A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

What About that Perfect Family in the Pew this Easter Morning?

UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.


It is Easter morning here in the Pacific NW.  I picked up a few new clothes yesterday (I don’t like to spend money on clothes as long as there are books and motorcycles and fishing/hunting supplies to be had).  The new clothes got me thinking.  Easter Sunday is a day when lots and lots of people, some of whom don’t come to church regularly at all, show up in their finery.  I am glad they come.  Never made much sense to me to see them on Easter Sunday in church and then preach a sermon that blasts people who only come on Easter and Christmas.  They are there, and that is good.  Little girls in their new dresses, boys with their mini-suits, moms with perhaps a hat and spring-colored dress.  It’s a good thing.

But let’s challenge ourselves this year to look behind the frills.  What is happening in the minds and hearts and homes of these people?  Maybe it is just mom who has brought her children while dad stayed at home.  Maybe dad is there too, and maybe he looks very respectable and Christian.  But who is he?  I admit, I have begun to be an observer of men and women and children.  I watch them in the store.  And I wonder – what is going on in that woman’s life?  (Yes, we understand there are men who are abuse victims.  But the normal scenario is that the woman is the victim, and that is why I write in this manner).   As I was looking at clothes yesterday in the store, I watched the people.  How many of them?  One in four, the statistics say.

The statistics aren’t that much different this Easter morning within the walls of evangelical churches.  Many, many women – dressed in an Easter dress, wear a black veil underneath.  (Do you wonder what the story is as to how she got that dress?  What did she suffer for getting it, and for seeing that the children had some new things to wear?).   Look beyond the facade that is forced upon her by her abuser.   Let everyone know that there is help for such people as this.  That they will indeed be believed if they come to you.  Put some books around the church in visible places that address abuse.  And if you really want to get radical, preach some sermons on this evil.

He is risen!  Christ is risen indeed!  Now, let’s be certain that we are ministers of a risen, life-giving Christ and not ministers of a letter-bound law that only kills.


  1. Now Free After 42 Years

    Jeff, once again you have nailed it. (No pun intended.) I just had to reply. I got chills reading your message. We the abused wives do not want to be martyrs.. we just want a normal, Christ-centered family life and suffer trying to achieve it with an abusive husband. If pastors would only open their eyes, minds and hearts, an immense reformation could take place, one that would be infinitely helpful in the lives of so many people.

  2. Maree

    Good post Jeff. Yes, I’ve begun observing people too wondering whether any might be in an abusive situation at home.

  3. You will never look at a group of people the same way again, now that you know … Good article, Jeff.

  4. You know, for years I’ve been watching women in shops, in cafes in the parks, and wondering “Were you abused by your husband? Are you being abused right now?” I do the one-in-four thing in my head too. Most women look competent and together. One would never think, unless one has suffered it… then the ugly underbelly of abusive relationships becomes part of what one muses and speculates about while waiting in the checkout queue, and sometimes I’m sure I detect it palpably. And I sit in cafes and hear two women at a nearby table, talking about how one of their partners is being mean. Usually the one with the mean partner does most of the listening, and her friend does most of the talking and advice-giving. Sigh.

  5. Finding Answers

    Pastor Jeff wrote:

    He is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Now, let’s be certain that we are ministers of a risen, life-giving Christ and not ministers of a letter-bound Law that only kills.

    Amen and Amen.

    I come back to the phrase life-giving Christ again and again. Even when the risen Christ is preached, the sermons sound empty and hollow. Almost like a scholarly exegesis prepared for their MDiv or DDiv dissertation. Dry. Lifeless.

    The emotion only seems to appear at Easter, the darkness of Good Friday, the Light of Easter Sunday.

    For me, music became the best part of both services. Singing is the only time I can get the emotion past my own expressionless face. My voice isn’t great, but with a strong voice in my vocal range nearby, I am OK.

    Today is neither Good Friday, nor Easter Sunday.

    I did not sing.

    But Christ is still risen.

    And we still need His Light.

    And we still need His Life.

    • For me the music is usually the best part of the service too — either that or the Bible reading. But usually the sermons I can listen to here in churches in Melbourne are not worth listening to, so I generally walk out before the sermon starts.

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