Sunday, May 6, 2012

Christianity is Not Imperative to Healing an Abusive Man's Heart

Well, I must respectfully disagree with the comment left by dorcas on my last post about "getting saved" being an imperative for a man learning to live without resorting to abuse. Honestly, if that DID work, the whole world would be turning to Christ.  But not only does "getting saved" NOT heal all the hurts of the past, for many raised in fundamentalism, dogma is used as a weapon to excuse abuse and heap shame on their children. That is how abusive men are created, by abusing little boys.

Nope, enlightenment may indeed by necessary, but Christianity is not the only means to connection with Love.  While as a Christian I believe Jesus is the only way to commune with God, I do not believe He is synonymous with Christianity.

The dogma (pray the sinners prayer, understand God hates you,foul sinner, and would burn you in hell if not for Jesus, you don't deserve mercy but God will pity you IF you become a fundamentalist and toe the line, hate what the religion hates, show up to services, give 10% of your money, read your Bible everyday) is a load of crap.

When Jesus spoke of being "born again" he said it was mysterious, unpredictable, and the rest of the world would only be able to tell it had happened because of the changes in a person's life. It sounds very mystical, akin to the Eastern term "enlightenment".

Fundamentalists have declared being "born again" VERY predictable (bow your head, repeat after me, teh magic spell, er, sinner's prayer, worked- you are now born again!), completely under the control of the person "praying" and (due to Finney's manipulative crowd control techniques) largely under the control of the preacher as well.

Nope, God reveals himself to honest seeker's by whatever means they are able to receive Him.  Jesus is not the errand boy of the fundagelical dogma masters.  The church likes to think it knows and can declare where the Spirit will move and under what conditions that is permissible, but you do not control God.

The fundamentalist, evangelical church makes a mockery of the gracious, loving heart of God.  It teaches its disciples that shame is ever present, and God hates sin (Which you are ALWAYS stepping in, loser! And if you don't agree then you're just full of pride, the stinkiest sin of all!) and the goal of the Christian life is (in practice, not necessarily doctrine) to avoid public shame.  That is the real bottom line.

For my husband to heal, it has meant NOT going to church and NOT reading his Bible. It is not more shaming (You *should* love your wife! The Bible demands it!  Bad Christian!) that is bringing healing to him. This is where Joel and Kathy are an epic fail. It is EMDR, science in action, that is healing my husband's broken heart.

It is not more fake, conditional acceptance for agreeing with all the right doctrines that is revealing real love to him.  It is a wife who will accept him no matter what, even if he becomes a full-on atheist, and a true friend from work who doesn't go to church at all.  Jesus with skin on.

Finding a way to break free of the mountain of shame fundamentalist Christianity laid on his young shoulders, that will end his compulsion to withdraw, sulk and seethe with resentment.  That's where the abuse comes from in his world: the rejection, shame and conditional love of fundamentalist missionary/preacher parents.  Their complete and total lack of interest in his thoughts and feelings is 100% responsible for why he ascribes that hardness of heart to his wife, and responds accordingly.  That they responded with violence to a young child(spanking, slapping, shaming!), abandoned him for religious reasons to boarding school as a young child, and the continual shaming, ugliness of that Christian boarding school, holding up the abusive system and abusive parents as saints of the highest order, THAT is WHY my husband is abusive!

Being born again some kind of magic cure, or even a necessary first step?  Only if by that you meant the mysterious connection with Love that Jesus spoke of and exemplified.  But by your comments, I think you mean praying the sinner's prayer and going regularly to church/reading your Bible daily to be given "marching orders".

Oh no.  That is why my husband is in so much pain buried under so much anger.  I do strongly disagree.

But this is actually good news!  This means wives of atheists, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, pagans, Bahia, etc., can all have hope and find healing for their marriages as well!  God is no respecter of persons, and loves us all with an everlasting love, and WILL help you, when you reach out to Him, regardless of your religion.  And THAT God, the One revealed in the life and words of Christ himself, NOT the one Christians have created with their dogmas, is not a thin-skinned hater who won't help you if you don't get His name right.

Jesus is no Rumplestilskin.  His love is much greater than the fundamentalist/evangelicals come close to understanding.

The body of Christ?  If by that you mean organized Christianity, then it is NOT a beautiful thing at all.  It is a heartless, proud, demagogue.  But, if by the body of Christ, you mean those who love, then yes, the body of Christ is a beautiful thing.

God does and will continue to bless me, so thanks for the kind closing.  I wish the same for you, and do honestly hope your husband finds the healing he needs to live a life of love.  Demanding he do so DOES NOT WORK.  EMDR to heal the traumas of the past, learning to reject the inner script of shame and ridicule, finding the courage to share his thoughts and feelings and THEN finding acceptance and love when he does: these things are necessary to healing.  Not ascribing to a religious creed.


  1. If "getting saved" means a person experiences the personal transformation of grace, having a profound moment when you realize that you are wholly loved and can therefore wholly love, then I agree that it is imperative to a complete recovery from the pain that underlies most abusive behaviors. That is not usually what "getting saved" means in real terms. And it certainly isn't how "getting saved" sounds in the ears of someone whose greatest pain was delivered in the name of that "saving grace".

    The OP also refers to a man's capacity to fulfill his "obedience to his calling (love his wife)". To someone brought up in a culture that used religion and religious language abusively, to justify their abuse, as weapons against the young souls, the juxtaposition of the words "love" and "obedience" trigger every possible klaxon of psychic shrieking. The word "obedience" alone makes me flinch and freeze, tying it with "love" is something I cannot even comprehend in anything like a healthy manner. Is is even possible to love out of obedience? And would it be healthy if one could? Regardless, to the religiously abused, the combination is deadly. Even to see it written down in the OP's comment triggers a desire in me to commit abuse: I want to slap her silly (as if that would help anything! yeah, i know. But that is what simply hearing those words do to me).

  2. Like I wrote, it's where Joel and Kathy Davisson's ministry is an epic fail. A man SHOULD love his wife, yes. But demanding it won't make it happen, and shaming a man who is incapable of giving an extravagant love he has never himself experienced, only makes things worse.

    And that's why my fundamentalist friend is getting a divorce! She filed only in an attempt to manipulate her husband into getting with the Joel and Kathy program (loving your wife because God commands it). That backfired, and now the divorce is truly happening.

    Her husband is born again. She is born again. They met in church, have been active in church their whole marriage. Wife hands out tracts on Halloween, the family answering machine says "you must be born again" when you call the family phone, husband is a deacon and volunteer coach- all the right stuff. Demanding that broken man love his wife (without long term counseling/real healing) is like demanding an asthmatic run a marathon with no training and no inhaler.

    The man wants to "please God", he wants to "love his wife as Christ loves the church" so he starts our with determination to do the right thing, but he is psychologically incapable. His own crippled, traumatized psyche keeps seizing up on him, and he fails. Adding more shame in an attempt to motivate him, as if being a psychologically healthy individual is a mere choice and he just chooses selfishly to be hurt and angry, is a fail.

    Being born again did nothing to heal this man's damaged psyche. It means something about his relationship to God, but it means nothing when it comes to being made whole.

    Jesus, his Divine Love, makes people whole. I can agree with that. But being "born again" in American Christendom is a doctrinal distinction conferred on those who believe the right doctrinal claims. That's why it's useless when it comes to healing a broken marriage.

  3. Jesus is not Rumplestiltskin, and God will help you even if you don't get His name right. I just love that.