The Piano: Adventures in Recovery

by Calulu Reading through the many different stories at NLQ of how we were enmeshed in the unhealthy lifestyle that is patriarchy, fundamentalism, quiverful, dominionism, evangelism, name your ism, has led me to wonder why we all so readily embraced that which was so clearly illogical and dangerous. There must be something in us that went off in that direction that’s significantly different than the average person that likes regular movies and beer plus other forbidden things in our old religious lives. This isn’t about those that were raised in the life. Growing up to emulate your parents is perfectly understandable, be your parent Charlie Manson or Billy Graham. I’m talking about those of us that willingly signed on as adults, who should have known better in the first place. I did notice during my own frustrating years toiling in fundigelical land that the truest bluest believers seem to have some quirk or oddness. It usually didn’t show at first but once you delved deeper you could discern some brokenness inside. Significant brokenness. Like they were using their extreme flavor of God to plug some holes filled with deep neediness. Like a drug.

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Justice is No Lady: Chapter 10 My Right to Be Heard

By Tess Willoughby

Nate got another partner almost immediately. He found her on a Christian dating site. Patty had money from her millionaire father and a big house paid for by the government salary of her estranged husband. Nate had told me that remarriage for me was unbiblical, but he found a loophole in Scripture and told the children that he and Patty were already married in God’s eyes. God having spoken, Nate moved into Patty’s house and put our marital home up for rent.

Nate wrote me a letter warning that if I did not “come to terms” (give him full custody of the children), he would hold a big yard sale and sell off everything in the house that belonged to me and the kids. He had the right to do this, having been awarded the entire contents of the house by the courts. The letter specifically mentioned a silver tray that my grandparents had given us as a wedding present. The toys, costly and old-fashioned and ordered from catalogs, had been my parents’ birthday and Christmas gifts to the children. The kids had left behind probably two thousand dollars’ worth of toys–$300 in large hand-carved wooden blocks alone. Nate sold them all, except for a few that he informed us he would keep at Patty’s house for “when the children come home.” Nate sold or gave to Goodwill the 150 books in my personal library and the children’s library.

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A Brief Comment on Divorce and the Bible

by Sierra

Therefore take heed to your spirit,
and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away.
(Malachi 2:15-16)

When was the last time you looked at this verse? It’s used all the time, in the Message and in evangelical culture, to justify opposition to no-fault divorce and the rising trend of multiple marriages. “God hates divorce” is the mantra of many Christian conservatives. But have you ever thought about what this verse actually means?

How did a verse that so obviously tells men to be kind to their wives and not to leave them destitute become a verse that tells women they have no right to leave an abusive marriage? (Isn’t promising to love, protect and provide for someone and then throwing them out on the curb the very definition of “dealing treacherously”? Divorced women were in dire straits in that era.) Branham taught that men could divorce women for adultery, but women could never divorce their husbands, under any circumstances. Branham taught that wives could win their husbands to Christ and change them from abusers to saints by living the example of the Holy Spirit before them. That is not what this verse is about. This verse, if anything, looks like it’s about God caring for the afflictions of spurned women andcommanding men to treat their wives better.

The “stay until he changes” dogma is a fiction created by cobbling together piles of fractured Scriptures into a Frankenstein that bears no resemblance to the words above. God hates divorce, indeed, but not because it ends a marriage. He hates it because it hurts women.

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NLQ FAQ: The Bible & Accountability in Marriage – Part 2: The Marriage Covenant & Covenant Breaking

by Kristen Rosser ~ aka:KR Wordgazer

Part 1 of this FAQ addressed ideas for helping your marriage when following the teachings of Quiverfull does not work as you had understood it was supposed to. But the Bible does not teach that being a Christian is a formula, or that your actions will guarantee the response of someone else. Each person has his or her own choices to make, and ultimately, they are that person’s choices alone. You cannot force your husband to do the right thing, and this brings us to the very difficult question asked at the end of Part 1:

But what if my husband is completely unrepentant and refuses to change behaviors that, if I am honest with myself, I must admit are harming my children, our marriage and myself? Is there anything I can do then?

The Bible regards marriage as a solemn contract, or covenant. A covenant is a kind of treaty between two parties, characterized by promises that need to be kept. When a covenant has been violated– when one of the parties breaks the covenant promises so frequently, callously or heinously that the wronged party must consider it irrevocably broken– there are ways for the one who has been wronged to end the covenant. Marriage is no different. In Jeremiah 3, Israel’s covenant with God is pictured as a marriage contract. God had kept His covenant promises, but Israel had continually broken them without repentance or any attempt to right the wrongs. In verse 8 God says, “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce. . . .” God describes Himself here as the wronged party in a marriage covenant. The promises of the covenant had been broken beyond repair– not by God, but by Israel. God’s divorce of Israel did not break the covenant; it merely acknowledged that the covenant had been broken. But God nevertheless described Himself as getting a divorce. Since God would never sin, it could not have been wrong for Him to get a divorce– because He was not the one who broke the covenant. Covenant-breaking is a wrong that we must avoid; but when the other party has irretrievably broken the covenant, the wronged party is not obligated to pretend that the covenant is intact. It is up to the wronged party to decide when enough is enough. Forgiveness is important, but forgiveness alone will not restore a broken covenant. The party who broke the covenant must repent and bear the fruit of repentance, showing a real desire to change his ways and beginning to honor the covenant again. Israel refused to do so in Jeremiah 3, and the Bible gives us a picture of God finally deciding that enough was enough, and withdrawing from His covenant with Israel.

But doesn’t God say, “I hate divorce” in the Book of Malachi? And didn’t Jesus say, “what God has joined together, let not man separate’”?

We will examine more closely what Jesus said shortly, after examining the shared understandings He and His audience would have been working under, that we today may be missing (see the FAQ “Quiverfull and the Bible” for more about original intent and shared understandings between the author and audience of biblical texts). As for Malachi 3:11-16, here is what it says: “Judah hath dealt treacherously. . . and hath married the daughter of a strange god. . . Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously; yet she is thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. . . Therefore take heed your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the Lord, the God of Israel saith that he hateth putting away, for one covereth violence with his garment. . .”

God was angry because in this case, the divorce itself was a breaking of the marriage covenant, for the women who were being divorced had done no wrong. Instead, it was the men divorcing their wives without cause who were doing wrong, committing treachery against the covenant by marrying other women. It was the breaking of the covenant that God hated, for He looked at it as tantamount to committing violence and then covering it over. When the marriage covenant has not been broken, then divorce itself breaks the covenant and is therefore wrong. But in the case where the covenant is already broken, divorce could not be wrong, or God would not have spoken of Himself as initiating a divorce.

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