Four ways teaching Christians to embrace “I’m the worst sinner I know” is harming the church

SermonTitleSome background of the teaching

When CJ Mahaney began proclaiming “I’m the worst sinner I know” somewhere around the late 1990s, it certainly wasn’t the first time this teaching had been promoted. But from what I could find, this was when it began to go mainstream.

Mahaney himself claimed it regularly, often even as a way of introducing himself when he would stand up to speak. “I’m CJ Mahaney, and I’m the worst sinner I know.”

But it isn’t only Mahaney who is supposed to be the worst sinner he knows. Each one of us Continue reading

On calling people out via social media—a response to Jarrid Wilson

On my personal Facebook page I have the “On This Day” app so I can see everything posted on each day through the years. So during the month of February I’ve been following what happened in February of 2014, which in my little world was significant. Early that month, Bob Jones University had fired the team that was investigating their handling of sexual abuse allegations, Godly Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment (GRACE), headed by Boz Tchividjian. Because I spoke out about the firing in various places on social media, including my own personal Facebook page, I gained quite a following Continue reading

Why “moral injury,” like “PTSD” is a term that applies to far more than our soldiers, and why that’s important to all of us

What Have We Done coverI recently finished reading the book What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars, by Pulitzer-prize-winning war journalist David Wood (Little, Brown, 2016). When my husband brought it home from the library my interest was piqued because I hoped it might give me insight into why the abusive situations I’ve known about involved what seemed like a disproportionately high percentage of abusers who were military veterans. Continue reading

New book: Tear Down This Wall of Silence now in its second edition!

I well remember the 1990s when the sexual abuse scandals among Catholic priests were being broadcast all over the news. But whenever they aired, I turned them off. I didn’t want to know about them because they were horrible. And besides, my pea brain told me, that was the Catholics, and of course horrible stuff like that is going to happen there, but it had nothing to do with me. It was very, very distant from my world. So I thought. (Even though I knew I had a close relative who had been sexually abused. And other girls in college had confided in me that they had been sexually abused. Those were all in a different compartment of my pea brain.)

Well, I’ve repented of that attitude, for sure.

Which brings me to . . . drum roll, please . . .

TDTWS full cover

Click on the book cover to view a larger version to read the text on the back.

I’m so delighted to let everyone know that Tear Down This Wall of Silence  (which you can see on Amazon here) is now in its second edition (with Justice Keepers Publishing) and better than ever! Dale and Faith share a passion to help the oppressed that I’m privileged to be a part of.

What makes this book important? Well, like Unholy Charade, it isn’t written so much to the survivor of abuse (though one chapter is specifically to the survivor) as it is to the churches. Wake up and Continue reading

Rethinking the idol factory: challenging the “idol” construct as the explanation for all sin in the lives of Christians

Clay-Ganesh-Idols-1024x562Why does it matter whether or not all sin is described as idolatry? 

It has surprised me, as I’ve researched it, how many Christians simply assume that all Christians churn out idols. To think that everyone who worships Jesus Christ is all the time actually worshiping something else is disturbing at its core.

As I studied the topic, I saw this quotation again and again from John Calvin: “Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.” (Even though the writers who quoted him Continue reading

Tullian Tchividjian, Tom Chantry, BJUGrace, and gossip

In the beginning, I had a little blog called Here’s the Joy on which I just wanted to blog about the Christian life and the wonderful truths of the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ in us, the Hope of glory. I was happy with my eight readers, and life was (relatively) uncomplicated.

Then I began to interact more and more with abuse survivors and those who blog about abuse. That does have a way of upending your world, doesn’t it? I may still have only eight readers, but my blog has taken a turn.

So yesterday I was supposed to be working on the publishing policy for Justice Keepers Publishing and other fun things, but I got waylaid for a bit by someone’s blog post with links and more links. Eventually it led me to a blog where I had a spirited discussion with the blog admin, who had said we should keep silent regarding scandals such as that about Tullian Tchividjian and Tom Chantry, because otherwise we are breaking the ninth commandment, “thou shalt not bear false witness.”

Tom Chantry, former pastor charged with child molestation

Tom Chantry, former pastor charged with child molestation

Continue reading

Holding Hope for 2017

woman-looking-out-the-window-youngAt the end of a year, you might do the same kind of self-reflection I do, thinking over the past year, pondering it.

Thinking about any goals, hopes, and dreams you had at the beginning of the year that you actually accomplished . . .

And the serendipitous experiences and opportunities you hadn’t anticipated that gave the year its special moments of happiness . . .

And the opportunities you thought you were going to have that ended up not every panning out or being utterly disappointing . . .

And the events of the year that absolutely blindsided you, those that you never anticipated walloping you in the stomach. Continue reading

A guest post on A Cry for Justice

When I want to write directly about abuse (exposing tactics and such), I’ll submit a post to A Cry for Justice, rather than posting it here, because the purpose of this blog—talking about the fullness of the Christian life Jesus promised—doesn’t quite fit with descriptions of abuse, but it’s one of the primary purposes of A Cry for Justice.

And with the interaction with abuse survivors I’m able to have, I sometimes have observations to make.

So . . . that to say, this week I had the privilege of being a guest poster on A Cry for Justice. You can read the post here.

But I want to use this space to show you the important conclusion:

When Lydia read the draft of this blog post and saw the validation she received by the recognition of this crazy-making, ally-obtaining tactic, along with a hope of helping someone else, she wrote, Continue reading

What hypocrisy is and what it isn’t and why that’s important: a lesson from Tullian Tchividjian

Hypocrisy. Presenting oneself one way (perceived as good) in public while actively living a different way (definitely bad) in private. Sort of like this:

hypocrisy-evil-with-mask-from-unholy-charade

hypocrisy: evil with a Superman mask, from the cover photo for “Unholy Charade,” photo credit Stephanie Council

And of course the problem of hypocrisy is made far worse if the hypocrite isn’t just presenting himself as good but is also admonishing others to walk in a certain way— the way he walks.

Isn’t that why Jesus reserved His harshest words for the Continue reading