Monday, February 15, 2010

How DARE you approach to Domestic Violence in the church!

Posted by Hannah at 7:00 AM

There was a discussion on Mark Driscoll recently, and they posted his message to abusive men.  I remember the first time I heard it, and I had just dealt with a family going through a very hard time.  He said some things that I wanted to say, and I felt some of the rage he was feeling as he screamed, "HOW DARE YOU!".

It was the human part inside of me over the hurt and anger I felt over a family being terribly mistreated.  I was very UPSET over their abuser's entitled mindset over how he was justified.  I was seething over how he could find fault in everyone and everything, and not once did he step up to the plate with his own sin.

Abusive people (not just men) are great at blaming everything and anything for this behavior.  They are not capable of owning things, because it makes them feel 'less than'.  It makes them feel powerless, and it makes them vulnerable.  They look at it like some opening that people are waiting for so they can charge it to crush them into the ground.  What they don't realize?  Most people aren't interested in that, and yet that is HOW they view the world and the people within it.  Remember how I always say they tend to do things with motive?  They assume everyone does that!

You see from time to time when they will admit certain things, but if you stopped long enough to listen?  They always have a BUT attached.  There is always justification.  There is always some hurt or reason for their actions.  What they never offer up is ownership of their own poop, and yet demand it from others in a very threatening way.  They will say they have a bad temper, and yet when you get into the nuts and bolts of that aspect?  Their anger stops all conversation.  You may be able to speak of it one day, and yet the next time HOW DARE YOU!

There are things about Mark Driscoll that do rub me the wrong way, but I understand his anger in his message.  He had enough NERVE to mention it, and you notice the man never went into it like others have in the past.  He didn't mention how the man being is 'threatened' in some way regarding his manhood or authority in the family.   His approach may not have been the best, but at least he can acknowledge the broken nature of people.

The wife - because of her sinful nature - isn't submissive because she wants to be the BOSS says Pastor Ware!

If it’s not requiring her to sin but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, and she endures perhaps being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church. Says John Piper

I had a woman who was in a church that I served, and she was being subject to some abuse, and I told her, I said, “All right, what I want you to do is, every evening I want you to get down by your bed just as he goes to sleep, get down by the bed, and when you think he’s just about asleep, you just pray and ask God to intervene, not out loud, quietly,” but I said, “You just pray there.” And I said, “Get ready because he may get a little more violent, you know, when he discovers this.” And sure enough, he did. She came to church one morning with both eyes black. And she was angry at me and at God and the world, for that matter. And she said, “I hope you’re happy.” And I said, “Yes ma’am, I am.” And I said, “I’m sorry about that, but I’m very happy.”

And what she didn’t know when we sat down in church that morning was that her husband had come in and was standing at the back, first time he ever came. And when I gave the invitation that morning, he was the first one down to the front. And his heart was broken, he said, “My wife’s praying for me, and I can’t believe what I did to her.” And he said, “Do you think God can forgive somebody like me?” And he’s a great husband today. And it all came about because she sought God on a regular basis. And remember, when nobody else can help, God can.  Says Paige Patterson

That's excuses, and it shows those men don't have the courage to tell it how it is.  Men and Women can sin in this fashion, and some perceive 'threat' wasn't the cause.  Telling women to instigate a reaction, because you aren't man enough to confront him like Patterson?  WELL that's a cowards excuse, and it seems alot of people love to use that.  I mean are you going to allow this person to own the sin or not?  Do they think Jesus feels - well okay their buttons WERE pushed afterall!  Its okay to push his limits so he hits you again - then he will come to my FATHER!  Come on PEOPLE - get with reality!

I have to wonder if those pastors with the excuses stop to think about how they sound!  They sound like the courts making all these excuses for criminals, and giving them a slap on the wrist.  OH they had a hard childhood, and they finally just SNAPPED and did this awful thing!  Lets give that awful childhood a good consideration, and then let them off lightly - those poor things!  We hear people having fits about this - including pastors - and yet they do the same darn thing don't they?

Bruce Ware, John Piper, and Paige Patterson are good excuses of cowards when it comes to addressing this issue.  They search for the BUT in their advice to those that are being hurt.  They do what the court system does, and look for that plead agreement due to some awful aspect to give them a lighter sentence.  What is even stranger?  They never stop to think that maybe the person needs help in that aspect after they 'rebuke' others for NOT making them feel like a proper man.  Their soft and cowardly ways I guess in some fashion makes them feel better, but truly does nothing for anyone else.  Looks lovely to others, but the reality is?  Its hardly lovely - no one grasps the enabling part of it.  Patterson's excuse not to confront looks like a fairy tale, "Happily ever after" type of moment!  Its plain SICK!

Mark Driscoll has the nerve to say HOW DARE YOU!  His contemporaries don't have that, and according to his own definition?  They are indeed cowards.  Do I think his approach to this issue is correct?  No.  I don't think he stopped long enough to wonder how those families were going to be doing once they got home from church that day.  He is going to make abusers defensive, and they will rage at the family during that Sunday dinner.  His family won't even have to go near the subject, and matter of fact they can concentrate on going as far away from it as possible and it won't make a darn bit of difference.

What I don't think Mark Driscoll realized is that the family is going to be a target of all out assault once they leave that church.  I'm sure he may have some success with a few, but the majority isn't going to buy his message at all.  They aren't manly enough to own their sin, and screaming at them is going to make them worse that day.

I doubt that was his intention, and at least the man will acknowledge that this actually happens!  He doesn't automatically tie those excuses called 'lack of submission' or 'threat to authority' - just PRAY because I can't help you let GOD do it for me!  You have to wonder if the John Piper's and Bruce Ware's and Paige Patterson's of the world just don't have the true leadership skills within them to do a all out confrontation, because its easier to try to excuse the behavior away!

To me honest?  To me those men (Piper, Ware, Patterson) make manhood look so wimpy!  They make them look to fragile, and overly sensitive.  They try to have us view the roles within the family as an army - with the man as the head general!  There are other examples they use as well, but the point is the 'general's' of the world do know how to own their sin.  The way Piper and Ware describe it they crumble under the pressure of NOT being 'respected', and can't POSSIBLY do their JOB in the family under those circumstances.  They maybe wimpy in that fashion, but don't enable other men to be the same way!  Patterson is just plainly in a fantasy world!

I honestly don't know enough about Mars Hill to know if they attempt the confrontation the way the bible states they should.  Driscoll says he knows men that have attended for years that have done (insert the sin), and the bible states to approach them on a personal level.  lol it doesn't say start all out war at home when he goes after them in the pulpit!  The man that whispered to his wife, "We are NOT going to talk about this on the way HOME" in the very threatening way, and Mark knows they do isn't going to change after his message.  She won't bring it up, but he sure will on the ride home!  It won't be pretty either!

I'm sure on some levels Mark Driscoll said some things we have all felt, and wanted to purge from our systems!  I was upset the day I heard this message, and I remember saying "YEAH!" as I listened.  When I calmed down?  I realized how much grief those families were going to have to deal with once they got home from church.  I heard others state they were GLAD he told those SINFUL men off in the way he did!  They SHOULD be told we KNOW who they ARE, and you had better STOP!

Nice VENT, but not effective!  What happened to confronting them on a individual level, and if they don't listen bring 2 witnesses and trying again?  If they knew this was going on for years - they need to repent about waiting so long to bring this sin to their attention!  They also need to follow what the bible states is the proper fashion to confront the sin.  Think about it for a minute - it won't be easy, but at least you will have more control over how to protect the family once you see their reaction!

Mark Driscoll is man enough to bring this out into the light, but his approach isn't correct either.  I realize he is very controversial pastor, but do admire that he has enough spine to say it how it is.  It would have been good if he spoke in general with the passion, and then approached the men he knows about this as the bible states in Matthew.  He would have more control on how to protect the families when those broken men show him their reaction of his opinion of them.  I hope they can see them as broken men that need healing and grace will be needed as well.  His name calling I don't think will make them receptive at all.

Mark Driscoll asks HOW these men can treat women like this!  The Piper's. Ware's, and Patterson's of the world  WELL don't!  They give off the impression that they are waiting in the wings with a checklist for the victims.

1)  We need to assume the 'woman' wants to be the boss, and due to her sinful nature 'threatened' the MAN somehow.

2)  You need to endure this for a while, and then come and talk to us!

3)  Pray at the end of the bed for him every night, and chances are he will smack you again!  The bright part is he comes to church that Sunday to get SAVED!

To me?  Mark Driscoll's approach to this is closer to reality than his elders.  Yikes!  What does that say?

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jul on 9:21 AM said...

While part of me understands the anger as well, I'm just as angry at Driscoll's teaching on the roles of men/women that are inevitably at the root of such disrespect of women. And the most basic root of all sin in the church is legalism, which permeates this kind of teaching. I get very angry at the abuses that have gone on, even in the name of God and 'biblical' masculinity. If what Piper says is bad, you can probably find much much worse out of the mouth of Driscoll. Not to mention many other false statements out of his mouth concerning communion ect... I am all for abusers being set free and transformed by grace, but never at the expense of others. A woman (or anyone) who finds themselves in relationship with such a person should get out as fast as possible. Reconciliation is a secondary not a primary concern.

Hannah on 10:25 AM said...

I'm not red hot familiar with Mark Driscoll, but what you said are some of the items I have heard about as well. I guess I need to go digging, because I realize he is either liked or hated.

Safety should be the primary concern, but often you hear you should do this with the 'spirit of reconciliation'. That's all fine and dandy, but that portion takes two. It should be the spirit of healing and safety first, and see if the unrepentant sinner chooses to turn from the evils ways. Spirit of reconciliation is also to premature. To me? It shows motive, and gives undue pressure to a very frightened family. There is a time and place for everything, and waiting for the time is only proper.

I feel that most pastors that wish to speak on this subject need to go and spend some serious time at a shelter. They need to see first hand the damage it does to the children - the forgotten soldiers. If they did this? They would clearly see the ignorance in the myths they are buying into when dealing with abusive relationships. They would also view the facts that shelter aren't always 'run by feminists who wish to break up families'.

Sadly, their approach causes more undue fear and they don't even see it. To me its irresponsible for well know pastors and teachers such as these men to advise on something they clearly THINK but don't have a good grasp on. They encourage other who are uninformed to also be naive and ignorant.

The Hope Blog on 10:41 AM said...

Well said. It's hard to break through the restriction but it's being done. Thankfully, survivors of domestic violence can now begin to talk about it with some pastors. Your article raises good points and excellent questions. We still have a long way to go both as a church and as women. One day, the tape around the restricted section will come down for the last time.

Hannah on 11:27 AM said...

I pray that you are right! I have seen changes in the last couple of years, but you are correct ....we have a LONG way to go!

Thank you for visiting!

Waneta Dawn on 11:54 AM said...


You are right, it is good to hear at least one pastor speak out against domestic violence.

However, I could grant it more weight if it was someone other than Driscoll.

Although Driscoll SOUNDS good in this piece, his teaching in other soundbites about husband authority, his dismissive statements about what women bring to a church, (paraphrased, along the lines of, when your efforts bring a woman to your church, you have accomplished nothing. But when you convince a MAN to come to your church, you have everything--the man, his wife, and their children and by implication, the man's money.)

In addition, comments in the pulpit from his own mouth, suggest he is extremely authoritarian, and likely abusive with his own wife.

His comments and teachings about sex objectify and demean women.

If you put it all together, it sounds like his view is that you can control, berate, and manipulate your wife all you want, (possibly even rape her, since he may see that as being manly and taking authority over the wife) as long as you do not hit her.

What he says here is a good sound bite. I'm not even sure it is enough to get an abusive husband to squirm. Having facilitated a batterer's group, I know first hand that batterer's are notorious for being able to spot the sin and abuse of other men easily, but all the while either deny or are completely blind to their own sin. They seem to buy all the excuses they and Christian culture have cooked up, and are so good at making their behavior the woman's fault.

Generally, confronting men as a group has very little impact on individual abusers. However, if individual men are confronted in a group setting, the presence of the other men--especially if those men also hold the individual accountable--adds weight to the confrontation, and tends to cause them to actually take an honest look at their behavior.

But even in the group setting, very few males take responsibility for their sin. Even fewer permanently stop abusing.

However, many do make changes. Frequently, after spending time in jail for physical abuse, they stop the physical abuse, but increase the other abuses and the end result is abuse that is even more devastating to women and children. (not to say physical abuse is not devastating. It is that emotional/verbal/spiritual abuse are ususally more difficult to recover from.)

On the other hand, perhaps if Driscoll, who is of the husband authority school, speaks out, perhaps Piper, Ware, Patterson, and etc, will also see it is "safe" to speak out and stop blaming the abused women. And then, who knows, they may actually get around to calling emotional and spiritual abuse sin, too, and by that time, they may start to deal with physical abuse appropriately.

We can keep hoping, praying, writing, and speaking out.

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