Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Letter to Our Sisters

One of the main reasons I am doing this is for the women who I left behind.  My heart breaks for and I continually pray for these wonderful ladies who did what was expected of them.  May you find your way to true life and freedom.  
My new friend,  Christine , has something important to say to our sisters at Mars Hill:
"So, to women within Mars Hill, or any other community, who struggle with pervasive feelings of guilt and shame, who find themselves confessing and repenting but never feeling any better, who struggle with wanting to submit to their husbands (or who perhaps find a relief in submitting out of a fear of their own competence), I offer this: You can trust yourself. There’s a strong Biblical basis for you trusting yourself. I believe that your discontent is telling you something important. I think your so-called sinful desires that never really go away are not actually sin, but the imprint of God, the voice of the Spirit you received at both birth and baptism, guiding you in that still and silent way towards true life and freedom. Many of your sisters and brothers in Christ have held this theology of self-love, self-trust, and original goodness throughout the centuries. It is as legitimate as the messages you hear from your pulpit, just preached a little more quietly.
Get to know your own wise and trustworthy heart. There will be times where your behavior is not in line with your heart, and other times when you act on your desires in a misguided and even harmful way, but the solution always lies in listening more closely to the heart, not modifying the behavior. The Spirit of God resides within you, the image of God is imprinted on you, so dig through the junk that covers it up, and pursue your own heart. And, let me know how it goes."


  1. Thank you for your message.
    I just read about the Mars Hill church in the Stranger, and found my way here. I left church 24 years ago, in the midst of divorcing a mentally and physically abusive bi-poler relationship which I had been in for 13 years.
    When I questioned authorities, I was told I was rebelious. When I left my abusive husband, I was told that I would never go to heaven, and that God would never be able to use me.
    I grew up in a loving Christian home, and had never ever thought of leaving my faith, but as I saw how everyone seemed to twist the bible to suit their own needs, I began to question what it was I was believing in.
    I eventually left it all behind. A very difficult thing to do, but I have not regretted it for a moment. I met a kind and wonderful man, and we have a wonderful (now grown) daughter.
    I consider myself a spiritual person, and I thank God that I have left behind the clubs which seem to be run by a few large egos who control flocks of good hearted kind people who just want to do the right thing.
    I still believe that the Bible is full of truth, but when people are asked to leave their brains outside the door when they go to church, that is where I draw the line. Give me my garden, with the birds singing. That is my church, and I truly feel free, and loved.
    In the much quoted Psalms about women, which men LOVE to point out as "the perfect wife" there is a line that is never talked about. It says that her husband sits in the city gates. When you look that up, you will find that the men who sat in the gates, were there because they were wise and had good judgment, and if there was a dispute, or someone had a question, they could find their answers with the wise men at the gates.
    Now, how come no one asks whether or not the husbands are wise enough or smart enough to be worthy of such a woman described in proverbs?
    I witnessed enough dumb ass ego driven men and/or husbands with their sweet kind obedient wives in tow to last a few life times.
    So to the women out there I say, God gave you a brain- use it. It is not a sin to question, it is not a sin to expect to be treated with dignity and respect. Your children are watching. Your daughters are watching.
    Thanks for listening.
    I wish you all the best.

  2. This is a problem in a lot of churches today. The pastors(or whoever) that tell women to stay with abusive husbands and not to divorce them have no clue about domestic violence. These pastors(or whoever) have no business telling women how to handle their situation.If they really cared about what was happening to women(and children) who are in these situations, they would never tell them to go back. These people really need to get over themselves.

  3. What about how the Bible tells us our hearts are not to be trusted because it is deceitful? How do you view scripture, because that is what it says about our hearts.
    "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings."
    Jeremiah 17:9-10 (KJV)

    I would also say that we should not be pursuing our own heart, but to be in pursuit of God, and to seek Him not "listening more closely to our heart." And ultimate wisdom comes from God.

    1. Anon,

      You are right. The bible does tell us that. And I agree that the heart is deceitful. My understanding of what Christina was trying to say, was that the Holy Spirit dwells in us, and that we can trust the voice of the Holy Spirit. God did give us the ability to discern right and wrong, good and evil. If something you are being taught does not line up with the Word of God or His character, you can trust that voice in your "heart" that tells you so, as it is trustworthy. We have to read the bible as a whole, in context, and not proof-text. Maybe Christina could have used a word other than heart, but I understood her point and appreciated it. One of the main things in my experience was that it was suggested that my husband and I couldn't be trusted to know if we were hearing from the Holy Spirit, and that we needed the CG leader's agreement. This is why that post struck a cord with me. Thanks for your comment!

  4. I had been a member of MHC or affiliated churches for nearly ten years.
    I was the victim of some very heinous physical and emotional abuse at my ex's hands.

    One MHC pastor initially seemed supportive yet I was told repeatedly that dv is not in the Bible nor Biblical grounds for divorce. All concerned wanted us to reconcile and kept trying to rationalize that he did not hit me. MHC did nothing when I asked them to back up me up in court. First a lower pastor agreed to talk to attny then said upper leaders forbade his involvement and if anyone tried to involve the church they would cry clergy privilege and make it inadmissible!

    I know the covenant says MHC is not required to keep ANY crime private or privileged. But of course it's at their discretion. Even women they "helped" on are told to reconcile with the husband after a short time typically from what I knew.

    Wish I had listened to the spirit of discernment when it first reared its ugly head. The pastor who started off real later lied stating he only saw a bruise of unknown origin once and that he knew nothing about abuse in our marriage cautioning a long time member to be careful of me! Said he did not believe my ex was truly deviant. Also wrote of our situation citing it could be bad for THE CHURCH on a social network.

    Both attempts at leaving marriage were ugly. I physically had endured over the period of a year and half on and off: being grabbed, bruised on my wrists, legs, arms, ankles. Drugged once via a prescription pill being put into a drink at a holiday party so my ex could have extra fun later that evening. I was unable to move as he stood above me smiling, intentionally dug his nail into my buttock so hard it drew blood and had a bruise for two weeks.

    Once during one of the splits with him coming in and out of the house I awoke to ants crawling on me because he poured sprite on my legs and arms. This guy was truly deviant and MHC's interjections even long after our time there did nothing but cause me to feel and be more and more powerless.

    The stalking via electronic means I could not prove until a day late and dollar short solidly with the backup I garnered later. I felt as through I could have been run off the road toward the end the stuff had been "on" 1 1/2 yrs! The nature of this abuse caused me to be dismissed as a crackpot or out for revenge; neither of which has proven to be true in the end. At least 3 or 4 police who were dispatched to my home for disturbances angrily said they were members of MHC and were unhappy at my mention of cult.

    I had really been close with and loved so many people there. I craved and begged for one upper leader's approval to divorce that I really idealized. Forgot what my heart has known for many many years...

    The Bible says there is ONE mediator between humankind and God and that is Christ Jesus! Ladies - we do not need to be placing our husbands, or community group leads or pastors into this position of spiritual authority in our lives!

    Please - if you or some sister you know is being abused don't wait for anything but the Holy Spirit. Forget your home, material things, appearances, or money - He does and will provide for you. I am living proof!

    I am so thankful everyday that a person I least expected I would ever cross paths with again felt badly for me and sent strangers to get me to help and safety when my own "family" had failed me.

    Remember Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels, unawares.