Tag Archives: Saint Louis Christian blogger

Toxic Tuesday: Emotional Roller Coaster

 

DMV awareness month

 

Today we will look at the duplicitous personality; the nice version and the destructive version of the angry and controlling partner. I refer to living in this type of relationship as a roller coaster ride because it starts out smooth and gradual, but once we arrive at the top and see the drop we know it’s going to take away our breath; in a bad way. For those of us who thrill over a fun amusement park roller coaster; we know the emotional roller coaster is not a ride of choice or enjoyment. Just when we think the ride is calm Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard smalland safe, and we are enjoying the cool breeze blowing through our hair; it goes through a dark cave, down a steep drop, rotates us upside down, or takes us for a cork-screw dive.

This is life when living with an abusive personality. They are nice one moment; argumentative, angry, controlling, withholding, or some toxic quality the next moment, hour, or day.

Please hear me, you are not crazy. You are not confused. You are however most likely exhausted and in need of validation, encouragement, and truth. 

It can take months or years of living with an abuser for a victim to realize that the nice, charming, or caring version of the abuser is in fact an act; a show, and is a phase of the abuse.

If we pay close attention we will come to find cycles in the abuse. It might go something like this:

Phase 1. Nice and engages in conversation or activities. (The ‘Honeymoon’ phase).

Phase 2. Discontent if they can’t control an aspect of the relationship with us. (Experts call this the tension building phase).

Phase 3. Turns to rage when they have no tolerance for our ability to make our own decisions, have an opinion, or perform a task differently than how they believe it should be done. They may withhold affection, attention, sex, or words of affirmation. They may verbally shred us, or become physically abusive. (Experts call this the incident or acute explosion phase).

Phase 4. They may give us the silent treatment for days, weeks, or months. They are in denial of their attitude/personality problems and place all blame on us.

These phases are not representative of a onetime relationship cycle, but of a continual cycling, phases 1 through 4…over and over.

Cycle of abuse (tension, incident, reconciliation, calm) was a term coined by Lenore E. Walker.

When we apologize or attempt to appease an abuser they will often interact more peacefully with us, but it isn’t real. The reason they show kindness is because they believe our apology or appeasement is an acknowledgment that they are right, we are wrong, and we deserved their abusive treatment.

They want us to believe:

  1. The kind version is the real them.
  2. When tensions rise and abuse takes place; it’s the victim’s fault.

They want to trick us and tangle us in their web of deception. They desperately want us to believe these lies; after all, it’s their unhealthy truth; their toxic reality.

They will use their justifications and deceit to discredit the victim should she decide to disclose the abuse.

Remember: Abusers look like everyone else. You can’t pick them out of a crowd or spot them by looking in their eyes. They come from all walks of life. They can work in the secular world or minister in faith communities.

 

“Those who are labeled as brilliant/godly/successful are accorded power simply by virtue of their reputation. They can walk into a room and because of their reputation people give their words/actions a certain weight or power. We assume such powers indicate character. They do not!” ~Diane Langberg, PhD

 

Abusers do not care for others as a soul with worth; they care about their own power and control. Do not believe for one second that we have the ability to influence the abuser’s behavior, or that anything we do will change the way they treat us. This thought has landed many women in the depths of depression, and has led to the murderous death of others at the hands of their abusers.

Domestic violence rates are on the rise. If you are unsure of your safety, or lack thereof, please click on the “Mosaic” threat assessment in the margin of this website.

 “Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.” Proverbs 23:9

 “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.” Proverbs 26:11

“Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.” Proverbs 27:3

“Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them.” Proverbs 27:22

 

 

“Fighting Words”

Fear is like a broken record, same old songs of accusation play
Like, “who are you to speak the truth, just look at all your failures and mistakes”
And “If they really knew you, there’s no way they could love you anyway”
Oh-oh-ohh, but I will…

Fight the lies with the truth, oh-ohh
Keep my eyes fixed on You
I will sing the truth into the dark
I will use my fighting words
Oh-oh-ohh, fighting words
Oh-oh-ohh

The enemy keeps talking, telling me to hide my face in shame
Whispering that everything I’ve done will drive the Father’s love away
Saying, “It’s too late for hoping, that something in your heart could ever change”
Oh-oh-ohh, so I will…

Fight the lies with the truth, oh-ohh
Keep my eyes fixed on You
I will sing the truth into the dark
I will use my fighting words
Oh-oh-ohh, fighting words
Oh-oh-ohh

My debt is paid up
I’ve been set free and
You gave Your life up to rescue me
You say that I am
Worth fighting for and
Grace is like waves that keep crashing on the shore!

Fight, the lies with the truth, oh-oh-ohh
Keep my eyes fixed on You
I will sing the truth into the dark
I will use my fighting words
Oh-oh-ohh, fighting words
Oh-oh-ohh…

I’m so tired of forgetting what I’m worth
So I will use, my fighting words

 

Lynn Messer 4 years later: What her death certificate says; Kerry and Spring’s wedding invite


Lynn 1

Tomorrow, July 8, marks the 4 year anniversary of the reporting of Lynn Messer as a missing person.

Upon her disappearance, the family farm where Lynn lived with her husband was mapped with grids and searched by rescue and recovery teams, along with trained search and rescue dogs. Searching was done by air, foot, and all-terrain vehicles; by day and by night. 

Rescue dogs are trained in locating human remains by tracking, trailing, and air scenting. This should have been an easy job in the outdoor air of the extreme summer heat during July and August.

2 1/2 years ago, November 1, 2016, Lynn’s remains were found on the farm; recovered from the direction of the scent found that first morning in 2014. The problem was that Kerry, Lynn’s husband, had the cows moved from one pasture to another that first morning, July 8, 2014, possibly contaminating evidence of her scent.  The pasture where he had the cows moved was located between the house and the field where Lynn’s remains were discovered.  Rotating cows from pasture to pasture, according to Lynn’s sons, was always Lynn’s responsibility. Lynn’s son Abram told law enforcement that his father was adamant the cows had to be moved that morning; the morning Lynn had been missing since the middle of the night, and her husband said he had been out looking for her. In my first interview with Abram he admitted that in hind sight, moving the cows for his dad is the one thing he wishes he had not done.

Lynn was considered missing until November 1, 2016. We’ve been told by law enforcement, after a coroner’s autopsy, that Lynn had been deceased the entire time, since July 8, 2014.

 

I am a survivor of domestic abuse and I minister to and advocate for women in, or leaving, destructive marriages.  When I heard Lynn’s story I thought I recognized similarities to life experiences I’ve lived. I think, after talking to Lynn’s family and friends, that she possibly lived in a destructive marriage, and didn’t survive to tell her story. This is why I advocate for her…waiting for answers, keeping her story alive, and hoping for justice for Lynn. 

 

Lynn 2Lynn’s husband, Kerry Messer, has not been cleared in the investigation surrounding Lynn’s death.  Kerry is a Missouri state lobbyist who represents family, homeschooling, right-to-life, gun rights/safety, and Christian/Biblical values. 

Weeks after Lynn was reported missing law enforcement found out that Lynn’s husband Kerry was involved with another woman. Spring Thomas, according to law enforcement, admitted to being in a relationship with Kerry at least 8 weeks after Lynn went missing. Abram, one of Lynn’s sons has messages from Spring that dates the time to at least 6 weeks after Lynn went missing, but he thinks the romantic relationship predated his mom’s death.  He has based this upon the previous years of watching his father interact with Spring. In fact, before Abram knew anything about Kerry’s relationship with Spring, Abram says he expressed concern to his father about his  inappropriate behavior around Spring in the past as well as their behavior around each other when Spring showed up for organized searches to help look for Lynn, after Lynn’s disappearance, on the family farm.

 

Below is a copy of Lynn’s Messer’s death certificate which was issued June 20, 2018. In other words; recently. I want people to understand and believe that this case is not over.

 

death certificate internet

I find this hopeful. The state could have listed the cause of death as ‘unknown’. They didn’t.

Instead it says, ‘MANNER: PENDING INVESTIGATION’ 

‘UNDETERMINED AT THIS TIME’

 

The death certificate does not say ‘Could Not Be Determined’.

This case is not closed.

I think answers are out there.

I continue to pray for #JusticeForLynn.

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7/22/2018 UPDATE:  So…this is happening, a wedding, August 4, 2018.

The question remains: Did the church allowing this ceremony talk to Lynn’s sons, Lynn’s friends, or to the police? I know they didn’t talk to Abram.

*I found out today that the testimony against your spouse provision in the law doesn’t apply to knowledge you had before the wedding. So for those of us who wondered if marriage would keep them from testifying about each other, should an arrest happen; it doesn’t apply.

Abram Messer received a voicemail message from his dad on Wednesday. Kerry told Abram he was praying about when the Lord would allow him and Spring to get married, that they were planning a wedding, he would like his sons and their families to attend, and that he would wait for a reply from Abram.

Thursday, people (not Lynn’s sons) began receiving wedding invitations by mail. Friends and family were concerned and rightfully began contacting each other. I’ve received 2 copies from concerned readers.

The reason I’m posting this invitation is to validate Abram and Elizabeth. Church family, friends, some in the homeschooling community, and a few relatives have believed Kerry when he told them that he and Spring were nothing more than friends. I personally had people tell me law enforcement, Abram, and Elizabeth were all lying to me about this so-called relationship and that it was immensely hurtful to Kerry and Spring to have people believing such nonsense. I was also told newspapers lied about the relationship.

I long for the day when churches listen, believe, and act upon the woman’s story and not the husband’s denial. I’m saddened and frustrated that a church is celebrating and performing this wedding before Lynn’s cause of death is released.

 

Kerry Messer wedding invite

After the television airing of American Gothic: Finding Lynn Messer on Investigation Discovery, Lynn’s story became an international public interest. I believe it has aired at least 6-8 times, and in different countries around the globe. I can tell because every time it airs my blog stats shoot higher than usual for my articles about Lynn.

Thank you for your continued and interest and prayers.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

The format of this site has changed. You’ll find many of the past articles I’ve written about Lynn Messer under the link: Lynn Messer case history. Articles are listed by title and dated from recent to earliest. Comments are now easier to find and post at the end of each article.

You may read more about inconsistencies in the case here. 

Spring Thomas here… 

The Note here… and here…

 

Kerry Messer is a public figure/state lobbyist who fund raises from private citizens in the state of Missouri; making this a public interest case. *See disclaimer in margin.

Lysa TerKeurst: This is how it’s supposed to happen…reconciliation

This is great news! 

We all enjoy good stories that begin with “Once upon a time” and end with “happily ever after” in the same way as Disney movies and children’s fairy tale books. Even the Bible begins and ends in such a way, but what about everything that happens in between the beginning and the end? The hard stuff; impossible circumstances, heart-breaking realities, tear-stained pillows, regretted decisions, accidents, a devastating health diagnosis, death, broken relationships, words we wish we could take back, decisions that haunt us…mistakes, over reactions, sin. None of us are exempt.

For background into Lysa’s in-between here is a video clip of her announcing that she had breast cancer…“Art and I are both praying for a miracle and walking the road to healing. We are clinging to the promises of God on this journey full of twists and turns, ups and downs. There is often a process God will take people through to prepare us for the Promise. We are a work in process. And this process is often messy and unpredictable. I don’t know exactly what tomorrow will look like but I do know who I’ll be looking to … The Lord … whose love is unfailing and whose hand is the safest place to entrust my hope.” Video: Click here.

She was declared, post surgery, cancer free here…

We applaud for the underdog, and hope and pray for those we know who are suffering. We don’t live in their skin and experience the fight they endured to get to where they are.

We don’t know the in-between for Lysa TerKeurst and her husband Art, but we cheer them on as they seek healing for their family.

I reached out to Lysa for an interview but due to scheduling limitations she has put a hold on media and publication commitments.  I totally understand! I was told by her staff, “We’re so grateful for your heart to share about and support Lysa and Art’s reconciliation. I know they will be so thankful for your prayers and encouragement.”

A year ago I wrote about Lysa TerKeurst’s open letter explaining the reasons she filed for divorce. We mourned with her.

Today we can rejoice with her!

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15

She has the best news for her family; they are doing the hard but rewarding work of reconciliation.

This is the outcome I hoped for after serving my first husband with therapeutic separation and later divorce papers, and I know it’s the outcome most of my readers hope for when they finally make the decision to serve their husband with the same legal paperwork.

It’s rarely about wanting a divorce. No! It’s about forcing our spouse to see the gravity of what has happened and hoping, praying, and waiting for the gift of repentance to gloriously show forth its fruit.

God does not use repentance as a form of punishment or shame. Quite the contrary; it is our invitation to healing, power, wisdom, blessing and restoration. Repentance is a gift; it is our right! There is joy to be found in it. Oh, that we would all understand and welcome this process when we need it…and we all need it!

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Acts 3:19-20 (NIV)

I’m not sure how I missed this terrific, God-glorifying, joyful news for the last 3-4 weeks. Maybe because I’ve had the worst three months of health problems due to auto-immune disease flare-ups and it has stolen my summer from me. Whatever the reasons, I saw Lysa’s good news on the internet for the first time last week. I’m genuinely ecstatic for her and her family, and I know you will be too.

Lysa T family pic together again
Lysa T together announcement
*Above photo and text from the official Lysa TerKeurst Facebook page.

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Continue to pray for Lysa and her family on this road to restoration. Although I can’t speak for Lysa, I imagine healing will be an ocean of waves like it is for most women. Doing alright one moment, overcome with emotion the next; thinking you’re going to make it, wondering if you can hold on for complete healing, forgiving…remembering…smiles, tears. It can be a roller coaster, but prayer to our faithful God and a daily relationship with Him makes ALL the difference.

God takes our broken and makes it more beautiful and valuable than our earlier state; much like Kintsugi, also known as Kintsukuroi. Most people would like damages to their broken items to be concealed and hidden by repair making the object look like new. But the Japanese art of Kintsugi follows a different philosophy. Rather than disguising the breakage, kintsugi restores the broken item incorporating the damage into the aesthetic of the restored item, making it part of the object’s history. Kintsugi uses lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold, silver, platinum, copper or bronze, resulting into something more beautiful than the original.

Kintsugi
Lysa new book

What do you do when God’s timing seems questionable, his lack of intervention hurtful, and his promises doubtful? Preorder Lysa’s newest book here…   It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way

If you have suffered betrayal this new blog might be a place of encouragement and validation as you walk the long and difficult road of restoration. Afflicted Hope

Are you in need of your soul being ministered to, or need music to help you praise God for what He has brought you through? I highly recommend Ellie Holcomb’s Red Sea Road CD. It’s beautiful and healing.

Southern Baptist – Affirm Women

“(W)e acknowledge that spousal abuse dishonors the marriage covenant and fundamentally blasphemes the relationship between Christ and the church.”

The affirmation of “the dignity and worth of women” came as the nation’s largest Protestant denomination marked the 100th anniversary of women serving as messengers, even as it held fast to the view that women are equal before God but hold different roles in the church and the home. “

I’m thankful the SBC is taking on these issues. Affirmation of the above comments is a good step, but it’s also disappointing that such simple, Biblically clear messages had to be voted upon for resolution status.

The same goes for the ‘curse of ham’ and recognizing the full dignity of every human being. These are simple teachings that directly line up with the heart of Jesus’ life and ministry on earth. We should already understand these as truths; not have to vote in 2018 that they will be recognized as truth.

Nonetheless, I’m pleased that these issues are being discussed and brought into the light for healing. And I’m beyond grateful that #MeToo and the #ForSuchATimeAsThisRally played a part in bringing about the resolutions.

Click below to read full article: SBCmen

1) Southern Baptists, in #MeToo age, affirm women, ask for ‘purity’ of leaders

 

2) Increasing Women’s Rolls 

3) “We deplore, apologize and ask forgiveness for failures to protect the abused, failures that have occurred in evangelical churches and ministries, including such failures within our own denomination,” said the final form of the resolution as amended from the floor.

My Video & transcript: For Such A Time As This Rally

I was invited and had the privilege of speaking at the For Such a Time as This Rally in Dallas, Texas. Our team had three goals to express to attendess of the Southern Baptist Convention:

#1 Treat women as equals like Jesus did.
#2 Establish a predator database.
#3 Mandatory training of pastors and seminarians regarding the handling of domestic abuse. SBCmen

Although this was specifically for encouraging the Southern Baptist Convention held in Dallas, Texas, this week; my plea is to the universal church.

Below is the video of my talk. The generator went out moments before my turn to speak so we lost our mics, speakers, and live feed. Fortunately there was an iPad recording the event so we didn’t lose footage of the event.  To listen to the rally you’ll have to turn up the volume. We were in sweltering heat, sun-baked and frying to a crisp, in the middle of downtown Dallas with city noise in the background; plus, a large open space absorbing my voice. I had to talk as loudly as possible to be heard by attendees and the media. I felt like I was screaming in an attempt to be heard which had me literally gasping for breath. Thanks to the Baptist disaster relief worker walking by who knew how to fix the problem and got the generator running again.

There are article links and the complete transcript included below.

 

Go to this link to find more photos and videos from the For Such a Time as This Rally

Dallas Morning News

The Oklahoman – There are several ads and links to scroll thru to completely read this article. There are also additional pictures of yesterday’s event to scroll through.

For Such a Time as This Facebook page

For Such a Time as This Twitter

For Such a Time as This websiteMary DeMuth

TRANSCRIPT:

I’m Carolyn Deevers from St. Louis, MO.  I minister to women living in, or leaving, destructive marriages, and I write at Spiritual Battles.org about toxic relationships, abusive marriages and how God has used my prayers to navigate me through these life issues.

I’m here today speaking from experience as a survivor of sexual assault and domestic abuse by my former husband who was a pastor and a pedophilic offender. He’s now in prison for the rest of his life.

I’ve often heard people respond doubtfully, or roll their eyes, at the term emotional abuse. Let me clear up this misconception. I’ve endured all forms of abuse, but the one that was the most damaging, caused multiple health issues and repeatedly, most deeply wounded my heart, soul, mind and strength was emotional abuse.

I’m talking today because the church needs training on how to recognize and respond to allegations of domestic abuse, and because the evangelical church is long overdue on creating a database for tracking offenders.

Why are we so adamant about this you may ask? Allow me to ask you a question. When you hear the clopping of horse hooves what do you think of? Horses, right? But no, they aren’t horses; they’re zebras. These toxic men are the ‘zebras’ in this analogy. They are grand actors and magnificent manipulators. They may be sitting next to us in worship, Sunday school, or small group. They can be pastors, Sunday school teachers, our best friend, charming, smart, and biblically brilliant. They can be high functioning in their job, helpful in our time of need, and financially generous if hardship strikes us; all while destroying the wife and children at home.

It’s not just in the home though.

I hear from Christian women, pastor’s wives, and missionary’s wives around the globe who tell of angry, controlling men in places of leadership. These men would be fired in corporate America if they condescendingly talked down to, objectified, or told women their opinion didn’t matter since they aren’t a man. Yet, these things happen in some churches and we don’t bat an eye or grimace.

Some of these abusive personality types have gained places of high status within our churches, and their unbiblical view of women has trickled down through the ranks.

I recently read that Bible teacher and well-known author, Beth Moore, came to the same conclusion. She wrote there have been “attitudes among some key Christian leaders that smacked of misogyny, objectification and astonishing disesteem of women and it spread like wildfire.”

This is often the attitude abused women receive when they go to church leadership for help.

Dear Church, Jesus spent time on earth breaking cultural rules and traditions to love, heal, and bring women to the life God intended for them. Women were never an afterthought, or a second class citizen to Jesus. He didn’t deny, cover-up, enable, justify, or excuse anyone’s sin. Jesus would have been the one bringing this oppression to light; leaving no need for the #MeToo movement. Like Jesus, we need to come from a place of love; not a place of inconvenience or disbelief.

Unfortunately, I rarely hear of the church being a safe place for abused or assaulted women. The abuse is often minimized while they are told to continue submitting to their husband and/or forgiving their perpetrator.

My message to the church is:

  1. Please don’t criticize women or question their timing when they come forward. We have no idea how long it took them to come to the realization that they weren’t the unstable party in the relationship after years of hearing everything was their fault.
  2. Don’t tell them what to do. They’ve been controlled for years and they need to learn to make their own decisions and be able to live with them.
  3. Often women are retraumatized by their pastor or someone in the church and are met with unbelief, church discipline, or expulsion. What they need is validation, a listening ear, prayer, and gifts of practical service and/or financial help.

It seems the church is the least safe place to deal with domestic abuse. I’m not asking you to learn how to counsel these women; I’m asking you to recognize domestic abuse and abusers, respond correctly to assault victims and refer these hurting souls to professionals who know how to meet their needs. And…when someone comes to us with allegations of a crime; our only choice is to call the authorities and allow them to investigate; no matter our personal opinion. Remember: Abusers are word spinners who tell half-truths and justify their behavior. When the woman is divulging the abuse and the man explains, justifies, minimizes, spiritualizes, and denies the severity of what she is describing; you are looking at the number one sign of  dealing with an abuser; denial.

Let me clarify that not all professionals; in fact few, know how to help abusers which often makes them ineffective or harmful to the wife/survivor. (See today’s free resource sheet for help).

Please hear this:

  1. God does not expect us to place the institution of marriage above the safety, sanity and health of women and children.
  2. Couples counseling does not work for domestic abuse. They don’t need marital counseling. The abuser needs help for their abusive personality.
  3. When teaching about marriage say something like this: Today we’re talking about a normal, marriage. If you’re in a destructive, abusive marriage where there is physical, sexual, verbal, financial, spiritual (I accidently left spiritual out at the rally), withholding, or emotional abuse by an angry and controlling spouse; please know we want to help you.

Statistics tell us that domestic abuse escalates with time and that abusers have little to no success rate for recovery (because they don’t desire to change); much like pedophilic offenders according to Don Hennessy, former director of the National Domestic Violence Intervention Agency.

Because of this we need to put away the one size fits all, “God hates divorce” mantra. God hates the ongoing, active trauma that violates the wife.

Without intense training you can’t help the victim because of the academy award-winning performance the abuser is giving you. This is one reason you need a database.

Sex crimes investigators and prosecutors across our nation agree that some predators (and people with narcissistic personality disorder) go to Christian college and seminary to gain lifetime access to an endless supply of victims. These professionals also say that with the rise of internet pornography they are seeing women becoming predators.

Please consider this list of concerns when designing a database for the recording of patterns/behavior if they should continue for years:

  1. Ministry allegations
  2. Church discipline
  3. Evidence that led to divorce
  4. Sex offender registry

This is essential to safe-guarding the people entrusted to your care.

Here are examples of why a database would have been helpful based on my experience with my former husband.

  1. Lost ministries multiple times for being angry, controlling and deceitful to leadership.
  2. Lost a ministry for grooming and molesting of young children without charges ever being filed.
  3. Allegations of unfaithfulness.
  4. Again being investigated for grooming and crimes against children. In the middle of this investigation he found a new senior pastor position at another church.

He had a 30 year history. He attended summer church camps where he slept next to young boys in the dorms and he travelled internationally as an evangelist working in orphanages.

In the middle of the last investigation he obtained a senior pastor position at another church.  No one ever called to ask me why I left him or why I had his parental rights revoked. I kept psychological and psychiatric test results, doctors’ notes on their official letterhead, and prescription receipts; for serious and some dark psychiatric disorders; database worthy documents. Most people live a normal life with their mental illnesses; with pedophilia thrown in the mix; he did not. He continued landing ministries because there was no ministry database.

Here is my challenge: Please, go back to your churches or institutions and schedule mandatory domestic abuse training for your staff and anyone who holds a place of leadership so you’ll be ready next time. And please, develop and begin using a database.

Thank you.

 

 

Rally Outside SBC Annual Meeting Brings Abuse to Light

SBC rally

DALLAS, TX – June 5, 2018 – Discussing and responding to the epidemic of abuse within Protestant Christianity’s largest denomination has long been overdue. A rally to outline the prevalence of abuse and its enablement within the Southern Baptist Convention will be held at the SBC Annual Meeting in Dallas, Texas, on Tuesday, June 12th. Called the For Such a Time as This Rally, the organizers will gather outside the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and invite any who are concerned about abuse in the Church to attend.

Organizers are gathering for these reasons:

1. The time has come for women to be respected and honored within the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention—as Scripture teaches. 2. The time has come for a clergy sex offender database for the Southern Baptist Convention. 3. The time has come for mandatory training of all pastors and SBC seminaries on the issues of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

Many rally organizers and attendees are involved in Southern Baptist Churches or have deep roots in the SBC. “The event is not anti-Southern Baptist or anti-Christian,” said Cheryl Summers, one of the rally organizers. “We are advocating for a reform of culture, and for training of pastors and church leaders. We follow Christ’s example who treated women with dignity and honor as equal, valuable members of His Church when the culture of His day did not.”

Cheryl noted the recent scandals that made this rally necessary, saying, “In recent weeks as the Paige Patterson scandal has erupted, the faulty ideas within the SBC about women, abuse and sexual assault have proven to be tragically systemic. We are praying for reform, but also are moved to respond, insisting that respect for women is rooted in Scriptural teachings and the culture within the Church needs to change.”

Speaking at the event will be abuse survivors and victim advocates including Ashley Easter, founder of The Courage Conference, an annual gathering of survivors and advocates; author, speaker, and advocate Mary DeMuth; the pastor of Emmanuel Enid Church, Wade Burleson; author and speaker Dr. Christy Sim, Carolyn Deevers, abuse survivor, writer and advocate and Gricel Medina, a pastor, writer, and advocate.

“The same systemic failures that silenced the victims of Paige Patterson also enabled him to remain in power for years,” said Ashley Easter, noting Paige Patterson’s abusive teachings and behaviors were known for decades. “We believe the time is long overdue for Christian women—and men—to work together and insist systemic changes in the treatment of women in the SBC.”
Carolyn Deevers, an abuse victim advocate and survivor of an abusive marriage to a pastor added, “When an abused spouse comes to the church or an institution with abuse allegations they are often told to be silent, submit, and stay in the abusive relationship. This faulty advice leads to more abuse as well as death,” Deevers indicated, citing how similar advice from recently-terminated SWBTS President, Paige Patterson, was used to keep women in dangerous situations. “The Church’s track record on these cases has made it one of the least safe places for victims to find help,” Deevers concluded.

Reference guides by victim advocates and professionals on how to respond to abuse disclosures will be distributed at the rally. Included will be a recommended reading list for pastors to build knowledge and understanding on how abuse works and ways to minister to the wounded and vulnerable. Rally organizers aim to share these best practices with the hundreds of Southern Baptist pastors and Southern Baptist Convention leadership who attend the annual conference. Rally organizers chose the name “For Such a Time as This” in reference to Queen Esther, a woman who was a victim of sex trafficking and refused to be silent to her authoritarian husband, the king of Persia. Esther’s story shows the courage that is required to speak necessary, hard-to-hear truths (cf. Esther 4:14).

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________________________________ About For Such a Time as This Rally: For Such A Time As This Rally can be found on Twitter as @SBCForSuchATime, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/forsuchatimeasthisrally and the web at http://www.forsuchatimeasthisrally.com.