A Cry for Justice (Calvary Press, 2012)

Every minister and church leader should read this book. Emotional, physical, sexual, and mental abuse happens to people we know, even in the church. Jeff Crippen and Anna Wood take us there, behind the scenes. We are privy to examples of how abuse is carried out in Christian homes and in the church: by the abuser isolating their victim and through lies and manipulation, just for starters. Crippen, a pastor for over thirty years, details how the abuser’s target becomes a victim in multiple ways–including how the church often takes the side of the abuser and disbelieves the abused. The abuser is skilled in their game of casting blame at the victim and, with their charm and persuasive ways, are able to convince others to take their side and doubt the victim’s word. Often the victim is forced to leave the church but the abuser remains. Deacons, pastors, and church leadership personnel may also be abusive in their homes or elsewhere. Sometimes a minister is the recipient of abusive behavior from a member in the congregation. It pays to be educated about this troubling problem.

I have known women and men in this situation in the church and know the content in this book rings true. I’ve listened to Christian women tell about the way they are treated with disdain and demeaning insults by their mates. Mind manipulation is a very real thing. When a person feels that they can’t relax in their own home (or church) and have to ‘walk on egg shells’ to keep on the abuser’s good side, they are speaking a personal truth. Some of them don’t feel safe (and they aren’t), and they don’t feel valued (and they aren’t). This book will help you become aware of some troubling situations in homes and in churches. Controlling and powerful, the abuser is skilled at belittling and confusing the person they have enslaved. They do this with no conscience and with no regret for their actions. A lack of remorse is an indicator of an abuser. They don’t think like the rest of us. It is a very subtle thing. Until we become aware and informed, we risk siding with the wrong person in matters of grave importance. Please read this book. It may open your eyes, and it may save a life.