Love, Respect, and Consent

Emerson Eggerichs’ book Love and Respect is, in my opinion, a dangerous and damaging book.[1] In essence, the entire premise of Love and Respect functions to promote Emerson Eggerichs’ blatant desire to disenfranchise women within Christian marriages, and establish a deeply patriarchal hierarchy within the home. This agenda can be seen clearly by examining the gender essentialist arguments Eggerichs uses to describe the purported differences he has discovered between men and women.

Gender Essentialism

In a nutshell, Gender Essentialism is the belief that there are basic, inviolable differences between men and women.  These differences are said to occur at the very depths of a person’s gender identity and are specifically tied to distinct biological differences that are said to be as distinct as pink and blue.[2]  These differences are held to be universal, normative for all people in all places and all times.

Not all Gender Essentialist arguments are the same, but all such arguments are deeply rooted in the propagation of patriarchy.  As such, whatever the gender differences purported, all are used to promote some form of binary concept of gender used to denigrate against persons who do not fall within the perceived boundaries of what it means to be “male” and “female.”  In fact, the fear of rejection for having a non-conformative identity is often used to control and/or manipulate others into faking a binary identity.

These arguments are damaging, as they create a hierarchy which gives preference and power to a distinctly privileged majority over and against a rejected minority.

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Love, Respect, and Gender Essentialism

Feminists have long noted that one of the foremost areas in which Gender Essentialism is damaging is the intersection of patriarchy and the denial of sexual agency to women.  It is no surprise, then, that Gender Essentialism runs through every page of Love and Respect – from his first reference to “pink and blue sunglasses,”[3] through his assertion that women don’t want men who sip gourmet coffee and have face to face conversations at coffee shops around small tables,[4] and into his final assertion that a wife needs to respect her husband’s work outside the home and, if she “can’t say anything respectful…[don’t] say anything at all.”[5]  Each of these examples, and so many more, are used to argue that Love and Respect are needs delineated clearly across a gender binary which dictates female and male marital roles.

Every chapter serves as a crash course in the dangers of Gender Essentialism, culminating in a clear argument that the teachings of Scripture deny women any notion of sexual agency.

In order to accomplish this, Eggerichs devotes chapters 15-20 to explaining the acronym CHAIRS, a 6 tiered presentation of how wives are to show the Respect he claims is at the heart of their husbands’ masculine desires.  Each point builds up to the next, providing what Eggerichs believes to be a comprehensive look at what “biblical” respect entails.[6]  The acronym is explained as follows:

C – Conquest

Eggerichs begins by telling women they are incapable of understanding how important having a career is to men.[7]  While he allows women to work outside the home, and notes that women can be important leaders in the workplace, their true, incomparable worth is as mothers.  To put it differently, he states that those who advocate “domestic equality” say there is nothing wrong with women working while husbands stay at home, but Eggerichs insists that men are not qualified to be the primary caregiver of small children.[8]  The man – having an innate desire to conquer – needs a career to satisfy his desire to be respected and the place of a wife is to support them in this pursuit.[9]  In fact, in an appendix on the topic, Eggerichs goes so far as to tell wives it is not their place to decide how much their husbands should work.  Instead, they should respect their husband and support him in his work, trusting that God will reveal to him how being a “workaholic” is unloving.  But under no circumstances is she to try to assert her own will here, instead, she must speak respectfully or say nothing at all.[10]

H – Hierarchy

Eggerichs continues by arguing that husbands need to protect and provide, and wives need to submit to this.  The husband is given a responsibility that women are apparently not created to bear.  In fact women are wired to want to submit, thus the only reason a woman would ever consider balking at submission is that she is afraid her husband will abuse the authority.[11]  But, according to Eggerichs, this is no reason to violate their God ordained role in the home because an abusive husband will supposedly not become more abusive in a hierarchical marriage, because abuse is apparently not linked at all to hierarchical systems which privilege and entitle men.[12]  Instead, he asserts it is entirely natural for a husband to view himself as “over” his family.  A wife with a healthy concept of the “biblical hierarchy” of the family will not only respect that desire but will also seek to encourage and empower him in this role.[13]

A – Authority

As the woman is to submit in all things to her husband, it only makes sense to Eggerichs that the husband – as head of the household – is also the boss of his wife.[14]  As such, women are encouraged to give up at least one percent of their say in the relationship, effectively giving their husband a 51-49 split and allowing him controlling interest in the marriage.[15]  That is to say, by giving up her equal standing – something God never actually granted her anyway it seems – she is guaranteeing her husband has final say in any and all disputes.[16] If she should happen to disagree with his final say, her only godly option is to remain dignified in her silence as a submissive woman.[17]

Further, she needs to defer to her husband as her boss out of respect because God has gifted him with the responsibility of providing for the family and her with the responsibility of submitting in respect to her husband.[18]  And, as Eggerichs states later in the book, even if the husband is a verbally abusive rage monster, this submission is about ultimately fulfilling divinely appointed gender roles anyway.  Thus, even if her husband refuses to love her, she can at least be “energized” by knowing that her suffering is God’s will and act in faith that the abuse under which she perseveres is part of God’s plan for eventually redeeming the man he has placed in authority over her.[19]

I – Insight

This, of course, leads to the assertion that men are somehow granted an extra portion of insight from God.  Eggerichs is sure to tell wives that they may be very smart and possess a great deal of intuition and wisdom, and even tells men that it is good to listen to the council of their wives.[20]  However, he then turns around and asks the rather astounding question:

 Is one automatically chauvinistic for asking a good-willed wife to consider that “it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman”?[21]

Apparently, because Eve ate the fruit when she was deceived, somehow Eggerichs believes Adam is the one who was better off.  You see, Adam knew exactly what he was doing but must have succumbed to the council of his wife, thus causing the fall of the entire human race.[22]  This is why male insight is so important, and why women must accept that they are easily deceived. Asking a man to defer to her is also asking him to abdicate his god-given responsibility as the hierarchical head of the marriage.[23]

R – Relationship

 Wives need to be “shoulder-to-shoulder” friends with their husbands.  By this, of course, he means that a wife needs to sit down, be quiet, and watch intently as her husband continues to do whatever he wants to do.[24]  Apparently, men rather enjoy when their wives sit quietly and watch them do manly things.[25]  According to Eggerichs, when women do this husbands will suddenly open up the deepest desires of their hearts and thoughts of their minds.[26]

But, of course, you must do this at his invitation and understand that sometimes he wants this “shoulder-to-shoulder” time with other men instead.[27]  It is not the place of a wife to critique the amount of time her husband spends with his friends.  As with everything, if he needs to be convicted of neglectful or unloving behavior, God will do so in his timing.  The wife’s role is only to submit because, “Your husband has a need you do not have, and that need is met in a way that feels unnatural to you.”[28]  This entire thing is just too confusing for female minds, it’s better to just go along with it.[29]

S – Sexuality

 In chapter 21 of Love and Respect, Eggerichs make his most disgusting argument of all (which is saying something considering what I’ve outlined above).  Drawing upon the deeply gender essentialist explanations of “Love” and “Respect” he has developed to this point, he offers a prescription for all sexual woes within marriage.

He begins by recounting a story in which a wife refused to have sex with a husband who was being emotionally withholding.  Apparently, the husband was intentionally neglecting his wife’s emotional needs, and this led her to lose her desire and willingness to engage in sexual intercourse.[30]  According to Eggerichs, God himself revealed the following message to this wife: “Who is supposed to be the mature one here?  He is a new believer and you’ve been in Christ for many years.”[31]  Because of this so-called divine revelation, she decided to “minister” to her husband sexually, “not because she wanted to, but because she wanted to do it as unto Jesus Christ.”[32]

This is only the tip of the iceberg however.  Eggerichs continues by stating that men want sex all the time, while women supposedly do not have such a “need.”  This means that having sex with one’s husband is a god-given ministry by which a wife must demonstrate unconditional respect to her husband.[33]  In fact, Eggerichs explicitly states, “As a wife, you spell respect to your husband when you appreciate his sexual desire.”[34]  And in case you wonder how serious Eggerichs is about this “sexual respect” being unconditional, he forbids a wife from considering the expression of “Love” toward her by her husband a prerequisite for engaging in sex.[35]  Further, he insists in an earlier chapter that any act of disrespect by a wife is equal to any unloving act by her husband in its sinfulness.[36]

Eggerichs even includes the rather strange subheading, “A Dose of Respect Beats a Dose of Viagra Any Day.”  In this section, Eggerichs directly states that a wife’s lack of attention to her husbands “sexual needs” leave him “ripe for having an admiring woman tempt him” and even notes a case in which he claims this led to an affair.[37]  According to Eggerichs, while women care about emotional connections, apparently men mostly just want to get laid.  Thus, if a wife wants her husband to actually show her love and emotionally connect, then she must make sure he is not so horny he that he can only view her (and any other woman!) as a piece of meat.[38]

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Implications

As such, Eggerichs works quite intentionally to rob women of their sexual agency in marriage.  By using guilt tactics to insist that withholding sex is just as damaging and sinful as an act of abuse, Eggerichs tries to convince women that sexual submission could in fact cause the abuse to stop.  Further, he tells women that they cannot require emotional intimacy or closeness as a prerequisite for sex,[39] as this is about being respectful to their husbands “as unto Jesus Christ.”

He goes on in the “Energizing Cycle” chapters (23-24) to state explicitly that even if a woman’s husband is not in any way loving, she still has a responsibility to observe all aspects of respect outlined in the CHAIRS acronym, because ultimately she is obeying God and will be rewarded by him for her submission.[40]

 To make that clear, Emerson Eggerichs states that a wife whose husband is abusive must still submit to him sexually because having sex with her husband is an act of worship directed specifically toward Christ, who has appointed her husband as her boss in all matters.

But it still does not end there.

In his advice to husbands, Eggerichs repeatedly attempts to motivate husbands to be “loving” towards their wives, because the reward for this will be not only God’s favor, but likely a lot more sex.[41]  Further, in Appendix D, Eggerichs lists a series of “humble and soft” ways in which a husband can ask his wife to meet the various “respect needs” outlined within the CHAIRS metaphor.  This list of blatant guilt trips and coercive rhetoric culminates in the following advice for convincing one’s wife to have sex:

 When you said you were just too tired to have sex, that felt disrespectful to me.  I understand you’re tired, but I hope you understand my need as well.  It’s not that I’m oversexed; I really need to hold you close.[42]

However you slice it, Eggerichs insists that godly husbands need to have sex with their wives as often as necessary to keep them from having affairs or looking at porn, and godly wives need to always be willing to have sex, viewing it as an act of “Christian” devotion they undertake gladly.

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Marital Rape

Given Eggerichs obsession with sex which literally permeates his view of the marital relationship, it is astounding the degree to which he works to undermine any notion of informed consent.  Instead, he goes so far as to claim that a woman does not need to want or desire sexual intercourse, but she does need to submit to it none the less.[43]  Using these gender essentialist categories of male and female sexuality, he argues that women have a responsibility to prevent their husbands from having affairs by giving them so much sex that they don’t desire it elsewhere – after all an unsexed man is a helpless man.  To reinforce this, Eggerichs quotes these words from a letter he received:

“I don’t blame her for [my] immorality, but she doesn’t own up to anything.  I’m not blaming her, but she is not blameless.  She never said she contributed to the problem.  I want to forget it but she won’t let me.”

Eggerichs is absolutely shameless in using every device possible to make sure wives never say no to sex, even if the husband is an abusive and unloving asshat.  All of this ensures that “consent” is a category of Christian heterosexual marriage that never sees the light of day.

This point needs to be 100% clear. Sex without consent – even among married persons – is always rape.

Of course, this claim cannot stand unexamined.  Thus, it is necessary to define “consent” before drawing any hard conclusions.

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Consent

 The Department of Justice of the United States defines rape as, “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”  They further explain the choice of this language by stating it was specifically formulated to consider the various ways in which consent can be undermined.  As such, it is important to understand precisely what constitutes consent.

The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) defines consent as explicitly given and mutually agreed upon permission to engage in a sexual act.  Consent is about mutually respected boundaries.  According to Project Respect, this consent must be continuous, may be withdrawn at any time, and must be an enthusiastic mutual agreement.

The Emory University Office of Health Promotion further expands upon this definition in creating their campus definition of what constitutes sexual assault.  This definition includes a list of circumstances which undermine consent, and thus are classified as sexual assault or rape.  Among these, they note that Power Differentials and Coercion both undermine a victim’s ability to consent to any sexual contact and further state that Marriage does not negate the necessity of obtaining consent.

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Conclusions

By the above definitions, Eggerichs definition of marital sex cannot considered to promote informed consent.  Consider the following:

  1. Eggerichs encourages wives to engage in sex even if they have no desire to do so, thus undermining the notion of an enthusiastic and continual “yes.”
  2. Eggerichs encourages wives to engage in sex as an act of submission to their husband’s hierarchical authority, thus undermining consent by creating a power differential.
  3. Eggerichs makes unconditional submission to sex a contingency of being a godly wife, thus using the fear of being “ungodly” to undermine her ability to consent and make submissive sex a contingency of her marital “duties.”
  4. Eggerichs explicitly tells husbands that they are allowed to use coercive rhetoric to guilt their wives into sex, by calling a wife who does not submit to sex “disrespectful,” the husband uses manipulation to undermine her ability to willingly and enthusiastically consent to sex.

This blatant agenda is promoted by the use of gender essentialist categories to undermine any notion of consent within Christian heterosexual marriage.  Because gender essentialism is necessarily based upon creating a binary notion of gender identity which necessarily denigrates persons, and thus creates a hierarchy based upon gender conformity, it will also always function to undermine the notion of consent in sexual relationships.

Emerson Eggerichs demonstrates this by knowingly and intentionally using gender essentialist categories to create a vision of marriage masquerading as Christian theology, while functioning as a thinly veiled rape apology.  In this light, Love and Respect is exposed as nothing more than the propagation of patriarchy in order to undermine and deny the freedom of sexual agency to women within the church.

To be blunt, Emerson Eggerichs has an agenda which runs entirely counter to the cross of Christ, which humbles the powerful and empowers the weak (1 Cor 1:18-31).  As such, his teachings are anti-Christ and must be removed entirely from the culture and teachings of the church.

 

**If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, rape, or a any other sexual crimes I urge you to call one of the following hotlines or visit their websites**

National Domestic Violence Hotline:
800-799-7233
http://www.thehotline.org/

Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network
800-656-4673
https://rainn.org/

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
800-273-8255
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline:
888-373-7888
Or text: HELP to 233733 (BeFree)
https://traffickingresourcecenter.org/

 

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all citations refer to page numbers from Emerson Eggerichs, Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004).

Also, throughout this post I will refer to God In the masculine. This is done to reflect the argumentation of the author. For my view of God and gender, see here.

[2] 32-35

[3] Ibid.

[4] I know that sounds insanely specific and outrageously absurd, but a quick read of the subsection “Only Chickens Get Henpecked” on page 129 the disgusting depths Eggerichs is willing to delve to promote his patriarchal vision of marriage.

[5] 317

[6] I have argued strongly against Eggerichs claim to present a biblical argument here.

[7] 194-196

[8] 198-200

[9] 201-203

[10] 315-317

[11] 206-208

[12] Despite Eggerichs’ claim on pages 207-208, studies show that the association of gender roles with social order or religious beliefs are often a significant factor in intimate partner violence, as shown here and here.

[13] 210-213

[14] 216-217

[15] 221-223

[16] 219-221

[17] 221

[18] 217-219, 221-223

[19] 293-303

[20] 227-229

[21] 230

[22] Ibid.

[23] 231-237, cf. 216-217; 218-221

[24] 240-242

[25] 243-246

[26] 247

[27] 248

[28] 247

[29] 246-247

[30] 249-250

[31] 249

[32] Ibid.

[33] 251-253

[34] 251

[35] 255-258

[36] 103

[37] 254-255

[38] 255-258

[39] 258

[40] 268-296

[41] 132,137,144,158,163

[42] 312

[43] 249, 257

**Cover Image from http://www.niu.edu/sexualmisconduct/images/Consent_logo.png**

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93 thoughts on “Love, Respect, and Consent

  1. Thank you so much for writing this review. I am sitting here crying, remembering the damage this book did to me and realizing the damage I still have to heal from. My pastor gave me this book when I came to him for help.

    My husband was often angry about sex and, after reading this book that I hated, I thought I had no choice but to put into practice what it said to try to heal our relationship. I would pray before sex, asking God to help me submit and have sex with someone who treated me so unkindly. Sometimes I cried afterwards. I shared this with a christian counsellor while weeping in her office. She told me that was very spiritual of me.

    There are very few times in our over ten-year-marriage that I can think of having sex with my husband when I did not feel intense pressure, guilt, or manipulation. I am only just beginning to realize that for years I was sexually abused by my husband.

    And then this book made it seem as though I was worshipping God and pleasing him if I had sex even when I didn’t want to. No wonder I was so confused for so long and thought God loved him more than me. What other conclusion would you come to?

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    1. Joy,
      I’m so sorry. Again and again I have heard of the damage this book has done.

      You were manipulated into, then forced to remain in, an abusive relationship in order to uphold the systems,privileges, and comforts of men.

      I hope you have begun to find safety and healing since this.

      Like

    2. Joy,

      I am sick at heart reading your words. The damage done by Love & Respect is shameful & I am very sorry that you were sexually, spiritually, & verbally abused by your husband. Jesus is nothing like the wicked teachings in L & R. Prayers for you, may our tender Lord tend to your wounded heart, as you scrub these toxic teachings from your soul. Love, Gail

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      1. The most oft-forgotten verse within Christian Patriarchal circles is Romans 6:1-2: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? ”

        Saying “You have the opportunity to grow and become more spiritual because of this abuse you suffered” is fundamentally ignoring the command of Christ to NOT allow perpetual sin in your midst, especially if it directly affects you.

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  2. This book is satanic. Anyone who could write such a degrading book and cloak it in God’s Word cannot know the Lord. They are far from Him; rather, they are false teachers, workers of iniquity, and children of the devil. I’m angry and horrified.

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  3. Thank you Nate, for doing this in depth look at the Eggerich book. And for pointing me here from a comment i made on the ACFJ blog.

    You are articulating things i could not put into words that still bothered me.

    And the CHAIR example and your deconstruction of it is my entire married life in a nutshell. Workaholic and if i wanted more of his time, i was too unreasonable. Someone had to work hard, so i could stay home with the kids (which was easy compared to what he did), gallavanting around, spending the money he worked so hard to earn. Like i was some trophy wife running around buying designer goods and going on expensive trips. No, i found free and cheap things to do so my kids would have childhood memories of fun because he was too busy for us. (When not at work, he was working at church ministry.) Spending sprees were taking them to the dollar store and giving them each a dollar to spend. Years of juggling bills, trying to make ends meet. When a very lucrative part time job fell into my lap, i wasn’t allowed to take it even though it would have made a huge financial difference … because for the first year to 18 months, my hours would be noon to six pm …. and his dinner wouldn’t be on the table at 6 pm every night. So, nope, sorry, you can’t take that job. But a year or so later when he decided to coach some christian school/church teams, it was just fine to eat at 8 pm or later.

    I could write pages of how my life fit Eggerichs CHAIR example and yet i still always felt guilty, ashamed, not a good wife because he was rarely happy with me, no matter what i did. I learned that sex made him happier and easier to live with and i never said no, even if we hadn’t talked or had meaningful time for days or weeks or months. A good Christian wife never says no to her husband, no matter how marginalized, lonely or hurt she feels. And at least i kind of had some attention from him then. How brainwashed i was!

    Ugh …. and video of Eggerich speaking on his books, using a squeaky little girl voice when talking about the woman’s perspective. So disrespectful of women, i thought. Shudder.

    Anyway, thank you so much Nate, for taking the time to do these posts on Emerson Eggerich’s “Love and Respect”. Such a blessing to read.

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    1. I am so sorry to hear the control, neglect, and manipulation you have experienced. You do not deserve that kind of abuse.
      Can I ask, are you still married?

      The teachings of Eggerichs, and men like him, are so dangerous. Time and again, I hear stories of how they have empowered abusers and destroyed marriages.

      Thank you for sharing your story.

      Like

      1. Until two years ago, i had no idea it was abuse. I thought it was me, all me. Such a bad wife, bad person. Until we took a family trip with our adult children, it was supposed to be a celebration of family time before they all started moving out and away. An incident happened that shattered me completely. The kids knew something was wrong, witnessed his more and more blatent abuse, even in front of them. Several weeks after the trip, i was still trying to make sense of things, what had i done?, what could i have done differently? with eldest daughter as my sounding board. She very gently said “Mom, it’s not you. Emotional abuse is still abuse. ” i was so confused. I had no idea what she was talking about. Never heard of emotional abuse. Started researching online, reading books, trying to refute the truth really. But i couldn’t. Started counseling on my own. Two months later confronted husband and he turned every last thing i told him back on me, while he sat there with a smug smile on his face. I was shattered and confused again. All i wanted was recognition that he had hurt me and was sorry. Nope. Not happening.

        Took another year to gain some clarity and feel more emotionally strong. Found ACFJ blog and Lundy Bancrofts book, Why Does He Do That.

        Until then i thought my only escape was death, mine or his, because i was taught and believed that marriage was forever except in the case of adultery. I didn’t want to go to hell for divorcing him. Better to live in hell with the knowledge that eternity would finally give me peace and happiness than send myself to hell for eternity, breaking vows made before God and man, because i couldn’t bear any more pain and heartache here. I married him willingly, for better or worse, how could i just leave because it was “worse”?

        I would like to leave, now feel free that i can leave and not be breaking the marriage covenant. I’ve learned to accept that he broke it long ago and the blame is not on me, if i make that choice to leave.

        I’ve read and heard it said that often the fear of things being worse if we leave keeps us in bad situations longer … the devil we know is less scary than the one we don’t . That’s where i am. Still married. In name anyway. But I’ve also read and heard that when the pain/fear of staying becomes greater than the pain/fear of leaving, you jump. I’m close to jumping. My kids support me and have encouraged me to leave and be happy. They have built me up, told me over and over again what an awesome, strong, wonderful person i am to them and others … to the point that i believe it … most days … lol. So, someday soon, i will leave. Just don’t have a time frame yet.

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        1. Anne,

          It breaks my heart to hear about your situation. I want to encourage you that you are doing nothing wrong by walking away from your abuser.

          I am glad to hear you have family support. That is awesome. I hope you can find freedom from your suffering.

          I’d like to suggest a couple links, if I may.

          1st, I want to provide you with this excellent post by Marg Mowzcko.

          http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/divorce-malachi-2/

          2nd, I posted this post this morning, talking about concepts of forgiveness and abuse.

          https://natesparks130.com/2016/07/03/father-forgive-us-2/

          Like

          1. Thank you for your compassion. I am truly doing so much better now. I rarely feel “crazy” anymore and though getting rid of the guilt and shame is harder, it’s happening. I’m blessed by my wonderful children. I am starting to find joy in things again, rediscovering the optimistic, happy person I know I once was. It’s a slow process, but I didn’t get here overnight, I won’t heal overnight either. But I’ll get there eventually!

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        2. Anne, thanks for sharing. Know what? Now is the time for you to grow in your inward freedoms, as you are being built up by your family and educating yourself about abuse and awakening from all its blinding nuances. As your inner woman and identity in Christ is strengthened (as Christ sees you, not as your husband sees you) and you learn to set boundaries things will change – whether that means you stay well in the marriage or you leave well. God is good and his intentions for you are always goodness and freedom (He already bought these for you), and He will make you able to make whatever necessary decisions you need at the right time. Bless you in the Name of Jesus! ❤️

          Like

  4. This was very affirming for me to read. I read Love and Respect years ago in my difficult marriage. I wanted so very much to do the right thing before God. But something about this teaching didn’t sit right in my spirit. I could not verbalized it though. Thank you for your clarity and for sharing it here. Feeling less crazy as a result. PS- is there any way to know if ‘Hurting’ got help?

    Like

    1. Less Crazy, “This teaching didn’t sit right in my spirit” – you are discerning a religious spirit. Lies that put people in bondage, not truth that sets them free. May the Lord prosper you into all things in Christ.

      Like

  5. Pastor Sam Powell has just published this post about rape and what God has to say about rapists.

    https://myonlycomfort.com/2016/06/07/i-dont-know-what-to-say/

    Some excerpts:

    But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter: (Deu 22:25-26)

    … Here are the facts. According to the bible, one who rapes is the same as one who murders. A rapist is not someone who “makes a mistake”; one who is just overwhelmed with passion and couldn’t help it. A rapist is one who is so thoroughly degraded, who has so thoroughly corrupted himself that he is no longer fit to live. No man can do anything about a rapist. He’s beyond help.

    That isn’t me who said that. It was God himself. No one, not me, not this judge, not the church, can pretend otherwise. A rapist is not overwhelmed with lust, or love – but rage. Rage against God, and therefore rage against the image of God. He sees beauty, personhood, innocence, or even just a human being in God’s image and wants nothing more than to destroy it, whatever it takes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Many people do not realise it, but 1 Corinthians 7:4 is probably the clearest verse in the whole Bible that says a woman can say no to sex!

    “For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” (1 Cor 7:4)

    The husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. This means she can tell his body to not do things to her body. She has the authority to tell his body what it can and cannot to do her body.

    So if a husband says “You must let me do this to your body because I have authority over your body”, the wife can say back to him “No; I have just as much authority over your body as you have over mine, so if I say you can’t do that to me, you must not do it. Our authority over each other’s bodies is equal and reciprocal, so neither of us can force the other do to anything they don’t want to do!”

    Sexual is supposed to be engaged in by mutual agreement and for mutual enjoyment. If one party does not feel comfortable with something, that thing shouldn’t be done. Sex is supposed to be about BOTH people loving and giving pleasure to each other, and never forcing one person’s will on the other or making them feel uncomfortable. There is no other way of understanding verse four.

    Many Christian women have been taught that they have no authority in the marital bed and that men have all the rights. But women have just as many rights and just as much authority as men in the marital bed.

    Whether or not the Bible teaches egalitarianism in marriage overall, I think it is beyond question that Corinthian 7:4 teaches egalitarianism in regards to the sexual-intimacy aspect of marriage.

    And here’s a related post by Dr Phil Monroe, a Christian psychologist :

    https://wisecounsel.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/1-corinthians-7-whose-body-is-trump/

    Like

  7. From page 290 of “Love and Respect” —
    “Yes, your spouse may be harsh, unloving or disrespectful A LOT OF THE TIME but just remembering that your spouse is really a person of goodwill can put you on the road to the reward cycle.”

    So Emerson Eggerich would have me deny reality. If my husband is harsh, unloving and disrespectful a lot of the time, I must deny that reality and instead believe that he is really a person of goodwill.

    So Emerson Eggerich would have me LIE. He would have me tell an untruth to myself over and over and over again. He blatantly urges me to break the ninth commandment.

    Get behind me, Satan! And I’m talking to you, Emerson Eggerich!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Consent is the “Yes” you say when you are free to say “No.”

    Emerson Eggerich makes women feel like they are not free to say “No.” He therefore enables domestic abusers raping their wives.

    Like

  9. I wish I could explain how violently wrong this is. I have been forced into this and I would probably be beat if he knows I wrote here today. I am raped and sometimes by others too all because god says this is the way of things. I am scared and I can’t do much about it.

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    1. I am so sorry. My email address is available on my about page. This is wrong and I would like to put you in touch with some abuse advocates who can help you. If you want to take that step, please reach out. You don’t deserve this and there is no justification for how you are treated.

      Like

      1. i don’t know if I can. i can’t find the about me page anyway. can’t live like this but can’t escape. well i can. maybe. but i will go to him, he is drinking with two friends and i am summoned.

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        1. Hurting,

          I am praying for you. Been on the go today & couldn’t respond earlier. If possible please reach out to the people who have offered you help & guidance. You are HIS beloved and it is not His will for you to be harmed in this way.

          Like

    2. Hi Hurting,

      Nate sent me a note about your comment here and I’m so glad that he did and also very glad that you reached out. I’d like to connect with you. If you are able to safely send me a note at spiritualsb@gmail.com, I can send you a link so you can join a private forum where you will receive support from me and others who care. It’s a very safe place, and because there is no email exchanged, it is very difficult to track.

      It sounds like you are going through so much. Being raped is completely wrong. I am so, so sorry you are dealing with this. I hope to hear from you soon.

      ~Julie Anne

      Like

      1. i wish i believed anymore that escaping was possible. i have tried and learned my lesson the hard way. i shouldn’t have said something. there was just three inside that room. reminders that god gave me to him and to be thankful that I’m given life and fed and kept safe.

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        1. Hurting,

          Thank you for responding. You don’t need to do this alone. Please contact me via e-mail when/if you are at a safe place and cannot be tracked. I’d like to help you if I can. I really do care. You do not need to be in an emotional/physical/spiritual prison. God doesn’t approve of anything like that. I believe you reached out for a reason. Keep going, Hurting. It’s okay to ask for help. {{{{hugs}}}} spiritualsb@gmail.com

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          1. I can go to ymca internet zone today. I want out. I think. He does what he does to me and recently had invited some others. even one from the church. I am a faithful little toy I’m told. And he reminds me it would be more like a death sentence if I left, and I have no where to go. no where.

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          2. Hurting, I’m going to help you. You are going to have to trust me and I know this is probably going to be one of the most difficult things you have done. You can do this. Nate and I and Kathi (who is a social worker and helps me) will figure out a way to get you free. You do not need to live like this anymore. This is not what God has in store for you. Christ came to set the captives free. You are loved, friend.

            Like

          3. Dear Hurting. If you want to leave, I strongly suggest you ring the DV hotline and tell them you want to go into a shelter. And also, I suggest you tell them that you want a DV professional to help you with Safety Planning.

            Here is info about the USA DV Hotline—
            phone: 1-800-799-7233 aka 1-800-799-SAFE
            website: http://www.thehotline.org/
            Their hotline is staffed 24/7 by trained workers. There are no fees, no names, no judgements. Just help.

            If you are in a country other than the USA, go to our Hotlines page as it has contact details for national hotlines in other countries.
            Our hotlines page is what I gave you in another comment, but here it is again—
            https://cryingoutforjustice.com/resources/hotlines/

            Liked by 1 person

          4. Hurting –

            We will do what we can to help you. Your safety is most important overall. Please feel free to call me as well if you need to. 503-447-6821.

            Like

          5. Hurting – Kathi, above is my friend who helps me a lot. She is a trained social worker and has experience helping people in crises. She is safe and I trust her wholeheartedly. Now you have 2 phone numbers 🙂 There are people who want the best for you here. You don’t have to walk this journey alone.

            Liked by 1 person

        2. Hi Hurting, I am one of the people who runs the blog A Cry For Justice.
          I believe you.
          It is not your fault. You are not to blame. No matter what you choose to do — whether you stay with the abuser … or leave the abuser … or leave and go back… — we will support you.

          We have lots of resources and support on our blog for Christian victims of domestic abuse. You may want to check us out on a computer that your abuser has no access to. Like one at your local library. Or one at your local Womens Support Centre.

          Here are the places at our blog I suggest you check out first:

          https://cryingoutforjustice.com/for-new-users/

          https://cryingoutforjustice.com/resources/safety-planning/

          https://cryingoutforjustice.com/resources/social-networking-and-multi-media/

          https://cryingoutforjustice.com/resources/hotlines/

          Like

      2. The email I sent to you and Nate is the only one safe in the way he will never see it. it was created out of town and I check only if safe. I hurt after last night. I am not capable of maintaining this. My body can’t take it even if anything else can.

        Like

          1. I just did. scared to call. You see something I don’t. hope for different situation. I think this is just my life now even if not by my choosing

            Like

          2. Hi Hurting,

            I can understand why you would be afraid to call. You’ve only just met me. That makes sense. But at least you have the number in case you need to make a phone call. And at some point it may be necessary if you have no access to internet, that’s why I wanted you to have it.

            I’m very easy to talk to. I’m pretty harmless. I’m a mom who understands abuse because I grew up in abuse. I now use that experience to help others.

            Hurting, you didn’t mention if there are children in the house. Do you have children?

            Right now it would be important for you to work on an escape plan. See if you can gather important paperwork (birth certificate, social security, marriage license, health insurance, life insurance, financial documentation.) Start putting aside money.

            Do you have a friend or neighbor who can house these items, plus a change of clothes and other personal items in case you make a quick escape?

            This is a lot to think about, but it is a good starting point.

            Please keep us posted, ok? We’re here for you! We care!!

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Hurting, I’ve been thinking of you today too. Only you know when is the best time for what you need to do. We will be here for you if you need us.

            Like

      1. I have never before heard this told to me. I’m not sure I believe that help at this point is even possible. Or that I should even try. I’ll be disobedient and that is punished harshly.

        Like

        1. Just going to add my voice to the rest.
          You can get out.
          And you should get out.
          It does you no good to stay.
          And it does him no good for you to stay. He will never learn what is right as long as he can easily get away with what is wrong.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I think Mara has an excellent point. There are resources available and we will be happy to get you the help you need. You are not in this alone and this situation is not healthy. You do not owe an abuser anything. This is about you and your health and safety.

            Like

        2. Hurting — I left an abusive situation two and a half years ago. I was not allowed to leave the house by myself, he picked my wardrobe, who I spoke to, controlled my emails, phone calls, all my accounts, including financial. I was not allowed to speak to anyone, including waiters without his permission (which was rare). He would rape me after beating me “to prove my love, respect and repentence” because of the sin of disrespecting or disobeying him. YOU NEED TO LEAVE. I had a 8 month baby and didn’t know where to go or who to call. You have two phone numbers there. My biggest regret was waiting for the “right” time to gather belongings and set things in order. I even cleaned the house for him before I left!! Make sure you have your documents, but everything else is replaceable. You may have a long time of starting over and a “fractured” life, but nothing beats being safe. Safe physically, emotionally, psychologically. I was living in a country not my own and without family and moved to a city where I knew no one in order to get away. My life is far, far, from what I thought it would be, from my “ideal.” It took me a long time to accept what happened, but I was dead and now I am ALIVE and I can sleep in peace. Right now, this man is not allowing you to exist. I know it’s hard to believe, I was where you were: trapped, watched and scared. This is not biblical. And getting help, scary as it is, is essential. Go to the police and find a safe house. I’m praying. Trust in Him. I committed Psalm 37 to memory, and I recommend it to you. David fled when pursued by Saul and later when Absolam took over the kingdom. Joseph took Mary & Jesus to Egypt. Paul snuck out of a city that was persecuting him. Staying with him is not martyrdom. I wasn’t ready to leave when I left. I had made the first phone call to a hotline just a week before. But I am so glad for those strangers who reminded me that my life was worth something and that God did want me to be safe and live! You are LOVED by God and God ABHORS what it happening to you, crying over you! You are precious and are being horrifically sinned against. Be safe and please, call Julie Ann or Kathi (or both!)

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Dear Hurting,
          you said: “I’m not sure I believe that help at this point is even possible. Or that I should even try. I’ll be disobedient and that is punished harshly.”

          I understand that your husband punishes you harshly if he deems you have disobeyed him. Abusers do that kind of thing. They claim their wife has ‘disobeyed’ them and then they retaliate, to try to crush the wife’s resistance to the abuse.

          I want to tell you that resisting abuse is a right and godly thing to do. All victims of abuse resist the abuse in creative, imaginative and prudent ways. Even the Apostle Paul resisted abuse (Acts 16:36-40).

          I’m a survivor of abuse myself. Many of the ways we victims have resisted abuse are hidden, quiet, not obvious. Because we have found by bitter experience that overt resistance leads to more intense abuse. This is the awfulness of abuse. It is a black hole.

          But there is hope. We believe you. We support you. We honour you for how you have prudently and creatively and imaginatively tried to maintain your personhood and dignity and self-hood, in the face of unimaginably wicked oppression and adversity.

          I want you to know that the slogan “God hates divorce” is a lie. The Bible gives complete liberty to the victim of abuse to divorce her abuser if she so chooses.

          At A Cry For Justice, we give books away to victims who can’t safely purchase them. The books we give away are:

          “Why Does He DO That? – Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft. (this is the best book of all time about domestic abusers. Many victims have said it turned on the lightbulbs for them and helped them get out of the fog.

          “Unholy Charade: Unmasking the Domestic Abuser in the Church” by Pastor Jeff Crippen. ( Jeff and I are co-leaders of the blog A Cry For Justice)

          “Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion” by myself.

          I would suggest Lundy’s book as the one to read first.

          If you want us to give you these books, go to
          https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2016/05/24/blog-news-gift-books-offer-additional-news/
          That page will explain how to obtain the books in a way that is safe for you.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. I want to reinforce what Lea has said here. Exploitation, coercion, and abuse are entirely inconsistent with the God of the Bible. Anyone using the Bible in that fashion is working against God not for him.

        If you would like to read more on this when/if you can find some safety, I have written a post on why the way Eggerich and people like him use Scripture is nothing short of false.

        https://natesparks130.com/2016/05/29/love-respect-and-proof-texts/

        Your abuse is not of God and you in no, way, shape or form are doing anything wrong by seeking help. In Luke 4, Jesus states that God has sent him to set captives free. In 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 Paul stated that Jesus stands with those who are considered “weak” but opposes those who claim to be the “strong” and important ones.

        You are believed and you do not have to face this alone.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hurting, we will do anything we can to get you to safety. I’m praying for you, and I hope you’ll reach out to Julie Anne, Nate, Barbara, and any of us here. This community is strong, it’s in many places, and we will do everything we can to help you. ❤

          Do you have children? I have four. They’re safe. They grow up without fear of anything other than losing their computer privileges. My biggest worry today was that I lost my debit card–and then I remembered my husband had it. I pray you’re surrounded by God’s love today, because God’s people want to help you.

          Like

        2. I can’t. It will have to be over soon. You say I don’t have to face it alone. What fractured life would I have next. I wouldn’t. I can’t face it anymore.

          Like

          1. I hear you. I understand why it would seem that way. But there is an opportunity to have a life beyond all of this. There are survivors who have found a new life beyond abuse. You do not deserve this and this does not have to be the life you live. If you want help, we will work to get you that help. I know that requires trust. I know that’s scary. But you have taken the first step in reaching out. Please let us help you find a better way.

            Like

          2. There is hope. ❤ How on earth, in the wide world of the internet, did you manage to find a group of people, all over the country, who are willing to mobilize and help you? ❤ You found us because God wants to get you out. He wants you to be whole and free. Freedom is real, is possible, and is oh so good.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. I think you are a strong, smart person. I don’t know you, but you have skills that would empower you to start over if you want to. You know how to be safe; you knew to implement a safe email address. That’s not something that that many people would do. You know how to survive and adapt to extreme circumstances that most people could not even conceive of. You don’t have to decide anything today. Just keep your options open. Think about things; take your time. Don’t feel guilty for opening up here, you have done nothing wrong and do not owe anyone an explanation or apology for this. And when/if you need us we are here. I think you are more capable than you know.

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          4. Hurting,

            I want to follow up quickly. You’re situation is heart-breaking. You in no way deserve any of this treatment. You are a woman, a human being of immense worth and value and no person has the right – divine or otherwise – to rob you of agency over your own body. I want to provide you some access to national resources where you may be able to find help. All of them work anonymously, will not record anything without permission, and will not force you to work with Law Enforcement unless you desire to do so.

            Please, we believe you and only want to help you find a life beyond the violence and abuse. At the very least, make a phone call or visit a website.

            I have added all the numbers in the body of this post as well as websites as well.

            National Domestic Abuse Hotline – 800 -799-7233

            Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN) – 800-656-4673

            National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 800-273-8255

            National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline – 888-373-7888 or text HELP to 233733

            Any of these hotlines can help you find hope and freedom. I know it feels so lonely, but there are many, many people who want to support, pray for, and help you in any way they can.

            If you don’t let us help you, that is fine. This isn’t about us, it’s about your safety. But please, make the phone call. Visit a website. Please find freedom from the evil you are forced to ensure every day.

            Like

  10. His entire premise of love motivates a woman and respect motivates a man is ludicrous. Men and women both want love and respect. I have never met anyone who would say any different.

    As for the rest of his thoughts, it’s a good thing he’s not my husband because I have very little respect for him and his teachings.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The answer to Eggerich’s question– Is one automatically chauvinistic for asking a good-willed wife to consider that “it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman”?–is a simple, resounding YES.

    Add manipulative and selfish. And nothing like my Jesus.

    Jesus’ rebuke seems appropriate here:
    “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God.”

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I heard these arguments during my formative years as teenager and they are seared onto my sexual identity. Submit, submit – it’s your responsibility to keep your husband happy and faithful – men NEED respect, women WANT love… I shudder to think how close I came to being trapped by these abusive teachings as a young teen.

    Thank God for giving me a man who loves me for me – not for what I can give him. Thank God for my husband who actively looks for ways to give and never insists on taking what I don’t feel up to freely giving him.

    My heart hurts for women who are experiencing this kind of manipulation and who feel as if they do not have agency over their own bodies.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. “he argues that women have a responsibility to prevent their husbands from having affairs by giving them so much sex that they don’t desire it elsewhere”

    And how does he explain things like a three month emotional affair, with no physical sex involved?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This is so good! Notice even in the name of the book how the wife’s needs are down played. For her love is what she “desires” (it’s on her wish list but not essential). For him respect is what he “needs” (like this is a priority he cannot function without).

    I’m sick of this whole marital rape thing being promoted in Christian books. It’s so damaging.

    Like

  15. Thanks for going through this terrible book so we don’t have to!

    I wanted to talk about this: “God himself revealed the following message to this wife: “Who is supposed to be the mature one here? He is a new believer and you’ve been in Christ for many years” Maybe if she is the mature one and the mature Christian, she should explain to him that she is not interested in sex when he treats her poorly. And that god said men should love their wives. And then cite the beatitudes, among other things. I guess that’s too logical!

    I also want to complain about this: “leave him “ripe for having an admiring woman tempt him” because it removes all agency from men. It’s obviously this woman tempting him, rather than him going after her and possibly lying about even being married, which is a thing that happens.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. That whole “sex will keep men from cheating” is total bunk. My mother followed that advice, mostly because she liked sex herself and was happy to give it. How did my dad respond? Up to his eyeballs in porn and prostitutes. I can’t even say on social media what his last transgression was; it was so vile.

    Of course if you neglect your spouse physically or emotionally, the temptation to cheat will present itself. But this notion that EVERY SINGLE URGE must be satisfied immediately or else is fear-mongering and victim blaming. Also, Eggerichs must not be at all concerned about wives being tempted to cheat while they bear through emotional neglect over months and years.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Better give him what he wants right now or there will be no peace.” That’s how children get spoiled rotten. But it’s supposed to be good for husbands?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know, right?
        It is amazing how zealously men teach women and other men this. It is so much an enforced part of the teaching. Questioning it is punished harshly.

        Often the woman knows it doesn’t feel right for her, but she is pressured to sacrifice herself for the supposed greater good of the marriage. Women have to look beyond this insidious indoctrination and realize that this teaching is bad, not only for her, but for her husband, his maturity level, their relationship, and the entire family. This doctrine infantilizes men which damages the family, the church, and society at large.

        It takes time for a woman to dig out of this teaching. It takes time to realize that this is a man-spoiling doctrine and has nothing to do with the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It takes time to realize that the inmates (baby men) are running the asylum (churches and families).

        No, Mr. Eggerichs. Your book does not reveal The Secret to a Successful Marriage. Quite the opposite. Your book infantilizes men and oppresses women.

        Liked by 3 people

  17. “women don’t want men who sip gourmet coffee and have face to face conversations at coffee shops around small tables”

    What? I guess I never should have taken my wife to Starbucks on our first date, and we should stop sitting at small tables in local coffee shops when we are on vacation. And heaven forbid we do this face to face conversation thing.

    I had thought that we both enjoyed it, but I guess I was wrong…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I so wish that was some parody comment I created. Sadly, it is an actual argument he makes, claiming that men don’t want women to be “pink” they just want them to be available.

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  18. Nate,

    My hands are trembling, heart is pounding after reading this. Brought back so many troubling memories when Emerson was my pastor. Excellent exposure of his teachings, how I bought into this garbage is clearer to me today, thank-you for your hard work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow! Emerson was your pastor! You must have heaps of stories of his oppression of women. 😦 I’m so glad you got out of his ‘c’hurch.

      If you haven’t already found A Cry For Justice, you might like to check us out. We are seeking to awaken the evangelical church to domestic violence and abuse in its midst.
      cryingoutforjustice.com

      I

      Liked by 2 people

  19. This is exactly the sort of BS I was taught growing up. It is exactly the sort of BS that keeps women in abusive relationships. This is all nothing more than blatant manipulation using “God” as a weapon against women who want to love and serve Him. I was never more miserable than when I was under and embraced this teaching, believing I would please God. It’s all such a lie. Oh, and I’m not sure whether to be sick about his teachings on sex, or laugh. So, here’s one for you. My ex was addicted to porn before we were married he lied to me said he didn’t have a problem with it, at any rate, he’d been addicted at least 15 years before we were married. Could it be argued that if his parents had just allowed him to have premarital sex he wouldn’t have been tempted by porn? God forbid we argue to take every thought captive. (And, yes, I know the argument is now that kids should get married young so they won’t have sex outside marriage…it really all would be laughable if it weren’t so f serious and destroying lives.)

    Like

  20. Wow. My memories of this book have been colored by my ignorance at the time of reading. My PCA pastor gave me and my ex abuser husband this book when we went to him for marital counseling. When the ex knew I had caught on to his abuse, he tried to leave this book lying around in an effort to coerce me back into submission. This book is beyond horrible. And why would any pastor see this as a good resource for couples counseling. This settles it. Ex PCA pastor is a wolf in sheeps clothing. Who else would propagate this shit? Nate you have a way of exposing the truth in your writing. Thank you for taking this book on. Every copy of it should be burned.

    Thank you for the freedom that is found in the truth that you write. I once was gasping for air in the atmosphere of patriarchy. Reading your work helps me to breathe freely once again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad it is helping you. It helps me to expose these things as well. I was raised in this type of nonsense and it still sometimes takes effort to fight the programming.

      Like

Thanks for taking the time to read and engage. I look forward to your feedback, I welcome any criticism. However, as my goal here is mutualy respectful, beneficial conversation, I only ask that we keep civility in mind with our words. Grace and Peace.

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