087 | A Frank Discussion About Women in the Church

Welcome to episode 87 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. Sarah Knaub joins Susan in this episode as they talk about the church’s dismissive view of women. This excellent conversation was prompted by John MacArthur’s “go home” statement directed toward Beth Moore. Susan and Sarah’s conversation is loaded with rich and important content. Roles, submission, spiritual gifts, personal preference, teaching, marriage, men, children, strength, and theology are just a few of the topics this episode covers. Push play and join the conversation. Share it with a friend and subscribe in your favorite podcast app or on iHeartRadio.

We interviewed Sarah once before in episode 18 where we talked about the church and mental illness.


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086 | Preach The Word?

Welcome to episode 86 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. The phrase “the Word of God” appears several times in the New Testament. I had always heard and believed that “the Word of God’ was a reference to the Bible. I assumed that the Bible is the Word of God and that the phrase “the Word of God” was another way of saying the Bible. When Paul told Timothy to preach the word, it’s assumed he meant preach the Bible. 

But the Bible never calls itself the Word of God. That phrase is reserved in Scripture for Jesus (Rev. 19:13) and the gospel (1 Thessalonians 2:9, 13), as determined by context. Tradition has given the Bible the title, the Word of God, but the Bible itself never does.

That topic is sandwiched in the middle of this episode from our old Known & Loved podcast that originally aired in March of 2017 and was a conversation that took us in several directions. Shout out to our friend Rocky Glenn in this episode who wrote us a letter that we interacted with. We hope this episode encourages you.

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085 | Labels, Assumptions, And Finding The Courage to Question

Welcome to episode 85 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. We’ve had some recent conversations with others who’ve related their stories to us about how asking honest questions resulted in being shunned, shamed, and even asked to leave the group they were in. When our journeys take a turn away from performance and toward a more genuine experience with grace, the resulting freedom that accompanies that experience is scary to those who haven’t discovered it yet and asking questions or expressing new opinions based on your new-found freedom, is a threat to those in charge or those whose journey is all about performance.

Let’s talk about it.

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061 | Why We Podcast

Welcome to episode 61 of The Grace Cafe Podcast! We were in a recent conversation with someone who asked us why we podcast, what our goals are in this podcast, and what the future of The Grace Cafe Podcast looks like. This generated some good conversation between the two of us and we wanted to share those thoughts with you in this episode. Along the way, we touch on other topics like:

  • Community and freedom.
  • How religion damages us and our children.
  • Complimentarianism and patriarchy.
  • Painful endings and new beginnings.
  • Abba/Father.
  • What is covertly caught vs. what is overtly taught.
  • Shame regarding spiritual abuse and mental illness.
  • Community and freedom don’t look like religion tells us it does.
  • Anxiety and authenticity.
  • Anger and grief.
  • Religion doesn’t let you ask honest questions.
  • The degradation of women in the church and how we silence half the church.

Here’s the link to Susan’s blog about damaged children who grew up in evangelicalism and the purity culture that we talked about in this episode. Please read this.


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049 | Recovering From Spiritual Abuse

Welcome to episode 49 of the Grace Cafe Podcast! Let’s talk about picking up the pieces and rebuilding your life and identity following spiritual abuse. You’ve suffered such loss at the hands of an abuser, someone you trusted but who ended up weaponizing your story against you, resulting in so much loss. Loss of friends. Loss of reputation. Loss of family relationships. Loss of confidence. Loss of identity. Loss of hope.

What now? How do you start to rebuild following spiritual abuse at the hands of an abuser you once trusted but who, for their own narcissistic reasons, turned on you, painting themselves as a victim and you as some sort of evil person? What do you do when friends and family believe the false stories being spun about you by an abuser and shun you, while embracing unquestionably, the twisted version spun by your abuser?

Let’s talk about it.

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048 | The Intentional Brutality of Spiritual Abuse

Welcome to episode 48 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. Let’s continue our conversation about spiritual abuse. Like abusers in other forms of abuse, spiritual abusers act with intentionality and purpose. They are skilled and accomplished in silencing their victims using tools such as shaming, shunning, bullying, power posturing, lying, and gossiping, to name a few. Spiritual abusers cannot be reasoned with. Once a victim of spiritual abuse speaks up, their character will be assassinated and they will find themselves being shunned by those empathetic with the abuser as he or she spins the truth in such a way as to cast themselves in a good light, while trashing the reputation of the victim(s). 

Victims of spiritual abuse will hear over and over again that the abuser and those in the abuser’s close circle, are disappointed in them. As a result, they begin to think there is something wrong with them and they can easily develop a wrong view of God as they start to believe he is disappointed in them also. While spiritual abuse leaves no physical scars, the scars it does leave are deep-seated ones that can cripple an individual for years and make recovery a long and tedious process.

In this episode, we interact with a listener who reached out to us about their own experiences with spiritual abuse. We also, mention and recommend the following helpful books:

We hope you find encouragement in this episode!

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047 | A Conversation About Spiritual Abuse

Welcome to episode 47 of the Grace Cafe Podcast. Let’s talk about spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse leaves no physical marks. It’s a silent abuse that usually happens behind closed doors or in settings where no one else sees it occurring, or only the select few leaders witness it but don’t see it for what it is, spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse makes its victims think there is something wrong with them when in reality, there is something wrong with the abuser. But the abuser is skilled at spinning a situation in such a way that paints them as the victim and the true victim as a troublemaker not to be believed. Let’s talk about it.

Important links we mention in the episode:

Need help? Here’s some good news:

-Thanks for listening. If you like the Grace Cafe Podcast, share it with someone. Give us a review in iTunes (Apple Podcasts) or on your iPhone app.

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046 | Humility, Jesus, and Top-Down Authority in the Church

Welcome to episode 46 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. Let’s talk about humility. Humility is an ingredient that’s missing in abusive top-down authority environments where misinformed leaders believe it is their job to manipulate others through the use of punishments and rewards; punishments for failing to comply and rewards for compliance. In top-down authority environments, power flows down while money flows up and those at the top work feverishly to keep that power by convincing those at or near the bottom that they are God’s spokesperson, are “called” by God to a position of authority, and because of their self-proclaimed authority, must be submitted to without question. 

This is a setting void of humility and ripe for all kinds of abuse. As one who came, not to be served but to serve, Jesus washed the disciple’s feet, leaving them an example of how to serve one another. Jesus assumed the posture of a servant in washing the disciple’s feet. But within institutional Christianity, there is more concern for power posturing to guilt others into blind conformity and submission. In speaking of power and top-down authority, Jesus said, “it shall not be so among you” but power-hungry leaders have turned a deaf ear to those words.

After recording this episode, we came across this powerful article dealing with many of the same topics we broach in this episode:

Then the story broke via The Houston Chronicle of 700 victims of Southern Baptist sexual abuse over a 20 year span:

This is the legacy of top-down authority where no top-down authority should exist. The ones deemed weakest are the ones who suffer the most. Join us as we talk about humility and the 21st century church.