Here’s the Joy Looks Back Over 2021 and Looks Forward

With as full as my life has become, I believe I may have reached my peak of blogging prolific-ness in 2017, with 68 posts. This year it was only 35, but that still felt like a lot to me!

With the exception of my main evergreen post (“Why Did David Lift His Eyes to the Hills,” which always outranks all my other posts by far), this year’s most popular post was one I wrote in 2019, Your Empathy Is a Sin’: A Response to Desiring God.” One of the most poignant comments on it came from an exvangelical who said she was thankful to find a Christian who was refuting this damaging teaching.

I was glad to see that “Those 365 ‘Fear Not’ Verses in the Bible” was a popular one this year, and I hope it helped bring freedom to many. (It also was edited into a chapter of Untwisting Scriptures #3).

I think one of my own personal favorites of 2021 was “A Prayer for Anna Duggar on Mother’s Day,” because my heart goes out to this young woman. Anna Duggar was thrust into the spotlight of the nation when she married Josh Duggar, who was convicted this year on child pornography charges. Anna touches my mother’s heart, and I ache for her and her children.

So, which post did I write when I was the most angry? Probably “To Church People Who Think Husbands Should Rape Their Wives”—and you can tell how ticked I was by the title. I hate the toxic teachings of false teachers, but I always hope that any anger I feel doesn’t come across too much in my writing. I don’t want it to turn people away.

Much of this blog refutes false teaching, but I also love to just present straightforward truth. I think my favorite one of this year was “6 Ways ‘The Gospel’ Is So Much More than You’re Usually Told.”

Two new books in the Untwisting Scriptures series were published this year! You can see them here and here. I also recorded the second one in audiobook form, which you can see here. (Also you can listen to a sample chapter here.)

This year, Heart for Survivors became an official 501(c)3 nonprofit. I’m very grateful for those who contributed to help abuse survivors get on their feet and move forward with their lives.

This year I finally started a Facebook Page, “Rebecca Davis–Untwisting Scriptures.” There I’ve written shorter pieces and added many graphics of pithy quotes excerpted from blog posts and book chapters.

To wrap things up, this year I also spoke at a couple of retreats and had several lovely podcast interviews, including three with Julie Roys of The Roys Report, one on each of my three (so far) Untwisting Scriptures books. You can listen to those here and here and here. (In the last case, there’s also a video.)

What’s coming up in 2022?

In March, I’m on the roster of Heather Elizabeth’s Safer Spaces Summit. You can see more about that here.

In April, I’m scheduled to speak at the Called to Peace retreat in North Carolina. You can see more about that here.

In September, I’m scheduled to speak at Heather Elizabeth’s Held & Healed Retreat in Virginia. You can see more about that here.

I also hope to do another Untwisting Scriptures book in 2022, focusing on Righteousness and Wickedness: how they are typically presented in evangelicalism, and what I believe they really mean according to the Word of God. If you subscribe to my blog, you’ll be invited to be an early reader of this upcoming book, challenging me and giving me pushback in the ways my wise and thoughtful readers are so good at. Also, early readers that give insights into my topics may end up getting quoted in my book (with permission, of course!).

This year, as in the past, I had some absolutely lovely posts by guests authors. If your writing matches with the mission of Here’s the Joy, I invite you to submit your article to me for a guest post for 2022.

With all the difficulties that many of us have experienced in 2021, we still have great hope in the Lord. As always, my prayer and longing for the church of our Lord Jesus Christ is that many, many will rise up who will eschew false and damaging teachings and will rush to embrace the wounded and harmed the way the Good Shepherd of our souls does for us, gently and wisely leading them to Him and His salvation, through word and example. May we hear many who say, with the Psalmist in Psalm 18,

He sent from on high, he took me;
    he drew me out of many waters.
He rescued me from my strong enemy
    and from those who hated me,
    for they were too mighty for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
    but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a broad place;
    he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

God bless you and yours in 2022. Happy New Year!

 

 

Casting Out Fear by Whistling a Happy Tune

A couple of years ago I wrote a series about “fear” (part one, part two, part three). But I knew there was much more for me to learn, and for me to share with others.

Not to mention that I want my next Untwisting Scriptures book to be (tentatively) subtitled Shut Your Mouth and Stuff Your Emotions.

Yesterday, a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I sat outside with my Bible and pondered “perfect love casts out fear” in 1 John (which I plan to blog about eventually). As I did, I thought about the typical ways believers are told to “cast out fear” and get on the right track with their “perfect love.”

All too often church leaders and other church people tell us that it’s by “choosing to do right,” our actions, our behavior, our internal decisions. Gritting our teeth and forcing ourselves. Will power. There may be some mention of the Holy Spirit, but it is often passing and incidental. Continue reading “Casting Out Fear by Whistling a Happy Tune”

Here’s the Link to that Zoom Interview with Me about Patriarchy

Last week Emily Elizabeth Anderson of Thriving Forward interviewed me in light of the recent publication of my second Untwisting Scriptures book, which addresses patriarchy and authority.

Emily is one of the “Jane Does” who brought the lawsuit against Bill Gothard and later went public about it.

Our two perspectives together may have been especially helpful for some, because we interacted as two generations, since I am of the generation of Emily’s parents. Continue reading “Here’s the Link to that Zoom Interview with Me about Patriarchy”

Second Untwisting Scriptures Book Finally Coming Out!

If you subscribe to my blog, then you got the advance notice that Book 2 of Untwisting Scriptures that were used to tie you up, gag you, and tangle your mind is coming out soon.

That’s because I sent out an email to all my subscribers, asking for pre-readers for the final chapter. I got a great response and I’ve received fantastic feedback.

More on that in a bit . . . Continue reading “Second Untwisting Scriptures Book Finally Coming Out!”

An Update on My One-on-One Ministry

Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil. ~James 1:27

*****

Since 2017 I’ve been involved nearly full time with abuse victims and survivors, primarily using prayer ministry (based on the Immanuel Approach prayer ministry model developed by Christian psychiatrist Karl Lehman) to help them connect with Jesus and process their experiences, including traumatic memories. Continue reading “An Update on My One-on-One Ministry”

That Time I Tried to Be Transparent in a Small Group . . .

About 15 years ago I joined a certain group because everyone else was doing it and it seemed like the thing to do in order to be a better Christian, which of course I wanted very much.

The group followed a format that I found out later was typical, but it was all new to me at that time: We listened together to the respected speaker for the first hour, and then split up into small groups for the second hour.

This is where we would be transparent. Continue reading “That Time I Tried to Be Transparent in a Small Group . . .”

Why the Jeffrey Epstein Case Matters to Christians

It may feel like voyeurism, reading about it, if you don’t know any of these people.

But as I’ve been saying for some time now, I can be pretty doggone certain that you do know or at least interact with a survivor of sex trafficking, even if you don’t think you do. Because they are all around you.

My primary work is with those who have been sex trafficked in the Christian world. And believe me, there are parallels.

One person or small group of people is/are the traffickers. They may be relatively obscure, as Epstein was.

Others, the wealthy and elites (in my experience, it’s primarily been the wealthy and elites in the Christian world) are the buyers who take advantage of the trafficker’s “services.” (Flying in to the trafficking location is not a problem for the Christian elite.)

There’s a lot to learn about how this all works by reading about the Jeffrey Epstein case. Continue reading “Why the Jeffrey Epstein Case Matters to Christians”