Dr. Diane Langberg on Cedarville & “Restoring” Abusers

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Should a Christian leader, who sexually abused someone under him, ever be allowed to lead again?

On this episode of the The Roys Report, Dr. Diane Langberg joins Julie to discuss the controversy at Cedarville University involving a professor, who was hired despite a known history of sexual abuse. Last week, Cedarville fired the professor. But the situation has raised many questions about the wisdom of trying to restore sex abusers to positions of leadership and influence.

Dr. Langberg is a globally recognized expert on trauma and sexual abuse, with more than 45 years of clinical experience. And she offers keen insights on how the church should respond to leaders who have sexually abused those under them.

This Weeks Guests

Diane Langberg Ph.D.

Diane Langberg Ph.D.  is globally recognized for her 47 years of clinical work with trauma victims & clergy. She has trained caregivers on six continents in responding to trauma and to the abuse of power. She also directs her own counseling practice in Jenkintown, PA, Diane Langberg, Ph.D. & Associates, which includes sixteen therapists with multiple specialties. She has authored numerous books, including Counseling Survivors of Sexual Abuse, On the Threshold of Hope, and Suffering the Heart of God: How Trauma Destroys and Christ Restores. Her latest book,Redeeming Power: Understanding Authority and Abuse in the Church, will be released October 2020.  

www.dianelangberg.com
http://www.dianelangberg.com/redeemingpower/
https://twitter.com/dianelangberg

Show Transcript

JULIE ROYS:  How should the church respond to pastors and leaders who have sexually abused those under them? And should abusers ever be put in a position of leadership again? Welcome to The Roys Report—a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys. And today I’m going to be discussing a major controversy at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. And it involves a professor who was recently fired for sexual misconduct. Joining me to do that is Dr. Diane Langberg, a globally recognized expert in trauma and sexual abuse. If you follow me online, you likely already know what happened this week involving Cedarville university but for those who don’t, here’s a brief recap. Cedarville this week fired Dr. Anthony Moore, who had been serving as a Special Advisor to the President for Kingdom Diversity and as an assistant professor of theology. He also served as an assistant basketball coach, but here’s what’s surprising. Some may even say shocking. In 2017 Dr. Moore was fired as a campus pastor from The Village Church in Fort Worth, Texas for sexual misconduct. According to the elders at The Village Church, Dr. Moore had secretly videotaped a male youth pastor showering at Moore’s home on multiple occasions. And what’s even more surprising is that Cedarville hired Dr. Moore, knowing about his history. According to Cedarville University President Dr. Thomas White, the hiring was part of a five-year restoration plan for Dr. Moore that involved accountability and boundaries. Yet within one year, Dr. Moore was made a professor and in February more even chaperoned a group of students on a service trip to Boston. Now White told me that he knew all about Moore’s past when he hired him except for one detail. That detail was that Moore’s abuse occurred over a span of several months. In an interview last Wednesday, Dr. White told me that he knew Moore he had made multiple videos, but Dr. White claimed that he was told that Moore’s abuse was not habitual. And White said he assumed that Moore made maybe at most two videos over a short span of time. But White said when he talked with Moore’s victim on Wednesday night, he confirmed that there had been five videos recorded over a period of at least five months. As a result, Dr. White on Thursday fired Dr. Moore. Of course, there’s a whole lot of questions surrounding this story. The elders of the village church, for example, told me that they told Dr. White everything before Cedarville hired Dr. Moore. And it wasn’t until Cedarville knew that I was going to publish a story with these facts about Moore that the school took action. But laying those details aside, what I’d like to explore today is this idea of restoring sexual predators and then putting them in a position of authority and influence. Is that ever okay? Well, again, joining me today is Dr. Diane Langberg, a psychologist, author and co leader of the Global Trauma Recovery Institute. She’s also a board member with G.R.A.C.E. which stands for Godly Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment. So, Diane, thank you so much for joining me today. It truly is an honor to speak with you.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: Thank you, Julie. I’m privileged to be here.

JULIE ROYS: I’d like to start today by discussing this idea that someone who’s done something like Dr. Moore did, could possibly not have an habitual or deeply entrenched problem. Diane, is it possible for somebody who secretly recorded videos of somebody showering in his own home like that—is it possible for someone like that to not have a deeply entrenched problem, given the nature of what he did?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: Well, it’s possible for them not to have abused a particular person before in terms of an actual victim, but there has to be an infrastructure an internal thing going on in somebody in order for that kind of behavior to occur. And the odds are very high that ways of coercing, manipulating, confusing, whatever, from a position of power to someone have occurred in perhaps verbal ways or emotional ways, not sexual at first. So, there’s already probably a dynamic in the relationship. The fact is that we don’t just wake up and do these. There’s a whole internal world that precedes that, which could be years of ways of thinking or fantasizing or in your mind doing certain things with certain people sexually or whatever, without the behavior. And so, what happens when an incident occurs, number one, we don’t know if that’s the only incidence. And my understanding from this particular case is that what actually happened was not necessarily made public. And so there was no space for victims to come forward had there been others. But what we don’t know is the infrastructure. You know, Jesus is very clear what comes out of a man comes from the heart of the man, not from the circumstances. And so if something like that comes out of the heart of a human being, we need to understand what’s behind it. Because the tree that bore that fruit is still in there. Even if the fruit stopped for a while.

JULIE ROYS: Help me understand what the infrastructure is that leads to that kind of abuse.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: Well, first of all, it is a lots of self-deception. Because you have to deceive yourself into thinking that things that are not okay are okay to think about or okay to—like with pornography and things like that—okay to look at. There’s some way you talk to yourself to make what is not okay, okay. And the longer you do that, the more likely it becomes that the thing that you’re thinking about will become an action. Because that deception increases over time and you are inured to feeling afraid to do it or too guilty to do it. Or, you know, whatever, putting it aside because you have other things that are more important or whatever. And so you deceive yourself over time. And it’s that self-deception, that that is so strangling people’s lives. And what we see is an action of abuse. And we forget about the whole thing that’s gone on in terms of deceiving the self. And then eventually, as is evident in this case, deceiving the person in front of you. And so, we stop the action. And we don’t look at the whole self-deception process that’s going on probably for years. And we leave a person in that prison.

JULIE ROYS: So, do you ever think that it’s okay—like in this case, Moore was fired from his church, things were said rather cryptically about his past abuse and what had happened, but then he’s brought to Cedarville and within a year’s time is given a job as Professor—do you think it’s ever okay to take someone who has a history of abusing and put them in a situation, in this case, it had been a young man that Dr. Moore had abused. Is it ever okay to put them in a situation or in this case, Dr. Moore with young men?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: A couple of things. The first one is we seem to be rather enamored in the Christian world with restoring people to position. Restoration is actually restoring a heart in its relationship with God, which then shows itself in different behaviors. And in this case, you have a good example of the fact that there’s poison inside, it’s hurting the man himself, certainly has hurt his family. It hurt the church. And now he’s in the same, they’re going to restore him to a position where all of that stuff is still in there. And we’re going to put up external controls to keep it from happening again. But there is absolutely no indication or awareness of the internal control that needs to be there. So, in spiritual terms, my most important thing in my life is love and obedience to Jesus Christ. And that starts internally and manifests externally in the flesh. So, to put up external controls, is to prevent somebody from really ever looking at those things in themselves, that are not love and obedience to Him and are therefore poison to them. Not only to them, of course, but to their victims. And what we don’t think about and I often will say this to churches in terms of, you know, they want to put a pedophile back in the church service and well, you know, we’re gonna have all these people around them, so he’s not ever going to do that again. He’s going to do it in his head, with your children while you’re singing. And you’re putting him in a place where he can continue to feed and deceive himself, even though the actions can’t occur. That’s not what love looks like when somebody needs help. We’re letting them inhale their poison. And we’re saying, “You’ll be okay as long as I tell you not to do something.”

JULIE ROYS: I want to talk about that path of restoration and what that looks like. But before I do that, I’d like to know, just in this particular case, you have someone who was discovered doing something wrong and the elders become aware of it. They did fire him right away. But when they fired him, they didn’t say exactly what he had done wrong. And I understand there’s reasons for that. I mean, Moore was fired when he was fired, it said for grievous, immoral actions against another adult member, and they did say that it disqualifies them as an elder and staff member. I can understand for reasons of the victim not wanting to necessarily say who it was. Maybe not spelling out exactly what happened, but I don’t know. I mean, what should a church do when a church leader is found to be involved in this kind of grievous sexual sin?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: Well, part of what you’re doing is exposing something to the light, you’re taking a deed of darkness and exposing it to the light, but only sort of. And on the one hand, the victim is not the issue in the sense, the victim doesn’t need to be named, the victim needs to be protected. 

JULIE ROYS: Right.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: What failed to happen originally. And so I don’t see that as necessary at all. They may choose to be named, that’s up to them, but they get the choice about that. But to not say that it was somebody that he was in a power relationship with and to not say something about what actually happened means that if there are others in your audience who have either had the same thing happen, or who, you know, when you talk in the article, you talk about the verbal and spiritual manipulation and abuse that this young man experienced, there are probably quite a few people who also experienced that, whether it ever became anything sexual or not. And so, you have not named those things, you have not dragged them into the light, called them by name. And also ask for anybody else who has been wounded in those ways to feel free to come forward and to get help.

JULIE ROYS: I know part of this situation and the problem with this one was that the victim was really not aware, as he said he was kind of in a fog. And it really wasn’t until he had gone through counseling that he could even identify sort of this verbal and spiritual controlling kind of abuse. He wasn’t aware or able to even see it at that point. So, he said that it would have been hard to really name it because ‘I didn’t know it.’ Do you need to bring in a professional expert when something like this happens because I’m guessing most of those elders aren’t experts in this they don’t know. I mean, they’re trying to do their best but they don’t know. And pastors unfortunately, I don’t know that many seminaries offer much training on sexual abuse or abuse in general. So, what do you do as a church to really understand what you’re dealing with?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: You do need people who have expertise in it to advise you. If somebody is embezzling money from the church, I daresay they’re going to call a lawyer in order to deal with that. Part of it is to protect themselves, of course and deal with that particular issue. But the other pieces they don’t know what to do. And so, if for some reason, whether it’s sexual abuse or domestic violence, or things like that, we seem to assume that we know what to do. And again, going back to what I said earlier about what’s inside of people, you know, we think it’s a wrong choice, which it certainly was, but that’s just the fruit of what’s wrong. And so, we have little awareness of that. And the other piece is that when we are in leadership in an organization that is a pretty human thing that most of us we do is we want to protect the organization. And so we want to say only what we have to say, to protect it, but not blow it up. In the meantime, understanding the issues of power in the relationship, the abuse of power, which the victim did not understand until later, which is very common. You know, victims are usually so stunned by what happened to them, it takes a good while for them to articulate all of the pieces of that. And so if there had been another voice outside the system, saying, look, this didn’t just happen overnight, you need to look at the kind of relationship you need to look at the verbal issues that happened and the spiritual position of power that was used, and how that was used wrongly, and all of those things. And it has to be somebody with fresh eyes, who isn’t there just to preserve the system, but to expose for the sake of all concerned.

JULIE ROYS: Now, in this particular case, in Texas, it’s actually a felony to record someone secretly, when they’re naked or exposed in any way, there was not a police report at the time. In fact, the police report I believe the incident happened January 2017. The police report isn’t filed till the fall of 2018. And I understand some of the issues that were going on with the victim and he’s traumatized. He’s hurt. He’s confused. But should there have been some urging on the part of the church? And do you as a church have a responsibility when you find out that a crime has been committed, does that need to be reported to authorities?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: Absolutely. I mean churches that are reporting child abuse, those are crimes.

JULIE ROYS: Well, it’s not a child. He was an adult.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: Yes. But the point is, we don’t even report crimes of minors like that. We’re not very good at that.

JULIE ROYS: Right.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: So when a crime has been committed it needs to be reported and dealt with by the justice system. One of the things I often hear from pastors and sort of church leaders is, “Well, then we can’t be the church.” Oh yes you can. It doesn’t hinder the role of the church. But there is a justice role when a crime has been committed. And if there’s ever a doubt, you go in and say, here’s something that happened, is that against the law? And if they say “yes,” then you tell them exactly what happened.

JULIE ROYS: How much are you reliant on the willingness of the victim to speak? In the case where a victim isn’t willing to report it, can you as a church, understanding what has happened in your knowledge of it still report the crime?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: Yes. If you know about it, and you know it’s a crime, or you’re not sure and you ask to find out, then you report it. You may have less information than you would have if a victim wanted to be an active part of that. But the fact of the matter is, somebody in your church has done something criminal.

JULIE ROYS: Couple of things were interesting to me in my interview with Dr. Thomas White. And I’ll be honest, my impression was—and I could be naïve in this—is that Dr. White had a heart to want to help a brother in Christ and to see him restored, maybe clouded somewhat by a desire to save him. But one of the things that Dr. White said to me that that was surprising was that he didn’t see Anthony as a predator. Can you explain a little bit about what grooming is and why these sorts of things happen to grown adults, and there really is a predatory kind of nature to them?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: Well, part of it is the there’s an imbalance of power in the relationship which we see much more obviously, when it’s an adult and a child. We see it much less obviously, when it’s an adult with another adult. But it means that vulnerability, which anybody could be vulnerable doesn’t matter how old they are, how bright they are, how gifted they are, any whatever. We all have vulnerable times in our lives. It means that someone who is vulnerable is being used to feed the self. Now you can do that by wanting compliments all the time, whether they’re true or not, and things like that. Or you can do that with sexual abuse. You can do that with all kinds of things. But I need you to do certain things. But grooming is a way of anesthetizing people over time. And so they get used to certain behaviors or certain verbal things. And over time as those increase, they aren’t quite aware of the hit that they’re taking. And also when people are vulnerable, particularly if they’re vulnerable because of things in their own history, but even if it’s just current circumstances, when people treat us in ways that are a mis-treatment, we often wonder what we did to bring it on. And so, we assume that somehow, we’re failing or we’re not doing the right thing or we didn’t say something right or whatever, and there’s confusion there. And so you end up listening to their statements about you and submitting to that. And if you do that long enough, you can put somebody in boiling water and they won’t know it’s boiling. 

JULIE ROYS: So it’s kind of the frog in the kettle. 

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: It is. That’s exactly what it is.

JULIE ROYS: And grooming, you know, like, again, in this case, it sort of culminated with the sexual abuse, but they’re involved sort of this emotional and spiritual abuse that was part of kind of the whole dynamic. Is that really common when there’s sexual abuse, that there’s a much wider web of control and manipulation that leads to that point?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: Yes, absolutely. I mean, a rape can be a more of a sudden thing, though, most victims know [the perpetrators are] rapists. So that’s really not the case. Stranger rape, which is quite not common. You know, it’s not common like knowing your rapist but the is obviously people could sexually abuse somebody they have no relationship with. That is the very tiniest bit of sexual abuse. Years ago, I taught a course on some leadership issues for a seminary. And I was talking to the students about power and vulnerability, and that what proceeds out of someone comes from their heart, not the person in front of them. And I used to give this example Okay, you know, you’re all finished seminary and you’re out there and you have a position as a pastor, and somewhere down the road, a very distressed, disturbed whatever woman comes into your office and asks to see you for counseling and help. And so you see her and she comes back another time and another time and then one time she stands up in front of you in the office and starts taking off her clothes. What happens next will tell us who you are. And so, because typically in a situation like that, somebody would say, “Well she [pause], therefore I [pause],” which is diametrically opposed to the scriptures. Yes, she [pause] but therefore you [pause] because of something in you. They always got very quiet. You could hear a pin drop in the room. So when somebody is grooming somebody like that or whatever, it’s not the victims responsibility, it’s not their fault. There’s a way in which they’re vulnerable. Maybe it could be somebody [phrase not transcribed] Harvey Weinstein, so somebody who could get you a job or not get you a job. There’s all kinds of human vulnerabilities that people use and exploit in order to give themselves something.

JULIE ROYS: I think that’s one of the hardest things about sexual abuse. At least you have way more experience than I do and talking to victims, but when I talk to victims, is that even though they didn’t do anything wrong, in most cases, this abuse, there’s nothing consensual about it. There’s a power dynamic and someone that you thought was safe to turned out to not be safe. Despite all that, the victim so often feels the shame. The perpetrator often doesn’t feel shame at all.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: No, it was it was an “oops” for the perpetrator. And for the victim, it screams who they are, which it doesn’t, but that’s how they experience it. I have a very graphic example of what that’s like for a victim, which I have used with victims through the years. It’s not a very pleasant example, but it does make the point. And that is if you’re standing next to somebody and they’re sick and vomit all over you who’s gonna smell like vomit? You are. Whose is it? Theirs. That’s the shame thing vomited all over somebody and they take it as if it says something about them.

JULIE ROYS: I know that there are going to be people listening to this who have experienced that dynamic who are experiencing right now they’re feeling that shame. Speak to that person.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: I would speak to them certainly with something like I just said in the sense of, “Look who’s heart did that come out of?”  “Well, but I,” “Okay. That tells us about you the fact that you whatever. But whose heart did that abuse come out of?” The other pieces, which I think we haven’t done very much with in the church teaching wise is that Jesus bore our shame, our vomit. It didn’t come from Him. He took it on Himself. And so when, if I, as a victim carry the shame of the perpetrator, it’s something already borne by Jesus, whether the perpetrator will avail him or herself of that or not. I can. It’s not mine. It never was mine. But even if it had been, it’s been borne. I don’t need to carry it.  It doesn’t say who you are. God says who you are. No perpetrator gets to say who you are.

JULIE ROYS: I think there’s perhaps a naiveite in the church when you have something like in this case where there was videotaping, there was no actual physical contact. I’ve talked to people in cases where there’s been sexual abuse. And because intercourse didn’t happen, I’ve heard them say, well, they didn’t actually have sex. So, it’s not that serious. Would you speak into that? You know, why is something in this case where there was no physical contact? Why is that so serious? How does it need to be viewed by the church?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: Well, I would go back to what you said earlier, and say number one, Texas obviously thinks it’s very serious, ot would not be a felony. 

JULIE ROYS: Exactly. 

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: My body belongs to me. And I get to say, who has anything to do with it. Not anybody else. It was gifted to me by God. It was put together in my mother’s womb by God. It belongs to me. And He’s the one I answer to about that. Not anybody else. What you’re talking about in a situation like this, though there was no physical contact is someone who is feeding off another person’s body, which does not belong to him, who is doing it deceptively, and using it for his own food, so to speak. And he is doing it not only just with the body, but with the sexual parts of the body. So, that’s why it’s sexual. You can have somebody abused you as a female and never have intercourse, but they touch everything sexual on your body. It’s not theirs. That’s an abuse. It’s a mis-use of the power that they have to take something from you that is only yours to give.

JULIE ROYS: So, let’s talk a bit about restoration. Obviously, you don’t agree with putting somebody in a situation and saying we can put in these external controls, and we can control this person from abusing again. What would you say is the appropriate way when you have someone who has abused the way that Dr. Moore did? What does restoration look like?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: First of all, we don’t know whether that can be accomplished, because a lot of it depends on many, many factors. However, we can certainly help them move in that direction. But I think the first thing you have to do is take it all away. I mean, you know, if you have somebody who has been a drunk all their life, you don’t take them to the bar and say, “Don’t drink.” You don’t even let them go in. Because the smell and the feel of the place and all of those things are feeding something on the inside. And so there has to be a complete shutdown of those things. Somebody who’s done something like this, I would insist on professional care with somebody who has expertise in these fields because they will know the infrastructure, they will understand the self-deception, they will also understand that it’s possible that there’s some very deep wounds in that person from way back that never got dealt with. And that that’s the root of it. It isn’t always, but it often is. And so, the central point is caring for the perpetrator in a way that exposes and challenges and enters in and does not allow anything—as much as we can control it—that will feed the old ways.

JULIE ROYS: I read a blog post that you did about the church and dealing with pedophiles in this situation and saying, instead of allowing the perpetrator to come and sit in your services and be a part of the church, you can’t allow that to happen for the reasons we’ve already discussed. But you talk about taking the church to the perpetrator. What does that process look like?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: Well, it varies and unfortunately, it isn’t done very often. So there’s not a whole lot of comparisons I can make at this point. But what it means is that people who are not vulnerable, who are certainly not part of the group that this person would have been abused or anything like that. But people from the church who are mature, who understand these issues, because they’ve studied them, meet with this person, and they are the church. Part of the bigger issue, I think, for me is that we’ve made the church an institution. It’s not an institution. It’s a body of human beings. So, you take three of those human beings who are godly and have wisdom and who’ve studied these issues and put them with somebody. They’re in church. That’s the church. That’s how it started. They didn’t have big buildings or anything. And so we seem to think that depriving them of the institutional setting is depriving them of the church, which it absolutely is not. And so usually when I’ve worked with churches who want to do this, they will meet with somebody every week, they will listen to the sermon that everybody heard on Sunday, they will discuss it, they have to have access to that person’s therapist. So there has to be a release signed. If there’s a probationary officer, they have to have access to that person. And so they do that for a long, long, long time. Maybe always. It depends on the person. I mean, if you have a serial pedophile, you’re not going to put them back in the church.

JULIE ROYS: And what about somebody like Moore, where you have a situation where he did what he did? Can someone like that be acclimated back into the church? And if so how?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: Well again, I don’t know his story. So it’s really difficult to say that. I can’t make a judgment whether he can or cannot be brought back in, in that way. But what I do know that if you love your brother, you’re going to pursue him in these ways. And we’ll see what happens. I dare say on some level, he’s a tormented man. That this is probably not who he really wants to be given other things in his life. But there’s something there or maybe many somethings—I don’t know—that need help. But I also think that when somebody really begins to understand who they have been, how they have deceived themselves and others, and the impact that they have had on vulnerable human beings, the person most afraid of them being around that population is them.

JULIE ROYS: Hmm. So that’s a way of almost gauging what the level of sincerity and repentance is.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: It’s one of the ways. Yes. I mean, obviously, somebody could say those words, and not mean them.

JULIE ROYS: In the stuff that you’ve written, there’s always just seems to be a firm conviction that God can transform, the Holy Spirit can transform even the worst of sinners. Have you seen people and just describe what you’ve seen as far as them receiving healing and becoming healthy and overcoming these sorts of things.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: First of all, our God is capable of redeeming anyone. And you know, you look at Saul who was a murderer. And he talks about that. So yes. What we fail to often think about when we look at him is how much time he spent in the desert and away from people for years before he ever began ministry. We know we just sort of do the transformation thing and off he goes. It’s not the facts. When you begin to see consistently over time two things that are very assertively pursued: One is, “I cannot do that. I cannot go there. I cannot see this. I cannot whatever.” So that the thing that would have been externally monitored is voluntarily seen, understood and internally monitored. This is a sort of off the track but not really. There was a man who was imprisoned for a pedophilia, who when his lawyer came to see him once after he’d been in there for I don’t know how long but he said, “Don’t ever let me out. I’ll do it again.” There’s something redemptive in that awful statement. But that kind of change in any human being is extremely slow. I mean, if we’re all honest, change in terms of who God has called us to be from the inside out is really pokey. None of us are very good at it. You’re looking at years. You’re looking at years. And then that person takes over, you know, their awareness of impact grows and grows and grows, which means their grief grows. You know, somebody who has, let’s say, committed incest actually would come to the place where they really understood what they’ve done to their own child. I don’t know if they’d ever want to get out of bed again. So that those things that we want to avoid that internal monitoring that restraint, that refusal, that deep grief of the impact of what we’ve done—all of those things—human beings look for narcotics for those. We don’t like them. And such repentance is very rare, frankly, in all of us, in many ways. These are the more flamboyant ways, but it is obvious what’s wrong and that the repentance is either superficial, external, whatever.

JULIE ROYS: Well, last question I have for you. And I’ve often wondered this and I think this is why I’d never be cut out to be a counselor. But when you hear these stories, and you deal with sex abuse victims, how do you keep an inner sense of joy and keep from like you said, feeling like—you use the metaphor of the victim being vomited on—but as you, as the counselor, when you hear all these, I mean, it must be just so incredibly hard. How do you keep and maintain just a proper perspective and joy in your life?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: Well, I almost quit once, years ago. I told God I was quitting. I said, “That’s it. I’ve done it. I can’t do it anymore.” That’s how I felt. And He very lovingly pursued me. And I was inclined to sit down. I have a chair where I start my day every morning reading and praying, whatever. And so I was in my chair and had the thought, which I’m sure it was from Him, “Write down the characteristics of what you’re quitting.” Well, that was easy. It’s ugly, it’s evil. It’s this. It’s this. It’s this. You know. And then the thought came, “Write down the antidotes.” Well, if it’s ugly, beauty is the antidote. If it’s chaos, order is the antidote. You know, like so I went down and did the whole thing. And when I did it, I realized that the antidotes were descriptions of Jesus Christ. That ultimately He’s the antidote, but that I am a person of the earth. And so I need those antidotes in earthly ways. So, if it’s ugly, I go to the woods, or a garden. If it’s chaotic, Bach never had a chaotic note in his life. I go to music whenever . . . . My home, my husband, my sons, my daughters in law, my grandchildren, you know, those are antidotes. But I have to be very earthy and very deliberate. Or I’ll die. Something wrong will happen. I will get twisted up by this if I don’t do that.

JULIE ROYS: That reminds me of a friend of mine who’s also a pastor and he was asking me about the work I do because just investigating you see a lot of the underbelly. And he said to me, Julie, you need to regularly practice the discipline of celebrating beauty. 

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: Yes.

JULIE ROYS: And having that be a part of your life. And so I really I’ve made that something that’s important to me. And whether it be just going out and, you know, walk on, we have a prairie path near us or cutting flowers and bringing them inside and just having them in the house just so important to bring that beauty and to bring Christ, life and beauty into everything that we do. It’s rejuvenating. Its life.

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: Yes, it is. And certainly the spiritual disciplines are also critical. But unfortunately, we often forget that we are of the earth—earthy—and we needed it in those other forms. I’m still in.

JULIE ROYS: Yeah, after, what? 45 years?

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: 47.

JULIE ROYS: 47 years of doing that. It’s amazing. It truly is and speaks to the fact that obviously, you found the well to go to so, Diane, thank you so much for taking the time today and having this discussion with me. I truly appreciate it. 

DR. DIANE LANGBERG: You’re welcome, Julie. 

JULIE ROYS: And thanks so much for listening to The Roys Report—a podcast dedicated to reporting the truth and restoring the church. I’m Julie Roys. And if you want to find me online, just go to JulieRoys.com Hope you have a great day and God bless.

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