by Kelly Pelton (written 27 Feb 2023)

Insecurity, the fear that I am less -
the fear my fear must indicate reality -
cannot be helped by others; we must confess to God
and ask, "What do I need from You, but more, from me?"

With insecurity, I hold back from myself
what I need most from me: respect and loyalty,
a high esteem of my own value, deeply rooted
in the God who sent the Christ to set me free.

The church's gender hierarchy is not the answer,
men, to all your fears of feeling like you're less;
you'll come to peace within as God enables you
to know your value with no urge to second-guess.


by Kelly Pelton (written 27 Feb 2023)

You have heard that it was said,
"Don't beat your kids or spouse,"
but I say, Don't disrespect
a single person in your house.

You have heard that it was said,
"You'd give your life for your wife,"
but I say, Give up controlling
her as deepest sacrifice.

You have heard that it was said,
"Men, at home, be servant-leaders,"
but I say, Just be the servants
and the caring interceders.

You have heard that it was said,
"You are your wife's authority,"
but I say, Share equal power 
as a top priority.

Jesus is the fount of blessing
in whose Spirit I am writing,
moving standards ever higher
as His power we're inviting.


by Kelly Pelton (written 12 Feb 2023)

If this world is a lab for learning to love,
teach one another to show respect
which is love in plain clothes, as the saying goes,
without it, our marriages slowly get wrecked.

There's nothing noble in suffering poor treatment
in Christian homes where we should know better;
let's show our children how to treat family
as treasured people, each a love letter

from God who wants us to teach one another.
He gives us power to stand up to pressure
and not be a victim or domestic martyr
but rather a Spirit-led family refresher.

Although by the world we be persecuted
for faithfully clinging to Christ above all,
let not our spouses be punitive, let not
our homes be unsafe or disheartening. Call

your spouse to accountability; let not
the undermining behaviors persist.
As families learn to live in God's love,
all unloving tactics we must resist.


by Kelly Pelton

The Christians in power who subjugate women
are by definition going to dismiss
those ladies who seek help with abusive husbands,
their cries disregarded; it's Judas's kiss

that betrays Christ's body, this fruit which is rooted
in "complementarian" gender hierarchy 
which demoted women, subduing their voices
with hermeneutical prooftext malarkey.

Where female pastors are mocked with contempt,
we should not be surprised that the women in need
are told to submit to their abusive husbands
and not be divisive. Our Lord is indeed

indignant His daughters are underclass people;
those voices forbidden to speak from the pulpit
are by definition less worthy of hearing,
with complementarianism the culprit.

Abuse has a spectrum, includes ridiculing,
dismissing and discounting, pushing aside,
it keeps women underfoot and disempowered,
intimidates them with harsh snubs that are snide.

The people of color or Jewish upbringing
or India outcasts have all heard a reason
for why they're excluded; with this, it's no different,
those greedy for power committing treason.

Inspired by the Christianity Today online article, “Grace Community Church Rejects Elder’s Calls to ‘Do Justice’ in Abuse Case” by Kate Shellnut, 10 February 2023.


by Kelly Pelton (written 03 Feb 2023)

You made a false assumption about me,
that I have difficulty trusting men,
that God, if I will give Him the opportunity,
will help me be a docile, yielding hen.

You fail to grasp the miracle God has done
with my distrust of women years ago,
 in freeing me from judging all by one
who gripped me in her toxic undertow.

Though neither men nor women deserve our trust,
I now trust females as much as I trust males,
which is to say, not much, but here I must
rejoice that, in me, equal trust prevails.


by Kelly Pelton (written 26 Nov 2022)

Before forgiveness, you must know the full extent of harm done,
to not deny or minimize the injuries or pain,
to make a clean ideological break from the abusive ones,
the religious culture denying its own injustice for worldly gain.

Before forgiveness, you'll resign from analyzing reasons
why Christian people buy into the lies and spread false teaching,
keeping women limited, committing spiritual treason,
fervent men defending gender bias in their preaching.

Before forgiveness, God will end your chronic second-guessing,
and then you'll say, "They're doing wrong; they know not what they do."
You'll hold acceptance in one hand with deep desire for blessing,
the other holding righteous vision, urging something new.


by Kelly Pelton (written 30 Dec 2022)

Chivalry is physical kindness, male to female,
the stronger helping meet the weaker's needs,
extending a hand to express equal value,
consideration shown by thoughtful deeds.

Chivalry does not seek control or domination 
but honors the ones whom society disempowers;
it accommodates those who need special concessions,
the physically frail upon whom this world glowers.

Chivalry's like godliness; God serves
His children though He's strong and they are weak.
The Lord is loving to all that He has made;
His richest blessings for them He'll always seek.


by Kelly Pelton (written 29 Dec 2022)

Your lie resonates with all who distrust women,
who think the men are stabler, more secure, 
whose negative attitudes toward the weaker sex
are shaped by inner conflicts we all endure,

discordant views of self we'd rather ignore;
hard on self means hard on others, too.
You'd rather point to men as God's solution
than bring your insecurities into view.

But what if, despite your diligent denials,
the Lord revealed and healed the inner plague
of all that bothers you, the painful thoughts
you bury or dismiss with language vague?

What if silent, old, uneasy dilemmas
were transformed by God's all-surpassing power,
allowing peace with self, the penetration
of grace that causes truth inside to flower?
Then you'd see, no longer blind to self
and others, that we're not competing kinds 
but one in Christ who heals and sets us free,
who promises the ones who seek will find.

Then you'd see the Spirit-led alliance,
equals in a sweet collaboration,
no one feeling threatened by a woman, 
no concern for gender regulation.


by Kelly Pelton (written 07 Aug 2022)

It's not only men who are deceived, but Eve --
not Adam, who shared in her sin although he knew better;
the Bible records a history of deceptions
which helps scripture interpreters to unfetter

first Timothy two from Greek notions of women
as being more easily deceived. Let's always ground
our understanding of deception in holy scripture
where examples and warnings of being deceived abound.

Isaac was deceived by Rebekah and Jacob, 
Esau was deceived by brother Jacob twice,
Jacob was then deceived by Uncle Laban
but Jacob struck back; Laban paid a price.

Israel was deceived by the Midianites and also
the Gibeonites; Saul was deceived by his daughter.
Ephraim was easily deceived, per Hosea;
the leaders of Memphis were deceived. Let's slaughter

the argument - that women are more gullible -
with the Spirit's sword, God's word; let us follow
New Testament warnings that all human beings are vulnerable
to deception. This lie about women, we'll no longer swallow.


by Kelly Pelton (written 09 Mar 2022)

I cannot be complicit in a culture of abuse.
Individuals make mistakes but now
that God has brought about a final truce
between our corruption and the punitive to which we bow,

we don't reject each other as people of God,
bearing with one another in love, but still
we dodge those fellowships that have always trod
upon the women as though it is God's will.

Abuse can be so institutional
that many fail to recognize it as such;
it's always been like this, imperceptible,
until we feel the Holy Spirit touch

that nudges us to see what's in His word
and read with conscience sharpened by His light
and study prayerfully what we have heard
to tease out what is wrong from what is right.

For those in unrepentant congregations,
I pray for moral quickening and boldness;
let them not fear the top-down condemnations
that spring from cautious legalistic coldness.