Taking Risks and Becoming an Advocate

It was a long week of social media articles here at The HomeSpun Life. I encourage you to take a look, because the conversations in the comment sections are quite telling. Readers of this community have spoken up and shared their true thoughts on these issues and I believe their hearts are showing that we need to get back to the origins of why we call ourselves bloggers.

And just before those I wrote a small article on Taking Risks.

Which leads me into today’s post. Talking about abuse isn’t a glamorous undertaking. It’s a sore subject that is depressing for many people, and understandably so. Aside from this blog, I participate in advocating for women and children who suffer abuse. I don’t often bring it up here, because of the intensity of the subject matter. However, I wanted to say something about it today, because this weekend I am flying to Wisconsin where I have been invited to speak at a church about the intense topic of Spiritual Abuse. Bloggers such as Elizabeth Esther, Rachel Held Evans, and Matthew Paul Turner have been vocal about abuse in churches.

church by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

I thank God that they have taken the risk of not being liked by the status quo in order to raise awareness about something that not many want to talk about. Our Christian culture has long held the idea that church is the safest place to raise our children, but sadly we have seen so many devastating stories of abuse that it’s no longer an ideal we can honestly proclaim. Abuse is everywhere and, as parents, we should never let our guard down. Spiritual Abuse is the first step toward physical and/or sexual abuse in the church, so it’s an important topic to be aware of.

I’d like to ask that you pray for me, the pastor, and the audience as we discuss the issue of spiritual abuse and my journey to healing. There are many more people who have suffered in churches that have not yet spoken up about it. It’s painful. Yet, when we step forward to share our experiences it gives people hope. Our stories affirm their own and gives them courage to admit they’ve been hurt, which is often a stepping stone to give them a path to begin their own healing.

If you’re going to be home Sunday morning at 10am CST then you can tune in at RadiantFellowship.net. Pastor Bob Adams will give you an opportunity to text in any questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer them. If you would like to have me speak at your church or event you can shoot me an email at lisa422 {at} gmail dot com

Becoming an advocate in a controversial issue is a huge risk taking ordeal. People, in general, don’t like to talk about abuse. The last thing they want to do is admit there’s abuse in the churches. I know people say, “Not all churches are like that“. However, I think we’d be naive to think abuse never happens in church circles.

“Sexual abuse should never happen in ministry, but the church and Christian ministries have experienced its devastating impact. Families and lives have been devastated, churches of all denominations have been sued, ministries destroyed. Unfortunately, the problem is growing.” (source)

It’s no longer just a “Catholic problem” and honestly… it never has been. No organization is immune to abuse.  Also from Building Church Leaders.com,

“In the last three years, an average of 23 new articles each day have appeared in secular media sources revealing sexual abuse allegations arising in Protestant churches in the United States. Protestant denominations have been tempted to call sexual abuse a “Catholic problem”; this is simply not true. Within the past eight years, verdicts, judgments, or settlements exceeding hundreds of millions of dollars have been levied against Protestant churches for sexual abuse allegations arising from children participating in ministry programs.”

It seems that many folks focus their attention on exposing the abuse, but what about prevention? How can the people be more aware so they can spot those red flags before their kids get assaulted? Knowing the signs of spiritual abuse can drastically reduce your child’s chances of being abused in a church environment. This is why the topic of spiritual abuse is so important to me. I have seen too many people I love get taken advantage of and I won’t be silent about it.

Elizabeth Esther once said,

“I would really like to keep writing about sparkly, happy things. But sometimes we don’t get to choose our activism. Sometimes, it chooses us.”

Speaking up about spiritual abuse has been a risk-taking event in my life. I’ve written a lot about the topic and been in deep conversations about it with other advocates such as Andie Redwine of the film Paradise Recovered, Pastor Bob Adams of Radiant Fellowship, Pastor Bob Greaves of The Unconventional Pastor, and many others. It’s a passion in my life that will always be a part of my life’s story. People closest to my life have concerns about me speaking up, because they know the amount of backlash I have received over it. However, the negative attention I have received is nothing compared to the negative effect abuse has been on the many victims worldwide.

As I said above, this isn’t a glamorous topic by any means. But until the Body as a whole stands up to protect women and children against spiritual abuse and the sordid physical abuse that comes from it, then I shall continue to speak up on behalf of those who have suffered and for those still suffering and looking for escape.

Please pray for me this weekend, that my testimony may encourage others to find the help they need to walk the path of healing.

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  1. Yes. Sometimes we have no choice but to speak out. The Spirit is moving, Lisa. God is working powerfully through you.

    Carry on, warrior!


  1. […] for Religion & Civic Culture at USC. We had our last class this weekend when I got back from my trip to Wisconsin and my final paper is due this Friday. This has been an intense course designed to equip and […]