The last few weeks have been filled with Agape work, travel, and speaking where theology, biblical studies, and ministry intersect. This week I spoke at the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. I have done this over the last couple of years and always enjoyed the conference. This year I talked about my book, Am I Sleeping With the Enemy: Men and Women in God's Image (which will be out next Spring).
This is always a time to get feedback from abuse advocates on the reaserch. What I heard surprised me.
One woman (from South America), whose name in Latin means "given to God on the altar" said, "I have been antireligious all my life. If this is where the church is going I am very excited and glad."
Another advocate shared with me that since last year's presentation she has had 7 opportunities to speak to churches about helping abuse victims.
One woman said, "I wish my church had used this information to help me when my 'churchgoing' husband was abusing me..."
A few others began to share with me their experiences of growing up in a church and how they missed being there. They spoke of God as an old friend and their church as a place of comfort.
I hear so often that "people outside the church have such a hostile view of Christians." In this area it seems that people really do believe God is powerful and that God is love. However, they need Christians to show that God is love, acceptance, and healing.
On to Phoenix next week to speak at the Association of Marriage and Family Ministry national conference. They have asked a couple of us to begin an abuse team ministry. Then a break for a few weeks.