw (in a news vid) Ruth Bader Ginsburg use the same quote.

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  31. Clockwork Angel, your thoughts are real whether your body is full of stress or not. Even being raised in the church, I never sensed God’s love for myself. I finally became so honest with God one day (if I even really believed in God) when I was about 30 and I yelled at him that I didn’t understand what everyone talked about knowing his love for them. And my last words to him were that I certainly knew I did not love him and if that’s what he wanted from me he was going to have to make me because I couldn’t muster it at all. I felt like he was evil. I went on my way. But a few months later it all changed. God did change my heart. Of course it is a long story. For the most part of the last 26 years I have had peace with God. I still struggle sometimes like you are writing about. Mostly, I think I struggle because of the all the pretending by so many Christians that their own faith never wavers. It’s really weird that the more honest I am about my faith struggles, the more God has shown me God’s Self and God’s true character time and time again. And then when my faith wavers again, I can’t seem to gain enough faith from remembering the past awesome times that God proved God’s love to me again. And God does a new thing. I struggle now because of my mother who always had had such strong faith is dying in the last stage of dementia. I had pictured her not being afraid when death was close. But I keep begging God to ease her anxiety, anxiety that may or may not be just a symptom of the dementia. Who really knows? Anyway, I am praying that God will give awesome proof in your heart again that God can be trusted, though every man (person) a liar. For myself, I consider doubting Thomas and how Jesus did not condemn him for his doubt. Instead, Jesus showed himself to Thomas. I am like Thomas. God never condemns me for my doubt. One thing that helps me see God also when the misogyny subject gets me down is to drop the male pronoun when referring to God. God does not have gender any more than God has anything else that God created.

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  32. elastigirl: well, that’s what i see, at least.

    I pretty much see the same.
    But with the proviso that the Bible is like no other holy book on the planet.
    The ineffable beauty of Luke’s Magnificat is unparalleled anywhere despite what progressive materialists say to denigrate it.

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  33. ___

    501c3 Diabolical Disturbance Developing: “LÕÕK No Further, Perhaps?”
    *
    hmmm…
    *
    ARBCA dabra… nothing up my 501c3 pulpit sleeve … presto!
    *
    huh?
    *
    If you are perhaps expecting the Spirit Of God’s presence, Christ’s abiding love, and the word of God sincerely preached N’ practiced, you might possibly look elsewhere… ☠️
    *
    What?
    *
    “Behold, I am sending you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves…Beware of the false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves…For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing My flock…” -Jesus
    *
    SKreeeeeeeeetch!
    *
    In Jesus’ Name…”Open your eyes!”
    *
    (…the proof is NOW before you!)
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9cNpKRXwaj4
    *
    *
    Compelled yet STILL by Christ’s clarion call:
    *
    —> “GO FORTH into [All The World]” …and TELL THEM… “there are MANY rooms in My Father’s house!” -Jesus
    *
    Amen and Amen!
    ;~)

    – –

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  34. Clockwork Angel,

    I’m here for you too, I have had feelings very similar to yours many times, & am still slowly working my way through them. I really relate to fearing God, & not in a good way. This community has been really kind to me, & I know it will be kind to you too.

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  35. Clockwork Angel,

    Clockwork, yes, it’s hell to have the nice-nicey fascade ripped back to reveal the horror underneath. I think that’s why there’s a tradition of lament in classic churches. I know my note might seem a bit of a tangent here – you noted caregiving in your comment. Is there any resources available to give you a break on that front? The energy required by caregivers is off the chart high and won’t leave anything for you to process and heal. As for faith and the church – for now, might it be a relief to “box it all up, put it on a high shelf in the closet and live as if it doesn’t exist” for awhile? I wish I could offer a quiet coffee and chat in some old bookstore. The book I loved when I was walking in the darkness is Learning To Walk In The Dark (Barbara Brown Taylor). I hear your story and it has a space in my heart now.

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  36. ___

    Special Deliverance: “This one of the few communities I have where I can cry…”

    hmmm…

    Eye’s wide open, and no where to turn?

    What?

    —that a stunned, wounded, and entrapped sparrow should slip even from the hand that held it, and made good its escape?

    Make it so Lord, please, in Jesus’ name!

    ;~)

    – –

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  37. ___

    “R U Lõõking For A Fix, Or A Cure, Perhaps?”

    hmmm…

    You may take the most gallant 501c3 pastor, the most intrepid elder, the most audacious deacon, put them at a table together…

    What do you get?

    The sum of their fears…

    huh?

    “Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me” -Jesus

    What?

    “I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing…“ -Jesus

    Remaining in Jesus, —is a really, really good idea.

    (considering the alternative)

    *

    Every branch of the protestant church in America recognizes the importance of effectively employing the tools of salvation in joint operations.

    Prayer is also unique among those instruments of the Lord’s church because every valid service requires the combat application of prayer to accomplish its assigned mission and objective.

    ;~)

    – –

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  38. Preacher’s Wife: There is a lot of female imagery for God, but we don’t recognize it because we have been trained to view God as only father, and not mother as well.

    Let us also not forget, that the third part of the Trinity that is spoken of rarely today, The Holy Spirit was largely viewed as feminine in the early church period. Especially since Spirit is feminine in Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

    Really other than Jesus, who walked on Earth as a human being, any gender ascribed to the other two parts of the Trinity is nothing more than figurative.

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  39. ___

    The Lord’s assigned mission is not for the faint of ‘heart’, nor it’s greed satisfied.
    *
    huh?
    *
    Jesus said to go into the highways and byways and bid them all come?

    What say You?

    Are they cradled, nested in His loving arms as a partial result of your reflective words and actions?
    *
    *

    “And to all of the people with burdens and pains
    Keeping you back from your life
    You believe that there’s nothing and there is no one
    Who can make it right?

    There is hope for the helpless
    Rest for the weary
    Love for the broken heart
    There is grace and forgiveness
    Mercy and healing
    He’ll meet you wherever you are…

    Cry out to Jesus!

    For the marriage that’s struggling just to hang on
    They lost all of their faith in love
    They’ve done all they can to make it right again
    Still it’s not enough?

    For the ones who can’t break the addictions and chains
    You try to give up but you come back again
    Just remember that you’re not alone in your shame
    And your suffering?

    There is hope for the helpless
    Rest for the weary
    Love for the broken heart
    There is grace and forgiveness
    Mercy and healing
    He’ll meet you wherever you are…

    Cry out to Jesus!

    When you’re lonely
    And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
    You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus

    There is hope for the helpless
    Rest for the weary
    Love for the broken heart
    There is grace and forgiveness
    Mercy and healing
    He’ll meet you wherever you are…

    Cry out to Jesus.” (1)

    ;~)

    ___
    Inspirational:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6twEXynopo
    *
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Uh8C9HOrK60
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzjs3-DKHj4
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=u9Rp7b8HGF4

    (1) https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JmVxRl5bc4Y

    Exit music:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VaVg0cWkgAw

    – –

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  40. Muff Potter,

    “the Bible is like no other holy book on the planet.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    i’m sure i agree.

    i’m still not over the bible as justification for cruelty. for sentencing some to subhuman status and servitude. and as the manipulator’s book of magic for psychological control.

    i can always read psalms, though. those are always lovely and freeing.

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  41. ___

    Disturbed – “The Sound Of Silence” cover – reaching to date —471,473,878 YouTube views…
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=u9Dg-g7t2l4

    Q. What is wrong with this picture?

    Simon and Garfunkel, the original hit recording 55 years past,
    A whispered warning?
    Now silence disturbed?
    Now, an angry battle cry that the warning was ignored?

    huh?

    “My daughter was abused by her father. She did not tell until a year had passed. This song :
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=u9Dg-g7t2l4
    was her anthem before she spoke out. She is now an advocate for kids without a voice. Kids that need the laws changed but can’t put it to words. She has been through so much yet she worries about the next child that needs to verbalize what’s happening to them. She is phenomenal now but will be a voice of change later. I cry every time I listen to this song “ -Deana Meisel

    Silencing decent people from calling evil the evil it is?

    Nearly 56 years on from the initial recording conception yet this song is even more telling in these times of bleak urban decay, social media isolation, and a world where extremes of obscenity, wealth, abject poverty, and debilitating church decline exist side by side by side by side. If Simon and Garfunkel’s original was a sorrow song for their world, this is a scream of rage for ours!

    (sadface)

    ;~)
    – –

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  42. Clockwork Angel,

    I wish I could do something. I hope my efforts at consolation don’t just wound more. You don’t need Job’s “miserable comforters.” It’s so easy for somebody to spring on a Bible passage in the New Testament about women “submitting” or maybe ruling women out of the pastorate, and turn it into a cudgel to beat people over the head with. They’ll crow about their ‘discoveries’ about the meaning of the word “headship” for instance. Instead of being perplexed and dumbfounded at the mysterious ways of God, we’ll (that is we humans) will say it’s obvious that males should get the dominant role. Well it isn’t obvious.

    –“I wish I could wipe my brain and be naive again”–
    The Preacher in Ecclesiastes says that one who increases knowledge increases sorrow and the the heart of the wise is in the house of mourning.

    –“I’ve reached this point where I don’t trust men.”–
    Id quote–as somebody already has, “I said in my haste all humans are liars.”

    –“What’s worse is I’m scared of God. I suppose I always have been, but I can’t shake it anymore. God as Father? My earthly one was so awful. I’m scared.”–
    Think of Him as a “consuming fire”–that’s really scary! As C.S. Lewis had Mr. Beaver say: “Is He safe? No; but He’s good; He’s the King I tell you.” Moses was terrified of Him–Peter, James, and John were really really scared during the Transfiguration. Peter was gibbering nonsense. “Father” is sorta a metaphor. He’s a Father who is perfect. “God is love.” He is gracious and kind. He tells the truth, makes promises, and keeps them faithfully. He enjoys doing righteous things and getting justice for the downtrodden. You can call Him “Abba”–He who made the universe, is “before time,” and “dwells in unapproachable light.”
    May the Lord console you and ease away the ugly memories brought up by the word “father.”

    –“Why do men hurt women?”–
    Because those men are evil–doings the deeds of _their_ father, the devil.

    –“Why do Christian men demean us and hate us?”–
    I am bewildered by it. Also sometimes they’re oblivious that their remarks hurt.

    –“How many decent men who actually stand up for us are out there, really? Like 0.00001% of the population?”–
    There are a few good men–very very few.

    –“I just want to be loved.”–
    Of course you do.

    –“Does God love me?”–
    Of course He does!

    –“How can He, when He made the world this way?”–
    He made the world unfallen.

    –“Women seem to exist to be abused. Why? Why didn’t God put limits on abuse and rape and all the awful things in the world?”–
    This is the Problem of Evil. Job saw unspeakable personal tragedy. Then he worshipped God and blessed Him. How?? He even reached the point that he was more anguished by God’s silence than by his own affliction! He doubted God’s wisdom and justice–still in some way he trusted Him. Then God convinced him of His wisdom (and justice) and restored him to wealth and honor. We must, all of us, trust God and hold fast to Him. We must believe what He says about Himself. Jeremiah saw his people and his nation destroyed. Lamentations is an agonizing book. In the midst of it he exclaims “great is His faithfulness!” then begin weeping again when he realizes that God must faithfully punish his people. The problem of evil is very ghastly.
    We must trust Him and keep His commandments–basically to love Him and love mankind whom He created. And try not to ponder things too lofty for us.

    –“Why does He allow it in His church? Where did His Holy Spirit go? Why didn’t He guide His
    church into all truth?”–
    Have they quenched Him and grieved Him? Have they defiled the temple of God, which the people of the church are? Does He bide His time to judge them in furious anger?

    –“Unless male domination truly is the truth and God wants it that way. Why?”–
    If it is the truth, it is not how it’s being practiced now. I think assertion of rank is very un-Christian: “not so with you.” Nowhere in the Bible are men told to force or shame women into submitting–even into submitting to their own husbands. “You must rule over her” is maybe replaced by “husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church.”

    –“I can’t reconcile it anymore. Where did God go? Why won’t He help me overcome this feeling of despair and the depression? Why won’t He help me? I feel so abandoned.”–
    Many psalmists felt exactly this way. There’s a verse somewhere about God putting your tears in a bottle. He empathizes with you; and He will act to deliver you at the proper time, if that is what He determines to do. Your faithful High Priest, Jesus Christ, feels for you and intercedes for you.

    –“The therapists I’ve had before in childhood all sided with my abuser.”–
    Dunces or Beasts–your choice!

    –“I want to see the bright side of things like a normal person. I don’t want to see all this darkness in the world anymore.”–
    See some natural beauty! Watch videos of people doing acts of kindness! Read a biography about some kind person!–William Wilberforce comes to mind. Read a light novel! See a funny movie! Something. The world’s full of evil, but God made it good at the beginning and some of that still glimmers through. And “He cares for you.”

    –“And then more church scandals come out. I feel so lied to, so betrayed. Churches are run by power-hungry men.”–
    Peter said something about judgment will begin in the house of God. The reckoning is coming. Jesus said to a number of churches in Revelation “I have a few things against you.”

    –“because I was born to be a punching bag.”–
    No you weren’t. You were born to reflect the glory of God as the image and likeness of God. You are “God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for [you] to do”
    And He delights in you, and might be this moment boasting about you to the devil, as He did with Job!

    –“Where did He go? Why does His church teach such bad doctrine, all through history, and He does nothing to stop it?”–
    He went nowhere; but sinful fallible people have always badly twisted His Bible.

    –“Where is is guiding?”–
    “To the teaching and to the testimony!” (Isaiah 8:20)
    There is His guidance “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

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  43. Clockwork Angel:
    Sorry this is off topic.Would someone please help me?

    Clockwise Angel, I really feel for you. For what it’s worth, I second a lot of the suggestions here to help you. I also struggle with thyroid disease, and it really wreaks havoc with my moods. To make matters worse, the thyroid medication can be very finicky in as it should only be taken on a totally empty stomach, etc., or it may not work as well. I am still struggling with the right dosage so look into appropriate medication and make sure it is the right dose. I also struggle with depression so I am on an anti-depressant if you would be willing to try that it may help you. If you can get any family support for the caregiving, please utilize it as this would be important. Otherwise, there are caregiving support groups you can join. My father was also abusive, and he was totally taken in by complementarianism (as well as my first husband). It was such a relief to find out that there was an egalitarianian viewpoint that I never even knew existed and after some study, I found that it was quite biblical not just a capitulation to culture as some comps put it. I think reading Katherine Bushnell’s God’s Word To Women really helped me make sense of a lot of the anti-women stuff in the bible as well as to why this was so. You might want to read her book, or if you did, please continue reading a lot of stuff by egalitarians because it really helps me to understand that the mysogyny in the church really is not God’s design. Right now, I believe that Satan is working overtime to keep women from believing that they matter. I know it is hard to trust men sometimes, but there are egalitarian men out there who don’t buy into the comp stuff. I went through a dark time where I didn’t really like men too much, but thank God, I meant my husband that I am married to now. Many good egalitarian books that I read were written by men. And as for the abuse you suffered, there are very good secular counselors who don’t side with the abusers. You might want to locate one that is referred by an organization that deals with abuse and domestic violence. Sad to say, too many “biblical counselors” in the church are to biased by comp believes and do not have any real training in abuse or domestic violence. As for your father, I don’t know if you’re struggling with forgiveness along with the trauma of the abuse, but hopefully, a good counselor will help you work this out. My father was abusive as far as his mysoganist beliefs and the way he treated my mother and older half-siblings from her first marriage, and of course, my full brother and I didn’t get a pass because we were his biological children because there was a lot of resentment toward us long after the divorce especially from one half-brother. This poisoned our family relationships for decades with a lot of dysfunction. I am only now coming to grips with this. I don’t know the specifics in your situation, but please hang in there, it can get better. Please remember that none of this is your fault.

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  44. Willie: –“Why does He allow it in His church? Where did His Holy Spirit go? Why didn’t He guide His church into all truth?”–
    Have they quenched Him and grieved Him? Have they defiled the temple of God, which the people of the church are? Does He bide His time to judge them in furious anger?

    You write many lovely things, but it’s not clear where this one is going. I hope you don’t mean that God sees evil man A hurt child B, and allows the whole church to be victimized, pending divine judgment at some future date. Please help me understand your thoughts.

    Yes, God will judge evildoers harshly. Meanwhile God has left us in charge. We must work to prevent abuse, and to help victims find healing and justice in the here and now.

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  45. elastigirl: i’m still not over the bible as justification for cruelty. for sentencing some to subhuman status and servitude. and as the manipulator’s book of magic for psychological control.

    When I finally stood back and considered the men who wrote the Bible, the times they lived in, and the men they were writing for, and that I didn’t have to sign onto everything they wrote, it was hugely emancipating.

    The same holds true for my escape from the camp of the ‘progressive materialists’ (many of whom are ex-fundagelicals) who reject any possibility of the supernatural.
    I’ve found that they can be just as Orwellian as the most ardent Biblicist.

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  46. Thank you, each and every one of you, for being here for me. Don’t worry, my Mom doesn’t need too much help around the house, but she does need my financial support. She’s an MS patient, but she’s still walking. She has actually cared for me, especially when the nausea hit at my thyroid’s worst point and I had to eat gentle foods. She made me lots of gentle things like scrambled eggs.

    Unfortunately, my thyroid doesn’t have a clean diagnosis yet. My GP declared it to have been a viral infection that put me into a thyroid storm. I turns out I have a multinodular goiter. They aspirated the cysts, and the biopsy found the nodules to be benign. The doctor thinks it’s cased closed. But since I had a similar episode in February, I don’t think it is that simple. I also feel like I’m swinging now. It had all started with super anxiety and despair back in February. It slowly calmed down. It was a mental breakdown like no other. I went months without feeling that way, and then late September it hit again, this time with not being able to get sleep more than 5 hours, 7 if I was very lucky. A few weeks into it, my thyroid blew up in size and stuck out of my neck. That’s when I knew it was time to go to the doctor. She still tried to give me Prozac even though I had this thing sticking out of my neck. Um, duh? At the height of my symptoms, I started having weakness in my legs, nausea, and hot flashes. The day before it started relenting, I was so bad I had to lie down and take cat naps between doing simple tasks like walking my dog, eating breakfast, etc. Thank God that was on a weekend. I’d wake up so sick and sobbing after only 5 hours of sleep to have to go diarrhea, and my dear sweet Mom would have to tuck be back in to try to sleep some more.

    My blood work only showed my free T4 levels high. Everything else was normal (TSH, free T3). Negative for antibodies (for Graves and Hashi’s). Then my free T4 went down, too, so the doctor said case closed. While I did feel like I was getting better, I feel like I’m swinging. The other weekend, I caught my heart rate jumping into the 90s-100s bpm (with my Mom’s blood pressure monitor) while just sitting on the couch watching TV. It’s very sporadic, whatever is happening. I’ve also seen my blood pressure drop like a rock to 98/60 with my heart rate int he 60s. My GP won’t look or take it seriously. My thyroid feels like it’s burning sometimes, or prickling at best. At least it doesn’t feel like an alien latched itself to my neck anymore. But, this can’t be normal, can it? And now the anxiety seems to be getting replaced with depression.

    I made an appointment with the endocrinologist, but it takes forever to get in. I finally see her next week, and I can only hope she tests me some more rather than writing me off as crazy and needing a Prozac.

    I’m glad for anyone here who has been helped by SSRI’s. I took one Prozac my doctor gave me, and I felt like I’d taken a Benedryl. Very groggy, dizzy, could barely drive to work. That was a low dose, and I don’t want to find out what having it build up in my system would be like. There has to be a better way. I am especially leary of SSRI’s because when my father was on them, he went completely unhinged. I thought he would take a gun and kill us. He was never the same afterward. Prozac rewired his brain. It probably didn’t help that he was adding alcohol to it, but still…. I don’t view taking SSRI’s lightly. If you are in the percentage of the population who reacts badly with some of the nastier side effects, it could be scary. One of the side effects is suicidal thoughts. I can’t afford that.

    I have been trying to exercise, but the buzz from that is only temporary, and doesn’t make the doubts go away. They’re always there, in the shadows. I can only hope that it’s mostly my thyroid talking, and that the endo will figure it out.

    I’ve always struggled with depression, though. And I have real reasons to be depressed. What this whole thyroid incident showed me is that I have a lot of demons that I cannot keep buried. They will come out if I don’t deal with them. Even if an SSRI managed to dampen those feelings, they’d still be there. I want more than a bandaid; I want to be able to trust God again.

    Thank you all for your prayers.

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  47. dee: Clockwork Angel,

    Would you like to speak with me? Please shoot me an email dee@thewartburgwatch.com I am so sorry for you. I stopped to pray for you tonight.

    I shot you two emails yesterday entitled “From Clockwork Angel” (because I had extra thoughts). Hopefully they didn’t end up int he spam bucket? Thank you for the offer! I hope I didn’t send you too much. 🙂

    Maple Lady: My faith in God has carried me through much personally, but where I trip up is concerning my children. Why hasn’t He rescued them from an abusive situation? Why does my youngest have to go through so much pain and heartache? Why does God allow her to be treated so badly? I feel so helpless. I have no church, it was torn away, and I cannot face walking though the door of any church at the moment. Like you, it is a couple of places in the internet community that I derive support from, even though I am not so active myself.

    I’m so sorry to hear that you have to watch your children be abused, and can do nothing. I hate our court system. It sides with abusers. I think the judges are all psychopaths.

    I wish God would just gather us all together so we could be a church together. Why won’t He? It’s not the same when we’re far away. It’s not the same on the Internet. To be hugged in person means so much. To be a community that takes care of each other meaningfully, through thick and thin, would mean so much to us all. If I could hang with you in person, I would.

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  48. Friend,

    “We must work to prevent abuse, and to help victims find healing and justice in the here and now.”

    For sure! We must try to ferret out these scoundrels, and not let ’em hide behind reputations, entitlements, etc, and also we must help their victims the best we can. I think God expects us to try to get justice (and consolation) for the oppressed and see to it that evildoers are punished (or if we can’t punish them every time [because of the strictures of the law, what’s admissible evidence, and so on] at least expose them for what they are). This is what He does and I think we as His image can do it too, in a more limited and temporary way. There’s things in the Old Testament about defending the fatherless and pleading the widow’s case–and these are still operative in the New: “pure and faultless {religion} is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27). I’d put the aftermath of these abuse situations in that category.

    Although maybe the Lion is about to pounce on these wolves, we need to do what we can until He does.

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  49. Willie: –“The therapists I’ve had before in childhood all sided with my abuser.”–
    Dunces or Beasts–your choice!

    Or Easy Marks for a Manipulator.

    Remember the D&D Magic Spell “Charm Person”?
    Cast it on anyone and no matter what they used to think or feel about you before, they are now your BFF, lapdog-loyal unto death?
    It exists for real. And Master Manipulators are also masters of Charm Person.
    Comes bundled with the Angel of Light mask.

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  50. Clockwork Angel,

    Hugs. My heart is with you.

    I can tell you that I personally know a few good men. I hope that might help. I’ve found a therapist who has been helpful. Often, I just talk about what I’m struggling with here and now, and they help clarify and offer suggestions for coping that are quite practical. But I hear you on the therapist thing. A sibling was traumatized by a therapist and did not go back to therapy for years, which meant in their case going without essential medication. There are some good therapists out there. Maybe I hit it lucky.

    I found a church last year with a female pastor who preaches on the love of Christ. They have active, practical ministries. The one I recall best is their outreach to homeless people. There are some good churches out there. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to bear to walk into even that church for almost a year. But it’s not because of that particular church.

    I guess I am painting life the way I see it lately as a dark void, like the night sky. There are still stars shining, though they may appear dim and scattered far apart.

    I don’t have any words of wisdom to offer about God. I can’t help believing in something greater. I just don’t have the same blind, unreasoning faith in the Bible, as men interpreted it, that I had most of my life. And maybe that’s where I’m supposed to be at this time, in this place.

    I hope some of this thinking-aloud helps. My heart is with you and your struggles in this time.

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  51. ___

    Demon_lition 501c3 Religious Derby: “If Not?”

    Yo! Beaker,

    Happy BLUE Year!,

    hmmm…

    64 thousand dollar question: “What do you do if NO help comes?”

    KRunch.

    Short answer: —> You’re screwed.

    hahahahahaha

    What?

    Too many times we can feel helpless and drastically out of sorts. But we can turn to

    ‘THE ONE’

    —>who is fully and perfectly able to help US in our times of need.

    The Bible says: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” 

    The Bible also says: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

    Jesus once said: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

    *
    *

    You are welcome to do what you want, but as for me, being in some serious poo simply means God is able to rescue; but if He does NOT choose to do so, (and I have seen that many times!?!) I still will serve no other. In that case…

    I will pound my fist, ‘scrape my boils’, and curse heaven…

    (snicker)

    REALLY, (in that case) I will adapt, advance to a secure position, and do all I can to survive until (a) His shield & help doth come, (b) He moves me to a bedda plaze, or (c) He simply takes me to His home where the sparkling water runs free…

    Things Outa Control?

    Sit at His feet,
    Walk in His ways,
    Stand on His promises,
    Jesus is ALWAYS good for His word.

    “Faith is the substance of thing hoped for the conviction of thing unseen.”

    Hope you are OK,

    ATB

    ♪♩♪♩ hum, hum, hum.. . ‘You better stop, look around; here it comes, here comes your nineteenth church breakdown…”

    “Oh, who’s to blame, that pastor’s just insane
    Well, nothing I do don’t seem to work
    It only seems to make the matters worse.

    “OOOOOOOh, pleaze!”

    *

    Pop a cold one! 🙂

    Toooooot! (burp)

    Sòòòòòõòpy

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qXVI4l9_BBg
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=egneNCdG67I
    Exit musica: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=j3HHHyzgaZU

    ;~)

    – –

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  52. Clockwork Angel,

    I continue to pray. And I understand your concerns about SSRI’s, as they have genuine risks. Lost a dear friend to suicide several years back, shocking family and friends, after he started on SSRI’s for minor depression; then a niece, only a few months ago, again with no warning. Perhaps they are sometimes necessary, but their risks must be acknowledged and taken seriously. I pray that you can find help and restored balance, and that God will keep watch over you, even when it seems as if he is far.

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  53. Clockwork Angel,

    Your honest post really moved me. I have not been able to stop thinking about your words since I read them. Thank you for posting what most of us often feel but spend so much effort trying not to think about We eat, we drink. We drug and entertain ourselves all to forget or to believe the lie that all is well. Most of us are so successful at hiding this truth from ourselves that we are blind to it. You have made it plain. You have forced me to look at it. It spawned so much thought in me that I had difficulty not drifting away at church this morning. I have just come out of an abusive church situation and I’m struggling with trust also.

    There is no one trustworthy, not in any church, not in my family, not in any man or any woman. I cannot even trust myself. I am one of them who is not to be trusted and so are you. This world is a cesspool of selfish cruelty. But this is not a remarkable thing. It is no exaggeration.

    “None is righteous, no, not one;
    no one understands;
    no one seeks God.
    All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.
    Their throat is an open grave;
    they use their tongues to deceive.
    The venom of asps is under their lips.
    Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.
    Their feet are swift to shed blood;
    in their paths are ruin and misery,
    and the way of peace they have not known.
    There is no fear of God before their eyes.
    Romans 3:10-18

    The truly remarkable thing is that even though this is true of us all, God who is just to condemn us all is full of mercy toward us, even the worst of us that you have described so well and have been hurt by. We deserve His wrath and instead He humbled Himself to live among us and die for us. You can trust Christ. You can trust Him ONLY. There is no guarantee that you will not be hurt by men. You will be. “What if some were unfaithful? Does their unfaithfulness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true and every man a liar… (also Romans 3)

    The other remarkable thing is that in spite of the truth that you have pointed out about us all, we do see bits of goodness in this world. Honesty and kindness catch us by surprise sometimes. Where does that come from? It comes from Him. He is not like your father or mine. He can be trusted.

    Why does He allow you to suffer? Why does He hide Himself from us at times? For our good! All of it. Every pain, every difficulty, every inconvenience is for your good. And for His glory. He is not like us. He can be trusted. No matter what He would have you suffer in this life you can be sure that the all-powerful creator who loved those you described enough to lay His own life down for them will care for them more than they care for themselves. He is able and He is trustworthy. Don’t be afraid to obey Him because you can trust him. Don’t look anywhere else. Look to Christ.

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  54. Clockwork Angel,

    Clockwork Angel I empathize completely. I was actually diagnosed with gender identity disorder as a child because I hated men so much (I’m male).

    I see two things:

    1. you’ve never known what Love really is

    2. you got a false view of God from your parents

    Those are actually the same thing. I encourage you, when you have the strength, to go through the gospel and read just the red letters. Ask yourself these questions:

    1. How did Jesus respond to people?

    2. Who did He judge?

    3. Who did He try to control?

    He’s the perfect example of actual, real, unconditional Love and the way out of the darkness for you.

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  55. Lydia: “None is righteous, no, not one;
    no one understands;
    no one seeks God.
    All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.

    Cannot be supported by empirical scrutiny any more than Peter’s classification of women as “weaker vessels” can be made to stick as literal “truth”.

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  56. Lydia: God who is just to condemn us all is full of mercy toward us… We deserve His wrath and instead He humbled Himself to live among us and die for us.

    In the other thread you gave a link to a discussion on the protestant lens. What you wrote here about the wrath we deserve is something I would have fully agreed with a few years ago. But now I am questioning that, in large part by my exposure to people such as Baxter Kruger, Brad Jersak, their associates, and non-protestant theologies such as Eastern Orthodoxy. I am now thinking that the common protestant view of a god who must be appeased before he can tolerate us is part of a flawed lens. I am learning instead that God is not our problem, but out view of him is. I highly recommend resources like Jersak’s book “A More Christlike God” as a way to try on a different lens. Here is a recent article by him to give a bit of an example of a different lens: https://www.clarion-journal.com/clarion_journal_of_spirit/2018/12/10-affirmations-on-divine-judgement-an-inclusivist-perspective-brad-jersak.html. I hope this helps.

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  57. Clockwork Angel,

    Clockwork Angel, you are not alone in asking these questions, I too have struggled with many of them. It is hard when our eyes have been opened and we can no longer blindly trust in platitudes and structures we thought we could. It leads into a very turbulent time where we feel we’ve been cut loose from our moorings and we are confronted by a trust crisis. It can be unsettling, unnerving, even terrifying. These feelings are normal for the change going on inside us, it does eventually pass and calm returns. In the end our moorings are more secure because they are based on an honest appraisal of reality. It just takes time to sift through it all and tease apart all of the tangled strands. There is no hurry, you must take all the time you need to. My heart goes out to you and know you are not alone on this journey.

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  58. Muff Potter: Lydia: “None is righteous, no, not one;
    no one understands;
    no one seeks God.
    All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.

    Cannot be supported by empirical scrutiny any more than Peter’s classification of women as “weaker vessels” can be made to stick as literal “truth”.

    “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
    there is none that does good.
    The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
    to see if there are any that act wisely,
    that seek after God.
    They have all gone astray, they are all alike corrupt;
    there is none that does good,
    no, not one.
    Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
    who eat up my people as they eat bread,
    and do not call upon the Lord?”

    The context tells us that the psalmist is speaking of ‘fools’, ‘the children of men’, ‘evildoers’ who ‘eat up my people’. So yes, the evildoers have all gone astray, are corrupt and do no good.

    Nothing like yanking verses out of context and building entire damnable doctrines upon them. This one has done as much, or more harm than any other, persuading many that we are all born sinful and wicked, and need to beat the bejeebers out of our kids, and discipline unruly members in hopes of . . . what? Can you ‘discipline’ someone into being elect? The level of inconsistency is mind boggling.

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