11 Comments
May 24, 2023Liked by Kaeley Triller Harms

I am a 75 year old grandmother of ten. While I have not "deconstructed" my faith, living and losing and loving has caused me to evaluate some of the things I have been taught (like emotions,.....can't trust them. and other confusing things that didn't work in the crucible of life.) I read a lot and am tired of seeing yet another person get "brave and talk about hard things - one recently said she had deconstructed and now is a "spiritual independent." whatever that is. Most of the time I end up feeling "old," which of course I am, but along with that comes the feeling that I would be likely viewed as hopelessly out of touch with those I read. So finding you and reading your writing is refreshing. Don't even know where I found you or how i stumbled on you, but I appreciate much of what I read here. I've been meaning to tell you this and it seemed as good a time as any.

Expand full comment
May 25, 2023Liked by Kaeley Triller Harms

Kayley you named four women who have been advocating against abuse and exposing abuse in the church — Julie Roys, Sheila Wray Gregoire, Rachael Denhollander and Aimee Byrd.

Let me offer you my observations about three of those women. (I have talked about Sheila in a different comment).

JULIE ROYS

I think that Julie Roys is doing great work. I think she and her team are doing excellent journalism, They cite their sources. Before they publish an article they invite comment from the abusers, their allies and henchmen who they are exposing.This is proper journalistic practise. And if the abusers and their allies give no comment, Julie tells her readers that.

However, I am hoping that one day Julie Roys will expose the more egregious evils in the church — ritual abuse, satanist ritual abuse, Freemasons in high positions, trauma-based mind control, and the prominent leaders in churches who have been complicit with or perpetrating those abominable sins. As yet, to my knowledge, Julie Roys has not touched on those things. I have given Julie info about those things but she has not acknowledged my attempts to inform her. I don't necessarily infer that she is stone-walling me on this. I think it's more likely that she is just overloaded with the stuff she is already addressing. So I pray for her.

AIMEE BYRD

I think Aimee Byrd's work has been valuable. I know she has made good contributions to the discourse about abuse in the church. However, I don't think she shows much evidence of understanding the extreme trauma that Christian victims of domestic abuse suffer. And she does not prioritise those victims. She focuses on the dangers of complementarianism, but that focus can all too easily end up only landing on the question of whether women can lead in churches. Whether women lead or do not lead in churches, domestic abusers still get away with perpetrating their abuse. Proponents of egalitarianism are often unable to discern the men who are using coercive control to predate on and abuse their female intimate partners. I've seen this time after time.

In my view, Aimee, like most other advocates, is yet to " remember the poor". The poor are the afflicted, the ones who have suffered the most horrendous oppression and abuse are the ones who are most poor. It's wooden to think that "the poor" are always and only the people who are most impoverished financially.

In "remembering he poor" we must be remembering and prioritising the needs of the ones most afflicted by interpersonal abuse. Their trauma. Their pain. Their need for the church to build moral communities rather than fostering amoral communities. Their need for the community to stand WITH them AGAINST the abusers. Their need to not be pathologised and stigmatised by the church. Their need to not be pathologised and slandered and shunned and blocked by advocates who disrespect victims. Victims need to be vindicated and protected. Vindication is not vengeance — read Judith Lewis Herman's latest book if you want to understand that more.

It is my contention that the most afflicted in the church are the women and children who have suffered domestic abuse (which often co-occurs with or overlaps with child sexual abuse).

In my observation, victims of domestic abuse are the victims who most well-known advocates are only giving lip service to.

RACHAEL DEN HOLLANDER

I think Rachael den Hollander does excellent work in talking about child sexual abuse and how the church leaders are often responding very badly when allegations of child sexual abuse are made.

i know that Rachael and Jacob are homeschooling their children and I think that Rachael is probably doing a great job with that so I don't hold any grudges that she does not engage with me when I have given her feedback that might help her improve her work. But I do have concerns that in her focus on childhood sexual abuse, she skims over the needs of victims of domestic abuse.

Expand full comment
author

Some good insight here. I don’t think it’s our job to decide what other women’s focus ought to be. If they are not focused on domestic abuse, it’s probably not their assignment, and that’s fine. We are each responsible to be faithful with the things and experiences God gives us to champion.

Sometimes men will rebuke me for not speaking up more about male victims of domestic abuse, but I just shake it off and tell them that’s not my lane because it’s not. I care about it, but I know the boundaries of my activism, and that’s someone else’s job. I suspect it’s the same for these women.

Expand full comment

I agree that each advocate has their own lane, their own expertise. But that lane is not necessarily seeing the big picture.

What I long for is to see more advocates taking the bigger BIGGER picture on abuse. Advocates who are worth their salt ought to be trying to think about the bigger picture—the wide-screen multidimensional perspective that God must have on abuse and abuse in the church.

IMO taking a really wide perspective on abuse in the church must entail considering and prioritising the needs and viewpoints of the ones who have been most oppressed.

Expand full comment
May 24, 2023Liked by Kaeley Triller Harms

Hi Kaeley, I agree with your assessment and critique of Rachel Held Evans. But i don’t agree with some other things you said in this post.

I will submit another comment when I’m on my laptop not my phone. My second comment will explain where I disagree with you, and why.

I just wanted to do this initial reply to your article because I want to thank you for raising the topic of how advocates can often go off the rails and lead their followers into dangerous waters. It’s an important topic, that needs to be raised, and few are willing to do it.

Bless you dear sister. Iron sharpens iron.

Expand full comment

Andrea Alexandrova is a survivor of domestic abuse and and an advocate for other survivors. Andrea challenges Sheila's claim that her Great Sex Rescue research is peer reviewed. Read Andrea's challenge here:

https://www.facebook.com/AndreaAleksandrovaAdvocate/posts/pfbid02fwBcmVMHBsE4taAj7r9QbTSmt1KzNErJirVmNmDkftfp1ZP818GYNq1Qa8ZPWkNkl

Once you get to Andrea's FB post, look into the comments on that post to find the comment by Kate Palmer Bowles where Kate gives lots of evidence that Sheila is making a deceptive and misleading claim.

Expand full comment
author

I’m not terribly interested in tearing down Sheila’s work. I think she’s been a pioneer in some important areas very few dared to tread, and so much as my conscience allows, I want to support her.

A lot of the claims she makes about the church’s approach to women and sex and gender roles are true claims, even if the research isn’t perfect. Her critiques of Christian marriage literature are often spot on. I appreciate all these things she brings to the table. I think it’s really valuable.

If and when she says things I find dangerously errant, I’m not afraid to say so, but my heart toward her is good and hopeful, if that makes sense.

Expand full comment

Okay. Thank you for replying. I respect you and I value your contribution to the discourse about abuse. I will not attempt to carry this further at this stage. We can agree to take a slightly different stance on Sheila.

Expand full comment

What's wrong with Sheila gregoire work?? She is genuinely working to expose abusive teachings that hurt women and girls

Expand full comment
author

Did you read the article?

Expand full comment

I read your article on Rachel Held Evans yes

Expand full comment