Letter to Pharisaical Religious Leaders
By Robin Mullins Senger, TheToxGuide.com
Dear Pharisaical elitist church leaders, er… the modern day good ol’ church boys club,
I know that if you read this, you will shake your heads at my foolishness and bemoan that the devil seduced me away from God. You will say how sad it is that the devil could pull me away from such spiritually in-tune, on-target, protective, caring, safe men such as yourselves. A word I say won’t phase you in the least – your self-importance, arrogance and elitism blind you to any hint of criticism – especially from a woman. But I’m going to say it anyway because I have a voice – just like you.
1. You wonder in your private leadership meetings why people do not hang around your church for long. Let me tell you…
Contrary to your arrogant self-assessment, it’s NOT because you are "so spiritual that people can’t handle it." Good one. Self-delusion at its finest right there. Or how about this one I really like: "God is cleaning out the church of all the bad people and He will rebuild it when they are all gone – with just us spiritual ones left behind." That one is priceless. Yep, I can see God rooting out all the nonspiritual people from your church because He has always been big into sterile, ‘us four and no more’, exclusive elite clubs made up of a few of you men.
Let’s see, how many years have you been waiting for the ‘nonspiritual’ to be cleansed out of the church so it can really grow? Here’s a hint – church is waiting for YOU to leave. Cleaning out the church starts with you leaving or repenting – YOU, the leaders of corruption and religious arrogance. The people aren’t the problem – YOU are the problem.
2. I really like how you twist Scripture to suit your agenda. Oh, did I say you have an agenda? Hmmmm… well let’s take a look at your fruit and apply some common sense.
When the poor and needy come through your doors, what is your reaction? Well, it depends. On appearance, personality, smell, social graces, submission factor, etc. Your initial reaction is actually pretty good – appearing to be caring and loving. But ooops – what if that person breaks one of your numerous unwritten rules? Gassp!
Like, talks too much. Or appears to have demonic oppression – you know the ones I’m talking about – the skimpy dressed, the gothic, the organic, the addicted, the um, different… The ones who you realize real quick are needy cases, and may actually think for themselves.
I know – they are too much trouble. Let’s see…. I think the word you like to privately call them is "distraction". Yeah! That’s it! A distraction! They are distracting you from ummm… ok let me think… distracting you from… ok I give up… could you clarify exactly what they are distracting you from? Oh wait – I think I’m getting it. A distraction from your comfortable, self-important spiritual and social activities. Yeah – Jesus probably didn’t waste time with "distractions" either. Your spiritual work is too important to be bothered by those people!
3. And that does raise another troubling point. I wonder why ‘thinking’ people are such a threat to you?
That IS a problem if you are protecting fraudulent and immoral activities isn’t it? I understand… thinking people are a threat for sure. Group think is the only way you can maintain control. But there is an effective solution! Ignore them and they will go away! Hey that’s pretty good! Don’t answer those text messages, or emails, or phone calls – those trouble makers (distractions) will get the message and just go away so you can keep on with all your important spiritual work!
Way to go with such spiritual discernment: you are bugging me, I discern that Satan has sent you to distract me from my important spiritual work, so I will ignore you and you will go away – ha! Spiritual warfare at its finest!
But of course there is always someone who is too dense to get the message and go away on their own. But you’ve got another solution for them – that good ol effective age-old priceless silent treatment. Freeze ’em out baby! At least punish them so they will understand that if they are going to stick around they better follow those unwritten rules put forth by the good ol boys church club. Everyone knows that the one who does the freezing out is the one in power and control – you sure know how to get your message across without actually saying anything!
4. Let’s see… what about civil law? Oh shoot – I forgot – your church is your kingdom and you don’t have to submit to civil law do you? You are the big chiefs who make your own laws. It must make you feel incredibly powerful and important to turn your nose up at the law and get away with it. You’ve got to protect your boys after all!
Let’s see… when you defy civil law because you don't agree with it, the rest of us must understand that it is done out of the "purest of hearts." Because none of you have anything less than absolute pure thoughts and motives right? You are the spiritual elite! You pastor, are the good shepherd just looking out for the flock... The rest of the world who looks and says there is an appearance of inappropriate behavior toward vulnerable women and children – why they are just instruments of the enemy attacking such noble, pure, upright, spiritual men such as yourselves – just humbly doing the work of God aren’t you?
5. Of course there’s a really good way to stop those educated speculations that are not intimidated by you – threats! Yeah! That’ll do it! If you can’t just politely ignore, or downright freeze someone out, then threaten them. Threaten people who might expose what is done in secret with lawsuits! Good one – that’ll scare people into silence. And (mis)quote Scripture to intimidate into silence. But I thought you were so pure – what are you so afraid of? Oh well, who am I to notice such rampant inconsistencies. I am a mere woman who has no right or ability to think on my own.
6. Another good trick you’ve got up your sleeve if someone dares to question inappropriate behavior (ooops, I meant your ‘pure’ behavior) is accuse them of having deep psychological issues that need aggressive therapy. That’s pretty good – turn the attention away from yourselves as quickly as possible and make the thinking person question their own sanity. So far, your responses to questions about your behavior is crazy similar to ‘real’ perpetrator responses. But that’s probably coincidence – there are no perpetrators in your church are there??? As long as they serve the boys club agenda, corrupt character that is a danger to women and children will be swept under the rug.
I really like how men get blanket ‘grace’ – even the criminals (especially those in leadership), while female victims who are not submissive and docile get accused of craziness and ‘asking for it’. Actual character means nothing. Being messy is the problem. Loyalty to your little group is of utmost importance isn’t it?
Why not just do like the rest of society. Take your little boys club to the coffee shop and do your thing, and leave church to those who actually care about the needy, the distractions, the questioning, the searching, the unattractive, the unpleasant, the messy, the ignorant, the poor… you know… PEOPLE. Take your spiritual, safe, holier and mightier and purer than thou club somewhere else.
7. Here’s another good one. Reward people who only deliver ‘prophetic words’ of encouragement, and big things coming, and reinforce your already too big for your britches sense of self-importance. Flatter these people incessantly for their accuracy and spiritualism.
But people who deliver words of caution, rebuke, or anything that doesn’t reinforce your delusion? Act really sad about their delusion. Say spiritual things like, “Well you know, if you get off just one degree, pretty soon you are way off target. So sad that that happens to THOSE people…”
Yep, they get it – AND YOU DON’T. Do you EVER ponder the possibility that it is YOU who has gotten so far off in left field that God is mercifully sending people to turn you back to Him?
It is never a raised question by someone that is the problem. It is the questioners themselves that are the problem because they dare to touch the holy untouchable - you.
In fact, people who ask questions are "DANGEROUS". Get them out of the church FAST! You are so brave and insightful and protective of your people from other discerning, thinking people aren’t you? Let’s see, you like to call it "shepherding" right? Really admire that for sure – I’m sure the true Shepherd Himself must cringe at such a warped portrayal of Him.
Guess what? The only prophets in the Bible who always delivered “good” words, were the false ones. The true prophets of God delivered truth – which sometimes was positive, comforting and reassuring; and sometimes was corrective, reproving, and rebuking. Did you know both can come from God and be given with love? How dangerous to only accept the positive words that reinforce what you want to believe – and to shoot the deliverers of words that challenge you.
Pillows don’t sharpen iron. Iron sharpens iron. Of course no sharpening, like in your chosen situation, produces dullness, arrogance and ineffectiveness. But hey – it’s all about what you want to believe isn’t it?
8. Brokenness – ahhhhh…. A badge of honor and humility that you wear most dishonorably and proudly. You are right – brokenness in the hands of God is valuable and precious. But it is not a guarantee of sound judgment and certainly no gauge of your worth. Get over it. So you were broken once. What happened since then? Maybe you need to revisit those days and lessons learned.
9. Where is God in all this? He’s all over it. The Jesus I know as a survivor of abuse is totally in it. But He’s in it in a way that perhaps non-victims just can’t see because they can’t see past the frustration and ickiness of real life. God in domestic violence situations is involved in a much deeper way – the disheveled mess up in front of church testifying through tears:
“well I just want to give glory to God because the other night my abuser who’s an important man threatened to poison me and then cut me up in tiny little pieces and burn me in the woods. I was just so scared and didn’t know what to do, but then as I sat curled up in the bathroom crying with my cigarettes and booze , He just showed up. I felt this incredible blanket of peace seem to settle down over me and it was like He sat down there with me and said, “It’s going to be ok. Keep trusting me, keep doing the best you can, and I am going to protect you and help you. Be at peace daughter, and rest in Me.”
Yeah, too messy – hush that up… hide her… pat her on the head and tuck her away out of sight.
However, the sweet little cancer patient who says,
“I was at the end of my rope and Jesus sat down with me and told me, “It’s going to be ok. Keep trusting me, keep doing the best you can, and I am going to protect you and help you. Be at peace daughter, and rest in Me.”
Yep – you love that – God is so incredible and what He’s doing in her life is so amazing and what a profound testimony! Let's keep her!
It’s easy for you to not focus on domestic abuse victims because they don’t make for feel-good testimonials in church and it’s hard for the church to even look good serving them. Victims of violence and abuse are a convoluted controversial mess aren’t they? And you like things nice and neat and non-controversial.
Listen up! These women still deserve respect and consideration! It’s impossible for them to be “normal.” If they were “normal” then they probably wouldn’t be in the situation they are in. And what’s normal anyway? You?
God is still loving them tenderly and working vigilantly on their behalf. God displays Himself in the Word as someone who deeply loves and cares for “the least of these.” Women and children who are victimized by men certainly fall into the “least of these” category.
You like to reassure the nice attractive lady who feels hopeless after losing her job that God will not put out the dimly burning wick. But He doesn’t put out the dimly burning wick of a violence victim either! ALL of God’s people are equally worthy of respect and God’s love demonstrated through each of us. Stop being selective. God is glorified in every testimony – isn’t it about Him after all?
10. You piously ask God to help you love the "unlovable." The ‘unlovable’ show up and instead of humbly learning to love them God’s way, you freeze them out of fellowship because they make you uncomfortable. You discredit them because they are broken and a mess. You favor the ones who make you look good and feel spiritual.
There is a far deeper level of “spirituality” found in a willingness to try to identify with the abused and outcast and love them anyway. If you can only love the easy ones, or the ones who are performing a service for you that you don’t want to give up – what a shallow and phony Christian walk it is. You have no right to stand in spiritual leadership anywhere – including your own home.
It certainly can be hard to love the "unlovable." But no one has to do it all. That is why there are many members of the body both inside and outside the walls of the church. There are many people who understand the dynamics of abuse, and can and want to help the victims. For them it is an honor to be part of a victim’s life as she comes out of the abuse and comes into freedom. Why not utilize the skills of others who are called in this area?
In the meantime, everyone can show Christ-like love and consideration and respect for this segment of the population, without the burden of “fixing” them. All deserve the same courtesy that we expect for ourselves. All deserve the freedom to walk, fall, get back up, go backwards, and sail forwards. When a woman comes out of victimization, she is one of the strongest, most vibrant, caring powerful people that exist.
Compounding the Problem
The unthinkable situation when a victim is rejected from the church, is that the church compounds the abuse. Yes, YOU make it worse. I hope you have a good answer for God when He asks you why you pile more abuse on people in His Name.
As someone who has experienced both, I can’t stress enough the depth of pain that is caused by clergy and other church leaders misrepresenting the heart of God. When spiritual abuse is piled on top of a personal crisis with a spouse – the result is deeply grievous. You think you are so holy sending a woman and her children back to an abuser with the admonition to try harder, pray harder, give better sex – that doesn’t even make sense. The demonic deception you are under is unbelievable.
Can you really look at ONE soul and say with a good feeling, “This one doesn’t matter. My attitude and actions toward this one person doesn’t matter. As a representative of God to her, the church, and the community at large, I can disregard a Christ-like response with no repercussions. I can ignore Biblical values in this case.” Because that's what your actions show.
Traditional Christian thinking is NOT the same thing as biblical thinking about women.
Face the difficult fact that you do not read Scripture objectively, but rather through the lenses of a long tradition of gender inequality that worships your penis. If you would prayerfully attempt to set these lenses aside, you would begin to see a God who is counter-cultural in this respect. He is not a respecter of persons and doesn't care about your treasured penis — He shows no partiality! God cares about each life equally. You are no better than the woman and her children you are kicking to the curb at best, or sending back to abuse at worse. You become an abuser yourself when you do this, and have no right to retain spiritual leadership. How can you claim to even be SAVED when you judge and oppress the least of these? Your fruit is bitter and anti-Christ and your tree is going to get chopped down and burned one of these days.
Has Christianity been oppressive to women? YES. Is Christ? NO.
As the apostle Paul said, “In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in common relationship with Jesus Christ” (Gal. 3:28).
In the beginning, God created man and woman to have oneness in marriage. In the body of Christ, the church, God intends for us to have community with one another. In eternity in heaven, we will be worshiping God together. That means that we, victims of domestic violence who have taken comfort in Christ’s bountiful love and compassion, will be there in heaven worshiping and praising God beside you (if you are even there). Will you be decent to us then? Maybe have a different attitude under the watchful eye of Christ? He's watching YOU now, and a day is coming you will answer for what you have done.
You used me, and then tried to make me disappear when I no longer submitted and conformed to your rules. You warned me to back off when I questioned inappropriate behavior and scoffed at your "we are pure" response. Then you threatened me if I dared to "talk." I AM angry, because I am not the only one you have carelessly bull-dozed over. You have created a ravaged mess of wounded souls who still carry the pain you caused them, and you hurt them long before I ever came along. Weird how you see people as distractions from your mission to provide a healing place, when in fact you provide a wounding place to anyone unfortunate to believe your false image of compassion and love.
You broke my heart because I trusted you. When you kicked me to the curb for trying to protect my family from your leaderships repulsive actions, I didn't feel like I would ever recover from the heartbreak of betrayal and rejection. I considered you my friends and you, the gentle and wise "Shepherd."
Now, in hind-site, not only have I fully healed and recovered, I have become a confident, strong and vocal woman speaking out loudly about spiritual abuse and helping victims to get free from the guilt, self-doubt and bondage you and your like-minded cohorts put them in. You meant for me to just slink off and be quiet. But I didn't and I won't. What YOU intended to stay in darkness has come to the light. God is using that experience to reveal His heart toward your victims and His anger with your treatment of them.
He protected my family and myself, nurtured us tenderly through the pain of your rejection, lifted us up, surrounded us with genuine Christ-like leaders and family, and armed us with His heart to rescue and lift up others who have been wounded by you and those like you. The Bible promises that the things you have done in secret will eventually be exposed to the light for all to see. There is a day of divine reckoning coming that will purify the Bride of Christ of its filth and ugliness. I look forward to that day when your blight is washed away. Woe indeed...
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Mat. 7:15)
Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord God of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people: “You have scattered My flock, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings,” says the Lord. (Jer. 23:1-3)
And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.(Ezek. 34:2-4)
‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: “As I live,” says the Lord God, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock” therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.” (Ezek 34:7-10)
Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. (Jer. 14:14-15)
Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, [and] not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. (Jer. 23:16-17)
I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. (Jer. 23:21)
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (II Peter 2:1-2)
Yes, they are greedy dogs Which never have enough. And they are shepherds Who cannot understand; They all look to their own way, Every one for his own gain, From his own territory. (Isaiah 56:11)