Victim Shaming Authors – Not Okay

I woke up to a lovely blurb on Goodreads by an author that I’ve read before. She included the publisher’s explanation of why they included dashed out profanity in a non-fiction book. Her purpose in doing this was to leave a strong exhortation that people should not waste their money on this book because such language is an offense to God. Here is the publisher’s note:

“The story you are about to read is true. The events depicted include violent situations and vulgar language of a kind that typically doesn’t appear in books we publish. But after careful consideration, we decided to include some dialogue that, though potentially offensive, is accurate, helps to capture the intensity of the events in an authentic way, and gives a truthful illustration of the human condition.”

Victim Shaming Authors

I left a polite (too polite of a comment, really) challenging this person that Jesus Christ entered into our sufferings. He didn’t tell us what we could and couldn’t share with Him about these sufferings. Jesus Christ has already witnessed the horrible things, including the profane words, that Ruth Everhart experienced while she was held hostage and raped at gunpoint. And to instruct her on how to tell her story is wrong. To admonish other Christians not to read her book because she tells the truth about what happened, including the colorful details we want to wish away, is victim shaming. I absolutely hate victim shaming, and I hate it even more when it happens in the church of Jesus Christ. As Christians we ought to know better.

Here is a link to her book, “Ruined.” I plan to read it. Let me know if you want to read it together 🙂

Here is my question: what about the offense to God of rape? What about the offense to God of the church shaming people for being of loose morals when sexual abuse happens? Yes, I am a witness to such behavior. Though there are some churches that have great support systems in place for survivors of abuse, it is shockingly rare. It is wrong to victim shame authors that feel the need to share in a blunt manner. I think this is especially true when someone is writing non-fiction. I could talk about this topic all day, but I actually have a page on another blog that discusses how we can support survivors in a Christlike way.

Now to get back to editing Kerfuffle, which also deals with not one, but two very sensitive topics that in general Christians don’t want to discuss. Because that’s who I am. That’s what I do. Transverse the bubble with me.

Happy reading,

Kristin

P.S. Here is the synopsis of Ruined, in case you are interested in context.

“It happened on a Sunday night, even though I’d been a good girl and gone to church that morning.”

One brisk November evening during her senior year at a small Midwestern Christian college, two armed intruders broke into the house Ruth Everhart shared with her roommates, held all five girls hostage, and took turns raping them at gunpoint. Reeling with fear, insecurity, and guilt, Ruth believed she was ruined, both physically and in the eyes of God.

In the days and weeks that followed, Ruth struggled to come to grips with not only what happened that night but why. The same questions raced through her mind in an unrelenting loop—questions that would continue to haunt her for years to come:

Why me? Where was God? Why did God allow this to happen? What am I being punished for?

Told with candor and unflinching honesty, Ruined is an extraordinary emotional and spiritual journey that begins with an unspeakable act of violence but ends with tremendous healing and profound spiritual insights about faith, forgiveness, and the will of God.

Book Review: That Book for Wives by Sally Poyzer

That Book for Wives by Sally Poyzer

I give this book 3.5/5 stars.

While I appreciate the great advice that Sally Poyzer offers in her book, “That Book for Wives,” I felt that overall her approach to becoming a better wife was oversimplified. The theme of the book seems to be, “If you just do what I’m telling you, everything will be ok.” I do think that wives should strive to do all of the things Poyzer says. For example, she has an entire section on how to apologize well, even if your spouse doesn’t apologize first (or at all). I think that is great. Her four point approach is strategic and should be fairly easy to implement. But I feel that the book missed a lot of background, the roots, of how we can change to be better wives. Even if you do everything the book advises, if you aren’t doing it out of a strong and secure devotion to Jesus Christ, being firmly rooted in His love and grace, you will fail. It seems to me that she is assuming the people that read this book already have a really strong and mature walk with the Lord.

I love the way she approaches the book from the perspective that even if your husband isn’t willing to work on your marriage at all, there are still things the wife can do on her own that can improve the marriage relationship.

The next critique is a specific sensitivity for me, and may not apply to all readers. Poyzer glosses over the complications previous sexual abuse can have on a couple’s sexual relationship, suggesting that Jesus can heal, and it may also be a good idea to receive Christian counseling. As someone that works with survivors of sexual abuse, I can tell you that finding a healthy way to relate to your spouse after surviving earlier sexual abuse is a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of counseling, and re-learning truth. It isn’t something that prayer alone can solve, from what I have seen. I know that opinion isn’t very popular, but if that is how we are going to approach sexual abuse, why not simply pray for a better marriage instead of using a book like “That Book for Wives,” to help guide us?

I feel that the book leaned heavily on her own stories, and could have been more scripture focused.

She also doesn’t take boundaries within marriage into consideration, and if you have really bad in-laws, she suggests you do your best to grin and bear it for your husband’s sake. She doesn’t ever mention that there are times when a wife and her husband must place boundaries in their familial relationships for their spiritual and emotional health. Though she does give a list of boundaries she uses to keep herself pure and distanced from the very real threat of adultery. I use the same boundaries in my own life, and have found them to be very effective.

Overall, I think there are a lot of nuggets of wisdom tucked throughout this book. If I was going to recommend a book of this type to a friend though, I would rather recommend “The Peaceful Wife” by April Cassidy.

Book Review: From Fiery Trials by Marisa De More

This post was originally part of my old book review website “Christian Book Lady,” which I will be shutting down next week.

I give this book 5/5 Stars.

 

Category: Non-fiction :: Target Audience: Adults

From Fiery Trials by Marisa De More is true, challenging, and encouraging. If you have struggled with mental illness, depression, or demonic influence, this book will encourage you as you turn to Jesus Christ for deliverance. Marisa De More’s testimony of her childhood is intense, but encouraging. I love how she approached everything in such humility. She also approaches issues that all Christians have in a very biblical way, explaining the seasons of growth she went though individually and also in her marriage with her husband, Barry. I loved this book so much, and I believe it will encourage many others.

One of the main themes of this book is, “Why has God created me? What am I supposed to do with my life?” I feel like the answer will encourage so many people in their quest to serve the Lord.

Personally, God used this book to minister to me during a very difficult time in my walk with Him. The illustrations and visions paint a perfect picture of God’s love, grace, and mercy. Thank you for your transparency and honesty Marisa! May the Lord continue to bring you closer to Him

Book Review: The Peaceful Wife by April Cassidy

This post was originally part of my old book review website “Christian Book Lady,” which I will be shutting down next week.

 

I give this book 5/5 stars.

 

Category: Non-fiction :: Target Audience: Christian Wives

The Peaceful Wife by April Cassidy is a treasure and a wonderful resource for any woman of God.

“Control and aggression kill romance for both men and women. Passivity also kills romance on either side of marriage.”

If this is true, what solution is there for having a happy, balanced marriage? This book sets out to answer that question using the Bible and practical, real-life examples.

This book is much more than a collection of blog entries from April Cassidy’s popular blog, peacefulwife.com. Instead it is a well thought out book that is extremely balanced and biblical in its approach to a God centered marriage. She does some very difficult things in this book effortlessly. April explains submission in a way that will help every wife to understand the beauty of what submission actually means, and also shares what things are inappropriate within a marriage for men and women. Although this book is written primarily to wives, I feel like there is definitely helpful information in this book for both men and women. The author of this book has taken all of her personal research and experience regarding learning how to be a godly wife, and lovingly compiled it into one book. Have you ever wondered why your husband shuts down in a seemingly random way? This book is for you.

One of the things I appreciated the most about this book is that it also warns women in dangerous situations to seek help, and never once equates submission with abuse, but distinguishes the two very carefully. This will be my go to book for future counseling sessions with wives. I wish I would have had a book like this when I first got married. Thank you, April. It is clear that you poured your heart and soul out in this book for our benefit.

Book Review: Philippians – Pursuing Spiritual Maturity by Gregory Brown

This post was originally part of my old book review website “Christian Book Lady,” which I will be shutting down next week.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

Category: Nonfiction :: Target Audience: Christians

In, “Philippians: Pursuing Spiritual Maturity,” Gregory Brown has done an excellent job explaining the book of Philippians. Brown’s systematic style which he uses in his “The Bible Teacher’s Guide” series is shown in this book. It is perfect as a resource for anyone who wants to run a small group, or just better understand the book of Philippians.

I don’t know how Brown does it, but he always stays neutral in areas where other authors cannot. In this book that is important because one of the main themes in Philippians is unity, and the author spends a large chunk of this book describing the importance of unity as well. Whatever end of the theological scale you are on, I guarantee you will find this book helpful, and respectful of your denominational beliefs.

The main theme of this book is pursing spiritual maturity. Brown answers important questions. “What is the right attitude we must have in order to pursue maturity?” “Why is it important to have the right attitude — a holy discontent — in order to pursue spiritual maturity?” “In what ways is God challenging you to be more disciplined in your spiritual life?” “How do we keep the right focus?” But he goes through the important foundation for our spiritual maturity in the first half of the book by establishing our need for Jesus Christ, sanctification, unity, and living a life worthy of the gospel.

This book is another great addition to “The Bible Teacher’s Guide” series, and I look forward to reading many more.