How is the PCA responding to victims of domestic abuse? by Lynette English & Valerie Hobbs.
Lynette English is a survivor of domestic abuse. Her story shows how one PCA1 church engaged in victim-blaming and serving the status quo, but another PCA church responded by living out the very essence of the Gospel.
…I was married to a seminary graduate, who was called to diaconal ministry and social services for many years. He was a deacon in our local church, and we played the roles of stalwart and contributing members of the church.
However, there was always something “off” in our home life, so we embarked on years of on-and-off marriage counseling of various kinds. The women’s Bible study at my church played a key role in my spiritual walk. As an adult third-culture-kid, I had a few issues of my own, and life with my husband was very difficult. The Lord was leading and teaching me, but there was most definitely a cognitive dissonance between my marriage and the rest of my life. Counselors and advisors were always quick to point out my sin, and I was quick to accept the blame. Some of that was good and needed, but it was a lot like having surgery without anesthesia. I’ve come to learn that spiritual growth can come with kindness and compassion!
I didn’t apply the word abuse to my marriage for a long time. He never hit me, but I didn’t realize that holding me down, blocking my way, kicking in a door, or driving erratically were forms of physical abuse. …
Read the full article by Lynette here: A Tale of Two Churches: Abuse and Protection of the Vulnerable in the PCA– a testimony of a journey through brokenness unto healing.
1 PCA stands for the denomination called The Presbyterian Church in America. You can read Wikipedia’s article on the PCA here.
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Dr. Valerie Hobbs has written three articles about how the PCA has been responding to abused women. Dr Hobbs uses the case of Jessica Fore (another abused woman) as a springboard for her reflections on trends she has noted in the PCA. Dr. Hobbs, Ph.D. is a Fellow in Christianity and Language, Greystone Theological Institute and a Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics, University of Sheffield. Here are her three articles:
- Beyond Symbolic Gestures: The PCA and Underprivileged Women — Collateral damage: Abused women whose churches fail to minister to and care for them
- Portrait of a Deviant Woman — Vulnerable members of the church are frequently portrayed as abnormal and even deserving of suffering
- Serving the Status Quo