The Podcast Where YOU Can Speak Up, Too, and Become Part of the Change

by | Jan 13, 2022 | Podcasts, Uncategorized | 25 comments

Be the Change about Marriage at your Church Podcast

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:

 

Timeline of the Podcast

0:10 Exciting/Encouraging Things
4:30 RQ: How can I speak up more at church?
19:00 Why are you staying at your church?
29:00 Ngina joins to discuss rethinking our faith
40:40 The missing element in marriage advice
48:00 Pro Marriage vs Pro health
55:05 Encouragement!

Main Segment: How You Can Be the Change in Your Community

Two reader letters shaped this segment. Here’s the first one: 

I started following you this year and also read your book, The Great Sex Rescue. Thank you so much for addressing the unhealthy aspects of evangelical views toward women and marriage. Like you, I have young adult daughters and remember being so uncomfortable with the unhealthy emphasis in our evangelical community on modest dress for girls when they were in their teen years. Increasingly I have also been bothered by how I am treated by men at my church. In early 2020 an elder told me “of course I just asked the men for Input” regarding a ministry that many women, including me, are also involved in. I set up a meeting with my pastor to discuss this and while he listened, he didn’t seem to “get it.” This was just one example of many where men at church, often pastors or leaders treated me like I was a potential temptress to be avoided or that if I was a proper Christian woman, I was to submit, shut up and stay in my lane. As a result of your encouragement I spoke up to my daughter’s university bookstore about Love and Respect and they pulled it from their shelves. More recently, I emailed my pastor to ask why our church platforms someone who has been in the news as being abusive. While I never heard back after an initial response that was defensive but also said “I’ll look into this”, on the most recent church calendar it appears that they have switched to a different curriculum. My oldest daughter attended a women’s Bible study event at her friend’s church where she heard harmful teaching about marriage and also books like Love and Reapect were recommended. She emailed and then later met with the lead pastor to share her concerns and he asked for her recommendations for how to do better. These are such small opportunities and changes – but we took these steps because you helped us be able to see and articulate the issues well.

That’s awesome! She and her daughter took some opportunities to speak up, and they saw some real change. (And that’s the SECOND university bookstore I’ve heard of that has pulled Love & Respect off its shelves, so that’s amazing).

Sometimes people listened, and sometimes people didn’t. But they spoke up and tried to make change, and the results aren’t up to them.

Then there’s this woman’s question:

I go to a church that i love even though they promote gender role ideas I don’t gree with. However just recently my church is promoting and hosting the love and respect conference!!!! They are encouraging one and all to attend.

I feel distressed every time the conference is brought up, especially if my married friends are wanting to go. I feel even more distressed knowing young people would attend who have no idea what marriage is like and are learning a foundation that is possibly unhealthy. I have stayed quiet because I’m not sure what to do. I would appreciate any recommendations that you may have for me!! Thank you and keep up the Godly research and teaching. (I wish our church was hosting you instead!)

Rebecca and I took some time to talk about how to approach churches and why you should approach churches, and what to do if they just won’t listen. I do think at some point we need to ask if, by remaining in this church, we’re propping up something that is unhealthy. There are more people who believe that this is unhealthy than that think it’s healthy, and yet these teachings keep spreading. If all who believed in a healthy way spoke up, we could make change.

Should you stay in such a church? Some people should, because the church is changing, and you feel called to be a “missionary” of sorts there. But maybe more should leave. I know I stayed too long, and Rebecca shares some passionate thoughts about her opinion on going to a church “because it has a good kids’ program” or “because it has a good youth program.” She attended those kids’ programs and youth programs at churches which taught an unhealthy picture of gender roles and power and sexuality, and on the other side, she has things to say.

Want to Speak Up but Don't Know How?

Download our healthy sexuality rubric, our report from The Great Sex Rescue, and get access to the scoring sheet to see how our best-selling books fared! Then you can show your pastor/church librarian/women’s ministry leader what’s wrong with specific books.

Ngina Otiende: The New Turn of Intentional Today

I really enjoy Ngina Otiende, who blogs at Intentional Today. She’s been on my radar for over a decade, and I’ve even met Ngina in real life!

Ngina Otiende

Lately Ngina’s been changing her focus as she blogs, because she realizes that some of what she had been teaching was cultural, not biblical, and wasn’t helpful if people were in destructive marriages. She’s on a journey very similar to mine!

Now she’s posting things like this:

Ngina Facebook Post

We had a lovely conversation about how and why she’s evolved (which so much mirrors my own), and I hope you’ll enjoy it!

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

Related Posts

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

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

Related Posts

Comments

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25 Comments

  1. Andrea

    I have another Tweet to share, related to purity culture and how the church talks to women about their worth. This is a parody of what it would look like if we did the same to boys:
    https://twitter.com/feminemi1y/status/1481099747893125121

    P.S. There’s also a new one from the account I mentioned on yesterday’s blog post regarding Gary Thomas’ book, this one about monkeys and boobs; just go to @cringeyxtian

    Reply
    • Laura

      This tweet had me loling! And at work!

      Reply
    • Anonymous305

      Except, in the literal world of literal bananas, I prefer the spotted ones hahaha.

      Reply
  2. A2bbethany

    I love that Tolkien quote, as do most who hear it. Recently I’ve been learning a bit more personally about God and our hard times.
    My husband tested positive, in spite of having no symptoms. And we’re still waiting on a negative so he Can return to work. He’s received no pay for this 2 weeks and it’s going to put a lot of pressure on us. It’s amazing how you kinda forget what you believe, in times of hardship. And you have to manually relearn it.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Bethany, I’m sorry! I hope a negative test comes up soon. That’s so stressful.

      Reply
  3. K

    Just had to say that I love how “the strike at putney” was mentioned. Long before I had begun to seriously think through this issue that little short story had made an inroad in my mind. The power of a story!

    Reply
  4. Katydid

    Unfortunately, here, small churches are unlikely to be healthy. We have a LOT of splinter groups and predatory “church planters.” I’m looking outside evangelicalism completely.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, that’s a good idea! you definitely don’t want a fundamentalist splinter, but a lot of small mainline churches can be quite good. They’re just mostly older folks. But if they had an influx of young people with little kids, so many would love to help out!

      Reply
  5. Jo R

    Kids and teens soak up WAY more than adults give them credit for. Kids may not have the vocabulary to explain what they think and feel, but that most certainly does NOT mean that they don’t think and feel those things. So if your church has unhealthy teaching about sex and marriage, parents absolutely must realize what their kids are learning, and that learning is most likely deep in the kids’ souls, psyches, and even bodies. (Gatekeeper effect, anybody???)

    Wouldn’t it be great to organize a Putney strike across all of Christendom? Until we can, I’d love to see women sit out the planning, cooking, and cleaning up of their churches’ next family night dinner. 😜😜😜

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, and our survey found that these beliefs often instilled in youth group have very negative effects long term. It really does matter, and often the biggest and most active youth groups with all the bells and whistles are the most dangerous, because they often do the big conventions etc. where all of this is taught.

      Reply
    • Melissa W

      I used to worry about what my kids absorbed from teachers (youth group, kids church, Christian school, pastor, etc.) but we were very intentional in talking to our kids about things that our pastor said that we didn’t agree with and why. Or something a Christian friend said that we didn’t agree with. We never diminished the person or the right they had to their own opinion but showed our kids through example that it was okay to question and think through things yourself and just because someone says something or teaches something, you don’t have to believe it, apply it or internalize the message. You can disagree (privately or respectfully in public) and you can come to your own conclusions. It helped that my husband was the youth pastor for 8 years and both of our kids had him in youth group. He tried to instill the value of questioning, digging into scripture and coming to your own conclusions to all of his students. He rarely told them his own opinions on things but asked questions so they could work through subjects together or individually. He actually used quite a bit of your stuff, Sheila, when talking to them about the modesty verse in the Bible and how it is often times misused to oppress and is taken out of context. We also gave our kids the freedom to disagree with us and form their own opinions on things, which is very hard to do as a parent and I’m sure I didn’t do perfectly. However, as young adults now, my kids feel very confident in hearing things they don’t agree with or have questions about and not internalizing the message but coming to their own conclusions. So I guess my point is that we as parents can foster an atmosphere in which our children feel as if they have the freedom to disregard harmful messages and have the right to question anything that an “authority figure” might say. We just have to be intentional in doing that. We can’t shelter them from all harmful teachings but we can empower them to recognize and reject them.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Very true, Melissa! That’s how I raised my girls, too, and that’s why I think they came out “relatively” unscathed from the weird youth group situations they had. This is a huge part of what Rebecca wrote in Why I Didn’t Rebel, too.

        Reply
    • Laura

      Is he the son of John Piper, a megachurch pastor who discourages divorce and even once suggested that a wife should endure a night of physical abuse?

      Reply
  6. Phil

    I love your ideas for speaking up for change in the church. I particularly like the offering note and re-directing your money. I love the being healthy message even more! That is so key! What an insight! I miss you guys – My circumstances and or my head space has limited my ability to be here to read and listen since April last year and I have missed so much…I just wanted to say that it was really great to be able to listen today. I really do miss you guys. I hope my situation changes soon. I think I am getting close!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s great, Phil! I need to remember to pray for you more. I do try to remember my “regulars” that I’ve known for years. Thanks for all your friendship!

      Reply
    • Laura

      I always enjoy reading your comments Phil. Best to you and your family.

      Reply
  7. Laura

    Thank you for the helpful tips! I’m still not ready to put them into practice but I will keep an open mind and rely on the Holy Spirit to guide me. My church is hosting a virtual marriage conference by XO Marriage next month and have been heavily advertising it on social media and through our local Celebrate Recovery chapters. I think they are mainly endorsing it because they know one of the speakers (a couple they met at a Celebrate Recovery summit last year in Dallas). What they may not know is that Mark Driscoll is listed as one of the speakers which after all I’ve heard in the news about him, I just cannot stomach. For now, I’ve decided that this is just not my time to take any action. Even though I’m not married, I have been told I’m welcome to attend, but I’m not interested.

    I have thought about sharing the informational links about L & R to a friend’s marriage group on FB the next time I see a post mentioning that book. I guess I’m afraid to rock the boat, but I am going to have to get over it and remember that Christ needs to be the center of all relationships, even marriage and to move past the way people interpret those few marriage verses, because everyone views them differently.

    Loved the interview with Ngina! What she said keeps confirming to me that marriage teachings in the church are more influenced by culture than Christ. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Anonymous305

      I can very, very relate to not wanting to speak up. I’m still working through confusion in my marriage, and even though I’m hopeful about that, I’m not eager to start controversy at church!!

      Reply
  8. Martina

    The quote from LOTR really hit home!
    I look forward to healthy teachings and am so happy with your work
    Go on chasing the shadows away.

    Reply
  9. Anonymous305

    What you (Sheila) said about your reasons for staying at the church might explain my parents in part. They don’t have personal objections to female pastors, but they don’t see it as a reason to change churches. They don’t blame rape on clothing, but they still believe in modesty culture. The rationale is that rape is motivated by power and control, which isn’t the same as lust that comes from immodest clothing.

    There was a time when that explanation made sense, but now it doesn’t. What made sense was distinguishing 2 different motivations, but what doesn’t make sense is holding a young girl responsible for another boy’s or man’s thoughts, while teaching that “you can’t read minds”!! It’s weird that they don’t see the problem, but maybe it didn’t hurt them enough to make them question and/or they believe that all men lusting is “science”. I used to believe that because I didn’t think the church would lie about science, until TLHV did their own science!!

    As a result, I didn’t directly blame victims, but I didn’t know that my talking about modesty sounded like an accusation. I regret the unintentional shaming ☹️☹️.

    Reply
  10. Von de Leigh Hatcher

    I enjoyed the talk with Ngina, but I was disturbed by the advice to refrain from paying tithes. In my church, we can elect which ministries we give money to, and tithing supports the pastor. So, I always have the option to choose which ministry I endorse. However, I do think money is given as unto the Lord. If a church is teaching false doctrine, leave. But attending a church and not supporting the church financially seems dishonest and unfaithful.

    Reply

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