Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What's your response to an abscess?

Even after the trial I still come across posts that attack Tina, calling her a liar, manipulator, out for money, and other things. I am deeply hurt by this. People use their opinions or their “insight” to make a judgment call on my wife’s truthfulness or motivations. In past “notes” I’ve expressed our motivations. We have no ulterior motive. Our biggest motivations are to make awareness of abuse in IFB churches and to encourage change in churches to prevent further abuse.

At first I thought that they just didn’t get it. After all the facts are out there, how do they not understand? What I’ve come to realize is that they do understand. They get the big picture. Tina is the symbol of all the other children that have been or are currently being abused. Tina’s story strikes a huge nerve to one of the biggest “notworks” in fundamentalism. What abuse story do you know that would involve two men in different churches in states thousands of miles apart who later become college presidents of two different fundamental Baptist colleges who went to the same Bible college for their degrees and are current leaders in other IFB organizations and speakers at numerous IFB events, camps and meetings?

I have a couple thoughts on why people attack Tina. First, it’s human nature. When any person or organization feels threatened, it is only natural to protect your interests. Right now, Tina is the biggest target because her story highlights some of the problems that need to be addressed in IFB churches. People will do it many different ways. A person might decide to stop calling you, ignore your invitations to get together, de-friend you on Facebook, and basically decide that they can’t be your friend or in your family any more. They might call or write you and say hurtful things. Some will get on the internet and post negative things about you and the people who support you.

I think another reason for the attacks is deflection. My thoughts are that if it’s from a friend or family, they are doing it without realizing it. They are following what they’ve been taught and they don’t see that Tina’s story is just one small example of a larger problem. It’s easier to think that Tina’s situation is an anomaly and the most common thought, I think, is, “I don’t see it and so it does not happen at my church” or “My church or my pastor would never do that” or “You’re hurting the cause of Christ and you just need to let it go.” The list could go on and on but you get the idea. They are deflecting and not opening their eyes to the possibility that there might be a problem.

If this deflection is from others in leadership or have a vested interest somehow in the IFB, I think it’s on purpose. If they can get you distracted from the problem and get you focused on the person who has brought the problem to the light, they don’t have to change. They deflect the attention onto the person and their possible defects (whether real or contrived) so that you ignore the real problem in the IFB and their organizations.

Let’s use an analogy. Tina’s story is like an abscess or injury on a person. You have a couple of choices. You could try to cover it up with a band-aid or medicate it so that you don’t feel it any more OR you can address what’s causing the abscess or injury. If the infection or injury is not fixed, it could cause permanent damage and even death. Tina’s story brings to light that there is a problem. If the problem is not addressed, the infection will get worse, the injury will cripple, and IFB churches will not be able to live up to their full potential and possibly die.

13 comments:

  1. You are correct in your findings.
    Tina's situation is one of TRUTH exposed. The IFB feels threatened by the TRUTH, and that is the problem right there.

    Whenever a person speaks up, or abuse is discovered another way, it is the OUTSIDE that is attacked by the IFB as against God, as if they were representative of God.

    This is happening right now to people who were mentioned in the Mother Jones article (July/August) issue on the newsstands. While there are those who are supportive, others are angry with the people who spoke about about abuse in IFB religious detention facilities for children.
    They are called the same damn thing as what Tina is being called, and the accusations fly. Why?
    Because the people who are entrenched within the IFB do not want anything to change. Any TRUTH exposed feeds into their persecution complex. You don't expect them to admit a problem, do you?

    Seriously, you are having a problem with this reaction because you are a person of integrity, thus, this type of behavior is abhorrent to you. Good for you!
    WE are in YOUR corner, and we honor and appreciate Tina and all she has done, as well as YOU, and her other supporters. Those who spew hatred are not happy, and they are wrong.

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  2. Tim,
    I would have to agree with what you've put out here. The IFB does know what's going on, and is desperately trying to cover the issue. By attacking Tina's credibility, they try to save what little they have left. The truth has been told. Those that no longer want to hide their head in the sand will join the chorus of voices shouting for justice. Those that want to keep putting band-aid's on amputated limbs will continue to cry about how they are the 'true' victims.
    Tina and your willingness to allow the world to see your personal wounds has exposed the 'abscess'. Those of us who found our voice through Tina and Jocelyn will continue to join the thousands of survivors crying out for justice and healing.
    Thank you both for sharing your journey. I know my life has been changed by it.

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  3. grandma natchamatterJune 28, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    Tim,
    Don't worry about why people make those comments. People that make those comments feel threatened. I believed Tina from the very beginning because I have been there. Justice will be served. Tina has so much courage and I admire her for that. Keeping Tina and all survivors in my prayers.

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  4. The thing I don't understand most about these people's reactions to Tina, or anything really that one would find "disagreeable" in the IFB community, is their absolute lack of compassion. As Christians, we are raised to have our hearts full of the love of Christ. That, honestly, I think is the whole point of Christianity. Yet, sadly, this is the trait that is the most difficult to find. They preach and pray, but whenever someone's truly in need, they are the ones fastest to turn their backs, to ostracize, to judge. Tina's situation is heartbreaking because it emphasizes what exactly is wrong with IFB churches and schools. Any good Christian, any good PERSON would only want to heal the pain, right the wrongs, and demand change for this abuse in all forms. How can they not see that it isn't Tina who is putting a image on God's name, but the very people who claim the joy and love of Christ as their lives and are so full of hatred?

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  5. Tim, I'm glad you blogged about this. Every single time I see accusations like that it breaks my heart. There's just no rationale--no common sense even behind the accusations. The crazy thing to me is that it comes down to people that just can't or won't believe that someone they thought they could respect (Phelps) would in any way mislead them or be so wrong in his judgement. It's just easier to blame the people that threaten their comfort zone in their small world than believe the unthinkable. No pastor or leader should ever be put on such a pedestal. No one is beyond the reach of pride or sin.

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  6. And such a fallen pastor such as Chuck Phelps should not be attempting to stay on the pedestal. Just as Tim said, these are his and others feeble attempts to deflect and try to prop up the dead. Just apologize folks. Just make it right. How sad to see the extremes people will go to avoid making things right. It's an incredible demonstration of pride and arrogance. Thanks for this post, Tim. Many prayers for your family.

    --Mom of 3 daughters all abused in IFB

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  7. speaking the truth in a practical way and by being real is not a daily ordinary practice in these conservative legalistic churches. Pastors that cover up for immoral men keep up the appearance of church but do not love their "sheep" the way Jesus loves His children. He gave HIS life to keep us blameless. NO man in any of these churches would give their life to keep their women or children blameless before GOD, but they will "cover" for each other. The good ol' boys club must stick together. One questions, if they really serve in a church or are building their own cult? You follow our men, and keep your mouth shut, then you will survive in this community. One questions again: "What about eternity?""Who will be with Jesus?" the one that has remained faithful to Christ even though they have been abused, or the one that kept up the outward appearance, even though they lied? GOD knows.... And you will too, deep down in your heart. Keep up the good fight!! In Jesus we will prevail...

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  8. I do not understand why these IFB people feel compelled to lie--don't they believe their own Bible forbids it? They spew such anger and treat people with such hate, and then they call Tina and the survivors of their abuse bitter? Could it be that they are really insane? When such wickedness is being practiced and then so aggressively concealed; they obviously feel threatened because they have a great deal of corruption to hide. That's it right there: corruption. Corruption must be hidden. If the truth gets out, then the corruption can destroy the organization. But why are they so obsessed with protecting themselves on the outside while they are being devoured alive from the inside out?

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  9. Thank you to you and Tina for your outstanding courage. I admire you both for your resolve to tell the truth in the midst of persecution, pain, and personal suffering. May God's unconditional love and radical grace sustain you.
    These IFB leaders attack the victims because they are wolves that bite and devour sheep. To these men, the "flock of God" is nothing more than prey on which they feast. They disguise themselves as sheep and their disguise is vital in their ability to "catch" their prey.
    You, your wife, and other victims who have chosen to speak up have essentially jumped into the middle of the wolf pack and have begun reeking havoc on their disguises. If their cover is blown, these men will lose everything and they know it. Therefore, they viciously attack anyone and everyone who cries "wolf."
    Keep up the good fight. I support your efforts and I pray that God will use you both to continue to expose the wolves so that you and other sheep may find healing, comfort, freedom, and justice.

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  10. Simply put, I stand behind you and Tina all the way. I represent the deafening silence in Rhode Island that's soon to break after being put through elevem years of mental and emotional abuse in the IFB, and indirectly helping a teenage girl who was raped and got pregnant by a member of the IFB church I used to go to. The girl kept her baby and is letting her grandma raise the child. I left the IFB nearly seven months ago and have been praying for Tina and her family since I first heard about this on TV.

    Those who wish to slander your wife, Tim, are missing out on what's good in life for them. Their insecurities in the wake of the exposure of their church drive them to protect their fellow members...brainswashed would be more appropriate. I'm still praying.

    God Bless.

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  11. So humbly articulated, Tim ... there is a predictable pattern to spiritual abuse. Deny. If there is no way to deny, discredit. When we attempted to hold leaders accountable for their conduct, they went all the way to calling us blasphemers. I wouldn't have believed such things were possible among people who name the name of Christ until I lived it for myself. You and Tina have my heartfelt love, respect, admiration, and prayers.

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  12. I am SO very sorry for you and Tina and that you have to hear these kinds of things about your wife. I know how difficult it was for me to hear lies being spread about my husband (and compared to your situation - it wasn't nearly as bad). I think it hurts even more when it is your spouse and you can't take it away. My husband kept saying the Lord would take care of his reputation and repair it. And He did - at least where it mattered the most. I am praying often for you and Tina. - Michele Massie

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  13. your insight is simple and true. i am a survivor of 21yrs of IFB mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical abuse. i am so grateful to tina for telling her story. please remind tina everyday of her strength and love that she passes to her fellow survivors! together we won't be denied or discredited! together we bring healing!

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