Keep on the Sunny Side

I cleaned the carpet today. Rented one of those machines at work and lifted a lot of dirt, even got out a few stains. Physical labor is therapeutic. Gardening and farming is better because your hands get into the soil, back to what you were created from, closer to God, but hard physical labor is a close second.

I rewarded myself (and the kids by proxy) with delivery pizza and a movie. The kids picked The Order of the Phoenix.

I hate that movie, hated the book. Of course, with the book I had the benefit of throwing it against the wall whenever I was upset at the stupidity of it all. Can’t quite do that with a TV.

So, I camped out in my room, all ready for a night of pizza, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, and Candy Crush. Then I ran out of lives. And I have Netflix on my iPad mini.

Recommended for me:

Spotlight.

I should have seen it. I had every intention to see it when it was in the theater. I never did. It was released less than a year after I left Zelena, a little more than a year since he asked me to kill myself, and I don’t suppose I was up to it at the time.

I was only going to watch a few minutes. I don’t stay up past 10 most nights, and I worked fairly hard today. I work fairly hard most days now. I’m exhausted, and busy, and behind on everything.

Now I’m not really sure when I’ll sleep again. I’m pretty f’d up over the whole thing. And just when I swore to give up swearing. No, I’m not kidding. Told myself last night I was done, don’t want to slip up in front of the customers. And if Braniac can will himself at age 8 to give up chewing on his hair in his sleep, well, anyone can do anything.

The part that finally killed me was the final scene, and if you haven’t seen the movie, well, too bad. They were all afraid of the blow back from the community over publishing proof of 70 priests in Boston alone who sexually abused children and the church covered it up. Instead they got hundreds of calls from people desperate to tell their story, knowing someone was finally willing to listen after years, decades even, of forced silence by the priests, the church leadership, and other parishioners.

When I first went public with the abuse, the most disturbing thing to me was the women who opened up to me in a way they never had before. They are abused, they are still in those marriages, they are alone. Who can they go to? Their pastor? I don’t suggest it. Experience shows that about 99% of pastors are not interested. Not just my own personal experience.

All of this leads me to the question, What the hell is wrong with the church?

Keep on the sunny side. It’s our motto. The suffering are pushed aside. You’ll never hear their stories on Sunday morning. To be honest, it’s why the kids and I were baptized on Easter instead of in the church. I didn’t want to butt heads with the pastors over my testimony. I just wasn’t up to it. I’m still not up to it. Because it’s frustrating as hell. Because I’m not the only one.

One in four women is abused by an intimate partner. In the African American community that number rises to one in two. Fifty percent of African American women are abused by their spouse or boyfriend. Twenty-five percent of women overall are abused by their spouse or boyfriend.

And the church is silent.

What the hell is wrong with us?

A few weeks ago I was confronted by several people who suggested, or, sorry, the Holy Spirit told them, that maybe I’m too involved in this whole abuse thing. That it’s hindering my recovery, that being vocal about it is holding me back.

At the time I had just started my job, I was tired, I was in a lot of physical pain. Maybe they were right.

Never mind that’s not what God had told me. (Of course, I’m sure most won’t agree since I swore in this post.)

I thought, well, there are some other people talking about this, and they are far more popular than me. Maybe it’s just not what I’m supposed to do. Maybe it’s not what I’m heading toward. Maybe this new job is the end all. I like it. I’m good at it. I got a promotion in less than two months.

Yeah, and then Spotlight.

I have come to the conclusion that anyone anywhere who tells an abuse victim that the Holy Spirit wants them to sit down and shut up (essentially) is full of crap. Just because they are uncomfortable with us being open about the hell we’ve lived gives them no right.

It’s not just that they aren’t part of the solution, at some level they just can’t stand people opening about what they’ve experienced. And God isn’t like that. God is not secretive, Christianity is not the Masons, some secret society where we can’t talk about what goes on behind closed doors.

I don’t know why people say this. And I really don’t care. They’ll come up with their excuses. Oh, we just care about you. Oh, we’re just worried. You seem bitter and all this rehashing of events can’t be helpful. (Even if it has helped other women finally stand up against the abuse themselves.)

And you can’t really blame the church. It’s not really their fault. They do a lot of good. If you talk about this, well, you don’t want to negate all the good these people have done. “Look around, these are good people.”

There’s always an excuse from people who want victims to sit down and shut up. In Catholicism they played it off as a few minor bad seeds. In Protestantism we play it off as keep on the sunny side, “speak evil of no man,” even “I don’t allow women to speak in the congregation.”

I’ll tell you what. I’ll sit down and shut up as soon as all the famous pastors and leaders, the ones who write books and tell women to save their abusive marriages, even to a man who’s raped their children, are removed from the worship we give them. Because that’s what it is. Just as in the Catholic church they revered these priests as close to God as you could get, we do the same with Gary Chapman, James Dobson, John Piper, etc, ad nauseum.

Let’s recall that Gary Chapman teaches women that if their husband rapes their daughters they will need marriage counseling, but only after a few months of individual counseling.

Let’s recall that James Dobson responded to a woman whose husband had beaten her so badly that her teeth were loosened, to make him really angry. Supposedly it will blow out his anger and it will all be happy-happy after that.

When people stop saying “but they’ve done a lot of good too” or “well, they’re not entirely bad” or “it’s not all of them so I don’t see why you have to say anything about it” then I’ll maybe believe something is going to change.

Until then, keep your supposedly Holy Spirit words to yourself. You’re not part of the solution, and I don’t have time for discouragement from people who aren’t part of the solution. I’m nearly 47 years old, doing the job of a twenty year old and raising five kids on my own because my ex is an abusive ass**** who would rather I commit suicide than the world know what happened behind closed doors.

PS as for the swearing. I do that a lot. Especially when I’m confronted by the silence of the church. I wrote a thing about it back when I was still on tumblr. It never caught on but it was religious and depressing so…

(Me is any abused woman)

Me: I’m getting a divorce because my husband abuses me.
Christian: Divorce is unbiblical.
Me: You don’t understand, he beats me.
Christian: Divorce is unbiblical.
Me: He raped me.
Christian: Divorce is unbiblical.
Me: He molested my child.
Christian: Divorce is unbiblical.
Me: What the f*** is wrong with you?
Chrisitian: *gasp* How can you use such language and call yourself a Christian?

PPS You didn’t really think this was going to be a happy clappy post just based on the title and opening did you? If so, well, you totally don’t know me. 🙂

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