I recently received an email from “Henrietta” who asked:
If I choose to get involved here, contribute etc, am I part of a Christian but anti QFP group; or an anti Christian and esp anti QFP group?
It is ironic that NLQ seems to be perceived quite differently depending on the perspective of the reader. We have several new readers who are commenting here on the blog ~ conservative, Quiverfull Christians who are convinced that NLQ is nothing but angry, pro-abortion, Feminazi Atheists. On the other hand, MoJoey at “Deep Thoughts” recently promoted NLQ with the caveat: Now granted, No Longer Quivering is a Christian site and I don’t normally pimp out the opposition but the woman who runs the site is a loving and tireless worker fighting to free others from a cult. Over at Free Jinger, someone was asking, What’s with all the bible quoting at NLQ?
Considering that No Longer Quivering was recently added to the official Atheist Blogroll ~ Henrietta asks a legitimate question!
I hope it won’t be too frustrating for readers if I don’t answer with a simple “Yes,” or “No.”
Since its beginning in March of 2009, NLQ has grown into a community ~ “a gathering place for women escaping and healing from spiritual abuse.” Most of us have spent years, even decades, twisting and contorting ourselves to fit the narrowly-defined, sharply delineated dogma of whatever particular brand of cult we were caught up in. Although we are a diverse group representing a variety of backgrounds, cultures and beliefs ~ we hold in common the shared experience of being conformed to a rigid system of thought which controlled every aspect of our lives and defined us as women and as (sub)human beings.
We’re here now, regaining our sanity, our sense of self ~ on the path of recovery from deep wounds and spiritual trauma ~ and every one of us is at a different place on that path. That makes us hard to peg ~ and indeed, we resist labels and categories ~ we want to be known for our unique perspectives ~ so it’s not uncommon for NLQ members to write in their introductions, “I am a Christian, but …” or “I believe in God, but …” or “I am an Atheist, but…” ~ this is our way of avoiding being stereotyped as though what we now believe can be labeled, neatly summarized and tied up into a nice, tidy Creedal package.
As for me, I am feeling more comfortable referring to myself as an atheist all the time. I’ve written about my current beliefs (lack of belief) here ~ but I am not pushy or outspoken about my rejection of the bible and Christianity here on the No Longer Quivering website. Now, on my Twitter account ~ it’s often a different story. If you follow my tweets, I sometimes sound like an angry God-hater ~ I cuss and gripe about “The Big Guy” and get in heated 140-character-per-point arguments with Christian apologists who attempt to witness to me. Sometimes, I submit guest posts to Ex-Christian.net such as “Atheist Churchgoers Anonymous?” which I believe are not relevant to NLQ and do not belong here. I recently wrote a review of “Drunk With Blood: God’s killings in the Bible” (scroll down the page to see my review) ~ a rant against the bible, “The Bible God,” the sacrifice of His Son and the martyr mentality which is so much a part of the Quiverfull philosophy.
Judging by all that ~ it’d be easy to conclude that No Longer Quivering is an atheistic, anti-Christian site ~ but NLQ is not all about me ~ there is much more to the story here and, in fact, the majority of the guest writers here are Christians specifically because I want this decidedly anti-Quiverfull website to be Christian-friendly and welcoming to Believers whether they are practicing QF/P, questioning that worldview, or seeking to escape from the legalistic, demanding, impossible-to-live-consistently lifestyle.
An important goal of the Take Heart Project is to produce materials which counter the Quiverfull/Patriarchal ideas from a biblical perspective. Kristen Rosser is doing an excellent job of critiquing QF/P point-by-point in the NLQ FAQs as well as her series, “Testing the Spirit of Quiverfull.”
That doesn’t mean that every article posted at No Longer Quivering is necessarily going to be sweet and sensitive to warm the Christian readers’ hearts. As I stated on the forum recently, Precisely because spiritual abuse is so intensely personal ~ exposing the dangers cannot be “just the facts” ~ the hurt and the anger and the wasted years and the guilt wrt what we’ve subjected ourselves and our children to ~ all with the best intentions! ~ it gets very messy ~ and because it is so ~ NLQ is going to reflect the mess ~ and sometimes with great intensity which will make QFers upset and uncomfortable.
Nevertheless, we do make an effort not to be outright offensive. No Longer Quivering is in no way a place to promulgate atheist ideas or de-convert Christians. We are eager to meet readers where they’re at so far as their beliefs are concerned without judgment or a list of “shoulds” and “should nots” with regard to faith, lifestyle, etc. ~ but the site itself DOES have a goal of exposing Quiverfull/Patriarchal fundamentalism and freeing women from the hell of trying to live according to legalistic interpretations of the bible. That’s why you’ll find so much Scripture-quoting here ~ we want to offer alternative approaches to those verses which have historically been used to control and dis-empower women and deny us and our children of our value as unique, individual human beings.
The women (and a few men) of No Longer Quivering truly are a diverse group representing a variety of spiritual values which pretty much cover the spectrum of conservative to liberal belief, unbelief, certainty and doubts ~ with plenty of ambiguity, mixed feelings, loosely-held conclusions, and even a smattering of strong opinions thrown in to keep things interesting!
We do reach out with compassion and understanding to every woman who is damaged, hurting and looking for relief and healing from the spiritually abusive teachings of QF/P. We are all in the process of recovery ~ and we strive to be mutually supportive, sensitive to the emotional triggers which tend to be unique and often unexpected ~ we don’t insist that everyone else follow the same path at the same pace that we are taking on our journey to wholeness and freedom.
We don’t always get along. It takes strong-minded women to rid ourselves of the QF/P “mental burqa” ~ and we eventually come to a point in which we are no longer willing to “make nice” merely for the sake of keeping the peace, not hurting another’s feelings, or protecting fragile egos at the expense of our own thoughts, feelings, and opinions. Part of the healing is learning to stand up and say, “I matter too!”
At times, this NLQ community seems like an ongoing group therapy session ~ presuppositions are challenged, PTSD triggers are tripped, conflicts arise ~ it can be chaotic at times. Somehow, we most often manage to work things through and come away with greater understanding of ourselves and each other. Considering the variety of religious/spiritual beliefs represented here at NLQ, combined with the personal hell which most of us have been through and at times, continue to experience ~ I think we do amazingly well.
Discuss this post on the NLQ forum! Comments are also open below.