Why I’m Not Trying to Cancel Other Marriage Authors

by | Apr 12, 2021 | Uncategorized | 112 comments

Cancelling False Marriage Teaching

I’d like to talk to you today about how I’m feeling, and a bit about what’s going on behind the scenes.

So grab a coffee and get comfy, because this is going to be a long one!

To begin, let me tell you a story.

Imagine you have a crazy Uncle Joe. Uncle Joe is a pastor, and everybody knows it. He is very opinionated and very loud, and quite the bully. He makes offensive jokes constantly, and likes to roll his eyes at his neighbors and generally judge the heck out of them.

Uncle Joe has a timid wife whom he has beaten down and two teenage kids. One is sullen and angry at his parents and wants nothing to do with the church and is counting the days until he can leave home. One is beaten down and depressed and seems to have little drive, and gets picked on by his dad all the time.

Every July 4, you have to go to a barbecue with your extended family at Uncle Joe’s house. The barbecue takes place in his small backyard in a subdivision, and all of Uncle Joe’s neighbors are out in their backyards doing similar things. All the neighbors know three things about Uncle Joe:

  1. He’s a pastor who says he loves Jesus;
  2. he’s a bully and super offensive;
  3. and his family looks scared.

At the barbecue, Uncle Joe starts railing against some group that he thinks is responsible for all the evil in the world. You can see, over the fenceline, that the neighbors can hear. His wife looks awkward. His kids look away.

You know if you speak up, you will become the target for Uncle Joe’s anger, and he will erupt into a big fight that all the neighbours will see.

So here’s the question: what do you think will give the neighbors a better, more accurate view of God? If you say nothing and listen to the tirade and go home and don’t cause a scene, or if you cause a scene and tell Uncle Joe that what he is saying does not sound like Christ? What do you think will help the wife and teenage kids see that they don’t have to put up with his bullying? If you say something, or if you try to keep the peace?

Sometimes people need to be challenged–not so that you change that person’s mind (because that person’s mind is unlikely to be changed), but so that those around you will see that this person does not speak for Jesus. And so that those around you will also feel emboldened to speak up.

Okay, that was story 1. Now for some stats.

Among Millennials, the “Dones” now outnumber those sitting in the pews

I think this is likely true for Generation Z as well, I’m just not sure how old the youngest Generation Z people are yet. But those who have left the church among millennials is a higher number than those who are going.

I saw a meme last week that said something like this:

We often think those leaving the church are doing so because they’re leaving Jesus. To the contrary. Many are leaving the church because it’s the only way to hold on to Him.

This is what we were talking about in our feeling spiritually homeless podcast last December. So many churches have become spiritually dangerous places because of their attitudes towards women, towards power, towards different racial groups, towards those who may think a little differently than they do. So many churches are about control rather than love.

This week on the podcast we’ll be talking with Scot McKnight and Laura Barringer, authors of A Church Called Tov, about how to create churches with goodness cultures. But many churches don’t have that. And so people are leaving not because they’re giving up on Jesus but because sitting in the pews, and seeing people misuse the name of Jesus, hurts their spiritual life more than leaving does.

I’m not saying that’s true of all churches; that’s why I’ve been endlessly encouraging people who feel lost to look outside their denomination; look for a smaller community church; try something different if you can. But some people are so burnt out they genuinely need a break.

You may not see this phenomenon going on. You may be in a great church, and think everyone’s missing the point. You may assume that the younger generation just doesn’t love God.

But stats show that’s not true. The younger generations do love God. They just want a church that is about justice and love, not just about being right–with “right” defined very narrowly. They can’t take all the scandals and the bullying and what they see as hypocrisy.

Really, they are that sullen teenager leaving Uncle Joe.

Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost.

Jesus said that it is not the healthy that need a physician, but the sick. Jesus is concerned with those who are lost.

And that means that these people need to matter to us.

And the people who have never been part of the fold need to matter to us as well.

Jesus left the 99 to go after the 1. People matter to Jesus; people who feel marginalized, left out, excluded. They matter to Him.

Okay, we’ve had Story #1 and Stats #1. Now let’s have Exhibit #1.

There is no universe in which it is acceptable for a pastor to post this on social media

 

Mark Gungor MIsogynistic Meme

This is misogynistic. It just is. And for a pastor to have his social media filled with memes like this is just plain unChristlike.

Jesus would not talk about Mary Magdalene like this. Paul called women his fellow co-workers in Christ. He did not demean them and say that they were untrainable.

And someone who makes their living primarily as a marriage speaker, and who speaks at large marriage events throughout the United States, should not be filling their social media with memes that demean women.

Even if you think this is overreacting, think of Uncle Joe’s neighbors.

They are watching. And as these memes get published on Uncle Joe’s Facebook Page, it solidifies everything they think they already know about Christians. It makes Uncle Joe’s kids even more likely to leave the church when they get older.

Even if you don’t think it is a big deal, if Jesus’ concern is for the lost, then what should our attitude be?

Okay, now we have Story #1, Stats #1, and Exhibit #1. Now for Story #2.

Last week a famous marriage pastor said he was sad I was real and that I was disgusting.

He also said I was arrogant; crazy; that he had no respect for me as a person. He laughed when people called me a pig and narcissistic, and he laughed at a joke that called me sexually unfulfilled, saying no one would touch me with a ten foot pole.

What was my crime? When he put up a post about how sexless marriages should be grounds for divorce, I made a comment saying that we needed a more nuanced conversation, because our survey of 20,000 women showed that sexless marriages don’t happen out of the blue, for no reason. And talking about the problem of sexlessness without also addressing the 47 point orgasm gap between men and women is missing a large part of the story.

The conversation moved to Twitter where he got very insulting. I don’t want to tell the whole story here; I may in a podcast one day, although I’d rather focus on what I think is problematic about not seeing sexlessness in a nuanced way. But if you want to see the saga, I wrote a Twitter thread about it here; you can click through and read. (click the little blue bird and then hit “show this thread” at the bottom of the last tweet).

Some say that I shouldn’t be so argumentative, and that they liked me better before I started speaking up about these issues.

This blog was nicer when I just gave advice.

And I get it. That was seriously much more emotionally healthy for me, too!

But it also ignored what was happening on the ground.

Over the last few months I have gained so many new followers. My podcast listeners have doubled since September. My Instagram has doubled. My social media reach and newsletter reach is now about 200,000 people. And quite a few are here because they finally feel heard. They finally feel like they can see Jesus again!

Most of my followers now are here because they desperately want to see this bad teaching taken down and to see a more life-giving picture of what it is to follow Jesus. 

But then there are those who have been following me for longer who think that I’m giving the church a bad name because I’m speaking up.

We would do better not to air our disagreements in public. We would do better to keep everything quiet so we don’t fight before unbelievers. When you engage in these fights publicly, you hurt the body.

I understand the sentiment, but I don’t agree. I think Uncle Joe’s neighbors need to hear people pushing back against Uncle Joe, and telling him his views do not represent Jesus. If we take it all inside where they don’t see, how does that help them change their view of who Jesus is?

Let’s keep our eyes on the prize–on who really needs to be protected; on who Jesus is pursuing. 

Please remember who the victim is when bad teaching is confronted.

In everything with Mark Gungor last week, I was not the victim. Yes, I was called names and he said he wished I didn’t exist. But I wasn’t standing up for myself. I spoke on that post because several women sent it to me and were disturbed by it and asked me to (that’s how I see everyone else’s social media stuff; I don’t follow them. My followers send me the disturbing stuff hoping I’ll say something).

I was speaking up for those who were being hurt by that post, because they are the real victims.

And then, once things got ugly, I was speaking up because it must not be acceptable for evangelical pastors to be insulting and misogynistic like that. It simply must not. I care about millennials. I care about people leaving the church. And this stuff poisons the church. If we want to have any witness at all, we simply have to root it out. And that means that sometimes we must get loud–and that means that I make myself a target.

But just as I am not the victim, they are not the victim, either, when I push back.

Mark Gungor shared a statement that Shaunti Feldhahn wrote after The Great Sex Rescue was published, because our book showed how her book, For Women Only, contained some problematic teachings. In her statement, she portrays herself as the victim of my actions. I wrote a statement in response a month ago, but I never shared it publicly because I didn’t want to inflame the situation, and Shaunti’s going through a difficult health time. But now that he has shared hers to the world, and hers is circulating, I must defend The Great Sex Rescue.

 

See our Statement about The Great Sex Recue

Shaunti Feldhahn’s statement is linked within mine so you can read it and judge for yourself. Please note that in her statement, she makes many accusations about me, but never links to mine. In my statement, I have tried to provide full context and quote her completely, to be fair. 

Over the last week, the support I have received from my readers has been humbling.

I have had hundreds upon hundreds of you try to leave comments on Mark Gungor’s page defending me, and he has deleted and blocked almost every one of you, no matter how kind your comments were. I have received hundreds of messages of support. Thank you. I’m still working through replying to all of the messages on Instagram! (I’m sorry if I haven’t gotten to yours yet; I tried to take yesterday off).

But I have also received about 6 messages like this:

I have been a follower of your blog for several years. I have learned so many wonderful things in that time. Unfortunately, lately I almost cringe when I see the posts. The underlying tone has turned bitter and the posts have changed their purpose. I whole heartedly believe you see sex and marriage in the true biblical sense. Unfortunately, for a long time follower, the blog has taken a new turn that I don’t like. I don’t feel like the blog is doing what your original purpose was. It has become a defensive battle ground. I pray that the blog gets back to encouraging, educating, and lifting people up like many of these posts.

And I guess that is the point of why I’m writing this post.

I know that it was nicer when my blog was only about advice.

It was nicer for me, too. Right now big name authors are debating suing us, and we are dealing with that, because we dared to ask 20,000 women about what teachings hurt their sex lives.

But again, I am not the victim. The people being hurt by the teachings are the victims. The people leaving the church over teachings like these are the victims. And we have to stand up if our priorities are going to be in the right place.

When we wrote that post two weeks ago about Emerson Eggerichs’ sermons gaslighting abuse victims, we weren’t planning on it. We only did that when he started sending copyright notices against us. We had other posts planned.

I didn’t plan on my week being taken up by Mark Gungor last week; that only happened because rather than dialogue with me, he started insulting people and banning people, and then I noticed how misogynistic his social media feed was.

I had other plans for this week (and still do), and we’ll be moving on to weird stuff about sex in medieval times and Victorian times tomorrow and Wednesday!

But when I speak up, I do so because I need these authors who keep threatening to sue me to know that they can’t bully me. I have an army of people who just want healthy stuff out there, and we will be loud, and we will persevere, because the sheep matter. 

The well-being of the sheep matter more than the reputations of those who have led them.

The well-being of the sheep matter more than the platforms of those who have led them.

Finally, one more thing, that I shared on Facebook last night:

I do not want to cancel other authors.

 

Do I want to cancel authors who don’t agree with me? Do I want to steal their platforms?

NO! Not at all.

What I’ve been praying for is that those who will point people to Jesus-centred, healthy marriages and sex lives will see their platforms enlarge, and those who are pointing people away from health and away from Jesus will see their platforms shrink.

In my ideal world, those who currently have big platforms but teach things that we now know are harmful would simply repent and start teaching that which is healthy! Imagine how powerful that would be! To have someone admit they’re wrong and teach what’s right, who has access to so many people already who likely believe harmful things? That would be incredible!

As for me, I will continue to do what I feel God has called me to do, which is spread healthy teaching about marriage and sexuality, and point people to Jesus.

But if, one day, others are doing it better and have bigger platforms, I will gladly (GLADLY) step away. I have a whole basement full of yarn and so many patterns I want to knit. I have a grandson (and will likely have more grandkids over the next few years). Keith and I would LOVE to do some work in Africa. We’d love to do more birdwatching.

So I am not out to cancel ANYONE. I am simply out to cancel harmful teaching. And if any authors who we have found teach harmful things change their minds? I will be the FIRST to praise them to the skies!

Sheila, on Facebook

Sometimes, for the sake of Jesus, we need to get uncomfortable.

I would love–LOVE–if I could just write this blog the way I want to, and work on more courses, and just give great advice.

But when others are hurting the church, we need to speak up. For the sake of Uncle Joe’s neighbors. For the sake of Uncle Joe’s kids. For the sake of Uncle Joe’s wife.

And hopefully one day, so many others will take on this task, so that I can go and knit in peace!

UPDATE: And because we spoke up on social media, a sexual assault survivor who left the church 6 years ago because she says Mark Gungor mishandled her sexual abuse disclosure felt free to go public. And Christians surrounded her with validation and comfort. For the first time in a long time, Christians have reached out to her with something other than judgment. She matters.

The Great Sex Rescue

Now Available!

What if you’re NOT the problem with your sex life?

What if the things that you’ve been taught have messed things up–and what if there’s a way to escape these messages?

Welcome to the Great Sex Rescue.

Cancelling Bad Marriage Teaching

I’m hesitant to ask for your thoughts, because I’m a little emotionally worn down right now and I have to do some major writing today! But, as always, I welcome your comments and feedback!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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112 Comments

  1. BL

    Oh my Sheila! I can’t imagine how exhausting this is to navigate. Thank you for being on the internet and for putting out what you have. I followed the when I first got married, but when the rug of evangelical marriage, sex, and women’s roles got pulled out, I’ve so appreciated your voice. I really believe the Lord is using you, but the church as a whole is not ready. But it’s not looking like they ever will be ready, since we don’t like looking at our own flaws. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Lizz

      Ditto, ditto, ditto! Much love and thanks for your work and perseverance! Attempting deep conversation in the face of internet debates is exhausting!

      Reply
      • Lydia

        To Sheila and everyone on the team, I so appreciate your hard work. I’m an older Gen Zer, and so much of your blog and podcast has resonated with me. I recently left the church I grew up in because I just couldn’t worship Jesus while in a church building anymore. Having you all here with similar experiences, encouraging words, and thought provoking questions has been so comforting. Thank you!

        Reply
  2. Julia

    Keep fighting the good fight Sheila. You are wonderful, you are brave, and you are bang on. Always here for you!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Julia! And I’ve appreciated all your support on Instagram, too!

      Reply
  3. Active Mom

    “Because the sheep matter.”
    Amen. I matter, my daughters matter, every daughter matters. I wonder if people are upset not because you are confronting these things but because it’s always been known inside the church, talked about in corners in hushed whispers but now that it’s public we can’t pretend everything is perfect anymore. I think it’s embarrassing for them. I also wonder if the pushback you are getting is because now pastors are being forced to have to publicly make a choice. Call out the sexist behavior of their peers and risk being alienated or go along with it and have members leave and have non believes think Christ was a sexist bully. Unfortunately it seems they are not willing to risk calling out their friends and peers. That is also sad and telling about the state of the church.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Very true!
      But Christ came not to bring peace but a sword. We will have to take a stand. That’s the nature of the Christian life. And so many have tried to walk both sides, and they can’t anymore.

      Reply
      • KK

        If there has been one good thing about this long COVID year, it’s that it seems we’re starting to see a sea change in many areas of society. It’s like the stress and isolation has brought all of the scum to the surface and we’re finally seeing clearly all of the issues that have been lurking just under the surface for so long. But the part that is so encouraging to me is that so many of us aren’t willing to just sit down and shut up anymore. We’re not satisfied with being voiceless, or allowing others to be marginalized and mocked for the pain they’ve endured. I’m so excited to see you using your platform to speak out for those who’ve been told they don’t matter. I’m excited to see Beth Moore take her stand and leave the SBC. And I’m now more aware of how rampant misogyny is in the church and more sensitive to the abused, and able to add that insight and understanding to my conversations when it’s needed. That’s because of you, Sheila. Your mission may look different now, but the work you’re doing is bringing LIFE, and it’s healing me in ways I didn’t know I needed. Thank you so much. You have an army rising up with you so please keep speaking out and we’ll keep praying.

        Reply
      • Jacqueline

        Wow Sheila,
        Hang in there. For those who want things to go back to the way there were that’s where the enemy wants us. To stay in our comfort zones and keep our heads down. Jesus spoke up, especially to the Pharisees- he called them a brood of vipers and said they were like whitewashed tombs. We need to call out bad teaching and things that don’t represent the heart of Christ. You are doing the right thing Sheila just as
        Matthew 5:11-12 says:
        “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

        Reply
    • B

      So beautifully written Sheila!!!
      You handle yourself with grace and with truth and some people just cannot handle the truth. They only want to hear the grace, the complements, the support.
      I am a sexual betrayal survivor.
      He has/had a porn addiction, sexting and finally physical, extra marital affairs.
      We left our church because they could not handle what was needed for recovery. They could not support our need for therapy or counseling outside of the “church” or Bible. They could not help us. They are not equipped to help those in situations like ours.
      We did not leave our faith.
      God used those “outside” resources to bring healing to our marriage despite the negative comments from our pastor and church friends…..despite the “go forward with caution” attitude that is prevalent if it is not exclusively a church program!
      We did not limit God by putting Him in a box that suited our church’s traditional teachings.
      God has helped us through this very difficult situation and we are restored. We are nearly 3 years into this true recovery. I say “true” because of the way the church handle our situation before, true recovery was not happening. In fact the addiction was getting worse. Much worse.
      My husband is working on his stuff and our marriage is better than ever! 25 years and counting this July!!!
      However, our belief system has been shaken to its core and its there that we find Jesus.
      If Jesus is not the be all and end all, then there is no point.
      We have difficulty attending church knowing the stats of pornography use among church leaders, but have slowly been visiting other churches and denominations.
      We have a safety word if anyone feels like we need to leave.
      It’s “coffee” because no one in our family drinks it!! Hahaha!!
      We talk to our teens about what the church teaches in comparison to what the Bible says. We want them having knowledge, not traditions that get taught from the pulpit as truths.
      Keep fighting the good fight Sheila! Those that need your message the most will hear it and rejoice!!

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Oh, B, I’d love to hear your story of recovery sometime! Those stories always make me so happy. God really can do amazing things–but we have to fully deal with our junk. It isn’t found just in “bouncing your eyes” and in quick forgiveness. It’s done in real work and getting vulnerable and dealing with your wounds.
        I don’t like coffee either, so maybe that should be a code word for me!

        Reply
  4. Anon

    I haven’t read all the exchanges but one thing struck me – this man is justifying his comments because you ‘started it’. For one thing, the ‘you started it’ argument should be abandoned once the combatants reach double figures. And for another, NOWHERE in the Bible does it say that it’s ok to get abusive about someone because they got abusive about you first. I haven’t seen you write anything that has been rude, or that has attacked him as an individual, only comments that have challenged what he has written. But even if you HAD done that, it still wouldn’t justify his actions.
    I’m reminded of the apocryphal tale that a politician’s speech included a marginal note saying “Your point is weak here, so shout loudly.” Seems to me that some people are doing an awful lot of shouting because they’re realising their arguments aren’t as well-founded as they’d thought.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, my goodness, that speech thing is hilarious! I think that’s very likely what’s going on. Thanks, Anon!

      Reply
    • Kayla

      As my mom used to tell us, “I don’t care if s/he started it, you end it!” Meaning – walk away, use your words, tell an adult to get help, etc. Take the high road – retaliation when “they started it” isn’t the best answer.

      Reply
    • Ana

      A união faz a força – I’m sure there is an English equivalent, but roughly, strength in unity.
      You are not alone. Thank you for being willing to take the lead and all the burdens that brings.

      Reply
    • Rachel L.

      Ohhh, my goodness, this is GREAT! In regards to the speach, this also reminds me of Marie from The Aristocrats. When the kittens are fighting Marie starts by quoting her mother:
      “Ladies do not start fights,” then she turns in the boys who have been picking on her, and adds her own caviat. “But we can FINISH them!”
      It seems to me, Sheila (and team) that you didn’t start this fight, or any other, but that you have been called to speak out and “finish” it. This is a fight that bad & mysoginistic teaching has been waging on women for decades. And it’s time for us to say, “Enough! We will no longer accept this treatment from our brothers.” So thanks for leading the charge!

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Exactly, Rachel! That’s it. I just want to finish it so we can move on with what is healthy.

        Reply
  5. Phil

    Hi Sheila – I have noticed the change also – but do understand your position and believe you doing the right thing. I do not have a ton to say but as your friend I encourage you. If there was a way I could step in and help you I certainly would. I believe that this too shall pass. Here is my verse from today that I have shared with some already today. 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds,(F) 3 because you know that the testing of your faith(G) produces perseverance.(H) 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature(I) and complete, not lacking anything.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, I sure hope it passes! We’re getting a little tired of this and the threats to sue, etc. We’d like to move on now! But I also need to show people how they can recognize bad stuff and speak up. Really, if everyone in the pews who was being taught this stuff just said, “Nope. Not going to listen,” the pastors would change pretty fast! Or else they’d lose all their parishioners!

      Reply
      • Andrea

        If they sue, that means the secular courts get to see just how abuse and rape-condoning they are and that would not turn out well for them in the #MeToo era. Since you’re abiding by fair use laws, they can only sue you for slander, so just imagine this lawsuit where a pastor who compares women to animals accuses a woman who calls him on that for slander.
        I frequently have to keep my mouth shut around secular friends who work in global health and say about other countries “you know, over there sex is just about the man” or “they don’t acknowledge marital rape” and I think to myself if only they knew this was happening in their own all-American middle-class college-educated neighborhood among their evangelical neighbors. And just as my secular friends don’t know that things right here at home can be as bad for women as they are in less developed parts of the world, so I am sure the evangelical women living in their megachurch eco-chamber have no idea that the misogyny they themselves have been conditioned to laugh at would not be tolerated in the secular world.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Exactly, Andrea! I often wonder about women in these misogynistic churches who work in secular jobs in managerial positions. How do they reconcile how they are treated in the workplace with how they are treated in the church? I could never do it.
          (And I think it’s true even for women who don’t work in high powered careers!)
          Or in secular workplaces, men have to treat women as people or they’re disciplined. Do they not see the difference?

          Reply
      • Anonymous305

        “Do they not see the difference?” I’ll tell you why I didn’t for a while. My secular job was toxic to both men and women, so I didn’t think about gender. My church was the better of the 2 places, and I wasn’t admitting to myself what was hurting in my marriage. My church had such a mix of good and bad messages, and I was focused on helping a friend though blatant abuse, so I noticed what harmed survivors, but didn’t spend a lot of thought on what harmed normal marriages.
        Then, I went to law school. Wait, what???? Women’s rights don’t depend on marital status???? Male professors are actually horrified by abuse and don’t ask if girls were immodest or if wives were unsubmissive???? Wha wha????!!!!
        Of course, before law school, I knew intellectually that I had legal rights, but to FEEL that my success wasn’t judged by my marriage was comforting and shocking. Because now, what do I do with the church? The church where my husband has more connections than I do because I brought him there before I knew the real content of the books it recommends. Still figuring that out…

        Reply
  6. Alex

    Sheila, I love you and have been following you for years. I love that you are standing up for women. I appreciate that you explained in this post that you are commenting on these because people send them to you, because I was wondering. It wasn’t clear. I’m a fan of yours and even I thought you were out looking for these posts. One thing that I do think may bug people who never heard of you but are seeing your responses in cases like the Mark Gungor stuff last week is that it does appear as if you are heavily promoting your book. I get it. But it does seem a bit self serving. If I knew you personally I would give you advise to continue engaging them, but just not self promote your book.
    Also, was thinking about you and this situation while I was working outside this weekend. We moved into our home with 2.5 forested acres about two years ago. Just weeks after we moved in we had huge snow storm that took down a lot of trees and branches. We’ve made a lot of progress clearing it all, and now that I can access more of our woods I decided to buy poison for poison oak because my poor kids have gotten some rashes. I am shocked at how much is out there. And this is where I was thinking about you. I started by poisoning the stuff in the play areas, but found myself wandering deeper into our woods. I just saw this as a comparison to what you are doing. You may not have planned on tackling all this, but once you saw you it you couldn’t unsee it. And once we have seen dangerous things like that we feel we must do something about it to protect others. Sometimes I worry I maybe spraying a plant or two that isn’t poison oak, but I still think I’m doing the right thing. I have found huge sections I had no idea where there, lurking under branches and bushes I would never have gone into, if I didn’t worry about my kids climbing through all of that. And I have found some huge poison oak vines that have obviously been growing for years – much like those false teachings you have been fighting. I was curious and google if there is any good at all about poison oak (I mean why did God create it) and it did say some bugs live on it, some animals eat it, and it is harmless to most animals – sounds like your critics saying how some stuff is good for their marriage and not harmful to them at all. Yet I have to do something about, just like I know you do.
    Anyway, just wanted to share these random thoughts. Keep up the good fight!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thanks, Alex! And that poison oak is a great analogy. Exactly. I can’t unsee it, and I really want to stop it.
      And, yes, I don’t go looking for ANY of these things. Even the Emerson Eggerichs sermons that we critiqued we only saw because people from Houston’s First Baptist sent them to us, because the church wouldn’t do anything about it.
      I really don’t have time to check other people’s social media feeds. I’m too busy! But people send me everything.
      As for promoting our book, I’d say that the problem is I can’t solve everything in a social media post or a Twitter thread, so I need to point people to the solution. When we’re talking about porn and men, I usually point them to Andrew Bauman or Michael John Cusick. When we’re talking about purity culture, I usually point to Rachel Joy Welcher. But when it comes to marriage and sex, I do point to The Great Sex Rescue. It’s like, I can’t say, “poison oak is bad” if I don’t also give the antidote, and The Great Sex Rescue is the antidote. I know it may look self-serving, but people have found The Great Sex Rescue so healing that I think it really does help! (Plus our royalties are being split three ways. We’re never, ever going to get rich off of this!)

      Reply
    • Wild Honey

      Just an observation, but until the results of the survey of 20,000 women start getting published in peer-review journals, there’s not too many other sources Sheila can cite at the moment.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yep! But we’re working on it. We have two articles on the go right now!

        Reply
  7. Pamela

    You have an army behind you, Sheila, even when it doesn’t feel like it. We don’t have platforms, so it may feel like you’re all alone out there, but you. are. not. We see you and read you and hear you and you have become our voice. The one thing we can do is PRAY for you — for your strength, endurance, wisdom, godliness, patience, and perseverance. May you remain strong in the faith and strong in your calling!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you so much, Pamela! And I so appreciate the prayers! We’ve felt them for the last few days, which honestly were not that difficult for us. I was rather disheartened once I got on the rabbit trail of seeing what Gungor actually teaches in his conferences, but the attacks kind of rolled off of me because they were so silly and so obviously wrong and unChristlike (and likely also because many were praying too!).

      Reply
  8. Elissa

    Watching all of this unfold has made me think of the verse from James 3: “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.”
    The church has not taken that verse seriously! And now those harmful teachers are unhappy that they are facing a strict judgment… but you are right to call them out! Don’t feel too bad for hurting their feelings, because this verse is just one place where God is showing us that people who want to be in a place of spiritual authority are signing up for more accountability than the average joe. And it also shows God’s care for the vulnerable sheep in the flock – it is His design for there to be measures in place to protect them from harmful teachers.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly, Elissa! God’s focus is on the sheep. They are the ones we are to protect! thank you.

      Reply
  9. Lea

    As someone who left the baptist/evangelical wing of Christianity and he happyily settled into a denomination that full affirms women in all ways I say bravo to you, and Beth Moore and all the women stirring the hornets nest of misogyny. It’s needed.

    Reply
  10. Mary

    I grew up in a very small church with an “Uncle Joe.” His daughter was my best friend. I witnessed him beating his 16yo son, with *fists* over a small disagreement while visiting their home.
    My parents, the elders, the pastor… never said a word. The man was loud, boisterous, often jovial. He proclaimed to love Jesus and his family. And he was permitted to go on with his abusive behavior. He was, in fact, a deacon in the church.
    Keep speaking up Sheila. For his daughter, who will never set foot in church again. For his son who has left the state to get away from his family. For every person in that man’s life who saw his church shielding an abuser.
    First and foremost, look after yourself. You matter too. <3

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Mary! I really appreciate the concern for me, too. 🙂
      And that’s a good reminder that Uncle Joes can also be in small churches. Narcissists are over-represented at large churches (as studies show), but that doesn’t mean small churches are exempt. We always need discernment. And courage to speak out.

      Reply
  11. Jen

    Thank you, Sheila. So much of what you say in this post sounds like a direct response to “end times” stuff ala Revelation. We are seeing the shaking of the church. The LORD is preparing His bride, and it looks like He’s using you to help with that. Stand firm.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      YES! I’ve been saying that for a few years now. God is shaking the church. He is bringing everything to light. God cannot be mocked. Thank you!

      Reply
  12. Jane Eyre

    Thank you for your ministry, Sheila.
    Regarding Shaunti and little boys: please, Shaunti, whatever your point is, find a different way to make that point. Young kids who have an inappropriate interest in sex are often (not always) victims of abuse or are being groomed to be abuse victims. My friends who are teachers are taught to look for this and raise the issue with the administration.
    Sexual abusers operate by blurring the lines between what is acceptable and not acceptable, then exploiting that ambiguity to groom their victims. In a fallen world, that is something to be cognizant of. It is our job to not blur those lines.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly, Jane! Incidentally, since writing our statement and doing the podcasts, we’ve discovered that she used that anecdote in the 2013 update to For Women Only. So it’s not just in a blog post; it’s in her book. It’s very unfortunate.

      Reply
  13. Nathan

    What a horrible thing to post from a pastor (that Kangaroo pic). It speaks VOLUMES about his attitude toward women.
    As an aside, when somebody does nothing but hurl insults and then blocks/deletes anything disagreeing with him, it’s huge red flag. Happens on political sites, too.
    Two things (at least) that some people need to realize
    1. Just because somebody shouts loudly how much they love Jesus, that doesn’t justify bad behavior.
    2. Criticizing a Christian author isn’t the same as criticizing God.

    Reply
    • Rachel

      I burst into tears when I read the update that a woman found enough courage and support to step forward.
      People may stop following you, but nobody is going to leave Jesus because of your call to appropriate, respectful teachings.
      The Lord turn his face towards you and give you (ALL of you) peace.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Oh, Rachel, Thank you! You’ve given me something really encouraging today. “People may stop following you, but nobody is going to leave Jesus because of your call to appropriate, respectful teachings.” Yes! Thank you.

        Reply
  14. Kya

    When the Mark Gungor thing happened, I scrolled through his page for context, and the saddest thing I saw was a post he made bragging about the fact that he has no accountability. He said in that post that people sometimes contact his church to complain about this teaching, but his church leadership just ignores them. (I should have taken a screenshot, because I’m blocked now.) And he was laughing and bragging about it. No one, and especially someone with his level of influence, should ever be free from all accountability. Thank you for stepping in where his church’s leadership has very clearly failed.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, he’s lead pastor, and then he’s also head of his board, and his board is filled with several family members. It’s highly concerning.
      I also wonder why the U.S. military uses his material as their main marriage material? Does no one in the military see what he posts? I can’t think the military would be okay with this level of misogyny.

      Reply
      • b

        Many people at high levels in the US military were raised in deep misogyny and have never rejected it. They have kept fairly quiet about their misogyny, but never rejected it. Out of the people I know well who have served, they all have stories about horrid misogyny… one of the female veterans I know is a survivor of attempted sexual assault from two fellow service members (she was able to get away and lock a door and call others for help). Many others were not so blessed as to get away, like the young woman raped and murdered at Fort Hood in Texas by a “brother” working with her. It’s a huge problem.

        Reply
      • Lea

        I was wondering about the military point but that culture is far from perfect and there are probably a lot of men who respond well to the misogynistic jokes sadly. Look up the rates of military sexual trauma and sexual harassment. Our society has tons of issues and they bleed over into many realms.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I know here in Canada we’re going through a huge issue with sexual abuse/assault in the military, and they’re desperately trying to clean it up. If it came out that the biggest marriage material used by chaplains in the military was Mark Gungor, and the press got a hold of his social media, it would make the front pages. Maybe the U.S. isn’t as concerned about it? But I thought they were having their own reckoning about this stuff.

          Reply
      • Andrea

        If you’ve read Jesus and John Wayne, you already know how the U.S. military has been infiltrated with toxic evangelical masculinity for the past several decades, to the horror of older vets. (If I remember that part of the book correctly, a father of a Jewish soldier complained about it, but didn’t get very far.) My sister used to babysit for an evangelical military family and their kids grew up playing Christian video games whose “mission” was “to convert or kill.”
        On a related topic, you’ve mentioned in previous blogs how the Canadian marriage&family organization separated itself from the U.S. one because the U.S. one was too misogynistic. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to learn more about this, maybe in a separate blog post if you feel so inclined.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Andrea, it’s not really my story to tell (and they probably aren’t overly pleased that I’ve said as much as I have already!). So I don’t think I can go there. And, to be fair, I do think the U.S. one is trying to change too. But it is sad that the US military still allows this stuff to go on. It isn’t okay.

          Reply
      • b

        There is the “red” conservative part of the USA, and the liberal “blue”, and there’s a big gap and lots of division.
        I don’t think red-leaning US media care much about misogyny, they are mostly still claiming Roger Ailes and Bill OReilly and Dave Ramsey didn’t do anything wrong.
        Blue-leaning US media seem to have had it with police and military and just want less of them, period… a massive overhaul rather than disciplining anyone or changing materials used… I think their attitude would be, of course most military chaplains are misogynistic and not contributing to healthy marriages, why would anyone think that they would? And the attitude that military people should seek out scientific, private-sector help for their marriages if it’s needed. (And cluelessness about how expensive that is, and how little the US military actually pays.).
        So I feel like most of the US (my country) either embraces misogyny, or is exhausted that nothing ever changes, so what’s the point of another front page story about women begging for a baseline level of decent treatment?
        I’m almost 50 and Im devastated that we elected Biden after how he’s treated Anita Hill, Tara Reade, and many other women… I’m pretty exhausted and I’d leave if I could (long story about family health issues).

        Reply
      • Elissa

        With Biden getting elected it kinda seems like the blue left leaning side doesn’t really care about women, either, as long as their person gets elected! Both sides of the spectrum are equally guilty of appearing to fight for an oppressed group, but actually just using them for political gain. Obviously politics can not be the answer to end injustice – too many ulterior motives – so the church MUST step up with the truth!

        Reply
  15. Dorthea

    I just want to add my support too. Thank you so much for standing up for the true victims. I have followed you for a few years now but it’s only been in the last two years as the blog has changed that I’ve become a more devoted follower. I feel now that you are more aware of abuse and how teachings can end up being harmful unintentionally your blog is stronger than it was. Yes it was nicer before but often I’d get discouraged by some of your posts because I was reading g through the lens of an abuse survivor. And even though I didn’t want to that is apart of my story, I really, really wish it wasn’t! But it is and now that you are more aware and are purposely speaking up for us I feel so much more empowered to do the same.
    And every person who is freed from an abusive situation, every person who speaks up, who goes public matters. Every human being matters!
    What you’re doing matters so please keep fighting the good fight! But take some time off too, you need it.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Dorthea! I have a HUGE dealine of June 1, following that even huger deadline of March 3, and so it’s been all huge things all year. I’m so looking forward to having a slower summer (I really hope!).

      Reply
  16. Cari

    Thank you for your work in this area.
    I keep trying to type more, but nothing sounds right.
    So thank you. Keep going. We’re behind you.

    Reply
  17. Kayla

    Thank you for all that you are doing to bring healing to those who need it. I pray that God will continue to shine light on the truth and bring people to himself. May He be glorified in it all!

    Reply
  18. Amy

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for speaking up for us!!! Women like you and Sarah McDugal have shown me that we need to point out these harmful teachings so they don’t hurt others. It was scary, but I shared your book and Sarah’s article about EMB with my pastor because things need to change. I watch the work that people like Gretchen Baskerville and Natalie Hoffman do and if our marriage teachings are so good, why do these women and countless more do what they do? Something has to change, and it won’t happen if we keep silent.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Amy! And thanks for speaking out in your own circle! that’s what we all need to do!

      Reply
  19. Julie

    Thank you Sheila. I’ve been following you for years and I agree with you 100% on your assessment the issues with many churches today and especially with your reasoning: “Sometimes people need to be challenged–not so that you change that person’s mind (because that person’s mind is unlikely to be changed), but so that those around you will see that this person does not speak for Jesus. And so that those around you will also feel emboldened to speak up.”

    Reply
  20. exwifeofasexaddict

    As one of those sheep harmed by bad teachings, thank you for standing against them and being strong.
    Suing you- and adjudicating differences between Christians publicly? Hmmmmm….
    I don’t think that commenter knows the meaning of the word bitter.
    (I used to comment as wifeofasexaddict, but I’m now divorced, so changing my moniker slightly.)

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      They’ve been threatening to sue for a while, but no one’s actually done it yet. The thing is, to win a slander case you have to show, among other things, that (1) I said something false; and (2) I knew it was false when I said it; and (3) I said it to hurt you. But I haven’t said anything false. I’ve merely quoted people. Just because they’re not happy does not give them grounds to sue. So they should really stop threatening, because it makes them look weak.

      Reply
    • Sarah

      You’re holding up a mirror to the evangelical church Sheila, and many are not liking what they see. But please keep doing it. Thank you ( and Rebecca, Connor, and Keith) so much. Well done. Good for you. I’m praying for you.
      For what it’s worth, I remember listening to Mark Gungor’s preaching on gender differences as a young teen on a FotF broadcast in the family car. It was all about how men have logical compartmentalised brains and women have a big ball of wire for brains – super ridiculous, stereotypical and untrue, but I bought into it as a young girl, because I’m a very emotionally driven person. But my older sister is a physicist and as cool, calm and logical as can be, and it’s my hypersensitive brothers who get easily overwhelmed and have suffered psychological breakdowns. I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of what we believe to be differences between men’s brains and women’s brains are in fact due to personality differences and socialisation. But that there aren’t differences based on biology but I think you get my drift. All that to say, I might have bought into it at the time but I still got a bad vibe from it. I got the same feeling from numerous Christian resources, from Shaunti’s books to Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage to I Kissed Dating Goodbye. I could never articulate exactly why these things made me uncomfortable. But you have done so, and are doing so, brilliantly. Thank you.
      ‘Pastor’ Mark really has shown his true colours – I was shocked at his Instagram page and even more so by his arrogant and unkind comments towards you. I can’t see the love of Jesus in his comments. I can in you.

      Reply
      • Sarah

        *not that -autocorrect 🙈

        Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Thank you, Sarah! That’s so encouraging.
        Yes, on our scorecard of Christian resources, we found that those that emphasized gender stereotypes tended to score very poorly, while those that talked more about generic needs that would be expressed differently in individual relationships did much better. We aren’t cookie cutters. We’re our own unique people, and that’s a good thing.

        Reply
  21. Melissa W

    So, I live in the area where Mark Gungor is a pastor and it is definitely making waves in the social media of people who are local. At least one of my friends, who also follows you, is putting all of it out there so that those of us who are local know what is going on. Like others have said, he had some good points to make but didn’t consider all situations and used some language that was just completely unacceptable. The graceful thing to do (as you yourself have done many times) is to say, “I never considered it in that light and a better way to say it would have been …..”.
    As far as the people leaving the church over this stuff I have always loved this quote by Os Guiness from God In The Dark: “Sometimes when I listen to people who say they have lost their faith, I am far less surprised than they expect. If their view of God is what they say, then it is only surprising that they did not reject it much earlier. Other people have a concept of God so fundamentally false that it would be better for them to doubt than to remain devout. The more devout they are, the uglier their faith will become since it is based on a lie. Doubt in such a case is not only highly understandable, it is even a mark of spiritual and intellectual sensitivity to error, for their picture is not of God but an idol.” Rejecting false teachings and the churches that spew it is not a rejection of God but a rejection of idolatry and really does show spiritual discernment and the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those walking away from it. As for the false teachers, the idolatry is evident because of how devoted they are to their false teaching and all the ugliness that ensues when those teachings are questioned. The hope though is that those who walk away will see the true God and the true Jesus and that is what you are working towards. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, thank you, Melissa! It’s good to hear that this is getting traction in Green Bay. That’s encouraging!

      Reply
      • Melissa W

        It looks like he actually addressed the issue of his handling of the sexual assault situation from the pulpit on Sunday. Of course, as would be expected, it looks like he handled it from the pulpit about as good as he handled the initial situation. The girl who shared her story initially is posting his Sunday statement and her response to that. People are now more than willing to share their disgust with his teachings, his blocking of people who question or criticize him, etc. Hopefully he repents and changes his message, that would be the best case scenario but at least people are letting him know that continuing in the status quo will not be tolerated.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Is it people in his church, Melissa? Or just in the community? What I’m hoping is that women in his church who have been beaten down recognize that this is not their fault, and God does not see them this way.

          Reply
      • Melissa W

        That, I do not know. My one friend shared her post and I don’t know any of the people who are responding and posting and I don’t think I know anyone who has gone to his church, as we are about 20 minutes south of Green Bay. I’ve been in the same church for 18 years and we never get involved in religious sub-cultures, so I am pretty far removed from it except that my one friend lives directly in Green Bay and knows a lot of people who have gone there, etc. I am seeing the posts and discussion because of her, otherwise I wouldn’t know what was going on this side of it and would have only known about it at all because of your posts. Let’s pray that women are being empowered to stand up against abusive teaching and pray for the hearts of those who may have been enabling and promoting it (even if unintentionally) to repent and do better.

        Reply
  22. Shiloh

    Sheila, Thank you so much for all you do! If it wasn’t for your blog over the years I may have abandoned the church all together and would not have the marriage that I do. I do have a question though that was brought up by Mark’s post about the kangaroos. I’m sure he would tell anyone who has a problem with it to lighten up and that it is a joke, but we all know that it isn’t funny. Sheila, what is your advice when a husband sometimes says things that you think are inappropriate, but when you bring it up he tells you that it was just a joke? I have struggled with this since dating. He would say things like “my sperm are so strong they only produce men” or a lot of other really sexist jokes. I know in the past I have probably not handled these well and have gotten mad/upset and either yelled (behind closed doors) or lectured him about why that isn’t ok. He would get upset at my reaction, tell me it is a joke, or be upset at how I chose to talk to him about it, which was not always in a positive way. But at this point I am at the end of my rope. It is embarrassing to have a husband behave like a teenager, and a bad teenager at that! But then I also second guess myself and ask if I am taking things too seriously, because he would say that guys just joke differently. How would you rightly address this with him when it has been a problem for years and I haven’t always handled it well?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s a great question, Shiloh! I’ve taken out any identifying details and asked it on Facebook to see what people think. Sometimes my readers have good answers! I think I would simply remove myself from a situation whenever he says a joke like that, and tell him beforehand. “If you say an inappropriate joke, I will say that it is inappropriate to those with us, apologize, and then remove myself from the situation.” You don’t have to convince him it’s wrong; that’s not your role. But you can change how you react when he says such jokes. But we’ll see what others say!

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Okay, the conversation on Facebook is GREAT already! Go check it out. There are some wonderful ideas and thoughts there. I like the ones about having him explain the joke to you and why it’s funny.

        Reply
      • Shiloh

        Thank you! I am reading through the comments on Facebook and they are helpful. The thing is, he is a very good man and a great husband. It is just when he gets around other guys, especially his brothers, that he says these types of things. I truly do need to pray about this and see where I am just being to sensitive and where he is wrong. Thank you everyone!

        Reply
      • Becky

        You are not being too sensitive, Shiloh! He is wrong and needs to change. A great husband doesn’t continue to do things his wife has repeatedly said are hurtful.

        Reply
    • Jo

      As soon as I read this, I thought of this website, then I found this post in particular (NOTE: LANGUAGE WARNING): https://mustbethistalltoride.com/2017/08/26/8-ways-good-people-invalidate-their-partners-and-ruin-relationships/
      I can’t recommend his site enough, especially his set of “open letters” to–cough–certain types of husbands. (As he points out repeatedly, you can be a good person and a bad spouse, just like you can be a good person and bad at brain surgery or advanced math or carpentry. Being a good spouse is a skill, but too many people, typically men in heterosexual relationships, simply don’t see the need.)

      Reply
  23. Denise

    This is a great post. We have to find a way to be able to discuss the harmful teachings and give a voice to women where they often don’t have one in some churches.
    I feel so many of these bad teachings don’t emphasize that women need respect. Until these authors recognize this things will never get better.
    Many times these teachings paint women and men as very one dimensional—all men have the visual Rolodex in their head etc. etc. I have interacted with the general public my entire work life–so many of the stereotypes in books like Shaunti Feldhahn’s just don’t seem very valid, especially for my husband and I. Shaunti has written on numerous topics including how women should behave in the workplace–with no corresponding book for men. I feel her books are more aimed at telling women to behave with small bits of “research” thrown in.
    On her blog she talked about an adult men “reeling” from seeing high school girls in “immodest” prom dresses, and proceeded to scold young women who might be tempted to dress similarly. No men I know talk like that. Is giving young women those sorts of messages really helpful. More often than not, these messages backfire.
    She also writes quite a bit about the importance of women’s appearances with no similar messages for men.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, I’ve seen some of this sort of thing, and I am concerned that it causes a lot of shame. And the guys I know find the idea of a visual rolodex ridiculous, too. When we did our survey of men we actually measured this sort of thing, and we’ll have some interesting findings in The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex next year!

      Reply
  24. AJ Timberlake

    I shared one of your posts with a friend of mine recently and what she said was just so true, and relates so much to this post, I’m going to share it here:
    “That is an excellent article. We need more people that call out the old resources. Just putting forward new resources helps to a degree, but the old will still be used until someone contradicts clearly what is problematic”
    We appreciate you and what you are doing, Sheila

    Reply
  25. EOF

    Thank you so much for all you do and put up with! It’s long overdue that someone speak against these harmful teachings. Also, it’s telling how these “teachers” are reacting and behaving – not like Christ at all.
    I noticed something interesting over the weekend. Following the verses on husbands and wives not depriving each other, Paul concludes in v6 with “I say this as a concession, not as a command. ” Why has this never been brought up by any of the teachers? They all act like “do not deprive” is the 11th command read by Moses and also followed up by Jesus in the great commission. Doesn’t exactly sound like a grounds for divorce, as Gungor claims.

    Reply
  26. Wild Honey

    Regarding Shaunti’s questioning of your research methodology… As someone who took the survey, I can attest that there was no priming-of-the-pump regarding which materials or teaching may be harmful and which were not.
    To the contrary, if a list HAD been provided, I (for one) would have included quite a few more harmful sources!
    My sister got engaged a few months after I took the survey, and before The Great Sex Rescue came out. I was going to give her a copy of Sheet Music, which I’d read early in my marriage, but simply hadn’t thought to mention when completing the survey (either positively or negatively). I thought to re-read the book before giving it to my sister, thank goodness. I was horrified, and recognized in Sheet Music teachings that had set me and my husband up for failure in certain habits earlier in our relationship but that we have, praise Jesus, turned the corner on.
    Needless to say, I didn’t gift Sheet Music to my sister. I actually turned around and apologized to a different sister who I’d gifted it to several years ago, but who had the good sense to recognize problematic information.
    Surely, of 20,000 women, I can’t be the only one. Shaunti may want to be careful of what she wishes for.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, we never provided a drop-down menu or anything because we didn’t want to prime anyone. In some ways I wish we could have, but we went around and around the issue and couldn’t figure out a single way to do it well.
      At this point we can’t ask about specific resources, because too many will have read The Great Sex Rescue. But I also think our results speak for themselves, and our scorecard speaks for itself!

      Reply
    • Angie Kulyk

      As a fellow ENTJ and an 8, I can attest to how drained you must feel. It’s hard being the one to call out Uncle Joe, not only because others WONT do it, some expect you to always be the one to do it and because some also prefer you don’t. It’s taxing. Sending support! Your work is important!!

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Oh, definitely! I think I am the one who is expected to do it. 🙂 Thank you!

        Reply
    • Dorthea

      You are not the only one. I was thinking the same thing about the survey how I hadn’t been primed as Shaunti claims. Actually I had no idea what the survey results were until I read the book!

      Reply
  27. Jo

    It’s interesting that these authors and speakers haven’t honed their messages down to the essential bullet points needed to even attempt to refute what you are saying, Sheila. Instead, their arguments consist of tactics suitable for four-year-olds: “You’re stupid!” “Shut up!”
    You do have an army behind you! Thanks for helping me and so many others fix what’s wrong with marriage and sex, especially (sadly!) for Christians.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, it doesn’t seem like there’s too much else to it, other than: “She should have come to us and not told anyone else and she’s being unbiblical!” Wow.

      Reply
  28. Mara R

    Read you post. Have not read all the comments yet. Hope to get to them soon.
    Sheila , I totally get what you mean about Bully Uncle Joe.
    Back in the day, I took on Driscollites because they were bullying people on certain threads.
    People told me that I’d never change the minds of the Driscollites. I explained on many occasions that I wasn’t doing it for the sake of the Driscollites. I was doing it for the lurkers who needed to see those Driscollites exposed for the spiritually and scripturally bankrupt toddlers that they were.

    Reply
  29. Chris

    Sheila, I know you cringe when you see my name come up in the comments, but I just wanted you to know, I got your back.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      i actually don’t cringe, Chris! 🙂 I quite enjoy you being here. And thank you!

      Reply
  30. Gretchen Baskerville

    I agree with you, Sheila, about Uncle Joe. If no one stands up to him, his kids and his wife become demoralized and hopeless.
    It’s our job to speak up and address the toxic messages. The Uncle Joes of the world rarely change, but sometimes they do. In the meantime, it gives courage and hope to the wives and kids. They realize *they* are not the problem; his attitudes are.
    During the Mark Gungor’s Facebook meltdown last week, I and others took screen shots. So if anyone would like to see them, they are on my public Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/gretchen.baskerville/posts/501858874573311
    In addition to the kangaroo post, he had another post with a photo of an older man and a younger woman in swimsuits that suggested that women marry only for money. The comments below it were crude and insulting, This is the fruit of teachings like this.
    We don’t need this thinking in the church. Jesus was a huge fan of women.

    Reply
  31. Sarah

    I want to encourage and support you Sheila!! I very much appreciate what you do!! The first time I listened to one of your podcasts I cried because I felt that I wasn’t alone and that my body wasn’t broken and that I was normal. I was OK! I was so frustrated by the lack of resources and help for a woman like me desperate for Biblically based REAL RAW help with sex in my marriage. I went against what I believed and in my darkness I almost left my marriage. (It was years in the making and not all about sex) I am a Jesus follower AND I like sex. I want a passionate healthy biblical sex life with my husband, what God has created and intended for marriage. My experience has been that this is not addressed or available as it should be in the church. Finding you was water for my soul in this area!! I feel very passionate about this. I am grateful for your work!! You are calm, respectful, steadfast in your confrontation. You do not name call. You explain yourself and give opportunity for others to respond. You dialogue! You don’t just attack and go running. You point to JESUS!! You admit if you are wrong. I admire you and appreciate how you handle this!!! Hang in there!! I for one will continue to pray for Gods leading and direction for you. I pray His love and peace over you! I will continue to follow your work and share! share! share!! Love & Hugs!! Thank you Sheila!! 😘

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you so much for your support, Sarah! I’m so glad I could be part of your journey!

      Reply
  32. April

    Thank you Sheila! I was speaking with my boyfriend about Mark Gungor post he also read the post and was upset and disgusted by the misogny on his platform last week. He is learning like me about healthy intimacy and was interested in hearing your conversation with Sarah on purity culture because he wants to learn and be more educated as well as myself. It is the responsibility of the people to make sure their teachings are accurate when they have these christian platforms. Thanks for doing what you do and speaking out in a big way. We love your blog posts

    Reply
  33. Robert

    Sheila,
    Your efforts to expose the views of others have been very effective! In light of those efforts what steps have you taken toward reconciliation? And I’m not suggesting any of the many you have named will change their views, but with respect to spiritual reconciliation, what do you hope to accomplish? If those like Focus on the Family, Shaunti, Eggerich, Gungor, Harley, LaHaye, etc., don’t change their views, how do you fulfill His desire for unity expressed in John 17? Unless I’m mistaken you will one day fellowship with those who, like you, have been forgiven. What does that look like? I’d like to know because everyone has been abused and maimed in some way, and He has empowered us to forgive.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Robert, my concern is for the sheep right now. It is not about forgiveness. I have nothing to forgive; they did not sin against me personally (well, Mark called me pathetic names, so I’d say he has, but I don’t think anyone else has). This is about healthy teaching. The New Testament says nothing about having to fellowship with those who deliberately teach things that lead people astray. When they start renouncing the stuff that isn’t healthy, I will happily give them a platform to apologize and help them. But there does need to be some movement on that end first. But I can’t see having any problem fellowshiping in the end because this isn’t a personal issue.

      Reply
  34. Rebecca

    I’ve never commented before, but I really want to say yhank you, Sheila, for what you do for those of us who, for whatever reason, can’t do this work ourselves. Your work matters. Your conviction will change the world.
    Sincerely,
    One of the 20,000

    Reply
  35. Emma

    Something that I’ve been considering recently is that one of the pillars of our religion is the idea that, no matter how much good you do, it can never outweigh the bad. That’s why we need a Savior. But in our day-to-day lives, we reveal that we believe the opposite: Ravi Zacharias, Focus on the Family, Shaunti Feldman, Emerson Eggrichs–what do people say when they defend them? “Look at all the good they have done!” “They helped me!” “Look at their ministry!” Etc.
    I’ve thought of another analogy for you: you’ve spent years trying to put out a fire, while others keep adding coal.
    Keep fighting the good fight, Sheila! It’s absolutely worth it!!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Wow, that’s really insightful, Emma. It’s so true! We say we can never outdo the bad, but then people are clinging to their reputations saying, “but the GOOD!” Totally true.
      And yes about the fire, too!

      Reply
  36. John Hamilton

    Great post! I never heard of Mark, but I love your approach. No need to cancel anyway, but when you speak up you give a voice to the voiceless. As a leader you have great power through your blog, so wise counsel and review is necessary. But everything I have seen you post is excellent. People who bully through blogs are increasing. They cannot often be stopped or confronted, but when Uncle Joe is ranting in public, someone needs to speak to his listeners if only to say : that is not OK. There is another path. And I will not be back to the barbecue except to rescue you if you ask. Keep doing what you are doing!

    Reply
  37. Lisa

    I am SO glad you are combing through these books!
    “Don’t argue in front of unbelievers.” That is an absolutely harmful mindset. As if unbelievers are going to be drawn to a church that has all this harmful baggage and no one addressing it? Dealing with harmful baggage privately has NEVER worked. It forces victims to be further victimized and the truth often comes out eventually as scandal. Unbelievers (as well as believers) are already aware of the unhealthy and twisted sexual and marital teachings in many books. To see someone from within Christianity speaking against them is so helpful!
    I am very sorry Shaunti Feldhahn is going through health struggles. I did read her response to The Great Sex Rescue and it disappointing. The response avoided the real issues entirely and portrayed herself as some kind of a victim. And this was after she started out by declaring herself a “social scientist.” I come from a family of scientists and RULE NUMBER ONE is that science WELCOMES disagreement and WELCOMES it when someone does further research. Yes, it can be uncomfortable when someone points out holes in your procedures, but you don’t get a free ride on bad methodology just because you like your results.
    And I’m sorry, but handing out poorly written surveys in shopping malls is not social science. Not very hard to point on the holes in that.

    Reply
  38. Michelle

    Thank you for speaking up, for taking the flack. Stay strong in speaking for those who don’t have your platform and are unseen, unheard, and unwanted in evangelical circles. There’s an army rising up…

    Reply
  39. Lindsey

    I can’t thank you enough for your bravery in addressing these issues and confronting the harmful messages being put out into the world. I truly felt the part about people leaving church not to leave God but to hold on to Him. I am people. My husband is people. We want better and are working on getting our heads right in order to brave the poor messengers and stand up for what is Christlike.

    Reply

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