Thursday, May 26, 2016

Then This Happened - BANNED!

Yesterday morning, I posted this blog post about the ABWE sex abuse scandal. (Click here) This post was a follow-up to this post (click here) about fixing the culture of abuse within ABWE and other faith-based organizations. I shared the blog posts on several social media sites as well as in a couple of college Facebook groups from my college years, specifically BBC in the 70s and BBC in the 80s.

When I shared the first blog post in the 70s group, one group administrator put up a generalized statement about sharing other things and keeping it light. After the sharing of the 2nd blog post, no such generalizations were stated, the administrators of the group simply removed me entirely from the group, effectively banning me.

The 80s group kept me and my blog post on there and simply kept going as normal.

The fact that the 70s group administration removed me completely from the group makes me suspicious. They have not spoken with me, did not in any way warn me that this could happen. They simply censored me and my blog.

Clearly they have every right to do that. If anyone in the group posts something they don't want to talk about, they can remove them without a word.

So be it.
I am not deterred but I am disturbed.

Not only was I removed from the group, but my blog was addressed by a woman who had major issues with things I said. She had issue with the statement, "If your husband doesn't pursue Christ as strongly as you, leave him in the dust and pursue without him." This woman said the Bible does not teach this. When I presented the argument that it does and tried to show her, she quickly ended the conversation and that was that.

The Bible says, "Looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith." This is what I encourage people to do. (Hebrew 12:1-3)

Before her hit-and-run finale, this woman also had issue with me saying, "Look to Jesus, not your husband, for your faith and courage." She said this is "wrong advice." She didn't wait around for me to point out that the Bible tells us to look to Jesus, that "He, alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold." Psalm 62:6. (There are many more verses that teach this. Look them up; they are very encouraging.) This woman told me she'd been in a leadership position in some mission board at one time. How can a person like that, who has obvious objection to direct Bible teaching, qualify for a leadership position on a mission board?

This explains a lot. The fact that, without so much as a word of warning and no discussion, I can be removed from a supposedly "Christian" group for telling the truth speaks volumes about the administrators of that group. What are they hiding? Did my words strike too close to home for them? Why do they need to hush the abuse of Donn Ketcham? And the fact that a woman who was in leadership in a mission board would say that looking to Jesus is "wrong advice," tells me a lot about where these mission boards are.

When a leader in any supposedly Christian organization tells you something that is directly contrary to the Bible, beware. That person is not qualified to lead in a Christian organization.

Pressing on for Truth,

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

More on Fixing the Culture of Abuse in ABWE and the Church

In order for abuse to happen, there needs to be at least 2 participants: the abuser and the victim. How each ends up in their roles is not a mystery. Abusers seek victims and intentionally look for specific weaknesses they perceive in people. The overwhelming majority of victims are women and children, but that's not to say men are never victims. Men are surely abuse victims as well.

For the purpose of this blog post, I'm going to focus on male abusers since it was a man who abused so many in ABWE. He chose the weak ones.....the children....and he weakened their potential advocates, the women. This was not an accident. This was intentional.

Because patriarchy within Baptist circles exalts men and minimizes women, it was easy for Donn Ketcham to carry out his abuse. It was easy to carry was easy to carry was easy to was easy to keep hidden.

It's easy to hide abuse while in a room filled with men who call themselves godly and exalt themselves above the rest of the population. I see pictures of these men sitting in these rooms all the time.....they make rules for the women and they dominate the children. They often use phrases like, "I will not sacrifice godliness," or "We must be sure we honor the Lord," or "We cannot sacrifice righteousness." Trouble is, they have no idea what godliness, honor and righteousness look like because they are simply looking in mirrors while giving those labels to their own selves.

Newsflash: Men who call themselves godly are not godly.
Newsflash: Men who name a "ministry" after themselves are not godly.

Get this.
Understand this.

I have met many men who tell me they are godly. They do this in an attempt to humble me in some way so that I will submit to them. They exalt their opinions above mine, cite Scripture out of context to "prove" their point and often interrupt, twist and minimize anything I might have to say. This is a very common practice among Baptists. I see right through men like that. Poor little men.

Women, we do not have to submit to these men. This will stop abuse within the church and within the mission boards and other agencies related to and working with the church. Stop submitting to men.

What about our husbands? Submission has to be defined as the Bible presents it, not as western culture presents it.

1. Submission does not mean we compromise our pursuit of Christ. If your husband doesn't pursue Christ as strongly as you, leave him in the dust and pursue without him. Let no one get in the way of your pursuit of Christ. This really says it all. Go after Jesus....alone.

2. Submission does not mean obedience. We are grown women; we do not have to obey a husband like we had to obey our fathers at home. Your husband is not your boss. He is your partner. He has equal say, not final say.

3. Submission does not mean self-effacing. We are Daughters of Abraham. It is not becoming to minimize ourselves so that some man looks more important. That is not becoming to a Daughter of Abraham.

4. Submission is not just for women. God told Abraham to submit to Sarah. King David submitted to Abigail. The list goes on.

Girls, I truly believe it's women who will lead the fight on abuse within the church. Take a stand. Do not attend a church that tolerates abuse. Confront men who minimize you. Do not compromise your walk with Christ. Look to Jesus, not your husband, for your faith and courage. Do not allow submission to be put over you like a blanket while some man calls it "godly." It is not.

Pursue Christ alone.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fixing the Culture of Abuse for ABWE and Others

A detailed report on the abuse and cover-up which happened within ABWE's (the Association of Baptist for World Evangelism) walls has been published. Pii, Professional Investigators International has finalized their report on their ABWE and Donn Ketcham investigation. Even some people who have known about the abuse for years were shocked at the extent of it. You can read the entire 280 page report here.

As an abuse survivor myself and as a woman who has suffered spiritual and emotional abuse within the same circles in which ABWE operates, I can see a clear path to stopping this culture of abuse. It's really not all that hard, either. This blog post will serve as a skeleton of the bigger picture of what needs to be done. I have no doubt that, if a plan such as this were implemented, this culture of abuse would die. I also have no doubt that ideas such as I'm about to present will be fought, dismissed and not even taken into consideration.  Still, I think these ideas need to be introduced.

I have already shared these thoughts with my husband and a pastor on the BBC (Baptist Bible College) Facebook boards. I've had a number of requests from others to share my thoughts. Please keep in mind, these points are at their skeleton stage and each one needs to be elaborated on and more thoroughly supported by Scripture. I simply haven't had time to do that much yet. Also, I'm typing with a fractured thumb, but I felt time was of the essence to get this out there. Some good may come from introducing these ideas.

1. Patriarchy has to die. The vast majority of modern day cults and terrorist groups start by subduing the women. I have always wondered why modern evangelicalism does the same. Ketcham's abuse was allowed to continue unhindered for so long partially because all the women serving with the mission were subdued and quieted into submission. That created a culture that screamed silence for those women and girls. No one dared push back against the culture because patriarchy was/is fully incorporated. While patriarchy was the default system of the Old Testament, that does not mean it had God's approval. Slavery and polygamy were also common; that did not make them right. The New Testament blows patriarchy out of the water.

2. Put women on the boards of all mission agencies and other organizations. When women are put on these boards, they have to be treated as equals. We cannot treat women as though they are "being allowed" because men are giving in to their demands. The Great Commission is talking to women, too. Jesus said, "Go and make disciples......." He did not say, "Cook dinner for those who will go." He was talking to women as much as men. Women are not involved in missions or any other work of God because men have allowed us to be. We are involved because we are called by Christ.

3. Do not minimize women's input. This is common. Even women who have been on the field are minimized and not taken seriously. I see this all the time. I also see women quietly doing the work of their calling without men's approval. I see women on foreign fields standing up in front a group of people, men and women, teaching. Margaret Laird and Elizabeth Elliot were not as much the exception as some would have you believe. Still, women fight minimization. They didn't with Jesus.

4. Women and men on these boards should not be husband/wife teams. The husband/wife relationship brings a spirit of submission which, in the present culture, is unbalanced. The board members need to be individuals who are not related to or married to each other.

5. Leave your fear at the door. Philippians 2:2 calls for us to be like minded, yet I know many men who are afraid of women. I don't understand this fear because if we're all called to the same purpose, what is there to be afraid of? A pastor once, in an attempt to subdue me, said to me in front of his deacons, "You're a steam roller!" I hope my answer surprised him, because instead of cowering down with an apology, I said, "Then you'd best stay out of my way." That pastor spoke out of fear. I see no room for fear in the work of God. Perfect love casts out fear.

6. Treat women as equals on the boards and on the field. This means, when it's time for learning from Scripture, women need to lead this as much as the men. It means when it's time for prayer, women lead in prayer. Full equals means the women don't take a back seat to leadership.

7. Leave your ego at the door. There is no room for ego because people are dying and going to Hell and we have to tell them the Good News that Jesus has died for their sins. It has nothing to do with you, or with me. It has everything to do with them. It has everything to do with Jesus. Donn Ketcham was allowed to abuse for so many years partly due to ego.....his ego and the egos of those who are guilty of the cover-up. Arrogance is the first sign of an abuser. These same arrogant men subdued and downplayed women's input, allowing the abuse to not only happen, but thrive.

8. Revisit submission. I believe it's being taught all wrong and this needs to change.

9. Women need to stop allowing their input to be minimized. We are Daughters of Abraham, there is no reason to remain in the background. If we women have something to offer, we need to step up and offer it without apology and without hesitation. We can push our voices without allowing men to subdue us.

10. ABWE needs to step back and re-examine their by-laws to insure they were not created with a prejudice against women and favoritism toward men.

11. Local churches need to take back more power. The path of least resistance, which some pastors  take, is not an honorable way to do missions. Mission boards have become too powerful and this has minimized local church involvement.

There are 11 very skeletal staring points. I have more but they are not organized enough to put down.
Yes, you are not mistaken, a theme has come out of this.
We can stop abuse.
We can end the culture of abuse.
Who is courageous enough?
I welcome civilized dialog on this.