Friday, July 13, 2007

A Young Mother's Story

Churches are failing abused women through a combination of bad advice, faulty theology and a Catch-22 where women are told divorce is not an option and yet held in contempt for staying in the situation and tolerating abuse...

That's how Bob Allen, managing editor of
Ethics Daily began his very moving and powerful article/review of, Woman Submit! Christians & Domestic Violence, published on July 13, 2007.
He showed himself for the advocate he is on behalf of battered women.

In fact, I have been moved more than once by the sincere compassion demonstrated by evangelical journalists like Bob Allen of Ethics Daily and Ed Thomas of
One News Now.

Within the past week or so the story of a young mother was brought to my attention that had me spitting nails and reminded me all over again of why I wrote Woman Submit!

This young woman had escaped an abusive husband and, along with her small children, was attempting to rebuild her life.

She had found a church she really loved and threw herself whole-heartedly into being a part of the worship and fellowship activities there.

According to a fellow church member, with the exception of her children, "The church was all she had" in her life during the short time she been attending services there.

Now this was not a small narrow minded so-called "fundamentalist" church, but rather a very large church of one of the more "progressive" and modern evangelical denominations. In fact, the denomination in question has done several surveys concerning domestic violence and portrays a compassionate public image for women who find themselves in such circumstances.
The church member who shared this young mother's story with me did so out of profound regret concerning a decision the Church leadership made in regards to this young woman and her children.

His regret was such that he ultimately left that church for one he hopes would demonstrate more sincere compassion towards its members.

It is not uncommon for the spouses or former spouses of abused or battered women to not take the divorce or separation quietly. In fact, they rarely do. It may surprise the uninitiated to find out that the workplace is a common place for battered women to be killed or injured by their violent spouses or ex-spouses.

This young woman happened to be at church when her ex-husband showed up. Fortunately he did not harm her or anyone else, but before he left, he had made quite a scene, thoroughly humiliated her and possibly frightened a few other people as well.

I was not told the extent of the incident or whether or not police had to be called. All I was told was that after this happened, the young mother was summoned to the pastor's office and informed that this was not the right church for her. He felt certain she would be happier if she found another place for herself and for her children to worship and fellowship.

This large, rich (they presently have a $5,000,000 building project going on), "progressive" church dropped this young family like a sack of potatoes--like so much garbage.

One young woman and 2 small children were simply too much trouble for all the rest of the members, who had their lives "together," to deal with.

Yes, the churches are failing abused women, in more ways than we can imagine. It is a stench in the nostrils of God.

And what a breath of fresh air, what a shot of encouragment it is for me to cross paths with people like Bob Allen, Ed Thomas, Marvin Sanders, Tim Wildmon,Earl and Rachel Gooden, Arthelene Rippy, Ted Elm and so many others who are joining with me in what often seems like an uphill battle to bring awareness and hopefully help generate some compassion towards battered and formerly battered women who draw strength from something as small as our acceptance of them and maybe a willingness to be inconvenienced, just a little bit, on their behalf as they take the steps they need to in order to free themselves from the hellish minefield of abuse.

1 comment:

h said...

I wish we could say that story is uncommon. Sadly it's not.

Great BLOG!