Friday, February 25, 2022

Check out my latest book: Fired at 57: My Fight for Justice in Christian Academia.

The first full-time woman professor ever hired in the 125-year history of Calvin Theological Seminary, I was fired without warning. This book tells not only my story but also the stories of several other professors fired from various Christian institutions of higher learning. More information here.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Another Excerpt from the Book

For Zondervan's latest post on the book go here. Below is a small portion of that excerpt---questions for those who call themselves complementarians:

If the husband is the head—the ruler—in the home, who regulates him? Who determines if his headship is actually comparable to the headship of Christ? The husband himself? Is he alone the interpreter of the biblical standard? Is he the judge and jury in his own court case? Is he the referee, the umpire, in his own ball game? Is he absolutely unbiased? Who determines exactly what male headship entails in each situation? Is there a written or unwritten standard for twenty-first- century domestic situations? At what point, if ever, does his behavior make his headship invalid? Indeed, what are the consequences when husbands fail to live up to this standard?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

My publisher has an excerpt on its website. See also Amazon LOOK INSIDE. I also have information on my website

One of the primary reasons I''m telling my story is to focus on the aspect of Black and White Bible. There are vast numbers of Christians, including ones with huge followings, who teach that women must submit to their husbands. And not just when the husbands are treating them properly---with love, honor and kindness. No, wives are expected to submit to their husbands even when they are behaving very badly, and if the wife is beaten, some of these supporters of male headship blame the wife for provoking the husband.

I certainly don't claim that a couple that affirms mutuality in marriage has no serious problems. But in such instances, neither one can pull out the headship card and demand submission. For them, a more natural course is to seek to work matters out between them---treating each other as equals---or to seek professional counseling.

My ex-husband refused to seek professional counseling because, as he put it, any counselor who disagreed with his judgment would be usurping his headship. Most of the preachers and bloggers who support male headship would also hold to this position, though they would word it differently, insisting that the couple bring their marital problems to the elders of the church---elders who are exclusively male and who hold to male domination in the marriage.

Those who strongly preach male headship are not monsters---at least the vast majority of them are not. Indeed, they are often very charming men as are those who perpetrate domestic violence---as my ex-husband was. No one would have realized that the most dangerous place for me was not midnight out walking in my inner-city neighborhood, rather it was behind closed doors in our "happy" home. Sometimes the ones we would least expect are the most tyrannical abusers.

And for me the beatings were not the worst of it. Being threatened and terrorized is what I remember most. He threatened to kill me, and at his 6' 2" to my 5' 6", it would have been no contest. And I'm not referring to a fist fight; that would have been complete insanity. I'm referring to my simply trying to protect myself and to escape to safety. I'll never forget an incident when Carlton needed to be dropped off in late afternoon at church 3 miles away to practice for a youth program. I had wanted to drop him off. My ex-husband insisted that he drive him. It had been a day of terror for me, and I desperately feared being left alone with him without Carlton being around. So when we got to the church, I quickly jumped out the passenger door. He grabbed me but I managed to escape, though he had gotten my purse. I ran for the church and hid behind a pew in the balcony. After the youth program was over, more than two hours later, I managed to get to Carlton and the three of us went home in the car. After that, until Carlton and I escaped (with the aid of the law) some months later, Carlton rarely left me alone when his father was around. He feared for my life.

This excerpt was posted March 9, 2016 by the Internet Monk

It was a cold West Michigan evening in March. Spring quarter at Trinity had begun a week earlier. I recognized my husband’s mood before we had even sat down for the evening meal. When we finished eating, I tidied up the kitchen, took my books and notes, and went upstairs while he watched his usual TV programs and Carlton did homework nearby, listening in as he typically did.
After an hour or so, I heard my husband’s footsteps on the stairs. I stiffened, dreading the worst. He entered our bedroom where I was hunkered down and then, seemingly out of the blue, with not so much as a segue into the topic, demanded to know my interpretation of a particular biblical passage that related to women. I explained that I was very busy in course preparation and did not wish to discuss the matter, particularly because I knew it would create problems. He proceeded to give me his interpretation of the passage. When I remained silent and refused to agree with him, he became irate and began very loudly to threaten me and exclaim that he would not let me fly to O’Hare in the morning. He yanked me from where I was sitting, my papers flying in every direction.
Hearing his father shouting, Carlton was up the stairs two steps at a time. It was not the first time he sought to defend me. Normally, his crying out at his father put an end to violence. But not this time. My husband demanded he leave the room while at the same time squeezing my arms with all his might and viciously shaking me. Carlton did leave. He raced back to his own room and grabbed two knives, one no more than a hard plastic toy, the other a Swiss Army knife he had managed to open before returning to confront his father. At twelve, Carlton was tall and lanky, but no match for his six-foot-two father, who could do a hundred push-ups without breaking a sweat.
When I saw the knives, I screamed for Carlton to get out, but within seconds my husband had thrown him to the floor, taken the knives, and was coming at me again. In a second, Carlton got back up and tackled his father, crying out at the top of his lungs. And then somehow amid the mayhem, it ended. My husband left the room still raging, ordering Carlton to come downstairs with him.
The next afternoon I was in Deerfield, greeting students in my classroom and wearing a turtleneck and blazer that conveniently covered the bruises— black-and-blue finger marks on my upper arms. I had taught the course before, and once I was into my rhythm and a lively discussion was under way, I was in another world. (p. 20f)

Here's an excerpt from "From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya"
Most of my writing relates to church history and missions, now and then giving that writing a personal touch as in the Postscript to From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions. Near the end of this final section, I refer to stories of those who felt called to become missionaries but never fulfilled that calling. Here are the final paragraphs of the book:

One of those stories began in the 1950s in a farming community in northern Wisconsin. The setting was a summer Bible camp where missionary Delmer Smith of the Christian and Missionary Alliance was the featured speaker. There in the rustic pavilion under his moving messages a thirteen-year-old farm girl caught a vision for missions, and at the closing meeting she stood to commit her life to God as a foreign missionary. Through her high school year that followed, foreign missions was her life’s goal. Nothing, she vowed, would ever deter her.

Following her high school graduation her life was busy and eventful. Bible college, Christian liberal arts college, university, marriage, family, teaching career. One followed on another. But as the years slipped by, the prospect of embarking on an overseas missions career became less and less a reality.

Only three miles away from her childhood home another young farm girl was growing upher cousin, Valerie Stellrecht. They attended the same schools and the same little country church. Valerie, too, felt called to foreign missions. She, too enrolled at the St. Paul Bible College to prepare for her life’s calling. And she, too, longed for marriage and family. But her sense of calling to the foreign field came first. Valerie graduated from Bible college and soon thereafter bade farewell to her family and loved one sand set out alone for Ecuador, where she continues to serve today with the Christian and Missionary Alliance.

Two young women whose lives paralleled each other’s in so many respects. Two young women who felt called to foreign missions. Valerie went. I stayed home.

And now the rest of the story. . . .

In my latest writing, I tell the story that I've kept secret for many years. As I say in the previous paragraphs, I feared that I would end up a single missionary. I fell in love without asking questions and married a man who said that he, too, was called to be a missionary. When he finished seminary he served as pastor of two churches and taught in a Bible College. The marriage ended after 19 years, much of it colored by black and blue bruises, defended with a black and white Bible. I wonder how many missionary wives have stories that are not so different from mine.

Zondervan has a blog here that contains a lengthy excerpt.