Not quite sure yet!
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Yay! I love that “I don’t know” is an option on the outside! Good for you!
Uh I love your blog, I just read a majority of your posts and slightly envy you for being able to express your thoughts like that. Love it! I got to put that on my blogroll 🙂
Oh, I just saw this! Thank you! I’m glad my blog speaks to you. As for expressing my thoughts, I’d point out that I’ve had several years to process since I left, and I’ve been at university for over five years now, in a field that requires lots and lots of processing and writing! Also, I think you write pretty well yourself, and I enjoy hearing what you have to say about your experiences as well! Keep up the good work!
Lisa, you are a good writer. I really enjoyed reading your posts (it has occupied most of my afternoon). I was a homeschooler (now a PhD student) and while my family was very open (probably like the woman’s family you went to sew with) I know several families like those you describe. It breaks my heart to think about them and read your stories; for your sake and for those I know who I am sure have had similar experiences. I was friends with one of their sons and he ran away a couple of years ago. My parents tried to help him but I think he just wanted to get as far away from everyone in his “old life” as possible. Thank you for writing.
Just in case you haven’t seen it, Dana Hunter over at FreeThoughtBlogs wrote a really beautiful piece inspired by your blog:
I don’t know where you are in sorting out your beliefs, but I hope this gives you some really hopeful things to think about…
Reading about quiverfull lifestyle has led me to a question for the QF daughters who have left QF- Have you ever been told by your parents or other authorities that you are loved, loved deeply just for who you are and that to keep that love you do not have to accomplish one darn thing?
Oh, how my heart breaks for you because, I am coming from something similar (not quiverfull just an Italian family whose mom wanted a little girl, but got me, instead, a tomboy.) but having been raised where I was taught on a daily basis how worthless I was, that I would never amount to anything….over and over and over again. And constantly being trained to do the right thing. And never getting it right. And being told over and over again how wrong I was. My very personality was always in question, attacked and put down.
I became performance-based, that I was only worthy of any one’s love or approval based on performance (school grades, etc.) And one small mistake and that approval was withdrawn quickly.
It was so ingrained that I turned all emotion inward (ok, outward shows of love to my cats and other critters I could do)
I know you are wondering if there is a God, Having been to other previous QF daughters’ bloga who decided there was not a God, My heart breaks for them, also.
So here it is for what it is worth (and I guess I am doing this for myself as well, as I am still not always convinced and need to hear it often! ) ….
Jesus loves you -very much- He accepts you just as you are, hurting, confused. lost. . If you were the only person on earth He still would have gone all the way to the cross- just for you. His burden is easy and His yoke is light. He understands your deepest hurts and loudest cries. He even accepts you cussing him out (sometimes that is our deepest prayer.)
You never have to decide if you believe in God, gods or which versions of god that you believe in or that you don’t believe in god, gods or some variation thereof. Being agnostic is an intellectually honest opinion, while complete suriety seems to me to be, at best, arrogant.
Hi, Carol. Yes, it does sometimes seem much better not to have a god to believe in. You certainly do not worry about which version or variation or the latest best thing to believe in. I certainly struggle with many things, but that is my nature. Others have less struggle. But the thing about believing in God through Jesus is the opposite of arrogance. I have sinned and offended God. But I cannot pay for my sins. God arranged it so His son would be the payment. I admit I am needy and cannot figure it out all by myself and need something more than what I am. Christianity (the kind in the Bible, not the kind which man has made it out to be) is the only religion that offers salvation through Jesus death on the cross) while all other religions say you can find what you need within yourself and your own searching. Now which sounds more arrogant?
ditto Esbee, Our Pastor has always advocated reading and following the Bible asking for wisdom, not the latest popular author or preacher..that formulates ideas and tenets by twisting scripture or not referring to scripture at all.
A fellow blogger referred me to this site. While I am saddened at the abuses you dealt with, I cannot say I am terribly surprised.
I remember reading the book by Pride–The Way Home–many years ago. At the time, I looked at it as a challenge to the hardcore feminism of the day while not necessarily a blueprint for how every Christian family MUST live. Unfortunately, I noticed a few families taking her words as holy writ. I found that a bit concerning.
Shortly after I got married, one of my wife’s friends gave her a book by the Pearls–Created To Be His Help Meet. At the time, I had not heard of the Pearls before.
As I read that book, while I could see a few good things in there, it concerned me that there were families close to my wife who were quite taken with the Pearls. (Fair disclosure: I was unaware at the time about their book on child-rearing.)
Over my 20+ years of post-collegiate Christian life, I’ve had a chance to observe a great deal of families and dynamics in churches, both liberal and conservative. I’ve also seen a good deal of what gets taught at seminaries (yes, even the conservative ones).
Sadly, my observation is that the Church–particularly in the United States–is largely reactionary. When liberals and feminists, for example, pretty much ran The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary until Mohler arrived in 1993, the reaction was to (a) kick all the liberals (and even the moderates) out, (b) shut down all debate by making sure that all faculty and staff toed the party line, and–most importantly–(c) flog the men for letting it happen.*
That last point is important, because this is where much of the problem with fundamentalist overreach stems: men are taught that everything that goes wrong is their fault.
(a) if his wife doesn’t submit to him, it is because he isn’t providing good enough spiritual leadership;
(b) if his kids don’t obey him, it is because he is a failure;
(c) if his kids don’t get the best grades in school, it is because he sucks as a parent;
(d) if there is any tension in the family, it’s because he isn’t Godly enough.
The men, sadly, rather than contesting the stupidity of such reactionary theology, are taking that type of feedback and using that as a license to exert greater control over their households. The rationale kind of goes like this: “If we are going to be judged by what our wives and children do, then it is our job to control what they do.”
I’ve seen men who were good husbands and fathers, who either (a) had wives who didn’t appreciate them, and/or (b) had kids who were rebellious, sometimes because their mom disrespected their dad. I’ve also seen very domineering husbands and fathers whose children–once reaching adulthood–ran from the Church faster than Usain Bolt with a lion in hot pursuit.
On the bright side, I’ve seen good husbands and fathers whose children grew up to return the blessing of good parenthood, who speak well of their parents, who married well.
Sadly, we–and this is on both sexes–often erect a standard of what a godly husband (or wife) looks like. That may come from hearing preachers who are eloquent, or various radio commentators who come across a certain way on the air. If a man (or woman) doesn’t measure up to that standard, then they are treated as outcasts.
The men (and yes, some of the women) need to resist the temptation to do the knee-jerk thing and become domineering in order to turn marriage and parenthood into a cause/effect proposition. (I control you/you submit to me….if I spank you enough, you’ll grow up and be a good Christian adult.)
Ephesians 5 and 6 address everyone that has and/or is under authority. And those who have authority are commanded to be loving (as Christ loved the Church) and not abusive toward their wives, exercising discipline in diligence toward their children, but not in a way that stokes anger; and non-threatening to those who work for them. (Think about it: Paul would not have had to provide such admonishment if there were no abuse issues going on.)
What I’d like to see: pastors, denominational leaders, and seminary professors need to get real about what the Bible says and does not say about authority, and an honest look at the damage that both liberal permissiveness and fundamentalist overstretch have done.
There are lots of casualties out there. Grown children–raised in the Church–want nothing to do with the Church; many pastors–truth be told–have terrible home lives; many husbands and wives have have no idea how to relate to each other, as they are playing from an extra-Biblical playbook that they were told would work if they were godly enough.
*I can speak to what happened at SBTS, because I was there when it all went down in 1993-94.
Wow, thanks your for very well-worded insights!
I have just spent the evening reading your entire blog and I am about to forward the link to my 17 year old daughter.
We are a Christian home schooling family in the UK. The overall culture over here is very different, both in Churh terms, and in the home schooling culture. However, I do sometimes come across people very influenced by these teachings …..although I suspect most of those are not very visible for the obvious reason that they don’t mix much. I have read things on some forums that make me both angry and sad ( I was a member of the above rubies uk forum for a while… Out of general interest… but came off of it when I saw the advice given to a woman with 6 children under 6 years of age, living out in the sticks with no transport , on a limited budget and home – schooling who was struggling to keep on top of everything and wanted her husband to help a bit more in the house and with the children: she was basically shot down in flames, told to ask The Lord for strength to be a better wife etc……I suspect that she was clinically depressed apart from anything else….I considered the replies to be a form of abuse.)
For myself I realise that when I began to home school and looked about for Christian inspiration on the subject I was not very discerning and did begin to take on some of these ideas. I was a young Mum, not brought up in a .christian home myself and very keen to do the best and godly thing for my new young family. Fortunately I met some really godly and sensible Christian Home Schoolers who kept me from getting too bogged down in some of this stuff…and also came across the work of Charlotte Mason ( UK Victorian female educator and teacher trainer from 19 th century….re-discovered by the Americans ! ) and the parenting books of Ted Tripp and Paul Tripp …..a grace based parenting style.
My observation is that many ” normal” Christian families who come to home schooling for all sorts of good, normal reasons can, because they are keen and serious minded people who desire to be godly get involved in these beliefs bit by bit….and then become entrenched and more and more isolated.
I currently help run a cross-denominational Christian Home School support group and hope that by creating a diverse and supportive community for new families setting out , with opportunities for discussion ( and challenge) we can help avoid people getting into extremes.
Thankyou so much for writing your story. I think you are brave and gracious.
Just reminded me again to encourage my children to be always questioning and checking the scriptures like the Bereans and not just swallowing any line.
Thank you for your comment and kind words!
Sometimes I fear that my writings will come across as judgemental of christianity, or as wanting everyone to stop believing. I’m glad it didn’t come across as such for you, because that’s really not my intention at all. It is good to hear stories of people who did not fall in the trap of “doing the best” in the name of God. I don’t even think that these abusive people mean ill, most of the time they are probably caring and loving parents, blinded by their love and fear to such an extend that they cannot see the harm they do. Either way, I’m glad you stopped by! All the best to your family!
Being the daughter of first generation Italians, I was raised Catholic. My mom chose not to attend church. She had experienced “legalism” when the catholic church would not bury her father in the church cemetery because he had become jehovah witness for a short time, found out there is a difference between religion and true Christianity. She told me “people are people. You will find good and bad wherever you go. You think because you go to XXX church all those people are going to be perfect?” At the time I had become a Christian in the sense of realizing I was a sinner and needed Jesus and YES I believed all those wonderful Christians were going to show the love of Jesus to me and others all the time, displaying true Christian spirit and love for their fellow man. NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I found out that Christians are people, faulty, sinful, selfish, etc. some not realizing, some not caring, some judging every move you make and every word you say. Without going into detail, my husband and I experienced hurt and rejection to the point where my husband and I gave up going to church. Now physical ailments prevent us from going.
What I have learned is what my mom said was true. (She always told me to give her credit for having lived longer and knowing more than me) “people are people. You will find good and bad wherever you go. You think because you go to XXXX church all those people are going to be perfect?” I have come to the conclusion that Jesus already knew this and thus He came to earth to die for the sins of mankind so we could have eternal life and relationship with God. Jesus said that what He suffered we would suffer also (rejection, mistreatment, etc) I just thought it was going to come from outside the church, not from His people !!!!!!!!
I have read the blogs of many who have been hurt by Christianity or the misuse and misinterpretation of it and decided it was not true, chunk it and become atheists. I really do not blame them.
I really wonder how Christians in communist and Islamic countries make it through the day without cursing or giving up Jesus, because they really live under the threat of prison, losing everything and death because they name the name of Jesus.
It’s interesting to see the fruit of these leaders’ lives. It looks like it is not very good. Jesus told us to examine the fruit. These leaders seem to be falling faster, interestingly enough into moral failure, every day. I do have a question for you. I’m interested to know if you believe your father is a Christian, or just a religious counterfeit.
That’s a good (and difficult) question. On one hand I believe that my dad is a christian in many ways. He certainly believes what he preaches, he’s convinced and at some point it’s possible to argue that he had our best interest in mind. I think he sincerely believes in it. From my own point of view, I do not think my dad is very ‘christian’, whatever that may mean. I think there are too many inconsistencies, too many things that don’t match up in his system (ie. the belief that we are free of the law, and yet, we had to stick to certain, select parts of the law). A lot of times, the way I see it, he twists things he says depending on when it is applied and to whom. Does he see it that way? Probably not. I don’t think he can see it the way it looks from outside. At the end of the day it seems that a belief system held by any person may appear internally consistent to that person, but not the people around him/her. We are too often blinded by our “meaning well” that we miss the application of the rules we believe in all areas of our lives.
Hello Lisa, I am from Czech Republic and just came across your blog and read your story. I am so sorry that you had to go through so much… Opposite to you, I was raised in a atheist family but my father was in a sense very much like yours (I became Christian at age 15 and was persecuted by my family because of it). I think that very often, because God is presented as a Father, our image of Him is affected by how our fathers behave toward us. My father is very controlling and loud man and it took me some time not only “understand” in my had but to “know” in my heart that God the Father is completly different… Give up on false teaching, not on Jesus ❤
I want to join those asking you to finish your story – please do! You are very good writer (I am a wife of a publisher so I am an expert on this – haha 🙂
Dear brokendaughter, another note to thank-you for your efforts in expressing the suffering and degradation you suffered/still suffer at the hands of Godly people. The Bible continues to be used for every kind of abuse and the more I have read about it over the years, the more I know that I belong among those who believe in one another and not in some promise from the sky. Once you have some distance from the great abuse and suffering in cultish family life, you can never go back. At first, I took a stand much like Esbee expressed above, but as time went on and I continued to say no to abuse, I had to move away from belief itself. People, and particularly men, use the Bible as an excuse to live out their own damaged lives. It is not right to pass that on. I am now approaching my mid-sixties and I am still facing some things from the past that Christianity only painted over. We must believe in one another and not in fantasies. We must find a way to trust one another with faults and stumbling blocks. I detest what the church suggests is a woman’s role and a man’s too. I do not think it is healthy to consider it a good thing in any sense that some God would offer his son to die. This is very sick thinking and is the foundation for further abuse. I wish you great strength. It would be a pleasure to hear your voice again here on the blog.
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