Resource list: Abuse advocates and experts

Over the past few years with #churchtoo disclosures and allegations, as well as the tidal wave of prominent pastors’ “deeds of darkness” being exposed, it is clear that the evangelical church has an abuse problem. Perhaps even more tragically, when we respond poorly to abuse, we exacerbate the pain and trauma of the victims and enable the perpetrators, endangering others and harming the witness of the church. It is imperative that we learn how to respond in a way that ministers to victims, holds perpetrators accountable, and creates a safe, healthy environment for our faith communities.

I wanted to make this post as a resource for pastors, lay leaders, and abuse survivors to facilitate abuse education. For each of us, it is not a matter of if we will face abuse in our own community, but when. So I asked The Beautiful Kingdom Warrior Facebook community to help me compile a list of abuse advocates in this comment thread. Below, I have fleshed out our list with links to the advocates’ websites, books, and social media so that you can easily follow them and begin to learn more about the prevalence and dynamics of abuse. Bookmark this post and pass it along.

To begin, here is a link to a short article I wrote on the dynamics of abuse for my denomination’s digital magazine, and here are some useful images for familiarization with the dynamics of abuse:

Abuse Advocates and Experts (in alphabetical order):

Dr. Dan Allender – The Allender Center

Bio: Prominent Christian therapist, author, professor, and speaker focusing on sexual abuse and trauma recovery
Website: www.theallendercenter.org
Book: The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo

Shahida Arabi – Self-Care Haven

Bio: Columbia U grad who studied bullying; best-selling author specializing in narcissism and self-care
Website: shahidaarabi.com, Self-Care Haven blog
Books: Becoming the Narcissist’s Nightmare; POWER: Surviving and Thriving after Narcissistic Abuse
Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Lundy Bancroft

Bio: 25 years experience in the fields of abuse, trauma and recovery; counseling, workshops and public speaking
Website: lundybancroft.com
Books: Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men; Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Social media: Facebook

Laura Barringer

Bio: Educator, Advocate and Co-Author of A Church Called Tov
Website: linktr.ee/laurabarringer
Book: A Church Called Tov: Forming a Goodness Culture That Resists Abuses of Power and Promotes Healing
Social media: Instagram, Twitter

Andrew J. Bauman

Bio: Christian Author, Therapist, & Abuse Advocate. Helping men become sexually healthy.
Website: andrewjbauman.com
Books: The Sexually Healthy Man, The Psychology of Porn, Stumbling Toward Wholeness
Social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Podcast

Gretchen Baskerville – Life Saving Divorce

Bio: Christian Divorce Recovery Minister, Author and Abuse Advocate
Website: lifesavingdivorce.com
Book: The Life Saving Divorce: Hope for People Leaving Destructive Relationships
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo

Nichole Braddock Bromley – One Voice

Bio: Author, International Speaker, Sexual Abuse Survivor, and Activist
Website: iamonevoice.com
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Podcast

Jeff Crippen – Unholy Charade

Bio: Pastor, Author and Abuse Advocate
Website: unholycharade.com
Books: A Cry for Justice; Unholy Charade
Social media: Twitter, Sermon Audio: 21 sermons on abuse

Chuck DeGroat

Bio: Professor of Pastoral Care and Christian Spirituality at Western Seminary; Therapist; Author
Website: www.chuckdegroat.net
Book: When Narcissism Comes to Church: Healing Your Community from Emotional and Spiritual Abuse
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Rachael Denhollander

Bio: Lawyer, first accuser of Larry Nassar; Abuse Advocate and Consultant
Website: rachaeldenhollander.com
Book: What is a Girl Worth?; How Much is a Little Girl Worth?
Social media: Facebook, Twitter

F. Remy Diederich

Bio: Pastor, Author – helps people overcome life’s hurts with God’s help
Website: readingremy.com
Books: Broken Trust, Healing the Hurts of Your Past
Social media: Facebook

Patrick Doyle

Bio: Abuse survivor, Coach for those affected by emotional abuse, Speaker
Website: patrickdoyle.life
Social media: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube

Ashley Easter – Courage 365

Bio: Founder of Courage 365, a catalyst to cultivate and empower a Justice Generation that resists abuse everywhere
Website: courage365.org
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

Bob & Helga Edwards

Bio: Christian Therapists and Public Speakers
Website: awakedeborah.com
Book: Addressing Domestic Violence in the Church
Social media: Facebook

Maureen Farrell Garcia

Bio: Christian Writer, Speaker, Instructor, and Abuse Victim-Survivor Advocate
Website: maureenfgarcia.com
Social media: Twitter

Give Her Wings

Mission: We serve, without judgment and with compassion, single mothers who have left abusive relationships. Our goal is to show them the community and body of the Church, when they otherwise are not finding it.
Website: giveherwings.com
Social media: Facebook, Twitter

GRACE – Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment

Mission: Empowering Christian communities to recognize, prevent, and respond to abuse. Founded in 2004.

“With a combined experience of over 100 years of addressing abuse-related issues, GRACE has accumulated and organized a wealth of resources from mental health experts, former prosecutors, and theologians to give you and your organization a well-rounded, robust, and deep understanding of abuse and how to prevent it. We all can make a difference by learning about abuse, become equipped on how to recognize it, and committing to responding appropriately. Browse the categories below to learn more.”

Website: netgrace.org
Social media: Facebook, YouTube; founder Boz Tchividjian on Twitter

Natalie Hoffman – Flying Free Sisterhood

Bio: Author, Podcaster and Life Coach for women recovering from abusive marriages and churches
Website: flyingfreenow.com
Book: Is it me? Making sense of your confusing marriage
Social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Podcast

Kyle J. Howard

Bio: Christian Theologian, preacher, & trauma informed soul care provider; Survivor of racial and spiritual abuse
Website: kylejhoward.com
Social media: Facebook, Twitter

Mariam Ibraheem – Tahrir Alnisa Foundation

Bio: Survivor of Sudanese Prison and Domestic Violence; Director of Global Mobilization and Co-Founder of TAF
Website: tahriralnisa.org
Mission: “We empower women escaping abuse by assisting with housing, medical care, trauma recovery, and legal fees.”
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

Virginia Knowles

Bio: Practical Theologian researching authoritarian and/or aberrant religious movements, spiritual abuse and family dysfunction
Website: virginiaknowles.com
Forthcoming book: Burned: Rising from the ashes of spiritual crisis

Dr. Diane Langberg

Bio: Christian Psychologist with 50 years experience counseling trauma survivors; Speaker, Consultant, Author
Website: dianelangberg.com
Books: Suffering and the Heart of God, Redeeming Power: Understanding Authority and Abuse in the Church
Social media: Twitter

This video is an excellent discussion about Ravi Zacharias’ decades long deceit and abuse and the system that enabled him:


Bekah Legg – Restored

Bio: Director of Restored, “Working alongside churches to end violence against women”
Website: restored-uk.org, bekahlegg.com
Social media: Restored’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube; Bekah’s Twitter

Sarah McDugal

Bio: Empowering women to recover from abuse in the faith community. Coaching + Courses + Groups
Website: wildernesstowild.com
Books: Safe Churches: Responding to Abuse in the Faith Community; Myths We Believe, Predators We Trust
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube

Scot McKnight

Bio: Professor at Northern Seminary, Theology Blogger, Co-Author of A Church Called Tov
Website: Jesus Creed
Book: A Church Called Tov: Forming a Goodness Culture that Resists Abuse and Promotes Healing
Social media: Facebook, Twitter

Chris Moles – PeaceWorks University

Bio: Pastor, Speaker, Biblical Counselor addressing domestic violence
Website: chrismoles.com
Book: The Heart of Domestic Abuse: Gospel Solutions for Men Who Use Control and Violence in the Home
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, The Safest Place: Domestic Abuse and the Church FB group

Wade Mullen

Bio: M.Div Program Director at Capital Seminary & Graduate School, Author, Abuse Advocate
Website: wadetmullen.com
Book: Something’s Not Right: Decoding the Hidden Tactics of Abuse and Freeing Yourself from Its Power 
Social media: Facebook, Twitter

Julie Owens

Bio: Expert Consultant, Trainer and Keynote Speaker on violence against women and trauma
Website: domesticviolenceexpert.org
Social media: Facebook, Twitter

Naghmeh Abedini Panahi – Tahrir Alnisa Foundation

Bio: Iranian Church Planter and Domestic Violence Survivor; Executive Director and Co-Founder of TAF
Website: tahriralnisa.org
Mission: “We empower women escaping abuse by assisting with housing, medical care, trauma recovery, and legal fees.”
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

Brian Peck – Room to Thrive

Bio: Licensed Therapist, Trauma Coach, helping people resolve religious trauma and thrive after deconstruction
Website: roomtothrive.com
Social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube

Sarah K. Ramsey – Toxic Person Proof

Bio: Toxic Relationship Specialist, Author, Podcaster, Consultant
Website: sarahkramsey.com
Book: Becoming Toxic Person Proof
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Podcast

Dr. Anna Salter

Bio: Training, Consulting and Publications on Sex Abuse, Offenders, and Victimization
Website: annasalter.com
Book: Predators, Pedophiles, Rapists and Other Sex Offenders
Documentary: Predators

Dr. Christy Gunter Sim

Bio: Expert Training, Advising and Consulting on Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Trauma Healing
Website: drchristysim.com
Book: Survivor Care: What Religious Professionals Need to Know about Healing Trauma
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Eric Skwarczynski – Preacher Boys

Bio: A podcast and upcoming documentary shedding light on decades of abuse within the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement
Website: preacherboysdoc.com
Social media: Facebook, Twitter (Preacher Boys), Twitter (Eric), Instagram, YouTube, Podcast

Julie Anne Smith – Spiritual Sounding Board

Bio: Blogger, Abuse Advocate and Survivor; “Out of our wounds flow compassion, understanding, & grace. May we all be ‘wounded healers’ who do no harm.
Website: spiritualsoundingboard.com
Social media: Facebook, Twitter

Shanell T. Smith

Bio: Minister, Professor, Consultant, Author, Survivor
Website: shanelltsmithconsulting.com
Book: Touched: For Survivors of Sexual Assault Like Me Who Have Been Hurt by Church Folk
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

Elaine Storkey

Bio: Writer, Broadcaster, Speaker, Author, Christian Feminist
Website: elainestorkey.com
Book: Scars Across Humanity: Understanding and Overcoming Violence Against Women
Social media: Twitter

Darby Strickland

Bio: Biblical Counselor, Speaker and Author
Website: darbystrickland.com
Book: Is it Abuse? A Biblical Guide to identifying domestic abuse and helping victims
Social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

The Hope of Survivors

Mission: A non-profit dedicated to assisting victims of clergy sexual abuse and misconduct
Website: thehopeofsurvivors.org
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

Shannon Thomas

Bio: Trauma Therapist, Author
Website: shannonthomas.com
Book: Healing from Hidden Abuse, Exposing Financial Abuse
Social media: Facebook, Instagram

Lori Anne Thompson

Bio: Registered Kinesiologist and expertise in the protection of people from the ravages of poverty, adverse childhood experience, and interpersonal violence. Survivor of Ravi Zacharias abuse.
Website: loriannethompson.com
Social media: Twitter

This interview is a must see. Lori Anne articulates the dynamics of abuse so profoundly and carefully with great expertise.

Dr. Ruth Tucker

Bio: Former Professor at Calvin Theological Seminary, Author
Website: ruthtucker.com
Book: Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife

Tom Vermillion

Bio: Pastor, Author
Website: tomvermillion.com
Book: Born To Be Free: Discovering Christ’s Power to Set You Free from a Painful Past
Social media: Twitter

Leslie Vernick

Bio: Speaker, Author, and Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Relationship Coach
Website: leslievernick.com
Books: The Emotionally Destructive Marriage
Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

Who would you add? Let me know in the comments! Please share this important information!

*I am an Amazon Affiliate and may receive a percentage from books sales from the links above.

TBKW 2020 Review and Reflections

Welcome to TBKW’s Year End Review post – better late than never, right?

~ ~ ~ 2020 STATS ~ ~ ~

Here, on the blog, there were 14,072 views, primarily to the home page and then to these posts with the most direct traffic:

#1 – The Transformative Power of Good Leadership is an oldie from 2017 that got a lot of circulation from Pinterest in 2020. I’m so happy because this is written about one of my favorite TED Talks and I would love more people to encounter this!

#2 – Francis Chan, the NEO House Network, and Women in Leadership – another oldie from 2016 that is a common search result for people wondering if Chan is complementarian or egalitarian, I believe. I share the Full Gospel Church story from Seoul, Korea – how they became the largest church in the world by empowering women to lead.

#3 – R.C. Sproul on the Role of Men and Women – I gave an egalitarian position to each of his sermon points on the topic of male headship and female submission. My response posts always do well and I enjoy writing them, so I think I will find a few more complementarians to respond to in 2021.

I wrote eight new posts in 2020, ranked below by my favorite rather than date posted or traffic stats:

God hears the prayers of the oppressed – Y’all, there is a right side to be on when we’re talking about racism in America, and much of the white evangelical church ain’t on it. Scripture is clear that God cares for the oppressed. “History has it’s eyes on you.”
Her father’s joy – the story of Abigail – Notes on one of my favorite Bible women (I named my daughter Abigail)
Abigail Sequel – What about Submission? – and a follow-up post regarding what Abigail’s story has to teach us about submission
On being a bad feminist who tolerates all kinds of nonsense, but also having no patience for bad depictions of God’s love – I read Francine Rivers’ terrible book “Redeeming Love” and wrote about how this was an abusive depiction of God’s love rather than God’s actual unconditional love
Holy Post – Race in America – my transcription of Phil Vischer’s excellent video on racism in America
Quoting the Fathers of Complementarianism – a link to a Facebook album I made of disgusting, misogynistic quotes from theologians and pastors
Voices of Protest – links to social media accounts I recommended for understanding the #BLM protests of 2020
Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood by Aimee Byrd – book recommendation

2020 was also the year that I bit the bullet and paid $19 to take “wordpress” out of the blog url: http://www.thebeautifulkingdomwarriors.com looks so much more legit.

I’ve heard that blogging is dead, people don’t read blogs anymore and I’m okay with that. I’m always behind the curve, definitely not trailblazing or trendsetting. The joy for me comes in the writing and I celebrate the rare “Like” or comment on the blog.

Meanwhile, on The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors Facebook page, 2020 brought some significant traffic upticks. Facebook has become the place where I post the articles and posts I’ve come across and found important, the musings of theologians and activists that I follow, and tons of memes – the clear winner as far as reach goes. I had my first viral post last February:

I can’t remember exactly how many people “liked” TBKW before this post, I think it was around 3K. That doubled in February, and with more people engaging on the page, my posts picked up traction. I ended the year with close to 9k follower and my reach is usually around 600k per month.

I’ve increasingly expanded beyond gender issues (egalitarianism vs. complementarianism, sex abuse, domestic violence, rape culture, purity culture, abortion, etc.) to include posts about racism, politics, trauma, theology, evangelical culture, etc. This leads to some unliking and unfollowing the page while others find the page because of similar values and concerns. I haven’t figured out the best way to encourage people to stick around, to communicate that I don’t want the page to be a vacuum of confirmation bias. I want pushback. I am just one person posting things I come across on the internet. I am not trying to be an authority on or guardian of The Truth. I have learned a lot and am so grateful for everyone who sticks around and engages in the conversations, especially when there is disagreement. I love engaging with kind people who help me understand things better.

As much as I would like more diversity, TBKW seems to resonate most with younger Christians, primarily women and US citizens, with similar political views. I am grateful to receive messages thanking me and to see “mentions” recommending TBKW to their friends as a safe community to grow in faith. Like myself, others have felt less lonely because of TBKW.

Getting personal……2020 Reflections:

As it has been for several years, my writing is harried and sporadic. I could find something to write about every day, if I wasn’t stretched so thin and had the mental space to let the words flow. Mostly, I am clinging to others’ words in my Enneagram 5 need to learn, and never process what I am learning through writing. This grieves me.

Life in 2020 was overwhelming in many ways. On top of a global pandemic and its financial impact, I am a working mom whose “free time” is consumed with housework and homeschooling. I was worried about my husband’s health (he finally received a diagnosis and treatment in November), my brother was in a life-threatening car accident, and my kids were struggling to find their groove in quarantine.

Embarrassingly, the hair that broke the camel’s back was turning 40 during a pandemic. I had dreamed about traveling to celebrate with my closest friends. Reaching the “middle-aged” milestone was jarring when I realized my entire life was in survival mode. I was treading water, fighting to stay ahead of bills and work shifts and supporting my family. I had assumed that by 40, I would figure out my health issues. I had unrequited academic dreams and writing goals. I was having a mid-life crisis and I. was. not. okay.

So I asked for help. First, I reached out to a former pastor. She is a gifted counselor and we set up a weekly phone chat. Collette was a precious guide out of the darkness, making sense of my emotions and offering her “me too” stories, encouragement to rest, resource recommendations, and hope that this season would pass.

Second, I signed up for counseling on Better Help and began weekly sessions with Berty. She told me that I was over functioning for others, I was captive to the tyranny of the urgent, and I was angry like a lot of women my age because I was realizing that I had given my life away. She encouraged me to reclaim my life and make SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Actions, Realistic, Timeframe). She said we overestimate what we can accomplish in one year and underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years. She gave me homework each week that led to setting up a writing space for myself in our guest room and to writing the 8 posts that I managed to share.

I love my new writing space!

When I went back to work at the restaurant and the kids went back to school in August, I thanked Collette and Berty and said I wouldn’t have time anymore for their support. I could certainly use support still, but I am much improved. They had been lifesavers, pulling me out of my burned out pit. This fall, I put my caretaker hat on to help my mom through a big surgery in October and then a broken ankle in November. Then we all got COVID in December and had a huge scare when my mom had to be hospitalized. Praise God we all recovered. Mom was ecstatic to move home in January but we’ve missed having her here with us.

Two and a half weeks ago, I had a hysterectomy. My Facebook posts have tripled and I have been commenting much more during recovery! But that will level out and I am committing to writing more posts here on the blog in 2021. The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors is an outlet for me that gives me a sense of purpose and releases my pent up need to process my thoughts. There are so many things I would like to write about, so I am going to utilize my new SMART goals tool and get to it.

I thank you all for following TBKW. It is incredible that we get to partner with God to bring God’s Kingdom values and love to our communities. We can truly manifest God’s will on earth as it is in heaven through our unique gifts and callings. Let us continue to encourage one another, inspire one another, and urge one another on to love and good deeds. God bless!

Quoting the Fathers of Complementarianism

I created an album on The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors Facebook page with sexist quote memes from influential theologians, past and present.

The album caption reads:

I made these memes to illustrate the origins of today’s complementarian (i.e. patriarchal) beliefs. Some complementarians simply appear unable to recognize the deeply ingrained sexism of their worldview. Just because they can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there:

Sexism [sek-siz-uh m] noun
1. attitudes or behavior based on traditional stereotypes of sexual roles.

2. discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s sex, as in restricted job opportunities; especially, such discrimination directed against women.

Ideas. Have. Consequences. Reading the Bible through a patriarchal lens devalues the imago dei (image of God) in women – who were created to share dominion with men (Genesis 1:28) and are gifted by the Holy Spirit to build the Kingdom alongside their brothers (Galatians 3:28).

These quotes are not the sum contribution of these theologians and pastors. Even great minds are only human and are marred by sin and an imperfect cultural bias. Every single human being is wrong about a lot of things, and I am not writing off everything they ever wrote about God and the Bible because I believe they were wrong about women.

However, it is also important to acknowledge that patriarchy stems from the curse and has been harmful to women and to the work of the Church. It is still present in this fallen world and in the Bride of Christ. Thankfully, Jesus is redeeming the fallen nature of the world and cleansing his Church of all impurities. Patriarchy will one day be a stain on the history of the Church rather than a present reality.

Send me more quotes and I will add to this album!

“Complementarian” refers to a theological view that men and women have different but complementary roles and responsibilities in marriage, family life, and religious leadership. Essentially, the view begets spiritual authority to men and subjugates women. The language (e.g. “complementary,” “equal but different”) can imply a harmless view, but it is inherently abusive to create hierarchy where God intends equality and to bar women from fulfilling their callings and using their gifts (Genesis 1:28, Galatians 3:28, etc.). All image bearers are created to have dominion and all believers have the Holy Spirit. Christ is the head of his Church and we are to submit to one another out of deference for Christ (Ephesians 5:21).

Here is a sample of the memes:

Please go to The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors on Facebook to share this album! And comment below if you know of more quotes you would add. Thank you!