Monday, August 13, 2012

Bloggers Who Expose Spiritual Darkness and Wickedness

 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.   Ephesians 6:12

On the 24th, this blog will be six months old.  Typically what you read is what I've had stewing in my head for perhaps days.  Over the past several days I dealt with a reader/commenter who I felt was disruptive not only on the blog, but also in my e-mail box.  This person attempted to suck my time and emotional energy.  Finally, late last night when I saw the pattern was not going to stop any time soon, I deleted most of her comments.  She had her warning more than once.  Folks, I do not want to give time and space on my blog to people who sympathize with abusers.  

I try to understand where people are coming from, can agree to disagree, but if that is not respected, I get a little grumpy.  My finger managed to find the delete button and ZAP, their comments were gone in an instant.  There was an immediate sense of relief - that their words had no place here and needed to be removed.  Don't get me wrong - I value people and love a good debate - and we have sure had our share of them here, but I simply cannot have this place as a "safe" place with someone who is sympathizing with abusers, sending me many e-mails, demanding someone's private e-mail.  No, I don't think so.  

So, after that little episode, I surfed to another one of my favorite blogs - The Wartburg Watch, and read a current post.  The same kind of thing was going on over there.  Someone was sympathizing with an abuser.   Ack.  Here you can see blogger Dee's words with Mark, a commenter who seems to feel that it's wrong to expose a pedophile.

Enough of that.  So I moseyed over (does one burn calories traveling from blog to blog?  I hope so . . ) to Paul's Passing Thoughts blog.  Guess what?    Paul, too, was being targeted by a troll to such an extent that Paul contacted his attorney who advised him to post the following comment on all of the posts containing the troll's comments:

Paul Dohse's blog, Paul's Passing Thoughts, deals with Neo-Calvinists and the "spiritual tyranny" going on among churches around the world because of hyper-calvinism.  The story I featured on "Paul" really struck a nerve with blogger Paul Dohse because he, too, has gone through a divorce as a result of spiritual abuse.  Paul Dohse studies churches like my former church (and now "Paul's" former church) to see if it our abuse story and church structure fits the pattern of this type of Neo-Calvinism.  (Last week he interviewed "Paul" and is airing the interview in four parts on his blog.)  

I think this is a great verse for spiritual abuse bloggers (fingers for battle on the keyboard - haha!!!):

Blessed be the Lord, my rock, 
    who trains my hands for war
and my fingers for battle;
    my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
 who subdues peoples under me 
he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
Psalm 144:1-2

Are you counting?  That is 3 out of 3 blogs with recent troll attacks.  Burning even more of those imaginary calories, I headed over to FBCJaxWatchdog blog.  (BTW, if you haven't read Tom's current story about my case, be sure to check it out.   This is one of my favorite articles on our court victory.)    Tom is another blogger who has personally dealt with spiritual abuse and had legal battles with his former church.  He continues to blog on church abuse - bad teachings, ways that pastors control their congregants inappropriately, use church money to fund lavish homes and lifestyles, etc.  

Tom had two lawsuits - one with the government (regarding police officers who illegally obtained information to disclose Tom's identity) and a lawsuit against his former pastor.    He won the case against the government and settled on the case against the church which required his former pastor to issue a public apology.  Tom also won his last case several months ago, but the trolls still visit and create mayhem.  Look at the comment I found on his current blog post:

That makes 4 out of 4.  The common thread in all of these blogs is that there seems to be a constant flow of trolls on blogs dealing with abuse in the church.    Most reasonable people agree that the church is no place for abuse.  Yet, why would they have trolls causing this sort of disruption?   I believe it is a spiritual attack, plain and simple.

Paul Dohse seems to agree, too, as his response to me on his blog suggests:

But wait . . . . there's more . . . . . let me fill you in on one more story of a blogger being hassled for exposing spiritual abuse.  On a much larger scale, some pastors clearly don't like to be criticized as you know, and some will take drastic measures to shut down people who expose abuse.  I have recently been in contact with Kevin Oliver (NYTN - Not Your Typical Negro on YouTube) who has a unique way of exposing spiritual abuse.  We had a lengthy phone conversation last week and this brother completely understands spiritual abuse.  I will be referring to some of his material in future posts.  He exposes spiritual abuse cases on YouTube like a reporter.  Kevin, too, has had his share of legal woes.  In fact, in one of his legal cases, YouTube took down his YouTube channel - this channel is used to expose spiritual abuse and big name celebrity pastors who abuse their flocks!  Say WHAT?!!!  He had to sue YouTube and he won!!  Yea for Free Speech!!    Check out his amazing story here on FBCJaxWatchdog blog and also Kevin's version here.  

I was a little slow.  I wasn't thinking of it in terms of the bigger picture that Satan does not like the fact that us bloggers are exposing the darkness.  But as Paul Dohse said above, when we see this kind of attack going on, then we know we are onto something.  We are hitting a nerve and exposing something that someone does not want exposed.  

I think we (or at least I do in case you've been way ahead of me) need to acknowledge a new "normal" here.  I need to expect these attacks.  Because of this, I need to be very careful that I am firmly rooted in the Word.  A while back, I asked Pastor Ken Garrett what he would recommend for me to read for devotions considering my situation.  He had a number of recommendations, and included this in his e-mail:   But, in consideration of all that you are facing these days, I guess I would work hard to develop the ability to discern the words of wisdom from the words of the fool, so I might meditate on Proverbs with a view towards developing that ability.  

I loved Pastor Ken's advice and have found it especially helpful with regard to the blog and my interactions here.  As I was reading Proverbs yesterday and pondering about the blog, it really did help to make things clear for me.  I'm going to make every effort to continue reading Proverbs in my devotions, in addition to other readings.

Just for the heck of it, I'm going to post some verses from today's reading (There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, so because today's date is the 13th, I'm reading Proverbs 13.)  Look at how many verses really spoke out to me today regarding the blog, spiritual abuse, the situation with my former church, the issues surrounding trolls, etc, and see if you can find wisdom that might help me here.

vs 5 The righteous hates falsehood,    but the wicked brings shame and disgrace. 
vs 6 Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless,    but sin overthrows the wicked. 
vs 9 The light of the righteous rejoices,    but the lamp of the wicked will be put out. 
vs 13 Whoever despises the word brings destruction on  himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded. 
vs 14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,    that one may turn away from the snares of death. 
vs 15 Good sense wins favor,
    but the way of the treacherous is their ruin.
vs 16 In everything the prudent acts with knowledge,
     but a fool flaunts his folly.
vs 17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful envoy brings healing. 
vs 18 Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores  instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored.    
vs 19 A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
    but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.
vs 20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
    but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
vs 21 Disaster pursues sinners,
     but the righteous are rewarded with good.
vs 22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children,
    but the sinner's wealth is laid up for the righteous.
vs 25 The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite but the belly of the wicked suffers want.

Isn't that good?   

Please continue to pray for me and other bloggers who are exposing this stuff, for wisdom in knowing how to deal appropriately with the disruptive commenters or disruptive e-mails.  These distractions can really set bloggers back.  Yes, we blog about our personal stories, and stories that deal with abuse and affect many lives, but there is a price to pay for this exposure.  There is a big spiritual battle going on in this exposure.  

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,  rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.  Colossians 2: 6-7


  1. Jullie Anne

    A big hearty amen...

    A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
    but a faithful envoy brings healing.
    Proverbs 13:17

    You, this blog, the commenters, and the Lord Jesus,
    have brought forth much healing.


  2. Hmmm?''

    Troubled Trolls Telling Terrible Testimonies - Trying To Trash The Truth

    1. Amos - You are very creative. I'm still looking for a new blog name. Please send any ideas my way!!

    2. Amos Love, your sTuT-TuT-sTuTTering reminds me of this classic scene in A Fish Called Wanda were Kevin Kline’s character breaks out in laughter at the man in the oncoming steam roller driving for “Re-venge!” Kline laughs and mocks, “It’s K-K-Ken C-C-Coming to K-K-Kill me!” And then—if you’ve seen the movie—we know happens. (( 18 sec. YouTube clip ))

      . .

      Julie Anne, wouldn't that be a fun game? If you’d post your thoughts toward a new name and let us help you discern what might be a good place name. I don't have any suggestions at the moment, but I'd be curious what others would call this place. Elsewhere I refer to here as ja'blog.

      Keep on blogin' in the free world!

    3. I think I've asked before, but perhaps a whole post would help. Good idea.

    4. monax - 0r anyone

      If you feel like stuttering try this - Bet you can't watch without laughing... ;-)!

    5. Amos, that comedy sketch killed me!

      was cool, collected and crazy!

  3. Julie Anne,

    I think you've shown much patience and balance. I've appreciated the way you've listened even to those who disagree with you. I fully trust your use of the delete button.

    I like what Dee said encouraging discussion about why the issue has become personal. I think "trolls" hide themselves in a false conversation. That's the real sadness.

  4. if we all held to the same community ethic—you know, upholding a spirit of grace and respect, endeavoring in our engagements to build up even as we deconstruct and challenge each other—if we held everyone to this ethic we’d be in a good place

    imho, anyone commenting outside this ethos shouldn't have a place here

    go ahead and ride the delete button, especially for those who haven't honored your request to "Please refrain from using "Anonymous" as your user ID."

    1. Yes, I will definitely be more liberal with the delete button for those who elect to use Anonymous.

      The other situation was someone who actually used pseudonyms. I tried. I'm learning.

  5. Julie Anne-

    I think you have always been fair with folks, even those who "push back" a little. You gave Fred Butler a lot of space. I've been away awhile, but if the trolls are up to no good, then you have to use that DELETE button.

    1. Sheep-Dog!!!! I've been wondering where you've been hiding! I hope you are doing well, sir!

      Thanks for your comment.

    2. Hi Julie Anne,

      Been doing some serious computer work for a friend. Two computers. One with Windows 7. I had not worked with Win_7 so it has been a learning experience for me. Just no time to read blogs for awhile.

      Keep on blogging JA

  6. Kudos to Kevin Oliver... Glad to hear of another victory for free speech!

    IMHO, those 'celebrity' pastors have been deceiving the flock long enough! It's time for them to be exposed for who/what they really are. I love the term "Pulpit Pimp" for them. They fleece the flock.

    I see one on TV yelling and getting the people all stirred up emotionally.
    They are shouting and going on... Some run up and put money on the alter. I have to change stations. I can't watch that B.S.

  7. Hello Again,

    Another "in field home run"? Not sure you knocked it out of the park with this one but close.

    The internet does provide people a (sometimes false) sense of anonymity so they are more likely to just be insensitive or downright rude.

    Also, we need to remember that our writing is without the normal hints of voice inflection or body language that we would get in a "face to face" situation so it's much easier to misunderstand. That sort of grace really only goes so far though.

    If that isn't enough, there are people who just don't have a very healthy view of love. I've often wonder if those that are spiritual abusers, those who believe what they are doing is showing "love", do the same sorts of things to their family.

    Of course, their view of "love" often extends to their picture of God which, when looked at, also isn't very healthy. The classic current example of this is (in my opinion) a rather well know church who pickets nationally.

    As I was typing the above, I had a thought flash through my head. Although I've only had brushes with spiritual abuse so I feel a kinship but not brotherhood/sisterhood with many here... What if those who had more or less healed could help put up a physical and spiritual barrier against others abusers. An abuse shield.

    That thought isn't even half baked... Should go to bed.

    1. You're right, Joel - it is difficult to fully comprehend what people are saying with written word only. I entertained this person for quite a while, not only what she posted on the blog, but also private e-mails. I also got a second and third opinion so that was helpful in deciding to delete.

      As far as your last paragraph regarding those who are healed and being used as a barrier - - that actually has happened quite a bit here. Most of the time I have the posts unmoderated, but there have been quite a few times when I was moderating comments when out and about from my iPhone and I'd see a post come through that was disruptive. I knew I'd have to deal with it when I got home (I don't like leaving comments from my iPhone - I don't do too well - lol). Anyway, usually within minutes, I'd see comments come in from people who decided to challenge the disruptive comment. Love that!!

    2. Some well meaning people do the sickest and meanest things under the presumptions of love. And their families are least of all able to escape it.

      Joel, in case you haven’t seen this Mike Mason quote I'd like to direct you to it.

  8. Julie Anne,

    They are smarter than I give them credit for. They know that continued emails and comments on my blog after a formal request as stated is a serious crime. There is also an organization that will, upon receiving the documentation, have them banned from various servers and listed on software as a dangerous/abusive source. Needless to say, the harassment on my site has stopped dead in its tracks.

    1. That's good, Paul. I hadn't seen any more comments since then. I thought it was so strange that each blog I visited was dealing with this type of behavior at the same time. :::::::insert creepy music here::::::::

  9. Paul Washer for presidentAugust 14, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    Here is a great article about abusive pastors, elders, and their tactics. Do like we do. We copy these articles and pass them out at churches and gospel sings. Help spread the word about these vicious wolves:

  10. Let me see if I can explain - Why I enjoy...

    Carefully Crafted Calculations Coining Kind Communications.

    You see, my Uncle, who is Polish, and taught me everything I know,
    became a Pastor. He was a Polish Pastor, of the First church of the
    Pleasant Parables of The Presence of God.

    And he believed that - Proper - Preparation - Preceeds - Powerful - Performance...

    So he - Prayed - a lot.

    Then he started his own “Denomination.”
    Why? Because he was enjoying his - Power - Profit - and - Prestige.
    And figured he could rise to a - Place of Prominence...
    by being a - Pioneering Planner. Kinda like most “Denominations” today...
    Who continue to - Perpetrate - the myth - “we have the TRUTH” started by...
    Paid - Professional - Pastors - in Pulpits - Preaching - to People - in Pews - Presuming - Properly - Parsing - Parables - Prepare - Poor (unedjumacated) People - *to follow* - Powerful - Pontificating - Prelates - and their - Pompously - Proposed - Prevailing - Programs. i.e. “Doctrinal Statements.”

    And - NOT - Pointing - Precious - Persons - to Prefer - Jesus.

    And - NOT - Pursuing - Plain - Paths - Properly - to “Phollow Jesus” - The Truth.
    ....... The “ONE” Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.

    And since ALL denominations have developed
    “Titles” and “Positions” NOT found in the Bible...

    My Uncle asked his loving nephew, me, to join him, as 2nd, second in command
    of this “Glorious Kingdom Building,” “Doing this ALL for God,” “Denomination.”
    And he gave me the most glory-seeking, un-biblical, “Title” and “Position” ever. ;-)

    You can now call me by My Title, and My - Proper - Prevailing - Position...

    His Holiness, The Most Holy Right Reverend, Senior Pastor, Presiding Prophet, and
    Chief Executive Apostle... Father Amos.

    Oh how I love the “Idols” of my heart. Ezek 14:1-11.

    1. that was something else, Amos!

      You know, i don't mind being referred to by the "pastor" moniker. However, i could never tolerate being called "Reverend." Grief! If everyone is worthy of respect why make such a distinction, and in many cases certain gifts of reverence belong only to God. This title seems to help perpetuate certain idolatries of the heart!

      Titles in many hierarchical churches are much coveted. You know, "Minister so and so;" "Deacon this or that;" "Prophet blah blah blah" and so forth. And some of these minister demand that you address them as such. Crazy Church People, I tell you. !

    2. Amos - you are very witty and creative with your use of words (and I especially enjoyed reading your comments on that Hip/Thigh blog recently). GO AMOS!!! :)

      I have some thoughts on titles. I remember going to a church where a pastor insisted upon having the pastor title in front of his name. He would even correct you if you didn't include the Pastor part.

      This is a great topic for discussion! I love it. Let's see if I can put it together soon.

  11. Jullie Anne

    Hmmm? - “Titles?”

    Job 32:21-22 KJV
    Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person,
    neither let me give *flattering titles* unto man.
    For I know not to give *flattering titles;*
    in so doing my maker would soon take me away.

    Hmmm? - “Titles Flatter?”

    Proverbs 29:5 KJV
    A man that *flattereth his neighbour*
    spreadeth a net for his feet.

    Proverbs 28:23 KJV
    He that rebuketh a man afterwards
    shall find more favour than he
    *that flattereth* with the tongue.

    When you believe the lie you start to die...

  12. Julie Anne

    "Titles" - Hmmm? - One of my favorite topics. Could ya guess? :-)

    And - Chief Executive Apostle - Is a real "Title" -
    No kidding - Saw it with my own eyes. ;-)

    Well, anyway, it’s a real, *made up* “Title.” Oy Vey!!! :-(
    IMO - by someone - “...who loveth to have the preeminence...” 3 John 9 KJV.
    Like most of the *made up* “Titles” we see in “Christian-dumb” today.

    Doesn't anyone ever wonder - Why - A believer - One of His Disciples...
    Would take, And be called - "Titles" - NOT found in the Bible?

    I mean - If we take a “Title” - And I could be wrong - But...
    Shouldn’t there be a least one person - in the Bible - With the same “Title?”
    If - We really believe - The Bible is our standard - the Bible is The Word of God?
    Are we - His Disciples - Just allowed to *make up* - “Titles?” That serve us?

    In fact - I can't seem to find, in the Bible, many of the "Titles" used today in...

    The 501 (c) 3 - non Profit - Tax $ Deductible - Religious $ Corporations...
    The IRS - calls church.

    Should believers - His Disciples - Call a $ Corporation - The Church of God?

    Did Jesus shed His Blood - For a Building? - An Institution? - An Organization? -
    A Denomination? - A $ Corporation? No - No - No...

    Jesus shed His Blood for - His Church - His Body - His Sheep - You - and Me.
    “The Church of God”

    Acts 20:28 KJV
    ...feed ** the church of God,** which **he hath purchased with his own blood.**

    Sounds like an interesting topic to me - “Titles” - Go for it.

    You’ve already been called ALL kinds of names anyway. - What’s a few more?

    And you’ve survived - Thank you Jesus...

    Just know - There could be lots of push back - By those who have accumulated
    Their - Power - Profit - Prestige - Honor - Glory - Recognition - Reputation...

    That something - “A Little Bit Extra” - That comes with ALL these “Titles.”

    1. Amos - Yea, I think you have a thing to say or two if I do a post on titles. Hang tight. Thanks for giving me more for my post - haha :)

    2. very good, Amos!

      how `bout "Titles" and "Entitlements"

      and i mean real legal entitlements, where i live in Pittsburgh the clergy here get a housing tax exemption. .

  13. monax

    "Entitlements" That's a good one - Hadn't thought of that before...

    And look...

    When you remove the - "Title" - The self "en-Titled" ones - have No... "en -Title - ments."

    When the "Title" is gone - We are left with...

    And ye are ALL brethren - Mat 23:8 KJV

    Jesus loves us this I know...

    1. Question, Amos. So the terms elders and double honor (in 1 Timothy 5:17) are merely ‘roles’ and ‘compensations (for labor)’ and not ‘titles’ and ‘entitlements’ ?

      Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

      Seems to me the qualifying phrase—who rule well—modifies the worthiness of these elders to merit over entitlement?

  14. I heard about Kevin Oliver's trouble only recently and was really disappointed that his you tube page was pulled. I'm glad it's up and running again.

    1. Yes, I'm glad, too. Kevin is a great guy. He really has a good understanding of abuse in church and can identify it quickly. I guess that's what happens when you are "experienced" in this area. Too bad that he and so many others have had to experience that kind of abuse :(


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