What Kids Teach Us about God; The Reason Sex Gets Messed Up; And Plagiarism!

by | Feb 25, 2022 | Books, Parenting Young Kids, Sex, Uncategorized | 34 comments

Friday Round Up on Plagiarism

Do you ever feel like God loves you–with an asterisk?

On Fridays I often do round-ups of what’s happened on social media this week, and there is so much to share I don’t know where to begin.

So I’ve decided to start with something that isn’t even my own, but Rebecca’s. On her Instagram this week she posted this:

And  here’s the caption that went along with it:

I love this little one. No asterisk. No caveat. I just love him.

God uses parental imagery for Himself all the time when he talks about his love for us.

So why do we feel the need to add asterisks to Gods love?

God loves you…. But you don’t deserve it.
God loves you… but only because Jesus died for you.
God loves you… but you make him sad and angry.
God loves you… but, but, but.

Yes, we get it. We are sinners. I’m not arguing against that.

But can I ask you something?

Why do you think Gods love needs a caveat?

What are you afraid will happen if you simply accept his unconditional, all-encompassing love for you?

What are you afraid will happen if you AREN’T a horrible worm God can’t stand to look at?

What would happen if instead of being motivated by fear of Gods anger and disappointment we were spurred on to good deeds out of Gods magnificent joyful love for us?

God loves you. No buts.

———-
(Also shoutout to @pastor_rob_wiesner who was the first pastor I ever heard say in a sermon that God delights in us and just plain likes us without giving a caveat. It made such a profound impact on me and opened my eyes to how anxious of a faith I have had for so long.)

Rebecca Lindenbach

Instagram

Now…why does sex so often seem unfulfilling for women?

I jumped on an Instagram live this week and explained! It’s a longer video, but the main meat of it is just the first half, and then I started answering questions from people who were in the live!

And just a reminder of what we’re up against…

…and why I do what I do!

Two quick graphics that went big this week, and had some great comments, too!

This is awkward…but can we talk plagiarism?

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of plagiarism that seems to occur in Christian circles. And there don’t seem to be major repercussions for it. 

I heard about this story when it first happened back in 2016/2017, but it wasn’t largely talked about in Christian media. It seems as if it’s being discussed more widely again, and I do want to stand with those who have had their work stolen. I think an honest public apology in this case would go a long way. But I shared Carey Wiggins Scott’s post on my page this week, and I’d like to share her original here too. 

It’s time to share:

My book UNTANGLED was plagiarized by another Christian author… named Christine Caine… not once, but twice in 2016/2017. (google for sauce and articles)

It was my 1st traditionally-published book and contained a very personal story of sexual abuse that happened to me when I was a small child. In its pages, I unpacked how that abuse “tangled” my self-worth for the majority of my life. AND… how God was untangling my worth from the world and anchoring it in Him instead.

In the past few days… I’ve had several comments come my way about this situation. I’ve ignored them for years, but today I feel prompted to speak out. Each person may have used different wording, but here is the gist:

“Why not be happy your message still got out there. If your purpose is to spread Jesus around the world, then be happy because that’s what is happening since her platform is bigger than yours. If you’re upset because of a monetary loss, maybe you need to get your priorities straight.”

How very insensitive.

In our world today, right is wrong and wrong is right. Left is right and right is left. It’s sheer insanity, but Biblical for the times we’re in.

Just because I need to say these things and haven’t publicly since the event several years ago, here I go:

1) No one becomes a writer to get rich. They write because God prompts them. They share their stories because there’s power in a testimony. It’s hard and grueling and often like birthing babies. And I’m humbled God uses me in such ways.
2) Stealing is stealing. The end.
3) Anyone who steals and continues on like nothing happened has a questionable character.
4) I’ve not only been the victim of her stealing my words twice, I’ve also been beat up verbally by others telling me to be a better “Christian” and forgive. To move on.

Have I forgiven her? Yes. Even though there was no apology or repentance, I forgave her. Sometimes I have to all over again. It’s a continual process, and there are times it’s so hard. But I forgive because it’s what God asks.

Sharing my story and the facts behind it doesn’t mean otherwise. But in a day where the truth is blurred and evil is rampant… we must speak out when God lays it on our heart. And for the past three years, my mouth has been shut.

Today it opened.

My work was stolen. After months of trying to handle it privately with no productive conversation, I took her to Federal court. We settled ONLY because my then-husband’s secret life of sexual betrayal was discovered, and I had to focus all my time and energy on my kids through a very painful and messy divorce. It was the right choice, by the way.

The truth is that life is hard. No one knows what others may be facing behind closed doors.

… They don’t know the details behind the headlines.
… They don’t know all that was done to handle this in a God-honoring fashion.
… They don’t have insight to God’s directives in your life.

So please be thoughtful before you say stupid and insensitive words like I’ve been receiving over the past few days.

I know the Lord will bring justice in His perfect timing… to both Christine Caine and my ex-husband. I speak only when I feel His prompting. Because at the end of the day, it’s all about bringing glory to Him with our life. I want to finish the race well.

I may cross the finish line bruised and battered, bloodied from the battle, but I will cross it.

Be compassionate. Be kind. Love others well. Oh what that does for a broken heart and weary spirit.

Carey Wiggins Scott

Facebook

For more information about the plagiarism, you can see a side-by-side comparison here of a paragraph from Carey’s book, and then Christine reading it, word for word, on a promotional video for her own book. 

In digging around into this, I found many other examples of Zondervan authors in particular who have plagiarized, and I do think it’s a problem that needs to be addressed. I think it has much to do with celebrity culture, and I think our “you just forgive” attitude, even when there has been no repentance, is not healthy. For more on that, check out the comments when I shared this post!

Again, I think a public apology and acknowledgment of the harm done and the wrong done would go along way and is simply the right thing to do.

The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex is almost here!

Finally, I’ll leave you with a quote from our new book!

What We Get Wrong about Lust

That’s it for me for this week! I’d love to hear what you think about these things, and if any of them stood out–let’s talk in the comments!

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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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

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34 Comments

  1. Anon

    That Angus Buchan quote is heartbreaking and horrific in equal measures – it really does set a whole new (and deeply unpleasant) standard for victim-blaming…The poor ill-used husband who is forced to traumatise his kids and beat up his wife, and all because SHE is so terrible as to be ‘unsubmissive’. I had to reread that quote about five times before I could believe what I was reading – I kept thinking I must be misreading it somehow, because no Christian author could be that vile…

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes! It’s in the Afrikaans, not the English, and I’ve seen different translations which say “physically abuse” rather than “beat her up” but I used this one because it was from an academic thesis, and I figured their translation was likely the closest since it was affiliated with a university!

      Reply
    • Cynthia

      I had the same reaction – this went beyond cringe-worthy and sounded downright terrifying.

      I looked up Angus Buchan, and unfortunately, he really is that bad, and there seems to be a racist vibe as well.

      Reply
  2. A2bbethany

    When people claiming Christianity are caught red-handed, this is their last hiding place. Yeah, ok I can’t claim innocent anymore, but you “have to forgive me”, or you aren’t a Christian.
    Obviously getting mad for any reason at all, can disqualify being saved, according to the abuser’s in life. Except for themselves, who frequently lose it. Christians need to stand together and support the wounded party, and not in the shadows. They need to hold the abuser accountable and not exscuse behavior.

    But my experience is that an abusive person who has a charming personality, can squeeze out their own consequences for a long time. And of course make the righteous anger of a victim appear horribly out of proportion.
    But I know that God is not fooled by any of it and will not be swayed. (And true Christians who do wrong will be punished by him. He doesn’t allow his children to be wild and hurtful.)

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes! We so often end up blaming the victim because they’re still angry about something that happened “such a long time ago”, but meanwhile it’s never actually been resolved.

      That’s why I wanted to share it. I want to stand with Carey. I think we all should, and ask Zondervan and Christine Caine to do what’s right. Zacchaeus repaid four times what he stole. That’s the model–we don’t just apologize; we make it right.

      Reply
  3. Nathan

    How about trading “but” for “and”?

    God loves you AND he wants you to become the best person you can be.

    As for (loose paraphrase here) “Kids get traumatized when the husband beats his wife because she won’t submit”, wow. I can’t even think of anything to say in response to that.

    Reply
    • Another Rachel

      Yes, agreed!

      God loves us right where we are, AND he doesn’t want to leave us there.

      I’ve always used the word “but” when I said this, but “and” changes the tone of the sentence in a meaningful way. In my opinion, it changes from one of trying hard, of failing, of disappointing God, to one of hope, of the future, of salvation and grace and sanctification. One little word subtly changes the tone. And God’s desire for our holiness isn’t even compromised in the process.

      Reply
  4. Nathan

    From above
    “When people claiming Christianity are caught red-handed, this is their last hiding place. Yeah, ok I can’t claim innocent anymore, but you “have to forgive me”, or you aren’t a Christian.”

    The funny thing is that many who get caught, then demand forgiveness, rarely extend that forgiveness themselves.

    Reply
  5. Laura

    What an interesting week in the world of social media! I love Rebecca’s Instagram post and cannot get over how cute Alex is! She’s so right: God loves us and there’s no need for caveats.

    That quote from Angus Buchan is appalling. When more men in the church have that mindset, the single life is more appealing to me and makes me glad to just be single. How can “Christian” men still behave this way in the 21st century?

    I’m saddened to hear about the plagiarism going on in the Christian publishing world. I feel for Carey. I’m a self-published writer and I would hate for my work to be stolen from someone else. To hear that a famous Christian did this, I just don’t have any words. What I can and will say is this: In graduate school, if we are caught plagiarizing, we could get expelled. So I guess once college is over, people think they’re free to steal other people’s work?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I think of it like 1 Corinthians 5:1, when Paul is upset that there is sin in the Corinthian church that not even the pagans would do. That’s what it feels like here. The secular world takes plagiarism far more seriously than the Christian world, and I do think that’s a problem.

      Reply
  6. Jo R

    People keep making the following equivalence:

    Forgiveness = no consequences

    It’s simply not true.

    God forgave David when he (finally and very belatedly and only when busted … hmm, sounds a little familiar, but I digress) confessed his sexual sin and murder for hire, but David, his family, and his nation suffered tremendous consequences.

    (People also conflate forgiveness with [instantaneous] reconciliation of the relationship, but that’s a whole other topic.)

    Reply
    • Nathan

      That’s very true. My pastor likes to say that forgiveness is something that we mainly do for ourselves, NOT the person who wronged us. Forgiveness means things like I won’t judge you as a bad person, I won’t take personal revenge, I’ll free myself of the anger so that I won’t worry myself to death, etc.

      There still may be consequences for the action.

      Reply
      • Jo R

        Exactly!

        “Bitterness is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

        I’d say lack of forgiveness could be equated in at least some senses to bitterness, especially with how you defined forgiveness.

        Reply
      • Anonymous305

        God doesn’t just forgive for his own sake, but he also doesn’t forgive the unrepentant.

        Reply
  7. GCB

    Oh man did I need so much of the encouragement in this post today, especially about acknowledging the toxicity of “just forgive” and brushing over the signs and evidence of serious harm
    *Trigger Warning: School Shootings, Violence & Neglect*

    This week, I was watching the preliminary trials or James & Jennifer Crumbley, parents of the Oxford High School Shooter Ethan Crumbley (the shooting was in Oxford, Michigan on November 30th, 2021). They’re being charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter each for the four students that their son murdered because of all of the evidence the prosecutor found in the aftermath: they ignored his worsening mental health signs dozens of times (his father once gave him pills and told him to suck it up, his mother laughed at him when he asked her if he could go see the doctor, and they bought him the gun that he used as an early Christmas present), they refused to take their son home and get him counseling immediately when his school counselor told them that he was a threat to himself and his teachers caught him doing disturbing things in class such as searching for ammo on his phone (Jennifer responded to that in a text “LOL, I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught,”), and drawing pictures of committing a shooting with despairing statements and laughing emojis (which was also the SAME DAY of the shooting, hours before, and they never asked him if he had his gun with him). They even attempted to flee and cross the Detroit River into Canada in the aftermath of the shooting after their son was apprehended and their charges were announced, but they were spotted and reported before they could escape. The judge announced yesterday, at the end of the preliminaries, that there was enough evidence for them to go to trial on their current charges.

    As horrible and sickening as the entire situation is, at least it’s giving me hope that we’re getting closer to the day where we hold the abuser’s enablers on equal judgement as the abusers themselves. And that’s before we even begin incorporating that into Christian settings at least as publicly as secular settings.

    Reply
    • GCB

      Correction: “‘of’ James & Jennifer Crumbley, not ‘or'”

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s really interesting! What a heartbreaking story, though. But I don’t know how parents could be that negligent and callous.

      Reply
      • GCB

        When I get furious at Christians, especially famous, influential and powerful Christians, blatantly ignoring obvious signs of danger and harm and abuse (especially big-scale ones like the Capitol Insurrection), I’ll make sure to remember this case.

        This is where negligence of that degree now has the power to get you.

        Reply
  8. Anon

    [Editor’s Note: I have deleted a comment filled with assinuations and accusations against Carey Scott’s character and her family. Carey is not in question. Carey could be the worst person in the world or the best person in the world; it would not matter. What matters is that her work was taken, word for word, and there was no public apology or acknowledgment of that.

    Even the commenter acknowledged that Carey was plagiarized. So there was absolutely no need for any of the rest of the post, because all we are talking about here is the issue of plagiarism in the evangelical world. To go on someone’s blog and spill secrets about someone’s personal life is beyond inappropriate.]

    [Also editor’s note: This is a different “Anon” than the one who normally comments everyday! Please don’t blame the regular commenter for this.]

    Reply
  9. Mara R

    I went to check out Christine Caine’s book in question on Amazon. And there is not one review pointing out that the plagiarism exists.

    I have a hard time believing that no one ever tried to leave that review.
    But I also don’t know Amazon’s review policies and policing. Perhaps such reviews are not allowed?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I would imagine they would be allowed, but I also don’t think that this story got very much traction at the time. I heard about it because writers were talking about it on Twitter, but it never really made it out into the general consciousness. It is now, so it will be interesting to see what happens.

      Reply
  10. CMT

    God loves me without asterisks. I needed this today. Thank you.

    Reply
  11. SLS

    Regarding the quote from the Kevin Leman book:

    I have been married nearly 8 years now and I grew up with a mother and two sisters. I am well aware that the week of a woman’s period is a million times more difficult on her than on her husband.

    Unless Mr. Leman is blind and deaf I don’t see how he could live with a woman for any period of time and not notice this.

    Reply
    • Mara R

      Rather than say blind or deaf, perhaps we should look at it as a complete lack of empathy.

      Apparently having any sort of empathy towards women, including what they go through during their cycle, is not required to become a pastor of men and women or a writer of marriage/sex books. The focus is on men’s needs and how women can deny themselves, pick up their crosses, and meet those needs.

      I’m thinking Driscoll (Real Marriage back in the day) and Emerson Eggerichs (Love and Respect) today (along with so many other books.)

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes, I think the problem is that they see themselves as the center, and women as appendages, and so what women feel really isn’t that important.

        Reply
    • Jo R

      Men really just don’t notice things unless their comfort and convenience are affected. Combine that with women’s real ability to put a good face on things … because we’re supposed to be content in all circumstances (even when cramps make us curl up in the fetal position). (Although funny how men get a pass on that verse, but I digress.)

      So the only thing a man notices about his wife’s periods is he ain’t getting sex. She’s changing pads every hour? Why would he care? She has to sleep on a towel? He doesn’t notice. But “Mr. Happy” goes without? Yeah, that he notices.

      And of course it doesn’t help that periods, a completely natural process, are considered shameful, that we’re supposed to hide the fact that we are menstruating. We women don’t do ourselves any favors when we hide our discomfort and difficulties. 🙄🙄🙄

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        It really is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, we want to say that we’re as capable of men and can handle everything, which means that we have to hide our discomfort, etc. But on the other hand, we really are putting up with more, but we’re not allowed to show it or get any allowance for it. It just seems very unfair all the way around.

        (I will say that PEOPLE tend not to notice things unless their comfort and convenience are affected; it isn’t just men. It’s just that women are often trained to notice what others are feeling more than men are, which is why we need to raise the next generation differently (and there’s a lot of evidence we are!))

        Reply
  12. Sunflower

    I was so stupid for so many years. Then one day my eyes were opened and I realized husband used porn when it was my period, when I went to get groceries, when I took a shower, when I took the kids to the zoo, when I went to church, when I went to work, etc etc etc.

    Reply
  13. Estelle

    I see one of the Facebook commenters contacted Angus Buchan’s team who appear to be taking the matter very seriously. Sheila, I hope you will be able to update us of the outcome.

    Angus Buchan is very focused on his “Mighty Men” teachings (about families suffer because fathers do not lead) so I hope he doesn’t feel he is being made to bow to so-called popular culture.

    He is very popular among South African churches, even the more egalitarian churches, because.of his calls to prayer.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m unclear what you mean by you hope that Angus Buchan isn’t being made to bow to popular culture? You mean the popular culture that says it’s not a woman’s fault if she’s abused? I would think we would want him to do that.

      I was also contacted by South African Christians about this quote, because they were very concerned that he was getting so popular, especially with what he has said about racial issues as well.

      Reply
      • Estelle

        I’m meaning that most complementarians seem to believe that egalitarian Christians have been influenced by popular (feminist) culture rather than following the Holy Spirit or have allowed popular culture to inform their interpretation of Scripture whereas egalitarians are quite sure that they are following God’s Spirit in this and popular culture just happens to be in agreement. I hope that makes my post clearer. Sometimes I try to say something too succinctly and then it is clear as mud.

        Reply
  14. Anonymous

    I really appreciate your Instagram Live. The arousal cycle is very informative for me. I had my kids in my 30s. I have been treated for depression with medication for years. I hit Perimenopause in my mid 40s and was menopausal before 50. So, my ability to become aroused got slower and slower. I also had pain in my back and pelvis which ended up being a pelvic floor muscle imbalance (took forever to diagnose but awesome relief after my first visit to a pelvic floor physiotherapist). And about the same time that I needed lots of time, my kids were teens and didn’t go to bed early. I was self conscious about noise, etc. We resorted to quickies. I couldn’t figure out why I found it unfulfilling and uncomfortable… and lost interest. My husband was so confused. I thought it was my medication. But now I think it’s because we weren’t taking the time. My kids are now away at university. I am 55. We are working on reconnecting. It’s gonna take some effort. You are being incredibly helpful. Thank you.

    Reply

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