enditnow Emphasis Day Observed August 25th

Abuse. The statistics are startling. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1 billion children, aged 2–17 years, have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past year. Likewise, a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control showed that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical abuse by an intimate partner throughout the course of their relationship. One cannot turn a blind eye to the abuse so prevalent in society, even in the Church.

In 2009, the Adventist Church launched enditnow, a global initiative to raise awareness and advocate for the end of violence around the world. According to the official website for the initiative, “enditnow is the most important stand the Church has ever taken regarding violence against men, women and children. It is a call to action for all Adventists and supporters to stand up and put into practice those principles we hold true. Domestic violence has been documented as a major issue within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Incidences of abuse follow trends documented in non-Adventist populations. This is why enditnow seeks to increase personal awareness, responsibility, and involvement to effectively help end violence in every family and community.”

One way the Church has created awareness is by designating an annual Sabbath, the fourth Sabbath in August, as enditnow Emphasis Day. The Women’s Ministries Department (GCWM) at the denomination’s headquarters in the U.S. state of Maryland, facilitates the campaign.

Raquel Arrais, associate director for GCWM, explains why an annual Sabbath is necessary. “There are so many people suffering silently thinking the Adventist Church doesn't care. But the Church does care. Observing enditnow Emphasis Day is one tangible way our congregations globally can help to raise awareness in the community, showing that we serve a God of justice and a God of love.”

Arrais continues, “Our purpose also is to create a church environment where all can address this issue in a safe way. The #MeToo movement has become a platform or a forum where many survivors of sexual abuse have the opportunity to bring to the surface the trauma they have experienced. In many ways, this is a venue to break the silence about this very sensitive issue.”

And while there is still much to do, Heather-Dawn Small, GCWM director, says she has seen a change in the attitude of many members who are now willing to talk about abuse and seek solutions.

“GCWM has focused on this since 2002 and there is hardly a church where the topic is not known. The issue of abuse is a social issue we, the Church, cannot ignore. It goes against the essence of who God is – God is love (1 John 4:8),” she says. “To show the world God’s love, we must deal with these social issues of abuse, poverty, illiteracy, etc.”

This year’s theme focuses on Words That Wound: The Trauma of Emotional Abuse. You will find a variety of resources available for planning an enditnow Day by visiting women.adventist.org/enditnow-day or enditnow.org.

This article was written by Beth Thomas and originally appeared on Adventist News Network.

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8950
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Regrettably, it was misogynist Paul who gave biblical endorsement to wife beating, in his emphatic statement “.WIVES SUBMIT YOURSELVES TO YOUR HUSBANDS “

Dominating husbands, not content with emotional abuse, have indulged in physical abuse, using this text as exoneration “white wash” for their actions.

I attended a church with a huge,largely professional congregation and was amazed when the associate women pastor preached a sermon against wife beating.

I was totally astonished that such an admonition would be necessary firstly in a Christian Church, secondly, an Adventist one, and thirdly in a church that was professional and not “blue collar.”

Apparently it is not just laborers who beat their wives, And wife beating is endemic in Adventism,

This pastor later informed me that numerous women with tear stained faces, had hugged her when emerging from the worship hour dealing with this topic.

Paul, if he makes it to the kingdom, will rightfully be confronted by millions of abused wives, asking: What were you thinking Paul, when you endorsed wife beating??

A similar question could be posed to God : Why would you allow such a statement in your Holy Writ, when as an omniscient power, you could easily foresee that it would be abusively used to condone wife beating?

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Maybe we could reinterpeter this: “Women/Wives submit yourself to your husband–not other men who wish to dominate and control you.” This places the burden on men to protect and care for those who depend and need them.

Paul explains what he means: “Husbands, love your wives… without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish.” This is a picture of a beautiful wife, inside and out, with no marks of abuse, emotional for physical.

“In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies.” This is a picture of a wife given the best food, clothes, shelter and preference–first and foremost.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This means that her wises, her education, her sense of self-worth is co-equal to himself. The husband cannot think of himself as more important and his wife as object of mistreatment. What is good for the man is good for his wife.

These concepts are at great variance to Roman standards, where women have little rights and privileges.

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In my life, i have seen numerous times when the ‘wives submit yourselves…’ has been observed to the detriment of the family as a whole. not physically, not totally mentally, but an incidious acquiesence
by a more knowledgeable spouse who has been given the gift of, for example, understanding of finance. because the ‘man’ did not understand investments, the family kept their money in a savings account instead of earning a higher return. I also have seen a less knowledgeable husband squander the family savings chasing scheme after scheme for making money quickly while the spouse holds their reservations in deference to the ‘man’…doesn’t say much for my gender…

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It is ironic that the SDA Church has come out strongly against physical abuse—over which it has little or no control—and chosen not to focus on mental abuse at the institutional level, which it could discontinue this Saturday.
The manner in which all organized religions, and most notably Adventists under the thrall of their prophetess, have used their supposedly sacred texts and “testimonies” to cajole, coerce and condemn their fellow men—and most importantly their children—Is an unimaginable (and probably unpardonable) form of mental torture, or “holy” bullying, all done in the name of love, with the best intentions and while claiming the moral high ground or insisting that god compels them to carry out “His Plan”.
How can this sin be unpardonable? Simply due to the fact that the sinner sees himself as a saint who cannot possibly have done, or be doing, anything wrong. This renders the guilty party incapable of seeking forgiveness or correcting the evil he claims to be eradicating but is actually is perpetrating.

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If one ignores the context - historical and cultural realities of his time - and listens to the poorly-informed views of many Christian and secular writers about Paul’s “misogynist” views of women, one could agree with your statement. However, much has been written by both female and male authors on this topic that detail and refute such conclusions. I suggest this resource: https://www.andrews.edu/sem/faculty_staff/faculty/jo-ann-davidson/women_in_scripture_-_a_survey__evaluation.pdf (attn: pp. 176 and on). To question whether or not Paul, hand-picked by Christ himself, his life interrupted on the road to Damascus, will be saved after his massive contribution and sacrifice to the early Christian Church, is an unfortunate jab. As a church in OUR times, we need more open and healthy dialogue on these subjects and less negative, misandristic rhetoric about Paul or others. Let’s get our facts straight. Paul’s future is secure because his judge is not any of us, but is the same person who temporarily blinded him before restoring his sight, both physical and spiritual, and unleashing him to bring God’s Remedy to world where not just women were poorly treated.