Domestic Abuse and the Family of God (Jan-Feb 2008)

By Matt Dabbs

Dear readers,

In this issue of New Wineskins you have the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the area of domestic abuse.

The authors in this issue have taught me a great deal. They are men and women of courage. Some are survivors. All have a challenge for the church to speak about concerning abuse.

Nancy Nason-Clark’s article “Holy Hush or Shattered Silence?” is a well-written challenge for us to shatter the “holy” hush that the church perpetuates about abuse in homes. Nancy is a Sociology professor and strong advocate and popular speaker in the area of abuse prevention. Her research in faith-based victim’s support groups and batterer intervention is cutting edge. She and her staff have tremendous hearts for helping ministers address this issue.

Catherine Clark-Kroeger is a New Testament scholar and advocate for abused women. She combines classic textual scholarship with a practical application to violence, power, control, and peace. She is a vibrant woman with an endless amount of energy for bringing peace and safety in the Christian home.

David Livingston is a theologian and batter intervention specialist. His work with violent men is a well-respected book among the secular domestic violence community. Marie Fortune has provided the faith community with an endless amount of resources in abuse prevention and clergy abuse prevention. The Faith Trust Institute in Seattle has trained many clergy both on site and through their DVDs and curriculum. She is a pioneer in the area of sexual assault from a faith-based perspective. She is one of those women who empowered men by telling us, “Boys will not be boys—you can practice self control.”

We also asked those who’ve gone through domestic abuse to submit articles.

Bettie Williams-Watson was married to a minister. After suffering years of physical abuse, guilt, and humiliation she left and walked the long road to healing. She is a popular speaker and advocate in Seattle and has written poems, songs, and other art forms for those who experienced abuse and shame.

Rebecca Hull was a member of our youth group at my last congregation. Rebecca was sexually assaulted by a young man in the congregation. Rebecca experienced the silence and shame that most young women face when the leadership and congregation are silent on the issue. Rebecca is an art major and has found a great way to help survivors through her artwork.

It is our hope and desire that faith communities will begin to speak out against domestic violence and promote peaceful, healthy, caring relationships. It is our desire that men and women, both in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-30) will learn to live at peace and with mutual respect for each other.

Ron Clark
Associate Editor
New Wineskins Magazine

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Ron ClarkRon Clark, D. Min., leads a church plant – Agape Church – on the west side of Portland, Oregon. He has served as president of Portland’s Community Against Domestic Violence (CADV) and directs their ongoing Clergy Abuse Workshop training program. He has led training seminars on relationship abuse for ministers, law enforcement organizations, and faith communities. He has recently been appointed to the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task force to represent faith communities. Ron earned his undergraduate degrees from Central Missouri State University and his Masters of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Harding University Graduate School of Religion. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and has published articles on as abuse, theology, ministry, Hebrew textual, and Greek textual studies in a number of theological and counseling journals. His books include Setting the Captives Free: A Christian Theology for Domestic Violence (Wipf and Stock) and Good Shepherds: Elders Tending the Flock as God’s Servants (under review). Ron is also an adjunct Bible lecturer at both Cascade College and George Fox Evangelical Seminary, a co-founder of the Portland Center for Building Caring Families, and a member of the Multnomah County Early Childhood Education’s Grants Committee and the Portland Wrestling Officials Association. He blogs at [http://kokemushkeivogel.blogspot.com/ ] and at [the New Wineskins blog] as “KMiV”.

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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