Friday, April 29, 2011

The Joke Was On Me (Part Ten)

In mid-March, my ex called me and excitedly told me, "Guess what, Lew? Dad wants me to go to NC so that we can have an engagement party for your family and friends!" - (when her family was here, they'd really only met a minimal amount of my family and my immediate neighbors) - This was GREAT news to me, as the next chance to see each other, to our reckoning, was going to be sometime in May. I was more than a little taken aback that her dad was actually encouraging it, but, as usual, I didn't yet have all the details. There was always "more to it" with the patriarse. I told her, "That's GREAT! Let's figure out when we can do this, and then you can take my credit card and buy a ticket for a convenient flight." She slowed a bit and said, "Well...Dad expects me to bring along an accountability partner." (ahem *cough* ahem) Me - "A WHAT???"

What the...?!

Turns out, dear old dad expected one of her sisters to accompany her for the sake of appearances, i.e., avoiding the "appearance of evil". Blogger friend Steve Scott once made a great comment about this: "evil has to actually appear for there to be an appearance of evil". I'm not making this statement to portray myself as a spiritual stalwart of some kind, because I'm not, but it's always been a sure giveaway of absolute spiritual immaturity to me when professing Christians obsess over the "appearance", or perception, of evil, totally misrepresenting and misusing 1st Thessalonians 5:22 (which the KJV translators did a VERY poor job of translating) and totally forgetting about John 7:24 as Steve pointed out.

{I'm gonna make a statement here that's probably gonna bring me some email grief...If you're a professing Christian who uses the bible as a rigid rulebook and as a rigid "arbiter of absolute truth", you've simply traded OT Law for NT Law. One legalism for another legalism - leaving NO room for the working of the Holy Spirit, which, btw, was the promise of Christ to lead us into all truth (rather than a non-existent promise of "the bible" doing so).}

I gave her my credit card information, and told her that I'd only buy HER ticket, not any ticket for any "accountability partner". It isn't like she was a recovering alcoholic (although she did come from a family of religioholics and imbiblers). She didn't say much about buying a ticket, but she did ask, "But won't people think poorly of a young woman coming to visit a young man all by herself." I told her, "The people here will think the strange thing is the 'accountability partner' me...They'll find it as strange as I do. They'd see the entire concept as an admission that you're a horndog that has no self-control." She could barely grasp that people wouldn't think ill of her coming here alone. Ultimately, I told her, "I'll pay for your ticket, but anyone who comes with you will have to buy their own. I think it's silly, but I'm not gonna make such a fuss about it that it screws up an opportunity for us to see each other." We were able to settle on a date for the engagement party, April 15th, and we went from there.

The next week, I asked her if she'd bought the ticket yet. She got a little quiet, then sorta sheepishly said, "Lew, when I told dad about you buying my ticket, he said 'Absolutely not - It's my place as your father', so..." Then I asked her, "Ummm, ok, well, has he bought the ticket yet?" She said, "No, not yet. We don't have the money right now. We'll have it in a couple of weeks." Criiiiiiipes. I knew where this was gonna go. Good golly. I suggested, "You know, you should go ahead and buy the ticket NOW with my card when it'll be cheaper - and your dad can pay me back whenever. It'll cost more the longer you wait." She agreed that it was a good idea, but her dad again said "Absolutely not." What a prideful idiot. And again, I knew where all of this was gonna end up. I learned very early on in the music business that the only money you can count on is the money in the bank right now. You can NEVER count on the money to be made next week, or the week after, or the week after. For instance, I once had over $1500 worth of session work in ONE particular week cancel or reschedule within 72 hours of the scheduled dates. Imagine if I'd been utterly counting on that money for some particular reason. And, in LIVE performance settings, such as with her family, it's pretty commonplace to fall FAR short of projected goals on particular dates - even with contracts - when you aren't a recognized name in the business (which they weren't). The business is too fickle.

So, as we closed in closer and closer to April 15th, still no ticket(s). Finally, as we were getting right down to the wire, I broached the subject again. She said, "Lew...We've got a good weekend coming up. Dad's gonna buy the tickets after this weekend." *as my head banged, repeatedly, into the nearest wall*  I just didn't say anything about it, and we went about business as usual for the next few days. On Monday, March 31st, I got in off the road around noon, and had called her as I drove the 90 minutes from the bus to home. She was reserved, and I knew the deal, but I was tired, hungry, and in no mood to get into a sticky subject, so I stuck to the smaller talk and the "I love yous". Later that evening I took my folks into town to treat them to a belated Birthday supper for my dad (I'd been on the road and in the studio for most of the previous two weeks), and called her on the way. She was kinda distant and reserved again, so I finally just said, "You guys didn't make enough money this weekend to buy any plane ticket, did you?" She let go of an almost relieved (that I was broaching the subject and giving her the opportunity to answer), but sorrowful, "No." I just said, "Take my card. Buy one ticket. Please. Please do this." She agreed to purchase a ticket. She asked, "What about my sister's ticket?" I told her, "Just buy one for you right now, and we'll talk some more about this later."

His patriarchal pride ended up costing me twice as much (ticket price) as it would have if common sense had been used from the beginning. But NOOOOOO! Even common sense is expendable in the patriarchal paradigm. Why wouldn't it be? Humanity is. Is common sense more valuable than humanity?

One very sweet thing that did happen about this time, though, was that I received a package from her in the mail. It was sealed with kisses (so, she had me at "hello"). Inside was a DVD she'd made for me. On it was a VERY sweet personal message to me that I could hear coming from her beautiful face, along with a bit of a tour of the property which they lived on, a visit to the apartment (on said property) of her sisters, brief "hellos" from members of her family, and, miracle of miracles, her father exclaiming, "You're perfect, Lewis! God couldn't have answered our prayers any more perfectly in a man for our daughter!" (I'm flipping a coin as I type to determine "laugh" or "cry") Total slithery snake. But the rest of the DVD did my weary heart good.

At their April fools devotion/indoctrination session/group business meeting, things got a bit contentious. Her buying the ticket didn't sit well with her father - nor did the fact that only ONE ticket was purchased. It made me angry that he'd come down on her pretty heavily. Afterward, she called and asked, "What do you want to do, Lew? What should I do?" I suggested that she just avoid her dad as much as possible for the rest of the day, allow me to get my thoughts together just a bit, and we'd talk again that night. I knew some MAJOR decisions needed to be made about our relationship - concerning boundaries for her family - and I didn't want to make them in the emotion of the moment.

That night, I called her and asked her a couple of direct questions and dealt with the direct fallout of the answers. I asked her, "Do you BELIEVE you need an accountability partner to come here?" She answered confidently, "No...that was just for dad's sake." So then I asked, "Do you BELIEVE your dad should have authority over our relationship?" She answered, "No. I always thought he'd step out of it once we were engaged." I said, "OK then, as far as I'm concerned, and based on what you're telling me, you're coming here alone, and your dad no longer gets a say in ANYTHING in which he isn't directly invited to have a say. His 'guidance' has already cost us (I looked at us as an "us" and a "we" - what was mine was hers) financially, and would cost us even more if you brought a sister, so, NO. I don't want his 'guidance' to begin to cost us beyond our wallet, either, and I'm afraid it will. Are you okay with what I'm saying here?" She was crying at this point, which broke my heart, but responded, "It's all true, Lew. This needs to be about us. I made my promise to you and to God." As much as I hated to do it, I had to tell her that it was up to HER to communicate the boundaries to her dad - otherwise, we'd have nothing more than the peeing contests of the previous fall. He'd blow me off unless she was standing with me. He'd HAVE to listen to her. She realized this, and I was soooo proud of her.

Keep in mind, I still didn't know much about "spiritual abuse", or any abuse in general, and it's true impact on the psyche and heart of those under it's sphere of influence. I had seen red flags for a very sinister form of abuse (which I'll discuss more at some point in the story), as had others, but still, I was flying blind about so much of all of this. I have a much better understanding NOW of just how big of a deal standing up to her father was for her. Then, I still largely saw it as a grown woman needing to recognize right and wrong as what they were/are, and stand up for right. I don't think anything excuses people for failing to do what's right in a given situation, but I now understand the weight of guilt and manipulation under which the abused make what are, more often than not, bounded choices of predetermined right and wrong, and I now understand how paralyzing it can be for the abused to have to recognize, and act upon, right and wrong on their own. These were enormous steps for her. If I can look back at all of this and point to one clear mistake I made, this would probably be it - expecting more of her at times than she was capable of, given her environment and upbringing. My ignorance of the dynamic isn't much of an excuse.

The next morning, at their devotional/indoctrination session/group business meeting, she declared boundaries (that she was coming to see me alone, and that, from now on, she and I, with God's guidance, would be making the decisions concerning us), and the fit hit the shan. The meeting broke up without much being accomplished beyond contention and the wounded patriarchal pride, and later, she made her way into their office to call me and give me the details. She was only a few minutes into it when she abruptly said, "Lew, I really need to go..." and hung up. This scared me to death. The patriarse had stood outside the door of the office eavesdropping, burst through the door angrily (which is why she ended the call so abruptly), and began telling her how rebellious and sinful she was being, that I had "brainwashed" her, and that she was under his authority. When she'd say to him, "But I'm not under your authority", he'd respond with "YOU ARE UNDER MY AUTHORITY!" This authority ferris wheel spun around for nearly an hour, before finally, he threw his hands up in the air and said, "Alright then! You're not under my authority!", stormed out and slammed the door behind him.

When she called me right after this, I almost spontaneously combusted. I wanted to get my hands on his weasely neck. To call him crazy would be an insult to crazy people everywhere. I still didn't realize that P/QF was a movement in and of itself, and thought that most of his craziness was due to the small cult group her family had come out of when she was a toddler. But demanding that she, a 23 year old woman, recognize his AUTHORITY! over her? I can credit as much to the devil, but never, EVER, to God.

She asked me what she should do. I felt the FIRST thing she should do is find somewhere, ANYwhere, else to stay for at least a couple of days. She felt her grandparents' place would suffice. Since they spiritualized everything, and I mean every freakin' thing, I suggested that she find a spiritually healthy person somewhere to talk to about this stuff. Perhaps a pastor of good repute in the community or someone. She was embarrassed to talk to anyone outside of her circle, and while I felt she needed to do so, I didn't pressure her. She suggested seeking counsel from her grandpa (the patriarse's dad). I told her, "Bad idea." She asked, "Why Lew? He's a godly (uh oh) man and he feels the same way you do about dad." That struck me as uber-odd. If it were MY son being the kind of jackhole of a father that his son was, I'd have barred the doors and had a "come to Jesus" meeting. I told her, "Maybe he does feel the same way, but I don't know that. What I DO know is that this is HIS SON we're talking about, and criticism coming from MY mouth about HIS SON won't sit well with him even if it's the same criticism that comes from his mouth. Bad idea. Terribly bad idea. Please talk to someone else."

Well, she went to grandpa for counsel. *exasperated sigh-ish type of expression here*

She later informed me that the next day her grandpa wanted to talk with me, so she'd given him my number.

And, here we go...From here on out, I get introduced to a litany of legalistic gasbags who all seemed to be competing to see who could do the best impersonation of the Apostle Paul speaking the King's english. "Certainly not!" and "God forbid!" and such. Imbiblers and religioholics. Grandpa proves to be quite the, well, ummm...I'll just let the story tell itself in the next few installments. But, I'll go ahead a throw out another preemptive "What the...?!"


  1. I'm on the edge of my seat - please write more soon!

    Also, what about this? misusing 1st Thessalonians 5:22 (which the KJV translators did a VERY poor job of translating I'd love a little more info on that. My KJV only MIL won't accompany my children and myself to the IMAX to see a G rated nature documentary, as being seen at the theatre could give the appearance of evil, yet she watches absolutely filthy tv shows at home - but that's okay, since there's no appearance of evil being given to the general public. Ah, people and their "appearances". So silly.

  2. I posted a facebook message after a devotion I had at work.

    "If Jesus were here today, on any given Wednesday night when there is a bible study/prayer meeting, would he attend Church or visit the bar?"

    Man, I got some good responses with notable omissions. All of this in response to a guy in the group who is a deacon at a church I used to attend state "I don't care if I am being legalistic or not, but alcohol is a sin." I asked him what about it made it a sin to him. After stumbling around a bit the truth came out. "I wouldn't be caught dead carrying a pack of beer out of Walmart because I would be embarrassed if the cashier decided to visit my church that Sunday and I was the greeter."

    I have come to believe it is not the man wanting dominance over the family, but rather the doctrine he is taught at Church.

    Yes, Church with a capital C as we have made that our center of worship. Just trying to give it the rightful recognition.

  3. Anonymous...The word translated as "appearance" in the KJV is "eidos". It means form or kind. "Appearance" could, I suppose, be considered a correct translation, but only in an abstract manner, as in "the appearance on the scene"/"the arrival on the scene". The KJV translation leaves waaaaaaaay too much room for legalism, allowing "eidos" to mean perception - when that absolutely isn't what it means - nor was that what Paul meant when he wrote the epistle.

    Here are a couple of other translations...

    NKJV - Abstain from every form of evil.
    NIV - reject every kind of evil.
    NLT - Stay away from every kind of evil.
    Amplified - Abstain from evil [shrink from it and keep aloof from it] in whatever form or whatever kind it may be.
    NASB - abstain from every form of evil.
    The Message - Throw out anything tainted with evil.
    NCV - and stay away from everything that is evil.

    And on and on.

    Those are all MUCH better translations of the Greek, concerning that verse and "eidos", than the KJV translation of that verse, which seems to be the favorite of fundamentalists, KJV-only or not.

    Note that those translations are talking about established FORMS and KINDS of evil, not something that someone, somewhere might perceive as evil.

  4. Jon...I can believe it. I've seen a lot of that kind of hypocrisy - and that's exactly what it is.

    Reminds me of the old joke...

    Q: Do you know why you need to take TWO Baptists with you when you go fishing?
    A: Cause if you just take ONE, he'll drink all your beer.

    (I hope some of you get that - and cut me some slack, people...I grew up Baptist)

  5. LOL! We wives had a joke at the So. Baptist Seminary our husbands attended...

    Friend: So, what was your reaction when your husband announced he was called to be a So. Baptist preacher? (normal question from new people)

    Wife of called: I threw out the wine glasses.

    I'm so sorry you've had t0 go through all of this....I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it so often.

    Here's another joke for you. I learned this one at Bob Jones University...don't ask...

    What is the difference between a BJ guy and a mouse? (you might insert x-father-in-law-to-be)

    The mouse has hair on his chest.

    I guess we were bored...

  6. This poor girl. Too bad you couldn't have just driven up at 2 am, got her and got married in Vegas or something!!

    I also think of the idiocy of "accountability" partners/chaperons we've seen on "19 Kids & Counting"--not just Josh/Anna stretching the limits of defrauding with their icky hand jobs with the sisters in the back seat, but Zak Bates, a county elected official, who cannot go out on a volunteer fire dept call without his sister! For the love of Pete! When are these kids adult enough to trust God and not Daddy?? Sick, sick, sick.

  7. Your story is so sad, knowing that you tried so hard and it didn't work. I have to tell you, though, sometimes it does. I was that girl, once upon a time, and I had a beau like you, and I got out.

    I was raised QF/P, though not quite as extreme as what you describe here. My dad actually sent me off to college, assuming that the godly upbringing he had given me would keep me from the wiles of the evil world.

    Anyway, I found a young man, and dad gave me permission to "court" him. My young man was also at the college where I was. When we started courting mom made me promise not to even kiss the guy, and I agreed (under pressure, but also under the weight of the teaching I had received growing up, wherein kissing is the door to fornication).

    That summer, my dad demanded that we break up. I had decided that God had created the world via evolution, rather than in six days six thousand years ago, and was adopting a less literal and fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible, and dad saw that as the evil influence of my beau. Dad said if we broke up for two years and had no contact, he'd give his permission for us to court again and marry, no matter what our beliefs were. This made no sense to me. In addition, my two years at college away from home had taught me that I could live on my own and think on my own, so I looked at my dad and said "thanks, but no thanks." My parents were floored, and my mother devastated. How could I defy their god-given authority?

    Because I lived at home that summer, though, and under my father's roof, I did agree, at his insistence, to only communicate with my young man via snail mail. Oh yes. No AIM, no email, no phone conversations. I call that summer my "summer of hell." Part of me can't believe my young man put up with all that shit, but he was a lot like you, Lewis.

    When dad sent me back to school at the end of the summer, he told me he was formally putting me out from under his authority because I wouldn't obey him. This was a very painful moment for a girl raised as I had been, but I had to keep my eyes on my physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual freedom or else I might not have persevered.

    The choice I made was between my freedom and my family, and I knew it. I have eleven younger brothers and sisters, and at the time this all happened my youngest sister was only two. Would I ever be able to see them again? I was a "rebellious daughter" and a "bad influence."

    I paid my own way for the rest of college and I didn't go back home the following summer, nor did I ask for help from them in finding housing or anything. I think they were surprised that I was able to make it on my own, to be honest.

    And yes, I married my young man. He was there for me every moment, holding my hand as I learned to think for myself and question the craziness I was taught. Can you believe that I grew up thinking it was normal to spank a baby with a switch and that it was necessary to break a small child's will to yours or the child would be ruined? But no longer. I have a little girl now, and I am raising her to be free. And that is the question: freedom or bondage?

    I'm so sorry your experience with all this didn't work out for you.

  8. Anonymous...You're awesome. Much happiness to you and yours, and I hope that someday some headway can be made in healthy reconciliation with your siblings and family.

  9. Anonymous, your story sounds SOOO much like mine - down to the "broke up for a few months" to finish college that was being paid for "and then got married." ( though I wasn't formally raised in the patriarchal movement, just leanings my parents had when I was in high school/college) I also have a little girl now and am doing the best I can to raise her in a peaceful, non-violent, non-punitive/manipulating home.

    I've made it a point to have the best relationship with my parents in spite of this. I think not being deep in the movement makes it easier (and being part of a church that does NOT advocate P/QF, oddly enough - i don't really know where they got their ideas from. Douglas MacArthur? ).

    Lewis, I can't help thinking about your ex. When I was at the point of "either I have to marry this guy or live in bitterness and regret the rest of my life", the choice was just obvious to me. If I hadn't married my husband, I truly believe I would have thought my whole life about him. Even if I'd gotten married, etc. How can she possibly not have any regrets? She must. She just must. It must tear her apart deep inside that she lost her first (and only, probably) love. Once you give your heart that deeply to someone, you can never get it back. That's how it was for me. I never wanted to be as open with anyone else as I was with my boyfriend. Deep down I felt it was either him or nobody. (And maybe that's somewhat unfair...but that's how it was for me at the time. Even now, if he were to die, I do not believe I could ever marry another man. I couldn't be that/this vulnerable ever again.) And what's worse is that she can never truly move on, because she's stuck in her P/QF marriage. She can't express her pain because "her pain is just sin." She can never fully heal.

  10. Michelle...She's thoroughly convinced that her feelings for me were only "an emotional thing" - in essence no more than a "crush". She had a LOT of help, from some VERY manipulative snakes around her, in coming to that conclusion - and it's BS.

    She's also convinced herself (again, with MUCH help) that I truly AM the dishonorable man her parents forcefed her the idea that I am. They convinced her that I was a "timebomb", a potential abuser (how about THAT irony), an angry man, a "brainwasher", a divisive man, et cetera. It's all BS, but patriarchals are world-class paranoid BS artists. All I was ever actually doing was fighting, even if ferociously, against what I saw as evil and wrong.

    She chose to believe those things in order to survive emotionally. Several QF survivors have confirmed this dynamic to me recently.

    I don't hold her surviving however she had to against her - but it doesn't make any of it suck any less, nor does it make her life any less of a lie.

    I pity her when the day and time comes that she can no longer repress what happened - and how she responded to it to survive - whether it's already happened, or whether it's 5, 10, 20, 40 years in the future. At some point she'll have to take her brain out of survival mode and actually think critically (and do so without manipulative help) about all of this, and it won't be pretty.

    Either later tonight or sometime tomorrow, I'm gonna write a very pointed (and very difficult to write, I suspect) piece that I hope will serve as a warning and an awakening for young women in my ex's situation. I've held off writing it for a while because it probably won't be received well by a lot of people - and it's probably gonna hurt some already hurting people - but I feel it's truth that I have to write.

  11. Oh, Michelle...Your statement about your husband...

    I couldn't be that/this vulnerable ever again.

    I can SO relate. Maybe a lot of people can't. But I can.

  12. Lewis Wow! DH and I looked up the verses, and we were blown away. We knew there were problems with KJV but that's a gross error! Amazing! Thanks for sharing that.

    I am feeling mixed feelings this point of your story. I wish you could have road tripped and took her to Vegas. I know that would have had it's own battles and problems but yeah I feel bad she's still stuck in it, and you lost her. At the same time I'm so glad you don't have them for in-laws.

    My dad pulled the same stunt at 27 yrs old when I told him if I needed his help or protection I would call him and ask for it. He had confused "Authority" with "Father" felt I rejected his relationship to me as "Father" by rejecting his authoritarian handling of the situation. The dis-ownership that followed really broke my heart. I still want my Dad, I just don't need an Authoritarian ruling my fully formed adult life. I wish he could have made the distinction, and not ruined the happiness I found with DH.

    It's almost shocking to read his words now. I'm like What the?! Why?! What a waste Dad!

  13. one who left without the boyMay 1, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    "When I was at the point of "either I have to marry this guy or live in bitterness and regret the rest of my life", the choice was just obvious to me."

    I didn't go through any emotional brainwashing per se, just exterior pressure which forced communication to be cut off with my then-boyfriend. I fought it, found ways around it... but our relationship and mutual trust wasn't strong enough that I was willing to leave at that time in order to be with him. Losing him, however, was the final of the straws on this camel's back. I left three months after we broke up. We've been in touch often in the years since I left my family, have discussed renewing the relationship, but realize that we're very different people now and just aren't sure that our romance of younger years can be rekindled.

    He was the biggest voice in my head encouraging me at the time, the one who never ever doubted that I could and would be absolutely fine and happy and successful on my own, the one whose love I knew was something I'd never get if I stayed with my family. He was much more than a crush, and I don't agree with what my family called him and still thinks of him as far as I know. But whatever we had wasn't enough that we're together now.

    Of course I am a different person than Lewis's beloved, and my man was different from Lewis. Every person's situation and particulars are going to be different and thus the results of all of these situations are also different.

  14. I broke up with a girl last year that came from this exact same belief system. Thank God, by His grace alone, I saw it was coming down to her heart loving her father more than me. Her heart was always desiring his affection and her families blessing etc... more than mine. After 6 months of horrendous crying, needless dispare, and deep deep hurt, I couldn't take it any longer.

    The way they bring their children up is to teach them basically how to never make a decision in life for themselves. I too was attracted to the simplicity and almost perfect glass that had not been shattered by the world. But when fit hit the shan, like her sister walking in on us talking alone in the laundry room at her apt. complex, (literally nothing more than that was going on.) Complete blow ups would occur!!! You try to figure it out, "it take mind bending techniques like there is no spoon," or fix it or help her through it. But she feels she has to "keep the peace."

    I think back at the initial conversation I had with her father. Never in my life had I ever been made to feel like such a dirt bag, blood sucking murderer, who enjoying sexual relations with my decapitated victims. He seriously tried to make me feel like that. Sounds like you felt similar at some points.

    I never made it to a second conversation with her father because I made one simple request to push off our "second designated conversation/baffling me and building himself up for 3 scorching hours" for a legitimate reason regarding my work schedule. His response his daughter after I made this request was, "I don't approve of this man, be weary around him and I am unhappy that he isn't meeting with me at our designated time."

    I then knew he was a control freak more than a loving father for his daughter. Funny enough, in listening to him over lunch for 3 hours, he never once had his daughter's heart in mind. It was all about his authority over her and me.

    Like you, I will love him only because I am commanded to, but outside of that he has not only hurt me, but has and is destroying his beautiful children. He in my eyes is nothing more than a sexist asshole, with need to empower himself to overcompensate for his minute penis.

    My apologies as well to those of you offended by my language. It is how I feel and I cannot deny it by lying to myself and going into denial like all his daughters are currently doing.

    I must admit, the most painful part for me till is to watch the woman I loved/care deeply for, continually go around and around in the same circle day in and day out, never fully reaching adulthood and or spiritually growing. Rather she is spat on, guilt tripped on, and her desires and talents ripped out from under her anytime she expresses herself.

    It makes me feel sick and I hate legalism and for that matter license too. aka emergent church doing whatever I want and don't tell me otherwise.

    I agree the Holy Spirit is there to provide Truth in our hearts. I do beleive the Bible is the ultimate truth, but it doesn't tell you that watching rated R movies is a sin, or making out before marriage is a sin. That is conviction between you and God.

    Please Continue these posts... I have had difficulty in the past few weeks as I still want to fix the situation at times. lol You are really helping me move forward and know I made the right decision in breaking up.


  15. I am DYING TO HEAR how this story turns out!! please post the conclusion soon!!! Also very sorry you had to endure this :(

  16. Wow. WOW. Reading all these was like a walk back in time. I could identify with so much of this, and it hit home so many times. You've described so many things to a T, things that I've been through and felt and struggled, but never put words to. The suppose-to-be-happy 'courtship' between my now-husband and I was the hardest time of my life. It was a very confusing time emotionally for me, as I had to sort through so many beliefs and teachings. It was a time I cried more than ever before or since, as my father yelled at me, screamed, hung up the phone, and constantly tried to break us up. I became so sick physically (from the stress) that I couldn't even work a regular summer job and had migraines at least once a week. It took me months before I got up once morning and realized that I actually felt good! My parents said it was a sickness of punishment from God. I am thankful that I "got out", and most of all, I am so very thankful that God protected me so that I got out by marrying the right man. He was my escape and I could have so easily married the wrong person and had a very difficult marriage (like my sister). It is sad that the intense authority teachings and practices actually makes the grown children rebel or do an impulsive decision to "get out" by marrying someone they would have had better brains about otherwise! So sad. I am so thankful now that, finally (after putting up strong limits), my parents have stopped pressuring us about things, and have actually accepted my husband. After 4yrs of marriage, I about fell off my chair when my Dad said that I had made a good choice in choosing my husband, better than if he had picked one for me. I was SHOCKED! And sooooo thankful.

    I am very sorry about your story, struggles, and the end result. Thank you for sharing your story, you are portraying so well the struggle that way to many go through.


  17. Dear Lewis,
    As much as I agree with your patriarse description of this man, I want to share a bit of my daughter's story. My husband is just like the dad of this story. My daughter was engaged to a young man. Her dad controlled the whole courtship. However, the young man turned out to be another patriarse in the making. We saw the red flags and demanded she obey and take a break from him. He reacted by breaking off the engagement entirely and accused my daughter of not thinking for herself, being controlled by us and just being weak. They had actually set a date without our blessing. She obeyed and broke it off with him. Cried for days. Now looking back she thanks the Lord every day for not marrying that guy. She is now happily married to a much better man who will never turn into a patriarse! Parents sometimes see things that couples don't see.

  18. However, the young man turned out to be another patriarse in the making.

    I can already tell that you just don't get it.

    We saw the red flags and demanded she obey and take a break from him.

    This one statement discredits everything else you said. No credibility left. None. If your daughter was an adult, you had NO right - whether parental, social, legal, or biblical - to make any demands of her regarding her personal life, to impose your desires on her, or to make her choices for her. Shame on you.

    Personally, I think you should be ashamed of yourself for lording over your children.

    He reacted by breaking off the engagement entirely and accused my daughter of not thinking for herself, being controlled by us and just being weak.

    His accusations were at least partially correct. The first two of the three you listed seem spot on. The third accusation...I can't speak to its accuracy, but I do know that's what she was raised to be. Just look at your comment for the tangible evidence of the first two and the circumstancial evidence of the third.

    They had actually set a date without our blessing.

    They didn't need your blessing. If you think they did - shame on you for being a religioholic jackass about it and for being a restaurant-quality meddler.

    Now looking back she thanks the Lord every day for not marrying that guy.

    Most likely a survival mechanism. My ex now believes all kinds of things to be true - things that aren't true, and believes certian things happened - which never happened. It's how she's survived. Can you imagine the scars you'd have left on your daughter if she hadn't revised history and accepted your version rather than reality?

    She is now happily married to a much better man who will never turn into a patriarse!

    I can only hope this is true - since you took away her ability to choose freely, and she now has to live with YOUR choices for her.

    Parents sometimes see things that couples don't see.

    Sometimes they do. Equally as often, they don't. If they're part of the patriarchal movement, their vision is skewed to begin with - and is tinged with the desire to create imbibling SuperChristian clones of themselves, which means: They don't really see anything at all.

    I'd feel a thousand times better about your comment if I knew it was satire. My fear is that it wasn't. Even if it isn't satire, I don't know what you think it changes about patriarchy or religious addiction. You've just described yourself as a patriarse all your own - feeling you had the right to treat your daughter as property and make her choices for her. Shame on you.

  19. Lewis, you make me laugh. Perhaps I did not explain the story clearly enough. Her father controlled the courtship not me. But we both saw the red flags in this young man. We both told our daughter to take a break from him until he could straighten a few things out. He then broke it off. My daughter could not see the red flags we saw because he had manipulated her with his own brand of legalism. He was a horrible person and when we told her to back off, his reaction to that opened her eyes to his manipulation. If you asked her, she would say that GOD impressed upon her to cancel their wedding not us. We just confirmed it in her eyes. If you knew me, and Incongruous Circumspection does know me, you would know that I left the life of legalism about two years after this incident with my daughter. Yes, during that time, I expected my daughter to obey us. But it was my husband who turned it into a controlled situation. When my daughter met another young man about two years after that, I had to fight to keep my husband from running this relationship too. I demanded that he let them marry when they wanted to. And this man is so much better for my daughter then her first fiancé. Perhaps you would find it amusing that my second daughter ran off to Las Vegas to get married after watching all this for several years.
    I walk a fine line between honoring my husband and protecting my children from his spiritual abuse. God has told me to stay but to keep my children safe. So I make sure there are boundaries to follow and my kids know they have my unconditional love and support.

  20. For a minute there, Tammy, I thought somebody hacked your account. I'm still not sure that I agree with everything you wrote in your initial post. But, it doesn't matter because what I might not have agreed with, Lewis blew out of the water correctly.

    Anyway, here's a controversial question for you:

    What is stopping you from leaving your husband and taking the kids with you? You mention the "fine line between honoring your husband..." When it comes to honor, what says you must continue in a life of misery when you can be free? Why is honor not manifested by coming against his asinine idiocy with firm words and actions, rather than enabling him to wield his perceived power with the kids and you still around?

    From personal experience, the men who believe in this baloney sausage, including your husband, will never desire to change until something of consequence hits them over the head...hard. You and the children, sticking around, only exacerbates the problem, giving him hope that one day, you'll see the error of your ways and all of you will come back to him in worship.

    Not to mention the confusion that your kids have and will have, trying to sort out right from wrong. Taking them away to live a life of true freedom without Papa Jowls frowning at their every evil move is my recommendation. I urge you to reconsider your current decision-making paradigm.

    That's my three cents.

  21. My daughter could not see the red flags we saw because he had manipulated her with his own brand of legalism. He was a horrible person and when we told her to back off, his reaction to that opened her eyes to his manipulation. If you asked her, she would say that GOD impressed upon her to cancel their wedding not us.

    My ex would now say all of the same things.

    I didn't manipulate her. I'm not a horrible person. He probably reacted much the same way I did - as a human being. I'd have been more than a little ticked off at you myself, and I'd have said so, loudly. She also thinks God intervened in her life, and sees what happened as validation that her parents had been right all along when, in fact, her parents were the indecent people in the situation.

    I'm glad you decided to leave the legalistic way of life, but there's no justification for the wrongs done to your daughter or to this guy - whether it was primarily your husband or not. Legalism can't shine a light on legalism.

    And this man is so much better for my daughter then her first fiancé.

    That may be true, but it may also not be accurate. I hope it IS true. No one will really ever know that - including your daughter - since the choice was made for her that the first guy was horrible. Trust me, all she did was accept your view of the guy for the sake of her own emotional survival. This is the rule rather than the exception. "Obeying" cost her whatever relationship was there, and to survive the emotional trauma, the guy has to be "horrible".

    God has told me to stay but to keep my children safe.

    If in any way possible, if I were you, I'd take the children and leave.

  22. He was a horrible person and when we told her to back off, his reaction to that opened her eyes to his manipulation. If you asked her, she would say that GOD impressed upon her to cancel their wedding not us. We just confirmed it in her eyes.

    See if any of this applies...

    And to this...

    I walk a fine line between honoring my husband and protecting my children from his spiritual abuse. God has told me to stay but to keep my children safe.

  23. Hey, guys.
    I don't know Tammy or the particulars of her situation.
    But I do understand that one of the reason the patriarchy house of cards stands is because women allow or even support that house.
    There are cases where the patriarch is so far gone that he will never come back to anything reasonable no matter what the wife does.
    There are other cases where all it takes is for the wife to stop supporting and stop allowing the patriarchy. Then after time, the house of cards does fall and he comes around.
    In the first case, yes, there is nothing that a wife can do but take the kids and bolt.
    In the second case, bolting may cause more damage than it solves.
    It can only be determined case by case.

    Last night I was in a long conversation with a sister-in-law and I'm telling her to get her exit strategy down because I hold little hope for her husband. He has already threatened her life and made it clear that if she leaves him, he'll make it hell for her. So she has to prepare secretly until she can get herself and her kids out. I spent a lot of time building her up her broken heart and telling her that she and her children don't deserve the verbal abuse he hands out. And he's a youth pastor not associated with patriarchy.

    Guess what I'm saying is this.
    Depending on the situation, the answer isn't always leave. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn't.

    Tammy, continue to be open to the leading in the Spirit. AND be open to the fact that, depending on your situation, you may have to leave.
    But know that I trust the Holy Spirit in you to help you make the right choice.

  24. Thinking about this some more, and thinking about what e and I.C. and I were talking about on a different thread on how to heal the sons of patriarchy...
    I.C. (I'm sure you have a name. I think I've seen Lewis use it somewhere) mentioned his wife and kids loving him unconditionally.

    I think some of the problem is in how we understand love.
    Patriarchy and much of Complimentarianism teach women how to love their men with the wrong kind of love. It is a kind of love that enables sin. It's not unconditional, it's enabling.
    A wife/mother in the system has to learn how to stop with the enabling, sin-encouraging love that she has been taught and to start with loving with the kind of love that Jesus loved with.
    It was a kind of love that wanted to gather the broken and wounded under His wing but at the same time was not afraid to confront sin.
    I do not believe Jesus loved the Pharisees any less than the disciples or the woman at the well or Zacheus or any of the others He healed or spoke kindly to.
    But He had to deal with Pharisees differently. They needed a strong, powerful love that called attention to their misguided understanding of what it means to serve God.

    Sorry for rambling. I'm thinking as I'm typing.

    Anyway, long and short, Patriarchy is evil because it encourages men to think more highly of themselves than they ought and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It also teaches them that the love they are to love with is domineering and controlling and always right even when they are dead wrong.
    People within the system have to realize the sin of loving with the wrong kind of love that they have been taught. They have to relearn how to love the way Jesus taught us to.
    God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
    Still thinking on this. But this is what I have so far this morning.

  25. I do agree Tammy's first post left some question marks, but I have to second Mara on her comments.

    Having men tell you again "you should do it this way" is more of the same old stuff.

    If major decisions aren't made hand in hand with Christ, you're allowing men to make decisions for you. A lot of us have been there (too long) and done that (too much) and are still sorting through the consequences.

  26. Mara. Great stuff! Please keep thinking while you write. What you say is really good.

    supernalquest. I must vehemently disagree with you on this. I do not see life as a dichotomy between men and women. Patriarchy is that way and I cannot disagree with you there. But, when you are free from that baloney sausage, you understand that people are people and people ask questions as a catalyst for further thinking. People also give suggestions to other people as best they know how, from their experience and their expertise.

    The difference? The other person being asked the question is not required to respond. They are also not required to "see it the questioner's way". Additionally, if they are asked the question, they have the freedom to think about the answer, add to it, completely agree with it, or come at the questioner with a different opinion. That's life. And that is freedom away from an artificially hierarchical legalistic formula.

    Also, when a person is presented with the suggestions of someone with experience or expertise, the same ideas apply.

    Some people are forceful in real life. Others are quietly insistent. Some are even tentative and questioning themselves as they ask or speak of or to another person. There are many other types of personalities that I won't list because it doesn't matter, not to mention, I won't pretend to be an expert in sociology.

    My point is, nobody is telling Tammy what to do, as it seems. From my perspective, I am hoping she takes some of my questions to heart and begins to think a few different thoughts than her current line of thinking. But, I can only hope that is the case. I care that she has a free life much more than I care whether I am right or not. In fact, if I were a woman, a dog, a caterpillar, or even a talking eel, I would say the exact same things, as would I say them to another man.

    Just the mere fact that I am indeed a man is not a disqualifier for dispensing questions or words to other women. The male distinction has no place in my motivation.

    I guess I am red in the face on behalf of other stupid men that have caused our gender to appear misogynistic. But, in no way, am I one of them, telling women what they should or shouldn't do.

    Keep tearing open your rotting wounds though. Without doing so, you can't get the salve to heal them. I hope to be used as part of that salve and trust that my past will not get in the way of your wonderful free-spirited future.

    Love you.

  27. It is always dangerous to presume you know what's best for another family.
    The story is far more complicated than anyone can understand. It is not really appropriate to suggest courses of action for another family without knowing all the facts. Do not underestimate my ability to be a strong woman who is a strong advócate for her children. About a year ago I told my husband to never criticize or judge his children again or I would kick him move out. I laid down a very specific boundary. His response was to hand over all child discipline decisions to me. I decide if they can go places, watch movies, etc. (Please note, I am talking about my 14 and 16 year olds here.) The older kids 18-23, I don’t care what they do now. I trust them. I told them their decisions are between them and God and I am not part of the equation anymore. It’s funny how when you release kids like that, they come back for counsel and advice anyways! Of course, if they are living in my home I have a few ground rules. No alcohol in the house and no one of the opposite sex in their bedrooms without a sibling present and the door open. What they do out of my house is not any of my business. I also stopped my husband from stalking our kids' facebooks and computers. I told him that he can't handle it and he turns any information he finds into ammunition to tear the kids down. Part of the motive behind that was when I caught him trying to hack MY facebook page and reading it. I have also caught him in the past going through my emails. Again I say, I walk a fine line of loving him but stopping the abuse. Leaving is not an option with 6 kids still at home and a big mortgage to pay. I know that my husband genuinely loves me but is poor at showing it. I have to be the bigger Christian, the stronger Christian and be the wise one in this situation. I have sat in more than one pastor's office and smiled while he told me I was unsubmissive and wicked. He was kind of shocked at my smile and joy in spite of his criticism.
    As to my daughter's first fiance (I will call him J.B.), he was the picture perfect homeschool pure boy that went through the 100 question courtship interrogation my husband gave him. And he passed with flying colors. He was sweet and perfect on the outside but a vile and mean person on the inside. Even fooled my VF-like pastor. However, we only saw his true colors when they actually got engaged. We saw our daughter lose 30 pounds with the stress of the manipulation he put on her to do things she did not want to do. Only after the breakup did the truth of the vile stuff he was doing to her come out. And then only after months of healing. Her now husband (I will call him R.W.) is a completely different man. He would never pass Doug Philips courtship test. LOL He is a new Christian, not a homeschooled kid, lost his virginity in college, had some rough times. But you know what? I saw the power and love of Christ shine through his eyes as he told me his joy over his salvation (at that time only about 1.5 years old) He was fun, loving , kind and easy to get along with. J.B. was selfish and mean to my little kids. R.W. will play for hours with my kids and he is their new hero-brother. My daughter has actually lost friends because of her marriage to a "non-legalist" since she has "compromised" her convictions, blah blah blah.
    No Lewis, you are not a horrible person but please realize that there are horrible people out there and they may want to marry my daughter. My daughter was all set to go from one legalist to a new one. (continued on next post)

  28. Continued part 2
    If you knew me, you would know that I hate the VF-Bill Gothard stuff with a passion. My best friend just divorced her husband for being the worse patriarse around. It's all around me. I personally blame Gothard and a certain church for nearly destroying my family. I am fighting tooth and nail with the Lord's help to bring healing to my kids and bring sweetness from bitterness. I have got my husband away from the worst of them and am praying God will break through it all. My husband is always miserable and God has called me to stay. I have seen glimmers of light and small babysteps. I foresee it will be my own children who finally show their father what it is like to live free in Christ with great joy. I am there now and I need not prove anything to anyone about my own actions in all this. I am just hoping that some can learn from all this.

  29. It is always dangerous to presume you know what's best for another family.

    I don't think it's dangerous to presume anything. Everybody presumes. It's dangerous to impose those presumptions upon someone else.

    If it were me, if the legalism of your husband posed ANY kind of threat to your children, I'd leave.

    I'd make sure I was super-positive that it's God telling me to stay - and not guilt or some kind of religious obligation.

  30. I'm with you now, Tammy. Go forth and that Papa Jowls. I know you're a rabid dog of a woman, anyway. From the great (and stupid) movie, Happy Gilmore - "You can DOOOOOOO iiiiiiiit!"

    In case anyone wonders, that rabid dog part was a compliment.

  31. I'm preading this a year late. You really should put a 'warning' on this blog, like (1 of 2000) for the posts, instead of 'Part 1.) Here I am at part 10. I can't keep reading forever. I was trying to figure out if 'ex' means ex wife or ex-fiance.

    I keep trying to see the father-in-law's perspective. I would imagine it might have been much harder for him to deal with a son-in-law with a perspective like yours, capable of as much bitterness as you spewed out in this article, than it was for you to deal with him.

    Take that letter several posts back, the one right after you broke it off with your girl. He emailed you this email suprised that you broke it off with her, and you said the letter hurt you so much and your family were steaming. I was like--why was he steaming? He sent a letter basically telling you to keep on trying. It was obvious that he was just trying to set some limits on your relationship with the daughter under his authority, not run you off. He was saying "Come back" and you took it as an insult?

    Throughout this blog, you get upset at things you shouldn't, especially since you should have realized you were basically in a cross-cultural relationship. I married an Asian girl whose parents were in a culture very different form my own. I had to jump through some hoops and shell out a bunch of money for parties and rituals (giving an older sister a gold necklace for example.) You know what-- I jumped through the hoops-- not because I was not tough or brave, but because my wife wasn't mine until she was mine. She wasn't mine when we were dating. She was my wife when I married her.

    This man's-- who you refer to with a word made from the word 'patriarch' mixed with crude British profanity for anus-- at least has a Biblical basis for his beliefs. They may be from the Old Testament, but they are based on something revealed from God.

    God gave commandments about a man paying a bride price for a virgin to the father of the bride. The father could demand the bride price from a man who seduced his daughter, and then not give her to him in marriage. There may be some hints at this type of patriarchy regarding marriage in the New Testament as well. Certainly nothing in the New Testament teaches against it.

    But where do you get your beliefs about marriage? MTV? Where does God reveal that once you start dating a girl, the girl's father has to butt out? Where does it say that once a girl, a virgin living in her father's house no less, is not under her father's authority just because she turns 18? To whom did God reveal that if you state your undying loyalty to each other, that you are married in his eyes? I see no such thing in the Bible. In the Bible, the father gives the bride away. I was surprised to see that you called yourself a pastor. The blog violates so much scripture. If Jesus warned against calling your brother 'raca' or a fool, do you think you get a pass for refering to this man as an patri--anus? What do your repeated statements about wanting to choke this man's weasely neck as you put it and beat him up say about your heart? Do you have any hatred or murder toward this man?

    If you are past it. If you have forgiven (or gotten rid of bitterness for things which you really didn't have much right to be angry about in some cases) this man, then why don't you either edit the hatred out of this blog, or at least edit it?

    1. Anonymous, I can't BELIEVE you would think what you thought about the email. Unless you had already decided that because Lewis cusses you were going to side with the father, period. See from his point of view? No, you evaluate his *actions*. By their fruit you shall know them. *Then* if you think his actions show he might not be the bad guy, *then* you try to see from his point of view. His actions reveal themselves plainly though. To wisdom and discernment people generally reveal themselves--like the woman who told me her neighbors were all meanly hitting her dog "just for being big and enthusiastic," telling me quite plainly that not only did she have a dangerous animal, she had zero empathy for others when it came to the matter of the dog. Turned out to be %100 true, and it extended beyond just the dog. Lewis has not "revealed himself" in this manner; yes he is angry but he is twisting nothing.

      And you really don't see what the father was doing with that email, REALLY? Isn't there a whole lot in the Bible about learning to look beneath the surfaces of things? Oh, it's a nice polite email expressing surprise at the break-up. Oh, and it also implies that Lewis was the one who broke it off meanly and arbitrarily and why on earth did he do that, when the truth is the father FORCED his *daughter* to break it off. ("I don't see how this can work"? Those are breaking-up words.) Oh, and then it declares the father innocent of meddling and makes a few digs about Lewis being the source of any emotional distress his girlfriend experienced. Yes, what a nice email.

      I have dealt with these kinds of people before. They sow confusion by one of the subtlest forms of lying--they respond to what they've decided to pretend you did, instead of what you did. They respond to what they've decided to pretend you said, instead of what you said. Their words reframe the real situation into a situation that never existed (and in which, coincidentally, they are always innocent, heroic, possibly martyr-like.) They invent their own reality around themselves and declare real reality--which is God's reality--to be a lie. It's impossible to speak with them, to have any genuine relationship with them, because they are simply not listening.

      I beg you to learn more about human nature and to watch out, because if you didn't see through that letter, I fear you are completely vulnerable to this type of liar.

  32. What I don't get is why you didn't do some research on patriarchy and figure out how to play the game? Why didn't you pay a bride price, pointing to the fact that Old Testament engagements were as good as marriage, and that all that was left for you to take her to your tent-- possibly with a party. The father had agreed to give her away and made a covenant?

    I haven't read to the part of why she is your 'ex' but it would be worth it to jump through hoops for the right girl. And a beautiful girl who has been trained to be diligent around the home and obey her father faithfully could make a wonderful wife. If she is committed to obeying her father, and then her husband, you may avoid that whole power struggle thing a lot of married couples face, and not have to worry about some of the disrespect and nagging that people who are in the majority culture, not this subculture, have to face once the Honeymoon phase runs out. Is there a lack of sex in the relationship? The husband tells his wife to trust his leadership, and says he thinks there needs to be more sex. Problem solved. It sounds like some of the women in these homes are trained to be the perfect wife, kind of like that metamorph off of Star Trek TNG. If you connect with the 'real person' behind the sub-cultural training, too, and you love each other, it sounds really good.

    You say some things about these people being abused mentally or whatever into thinking their father is still in control of them as young adults. What you don't realize is that this type of thinking isn't just found in these home school homes. Throughout the world throughout history there has been this kind of thinking. I've travelled in Asia. In Korea, getting married without parental consent is scandalous. It is in Indonesia, too. I married an Asian, and I don't think the lady would have processed the marriage license without parental consent of both parties. this isn't abuse. It is CULTURE, and not a bad aspect of culture necessarily. You just happen to live in a pocket of history with a weird and unusual perspective on women's rights to marry without the input of their parents. That doesn't make it right. What we see in the Bible is the authority of the father in this matter. Granted, most of the scripture on it is Old Testament-- but that is from God and there is no reason to think American philosophy on the subject is from God.

    Even if her family were too legalistic, this isn't the Judaizer kind of legalism that is a different gospel. A lot of this stuff may be 'weak conscience' legalism like we see in Romans 14, the kind you are to put up with for the sake of not letting someone else sin against his/her conscience and against God. You should have 'jumped through the hoops' if you wanted to date this girl, rather than pushing her to--in her mind and heart-- to possibly sin against God in order to have loyalty to you over her father. I Corinthians 8 warns that by causing someone to have a defiled conscience, one can sin against Christ.

    You really need to work on this forgiveness issue and the propensity to spew out profanity to describe someone you have had a problem with. It sounds

    1. What I don't get is that given all the information here about religious addiction, why would you want to come here and be the posterboy? And on top of that, just be a general religious dumbass?

      Consider this comment your swansong. No more religious addiction soup for you.

    2. The sad thing is, in the midst of some real stupidity in what you're saying...on a couple of occasions, you've made my points FOR me.

    3. Anonymous...When I said to consider your previous comment your swansong, I wasn't saying it in jest.

    4. And he continues to submit comments.

    5. Lewis, while I love your blogging, the comments from the wackos are fantastically entertaining.

      "Is there a lack of sex in the relationship? The husband tells his wife to trust his leadership, and says he thinks there needs to be more sex. Problem solved."!

    6. He married an Asian woman. Many Western men who want child-wives pursue Asian women. The guy is sick.

  33. "What we see in the Bible is the authority of the father in this matter. Granted, most of the scripture on it is Old Testament-- but that is from God and there is no reason to think American philosophy on the subject is from God."

    First of all, why does the mother have no authority then as well? Second of all, I know myself far better than my father does, therefore I am much more qualified to choose my own partner. If he did choose, he would probably choose someone like him, which means my husband would force me to be the breadwinner while he gets drunk every day and complains about going nowhere in life.

    Pretty sure Americans aren't the only ones who believe they have a right to choose their own spouses. Have you met Europe?

    Finally, how is the Bible from God? He didn't write the book. MEN did. I emphasize MEN here, not humans, because women were so obviously not involved when it was made! God may have appeared to men, or Jesus inspired them to create their passages, but in the end, the Bible is the word of men, supposedly telling us what God told them... I'm a bit suspicious.

  34. Lauren, the Bible is from God. But this hooey is not.