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65 Responses

  1. Nonnie says:

    Julie’s article on Saeed is very good. He is showing his true colours. I hope he can get real help and begin see his need to learn how to love his wife.
    I hope this sad story can have a redemptive ending, as I know nothing is impossible with God, but until he is willing to change and admit his abuse, I’m in her corner to remain strong and safe and keep her boundaries.

    I hope Graham stays out of it. Does anyone know if Saeed is still considered a “pastor” at CC Boise? Is he on their payroll?

  2. Josh the Baptist says:

    Russell Moore on Scalia is pretty good. I saw a fairly liberal Christian author get ripped to shreds on social media this morning for kind of lamenting the death of Scalia. That author is now officially racist and misogynistic.

  3. Josh the Baptist says:

    The things Alan has written recently on mental health have all been very touching.

  4. Pastor Al says:

    Franklin Graham is becoming the Domestic Abusers best friend. First his BFF Bob Grenier, and now his buddy Saeed.

    Graham is a multimillionaire from selling “Jesus” as his product…and he openly endorses and supports Domestic Violence. What a jerk.

  5. Nonnie says:

    Truly, Alan is more than a conqueror! Beautiful article by a man with a pastor’s heart.

  6. dswoager says:

    The “God’s Chosen Nation” is a good one. Definitely a subject I have experience bringing up in the wrong company. 😉

  7. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Church at war over politics…”

    It’s odd, I have been at my church 10 yrs and not once has politics come up from the pulpit – unless you count the part where the pastor prays for our president, our governor and other leaders etc.
    I have been in my bible class for 10yrs a student and teacher and politics have not come up there.

    When I was SBC and CC for the previous 25 yrs politics were never discussed in those venues … and that goes back to the Moral Majority early 80s. The most that ever happened was that they had voter pamphlets out in the lobby or the courtyard.

    I wonder if a survey were done even in this busy election cycle, if they asked “how many of you heard a politics sermon today?” what the percentage would be … over 5%??? 0%??

  8. Josh the Baptist says:

    After reading the article, I don’t get that politics are coming up at that church either. It was a weird article in a non-news way. Surprised that guy is still going down there at Redemption.

  9. Cash says:

    Alan’s open and touching glimpse into his own private hell was an encouragement to those who suffer from mental illness. Even today, it takes courage to admit these things in a church environment that still largely does not accept the reality of mental illness. Alan speaks of the parsing between spiritual sickness and mental illness that is sometimes very difficult to discern. Bravo, Alan.

  10. Xenia says:

    I have never heard a political sermon in my entire 64 years of church attendance, unless the pastor mentioned that abortion and homosexuality were sins. And not too often even then.

    Oh wait…. there was that stint with the Episcopalians…

  11. Jean says:

    The Steve Brown message was very good.

  12. Xenia says:

    Thank you for the article about mental illness, Alan.

    I’ve had two mentally ill people latch onto me in an unwholesome way in my life. One pretty much met the definition of stalker; one is in my life right now. If a pastor doesn’t know what to “do” with such people, I sure don’t, either. I string them along, trying not to say anything that will provoke them to do something drastic. They like to tell me I am their only friend and if I abandon them, who knows what will happen…. They talk nonsense at me and I don’t know whether I should go along with it, so as not to rile them up, or to attempt to correct them. Attempting to correct them (No, your husband isn’t trying to kill you) makes them more agitated. But if I go along with what they say, I feel like I am confirming them in their false beliefs. So I nod and try to change the subject but they only have one subject….

    The stalker, I had to finally block and refuse all contact. She was one of the most vicious people I have ever known. The current lady…. She wants to move in with me. She likes my life; she wants to have it for herself. Sometimes I don’t answer the phone or her emails and I feel guilty all day. When the phone rings lately I jump out of my skin.

    How to be a friend (or at least, helpful) to someone who wants to suck all your life out of you? I feel the “You are the only friend I have” line is deliberately manipulative, but can they help themselves? I do not know.

    But dealings with these women has caused me many sleepless nights and if I were there pastor or priest I could envision myself hiding under the desk, too.

    Good article, Alan.

  13. Xenia says:

    Fortunately, both of these people live in other states, by the way.

  14. Josh the Baptist says:

    TON of experience with mental illness. Too much. Family history, and I myself have been treated for depression for the last 18 years, (I would argue that I was healed 7 or 8 years ago, but I still take my medicine. Coming off is too hard.)

    I’m glad that people are talking about it. It was a shameful part of my life for so long. The other thing I’d like to see us talk more about is mental disabilities. For the last few years, I’ve been working closely with 3 developmentally disabled adults. To a large degree, I’m at a loss. What to do, what to expect…etc. It’s a tough ministry, and very few churches seem to care about this group of people.

  15. Pastor Al says:

    “and very few churches seem to care about this group of people.”

    Not sexy and it doesn’t pay….or Calvary Chapel would lead the charge.

  16. Cash says:


    I think what you are describing happens to a lot of people. As a sufferer myself, my approach with mental illness is first to educate myself on exactly what it is I’m dealing with. If someone is stalking you, that’s clearly dangerous and inappropriate and cannot be allowed to continue. There is the chance also that the person can see Christ in you and is drawn to Him. Alan described it perfectly when he said it is “parsing..” there is much nuance involved and I don’t think Christ expects us all to be experts in mental illness, but He does expect us to be compassionate to the sick. And there are many many sick folks out there who need Jesus’ healing love. But again, there are people who are called to that ministry I think and people who may not be. But we are all called to minister to those God allows to come into our lives. A very difficult subject indeed.

  17. Xenia says:

    Cash, I appreciate what you have written.

    The whole time I am talking with these ladies I am trying to figure out what the most compassionate response can be without making things worse or (to be honest) allowing them to take over my life. I am always so afraid that I might say the wrong thing and cause a disaster. I feel responsible for what I say so I end up mumbling this and that. The stalker woman (out of my life for a few years now) was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic but refuses treatment (that’s part of the paranoia; she is suspicious of doctors). I have google-diagnosed the current lady. Well, I’ll just continue doing the best I can, with God’s help.

    Thanks again, Cash.

  18. Xenia says:

    I have the habit of being fascinated by unusual people. I enjoy listening to their unique takes on the world. I will listen for hours to conspiracy theorists. Sometimes this backfires on me.

  19. The Dude says:

    Doug Philips is a consummate weirdo.Sadly anybody with a little gumf can start a church and a college. Sadly lacking in American Christianity is discernment.

  20. Erunner says:

    Thanks for posting the message from Steve Brown. An honest man with a heart for the lost and no agenda. Hit home.

  21. Jean says:

    Thinking about the Steve Brown message and the conversation on depression:

    “He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?’—so that they might accuse him. He said to them, ‘Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.’ Then he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.”

    Have you been that sheep in the pit? Are you are in a pit right now? Please, you don’t need to answer here. But, treasure His Word and keep it in your heart. It is trustworthy! Jesus doesn’t play by our rules. Jesus doesn’t accept collateral damage. No! He leaves the 99 for 1 lost sheep; for you; for me. It makes no sense at all. Thank God that His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

  22. Em says:

    Jean’s #22 is so compassionate and sound that i hate to post anything else…

    i’ve just come off of skimming the chosen nation link
    God is a God of history someone said and i believe it – nothing happens against His specific will among the nations… has the United States served to influence nations during our 300 or so years on the planet? i think we have… i think that God has used the U.S. in many ways…

    the ebb and flow of dominant cultures through the ages is fascinating and i hope someone qualified to do so writes a book someday … or we can just read prophesy and ponder, i guess

  23. j2theperson says:

    Maybe Saeed and Franklin could go to couples counseling together.

  24. Muff Potter says:

    Good article on Scalia. There are others out there too. One in particular struck me as edifying. The one in which Scalia’s friendship with Ginsberg transcended ideology and politics. Scalia also broke with his fellow ‘conservatives’ when he spoke up for Sotomayor’s confirmation based solely on her qualifications and mettle in jurisprudence.
    Men like Scalia are few and far between.

  25. Anon says:

    Scalia was an original.

    He also made it clear that there needs to be more diversity on the Supreme Court.

    Too bad Republicans aren’t paying attention.

    But that’s OK — payback time is coming.

  26. Babylon's Dread says:

    Thank you Michael for the link and much thanks for kind words. I will get more controversial as I flesh out my dance with medicine and charisms as means of coping and conquering.

  27. Andrew says:

    I really wish Julianne would stay out of two peoples lives. Whether its couples counseling or individual counseling is really none of our business. Taking sides online in a marriage debate is fruitless. This doesn’t mean I’m on Franklin’s side either. They should all stop it.

  28. j2theperson says:

    ***I eally wish Julianne would stay out of two peoples lives. Whether its couples counseling or individual counseling is really none of our business.***

    Both Naghmeh and Saeed have publicly posted about it which means that they have both made it public and made it our business. And particularly insofar as this involves domestic abuse, inappropriate, wrong, and dangerous mindsets should be pointed out and corrected publicly because there are millions of other women currently experiencing domestic violence and abuse who should be told what is a productive way to deal with it and what is counterproductive. Likewise, there are millions of well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning people out there who have no education or experience in dealing with people perpetrating or experiencing domestic violence and it would be helpful for them to know what the actual educated professionals recommend as opposed to trying to stumble along and offer advice based on no knowledge.

    And, quite simply put, nobody is going to “stop it” in this situation. In fact, the only person you could make “stop it” is yourself, and it is more than easy to not read any more articles, posts, or newstories about Saeed or Naghmeh or to comment on the same.

  29. says:

    In the following example, Franklin Graham is Matthew McConaughey.

  30. JTK says:

    Dreadly commenting on drugs and tongues. Insert pic of Michael Jackson eating popcorn

  31. Andrew says:

    The only abuse I see between Saaed and his wife is the crap being broadcast on the internet on both sides. I’m not taking sides other than saying they both wrong.

  32. Michael says:


    Some of us see things quite differently than you do.

    Like me, for one.

    I will never, ever, never let Franklin Graham and some “pastor” power brokers bury another person if I can help it.

    I don’t give a rats ass who that offends.

  33. Andrew says:

    Michael, you are not offending me. I”ll never defend Franklin. He should be ashamed how much money he rakes in.

  34. Julie Anne says:

    I really wish Julianne would stay out of two peoples lives. Whether its couples counseling or individual counseling is really none of our business. Taking sides online in a marriage debate is fruitless. This doesn’t mean I’m on Franklin’s side either. They should all stop it.

    Sorry, Andrew. I can’t and won’t. When I see a survivor being publicly thrown under the bus, and have the ability to defend them, I will. I know what it’s like to be silenced, to not be believed. We must advocate for victims. I believe Christ would.

    And this is far more than taking sides – – this is bringing the discussion of domestic violence to the table. This is about challenging the church and pastors to deal with domestic violence appropriately. There have been many people who have mentioned that they never knew it was wrong to have couples counseling when there is abuse present in a relationship.

    Another wonderful thing that has occurred is many wives who have been in harmful abusive marriages are watching how she handles her own abuse. Because Naghmeh is under good counseling and has made very wise boundaries with regard to Saeed, she is teaching many by her actions. You can see for yourself on Naghmeh’s Facebook wall.

    And Franklin needs to butt out, period. He needs to quit using them for his personal gain.

  35. Julie Anne says:

    j2theperson, I had not read your comment before my last comment. I agree with you 100%

  36. Andrew says:

    Julianne, I am all for you talking about domestic violence in general and bringing this to the church’s attention. That I agree with you on. Also, I agree Franklin needs to butt out as well and stay out of the conversation. What I disagree with is Saaed and Naghmeh using the internet to settle their problems. I think its wise for you and Franklin to not take sides. Not that I don’t agree with you Julianne or Naghmeh but since I know this way will never change anyone’s hardened hearts.

  37. Andrew says:

    Julianne, You wrote of Franklin:
    “Why isn’t he backing away from the situation and allowing Pastor Bob Caldwell, their long-time pastor, to do his job?”

    Baloney, no one is preventing Caldwell from doing his job. You don’t understand Calvary Chapel do you? In Calvary Chapel, they practice the Moses Model and claim they are only accountable to God. Nothing will stop Caldwell if he feels he needs to do something. He is even a member of one of the coveted spots on the elite CCA leadership counsel. Better question is why isn’t Bob Caldwell making public statements and getting more involved ?

  38. Andrew says:

    Julianne wrote:

    “……couples counseling gives the abuser multiple opportunities to manipulate the situation and triangulate – get the counselor to side with him against the victim.”

    Very true. Ironically, social media counseling is far worse. In social media counseling, the social media author (blog, press, radio, TV, etc..) often takes the role of the counselor. The abuser tries to Triangulate the social media in this scenario – to get the entire reading or listening audience to their side.

  39. Andrew says:

    Notice I said “their” side and not “his” side. Julianne assumes the abuser is always a “him”. Welcome to feminism 101.

    Also, why is Julianne mentioning Bob Caldwell here. He is a leader in a Moses Model patriarchal male controlled church. I not only seeing triangulating going on here but also folks trying to leverage Bob. What good will that do? You don’t agree with his power but than you want to use his power as leverage to address your own concerns. Sorry, but that’s messed up.

  40. Steve Wright says:

    I think Andrew’s point is that both sides in this are manipulating. That was my point about Naghmeh’s facebook earlier. And why they both need to stop if they really care.

    Example – Julie Anne comments about those pictures Saeed posted of him and the kids being a manipulating tool…fine. No argument. Except Naghmeh already did the same thing when the news broke about her not joining Saeed…making her and the kids, without Saeed her new (and current) profile pic. with 10,000 plus likes.

    Like I said, they need to get on with the divorce and get off of the spotlight

  41. Andrew says:

    Steve, you said it well. Manipulating is a good word for it. That word tends to get intermingled with the word “abuse” but I think the root of it all is the same.

  42. Steve Wright says:

    If I can add one thing. Michael Newnham is an advocate for many. He is a good advocate, because first and foremost he is a journalist. I’ve seen it over the years many times, including in an issue involving me. As a journalist, he seeks to know the whole story, get both sides, and on more than one occasion has reversed course when further facts were known. Even at great personal cost.

    The world needs advocates. The danger of the internet is that it is easy to be an advocate without first being a journalist.

  43. Andrew says:

    But I don’t agree with the “get on with the divorce” line. That is their decision but I would never counsel anyone online to do that with such a sacred institution. Before anyone does that I would at least recommend private “couples counseling” as a last resort. But gosh Internet blogger counselor Julianne thinks that is just so wrong.

  44. Michael says:


    You are not understanding the dynamic that Julie Anne and I believe is in place here… and I think has been in place for some time.

    Saeed Abedini “martyr for Christ” is worth a small fortune on the open market.
    Saeed Abedini “wife beater” is not.

    There is a lot of power and money behind making that first narrative the one that sticks.

    I think I probably need to write this out, but I’m not feeling real well at the moment.

    Thank you for the kind words Steve…

  45. Steve Wright says:

    But I don’t agree with the “get on with the divorce” line.
    Andrew…I wrote that because at some point two Christians refuse to act like Christians and reach such an impasse that they look no different than the world and therefore they ought to treat their marriage no different than the world would theirs.

    I don’t do intensive marriage counseling as I have written before, but I have talked to married couples acting very unChristlike and made clear what the Bible says and what they already know and been replied to with stubbornness and so I basically say “Well then, you have years of misery and conflict ahead of you.”

    Not much more to say.

  46. Andrew says:

    I echo Steve’s words too. Michael you are a good advocate and journalist.

    I understand the dynamic that is going on. First I’m not sure I agree with you that Saeed Abedina as wife beater is not worth a small fortune in and off itself to some people nitch market. The story certainly drove a lot of attention to Julianne web site and I’m saddened that it probably will stay that way.

    I think Franklin is about as guilty as they come. I’m just not going to let Julianne off the hook so easily. Two wrongs don’t make a right and it will NEVER help these two poor souls.

    Attack Franklin all you want. Attack the ACLJ all you want. They are as guilty as sin in this. No argument from me. But Julianne is making things worse for these two in my humble opinion and what is scary is teaching other women to do the same thing.

  47. Michael says:

    Julie Anne is using the power of social media to protect someone and I intend on doing the same thing as necessary and I’m able.

  48. Andrew says:

    Michael I commend you for that. Julianne is acting as marriage counselor for these two although she gave us all the reasons why “couples counseling” won’t work. Her tactic is fraught with error and no fruit will come of this other than ending this marriage in divorce. As Steve said, not much more to say.

  49. Michael says:


    I have always had a professional counselor at the ready for these situations as I’m not qualified to counsel.

    Where there is abuse in a marriage, “couples counseling” is not recommended until the abuser has come to repentance…otherwise the abuser simply uses the counseling as another form of abuse.

    Julie Anne is simply explaining that fact and defending Naghmehs right to not be bullied into a situation that does not produce real reconciliation.

  50. Andrew says:

    Michael I understand this concept of not recommending “couples counseling” where there is abuse. No argument from me there. This is good sound advice.

    However, I guarantee you all these experts on abuse and the Christian counseling Education foundation, etc.. where Julianne is getting her expert advice on abuse would NEVER ever in a million years recommend anyone to put their marriage on display in the public eye like this. Julianne should repent and stop using this story to tickle her audience’s ears and using it to her advantage.

  51. Michael says:

    I do not believe for a moment that you have identified Julie Annes motivations in this matter.

    I’ve come to know her a bit through this debacle and I have have great respect and admiration for her.

  52. Julie Anne says:

    Andrew, please refer to me as JA so I don’t have to see my name misspelled – I’m fine with JA. Thanks.

    Someone asked me on my blog if I thought Naghmeh should seek a divorce and I clearly responded that that is not my decision to make and I would never do that for anyone. However, I will share what I have learned from abuse experts (and I cited links in my article) so they can come to their own conclusions.

    Before anyone does that I would at least recommend private “couples counseling” as a last resort.

    Sure, couples counseling for normal marital issues. But once abuse is in a marriage, it is not really a marriage issue, but an abuse issue. I quoted from experts on why couples counseling should not be used in this situation. Why are you interested in doing something that could cause further harm to this couple?

    Julianne is acting as marriage counselor for these two although she gave us all the reasons why “couples counseling” won’t work. Her tactic is fraught with error and no fruit will come of this other than ending this marriage in divorce.

    I have not acted as a marriage counselor. She has her own private counselors who understand abuse very well.

    Naghmeh’s story represents many others in the church. It’s important that the church learn how to respond to abuse. They have failed in this area and have put women and children in harm’s way by their response of making an idol of the institution of marriage before the safety and well-being of human lives. (When there is a pattern of chronic abuse to a wife, many times it will escalate to the children as well. When children are present in the home with any kind of abuse, physical, emotional, verbal, it is harmful and damaging to them – whether they personally experience it or not.)

    It’s important to notice Andrew’s stance. Rather than act concerned about Naghmeh, he shoots the messenger and has pity on Saeed by calling him a poor soul. This takes attention off the problem of the real issue of abuse.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right and it will NEVER help these two poor souls.

    In reality, Saeed is a poor soul, not in the way Andrew sees it, but because he has chosen to violate his marriage vows and abuse his wife, and lead everyone on to believe he is a true Christian hero. That is pathetic.

  53. Andrew says:

    I am not sure exactly of Julie Annes motivation are but it appears that Naghmeh approved of and reviewed Julie Anne’s article. That tells me enough that Naghmeh is probably not following her own individual counseling she supposedly was getting. She should get her protection from abuse order, get her divorce or what ever it is she needs but stay out of the public. Its that simple. I doubt any counselor would tell her differently. Yet Julie Anne has to come across as the expert and explain this to the world and make this go viral.

  54. Julie Anne says:

    Julianne should repent and stop using this story to tickle her audience’s ears and using it to her advantage.

    Use it to my advantage? How is it benefiting me exactly?

    I do know that it has opened the doors of communication for women who are living with abusers and now have greater understanding about appropriate response to abuse and what they can do to ensure their safety and the safety of their children. If that is the advantage of which you are referring, then absolutely, I’m using it to my advantage, and I’ll continue to do so.

  55. Andrew says:

    JA, both Saaed and Naghmeh are victims of the media. They are also both abusing their marriage vowels and therefor they are both two poor souls no matter how you define that.

  56. Julie Anne says:

    Andrew, I will never repent for exposing the truth. What a foolish thing to say.

  57. Andrew says:

    JA, its benefiting you cause its driving lots of traffic to your web site. Have at it JA. Be part of the destruction process in this marriage. Teach all your followers to do the same.

  58. Andrew says:

    JA, you are not exposing truth. Did you know that love covers a multi-tude of sins. Question, Is it loving to bring up sins from 10 years ago just for the fun of it so you can expose the truth? What a foolish thing to say that you are just exposing truth.

  59. Michael says:

    There is nothing that amuses and confounds me more than those who think we do this for numbers.

    I have a cardiology appointment in three hours that is all about my “numbers”…

  60. Julie Anne says:

    JA, its benefiting you cause its driving lots of traffic to your web site.

    And helping victims of abuse. What would God think about me giving support/hope/encouragement to those who are in harm’s way? What would He think of me sharing tools to wives to know that they might be doing more harm to themselves and their marriage by going to couples counseling? Do you know that after couples counseling, many wives are subjected to more beatings or more emotional/verbal abuse because of what was said?

    Have at it JA. Be part of the destruction process in this marriage. Teach all your followers to do the same.

    The destruction of the marriage occurred when Saeed abused his wife. It sounds like you are making an idol of marriage and would rather women remain with their abusers. What would God want?

  61. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    This is why I like to discuss election year politics – much cleaner than a marriage gone wrong. 😉

  62. Josh the Baptist says:

    I don’t want to speak on the Abedini situation specifically, but I do want to touch on a broader idea. I completely understand why Julie is doing what she is doing, and Michael can testify that I was on board with such from the beginning.

    However, I think we all realize that Andrew has a valid point. This will always be what happens when you have divorce via social media. It is the worst of ideas. I air out my spouses laundry…some back me, some hate me for it. My spouse rebuts – more people get entrenched on both sides of the story. My friends/ supporters write blogs to tell the TRUE side of the story, which of course, the other side sees as evil propaganda. One of my spouses friends writes a blog to SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. This is, of course, met by wild applause from her supporters, and great disdain from mine.

    It’s the worst possible way of splitting up. I hope the kids can’t read. Their young minds will be poisoned towards at least one, if not both, of their parents.

  63. Andrew says:

    JA, you have already said that its not a marital issue. Once abuse has entered in, its not a marriage issue. Is it a marriage only when you are getting along? It sounds like in your mind they are already divorced. I’m not making an idol of marriage but until someone tells me they are divorced by civil law they are still married and hence I also believe in God’s eye they still are. I also believe that Biblically its sometimes necessary to separate. I don’t call that divorce but a temporary separation. You are calling that a destruction of the marriage. You don’t have a counseling license that I know of and you should stop this. Its not helpful. All I can say is that you should stay out of it or take a lot of the responsibility for what happens.

  64. Em says:

    one thing that keeps rattling around in the back of my mind is the culture that Saeed comes out of – so foreign to a western mindset… someone a while back posted a concern about this… whether we like it or not, deep down in the marrow of our bones are the patterns of our formative years… i’ve watched people revert to this programmed behavior from time to time for reasons that i can only speculate… this gives me hope that a home and family unit are still possible for these two people…
    unfortunately outside support often caters to the very thing that needs to be overcome and confrontation is labeled as intolerance while standing firm on Scripture …?… why that’s just plain … unacceptable … concrete is hard, while sand feels so good between the toes

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