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TW. Abuse, Christian 'discipline', ableism

I'm continuing my deep dive into both To Train Up a Child, by the Pearls, and my own childhood experiences of so-called Christian discipline.

Do mute this thread if it is going to be too much. I get it.
Take a minute to breathe. Have you had breakfast? I'm just finishing some toast. I'd take a deep breath but, toast crumbs. Go ahead, stretch and bbrreeaathheeee.
A few folk have popped by to make sure I'm taking care of myself, and I am doing alright. I'm really thankful right now for the people in my life who held up a mirror to the way I thought, the things I had normalised, etc.

I've been shown SO MUCH love.
There's a few things that I specifically want to get into today, as well as following the pattern of the book to some extent. First I want to circle back around to the reasoning that Michael Pearl gives for 'training'. #ExposeChristianDiscipline
"Remember," he says, "You are preparing your child for real living in a real world and to face a real God in a real judgement of real accountability to a reward in a real eternity."

Seriously, say Real one more time.
To Michael Pearl, training is to do with eternal reward, or eternal damnation. His fear is that if a child is not given the right conditioning, they will fail to come to realisation of their need for a 'saviour' later in life.
Their view of child training is that God treats humans the same way:
That God made the world,
Put Adam and Eve in it,
Gave them a training exercise based on 'law' (which they failed),
And then spanked them with earthly death and threat of eternal damnation,
Then gave them 'grace'
Michael Pearl writes, "Only through the naked sword of the law do we understand grace. The end a Christian (parent) has in view is not just submission to rule of law, but that the child should understand grace."
So lemme get this right in the short term, according to To Train Up a Child:
The family unit becomes a kinda 'false earth',
Dad begins 'god',
Child becomes 'humans',
Dad's rules become 'law',
Spanking is 'death',
Grace = ???

I've read ahead, at no point do they introduce grace, mercy or forgiveness. This is all conditioning, breaking of wills, submission, unquestioning obedience and animalistic pain avoidence.

#PearlsPromoteChildAbuse #ExposeChristianDiscipline
In the Christian tradition, when Jesus came to earth, he found that followers of the 'law' were doing their most to do the least.

He saw people more concerned about keeping the ritual Sabbath than helping those in pain.
Yes, Jesus talks about the law at times, but it is clear from the way that he lives that he's more concerned about the internal motivations of a person than their outward expressions.
Some Religious Leaders at the time could have pointed to every law in the book, and STILL missed the point, as they refuse to bend to help the broken on the sabbath day, while Jesus reaches out and brings healing and practical assistance to them.
When a child is conditioned to minimal obedience of ritualistic laws from fear of pain, or beaten into submission to man (expected to later translate that into 'submission' to God), that says nothing of their heart position.
An example: In our morning devotions at home, dad would sit at the head of the table and his cane would be laid down in front in him along with The Bible. We usually all went around and prayed out loud at the end, and if you refused, you could be smacked with the cane.
Is that prayer? Is it? Is that training? Is it? Does that teach a love of God? Does it?
As we go around the table, your counting down the prayers till it gets to your turn. Think of something. Think of something. Mouth dry. You don't want to look stupid. Okay, you'll pray this thing. Someone else says the same. Okay, something, else, quick, quick. Uugghhh...
Brain dead, mouth dry.

"Are you going to pray?"

Don't know what to say.

"Yes, you do."

The panic rises. Its not really about prayer anymore. You can't think of anything. You give up. There will be a caning.
Is this prayer?
I'm not going to get too far into the Law/Grace debate because I don't want my theology of the cross, etc, to distract from the horrors of this book and the behaviour of Christian Extremism.

Suffice to say, you can't force anyone into moral/heart transformation by injuring them.
"What a sacred responsibility!" says Michael Pearl.
Chapter 8, the Pearls advocate adults disciplining other people's children (with the parents permission), because what could go wrong with allowing an adult to inflict pain on a child that isn't their own? #PearlsPromoteChildAbuse
Bonus points for them once again painting young children as the ultimate enemy of good humans.

On resisting reproof by a stranger, "Don't delude yourself it is loyalty or caution, it is rebellion, which is as (evil as) 'the sin of witchcraft'."

"To allow your child a time of rebellion and self-will, whether it be around the other parent, grandparents, baby sitter or peers, is to allow rebellion to stay alive."
"Someone comes to you with an accusation against your child.....Its not going to harm your child to be falsely accused a few times that's just life. He will be to deal with it sooner or later. Don't let him see your defensivness on his behalf."

Basically, he's saying, teach your child that they will not be believed over an adult.

Lest we forget that we are now living in the middle of numerous sexual abuse cases in churches where time after time the (often young) victims are Not Believed.

A story where Debi Pearl is looking after a child (not her own) who won't eat his tea:
She sets up one of their baby traps,
Gives him a toy,
Tells him to play with it,
He won't,
She smacks his leg,
Tells him to play,
He won't, smack,
"The rod lived up to its promise."
Me, looking at that story above like, where do I even begin?
Another time, a child is messing about with his mother and Debi Pearl and keeps hitting them with a toy truck. Okay, he shouldn't have been, maybe give him some attention? No. She picks up a toy truck and hits him back. #ExposeChristianDiscipline #PearlsPromoteChildAbuse
"One parent should NEVER question the others judgement on the presence of the children. It is better for your child for you to support an occasional injustice than to destroy the authority base."

Lest we forget, it's not about justice, it's about authority, abuse, 'obedience'
"If the father is attempting to make a child eat his oats, and the child cries for his mother, then the mother should respond by spanking him for whining and not eating his oats."

I....just...can't right now....
"We broke this tenancy for selective subjection early." SUBJECTION??? "When one of us would be spanking a child and he cried out for the other, then they would come over and contribute to the spanking."

"A child decides that one is enough. He will then be glad to be dealing only with the father."

So, yeah, I've seen plenty a child carried from the room to be spanked, SCREAMING for mother and her not bat an eyelash.
I've seen dad call in mom to do the discipline when a child was crying for mom. I've seen mom threaten, "You don't want to wait for dad, it'll be much worse," when the shoe was in the other foot.

I've seen my mother's heart break, and harden.
Now, I will NOT write mom and dad as victims. I won't excuse the behaviours or the actions, and I want you to know if you are a survivor of this kind of abuse or worse, that you are believed, heard and those who did it are wrong.
But I do want to explore a little of what I observed in them, and acknowledge their humanity, and to remember that our lives bring us to different points at different times.
I believe in justice, and consequences, but I also believe in hope, redemption and forgiveness.

I read stories last week of folk accused of abuse in one SBC church then being moved to another church and back into youth work, this is NOT the redemption I'm speaking about.
Final TW, I'm now talking about compassion towards folk who have done physical abuse to children.

I think my parents got caught in a burmuda's triangle of Authoritarian and Dangerous doctrines, mixed with their personalities and childhoods that brewed into abuse.
Before the Pearls, mom and dad had already decided to Home Educate us all, at the time it was just two of us, later there was eleven. They used a ciriculum called Accelerated Christian Education, or ACE.

Much has already been written and explored about ACE, it's political connections (how the Christian School movement was birthed from churches not wanting to end racial segregation, etc)

@Prester_Jane and @JonnyScaramanga

Have much to say on this.

ACE Schools (let alone parenting) promoted ABSOLUTE obedience, and encoursged use of a paddle to spank children in SCHOOLS let alone at home. Our A B C's were illustrated with cartoons that included kids being spanked.
Little cartoon action lines spiked out from the place the cartoon parent's cartoon paddle struck the cartoon child's bottom, red bursts of light illustrated the pain being caused.

Mom and dad adored the Little House on the Prairie world, where Pa hunted in the woods and Ma kept the home, the girls wore dresses and they grew their own food, untouched by the world.
Now the EXCELLENT EXCELLENT EXCEPTIONAL @AnaMardoll goes into a whoooole lot of the lies, false expectations and bad politics of Little House on the Prairie in her threads on #PrairieFires

Dad takes things literally. It's what he does. It's undiagnosed. He says it's a gift and that it enables him to read the Bible unburdened by opinion because he only reads The Truth (tm).
The Bible (by which I mean, the English translation of The Bible which he chooses to follow) is spoken of as his only Truth, against which anything else is measured. He also says that it must be the 'plain reading of Scripture' that contains the truth, not interpretation.
I think he believes that The King James translation of The Bible is ordained by God and that it's specific wording as well as general understanding is God Breathed.
Why stop there though? Why is That Book inspired, but future translations not? He believes the NIV was meddled with, certainly wouldn't accept versions that are more inclusive, and we know for a fact that the so-called Slave Bible had sections removed. Why is the KJV inspired?
I don't really mind, after all, if he wants to talk about my favourite gay/bi King James, who am I to stop him? (Google it)
But you can see why this personality trait, fitting in to the authoritarian Home Schooler crowd and then coming across the dangerous teaching of The Pearls would push someone further into Christian Extremism.
On top of this, having a big family and difficulty communicating, led to our being pushed out of many churches (and leaving others, for example, a church which used Harry Potter as a children's talk illustration).

Isolation was probably not a good idea.
My mom, was a gentle soul from a gentle family. As I understand it, she was looking for a man to take control, who she could follow and rely on, who would protect and decide things for them.

I understand the urge.
She talks lovingly about how when she met Dad, he explained the Gospel to her in a way that made sense, and she followed him. They got married quickly (purity culture made them afraid to wait any longer for the wedding, so they brought it forward a few months)
When she talks about having children, she says, "We believe at God opens and closes the womb."

I honestly believe she liked being pregnant and loved being a mother, especially later in life when she came out of the fog of either being pregnant, having a toddler, or both.
I vowed to protect her, and filled her life with as much love, life and laughter as I could. I only very recently even acknowledged that she was an active participant in the physical abuse of the children, and I cannot speculate as to the state of her mind or reasoning.
I did see multiple Mothers within her. I've seen her heart break, be rebuilt in strength, harden, chill, warm, exult like Mary mother of Jesus, rejoice, pray, fear, but I have also seen a steely almost robotic element.
When I speak to her about hard topics, like when I came out as gay, she retreats behind Solo Scripture. Often I would send a heartfelt message only to receive some clipped together Bible verses in return. Not even paraphrased in her voice, copied out word for word.
I adore my mother. I see how she is NOW, now that the middle time is passed and her youngest child is over ten, and she isn't surrounded by stressed cries or grazed knees, or education questions, or endlessly being poked at by sticky fingers.
But I can't pretend I haven't seen her with a cane in her hand, haven't seen children sent away who come to her crying after being smacked by dad, haven't witnessed her allowing babies in cots to be spanked for crying.
I've seen her resolve harden as she fought instinct to protect. I'm convinced that when we all flinched at the sound of a spanking, she must have felt every stripe.
But I've also seen her talk about the fear, not of having given a child marks of the cane, but of soneone seeing. For example, checking before going swimming that no marks were visible, before the health visitor came.
They absolutely knew the law about leaving a mark, because they actively attempted to cover up.

#ExposeChristianDiscipline #discipline #childtraining #exvangelical
And now I'm crying.

I'll get back to it later.
This phrase that I used to hear dad sat sometimes is in my head, "You won't be able to sit down for a week."

As in, I'll switch your bottom so hard, the pain will carry you through to next Tuesday. Whether real or a threat, that's not right, is it?

Does he have issues that have been compounded by life and then pushed tighter by isolation and reinforced by only surrounding yourself with the same kind of people? Yes.

Is he responsible for his actions anyway? Yes x 1000
Okay I got through *checks book* another two chapters!

- Pearls teach children it's okay for others to inflict pain on them,
- Children will not be believed over adults,
- Both parents should inflict pain so there's no safe space in the home
- Grace (exists?)
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