August 19

Lincoln United, Obama Divided

Whatever precipitated the Civil War in this country, it ultimately became a war to free the slaves.  President Lincoln, a Republican, understood this and stubbornly refused to yield to the Confederacy.  With the Emancipation Proclamation, he freed the slaves and continued to fight for the unity of the nation.

It is ironically tragic that President Obama, a Democrat, who has benefitted more than any other black man from Lincoln’s presidency, has become the most divisive president in our 200+ years of being a nation.

Lincoln unites, Obama divides.  Very, very sad.

August 13

A Rideabout to Start a New Phase of Life

Next January, at the age of 65, I will enter into semi-retirement – or, as I like to think of it, I’ll be put out to stud.  To mark the occasion, I’m planning a two-week, solo motorcycle ride to the Southwest, with one or two side trips outside that territory.

Here’s my tentative agenda:

Las Vegas, NM:

IMG_2059My wife and I have stayed at a KOA near here in the past and really liked it.  It’s on I-25 but can be reached with only a few short stretches on interstates.   It’s also en route to my next destination, but on the way I’ll ride the

Million Dollar Highway:

million-dollar-roadHard to find a prettier stretch of highway anywhere.  That is, if you’re into mountains and such.  That will take me to

Ouray, CO: 

Winter Twilight over OurayProbably my favorite place in all of the Centennial State, Ouray is at the northern end of the Million Dollar Highway, which winds its way up from Durango.  I’ll have to make sure that I get to Ouray before nightfall: I don’t want to be riding at night in the mountains.  Since my next stop is not that far away, I”ll be able to enjoy Ouray a little longer than some of the other places.  From Ouray I’ll head to another familiar and favorite town:

Moab, UT:

moab utI’ve been here a couple of times but there’s so much to see that I couldn’t think of being so close without going there.  It’s the northern-most destination on my rideabout but the Arches National Park is an incredible introduction to the canyonlands.  From Moab, I’ll backtrack a bit and stop at

Dead Horse Point State Park, UT:

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAUntil a few years ago, I’d never heard of this place.  After seeing some photos of Dead Horse Point, though, I’d be crazy not to stop by.  The Colorado River runs through here and does some amazing carving in the landscapes.  I’ll likely have too short amount of time at the park, unless I decide to stay another night in Moab.  When I leave, I’ll ride south on U.S. 91, skirting Canyonlands National Park, and turn left on SH 95.  I’ll have a long ride ahead of me: my next destination is

Capitol Reef National Park:

capitol reefThis would be an ambitious ride for a single day: from Moab to Cedar City is 431 miles through some amazing country..  Capitol Reef National Park is about halfway and would be a logical stopping point.  Not a bad place to spend some time.  The next day I’ll ride to a familiar town in southwest Utah:

Cedar City, UT:

IMG_0453

Cedar City is one of the gateways to what is (so far) my favorite park: Zion National Park.  I saw it for the first time last year and was stunned by the beauty and hands-on feel of the place.  The road that winds through the changing landscape is perfect for a motorcycle and I look forward to being on it again.  Cedar City also marks the halfway point in the trip, in terms of distance (but not time).  I’ll head south and east for Arizona and spend the night in

Page, AZ:

DCF 1.0Page is well-known for Lake Powell but not so much for Antelope Canyon, where I plan to spend some time.  You’ve probably seen the pictures without knowing where it was but the formations are unlike pretty much any place else.  I’ll take a lot of pictures.  Then it’s back to Las Vegas, NM, where the rideabout started.

There’s still 700 miles or so to go before getting home but northwestern Texas doesn’t have a lot of beautiful scenery.  If I have time, though, I’ll be sure to make one last stop at

Palo Duro Canyon:

palo_duro

Never been here but it looks to be a good place to wind up the trip.  It’s a little bit southwest, a little bit Texas.  A final place to soak up.

A man can dream, can he not?

August 5

Losing My Way . . . Again

(The following was written more than a few years ago; I really don’t know when. Maybe ten years ago?  I started writing about this topic some years later and then realized I was merely re-writing what I had already said.  So rather than reinvent the wheel, I offer the wheel once again, with some more recent thoughts and observations to follow.)

____________

I have lost my way.   Again.

Back in the ’60s and ’70s, before I became a Christian, I was a Freak.  A Freak in those days was not merely someone who smoked marijuana and perhaps did other drugs; a Freak was a person who had rejected the culture and lifestyle of the day and was now living a quite different existence.  Hippies wore the clothes and did the drugs, but they were part-timers: they didn’t reject the lifestyle but continued to value the same things they had previously.  Freaks looked down on Hippies, considering them to be insincere and inconsistent.  Hippies were the Samaritans of the drug culture.  Freaks, we told ourselves, were the real deal.  Stoned snobbery.

As a Freak, I lived a pretty austere lifestyle.  Along with a roommate whom I rarely saw, I lived in a one-room cabin in the woods with no running water and no telephone.  Whenever possible, we took baths in a creek that was a hundred yards further into the woods and down a hill; in the winter, we showered at work, a friend’s home, or at our parents’.  We had an outhouse with a fingernail of a moon cut in the door.  No telephone meant visitors were rare: if someone wanted to see me, they had to drive the 25 miles or so out of town and hope that I would be there.

I drove a simple vehicle – a VW Bug, of course – and had few possessions.  When I moved to Colorado once, everything I owned fit in the back of my VW.  My primary possessions were a huge collection of select albums – vinyl – and a stereo system with speakers the size of a file cabinet (I still have them, 30+ years later, along with the turntable).  My wardrobe was simple: jeans, t-shirt, boots, and an old, dark, drab sports coat.  I didn’t spend any money on haircuts: my mane was past my shoulders and my mustache was thick and long.  Long hair was a badge of defiance and a celebration of freedom.

Although I had three or more years of college behind me, I pursued no career, had few ambitions, and prosyletized anyone who would listen to me.   I believed in marijuana and the lifestyle associated with it.  This was before it became the focus of “venture capitalist” and other criminals driven by profit.  We were outlaws, not criminals, wanting to live outside the law and selling drugs at cost.  Marijuana missionaries.

I was an atheist and a nihilist, finding no basis or sense in the morals and values of the culture.  If tomorrow we die, why not eat, drink, and be merry? Why spend so much time trying to “do something with my life”?  I was Koheleth with a bong.  I stayed stoned for more than five years, usually all day every day.  I liked my life and the rejection of culture for which it stood.  I didn’t make much money but it was more than enough.  I had all I wanted and wanted all that I had.  I traveled light.

Then came Christ; on His heels, like a spiritual carpetbagger, came Christendom.

Once I overcame my resistance to Him – or, rather, once He overcame my resistance – I was deeply committed to Him and His kingdom.  I found in Him a meaningful substance for the form I had been living: Jesus had placed little to no value on the worldly priorities or culture of His day; further, He encouraged His followers to do the same.  The lifestyle He called for resonated with me: I had rejected the culture because it seemed to be stupid to work so hard for something that was meaningless.  Now, however, Jesus was telling me to reject it because of a different, higher, eternal set of values and purposes.  I liked this concept a whole lot.

But with Christ comes Christendom, or so it did for me.  I was welcome in the kingdom but it was obvious that I didn’t understand some of the basic niceties about being a follower of Jesus Christ.  Christians didn’t have shoulder-length hair or ponytails.  They didn’t live in cabins in the woods; they didn’t wear boots and jeans to church.  They didn’t listen to Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, or Emerson, Lake & Palmer.  My education and indoctrination were about to begin.

(Not having grown up in a Christian home, there was much I didn’t know about what was appropriate or acceptable behavior in the church.  Shortly after becoming a Christian I learned that tithing was expected.  The next time they passed the plate in church, the smallest bill I had was a fifty or hundred so I made change from the plate.  I quickly learned that this was not done, although no one could tell me why not.  I still don’t know why not.)

The long hair was the first thing to go, followed shortly thereafter by the Army fatigues and ratty sports coat.  The mustache got trimmed and thinned, jeans and t-shirts were replaced by khaki pants, dress shirt and tie for church, and – for the first time in over five years – I began wearing socks and shoes in the summer months.  Most of my music “had to go” since, as I was to learn, it was demonically inspired if not downright possessed.  I also began listening to music at a much lower decibel level, which was fine since I didn’t like most of the Christian music anyway.

I was learning to be a Christian.  I was “fitting in” with the Christian subculture.  Being naive, I thought I was doing the right thing and honoring God.

Thirty years later I sit in my professional chair in my professional office, typing on my professional laptop and looking out my professional window.  I have four cars, four televisions, four computers, and an mp3 player; in the garage is a lawnmower, a weedeater with attachments for edging and blowing, power tools, and a dismantled trampoline.  I have a mortgage, two graduate degrees, three tennis racquets, and three sets of golf clubs.  Two digital cameras.  Indoor plumbing.  I am a well-respected man about town, one of the acceptable people.   I am a Christian.

In short, I have conformed to the world.  Not just “the world,” though: I’ve been conformed to the “Christian world” system.  I left my cynicism at the gate of the kingdom, believing that there would be no need for it in the community of God’s people.  It never dawned on me that the values and priorities of the church might be harmful to my spiritual health. Continue reading

June 29

The Lordship Debate Is Missing the Point

One of the advantages of aging is that you see cycles.  In governments, people, history, organizations, and organisms – the last being a reference to that God-ordained organism, the Church.  Cycles are evident in the Church universal – comprised of all Christian believers of all time and all places – and the local church which, in the United States, is a 501.c.3 tax-exempt entity housed in building somewhere in a neighborhood near you.

One of the recurring issues of concern for various factions within the Church is that of Lordship Salvation: the point of contention is whether or not a person must make Jesus the lord of every area of life in order to be saved or whether trusting in Jesus Christ as savior alone is sufficient.

The tide is out at this time for the lordship debate; how long it will be before the tide comes in once again and accusations are hurled and books written and re-written, no one knows. What I would propose is that when the tide does come in again, the Church take a different approach.

We can have our usual tribal skirmishes over the precise details of the gospel to determine “us” and “them,” but in so doing we are overlooking a critical aspect of lordship. Rather than focusing on lordship as a matter of salvation, we might do well to shift the focus to lordship as evidence of salvation and a necessary effect of salvation.

My position has been and remains that a surrender of every area of our lives – lordship – is not necessary for salvation to occur but it is something that must follow if salvation has taken place.  This is far more than stating that lordship is what happens subsequent to salvation; it is stating that an absence of lordship means no salvation took place to begin with.

This isn’t just my opinion.  It is arguably the opinion of John as reflected in his first epistle. He writes,

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. – 1 Jn 2.3-6, NASB

John is direct and unequivocal in his statement: if you know God by virtue of trusting Jesus Christ as Savior, then obedience to His commands and walking as Jesus walked must follow.  Not should or might or ought, but must.  Lordship is a natural and necessary outcome of salvation, not something that some Christians submit to and others forego.

But two questions immediately present themselves: what commands are to be kept and how did Jesus walk?  Two questions but essentially one answer.

Stackhouse has summarized the commands as four: two creation or eternal commands and two redemption or temporary commands.  The creation commands are (1) to exercise stewardship for the earth and (2) to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. The redemption commands are (1) to love other believers with the same quality of love that Jesus has for us and (2) to make disciples.

In his letter, John is focusing on the commands that compel us to have love for God, one another, and others.  To keep the commands is to love and to walk in love – that is, to walk as Jesus walked.

Of course, Jesus broadened the meaning of “neighbor” in his parable of the Good Samaritan.  Our neighbor, he said, is anyone with a need that we have the ability to meet. That is love.

With his typical, blunt-force approach, John writes that “The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.”  Marshall, in his commentary on John’s epistles, brings the point home forcefully:

We would say that there are persons whom we do not love, but this is not the same thing as hating them . . . But John will have none of this.  His concept of love is caring for the needs of others, even to the point of self-sacrifice.  If I am unwilling to do that for somebody in need, I love myself more than him; I am not being merely neutral, but am actually hating him. – p. 131

The proof of salvation, according to John, is walking in love, which is to obey God’s commands.  To walk in love is to submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ; walking in love is the fountain from which all our obedience flows.  If there is no walking in love (as a continuing lifestyle), there is no lordship and there is no salvation.

My contention, to state it once again, is that the importance of lordship is not to be found primarily in whether it is necessary for salvation but instead as proof of salvation and submission to Christ as Lord.  If a person does not walk in love, then that person does not know God and cannot claim to have fellowship with him or a saving relationship with him through Jesus Christ.

There are no second-tier Christians who are content with one day sitting in the cheap seats in heaven.  There is but one type of believer: those who walk as Jesus walked, who are obeying God’s commands, who – consciously or unconsciously – have committed and submitted themselves to the lordship of Jesus Christ as a welcome result of having been redeemed.  All others are tragically and eternally mistaken.

February 24

Responding to Non-Christians in Christian Discussions

[It is my hope that no one would conclude that I am hijacking a discussion that I not only joined late but kind of killed.  I am posting on my blog for convenience, not for the purpose of driving traffic.]

Introductory Stuff

Let me begin by quoting a verse that I have tried to make applicable to myself.  It addresses how to respond to others in general and has specific and valuable application for online interactions with those who do not believe in Christianity.  Such people are, from the Bible’s perspective, incapable of comprehending the significance and ultimate meaning of the gospel and the Scriptures.

This does not mean they cannot intellectually know what the Bible says; it does mean that they don’t know it intimately as a believer might.  This does not make them bad people – some are honestly wrestling with spiritual issues (although, sadly, it seems clear now that “Kirk” is not one of them) – it means simply that they are limited or restricted.  In fact, believers are only able to know God and the Bible intimately because of the indwelling Holy Spirit who illuminates God’s words to us.  Without Him (the Holy Spirit) we are no better off that non-Christians.

Here is the verse I referred to earlier, along with a couple of others that I’ll remind the reader of:

. . . but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence, and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.”  — 1 Pet 3.15, emphases mine.

What I want to draw attention to at this point is the attitude we should have when talking with those who ask about or question our faith.  First, we are to be gentle or meek with others; we are never to be arrogant, condescending, or impatient.   It is not an easy thing to do, in no small part because we take their objections personally.  But typically they are not.

Second, we are to be reverent.  This means we should treat all people with the respect and honor they deserve since they, too, bear the image of God.  They are wonderfully and fearfully made.  They are sinful (as are we) but they are foremost image-bearers.

Finally, we are to keep a good conscience, i.e., we should conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the calling with which we have been called (Eph 4.1).  We should talk and behave in a way that demonstrates respect not only for them as people but for Him who created them, i.e., God.  We are, after all, just beggars telling other beggars where to find bread.

A corollary of this is found elsewhere in Paul’s writings:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” — Eph 6.12

Unbelievers or even atheists are not our enemies but slaves in service to the true opponent: “the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  Ours is a spiritual battle against spiritual powers, not against other people.  We should address their ideas and misconceptions but we should not attack them.

Another passage should be kept in mind when discussing biblical matters with unbelievers or non-Christians.  It, too, is from Paul:

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” — 1 Cor 2.14

A “natural man” is a person without the Holy Spirit; without the Holy Spirit, the things of God are “foolishness,” or, more accurately, “moronic” to an unbeliever.  We need to keep in mind that a person lacking the Holy Spirit to illuminate truth is restricted in their understanding.  They are doing the best they can (sometimes) with what they have, often with a clear conscience.  We should not fault them or criticize them for their inabilities.

And now to the point I hope to make in this post.

Those of you who followed the back-and-forth between me and “Kirk Roos” (if that is his true name) are aware that he has stated that he will “let sleeping dogs lie” and not engage me any further in the present venue.  That is fine; I respect his decision.  As he said, the discussion was not going to be resolved: he could not persuade me or I him; indeed, he seemed to take issue with my attempt or attempts to find common ground – or at least a common language.

Rather than refute what he has said I want to focus on two matters, one in this post and another in a post to follow.  The next post will explain what philosophers and logicians call “informal logical fallacies”; this post will examine what appears to be Kirk’s “worldview” or practical philosophy in hopes of enabling Christians to better identify such argumentation and thereby know what they are up against and how to proceed.

Before going any further, let me attempt to calm any fears that might be emerging at the thought of delving into philosophy and, specifically, postmodernism.  The latter is a term that seems impressive and reserved only for those with Ph.D.s in lofty ideas.  In reality, it is easily understood and just as easy to detect.  So read on without fear, knowing that if you don’t understand, it is my failure to explain and has nothing to do with your ability to comprehend.

Postmodernism

At the risk of being too simplistic, the approach reflected in Kirk’s interactions falls under the philosophical heading of postmodernism.

There are three individuals whose works either laid the foundations for postmodern thought or provided the framework for those who would follow: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida.    Wittgenstein’s philosophy later in his life (after renouncing pretty much all of what he had done before) affected language and communication.  He saw language both as a tool and a game; the nature of the game allowed every individual participating to create their own rules.  If you think this leads to confusion and people talking to themselves and past one another, you’re correct.

Foucault followed, bringing relativism with him.  He believed that truth changes over time and from culture to culture; truth, therefore, is determined by cultures and individuals and cannot be imposed on others.  What Wittgenstein had done for language — or undone, as the case may be — Foucault did with the concept of truth on a bigger scale.

Derrida is identified with the philosophical school labeled deconstruction, another of those concepts and words that intimidate without reason.  James Mannion (2006) explains:

Deconstruction is the process of breaking down of a thing (in Derrida’s case, language) to show that what is being stated is in fact inherently false . . . He sees language as a flawed means of communication, arguing that the reader can not really know the author’s true intent, and for that matter, neither can the author. The text you are reading may have an entirely different meaning to you than the author intends, and the author may not even have a clue about what the meaning of his words are.”

The underlying narcissism of such a position is obvious: the postmodernist maintains that the author has no idea what he is really saying but you, the reader, can claim to know what is really meant.  But, the reader must admit, it is a personal understanding and not necessarily one that anyone else would hold.

Mannion goes on to describe postmodernism as a manifestation of latter-day Sophism (another of those words!).  Socrates argued against the Sophists of his day (c. 469-399 B.C.) and Plato (Socrates’ most famous student) had very little positive things to say about them.  The Sophists were the forerunners of infomercials: they could argue persuasively for or against any position or concept because they were skilled rhetoricians.

Protagoras is considered the earliest of the Sophists.  He thought everything to be relative and denied the notion of the existence of absolute truth (truths that are true for all people of all time in all places).  He and the other Sophists had little time for spiritual matters.  Mannion writes,

Protagoras also had an apathetic view toward the gods.  His attitude was that you can’t really know if they exist, and because you can never know, they do not really matter much in your day-to-day life so you may as well forget about them . . .”

This has a modern ring to it.

The following quote from the movie The Wind and the Lion captures a written exchange between the movie’s dark hero and then-president Teddy Roosevelt.  Roosevelt has successfully overwhelmed the sheikh with support forces in the form of the U.S. Marines:

To Theodore Roosevelt – you are like the Wind and I like the Lion. You form the Tempest. The sand stings my eyes and the Ground is parched. I roar in defiance but you do not hear. But between us there is a difference. I, like the lion, must remain in my place. While you like the wind will never know yours. – Mulay Hamid El Raisuli, Lord of the Riff, Sultan to the Berbers, Last of the Barbary Pirates.”

Postmodernists do not know their place, either, for the simple fact that they have none.

Proceeding

What are we, as Christians, to do when we encounter postmodernists/Sophists?  Perhaps the best thing to do is to resist engaging them further when we sniff them out: this saves time and eliminates the possibility of greater frustration on all sides.  In addition to praying for such people (always), we can try to communicate our love for and acceptance of them.  Very few people come to Christ as a result of argumentation; most come (humanly speaking) because they have been loved even though there is disagreement.

It is also possible to turn the tables on such people if they are not especially skilled in rhetoric.  But that is a subject for another time.

January 19

Addendum to “On Being a Misfitting Christian”

Having put down my thoughts in the original post, I’ve been able to reflect a bit more on the matter from a slightly different perspective.  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

It may be that what has set me apart from so many others is not as much commitment as it was and is the depths of desperation that had possessed me so deeply in the events immediately leading up to the moment of my conversion.  I have said many times in the past that I had sought for meaning and purpose in life throughout my teens and early twenties and, having found nothing in life truly worth living for, had given myself to “drugs, sex, and rock ‘n’ roll” — the hedonism and nihilism mentioned in the earlier post.

The last vestige of hope remaining for me back then was the hope of love: of finding someone I could love and who would love me.  When that last rope of hope was finally hacked in two, I was set adrift.  I was free to do and be nothing in the meaningless experience I called life.

And then the hedonism and pleasures and distractions finally failed me, too, and I was truly in despair: a total absence of hope of and for anything.  It was into that despair that Christ sent me; it was out of that despair that He saved me.

But before that happened I had hit bottom. Hard.  In retrospect, I needed to.  I was emotionally and intellectually spent.  There was nothing that could prevent me from free-falling into absurdity and existential loneliness.  I was utterly helpless.

I had lost my life and had become lost in life.  The emptiness and desperation were inescapable and all-consuming.  I had no place to go and no reason to go.  Anywhere.  Life was silent and deafening, empty and overwhelming; echoes of an endless void within me.

But while there was nothing that could help there was still Someone who did help.  When Christ came along it was all-or-nothing for me because I had been and been to nothing and couldn’t survive there.  So it was all in all the time with Christ.  It wasn’t any moral or spiritual superiority that drove me to that point.  It wasn’t even extreme gratitude.  It was, once again, desperation.  Christianity had to be true.  If it wasn’t, then that was it.  Maybe insanity would have been all that could be left.  A Nietzchean solution.

And so I sold myself and gave myself and devoted myself and did every other thing I could think of to commit myself to my only hope in life.  The gratitude and the thankfulness came later.  Jesus had died for me – given His life for me – and I swore to give my life to Him as much as I possibly could.  And while that sounds real spiritual you must remember: my life was skubalon1 at that point; it was even less than crap.  My life wasn’t worth anything to me so giving it away was hardly a big sacrifice.  My life for His?  How could I not make that deal?  Give nothing for everything?  Really?

So maybe all of the above is part of the explanation, too.  I’m sure it’s not all of it.  But it’s an important part of it.

Maybe the men around me have never felt such deep emptiness and despair.  In some ways, I hope they never have.  Maybe they didn’t have to; I don’t know.  I can’t really explain someone else’s life. I’m still trying to figure out mine.

_______________

1 The NT Greek word for crap, used by Paul in Php 3.8

December 31

Domestic Violence

As part of my continuing education, I’m involved in a 15-hour class addressing domestic violence.  While it would be nice to say that issues like domestic violence are unheard of in the Christian community, it would also be false.  Sadly, domestic violence – in all its various forms – is no less common within the church than anywhere else.

To keep people informed and, hopefully, to begin reducing the number of adults and children exposed to it, I thought I’d pass along some of the information I’ve gleaned.

Since seminaries or bible colleges rarely prepare pastors for such eventualities, this and following posts will provide helpful information for those in ministry who deal with domestic violence.  These posts are not designed to prepare readers to deal with it but rather to help those in positions of trust and authority to identify it and have some idea of what to do when it is discovered.  All of the material below can be found in The Domestic Violence Sourcebook, by Dawn Bradley Berry, J.D.

Prevalence of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence involves at least one or more of the following: physical violence, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse.  For Christians, we need to also include spiritual abuse, a form with consequences that could last for eternity.

“Each year,” Berry writes, “literally millions of women are wounded, crippled, disfigured, traumatized, and maimed by male partners – or they die . . . Domestic violence is also a major cause of disability, homelessness, addiction, and attempted suicide.”

The author recognizes that men – at an increasing rate – are also victims of domestic violence.  Because the number of men who suffer is comparatively small in comparison does not minimize the violence done against them.  But the book is primarily addressing the more prevalent problem of violence against women.

Statistics (as of 2000):

  • “Each year, 1,500 women are killed by a current/ former husband or boyfriend . . .
  • “Studies of women killed by a husband or boyfriend show that 90 percent of the victim had reported at least one prior incident of abuse.  The average number of calls to a scene before a domestic homicide is eight . . .
  • “Up to six million women are believed to be beaten in their homes each year . . .
  • “Women who have divorced or separated from their abusers report being battered fourteen times as often as those still living with their partners . . .
  • “According to the American Medical Association, family violence kills as many women every five years as the total number of Americans who died in the Vietnam War.  Homicide is the second leading cause of death for women fifteen to twenty-four.
  • “Battering contributes to one-quarter of all suicide attempts by women generally, and half of all suicide attempts by black women.
  • “The AMA reports that one out of every three women treated in emergency rooms is a victim of violence . . .
  • “One million women a year visit physicians and hospital emergency rooms for treatment of injuries caused by beating . . .
  • “In 1992, the U.S. Surgeon General reported that abuse by a husband or partner is the leading cause of injury to American women between the ages of fifteen and forty-four.
  • “Medical expenses for treating victims of domestic violence total at least $3-5 billion annually . . .
  • “Rape is a regular form of abuse in approximately 50% of violent relationships.
  • “Weapons are used in 30% o domestic violence incidents.
  • “Up to 75% of battering victims have left or are trying to leave men who will not let them go . . .
  • “Between 25% and 50% of all women in America will be physically abused by a partner at least once in their lives.
  • “Business lose about $100 million annually in lost wages, sick leave, absenteeism, and nonproductivity as a direct result of domestic violence.
  • “74% of abused women who work outside the home are harassed by their abusers at work, either in person or by telephone . . .
  • “In a 1987 study, 20-30% of college women reported being the victim of physical abuse by a dating partner . . .
  • “28% of high school students have experienced violence in a dating relationship.  The FBI reports that 21% of the women murdered in America are 15-24 years of age.
  • “Pregnant women are especially at risk: 25% of all women battered in America are abused while pregnant . . .
  • “50-70% of men who abuse their female partners also abuse children in the home.  In homes with four or more children, the figure leaps to over 90%.
  • “In one study of violent homes, all sons over fourteen attempted to protect their mothers.  62% were injured in the process.
  • “More than 3 million children directly witness acts of domestic abuse each year . . .
  • “Studies estimate that 25-33% of men who batter their wives also sexually abuse their children . . .
  • “About 50% of all homeless women and children in America are fleeing domestic violence.”