Reblog: The Misogyny and Heresy of Church Authority | john pavlovitz

Hatmaker was specifically named-dropped in the piece—and the timing wasn’t at all accidental. The popular pastor/writer/blogger has recently received tremendous castigation from within a Christian pop culture machine who’d previously been enamored with her—as she’s publicly affirmed the LGBTQ and pushed back against much of the hypocrisy she’s witnessed in organized Christianity.

Source: The Misogyny and Heresy of Church Authority | john pavlovitz

John’s post alerted me to a situation that I–not spending much time in the Evangelical Christian blogosphere–was not aware of.  I found Jen Hatmaker’s blog, read how she’s suffering from this persecution from so-called “Christians,” and left a comment to help her mend.

I also subscribed to follow-up comments.  One left this evening was particularly disturbing: Somebody left a comment linking to a horrid blog post about Ms. Hatmaker, and said it was the “best response yet.”  The tone of both the commenter and the blogger reminded me of the trolls who came around here a few months ago, and how they normally treat their usual target.  It’s a huge red flag of narcissism and/or sociopathy, so commonplace around the Net these days.

Here is the comment I left for John Pavlovitz:

John, somebody just linked this horrid post on Jen Hatmaker’s blog: [LINK DELETED BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO DRIVE TRAFFIC TO IT AND MAKE THE POST GO UP IN GOOGLE]

I’m so glad to see people–like you–sticking up for her. She’s suffering and people are viciously attacking her for being upset. It’s the same narcissistic attitude and trolling behavior that’s all over the rest of the Net, here coming from “Christians.”

My gosh, I post things all the time similar to what Jen said about LGBT….Other bloggers I know, and people I know in real life, say the same things. LOTS of them. Christians. But Jen is getting pilloried for being compassionate and refusing to just blindly follow rather than thinking and considering the truth of what she’s supposed to believe.

As I wrote above, I removed the link to the horrid post because I didn’t want to drive traffic to it from my blog and make it look good in Google.  But you can see the link in my original comment to John Pavlovitz.

(Turning off comments in case John’s and Jen’s trolls come here.)

 

An example of controlling spouse forbidding same-sex friendship:

Eventually he forbade me from seeing her unless our kids were present. I still would hang out with her alone as adults here and there; I’d just not tell him. I never told her my husband did not want me seeing her. Eventually, she found out and was furious. The next day, my husband looked her email up on the school contact list and sent a hate-filled email to her. He never told me and acted completely normal. She forwarded it to me and said we couldn’t be friends or even speak anymore.

Source: Help! My Husband Sabotaged My Best Friendship in Order to “Get Me Back.”

I was just editing my post on jealousy and marriage last night and glanced over the section on same-sex friendships.  And then today I read the above.  It’s yet another example showing that jealousy is about control more than keeping a spouse from falling in love with somebody else.  The above husband behaved as if his wife’s friendship with another woman somehow threatened their marriage.

I am against all sorts of jealousy and controlling the friendships of your spouse.  It doesn’t matter to me what sex the friend is–especially since, in some cases, you’re dealing with gay couples or bisexual spouses.  (Can they have no friends, then?)

I have been on both sides of this myself: I was the good friend that the spouse hated, until the spouse sent me a series of hate-filled e-mails.  I, too, said that we could no longer be friends, and that was that.  So I know what that’s like.

I’ve also been in the position of the letter-writer, with my ex.  This was in college; I had a whole group of friends which he objected to.  He kept trying to drive wedges between us, badmouthing them, getting mad at me for not “sticking up” for him even though I did not see any bad behavior on their part (or, in one case, they objected to his bad treatment of me).

When that didn’t work, he broke up with me, then his friend–a flying monkey–tried to scold me into breaking off these friendships.  These friendships were not just close and dear friends, but also my roommates!  They had seen me through other bad relationships, and stuck up for me.  How could I reject them?

It’s good to see advice columnists–such as Dear Prudence and Carolyn Hax–calling out such behavior for what it is.  Here, Prudence calls it “controlling, creepy, abusive, and cruel.”

 

This “winning” over narcissists is not really winning

Several years ago, I feared the merger of my church with my narcissistic abusers’ church.  At the time, it seemed like it wasn’t going to happen.

Meanwhile, my abusers found my blog and decided to threaten me and start stalking me at church.  However, their threats soon fell away and turned to nothing, until the only “stalking” they do now is to read my blog once in a while.

As for the merger, it did finally happen last year.  I was afraid they would start coming to my church all the time.  Thankfully, however, they did not.  I have not seen them at my church in several years, even though I occasionally see them in the church website stats.  Their church had no services for a few years, so I guess they go wherever they’ve been going for the past several years, if anywhere at all.  When I do see them in the church stats, it’s usually around a major holiday such as Christmas or Easter.  If they’ve been to my church, it’s been on a day I wasn’t there.

But this time around, I saw no sign of them at all in the stats even around Easter.  I guess they’ve moved on.  The threat is long over.  Yes, it’s a huge relief, and yes, I am glad about that.

But I have to be careful.  I must not gloat or feel like I’ve “won.”  Nobody has “won” here.  The best outcome of this whole situation would’ve been repentance and reconciliation.

People say narcissists don’t repent and it’s better not to reconcile with them.  Still, my faith–and, apparently, current research–say that narcissists can sometimes choose to repent and work on eradicating their narcissism.  The victim of a narcissist needs to be careful, though, because oftentimes an apparent repentance is actually a ruse to manipulate the victim.  I’ve been through that in the past, too, with an abusive ex.  Though years later, he did finally regret what he did.

But I’ve also experienced, again and again, past bullies or abusers apologizing to me.  Maybe I find them on Facebook or at a class reunion, and they are nothing now like the mean person I remember.  Time and growing up led to their apologies, which I did not seek out.

So a part of me can continue to hope that one day Richard and Tracy will repent and try to make things right, though it’s just in back of my mind now, not something I’m “waiting” for.  And while yes, it is a relief to not deal with them except as information in my blog stats, I still need to look at the situation with sadness that it was not resolved in a proper, Christian manner.  And also sadness that a friendship I poured so much of myself into, that meant so much to me–meant nothing at all to him.

There is no “winning” here.  The ultimate goal is salvation for all parties, not beating a narc.

 

 

 

Reblog: Hell is for Homophobes | john pavlovitz

In fact, the spectacular irony on display, is that while Jesus never mentions any restrictions on who can follow him based on gender identity or sexual orientation, he speaks explicitly and often about those who profess faith, while living with contempt for others; those who do damage and leverage power to inflict wounds, those who neglect and ignore and prey upon the marginalized, those who wield religion like a weapon. (The very kind of malignancy Vicky Beeching has endured publicly, and that millions of LGBTQ folk deal with every day in their classrooms, homes, hallways, workplaces, and neighborhoods.) If there’s anything the road to Hell is paved with, it’s bigotry and violence done in the name of Jesus….

The cognitive dissonance on display is astounding; that these people can manage to believe they’re actually doing the will of God or sharing the Gospel, while berating and bullying and beating the hell out of strangers simply because of how they identify or who they love. Worse still, is that these sanctimonious, high-horsed zealots will try to use the very same Bible they persecute the LGBTQ with—to glorify guns, justify war, refuse refugees, endorse racism, perpetuate misogyny, and validate Donald Trump. Talk about miraculous.

Source: Hell is for Homophobes | john pavlovitz

Meeting her vampire husband: Excerpt from my book The Lighthouse

An excerpt from my book “The Lighthouse”:

Randall met me at the door that evening with a smile, a vigorous (though chilly) handshake and a boisterous,

“Hello, hello, friend Josh! Welcome to our mini-mansion. Do you want a drink?”

“Do you have Mountain Dew?” I asked.

“Yes, we do. Candida says she can’t survive without it or chocolate. I understand her addiction, since I have my own.” He grinned with his eyebrows drawn together.

An image flashed through my mind of Randall pouring blood from a vial–or maybe from his own veins–into a can of pop. “Could I–have that in a glass–a clear glass, please?”

Randall frowned for a moment in confusion, but then he said, “All right, whatever you wish.”

“I’ll get it for you,” Candida said. She bounded off down the hallway to the kitchen. At least she was still bouncy and vibrant, which I had always loved about her.

Randall offered me the loveseat. He sat in a wicker chair adjacent to it. I hoped he didn’t notice as I swept my gaze over the seat before sitting down. Nope, no blood or–um–emissions from him and Candida–um–christening the house’s furniture. Another image flashed through my mind: Candida naked in his arms. I got a wincing headache.

“So–um–who are you?” I asked.

“Mr. Candida, Randall Ankh.”

My eyebrows shot up. “Ankh? The Egyptian symbol for life?”

“Yes. Unusual name, isn’t it? My parents changed their last name to it. They held great stock in symbolism and loved to study ancient Egypt. This idol of Set came from them.”

He put his hand on a small stone statue of a two-legged, muscular being with a dog-like face, long ears and a loincloth. Candida allowing an idol in her house was odd enough, but wasn’t Set supposed to be evil, killing his own brother Osiris?

Candida bounced back into the room with a tall glass of Mountain Dew, nearly splashing it on me as she handed it to me.

“And what is your last name?” Randall asked.

I flinched. I meant my question to be more probing, a way to get him to confess, “Yes, I am a vampire, and my last name is ironic considering the death and destruction I bring.” But he turned it right around on me before it had a chance to work. Not that I knew how it could work, anyway.

“Hilfe. It’s German for ‘help.’ You know, in case you hear anybody say, ‘Hilf mich,’ that’s what they mean: ‘Help me.’”

He did not seem to notice my subtle barb. “Any friend of Candida’s is a friend of mine, and she tells me you’re one of her best. I had to let you into our house because she would not stop talking about you. Perhaps I should be jealous.” His eye flashed red, then went back to steel gray. “When you get a treasure like Candida, you don’t want to let her go.”

Didn’t I know it.

I scratched my eyebrow, probably a nervous tic. I found Randall more disconcerting the more amiable he seemed.

“Oh, you haven’t even touched your drink,” Candida chirped from beside the wicker chair.

The doorbell rang. I jumped. Some of my drink splashed. Candida called out “hello” when Randall trotted to the door and opened it. A few “heys” showed it was an old friend of Randall’s. This friend walked in, another pale-faced young man, though black. His clothes were dark blue, well-cut and expensive. I’m not much of a judge of male looks, but he seemed to be in the same category as Denzel Washington or Billy Dee Williams. That meant he caused lust in any woman of any race. That meant I was the ugly one in this house.

“Josh, Candida, this is Vincent,” Randall said. “Shall I get you a drink?” he asked Vincent.

“Oh, yes, the usual,” Vincent said. “I’ve had nothing to drink all evening.”

Randall trotted off.

“Are you a friend of Randall’s?” Vincent asked.

“No, Candida’s,” I said.

“How long have you known her?”

“Since spring.”

“I’ve only just met her, myself. So this is she, the beautiful Candida.” He nodded at her in a way so smooth and chivalric it made me jealous.

Candida flushed and grinned back at him boldly. My likelihood of catching her eye was getting worse all the time.

Randall returned with a wineglass full of a sanguine liquid. Wine, yes, it must be red wine. Yet when Vincent drank it, it made bloody stains on the side of the glass. No, no, it’s wine, it’s got to be wine. My head felt light. I turned my gaze to the Mountain Dew, hoping to get the image out of my head. I had to get the phantom, iron taste of blood out of my mouth. I took a sip. I couldn’t stop myself; I imagined the liquid going down my throat was not Dew, but blood. I gagged. My head spun. Candida leaped to my side.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

I gazed at her without speaking. Through fuzzy vision I turned to Vincent and then Randall, who sat there with his eyebrows drawn together in what looked like concern. He was so pale, so–

I had to get out of there. “I’m sorry, Candida; I’m not feeling well. I have to go home.”

“Don’t be silly. We can take care of you here.” She stroked my hair. All my nerve endings begged me to stay and let her keep doing that, but I could not do it.

“No, really, I’d much rather be in my own room.”

I jumped up, grabbed my coat and ran out of the house, never minding how dizzy I was. Candida soon ran after me, throwing on her coat and carrying my glass of pop.

“You forgot this,” she said. “I’ll walk you back to campus and make sure you get to your room all right.”

I hugged her. How I wanted to stay nestled in her softness. “It’s sweet of you, but I can’t let you walk back by yourself in the dark. This is the city, after all.”

She smiled, kissed my cheek, handed me the glass and turned back.

As I walked, I drew in deep breaths of the chill air, blowing them out and watching the vapor. Back in my room, the glass sat untouched on top of the little box of a refrigerator in my room. My roommate was all too happy to take it off my hands, and I was all too happy to let him. I cleaned and returned the glass in the morning.

Though I loved Dew, it was many months before I could drink it again, especially from a glass.

–From “Candida” in my book The Lighthouse, e-book available for $3 at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/nerissa

(This was originally posted on my author page, here.)

 

GOP Power Grab

Make no mistake, the voters see what you’re doing.  It should’ve been Merrick Garland in that Supreme Court seat.

The GOP has been slowly and steadily taking control for years now.  Walker has ruined Wisconsin and made it so Democrats no longer get a say, while corruption runs rampant, with compromised judges unwilling to stop it.  Walker drove friends and family apart, drove away teachers, and as for driving, the potholes around here make bike-riding treacherous.

Now they’re doing it nationally.  I hoped that when Walker lost the nomination for President, we would be safe from a President doing to the nation what Walker did to Wisconsin, but no.

The trouble is, for far too long, certain political groups (such as the Tea Party) have been insisting that “compromise” is a bad word, somehow evil.  So instead of working with the other side, the GOP just says “screw you” and pushes whatever it wants, no matter how extreme, and the Democrats can’t stop them.

Sometimes I wish I could move to Germany.

 

 

Reblog: Mike Pence’s Dinner Rule Is Only the Beginning

Libby Anne writes about extreme religious rules separating the sexes out of fear they can’t control their urges:

I have a problem with the assumption that men and women cannot be just friends, or just coworkers. I also have a problem with the idea that marriage is so fragile that it must be protected by imposing absolute limits on extramarital male-female contact. If the only thing holding your marriage together is never being alone in a room with another person of the opposite sex, there is already something wrong with it.

Perhaps these ideas are a relic of a past where men and women were so socially segregated that male-female contact typically only occurred in a romantic or sexual context. Or perhaps these ideas reflect a sexism so severe that men are incapable of interacting with women as fellow humans. In either case, the rules become the symptom of a larger problem, rather than its solution.

Source: Mike Pence’s Dinner Rule Is Only the Beginning

What she says about Evangelicals doing this, however, seems to be a relatively new development: I grew up in a church so strict that you couldn’t square dance or go to the movies, but we had no separation of the sexes, and women could work.  We could mingle, be friends, date, etc. etc.  And yes, opposite-sex friends were allowed after marriage as well.  I never heard of restrictions like Mike Pence’s until the late-00s.

In fact, when I was first hit in the late-00s with various forms of such rules, and various judgments and scolds and punishments for not following them, it shocked me.  I thought that all went out with poodle skirts and bobby socks.  😛

 

 

%d bloggers like this: