A Cry For Justice

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

A little stranger star

wisemen little star no camels desert

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.


[August 12, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

Usually pictures show the wise men following a star that is nearly as bright and large as the moon. But this is sheer speculation: Scripture doesn’t tell us anything about the size of the star. It merely tells us that wise men noticed the star when it rose and they somehow knew it signalled the birth of the King of the Jews. So they went to Israel, asked King Herod where the new King had been born, and when they had finished the interview with Herod the star “went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.”

(1) ….behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,  (2) saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

(7) Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.  (8) And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”

(9) After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.  (10) When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  (11) And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him….  (Matthew 2:1-2, 7-11  ESV)

Here is a beautiful hymn about the wise men and the star.

Saw You Never, in the Twilight1

(Click here to hear the tune — link opens in new tab.)

Saw you never, in the twilight,
when the sun had left the skies,
up in heav’n the clear stars shining
through the gloom, like silver eyes?
So of old the wise men, watching,
saw a little stranger star,
and they knew the King was given,
and they followed it from far.

Heard you never of the story
how they crossed the desert wild,
journeyed on by plain and mountain,
till they found the holy child?
How they opened all their treasure,
kneeling to that infant King;
gave the gold and fragrant incense,
gave the myrrh in offering?

Know ye not that lowly baby
was the bright and morning star?
He who came to light the Gentiles,
and the darkened isles afar?
And we, too, may seek His cradle;
there our hearts’ best treasures bring;
love, and faith, and true devotion
for our Savior, God, and King.

Rather like the wise men, the Christian victim of abuse sees a little stranger star and sensing that it bespeaks truth and freedom from oppression, she crosses the desert wild. The journey across plain and mountain is fraught, dangerous, lonely….and when she gets to a built-up area there are crafty figures in positions of authority who masquerade good-will towards her, while secretly planning to roadblock and destroy the victim and the source of her hope.

But the star leads her to the right place. And she worships the Lord who brought her out.

1Words [Internet Archive link]: Cecil Frances Alexander 1853. [August 12, 2022: We added the ink to Hymnary.org’s page for the lyrics to Saw you never, in the twilight. The Internet Archive link is a copy of that page. Editors.]
Tune: Chartres, a 15th century French Melody; harmonized by Charles Wood.
This hymn is on page 228 of the Trinity Hymnal which is one of the hymnbooks used by Christ Reformation Church where Jeff Crippen is the pastor. Thanks to CRC and Jeff’s wife Verla for introducing me to the hymn.

[August 12, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to August 12, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to August 12, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to August 12, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (August 12, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]



  1. fiftyandfree

    May more and more abuse victims find that stranger star and follow it all the way to safety.

  2. Starlight

    I love it. How did they know that star signalled the birth of Jesus, King of the Jews? Did they know Jewish prophecy? Did God initiate the idea in their dreams? But they knew!! Their quest was honoured and they found Jesus, God led them all the way! They kept their eyes on the star! The birth of Jesus was not ordinary – creation burst forth to herald it – angels sang, worthy gifts were brought! The least important in the world’s eyes were the first witnesses, believing the angels who announced it and sang to them. Like Jesus said when He rode the colt into Jerusalem, if the people didn’t cry Hosanna, the very stones would! Just like every knee will one day bow and confess that Jesus is Lord! Truth cannot be kept silent, the fulfilment of Time and Glory had arrived!

  3. Still Reforming

    Yes, and she blesses His Holy Name for teaching her about evil, about which so few in the church seem to be concerned these days. I am grateful to the Lord for His opening my eyes to it and for introducing me to the true Christians here on this site. Merry Christmas, Barbara, Pastor Jeff, Twbtc, A Prodigal Daughter Returns, Ellie, and everyone else on this site, readers and blog hosts alike. May God richly bless you all in the coming year with His wisdom, peace, comfort, protection, and guidance.

    • a prodigal daughter returns

      Thank you, Still Reforming, I feel that prayer in my soul and I rejoice! Merry Christmas to you as well and may God give you great joy

  4. a prodigal daughter returns

    Thank you, Barb, what a revelation to consider the journey to freedom in this light. I saw this passage this morning and it touched me that God will prepare a table of joy and blessing for His lambs in the presence of their enemies. He will vindicate as His provision and grace is poured out on those that call on Him for help and rescue. I’m learning this season that joy can be an act of resistance to oppression. The enemy and his minions cannot take the gift of joy that God gives away from me because my source isn’t from people doing the right thing anymore.

    To the readers here, some of the worst abuse in your life may have occurred on Christmas. This is true for many. You may have shattered hopes of warm family holidays where love is the glue that makes it beautiful. You may feel like an orphan in this world. I’ve been there and lived to see God make this holiday one in which He gives me divine comfort, help, hope and joy and those that mock my faith in the family can’t touch that!

    May God grant you peace that He sees your situation, delights in you and is bringing about your deliverance. May that hope sustain you with joy and may God guide your steps with such provision that you are overwhelmed at His tender love for you. May God restore your hope! Here is a Christmas present promise from the God that keeps all His promises.

    (17) “The LORD your God is in your midst,
    A victorious warrior.
    He will exult over you with joy,
    He will be quiet in His love, (calm you)
    He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
    (18) “I will gather those who grieve about the appointed feasts —
    They came from you, O Zion;
    The reproach of exile is a burden on them.
    (19) “Behold, I am going to deal at that time
    With all your oppressors,
    I will save the blame
    And gather the outcast,
    And I will turn their shame into praise and renown
    In all the earth.
    (20) “At that time I will bring you in,
    Even at the time when I gather you together;
    Indeed, I will give you renown and praise
    Among all the peoples of the earth,
    When I restore your fortunes before your eyes,”
    Says the LORD. [Zephaniah 3:17-20 NASB1995, addition of (calm you) done by A Prodigal Daughter Returns.]

    • Anonymous

      Wow – just profound pearls of wisdom throughout Scripture! I am continually comforted while reading God’s Word. When I think back to what was happening one year ago, I am reminded of God’s deliverance and He was my Shining Star. I fled on a cold, rainy, foggy and dark night, completely emotionally and mentally broken, exhausted, weak and traumatized! I had no idea where I was going but I knew that I needed to flee to safety. I looked up to the heavens on that dark night and said, “Dear Lord, You lead I will follow.” He did exactly that. And so this Christmas Eve I celebrate with a deep joy that He has put in my heart. Merry Christmas to each and everyone of you! He is a faithful and loving God.

  5. Finding Answers

    (Airbrushing through the fog and tears….led here by the Holy Spirit.)

    I do not know the hymn, have never seen the words, cannot work up the courage to listen. Me, who has always loved to sing. Me, who sang in “c”hurch choir.

    Worship music serves a purpose.

    I miss hymns.

    No matter how hard I tried, Christmas was never a “Merry Christmas”, whether in my family of origin, my “marriage”, or post-divorce.

    No matter with or without the “c’hurch.

    One Christmas, shortly post-divorce, a sibling called at suppertime to tell me my (late) grandfather was a paedophile. Tell me other family “secrets”. Then said, “Merry Christmas.” and ended the call.

    I know today is not Christmas.

    I know I am “out of season”.

    ACFJ has become my little stranger star, leading me back to my Lord.

    Maybe this year? Maybe this year?

    But the star leads her to the right place. And she worships the Lord who brought her out.

  6. Jamie

    I am praying for you regularly, Finding Answers….especially this past week.

    You are so brave to post as you struggle through so much of the material here. Thank you for letting us come alongside you.

    It is hard work you are doing. And it takes careful planning and extra effort on your part to write with such careful attention to detail.

    You have been an encouragement to me. I know you have been an encouragement to others.

    • Finding Answers

      Thank you, Jamie.

      Each time I write, I complete the re-integration of more memory fragments.

      There are times I do not know where the Holy Spirit is leading me until I post the comment. I follow Him word by word, praying I “have the ears to hear.”

      Each time I write, I pray someone will find balm for their tattered soul, another piece to fit into their puzzle.

      My physical safety, unlike so many on ACFJ, is not in jeopardy. For that, I am profoundly grateful.

      The writing is the greater struggle. I struggle with finding the words to express exactly what needs to be expressed, without triggering anyone. Without losing the intent of the comment. Without losing the healing anodyne. Without losing (too much) internet safety.

      Your reply encourages me, too. Gives me a glimmer of hope.

      Thank you….

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