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 out......it was easy to carry on.......it was easy to hide.....it 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.
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.