In Honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

When I was eight years old, my stepfather hit my mother. She grabbed a butcher knife and chased him to their bedroom door. He was ahead of her and slammed and locked the door before she caught up to him. She shouted through the door. “You bastard, I’ll cut your throat while you sleep.” He slid their tall dresser to add weight to keep her out for the night.  Needless to say, he never hit her again. Their marriage lasted for forty years until he died.

Not every event of domestic violence can be a one off. If left unanswered they will escalate to the point of physical and emotional damage. For most of us, the one hit rule applies. That rule is simply stated: Hit me once and I’m gone.

An abuser left unchecked will continue to abuse. No amount of apology, feigned remorse, or self-loathing can change that. The abused needs to call law enforcement and file a restraining order immediately. File charges if requested to do so. It’s a one and done. No sympathy for the abuser.

This may sound harsh to those of you in a relationship. Get over it. As the Nike ad goes, “Just do it!” There are no extenuating circumstances.

With Anger Management classes and therapy there may be reconciliation in your future. But that hope is not there until successful completion of those conditions.

If everyone followed this simple advice domestic violence deaths and hospitalizations would be seriously diminished.

What frustration my stepfather couldn’t expend on my mother he expended on my sister, stepbrother, and me. My sister has been deaf in one ear since the day he threw her down the basement steps. My stepbrother turned to drugs, violence, and crime. He died of a heart attack at the ripe age of fifty-seven. I spent most of my waking hours away from the house at school, at friends’ homes and finally once I turned sixteen, I spent most of my weekends at my girlfriend’s home.

For the sake of the spouse and the children. Get away from an abuser. He or she will just redirect their problem.

This whole Old Testament wives should obey their husbands is totally misconstrued and misapplied to support a corrupt patriarchal system. Divorce as discussed in the gospels of Matthew and Mark are completely misapplied in the Twentieth and Twenty-first centuries. It was not divorce that was abhorrent to Jesus. It was the abandonment of a woman and children to poverty, ostracism, and unholy ways of supporting themselves.

Jesus called for our liberation. His suffering, death and resurrection were clarion calls to freedom from oppression, fear, and sin. If divorce removes you from a bad marriage, there is no wrongdoing in the divorce. The mistake was in the marriage.

Jesus speaking for his father speaks to our freedom. He calls to it for us and offers it as a beacon toward life.  The podcast for this week, “Domestic Violence Awareness,” speaks to the abused. The discussion there is about how my guest got out of an abusive relationship without the help of her pastor, parents, or church. When she made it to a place of supposed refuge her illness was an object used to further ostracize her and to cast her out.

Things are better today. There are more sympathetic and accommodating shelters that not only take in the abused but help them to find new lives of fulfillment and self-sufficiency.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. May God continue to bless you. Stay safe.

Published by ptdog1

A little about me: My name is Thomas Carson Ziegert. I’m a recently retired Elder in the United Methodist Church and live in the Mojave Desert of Southern California. Born in Wilmington Delaware and a graduate of Catholic elementary then public high school I continued for a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Political Science, from the University of Delaware. I spent one semester in Geneva, Switzerland and researched transnational economic relationships at the United Nations Library there. Then I moved to Los Angeles where I got a job and explored my options. Eventually, I went into business, then sold it and pursued my calling into ministry in the United Methodist Church. I graduated from the Claremont School of Theology with a Masters of Divinity Degree and was ordained as an Elder in Full Connection in the UMC, as the first ordained openly gay Elder in the Conference. In between the lines is my understanding that I was gay while a student at the University of Delaware, the limitations that would afford me in my fields of interest throughout my life, especially as a pastor, and my research into what the Bible really said in its original language about homosexuality. I found love then he died of complications from AIDS after an 11 year relationship. We were both diagnosed with HIV in 1986. He died in 1992, I lived. I’ve been asymptomatic through the years. I hope my life honors his and those who honor me by loving me still. About the blog: This blog will be the place I store my writings and where we can more thoroughly exchange experiences and reflections on those experiences. I hope this will be a sanctuary for fearlessly exploring how we understand ourselves and our relationship with God, and be a place of nurture as we grow in our understanding and relationships.

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