A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

“A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships” by Paul E Miller — a review

The ladies at my church are going through A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships for a Bible study. I am participating and I will get good insight from this book I am sure. However, I see how this book could be used to condemn a person who is presently enduring abuse and the despair that accompanies being treated cruelly. So I have left this review at Amazon and I wanted to share it with our readers here.

I don’t think Miller has a clear understanding of abuse. Every mention of abuse so far has only taken physical abuse into consideration and is followed by an instruction to call police if that ever happens. That is ignorance gone to seed. Abuse is a lot more than physical violence. “Abuse is fundamentally a mentality. It is a mindset of entitlement. The abuser sees himself as entitled. He is the center of the world, and he demands that his victim make him the center of her world. His goal is power and control over others. For him, power and control are his natural right, and he feels quite justified in using whatever means are necessary to obtain that power and control. The abuser is not hampered in these efforts by the pangs of a healthy conscience and indeed often lacks a conscience.” [definition from A Cry For Justice].

Calling the police may or may not be sufficient. Victims of abuse, and those who wonder whether they are a being abused, should also be advised to call a hotline even if they are not in any imminent danger of being assaulted. It is also good practice to advise them to make contact with their local Women’s Center that specializes in supporting women who have experienced domestic abuse. Calling police can be part of a much broader safety plan. If Miller were to work with a Women’s Shelter, just to learn that much, it would be very helpful to victims listening to him. Miller’s cursory and dismissive instruction to call police if they are physically assaulted, is not sufficient. It shows great naivety about the complexities of domestic abuse. Miller says:

A bad marriage is one where neither spouse does the hard work of love. But as soon as one spouse begins to do hesed, the bad marriage disappears. (I’m not saying this marriage is easy; just that it isn’t somehow intrinsically flawed.) We are left with the challenge of loving a difficult spouse.

Well if I could make a bad marriage disappear with hesed love, it would’ve happened in the 20 years that I did all I could think of to serve and bless my abuser. He wasn’t won over because he believed he deserved all I gave him and more, oh, and that he could pay someone to do it all and better than me. And that paying someone would be easier because then he could at least fire them. He was stuck with me and my incompetence. I was his cross to bear.

Additionally, Miller takes huge leaps and liberties with Naomi’s side of the story. He paints her as someone who needed to repent for having gone to Moab in the first place, a bitter person because she’s mourning, someone who ignored Ruth, was too lazy to go out and glean, and so on. I feel that this is to emphasize the sacrifice that Ruth made and make it look like it was hard for her to do that. I think that’s ridiculous at worst and silly at best. I have NEVER thought Naomi was sitting around while Ruth was working hard. I figured they had a Kate and Allie thing going on and Ruth hunted and gathered while Naomi tended the house and did things like keeping the fire burning, fetching water, mending clothes, cleaning clothes, etc. I feel that Miller is being unfair to Naomi and he kind of sounds like Job’s friends.

Also, I have always figured that Naomi’s husband and sons had told stories about the good old days in Bethlehem; how the widows and aliens gleaned from the corners of the fields, and so on. I think Ruth’s commitment to Naomi was admirable, but I think she also was moved by faith and by the hope of better days, not an “I HAVE to go with this nasty old woman and care for her or no one will” kind of thought.

I also feel like Miller’s present day examples of people who love in difficult circumstances are not taking depravity into account. His examples are giving everyone good intentions; the nagging wife is critical because she thinks that if her husband conforms she can love him better. That’s selfishness, not love. Miller gives her credit for loving, but in the wrong way. The only person Mrs. Nag is loving is herself. This is a huge point to me. I feel like this is almost a Cinderella story where we’re supposed to love love love serve serve serve and never take precautions to mind our boundaries to stay safe. Perhaps one day Prince Boaz will give us some barley and marry us. Or not. And we’ll just have to suck it up and call it fellowshipping in Christ’s sufferings.

There are good points in the book, but if I had read this book when I was still living with my abuser, I would’ve doubled down on the hesed love and gone even farther into the pit of despair. This is not a book for abuse victims to read.

Putting off and putting on — change as it respectively applies to abusers and victims

The Gospel should be pronounced to ‘crushed’ sinners. The Law should be pronounced to ‘secure’ sinners. — C.F.W. Walther, Lutheran theologian. (link)

If only that wise principle was understood and practiced by more Christians today! Instead what commonly happens today is that the Law is pronounced to ‘crushed’ sinners such as victims of abuse — victims are hauled over the coals and told to repent and have faith; and the Gospel is pronounced to ‘secure’ sinners — those of hardened heart and little or no conscience who feel they are pretty okay, thank-you, about the way they are leading their lives, and they don’t really think there is anything wrong with the way they treat others.

Today I’m going to show how Walther’s principle (which is a Biblical principle) can be applied to a passage of scripture.

I firstly encourage you to read this passage from the Bible aloud to yourself, slowly, letting your heart and mind absorb and digest whatever light the passage sheds on your situation and your history.

Ephesians 4:17-32 ESV
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

* * * * * * * * * *

Now let me show you what I noticed in this passage.

A.  It depicts the abuser’s character and some of his behaviors, but it does not stop there. It nails it back to the root of the abuser’s problem: his hardness of heart.  So it is a good passage to help us identify abusers and make a full diagnosis of their problem, not just a superficial diagnosis of some of their signs and symptoms.

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

Notice Paul talks about their ignorance, but says it is due to their hardness of heart. Those who think the abuser is just ‘blind’ or who buy into the abuser’s claim that he is just ignorant and doesn’t know what to do to not be abusive, are going to miss the boat and be recruited into the abuser’s game plan. It is not just ignorance. There is ignorance there, but it is due to the abuser’s heart-set.

They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

B. It could be another good “list” (like 1 Corinthians 13) to give to the quasi-repentant abuser who ‘accepts’ (fingers crossed in the back-room of his heart) that he has been abusive and who now protests, “I don’t know how to behave! I don’t know how to treat you! I don’t know what you want me to do!”  

Okay, Abuser, here is how to behave. I’ve made it real easy for you by bolding the bits I think you most need to attend to.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

And Mr (or Mrs) Abuser, since you probably know these instructions if you have been a professed follower of Christ, and you certainly have heard similar requests/ pleas/ guidelines/ hints/ suggestions or anguished demands from the person you maliciously control, and you may have also heard them from your target’s supporters if they have bravely confronted your wickedness,  then you have heard this all before. And you don’t obey. You don’t listen. You look in the mirror and then forget what you’ve seen (James 1:23-24). You brush it off. You excuse yourself. You blame your victim.  You skedaddle down one of your rabbit burrows and come up in another place, all innocent and charming. You continue to harden your heart.

So if you claim that you have the Holy Spirit of God and have been sealed for the day of redemption, we do not credit your claim. We cast that claim of yours to the winds, for the hot air that it is:–  because unless you put your back to the wheel and steadfastly practice, in the here and now, giving NO opportunity to the Devil, we will not engage in debate with you on questions of your being sealed by the Spirit and indwelt by Christ.

Yes, we set the bar high! We set the bar high for your own good, because we know all too well how easily you slip back if you allow yourself a little margin, if you allow one little root of that poison ivy of power-lust and entitlement to remain, for that is the core of your hard heartedness and it will not be gone unless every little root of it is pulled out. Poison ivy is notorious for how it comes back. If you don’t have poison ivy in you country, think of oxalis, which you can pull out as much as you want but you will not be able to get every little corm out of the soil and it will come back from those corms. Your only hope is to remove all that soil and start again with new soil. Or sell that block of land and move to a new one.

Poison_Ivy_Leaves

Poison Ivy

oxalis weed

Oxalis

 

 

 

 

Yes, the demand is high, because the character distortion is severe. The treatment is very tough because malignant narcissism and covert-aggressive character disorder is similar to a virus that keeps finding new ways to reshape its chemical structure so that it can evade the treatment regimes that are being applied to it. Some people have been infected with the Hepatitis C virus  and then somehow, mysteriously, fully eradicated the virus from their bodies. The experts don’t fully understand how this happens, or why it only happens for these few individuals. No doubt God understands that medical mystery; and likewise, He knows how to eradicate the poison ivy of abuse from an abuser’s character, but the abuser has to be willing to comply with God’s treatment program.

And as George Simon so consistently and patiently reminds us, change always involves changing in the here and now. And keeping at changing, not letting up.

No magic wand can do it. No superficial ‘list of behaviors to change’ can do it. No list from a pastor and elders telling the abuser what behaviors he should stop or start will do it. God goes for the heart. Scripture goes for the heart. The Apostles and prophets went for the heart.  And Paul had to remind even converted believers that they had to put off (and keep putting off) the old man and be renewed (keep being renewed) in the spirit of their minds, and they had to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God.  And Paul was writing that on the tentative assumption (v. 21) that his readers were actually believers in Christ and had come to saving faith. For if there is no regeneration, all the efforts will be pretty much in vain. You may shift the deck chairs on the Titanic, you may even get it to rise up out of the water a lot higher by dint of technological interventions like sealing some of the holes and pumping air back into some of the buoyancy chambers, but it’s still going down if you haven’t sealed all the holes. And the abuser does not like sealing his holes. He likes having them. They give him perks, services, power-over. They meet the desires of his flesh.

 . . . you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. (James 4:3)

C. The list can also be applied to the victim who is in the early stages of waking up and coming out of the fog. Let me show you what I mean by repeating the passage, but this time bolding slightly different parts and giving some applications:

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding They have been in the dark fog of the abuser’s brainwashing and manipulation and they are suffering trauma, which makes it hard for them to think as clearly as non-traumatized people can think.
alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart and more to the point, due to the hardness of heart of the abuser in having bamboozled them in his web of control, and the hard-heartedness of society and the church which commonly misreads abuse by calling it ‘marital issues’  — thus sharing the blame mutually between abuser and victim — and by according unmerited privilege and entitlements to men simply because of their gender, and making that so culturally normative that it’s hard to see it, let alone swim against it.

They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires the deceitful desires of the abuser who has taken power over his victim, and the deceitful desires of some victims’ own flesh, being caught out in youthful lust, falling pregnant to an abuser and so the die is cast for a long and appalling ‘anti-marriage’ to the abuser who she married because he was the father of her child, or because marrying him seemed better than living with her abusive family of origin. . . and all other such stories where the victim is easily entrapped by an abuser because of her vulnerability. . .   
and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Let rightly divided Scripture untangle your muddled heart and thinking, and let it dispel the false guilt and wrong judgements that so many of us have had, so that we may be wise as serpents to discern abusers, to protect our children, and to rebut false teaching; and harmless as doves, especially to ourselves and our true brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we share this journey of coming into the light of Truth and recovery from abuse and advocacy for other victims.

Therefore, having put away falsehood refuse to believe or comply with the lies of the abusers and the false teachers; stop hiding in your own denial and fear; take courage, come to the God who is rich in mercy and who will not crush a bruised reed   

Update—CAVEAT: People can only put away falsehood and not comply with the lies of abusers and false teachers, if they know they are abusers & false teachers. Many victims of abuse do not know that they are being abused; and they do not know that they have been taught to believe lies and false doctrines. Many people come from families and churches where abuse is the norm and everyone believes wrong teaching about headship and submission and other imbalanced or false doctrines. For victims whose lives have been like that, it is not a matter of them ‘hiding in denial or fear’. It is just that they are living in fog.  My people perish through lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6) 

let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor break the silence, tell your secrets to someone who is safe for we are members one of another.

Be angry and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger, There is nothing wrong with feeling angry about what your abuser has done and what church leaders may have wrongly done to you, just take care you do not sin in the how you act upon your anger. And by all means be bold to pour out your imprecatory prayers to God, remembering that vengeance belongs to Him.

and give no opportunity to the devil. Don’t let your abuser wrap you back into his web by his superficial shows of remorse and feigned repentance which masquerade as real change. Keep the bar high. Have no hesitation to aim for no contact, as that is the thing which will most likely provoke him to really wake up to himself. Let him get down to the process of change, if he wishes to, but you don’t have to be around: it’s not your business, it’s his.
And if you are tempted to get into a sexually immoral relationship, flee! Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Don’t go there. It’s not worth it. 

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. If you are tempted to run down your abuser to your kids, don’t. Find good adults to vent to instead.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Watch that you don’t fall into that hole where you beat yourself up. The Holy Spirit does not beat us up. Be gentle on yourself and try to remind yourself of all the creative ways you resisted the abuse. Recognize when you are exhausted and cut yourself some slack in your daily routine if you can.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  This may apply particularly to those who have children who have been recruited by the abuser.

Let’s Put This “But he hasn’t physically abused you” Nonsense to Rest Once and For All

Listen to these far too common words from a pastor to an abused wife who has gone to him for help. The abuse has occurred for decades, habitually, without repentance:

From what I have been told, you have suggested that your husband’s looking at inappropriate images on the internet is adultery,  but he has not committed the physical act .  Could this not be more appropriately handled with counseling than divorce? From what I have been told your husband has not deserted you but conversely is willing to go to a counselor of your choice. You have intimated that your husband has not physically abused you, but has said mean things in the past and has been manipulative.  Again, could this not be more appropriately handled with counseling rather than with divorce?”

There it is. “He has not committed the physical act of adultery. He has not physically abused you. Therefore, tough it out and quit complaining. Why, your husband is even willing to come down here to the church building with you and let me counsel the two of you.”

Remember, now, this has been going on for decades. And yet this pastor sees himself as some kind of counseling superman who can leap the tall buildings of this abuser’s lifelong wickedness in a single bound, and quicker than a speeding bullet he just knows that he will be able to show the victim how she is really pretty much to blame herself. Go, Super Pastor!

 

Physical. Outward. Visible = Real.
Non-physical, inward, often invisible = not real.
Whoa!!

Doesn’t the Bible completely reverse these equations? Take 2 Corinthians 3 for instance. You know, where Paul teaches us how he is an apostle of a better covenant than the covenant Moses mediated. Why? Because the Old Covenant was an outward, physical covenant written on tablets of stone which resulted in a fading glory. In contrast, the New Covenant is of a greater, permanent glory because due to the atoning work of Jesus Christ the Spirit of God takes the Word of God and engraves it upon our hearts. Can’t see it, but in fact it is real and permanent. So this is simply to say to pastors and Christians who pull this “but he hasn’t ever physically….whatever” on us that God’s Word repeatedly emphasizes that just because something is not physical and external and visible in no way means that it is not real! In fact what is not seen (we walk by faith, not by sight) far surpasses in reality that which is fading away.

Want more? Ok. Here is God’s commentary, direct from the Holy Spirit, on verbal abuse:

“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”  (Rom. 3:13-14)

Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their heart and stir up wars continually. They make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s, and under their lips is the venom of asps. Selah Guard me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from violent men, who have planned to trip up my feet. (Ps. 140:1-4)

Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit. (Ps. 52:2)

Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked, from the throng of evildoers, who whet their tongues like swords, who aim bitter words like arrows, shooting from ambush at the blameless, shooting at him suddenly and without fear. They hold fast to their evil purpose; they talk of laying snares secretly, thinking, “Who can see them?” (Ps. 64:2-5)

And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:6-8)

Alright then, we shall now ask Mr. Super Pastor/Christian/counselor:–

You say that this abuse is not real, or at the most it is really not so serious and dangerous as the victim seems to think, because it is not physical. It’s, well, it’s just words or looks, or non-contact behaviors that…well, you know…can’t really hurt anyone so seriously that they would justify that greatest of evils, divorce!? And yet, here is a curious thing. God says…hear that?  GOD says that the abuser’s words are:

  • Asp venom
  • Violence
  • A sharp razor
  • A sword
  • Arrows
  • Fire (and hellish fire at that)
  • Deadly poison

So let’s just see what we have here. This woman who has come to you for help is being bitten by an asp, is having violence effected against her, is being cut with a sharp razor and run through with a sword, she is being shot with arrows, burned with fire, and fed a deadly poison regularly.

And you say that this is not grounds for divorce because it is not “physical.” What you mean is, “what is being done to you, Mrs. Victim, isn’t real.”

 

Mr. Super Pastor, God disagrees with you. You are at odds with the Lord Jesus Christ! He has spoken on this over and over in His Word. He says that non-physical, verbal, emotional abuse is real. That it is deadly. It is murder. That’s what God says.

So please, take some advice. Listen carefully. Stop saying “but it isn’t physical abuse.” Stop it. You are only hurting the victim, showing yourself to be ignorant of the nature and tactics of abuse, and worst of all you are opposing the King whom you claim is your Lord.

One final note for the notorious “permanence view” crowd. Look closely at the list above. You teach that God does not permit the victim of such evil to divorce her poisoner, cutter, stabber, and burner. What shall we say to you? Nothing. Because if you can’t figure out that God permits divorce for the evils in this list, I know of nothing I can say to straighten you out.

 

 

Thursday Thought — Even a good day with an abuser is bad

Today’s gem from the GEMS page…

“Even a good day living with an abuser is a bad day.”

[ACFJ reader on realizing that when
her abuser is wonderfully charming,
it is all still part of the cycle of abuse]

Temptations and pitfalls of helping victims (victim-advocacy)

Christians, pastors, leaders, and bloggers sometimes talk about the evils of domestic abuse but use illustrations of abuse that are really extreme. For example: “What if a husband was kicking his wife’s teeth down her throat?” That kind of extreme illustration of domestic abuse may briefly arouse the concern of the average bystander who is inexperienced in domestic abuse, but it is of little help to victims. It paints a picture of what goes on in domestic abuse that is so extreme, so rare, that most victims will conclude “I’m not a victim because that isn’t how my partner treats me!”

When pastors and bloggers do that, I find it slightly self-aggrandizing. It comes across to me as if they are posing as experts who occupy the high moral ground but they really don’t understand enough about the issue. They may be more active on this issue than their listeners are, and I’m glad they are trying to raise awareness in others, but when they use extreme examples their message often seems to be tainted with self-promotion. And I find myself longing that they would read our blog and learn more about the issue by hearing from the many survivors we have here.

I myself have been aware of the temptation to galvanize my listeners — wake them up to the urgency of this issue — by using an extreme illustration or by giving a very long and involved description of a hypothetical abuse case. This temptation is most likely to come when I’m a bit frustrated with the ignorance or complacency of person I’m talking to, or when I’ve been triggered into emotions relating to (a) my personal experiences of domestic abuse, or (b) the way people have ignored, misrepresented or tried to shut down my work as an advocate for other survivors.

I want to look at this temptation-critter. How does it feel? What flavor does it have? What are its colors and stripes?  My feelings when I’m tempted in this way — and they’re not pretty — are that I want to shock my listener and shame them for their complacency and ignorance. I want to so galvanize them that they will go home and think about what I’ve said for a week, and fall on their knees before God asking for repentance. I want them to tell the world . . . okay, this is getting really nitty gritty. . . I want my former church leaders to come to me with heart-felt apologies and ask me to forgive them for the way they handled my separation from my first husband. Aargh. Confession over. I hope.

I was prompted to write this post after I read Phil Monroe’s article Lies and stereotypes told by helpers that hurt the cause. Phil is a colleague of Diane Langberg, whose work we’ve endorsed before on this blog (see here).

Phil sagely noted: “I think we all run the risk of getting life out of other’s pain. And yes, it doesn’t help when we only tell extreme stories and so, without meaning to, minimize the suffering of everyday violence.”

Thank you Phil. Getting life out of other’s pain. What a pithy expression.

Effectively involving men in preventing violence against women is an Issues Paper from the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse. They say that when trying to motivate men to be more active in the the goal of reducing male abuse of women, it is most effective to aim for a balance between engendering discomfort and showing empathic support. That is, provoking the men to feel discomfort about the prevalence of male violence against women, whilst showing empathy with where men are at now — their level of (mis)understanding of the issue, the pressures on them to remain silent in the face of violence-supporting narratives, the cultural expectations and experiences they have in being men.

Biblically, shame has its place as a motivator, and I’m sure we could come up with verses illustrating how God and His prophets sometimes shamed people to galvanize them into repentance and activism for justice. However, I guess like anything else, shaming can be overused and be counter-productive. And when I’m tempted to shame people unduly or excessively, I have to tell that temptation critter to get off my shoulder, and find ways to strike the balance between discomfort and empathic support. And that balance, I think, can be modulated and tailored to different listeners, depending to what extent the listeners are wittingly or unwittingly enabling, condoning or colluding with abuse.  And it’s not easy, but I try to improve.

Does any of this ring bells for others? Have you experienced anything similar?

Request for volunteer(s)

Request for a volunteer or volunteers to take shipment of Barb’s book and deliver it to worthy places in the USA.

I have many copies of Not Under Bondage that I got printed back in 2008. They are currently in storage in Melbourne.

My father is ailing, and I am being his carer. He offered me some money as recompense but I don’t want money so he thought of another idea: that he could pay for shipping these books to the USA. It was amazing that he thought of that idea since it has been a dream of mine for some time: I feel guilty that the books are just sitting here unused when they could be helping people.

I would like to ship the books to a volunteer (or volunteers) who live in the USA, for the purpose of distributing them to worthy destinations where the books are likely to be of help to survivors of abuse. I think that the volunteer(s) would ideally have stable accommodation, preferably their own house not a rental so they are not likely to have to move. I think it is a task which might be difficult for someone who still has kids at home, as I know how demanding and unpredictable the workload of parenting can be, especially when parenting after abuse. So it would probably be a job which would be ideal for someone who is a good administrator, whose kids have left home, and who owns their own house or at least is confident they have stable accommodation for the medium to long term, with room to store the cartons of books until they all get distributed.

Distribution of the books

I would like the volunteer/s to mail or otherwise deliver the books to:

  • Womens’ Shelters/Women’s Refuges/Supported Accommodation
  • Agencies that support victims of domestic abuse (secular or Christian)
  • Christian ministries and individuals who show real interest in the book and who could continue doing effective ministry if they were saved the hassle and cost of buying the book themselves.
  • Libraries, so long as the library has expressed interest in putting the book on its shelves and is not going to just dump it on the throw-out table.

As you can imagine, the distribution of the books would take some thought and administrative skills, time and effort on the volunteer’s part. It would require the volunteer to find out names and contact details of organizations that could be the end-recipients of the book, and to ascertain from the organization that they are willing to accept a gift of the book. I don’t want to give the book to organizations which will just put it in the trash bin or leave it in the back office so it never gets used.

My dad (via me) would pay the mailing costs that the volunteer or volunteers would incur in distributing the books to their final destinations. I would have to do this in good faith, so I would prefer that the volunteer or volunteers be people we ‘know’ due to them being regular commenters on the blog.

Would any of you be interested in doing this?

If a few volunteers took it on collectively, it would be ideal if one person were a main coordinator to take responsibility for how the team divided up the task. For example, it could be managed by dividing the USA into different regions, with each volunteer targeting a different geographical area. Or it might work best to divide the task up according to classes of receivers: one person taking on shelters, another libraries,  etc. I can leave that to the coordinator to decide — hope you are out there, dear coordinator!

Some organizations may be wiling to receive one copy of the book; others may want several copies, or even a whole carton (there are 40 books per carton). If a recipient is  taking a whole carton and on-selling them to help fund their ministry to victims of abuse, that’s fine by me so long as the ministry is helping the abused in some way and is honest in their financial management. But naturally, I don’t want to give it to recipients who will just on-sell it for their own gain.

I have 45 cartons of NUB that I would like to distribute in this way.  At 40 books per carton, that equals 1800 copies of Not Under Bondage in total.

If you are wondering whether you would have room to store some or all of cartons in your house, here are the dimensions of each carton:

  • height 11 inches (27.5 cm)
  • width 14 1/4 inches (36 cm)
  • depth 10 1/2 inches (26.5 cm)

FYI, the book printed in Oz is slightly larger and heavier than the version that is printed POD in the States, because the page size is slightly bigger and a heavier weight paper.  So if you have a copy of my book that you purchased from somewhere like Amazon.com, then your copy will be slightly lighter and less robust than the copies printed in Australia.

If any of you are confident you could do this, if you are willing to take receipt of some or all of these boxes and help distribute them for the purposes I described above, can you please email me at barbara@notunderbondage.com.

Note: for Barb’s sanity, please give your email the subject line Volunteer for distributing NUB to destinations in the USA.

I would be arranging the shipping from Australia through a removal company that operates in both Australia and the USA. The book cartons would be sent by sea as a partial container load,  i.e., sharing the shipping container with other clients of the removal firm who are moving their household goods from Australia to USA.

For economy’s sake, it would be best if I could send the books to one volunteer, or at most two or three volunteers who could store them until they were distributed. So please do not volunteer to take responsibility for only a few cartons. But if you want to volunteer to do part of the administrative and communication side of the task, without being able to store the books in your house, that may be of help. Please be specific about what you are wiling to volunteer for. And please write in full sentences and don’t be ambiguous; and please don’t use the email to tell me your personal life story, that will save me time —  and time, for this busy lady, is precious.

Oh, and one last detail. As most of you know,  since writing Not Under Bondage I changed my mind about which scriptures are most pertinent for a church discipline for abusive individuals, and I wrote a post about my change of mind on this blog. I would want the volunteer(s) to print out small stickers and stick them into the front page of the books before they distribute them. The stickers advise readers to read the book in conjunction with my post http://cryingoutforjustice.com/2013/10/04/church-discipline-and-church-permission-for-divorce-how-my-mind-has-changed/

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,985 other followers