Monthly Archives: October 2013

Blinders – By Nancy Bicknell

blindersTAKE YOUR BLINDERS OFF I.F.B. PARENTS

A messaged for children who were abused in the I.F.B. (Independent Fundamental Baptist) church whose parents will NEVER stand up for them:

This is what I would like to say to you as a mom who is trying to stand up for her kids.

I am sorry for the abuse you endured. I am unhappy that your parents cannot stand up for you. Many parents are too indoctrinated in the I.F.B. beliefs to leave the church to protect their children. Yes, I said LEAVE the church  because, if parents stand up for their abused children in the I.F.B. church, they know they will be shamed, shunned and pushed out. My husband and I have finally stood up for our two boys. But, it took them being sexually abused in the I.F.B. church before I stood up. And even then, I was so fearful of the I.F.B. and their tactics, that I had to have a lot of support to stand. I did this by telling my boys it was time for them to tell their stories of abuse since they were adults now and only needed my permission to tell it all. However, the victim has to be strong enough to go through the I.F.B. secondary abuse that will be thrown at them. If they are not emotionally strong then they are not ready to tell their story.

As a Mom, I wanted my boys to talk about their abuse and I would come in as Mom and defend them, protect them from the IFB darts and, validate that I was there and everything they told in their stories was true as I experienced it with them as their Mom. So, I say this to those who’s parents may never see the light: You can find that loving support (the love you wanted from your parents but didn’t get) in others who have seen the light. I guess if you are ready to reach out, then others who understand, will reach back. No one can do this alone. The abuse in the I.F.B. church surpasses that of the Catholics according to G.R.A.C.E. We try to band together and help each other, but yes, in the end, you alone will stand on the stage of the public forum and tell your story if you choose. Many never will and they also have that choice. When all we have left is our story because the statutes of limitations is up, we know we stand together, and yet, alone. There will be no police help for us.

Perhaps some are gifted and can help change the laws. But in the mean time, find a good substitute Mom and Dad that will emotionally support you.  Lean on other abuse survivors. There are those who can write articles and play songs to bring attention to the I.F.B. abuse. I shout out to and for my boys that they are HEROES and stand behind them in the wings of the stage when they tell their stories; and I cry because I was too late and am doing too little. Yet, as they tell their stories, I see other victims standing in the audience and giving them a standing ovation; and their parents look at their children in amazement as they attempt to tell them “Sit down” Sit Down. We haven’t sat down yet…we are standing…keep standing.

Blinders
by Linda Mary Schaap

Look the other way!
Hide the shame, the tears, the ruin, the fear…
Gloss the truth, squash the ‘lie’ –
So no one will interfere…
Blinders.
Deeply festered is a wound so raw
Yet hidden beneath the acceptable.
Pain not erased even by law
For it wallows in a life susceptible…
Blinders.
Looking only straight ahead
Missing the clues of deception,
While atrocious actions multiply
And hearts are broken without detection…
Blinders.
Tear them off! Reveal the truth!
Shed the light on a tragedy!
See what’s right beside you
A soul in need of majesty…
Finders.
Diminish the hurt by reaching out
Avoid the shock, the awe, the no!
Listening, unfolding each awful truth
Of a story that just couldn’t be so…
Finders.
Please, don’t look the other way
And cover the deeds of darkness.
Nor silence an innocent voice
Who cries of confusion, shame, and brokenness…
Finders.

Equality of Women in Early Christianity

I often come across information that I find to be very educational; information that I feel everyone needs to hear because it dispels the religious teachings that religion propagates regarding women and their true positions in the early church and society. Consistently, as I find this information, I quote it on my blog and expound on it. My blog is full of articles that provide evidence of changes and corruptions in translation that have leaned attitudes of men against women and female leadership. These changes have been purposely done to write women out of autonomy and equality and point them into positions of servitude to men. These attitudes have had an opportunity to saturate societies the world over for centuries and, set a foundation for abuse of women everywhere. These abuses have never been more prevalent than in today’s culture – a rape culture – where even the smallest female child has no safety from the abuse. For an example of this mentality and culture, click any of the following links:

More rape in India as Delhi reports 4 year old assaulted

Saudi preacher gets fine and short jail term for raping and killing 5 year old daughter

Iran legalizes Pedophilia

Sacrificing Our Daughters: On the Psychology of Islamic Rape-Gangs

Throughout history, religion has, through translation, forced women into specific roles within the church and even society. This is mainly because of men dominating religion and re-writing scripture to lean it toward their biases and preconceptions, and then, using their corruptions as a means to force issues and mindsets regarding women.  All manuscripts written regarding women disciples and their roles in the church have been forced out of existence. The only remnants we have through discovery are very small. Because of religion’s biases, women have lost their equality, honor and dignity; leading to abuses in the home and society. It has also led to secular laws in some places that prevent women from ever shedding the shackles of abuse and regaining their honor and dignity back. We often hear of honor killings where men’s “honor” is emphasized, but what these abusive societies fail to consider is the “honor” and “dignity” of women; many of which, are accused falsely and, some are even killed without proper recourse to the rapist and/or murderer. Those that try to escape the abuse will find themselves in jail or killed.  And yet, others will be mutilated or tortured by these same religious mindsets. For examples of these mindsets, click any of the following links:

Norwegian Woman: I was raped in Dubai, now I face prison sentence.

Newlywed Afghan beheaded for her refusal to become prostitute

Afghan women imprisoned for ‘moral’ crimes

Female genital mutilation on the rise in the United States

Muslim gang-rapes across Europe under reported by Press

Saudi cleric says ‘baby burkas’ would prevent child molestation

Rape is Rape: How the Culture of Shaming, Stigma, and Victim-Blaming is Hurting Us

The information that I would like to share today comes from the book, Lost Christianities, by Bart D. Erhman. I believe that Erhman brings to the forefront in an exceptional way, the very attitudes of the early church leaders and gives plausible insights as to why many of the manuscripts of the early centuries disappeared that were written or handed down regarding women and their roles in the church. I sincerely hope this information is helpful and educational for the reader as it was for me.

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Lost Christianities by Bart D. Erhman

Women in Paul and the Apocryphal Acts

Scholars of Paul have debated his view of women in the church. . .a number of scholars have concluded that Paul’s instruction for women to be silent in 1 Corinthians may not be from Paul, just as the letter to Timothy is not from Paul.

What, then, was Paul’s attitude toward women in the church? In his undisputed letters, Paul indicates that “in Christ there is no male or female” (Gal. 3:28), that is, that men and women were completely equal in Christ. Moreover, as scholars of the late twentieth century began to emphasize, churches connected in some way with Paul appear to have had women leaders. Just in the greetings to the church of Rome, for example, Paul mentions several women who worked with him as Christian missionaries (Rom. 16:3, 6, 12), another who was the patron of the church meeting in her home (16:3), one other, a woman named Phoebe, who was a deacon in the church of Cenchrea (16:1), and most striking of all, yet another woman, Junia, whom Paul describes as “foremost among the apostles” (16:7).

Paul, and his churches, may have been more open to women and their leadership roles than people have traditionally thought and far more than Tertullian thought. No wonder that members of Paul’s churches (primarily women members?) told stories about the adventures of his female companions like Thecla. And no wonder that men in the churches eventually decided to clamp down, forging documents in Paul’s name condemning the practice of having women speak in church (1 Timothy), inserting passages into Paul’s authentic letters urging women to be silent (1 Cor.14:34-35), calling church councils to condemn an elder of a Pauline church who had dared collect narratives of Paul’s woman disciple Thecla and pass them off as authentically Pauline.

Some scholars have wondered whether the stories of Thecla were causing problems in the Pauline churches years before this accused forger did his work, wondered whether the existence of such stories is what led the author of 1 Timothy, whoever he was, to compose his letter in Paul’s name. It is indeed striking that the letter predicts that in “later times” there will be people who condemn the practice of marriage (4:1-4): “Paul” himself speaks against the practice in the Acts of Thecla. Moreover, the canonical letter of 1 Timothy explicitly urges its readers not to listen to “the profane tales of old women” and condemns younger women who are “idlers, going about from door to door . . .as gossips and busybodies, saying things they should not” (4:8, 5:13). The younger women who have lost husbands are to “marry, bear children, rule their households, and give the enemy no grounds to reproach us” (5:14).

This is certainly not the view advanced in the Acts of Thecla, which urges women not to marry, not to bear children, and to leave their households. For THAT “Paul,” the Paul of the Acts of Thecla, “blessed are the continent, for God shall speak with them” and “blessed are the bodies of the virgins, for they will be well pleasing to God and will not lose the reward of their chastity.” Possibly the stories of Thecla and others like them are what motivated the author of 1 Timothy to write his letter in Paul’s name. – Bart D. Erhman, Lost Christianities, pages 37-39.

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Many of the stories that had to do with women disciples obviously empowered women to be autonomous; something men did not want, have never wanted. Control is what men desire to have. If they cannot get it in society then they will get it through scripture as shown above. Forgeries done in the names of the Apostles were a weapon used to stop women from being equal; from being leaders. According to Erhman, “ancient Christianity stressed the equality of women in Christ.”

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Lost Christianities by Bart D. Erhman, page 46

For apocalypticists like Jesus, Paul, and their immediate followers, this age and the social conventions it embraces are passing away. Jesus was reputed to have women followers who associated with him in public, ate with him, touched him, supported him. And no wonder, either, that Paul had women leaders in his churches and insisted that in Christ “there is not male and female.” . . .

Even so, one can see how the message of Jesus and his followers would be attractive to women. In the coming kingdom there would be no oppression or injustice or inequality. Women and men would be equal. Some of Jesus’ followers started implementing the ideals of that kingdom in the present, working to alleviate poverty and suffering, working for justice, striving for equality. This implementation of the ideals of the kingdom was clearly evident in the early churches, where slave and free, Greek and barbarian, man and woman were all given an equal standing.

That is why the tales of Thecla and other ascetic women were not an anomaly in the early Christian movement. They were a significant statement of an important stream of early Christianity. Here were women who refused to participate in the constraints of patriarchal society. They remained unmarried, not under the control of a husband. And they were travelers, not staying at home under the authority of a paterfamilias, a father, a male head of household. The ascetic life went hand in hand with freedom to decide what to do with their own bodies, how to treat them, how to live in them; it went hand in hand with freedom of movement, not restricted to the household and household chores and the care and education of children, which occupied most women’s time.

Thus the asceticism advocated in the texts of the Apocryphal Acts both manifested and helped bring about a kind of liberation for Christian women. It is not surprise that women feature so prominently in the tales and no surprise that some scholars suspect that women were principally responsible for telling the tales, spreading the tales, embracing the tales, making the tales their own. Nor is it any surprise that other Christians hated the tales, outlawed the tales, burned the tales. It was these other Christians who, at the end of the day, proved the more powerful, for it was through the machinations of these other Christians—powerful proto-orthodox leaders and writers like Tertullian—that this stream of early Christianity was lost, only to be rediscovered in modern times. – Bart D. Erhman, Lost Christianities, page 46.

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It is very difficult for religious people to understand and accept that religion has worked very hard and deceptively to subjugate and control women through corruptions in translation and through corruption of interpretation. It is very difficult for many religious people to accept the fact that “there is neither male nor female in Christ.” Women of today must have their honor, dignity and equality restored. Without equality, they will never be treated with honor and dignity and, they will never be protected from abuse. Any time there is inequality, there will be abuse of those slighted by it. Women have borne the brunt of abuse for centuries and, even today, are not getting the protections they deserve from the abuses. Instead, society has taken a position of blaming victims of abuse instead of helping them. Let’s work to give women their honor, dignity and equality back and protect them and their children from abuses hidden under the guise of “religion.” In order to do so, we must start with unmasking the lies that religion propagates and hides that foster this abuse toward women. That’s what my blog does.

When Alarm Alerts Yell Fire! Fire! – By Nancy Bicknell

denial picA couple years ago I asked my son, Doug, to go to an addiction program at the IFB church where he was sexually abused to get some help for his drinking. Now, I know that was like taking a burn victim back to the building where they were scarred for life from their severe burns! But not then. It did not occur to me that this would harm him and not help him. After all, I was taking him to God’s church to find healing.

I had been going back into the abusive IFB church for a few months and I had developed a tolerance for the smells, sights and sounds of that church. Well, Doug walked into the church with me and said “OH God! I feel sick!” And ran for the mens bathroom to throw up. I had forgotten about the first time I walked into that abusive church after being out for years. I too, was physically sick. Unfortunately, I kept going into that church where my boys were abused until I could walk through the halls without throwing up. I was forcing myself to develop a threshold of tolerance for the emotional alarms going off in my head warning me to RUN….RUN. Like many others who try to go back to an abusive IFB church, I was taking my son into a burning church to heal his burn scars. That is what we call spiritual denial.

Our mind and body remember the abuse and, if we subject ourselves to the same triggers over and over, eventually the triggers will get less so we can stay in an abusive church. Doug was sick for a reason. That should have been the time to walk out of the church again rather than try to tolerate the puking. I know that now.

To cope with overwhelming experiences of distress, the brain will send out an alarm message like saying, “FIRE! FIRE!” The brain of a child who is raped may react by reducing the connectivity of the Alarm Alert regions in the brain that were hurt in order to survive if they are not removed from that church environment. Doug was helpless to remove himself from the abusive IFB church/school, because his parent taught in the IFB system. Doug’s child brain, in order to survive, went through a decrease in his emotional Alarm Alert as a self-protective response. He developed a tolerance to being in that abusive church as a child but, now as an adult, all the messages of Alarm Alert came flooding back and he vomited.

Sexual abuse of children can leave its victims prone to depression, moodiness and extreme or dulled emotional responsiveness, PTSD and addictions. This tolerance to emotional pain can ultimately prove harmful because it interferes with subsequent healthy Alarm Alert messages . Therefore my idea of taking a burn victim back into a burning building, turned out as one might predict –  very badly and, caused us all more burns.

The brain can change dramatically and begin to heal when provided with the right type of support and emotional nourishment. In our case, that would not be the IFB church where my boys were sexually abused. Understanding what goes wrong during and after abuse will help  IFB abuse survivors figure out how to make it right. Our long-term hope is to heal mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Those who have suffered abuse in the IFB will be more sensitive to disrespect of their pain and any empowering by others for the IFB pastors or IFB churches where they were abused. Their Alarm Alerts will begin working again in time. Getting away from that abusive IFB church environment is good thing. So if you feel like throwing up when you go into your old church environment….perhaps you should puke and walk out.

Corruption in 1 Corinthians 14

Exposing the Corruption in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35corruptionpic

1 Cor. 14:34-35 – Let women be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but let them be in subjection, just as the law says; but if they want to learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

The passage above coincides with Paul’s (in)famous instructions to Timothy:

1 Tim. 2:12-15 — I do not allow a woman to teach, nor to exercise authority over a man; they are to be quiet. For Adam was formed first, and then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and fell into transgression. But she will be saved through bearing children—if they remain in faith, love, and holiness, with moderation.

These two passages have been used throughout history to force women into subjective roles to men in religion and society. Today, however, what has been twisted and used to deceive the masses needs to be untwisted and made right. The time has come to expose what man has changed in translation so that women everywhere can be given their honor, dignity and equality back. Men have, by force and translation, robbed women of these things. Scripture has been the number one weapon of choice for men everywhere in order to abuse and manipulate women. The two passages above are battering rams that religious leaders use to “prove” that this is GOD’S mandate.

Well, in case you haven’t read the many articles on this blog that “unmask” the corruptions that men have made to scripture to POINT women into this direction – thus setting them up for abuse – then let me start by saying that it is important that you do so. Many lives and, future abuses, hang in the balance.

So, as usual, I will quote a Hebrew and Greek Scholar on the passages above. Afterwards, I will give a summarization of my thoughts. According to the passages above, Paul believes that women should be quiet, pregnant, and allow the men to do all the teaching, right? Or does he?

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Lost Christianities – Forgeries and Discoveries

By Bart D. Erhman

“As I have already pointed out, most critical scholars think that 1 Timothy is pseudonymous (not written by Paul): its vocabulary, writing style, theological modes of expression, and presupposed historical situation all differ significantly from what can be found in Paul’s authentic letters. But what about the passage in 1 Corinthians? No one doubts that Paul wrote THAT letter. Even so, there are good reasons for thinking Paul did not write the passage about women being silent in chapter 14. For one thing, just three chapters earlier Paul condoned the practice of women speaking in church. They are to have their heads covered, he insists, when they pray and prophesy—activities done out loud in antiquity. How could Paul condone a practice (women speaking in church) in chapter 11 that he condemns in chapter 14?

It has often been noted that the passage in chapter 14 also appears intrusive in its own literary context: Both before and after his instructions for women to keep silent, Paul is speaking not about women in church but about prophets in church. When the verses on women are removed, the passage flows neatly without a break. This too suggests that these verses were inserted into the passage later. Moreover, it is striking that the verses in question appear in different locations in some of our surviving manuscripts of Paul’s letter as if they had originally appeared as a marginal note (drawn from the teaching of the forged letter of 1 Timothy?) and inserted as judged appropriate in different parts of the chapter. On these grounds, a number of scholars have concluded that Paul’s instructions for women to be silent in 1 Corinthians may not be from Paul, just as the letter to Timothy is not from Paul.

What, then, was Paul’s attitude toward women in the church? In his undisputed letters, Paul indicates that “in Christ there is no male and female” (Gal. 3:28), that is, that men and women were completely equal in Christ. Moreover, as scholars of the late twentieth century began to emphasize, churches connected in some way with Paul appear to have had women leaders. Just in the greetings to the church of Rome, for example, Paul mentions several women who worked with him as Christian missionaries (Rom. 16:3, 6, 12), another who was the patron of the church meeting in her home (16:3), one other, a woman named Phoebe, who was a deacon in the church of Cenchrea (16:1), and most striking of all, yet another woman, Junia, whom Paul describes as “foremost among the apostles” (16:7).

Paul, and his churches, may have been more open to women and their leadership roles than people have traditionally thought and far more than Tertullian thought. No wonder that members of Paul’s churches (primarily women members?) told stories about the adventures of his female companions like Thecla. And no wonder that men in the churches eventually decided to clamp down, forging documents in Paul’s name condemning the practice of having women speak in church (1 Timothy), inserting passages into Paul’s authentic letters urging women to be silent (1 Cor. 14:34-35), calling church councils to condemn an elder of a Pauline church who had dared collect narratives of Paul’s woman disciple Thecla and pass them off as authentically Pauline.

Some scholars have wondered whether the stories of Thecla were causing problems in the Pauline churches years before this accused forger did his work, wondered whether the existence of such stories is what led the author of 1 Timothy, whoever he was, to compose his letter in Paul’s name. It is indeed striking that the letter predicts that in “later times” there will be people who condemn the practice of marriage (4:1-4): “Paul” himself speaks against the practice in the Acts of Thecla. Moreover, the canonical letter of 1 Timothy explicitly urges its readers not to listen to “the profane tales of old women” and condemns younger women who are “idlers, going about from door to door. . .as gossips and busybodies, saying things they should not” (4:8, 5:13). The younger women who have lost husbands are to “marry, bear children, rule their households, and give the enemy no grounds to reproach us” (5:14).

This is certainly not the view advanced in the Acts of Thecla, which urges women not to marry, not to bear children, and to leave their households. For THAT “Paul,” the Paul of the Acts of Thecla, “blessed are the continent, for God shall speak with them” and “blessed are the bodies of the virgins, for they will be well pleasing to God and will not lose the reward of their chastity.” Possibly the stories of Thecla and others like them are what motivated the author of 1 Timothy to write his letter in Paul’s name.” — Bart D. Erhman, Lost Christianities

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Scholars have known about corruptions, errors, and mistranslations in translation of scripture for centuries. Yet, many religious leaders and Bible theologians refuse to acknowledge them. Scholars agree that some of the books of the New Testament were not written by the authors whose names are on them. (That is why they are called pseudonymous books. It is an antiseptic term that masks the truth that they are forged.) Many of the purposeful changes that have been made to keep women in bondage and subjection to men have been uncovered and exposed by experts in the field of textual criticism. Yet, many religious leaders and Bible expositors refuse to acknowledge these expositions and set things right.  It is time to unmask what has been used to deceive and set it right. It is time to expose the lies of the religious system regarding women. Why? Because it has led to their abuse and sexual exploitation for centuries. They have been robbed of honor, dignity, autonomy and equality in religion and society. This blog and its many articles expose these lies, mistranslations, twisting of doctrines and heretical teachings of mainstream religion today.  Since women and children bear the brunt of religious abuses, it is vital that we expose the lies in translation that lead to abusive attitudes and behaviors toward women, and expose the abuses that lie underneath religions “mantle” along with the corruptions that lead to these abuses. The system is corrupted through and through. The abuses are rampant. Victims are being silenced and shamed. Who are the victims? Women and children. To not correct something that has caused so much damage to women and children shows a total lack of love and compassion. To profess Christ and do “nothing” about these corruptions, is the weightier sin.