Monday, November 30, 2015

Why Patriarchy is Bad for Your Marriage, Your Family and Your Church

The Christian culture of the west generally embraces patriarchy as God's best, as true Biblical teaching and as the expected for our families.

I disagree. I feel that patriarchy is bad for you, bad for your family and bad for your church. I'll tell you why.

Patriarchy goes against God's ideal. I've heard the argument that because God said to Eve after she sinned, "Your desire will be toward your husband," (Genesis 3:6) therefore, God wants women to be focused on their husband, indicating that marriage is an ideal for a woman and good women get married.

This is not God's ideal. God's ideal was the garden before sin. 

It's interesting to note that a woman's desire toward her husband is a punishment. Eve's desire was toward God before the fall and the desire toward a husband is a prediction of what will be, (i.e. her desire will be away from God) not God's ideal of what should be. God puts this husband-ward desire in the same category as increased pain in childbirth. As a person who has given birth to eight people, I can tell you first hand, it isn't pleasant.

This is not a command; it's a prediction. It should not be taught as something to strive for because it was a result of sin and part of the curse. Christ undid the curse through His death, burial and resurrection. The price for Eve's sin has been paid, as it has for Adam's and as it has for yours. We women are free to have our desire to be totally toward God, not our husbands. We no longer have sin in the way of our relationship with God, therefore we no longer have any human interference with our relationship with God. We no longer have to war with a desire toward a husband competing with a desire toward God. We can be all about God all the time now because that punishment has been paid.

Do not teach a young wife that having a "desire toward her husband" is what God wants for her. Quite the contrary, God wants her to love the Lord her God with all her heart, soul and mind and to love her neighbor as herself. 

Patriarchy goes against Paul's teachings and practices. Every time a man talks with me about this subject and we turn to Ephesians 5:22 & 23, his voice nearly booms when he says a wife is to submit to her own husband, but his voice quiets when he says the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.

Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Wives are never given this command outside of loving our neighbors as ourselves, a command given to every Christian and every Jew. Yet, the emphasis taught to our young women is sacrifice to their husband. This is not to say that women shouldn't have a sacrificial love for their husbands, it's just that it's not a specific command for women in that way. For the man, this is commanded, specifically.

What I've seen is men being taught this with a condition. The condition is given first in these teachings. "Wives, submit; husbands, love." It's taught as though his responsibility and even his ability to obey the command hinges on his wife's submission. The command for husbands to love is not conditional on the wife's submission or lack thereof. It is a command. It is not optional. No matter what she does, no matter what she says, no matter how she feels, he is only in compliance with the Biblical command if he loves her as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. He does not get to claim that he can't love her as Christ loves the church because she won't submit. If that were true of Christ, we would all be hopeless.

What does that look like in our western culture? How does Christ love the church? The church does nothing for Him. He created her, purified her, died for her, rose from the dead for her and lives so that she can live, grow and thrive. So, that's what husbands are to do. While a man cannot create a wife, he can convince a woman to become his wife.  He can give up his desires for her (die to himself for her), make sure her needs are met and forgive her all her weaknesses. He is commanded to sacrifice his all for her. The remote. The football. The toys. The golf. The night out with the boys. The sports car. Everything. That's how Christ loves the church. He gave up everything because He is all about her all the time. 

Patriarchy does not support this.

Patriarchy created false roles for men and women and teach that those roles are God's plan. This one baffles me every time I hear it. I personally know some men who believe that all women who work outside the home are out of God's will for their lives. I know some women who feel the same way. I know a couple of men, preachers, who claim they only preach to the men in their church. How bizarre is that?  I wonder how Jesus would have told Mary, as she sat at His feet learning from Him, that His Words are only for the men. He, of course, did not and would not do that because Jesus is an equal opportunity Savior. He doesn't care if you're a man or a woman, boy or girl, He will talk with you, teach you, save you.

If I was ever in a church where the pastor said he only preaches to the men, I would leave that church. I was in a church once where the pastor only communicated with women through their husbands. I left that church.

Men and women were not given roles by God. There is no Scriptural support for such an idea. Biology does dictate a few roles. Women's bodies are designed to grow babies and give birth, then feed a baby, so there's a designated role. However, motherhood does not exclude women from other roles. If it did, the Proverbs 31 woman was completely out of God's will, as was Deborah, Hildah, Lydia, Priscilla, Esther, Ruth, Naomi, Sapphira, Junia, Abigail, Anna, Dorcas and a host of other women whose lives were highlighted in the Bible.

I've also heard men teach that the only reason God ever used a woman was because a man was not available. Are you telling me that the God of all creation, the God who made people out of dust, the God who made dust out of nothing, was not able to raise up a male person to do a job so He, even He, the Creator of all things living and non-living, had to resort to using a woman? Anyone who teaches this should not be teaching at all because they do not know a thing about God. That is messed up theology.

Galatians 3:28 clearly teaches that gender has no place in our walk with Christ. "For there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond or free, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Those who treat women differently are out of the will of God. Many who do this like to say women are "different, but equal" but that does not work. The "but" in that sentence minimizes women by its very use. Also, that phrase assumes that men are prominent. A much better way to avoid the minimization of women is to say "women and men are equal while different."

Patriarchy creates false pride in men. Many men I've  talked to about this subject get very upset with me, raise their voice, take Scripture out of context and exaggerate my position. Pride. Apparently, my ability to articulate a Biblical position that differs from theirs is great cause for concern on their part. Do I bruise their ego? (If so, I don't care; it's not my job to protect anyone's ego.)

The bottom line on this is patriarchy creates false pride. Pride has no place in marriage, the home or the church. The false pride created by patriarchy is damaging to the home. It leads to abuse every single time. Because it's not God's ideal, men find themselves pushing for patriarchy without God. This push is usually met with push back and disrespect. In turn, the woman pushing back is made to feel guilty as though she's doing something wrong, the man reinforces that idea because his ego is bruised and a cycle of abuse results. Instead of him sacrificing for her as he's commanded, he pushes her to submit to his abuse, claiming it's her "role."

A wife's submission is really none of her husband's business. It is between her and God and no one else. By it's very definition, submission is voluntary, so if it only comes through demand, it's not real submission, it's only compliance. Women will temporarily appear to submit to keep the peace and sometimes this is necessary for safety. But, while a woman might submit for a time just to keep peace, it won't last. She will rebel against this over time, and she should. No woman should submit due to a demand by another person. A woman who is all about God all the time needs no prompting to submit.

Patriarchy limits a woman's relationship and access to God. Some who hold to patriarchal teachings believe and promote that a husband is the "family priest," thus limiting a woman's access to God, Himself. This is prominently taught in many Christian circles, much to my dismay. Even a quick look at Scripture reveals the ignorance of such a notion. I Timothy 2:5 clearly tells us about this, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and humanity, the man Christ Jesus."

Women do not need their husbands to be a priest in their lives. Not only do women not need this, to teach that a husband is a priest to her is poor theology and contradicts God, Himself. It's wrong to teach that anyone needs a priest other than Christ. We all, as believers in Christ's death, burial and resurrection, have direct access to Him at all times. We are told to come boldly to the throne of grace. We are not told to go to our husbands so that they can access the gates of Heaven; we are to approach it ourselves. (Hebrews 4:6)

Ladies, the Bible is talking to you. Directly to you. Not through a husband. To YOU.

Real men want a wife who is grounded in her theology.
Real men want a wife who approaches God Almighty with boldness and frequency.
Real men want a wife who loves the Lord her God with all her heart, all her mind and all her soul.
Real men reject patriarchy.

~Tricia








Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My First-World Life (Thanks to Veterans)

Today as I sit here and enjoy all my first-world privileges, get frustrated about my first-world problems and live in the lap of luxury in a carpeted house with full temperature controls and bathrooms galore and all kinds of entertainment at my fingertips, plenty of food in the house, things to support my hobbies, wifi as a given and stores all around me where I can buy whatever I want, whenever I want, and a car to drive me there and literally lacking nothing at all.....I will bask in my first-world life because of those who served and the so very many who gave their lives so that I can have such a luxurious, plentiful life. 

Yes, I care about those less fortunate in the world and give to missions that take the Gospel of Christ to them (since He is the only way to improvement of their lives), and also take medical services to them, etc. I give to them since I am unable to go myself. 

But, when someone minimizes an American hardship by calling it a first-world problem, I think, yes, that's right....we have first-world problems because we will not stand for anything less than the best because the best of all of us....our veterans....fought, died and gave up everything so that we could live this way. Basking in our first-world problems is a tribute to them because we are the USA and we will not live in a way that would appear to be less than the best because they gave so much for us to do so. So, buy that $5 cup of coffee, get that extra pair of shoes, go for a drive just for the fun of it, live in and enjoy the luxury our veterans bought for you, never forgetting who gave all this to you.

Freedom is Luxury.
Thank you, Veterans,
~Tricia

Friday, October 30, 2015

Fallout from a Good Sermon

For the past three weeks, in our quest for a church home, we've visited a church that we think just might become our church home. Finding a church preaching the Word and not worldly philosophy has been a huge challenge, but we might finally be at the end of our search.
Last Sunday, the senior pastor of this church preached a sermon on the whole armor of God. Since then, I have been driven to think about, ponder, look up and study the passages he preached from because his preaching was so spot-on that it fueled further study. 

This is fallout from a good sermon. 
This is what pastors want their people to do.

Many times, I'm looking up the sermon passage because I'm uncomfortable with the content of the sermon and I'm searching to see if what was preached was true to the passage. Mostly it hasn't been for the past three years. Mostly it's been a quest to feed myself the truth of a passage because whoever "preached" it did not. 

That has not been the case for the past three weeks. The first week we visited, they had a guest speaker, a missionary, and he was true to the text. The next week, the senior pastor preached and he was spot-on, just as he was this past week.

His text last Sunday was Ephesians 6:13-17 and he preached on the whole armor of God, focusing on the helmet of salvation and he referred back to Isaiah 59:16&17 where God sees no intercessor so He brought salvation unto him and he put on righteousness as a breastplate and the helmet of salvation and verse 20 where it says, "And the Redeemer will come to Zion...." and this has all served all week to nourish my soul.

He said the helmet of salvation guards my mind so I'll remember the permanence of salvation; that I have a future with Christ. We are saved from the penalty of sin. We are saved from the power of sin. 

Do you see what a good sermon can do for the heart of the people? It's Friday and I'm still contemplating this sermon and excited to hear more this Sunday. I take notes. I devour this. 

I do not have this reaction when a pastor preaches philosophy or some list of how to do this or that. I don't care how he feels about how anyone does this or that, I care about God's Word, which He manifests through preaching.

It's the preaching, people, not the program. It's not the style of preaching, either, because there is only one way to preach and that is expository. Anything else is not preaching.

This daughter of Abraham has been empowered, encouraged, strengthened and motivated.

If all programs were thrown out the window and only the preaching remained, God's Word, the ministry and the advancement of His kingdom would still thrive.
It's the preaching.
Get this.
~Tricia

Monday, October 26, 2015

What I Learned from Barbie

When I was a little girl, I had a Barbie doll. Mind you, I had only that one. I treasured that doll. Then one day, the dog chewed her up.

One of my sisters had a Barbie and she shared her with me from time to time, so I wasn't totally without Barbie in my life. A family friend had every Barbie imaginable  - and the playhouse! Imagine my joy when we played at her house. I remember wondering why she ever did any other thing besides play with those Barbies.

A few years ago, there was an uprising against Barbie because some felt she was too unrealistic to be a good role model for young girls. This confused me at the time, but I wasn't real motivated to say much about it. Today, however, I saw a commercial for Barbie that prompted me to write. It was an excellent commercial and hit on the points of how Barbie helped me in my life. Click here to see the commercial.

As a child, I never compared myself to Barbie. I never felt I had to measure up to her image. She
was/is just a doll and I knew it then as I know it now. I don't remember ever aspiring to look like her. My Barbie had long, blonde hair and I did not. I'm a brunette. I've always been short, so Barbie's comparable human height wasn't on my mind. She was pretty and to have something so pretty was what was important to me. She represented something I could hope to have because she showed me that something better, a prettier life away from violence and abuse, existed.

What was on my mind when I played with Barbie was what this commercial portrays.  It was all about what could be. What I could become. What could happen. Playing with Barbie was about the hope of something better. It was about thinking that I was good enough to own something pretty and something that didn't actually "fit" on our rustic farm.

Even when Barbie was being bashed, I still bought her for my daughters. A couple friends could not believe I would buy Barbie after all the negative news came out about her. But, I still thought Barbie was pretty and always wanted my girls to have pretty things. I also knew my daughters knew the difference between themselves and a doll, so they would not aspire to look like her. No one looks like anyone else, so the uniqueness of each of my daughters would not be compromised because they owned and played with Barbie Dolls. And, they wanted Barbie and I was so happy to be in a position to give them what they wanted every now and then.

Barbie Dolls were good for me as a child. Barbie represented hope and change and possibilities. Today, this is a relatively new thing for a toy company to represent, especially to girls, but Barbie has always represented this to me.

Thank you, Barbie.
~Tricia



Thursday, October 8, 2015

I am Ruined


In our search for a church home, we have been visiting many different churches. We are having trouble, however, because churches are not preaching the Word, they are preaching a social gospel that does not represent God's Word nor His message for mankind. We are extremely saddened and frustrated by this. I have taken to listening to proper sermons I find online because my soul is hungry for God's Word and I can't find anyone preaching It.

They are preaching philosophy.
They are preaching ideas.
They are preaching secular humanism.
They are preaching nonsense.

Let me give you some examples of things we've heard from pulpits for the last 2 1/2 years:

Jesus is a replica of God.
If you put God in the copy machine, Jesus would come out the other side.
You own your spouse like you own your toothbrush.
A wife is just the husband in another body.
The entire book of Philippians is centered around the fight of those 2 women in chapter 4.
I am the pastor; I rule over your entire life and you have to raise your family the way I say. (This one wasn't said in so many words, but it was practiced with disastrous results.)
You have all the power to change your life.
God can't work without your cooperation.
You can stop God's plan.
I see things in the Scriptures that no one else ever sees.

Most churches we've visited are big on series preaching. They choose a theme and preach a series centered on that theme. One church chose "The Fight" and formed "Fight" clubs for men, women and children. One church chose "Unstuck" and is attempting to tell people how to get unstuck from what they perceive holds them back (from what I don't know because no one said). The list goes on. Churches are choosing these series and searching out God's Word for verses that support their series themes.

A series theme is chosen, then verses are looked up to support the series founder's ideas on what the series should represent. These verses, always taken out of context to fit, sound so good and so right and so reasonable that the people are blinded by their application. Their souls cry out, "Yes!" while their spirit, unbeknownst to them, is led astray and destroyed. Instead of going home from the sermon more acutely aware of how great God is and more keenly aware of how great a gift Christ gave, they are puffed up with "You can do this," "You can choose," "You hold the power," and their faith is chipped away by their inward focus. They begin to believe it's all about them and they look inward to themselves constantly to make sure they are exercising all that power the pastor said they have. Are you choosing the right response to your spouse? (God won't bless your marriage if you're not.) Are you making sure your tone is proper when you speak to your children? (They will grow up into ungodliness if you don't!) Are you using your time wisely and not being idle? (God will not answer your prayers if you don't.) And the list goes on. And while all this is happening and the saints are completely preoccupied with their own behaviors, no one in their circles is hearing the gospel from them and their message becomes "Me! Me! Me!" instead of "Him! Him! Him!" These are all lies. God is not bound by anything you do, say, think or feel.

Where is the cry of Isaiah? Where is the sure-footed doctrine of King David to exalt our living God instead of ourselves? Where is the terror of Daniel? Where is the boldness of Paul to preach only Jesus and Him crucified?

I am ruined. I cannot tolerate this shallow preaching and gross misrepresentation of God's Word. My husband was my pastor for 32 years. He does not preach this fluff. He does not allow a subject to determine a sermon. He only allows God's Word to determine a sermon. Right now, while we are working to plant a multi-ethnic church, we are searching for a church home to belong to, but it is  not to be found. We have visited every church within reasonable driving distance and have been repulsed by the preaching in every single one of them.

We fought for the gospel throughout our years of full-time ministry. I am astounded that some have never had to fight for the gospel. We had to fight hard to keep the Name of Jesus in the pulpit and on our lips. Amidst threats, assaults and character attacks, we kept on for Him. Once you fight that hard to even keep His Name on your tongue, you develop a complete intolerance for anything less.

Put every sermon you hear to the test. Hold it up to the light of the gospel and see if it measures up. If it contradicts even one attribute or character of God, it is rubbish. God will not violate His own attributes in His own Word and no sermon should do that, either.

If a sermon is not expository, I'm not listening. I'm done. I'm ruined.

~Tricia

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Little Man Eats Dirt

 I just read a brief article about how some blogger criticized Ann Romney for having "another book" out on the market. On Your World with Neil Cavuto, Ann responded,

"To this blogger, I say: you know what? Don’t get in my way. Don’t say I can’t do something. I can write as many books as I want. And I can speak out as much as I want,"

Way to go, Ann! My first thought was to wonder who this guy is. My second was to ask who does he think he is.

It's interesting to note that I know who Ann Romney but had never heard of her critic. Who is this guy? Why is he so jealous of Ann Romney? I applaud and support her for writing all the books she wants and speaking out as much as she wants.

Here's the poor little man's tweet:



Kudos to Ann for writing about her MS and speaking out for those who suffer the same yet have no voice.

~Tricia

Thursday, September 17, 2015

How Michelle Duggar Helped Fuel her Son's Infidelity

I work with and help people in abusive situations and I long ago recognized the Duggars as abusive.

In previous blog posts, I mentioned how Josh was a victim of his father's obsession with sex. Jim Duggar could not go one episode of their TV show without mentioning or referring to sex in some way. Even recently, with their show cancelled, he made a cringe-worthy comment on a vlog at a family friend's wedding. He does not get it.

Josh's mom, Michelle Duggar has also fueled a sex addiction for her son. She has repeatedly stated that men have a "need" for sex and advises wives to never, ever say no to sex with their husband, even if they are tired or not feeling well. She said, "Anyone can make him a sandwich, but only the wife can fulfill that physical need for love he has."

No, no, no. Sex is not a need. There is no such thing as a "physical need for love." Josh was openly taught that he needed this. When this turns into a need, a  young man like Josh, who has had no introduction to the world whatsoever, can only see that "need" and will seek to fulfill it in any way he can, in or out of marriage. He was never taught where to draw the line. He was not taught what the Bible says about this; he was taught what Bill Gothard says about this.

He was raised in a patriarchal society where men are always in charge and women are always submissive. Michelle's teachings fit right in....if he wants sex, he gets sex, no matter what. They even excused his reprehensible behavior of molesting his sleeping sisters by saying "this happens a lot" in homes. No. No it doesn't.

This is the exact opposite of what Jesus teaches. It's beyond me how women can sit under that teaching and nod their heads in agreement while they feel all godly doing it. They are nodding to oppression. They are nodding to abuse. They are nodding to the demise of the family they so long for and hold dear. Strong women who stand up to oppression and abuse make for strong families. Women who hide behind a faux-godly facade with a submissive pose do not make for strong families. They belie the very family they are trying to create.

Jesus teaches that men are to love their wives sacrificially. Always sacrificing their felt needs for the benefit of their wife. Always. Jesus, Himself, was the ultimate example of this, sacrificing His life on the cross for us all.

However, this is not an excuse for Josh's behavior. The Bible teaches us that we sin because we are drawn away of our own lusts and enticed. (James 1:14)

The Duggars have stated that "many" people have struggled like Josh and they have taken comfort in this. How odd for professing Christians to take comfort in the sin of others.

Anna Duggar's father stated that "King David had an affair," which is also disturbing because he
appears to justify Josh's actions. King David paid dearly for his sins in the loss of his and Bathsheba's son. King David also owned his sin and did not bring up the sins of others in an attempt to justify or minimize it.

I fear for the Duggar family and the remaining children because all the kids, boys included, were taught what Josh was taught. The boys were (are) taught that they need sex and the girls are taught to provide it without exception.

If you study the FLDS cult in OK and UT, you will see very similar teachings. While the Duggars, as far as we know, do not practice polygamy, many of their teachings are the very same as Warren Jeff's, the FLDS leader imprisoned for child rape and sexual assault. Men lead and take charge, women submit, always, in everything, no exceptions, right down to their hair style and clothes.

Because the Duggar's erroneous teachings have been so public, it deserves a public admonishment. Women, stop taking a back seat in your marriages and in your homes. Yes, we are to submit, as the Bible says, to our own husbands, but that is all. And, your husband cannot make you submit; your submission is between you and God and no one else. Submission, by its very definition, is voluntary; no one but God has any say in your submission.

More than the Bible teaches submission of wives, It teaches submission of all people to all other people. Ephesians 5:22 is often cited as a powerful verse for marriage, "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord," but the previous verse is often ignored, "submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ." We don't get to take one portion of a passage of Scripture and not the rest. When you take Ephesians 5 in its full context, it's teaching submission to one another. The previous verses (18-20) are talking about being filled with the spirit, not drunk with wine, and speaking to each other in psalms and hymns and singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord and giving thanks. 


It's so interesting that the Duggars teach that men "need" sex because the Bible does not teach this. This is secular humanistic teaching. I Corinthians 5:7 admonishes couples, not just wives, "Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." As you can clearly see, this verse speaks of mutuality. The husband is not to call the shots any more than the wife is. His desires are not put before hers, but they are mutual. For more mutuality in marriage, read Song of Solomon. The bride and bridegroom equally pursue one another. There is no male "need" for sex taught in Scripture. 

I fear for the Duggar children. I fear for the many who sat under the Duggars' teachings at conferences, church events and seminars. Oppression of women is not easily overcome. It gets into a woman's mindset about herself, her relationship to others and, most importantly, her relationship with God. 

People, this is not what fundamental Christianity is about. This is not what the Bible is about. This is not what Jesus Christ is about. The Duggars and other like them fail to see what the Bible says. They follow "principles" they've learned from some other person, not Christ. 

Look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith. 
Throw away your Biblical principles and look to Jesus.
So-called Biblical principles will lead you down sin's road, either by blatant sin or pride of not sinning outwardly. 
Either way, you lose and your family loses.
Look to Jesus.
~Tricia






Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Cat Was Out of Food

So, this morning, our cat, Oliver, was out of food. I saw a piece of broccoli on the floor next to a dish of milk. I commented to my daughter that she was being really nice to Oliver by giving him milk. That is not an everyday thing. She told me he was out of food. Now, I knew he was low on food, but I plan to go grocery shopping tomorrow and thought his food would last another day. I was wrong. He had eaten it all.

So, I ran into the grocery store after dropping my daughter off at her job, which happens to be at that same grocery store, and I bought a big bag of cat food.

Upon getting home, I put the bag down just inside the door so I could put my keys on the shelf where they belong, kick off my shoes and put my wallet and sunglasses away. Oliver went berzerk over that bag of cat food. He kept whining around it, then walking over to the basement door, trying to lead me to the basement where his food dish is kept. Because it takes a minute to put things away and take off my shoes, things were not moving fast enough for him and he repeated his actions several times before I finally picked up the bag and started to follow him downstairs.

At the bottom of the stairs is our home office and my craft space. His food dish is behind the stairs. I stopped at my craft desk to cut the bag of cat food open and Oliver almost had a heart attack. He could not believe I had stopped and had not gone directly to his food dish. He circled around me and the chair the bag of food was on, then kept trying to lead me to his food dish. Well, it takes a few seconds to cut the bag open, but he had no tolerance for what he seemed to think was my snail's pace.

When I cut the bag open, he nearly jumped out of his skin because the smell was so much stronger. After a few short meows, he seemed relieved that I was finally picking up the opened bag and walking over to his dish. As soon as I poured some of the food into his dish, he attacked it with gusto, making it spill over the sides and make a mess. He didn't care. He acted as though he was starving to death and could not get enough food fast enough.

Literally two minutes later, he was lounging around upstairs like all was right with his world again.

Indeed.

This is exactly how I feel right now about the lack of expository preaching we're finding in our search for a church home. We are working to plant a church, but, in the meantime we need a church home. We have had a very hard time finding a church that is preaching the Word. They are standing up in their pulpits putting cold broccoli and milk on the floor while we are starving for good, chewable food that will feed our souls.

We've heard preachers actually preach out of someone's book, not the Bible. We've seen preachers not even take a Bible into their pulpits. We've heard preachers say things like, "Jesus is a replica of God. If you put God in the copy machine, Jesus will come out the other end." (No, no....Jesus IS God, not a replica of God.) We've heard preachers take a passage of Scripture completely out of context to fit their point.

This is exhausting.
We are in a famine.

Let me tell you preachers something. I am not interested in what you think or feel about the Bible. I am interested in what God says in His Word. He manifests His Word through preaching, but preaching is not defined by what you want it to be. Preaching is expounding what God has said, not what you think about what God has said. Expository preaching is the only real type of preaching. If it's not expository, it's not preaching; it's just a speech.

I can relate to Oliver.
We will continue our quest to find a church that is really preaching the Word.
~Tricia


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The First of the Last (My Top 10 Favorite things about Home Schooling)

Today is the first day of our last year of home schooling. This year will complete 29 years of home educating my offspring.

When I started, I had four kids. My oldest was 5 years old, my youngest 8 months. I started our home school in 1987, a time when not that many people were home schooling. We got a lot of questions if we were out during the day. I welcomed every question and was happy to answer them because I felt very privileged to be able to home school.

Learning came naturally to all my kids, which made home schooling one of the easiest things I've ever done. I learned early on that each one of the kids learned best at their own pace and this took all the pressure off to meet some criteria set by the world. I let them learn their way whenever I could. They naturally fell into a learning routine that really set the pace for all the kids as they came along and grew.

Learning became part of life, not limited to school hours. We learned how to incorporate official learning into everything we did, giving credit-worthy validity to every day. On trips, they learned to read a map and navigate. They learned to observe as we played games on the road with the landscape around us, along with other cars and road signs. They learned harmony as we sang on road trips.

In light of all this, and in light of the blog post I wrote a few years ago about 25 things I learned in 25 years of home schooling, I want to share my top ten favorite things about home schooling:

1. I got to spend all day every day with my kids, my favorite people on the planet.

2. My kids learned to be independent thinkers, not ones that go along with the herd. I think this is one major key to anyone's success.

3. We loved not being bound by a school schedule. We could vacation while the rest of the world went to school.

4. Learning is a lifestyle, not at all limited to the formal class room.

5. No homework, ever.

6. We got to teach theology with no restrictions.

7. The kids got to interact more with adults than with kids their own age. This is a huge benefit to home schooling.

8. The kids were able to pursue their own interests and I could tailor their curriculum to meet their individual needs.

9. The kids got school credit for making dinner or baking cookies.

10. No school on birthdays.

There you have it, my top 10 favorite things about home schooling.
As I made this list, I had to force myself to keep the list to 10 things because there are many, many more things I love about home schooling.
Next September, it will be very odd for me to not be starting classes yet again.
So, this last year of our home school, I will savor every moment, as I've tried to do for the past 28 years.
If you're thinking about home schooling, by all means, do it.
~Tricia

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Goodbye My Friend

There are so few people who know how to be real friends. I've had people in my life who called themselves friends, but when times got tough or we disagreed on something, they flew away, unable to hold true to their own declaration of friendship.

In the summer of 1977, I met Eldon Brock. He was the director of the Regular Baptist Camp of Lake Ann, Michigan, and I went there as a counselor. Before I got there, I had never been to camp before in my life. I had no idea how to be a camper, let alone a counselor, but Eldon believed in me because of my testimony of faith in Jesus Christ. Most of the people in our circles knew my husband long before they met me, but that wasn't true of Eldon Brock. I knew him first.

A few incidents stand out from my summer at Lake Ann, but nothing more drastically than the fact that Eldon Brock believed in me. He listened to me. I'm talking about looking me in the eye and really listening as though what I had to say had validity. He listened to every word I ever said to him as though he had all the time in the world just for me.

This blew me away and I have never forgotten. He was the camp director, I was nearly a waif, new in my Christian walk and not even knowing the "language" of Christianity, yet he was so incredibly kind. He treated me as an equal, not someone under him. My respect for him was sealed at Lake Ann.

Life gets full and busy and I moved on from Lake Ann, got married and had a couple quivers full of children. But, I have never forgotten how kind Eldon Brock was to me.

In the past few years, my husband got to experience a deep friendship with Eldon through E-TEM, Ethnic to Ethnic Ministries, which Eldon founded. David serves on the board of directors for E-TEM and so often, the two of them would have long, encouraging phone calls. Eldon called him just two weeks before he died and further encouraged us both through that phone call.

We got the email from Eldon's daughter, Eldonna, on August 25 that he had died. He'd known his time was coming and told us. I've never known that people could die with such grace.
I miss him already.
He had the youngest, most energetic vision for ministry I have ever seen.
He never grew tired of truly listening.
What a rare, rare friend, indeed.
Goodbye for now, my friend. We will see you again.
Until then, I will miss you and your constantly positive influence in my life.
~Tricia

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Biblical Principles Don't Work

For years, Jim and Michelle Duggar told the reality TV world that they rear their children by Biblical principles and they said, more than once, that these principles work to produce godly children.

Then their world caved in when their oldest son's sins of pornography, adultery, lying and hypocrisy surfaced. What happened to the Biblical principles they reared him by? Many people have said, "No one is perfect," but do we really want to bypass what's going on by hiding behind our own sin and declaring what is already obvious?

Biblical principles don't work when it comes to human hearts. Biblical principles are man-made, feed the ego, fuel sin and give those who practice them a false sense of godliness. When I hear someone say they practice Biblical principles for living and raising a family, I cringe.

Now, I know I've created The Priscilla Principle, so this blog post might make me sound like a hypocrite, but I'm not advocating living by Biblical principles with The Priscilla Principle, it's simply a Bible study guide that is meant to keep the Scripture the center of your Bible study instead of mankind's ideas. The Priscilla Principle is not a set of principles to live by, it's simply a Bible study method that discards mankind's ideas about what the Bible says. There is no comparison to the "Biblical principles" the Duggars tout. The Priscilla Principle does not apply any "principles to live by" to your life. It won't tell you what to wear, how to style your hair, whether you should watch TV or not, etc.

I've seen Biblical principles fail before the Duggar scandal hit. I once had a friend who believed Biblical principles could not fail. She thought that as long as she lived by this set of principles which she believed came from the Bible, she would not fail, her kids would not fail and a victorious life would be hers. Trouble is, my friend and all her family members were sinners. She forgot about that when she adopted these Biblical principles and she devoted her entire life to living by these principles.

When she and I talked about these things, she often put these principles out there and would tell me that as long as she raised her kids by these principles, they would grow up to be godly. She said they couldn't fail because God cannot fail and since they lived by "His" principles, they could not fail. She warned me to raise my kids by Biblical principles.

She wore the skirts. She banned TV. She deprived herself of nice things in the name of humility. She reveled in suffering inconvenience, feeling super godly. When my stove broke once during a visit from her and her family, she said, "Oh! You're just like a missionary, suffering for Jesus!" I called a repair man and ended my "suffering." She spiritualized everything she heard, did, said and felt. She was convinced her life was godly and that her kids and husband were godly and that everything they did would see wild success and they would win many, many people to Christ through their victorious, principled living.

Then one day, she locked herself in a shed and set it on fire.
Utter failure. No return. I was devastated and grieve not having her in my life to this day.

If we don't live by Biblical principles, how do we live?

We have to throw away Biblical principles and the man-made standards we think so highly of.
We have to run to the Gospel every single day.

I recently heard a missionary woman give a testimony about her ministry. She said, "We love getting together for Bible studies. I mean, so many times we don't even open a Bible, we just talk about last week's sermon and what we learned from it. I mean, do we really need more Bible knowledge? No! We just need to apply what we've already learned."

I was taken aback. I applaud this woman's lack of hypocrisy in publicly stating that she no longer needs Bible knowledge and doesn't open her Bible at a Bible study, but she's fully embraced Secular Humanism and is headed for a bad fail.

After we throw away Biblical principles, we are free to throw ourselves on the mercy of our Christ and, like Isaiah in Isaiah 6:5, and realize our constant need for the Gospel of God. We need to realize that when James says in James 1:14 that "a person sins when they are drawn away by their own lust and enticed," he's telling the truth and no amount of modesty is going to change that. We have to throw ourselves on the mercy of Christ and not Biblical principles.

I firmly believe Biblical principles, and modern "Bible study books" that teach them, are Secular Humanism in practice. These principles have opened the door of our churches to Secular Humanism and it has come in and gotten very comfortable. It has gotten so comfortable that people don't even recognize it. Instead, they look for principles in the lives of others and even call them out if they think they are not living by what they think are Biblical principles.

The Duggars live by Bill Gothard's principles and Bill has gotten himself into a lot of trouble by sexually harassing and molesting young women repeatedly for years. This is further evidence of the pitfall of perceived Biblical principles.

People cannot create godliness through what they think are Biblical principles.
No matter how many times you post your Bible study online for all to see, it will not produce godliness in you.
We are all without hope in ourselves, ready to lock the shed door and set it on fire.
There is only hope in Jesus Christ, the Giver of life.

Read your Bible.
Observe what It says without speculation.
Interpret It in Its own context without speculation.
Pray.

Do not, I repeat, do not apply It to your life. The Holy Spirit does not need your help or input.

This burden to rid the church of Secular Humanism often fuels my blogging in hopes that I can help prevent another devastating loss like that of my dear friend who ended her life in the fiery shed.

Biblical principles are Secular Humanism. They need to be rejected in favor of the Gospel.
~Tricia

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Why Forgiveness Should Not be the Duggars' Focus

Whether Jessa Seewald's Instagram picture of the words of I John were related to her brother's sins of adultery and porn addiction or not, there seems to be a focus on forgiving him. This is problematic for a number of reasons.

Forgiveness, while it can be granted, should not be their focus. Their focus should be Anna and those kids. The only way for the Duggars to come out of all this not smelling like manure is to focus on Anna and the kids. You can bet Anna is not okay. This Facebook post by Jessica Krammes Kirkland sums it up wonderfully and I agree with her wholeheartedly. Click here to read the post.

I don't know Jessica but I commend her for writing this. She is absolutely right. She's 100% on target. We do a horrible disservice to our daughters when we minimize them. This is why forgiving Josh should not be the Duggars' focus. They ought to be focusing on Anna and those kids, only.

Forgiveness is a gift. 
Forgiveness cannot be demanded.
When a perpetrator demands forgiveness, he is further abusing his victim.

If you have watched the Duggars' reality TV show, you have seen Anna be a victim of their self-promoting focus before. Watch carefully. She has been minimized by this family, her childrens' needs have been secondary and she's had to put on her smile and act like everything is ok. Some episodes clearly show that everything was not ok with her. My heart has gone out to her from the start.

~Tricia





Thursday, August 20, 2015

Why Josh Duggar's Issues are Far Deeper than Infidelity, Lying and Hypocrisy

Last night, my husband asked me if I'd seen the latest news about Josh Duggar. I had not. I have blogged about the Duggars before, so he knew of my interest in their false representation of Christianity, which I blogged to refute. The latest news of Josh's accounts at the infidelity website, AshleyMadison.com, was news to me, but not altogether a surprise.

I knew there was more. I believe there is still more than this, we just don't know it yet.

You can read his statement here. He made this statement after he was busted, which gives it less of an impact than it would have had if he had owned the sin a few months ago when he was hiding behind his youth in his other offenses.

As I said in another, related blog post, Josh comes by this behavior and tendency quite naturally, and not just because of his inborn sin nature, which we all share. He grew up in a climate of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, given freely to him by his father. Even recently, Jim Duggar proved that he doesn't "get it" by making inappropriate remarks at a family friend's wedding.

He and wife, Michelle, further proved that they don't "get it" by stating, "...we are not a perfect family...."

We need to be aware of what this language means. When someone caught in the spotlight of their own sin reminds the world that they are not perfect, this is an attempt to deflect whatever shame, disgrace and humiliation they are feeling.

To claim imperfection is a minimization of sin.
Everyone knows that no one is perfect.
Stating the obvious is an attempt to deflect the sin.
Deflecting the sin is not dealing with the sin.

In his statement, Josh did refer to his behavior as "sin," which is accurate, but by the end of the statement it was a "bad example," and "personal failure." This is not terminology of repentance. Yes, it was a bad example and, yes, it was a personal failure, but it was and is so much more than that. Those are terms others can come to use once they work through the admission and forgiveness aspect of his sins. Those are not terms he, himself, or his family, should use.

Lest you think I'm unforgiving, don't be fooled. I do believe Josh's sins can be forgiven. Of course. Forgiveness is the foundation of our faith because those of us who believe Jesus is our Savior have experienced forgiveness first hand. Jesus says, many times, to people He personally interacted with, "Go and sin no more." He expected their lives to change. He never told them to stop having personal failures because personal failures are inevitable. He never told them to stop being a bad example because we humans are going to be bad examples at times. He told them to stop living their sinful lifestyle. He didn't mince words and neither should we when we deal with these things.

However, the Duggars' issues go further than Josh's infidelity. They go further than his lying. They go further than his hypocrisy.

Raising children in a sexual climate, as the Duggars have, is abuse.

The Duggars have claimed persecution through their various scandals, but they are wrong. They are not being persecuted for their faith. They have mocked faith, have mocked God and His Word.

They are reaping what they have sown.
It's sad.
It's heartbreaking.
It's sin.

World, this is not what Christianity looks like. The Duggars do not represent evangelical Christianity at all.

Evangelical Christianity does not have a dress code where the women are put into skirts for every single activity they ever do and boys must always, always wear long pants.
Evangelical Christianity does not have a hair style requirement in which girls have to have long, flowing hair and boys' hair has to be short and parted on one side.
Evangelical Christianity does not have a set of "Biblical principles" to live by.
Evangelical Christianity is Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, crucified, dead, buried and risen again.

Because I often spot sex abusers within the walls of Christianity before others, I have often been asked how I know. There are a few things to look for.

1. People in "ministry" who name their ministry after themselves. This is rampant. This is a warning sign of something not so Godly. Steer clear. I do.
2. People who often use language that deflects negative attention off themselves. Deflecting language is very popular and often hard to recognize because it can often bring up guilt, making you feel as though you can't say anything because "after all, they admitted they are not perfect." "I'm not perfect" does not work for me.
3. Men who have strict rules and roles for women. One of the most important things a sexual predator or abuser needs to do is reign in the women in his life (or society). These men are not Christ-like. Jesus did not reign in women; He actually chose a woman to be the first to tell the story of His resurrection (and there are many, many more stories of Jesus' interactions with women, none of which are oppressive to the women). In every abusive culture, the women are oppressed in some way, hushed and given a back seat to the men. Run, run as fast as you can from such a place.
4. People who tell you how godly they are. We attended a church once where the pastor told the people how godly he was in every single service. We didn't last 6 months there. When someone touts their own perceived godliness, you can bet they have something to hide. This is another attempt to deflect negative attention from themselves. If someone tells me they are godly, I steer clear of that person and warn my family.
5. People who compare their lives to others and always come out on top. The Duggars do this often, prefacing sentences with "Other families (do this or that) but we (do something godlier)." Comparing themselves to others - and always coming out on top - is a very common tactic of abusers.

Maybe I need to make a more comprehensive list. I do know that reading and studying God's Word for oneself is a sure antidote to abuse of all kinds. We are told to study His Word, yet I find the vast majority of Christians using some study book or commentary instead of the Bible itself. I find this troubling. It's disturbing to me to see Christians using commentaries as study tools. They are not. But, that is fodder for another blog post.

There is hope for Josh in the blood of Jesus Christ.
Because of Jesus, he can own his sin and not be crushed by it.
Since they are so public and prefer to be public and since Josh included me in his statement, I think it's important to set the record straight: the Duggars do not represent Christianity. They represent a set of rules, not found in Scripture, that help them live their abusive lifestyle.

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift in Jesus Christ.
~Tricia


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Human Capital - Episode 3: Planned Parenthood's Custom Abortions for Sup...

Once again, I applaud The Center for Medical Progress for exposing more and more of Planned Parenthood's atrocities against human life.

It's beyond my understanding how anyone, liberal or conservative, can think this is ok.

The same people who fret and arrest over the removal of turtle eggs from a creek or cry over animals hunted are the same people who think it's ok to take a human baby, whose heart is beating, and cut it up like a piece of meat.



We need to stop them.

We need to defund Planned Parenthood.



~Tricia




Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Planned Parenthood Cannot Stand against the Prayers of the Children of the Almighty

Unless you've living under a rock or in a cave, you are aware of the videos made by the Center for Medical Progress exposing Planned Parenthood's business of dissecting human babies and selling their parts for profit. Their latest video, which you can watch here, was released today.

I applaud them for taking the time, energy, expense and courage to get this information, make it public and show the world what many of us have known Planned Parenthood has been doing.

I have actually read a couple blogs that criticize people for sharing the videos, saying,  "It's so easy to share a video, but why don't you do something?

Don't you realize that these very videos are the result of us doing something?

I was a crisis pregnancy counselor for 12 years with Life Saver Ministries. I not only helped young women tell their parents they were pregnant, I sat with them and taught them how their babies were growing. I assisted in births. I handled adoptions, even having the new parents pick up their baby at my home. I held young women who had had abortions before they came to me and were filled with awful regret (100% of the women who had abortions regretted it).

But, all this is not what we did in the case of these videos.

I was the director of a crisis pregnancy center, counseling those young women to not abort, giving them hope by helping them with layettes, friendship and someone to talk to on lonely nights when things were overwhelming, and Jesus Christ, the Giver of life.

Many of us have done what we can, but none of this is what we did about these videos.

What we did was pray. 

For years we have prayed that Planned Parenthood would be exposed.
For years we have prayed that we would find a way to save the babies and provide help and hope to these mothers.

These videos are the direct result of our prayers.
You see, I believe in prayer. I believe in approaching God's throne with boldness and I believe in approaching it often.
So many times I prayed in desperation, as many others have, that somehow this would be exposed.
I believe exposing Planned Parenthood's practices would make even the most liberal thinker reconsider and perhaps babies could be saved.
Oh, yes, I'm a conservative. I am pro-life. I do not believe a woman has the right to kill another human being for the sake of convenience, or trauma or any other reason aside from saving her own life (which is so very, very rare).

But above all my conservatism, above my pro-life position, above my opinion that a society that would approve and even advocate the murder of their young is a sick society, I am a woman who believes the Almighty God, the Lord of creation, the Keeper of the universe, answers prayer.

So, I prayed. And many others have prayed over the years.
And, now, we are seeing those prayers answered and Planned Parenthood is on the receiving end of God's answers to the many, many prayers of those of us who believe He is the only Answer to save our babies and their mothers.

So, you other bloggers who think that unless we actually made the videos, or marched in some protest or stood in a place where you could see us, that we haven't done enough or aren't doing enough to stop abortion, I'm here to remind you that years of prayer is not a small thing.

Almighty God hears.
Almighty God answers.
Almighty God knows every single baby who was ripped from his or her mother's womb and put into the trash.
And Almighty God has heard us and is answering even as I write this.

~Tricia










Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Planned Parenthood and Their Selling of Human Body Parts



What more do we have to hear? Planned Parenthood needs to be defunded and kicked out of our public schools. This is the 2nd video proving their involvement in selling human body parts.

You can view the other one here.

This is not a surprise to many of us; we just had to get proof. There's no better proof than hearing from the very ones doing it.

Even if those of us who are pro-life, meaning we are anti-abortion, set aside our personal disgust about killing babies, this obvious selling of human body parts is a clear violation of the law in and of itself.

God help us.
Share this video.
Share the other video.
Let's protect our little ones.
~Tricia

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Life, Assumed

When my husband was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, all the doctors involved assumed he wanted to fight it, not succumb to it. Not one doctor asked him if he wanted to fight it; they simply gave him the best possible treatment plan, discussed its effectiveness and proceeded to schedule his chemotherapy and other necessary treatments. His desire for life was assumed. Defeating the cancer was assumed. Treatment was assumed. No one brought up an alternative or suggested he just let the cancer take its course.

Life, assumed.

So, why, then is life optional for the most helpless among us? I recently had a discussion on social media with a woman I don't know, but who is a friend of a friend. This woman was adamant about the necessity of abortion. She actually said it can be done humanely. I stood my ground with her. She brought religion into the discussion; I brought Jesus Christ. She brought the idea of choice and I said we have to choose on the side of life for those who can't choose it themselves. I realized through this discussion that we really aren't choosing life; we are simply wanting life, which was already chosen for these babies by God, to continue. To be assumed. The very fact that a baby is alive should cause us to assume life for that child, even while unborn.

This discussion was borne out of a recent video that shows a Planned Parenthood official talking casually about harvesting body parts from aborted babies. She spoke so casually about this, between bites of her lunch, that it seems she could be talking about having her nails done or grocery shopping.

You can watch the video here.

It's beyond disturbing.

However, it does negate Planned Parenthood's own theory that a baby in the womb is just a mass of cells. She doesn't talk about harvesting masses of cells; she talks about harvesting body parts, which she names.

Just as the doctors automatically assumed my husband wanted to fight his cancer and not let it take his life, we have to assume every baby wants to live simply because they are already alive.

When life is assumed, we protect it.
When life is assumed, we fight for it.
When life is assumed, we want it to continue.

Saving babies is easy, especially compared to the fight for life that cancer patients face. In their fight for life, cancer patients become very sick. They inconvenience themselves to a very large degree, putting up with horrific side-effects of chemotherapy, being poked and prodded (my husband has to give himself shots in his abdomen twice a day), wearing special equipment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and deal with stark changes in their appearance.

Victims of accidents or wounded warriors choose life without limbs or their vision and other losses. On the battlefield, no one stops to wonder if that warrior wants to be evacuated for medical help. This is assumed. Firemen and rescue personnel at an accident scene automatically rescue people; their desire for life is assumed.

All we have to do to keep babies alive is simply not kill them. Easy.

Life assumed is a beautiful thing.
Assume life. For all.
~Tricia


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Why the Duggars' Problem will Continue

It's good that the Duggars explained a few things last night in their interview with Fox News host Megyn Kelly. I was disturbed, however, by their minimization of the abuse. A few minimizations I heard included:

When Megyn Kelly asked about further abuse and some touching that took place under the clothes, Jim Duggar was quick to reply, "Oh, that only took place for a few seconds."

Is it only valid if it lasts longer?

The Duggars used minimizing language throughout the interview. This is cause for grave concern. 

He said they talked to numerous families and found out this happens "a lot" in families they know and some have even worse things happen in their family. Strangely, he found a lot of comfort in this fact. To know that "a lot" of families are having sexual assault go on in their midst is beyond disturbing to me. But, if the families they talked to were "Gothard" families, then there is no surprise. This is what Gothard's material has taught all along.

I can't imagine my kids not being allowed to hide together during hide and seek because I feared one would sexually assault the other. Can you imagine? Suddenly, all boys were ranked as dangerous around their sisters.....they said "Boys don't babysit," which is also weird. Am I the only one who finds this weird?

Some people have cried out that Lena Dunham has not been raked over the coals for sexually abusing her younger sister, but Josh Duggar has been "crucified," as one blogger put it. The difference is clear: Lena Dunham has never claimed to know Christ, has never claimed to live by any "Biblical principles" that the Duggars claim to live by. Through the tenure of their TLC show, the Duggars held themselves up as godly people who are the ultimate example of good, Christian living. They hailed themselves as righteous, publicly compared themselves to others and always came out on top. Hailing themselves as righteous is part of their problem. Self-praise is a trap.

They openly bragged on their children, effectively creating an expectation that they could not fulfill. They don't get to claim to be "attacked" by people who are only expecting them to live up to the expectations, they, themselves set. When we separate ourselves from the world to the level which the Duggars did, publicly claim that we are above the world, publicly proclaim our own perceived righteousness, we will fall harder when we fall. And the fall is sure because the expectation is faulty.

The world, which has been condemned by the Duggars over and over again, suddenly finds itself doing better than they. There are many, many families in the world who do not claim to know Christ, yet they have had no sexual abuse in their home. This goes for all types of families. The world is confused by what appears to be a double standard.  No one has ever had such expectations of Lena. I, personally, expect her to act like the depraved sin-worshiping person she is and nothing more. She does not claim to be morally or spiritually superior.

This is more than a teenage boy unspeakably satisfying his curiosity about girls. This is a boy who was grounded in Biblical principles instead of the Bible and the gospel. The result? The boy did not know his limits. Following principles instead of throwing ourselves on the mercy of the gospel produces this every time. This is why the gospel is so relevant to every day family life.

Should this abuse have been made public? Absolutely not! I hope the Duggars do sue their county or state or whoever is responsible for leaking juvenile records. Whoever leaked or sold the information was wrong.

The Duggars' problems will persist, however, because they are not willing to deal with the underlying problem of dependence on man-made principles instead of the gospel of God.

Moral of the story: Don't hold yourself or your family up to a standard above anyone else. You are not better than anyone else. And, just don't put your family on TV.  (Am I the only one who thinks it's weird to use a forum you despise to promote yourself?)

~Tricia

Friday, May 29, 2015

Why I Won't Shut Up about the Duggars

Some people are ready to move on from the Duggar scandal, forgive and forget and put them back on the air. There's a petition people are circulating to get TLC to put them back on the air. In that petition, it states, "The world needs more families like the Duggars." No, it really doesn't.

I am not so hasty. The Duggars' scandal is deeper than even the atrocities committed against the young women Josh sexually assaulted. It's representative of a deeper problem within evangelical churches. This article by Lyz Lenz, explains the deeper problem well.

The solution is not going to come from changing policy within evangelical churches. The solution is going to come from women standing up for themselves and no longer tolerating abuse and being forced to protect abusers. Lyz Lenz's article explains how women are blamed and held responsible for much of male abuse. She's right and this is insane.

The solution to stopping abuse within evangelical churches is for women to rise up and stop it.

We are daughters of Abraham. Since when does a daughter of Abraham have to stand down?

We have to say a collective "NO" when it comes to abuse of all kinds.

We are the only ones who can stop this epidemic in our churches.

When abuse happens and we are told to forgive and the abuser gets off with a simple apology, we have to push for more.

As Lyz Lenz said in her article, "Abusive personalities seek closed systems in which to abuse, and the mainstream Evangelical church provides that in spades." And she is right. We women have to reject the idea of a closed system and make the decision that no abuse will be hidden, that no abuse will go unreported, that no abuse will be allowed to continue and that abusers do not get off with a simple apology.

No doubt, God is full of mercy, grace and truth. He is also full of justice. Those who let a sex offender off with a simple apology are practicing cheap grace. Grace is free, but it was not cheap.

We women have power to stop abuse in our churches. It's high time we exercised that power.

We can't allow ourselves to be part of the problem....part of a system that covers up, minimizes and allows this abuse to continue.

Let no one silence you as you speak out to stop abuse. As a daughter of Abraham, no one has the power or authority to stop you from stopping abuse.

~Tricia


Friday, May 22, 2015

Why I'm Not Surprised by Duggar Family Secrets

No, I am not one bit surprised by the recently-revealed-after-a-decade-of-cover-up-sins of Josh Duggar. I am not surprised because he comes by it pretty naturally. He was taught to disrespect women by his parents. His own father, Jim Bob Duggar, has openly admitted that he cannot even hug his own daughters in a normal hug; he has to do a side hug. Have you noticed, like I have, that he only gives side hugs to his sons as well? When asked about this by a producer on their TLC show, Jim Bob smiled and stumbled over his words, finally muttering something about "the front" and "you can figure it out." A side hug testifies to the fact that all women are seen as sexual objects by Jim Bob Duggar. He passed this on to his sons.

Do you think this is Godly? Jim Bob says it is. Think again. Word to the wise: When someone tells you they are godly, they are certainly not. Jim Bob does this in the name of "godliness." Eww.

Jim Bob cannot get through even one episode of the TLC show without making some inappropriate sexual remark and/or innuendo, even toward his own daughters. "Hey, Hey, Hey....."

Clearly, despite his claims otherwise, the man's mind is in the gutter, not on God. I haven't allowed my kids to watch their show in a very long time because Jim Bob is so inappropriate.

So, no I am not at all surprised by Josh Duggar's actions, not shocked by the lies and cover-up. I will be shocked if he's the only one.

The Duggars have set their daughters up for abuse in every way. Abuse relies heavily on unspoken rules. While the Duggars will verbally say that the kids can make their own choices, not one of them chooses anything other than what their parents have silently dictated. The silent pressure is immense. All the boys are taught to disrespect women, even while their parents say things to the contrary. Kids will emulate more of what you do than what you say.

Observations in point:

All the girls wear their hair pretty much the same. (Not unlike the FLDS women in the CO cult.) They learned that from Bill Gothard, one of the most noted sex offenders in "the church" today. He taught them that this hair style is godly and will force young men to look at their eyes and not other parts of them. However, this is not true. Their hairstyle is irrelevant to what young men might or might not notice. Gothard finds this hairstyle becoming, so he stamped it godly and they bought into it.

All the girls are taught to "keep sweet" at all times. They have said this on their show. They claim it's godly to "keep sweet." The FLDS cult teaches the same, exact thing with the same, exact wording. I see a pattern here.

All the girls are required to wear skirts at all times. It does not matter what they are doing, they have to wear a skirt. If riding a horse, wear a skirt. If fighting fires, wear a skirt under the suit. Better yet, alter the uniform to be a skirt instead of pants. They teach that wearing skirts is godlier than other ways of dressing. The Bible does not teach this; the Duggars do because they learned this from sex offender, Bill Gothard. The truth is, a girl is much easier to molest if wearing a skirt. That's why Bill Gothard required it. The Duggars have adopted sexual predator practices that make their girls vulnerable, yet they call them "Biblical principles." Nothing could be further from the truth. Wearing of skirts limits girls; limiting girls keeps them "in their place;" keeping them "in their place" makes them vulnerable to predators.

All the girls are required to wear a smile at all times. On their show, a sign saying something like, "You're not fully dressed unless you're wearing a smile," hanging in the girl's bedroom was shown in more than one episode. No matter what you feel, you smile. This is unbiblical. God does not require us to always smile.

All behavior and dress modifications are put on the girls, not so many on the boys. This is typical of oppressive societies. Not one cult or society of abuse has succeeded without taming the women first. ISIS tames their women by making them wear burkahs and having strict behavioral rules for them, including what time they can go outside, if they can go outside at all. The FLDS tames their women by giving them a strict dress code, right down to their hairstyle, and strict gender roles.

I have no doubt the Duggars will try to make themselves the victims here....all abusers do. This is another mark of an abuser; they must become the victim or their abuse won't work. They will try to be victims, accusing those of us who have our voice about this to be abusers ourselves.

No, Michelle and Jim Bob, we are not the abusers. You are not victims. The crimes known were committed by your son. Your crime is in covering it up, lying to the public about what happened, allowing it to happen repeatedly in your own home under your own roof and not protecting those kids from a predator who lived down the hall. We are not abusers to want justice for these girls. Wanting protection for the remaining kids is not a victimization of you. You have your reward. God is not pleased. Had you not covered this up, had you properly dealt with this from the start, your son might not have to endure what's happening to him now, in the press, in the loss of his job, etc.

In this sense, Josh, himself, is a victim. He was taught that girls are property, that they cannot lead, that he is to be the "family priest," which is completely unbiblical in all ways. So, as a teen, he clearly saw those girls as property he could use in any way he wanted. He is a victim of his parents' twisted Bible understanding. Do you see how far twisting the Scriptures can go? This is one reason I am so completely adamant about studying the Bible without looking at anyone else's interpretation. We all must study the Scriptures for ourselves to see if what we are being taught is true.

You might say that he has apologized and the girls have forgiven him. Ok, good. But, what he did was a felony and what his parents did in covering it up and lying about it was just as bad. More than an apology is required here. Those of us who care about young girls who are abused are livid, not only about the crimes committed against them, but the cover up of those crimes. Where is their protection? They are still living under the same set of silent rules, not daring to go against the silence for even a minute.

Speak for the victims. The girls who were abused might say they are ok. They might tell you they have forgiven their abuser. They are not ok; they are not going to be ok unless they get help and have a voice.

And, yet, Josh has apologized, resigned his position with the Family Research Council and issued a statement, which you can read here. You might wonder why I still posted this blog post since the issue appears to be dealt with. Well, read their statements. Neither Josh or his parents address the pain of the victims in their statements. They talk about how Josh's life was changed with the pretense of counseling he did not receive, but no one focused on the victims at all! Josh talked about how he almost ruined his own life, but did not own ruining the lives of so many young girls. If he had been involved in porn, then he could talk about almost ruining his own life and that would suffice. However, he did not dabble in porn (that we know of), he physically and literally molested real, live young girls!

Their statements also did not address the fact that they lied to us all for more than a decade. They lied to TLC; they lied to police; they lied to you.

Their statements minimized his grave, life-altering abuses to "past teenage mistakes." That wording is so important because you have to remember that it was 1) in the past 2) done while he was a teenager and 3) mistakes, not sins. To call these molestations of young girls mistakes minimizes the sin, thus minimizes the impact on the victims. Sexual sin is always minimized in oppressive situations. And, sexual sin is always present in oppressive situations. The wording "past teenage mistakes" is an attempt to minimize the truth.

Any attempt to minimize sin while not acknowledging pain inflicted on a victim is wrong.

This is sickening.
It has been sickening to me for a very long time.
I specifically prayed for the abuse I suspected to be openly revealed.
God has answered my prayers.
It's time for those kids to be protected.

Josh can certainly be forgiven; I am not without compassion. However, I do not believe his parents are doing what is best for him even now because they covered this up, failed to protect other victims, then lied to us all. I wonder if they are going to apologize for all that. Isn't it a crime to lie to police? What happens to that?

Josh needs real counseling, not just a time away doing hard labor. He needs counseling outside the Bill Gothard world they live in. His victims also need counseling and they need it outside the world they live in. They need to be taught to read and interpret the Bible for themselves so they will have power to overcome this abuse and not be a future victim.

A voice for the victims, whether they are aware they need it or not,
~Tricia

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What's Going to Happen to Joe?

Every week, my husband has to go to The Johns Hopkins Hospital and have blood work done to keep track of the effects of his chemotherapy and keep an eye on the cancer, itself. Every three weeks, he goes to have a full day of his chemotherapy, taking usually around 8 hours total. Yesterday was a "chemo day," and we were actually gone for 13 hours due to some delays because of his blood results.

Going to Johns Hopkins gives us many opportunities to meet different people and going to the oncology department gives us even more.

Today, I want to talk about Joe, a man I met in the oncology waiting room.

Joe, not his real name (although it might be his name because I did not get his name), was sitting on the edge of his seat, his wife beside him. I would guess his age to be around 60. I tend to look people in the eye and greet random strangers wherever I go, so I caught Joe's eye, nodded and said, "Hello." He said hello back to me and I asked him how he was doing.

He said, "I could be better."
I said, "I guess that's why you're here. What's going on?"

And Joe told me his story. He has a skin disorder and while it's not cancer, it is treated with chemotherapy, thus landing him in oncology. Joe's skin is uncovered by itself; it has raw patches all over it, leaving him in constant, horrible pain. He has had this condition for several months and it has been getting progressively worse. He said that he can no longer work and had to stop working about a month ago.

I asked him what the doctors were doing about his pain. He said, "Nothing."
Stunned, I said, "Seriously? How can that be? Why not?"

Joe said his insurance company won't approve pain killing drugs, therefore the doctors won't prescribe them for him! He said he's only at Johns Hopkins now because, even though he has had his diagnosis for a while, the insurance company has not considered his case bad enough for him to see any specialists, until now.

Joe's arms, which I could see, had large, multiple, raw patches all over them. His wife said his back was 10 times worse, so he had to sit forward on his chair. He was wearing a plain, white undershirt and jeans; could not wear a regular shirt or anything binding or chafing.

His wife said, "Something's gotta give. We can't live like this any more!"
I agreed and told them about some essential oils that have given some people with skin conditions relief. I wrote down what oils they need and told them where to get them. I also gave them my writer's business card with my number and email on it. I really, really hope I hear from them. I am committed to praying for Joe every day, even though I don't know his real name.

Is this what the Affordable Care Act is all about? Is this what our country has come to? Joe cannot get help because some insurance professional in a comfortable office has to decide when he gets bad enough?

I am livid. Joe deserves better. Joe needs help.

Oh, and what kind of doctor listens to an insurance professional instead of their patient? What kind of doctor can possibly look at Joe's skin and not be moved with so much compassion that they would do whatever they possibly could to get Joe the help he needs? Are you kidding me?

Are there seriously doctors who can look at someone with Joe's pain and not do something about it?
How can these people sleep at night?
What happened to compassion?

This system is so messed up it's not funny.  Joe's life is ruined. I blame the Affordable Care Act, I blame the doctors who are not filled with compassion, but with fear.

My hope for Joe is that he's finally getting the help he needs now that he is "allowed" to go to Johns Hopkins. I am relieved that he was there and maybe we'll see him again on one of our trips. David has 3 more chemo days to go, so there's a chance we will.

As for David, his chemo yesterday hit him hard and he was late to work because he was so very sick this morning.

If you will, pray for "Joe." I will be praying for him every day.
~Tricia