American Jesus and Terrorism on the Family

American Jesus and Terrorism on the Family

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

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From an old journal…. a contemplation on American Jesus and how similar he is to a terrorist.

December 6, 2011

In this town, if you share your story watch out. They worship an American Jesus here, but he's not much like the man who walked the hills of Judea or the streets of Nazareth. If you don't have much money, beware… employers, especially the Christian bosses, offer jobs with sexual conditions attached… you WILL be exploited for all you're worth, not just in one part of town, but it's pervasive throughout the whole county. It's particularly nasty among the Christian businesses and churches.

Listening and learning from the stories of other women, I understand that what we've experienced, in reality, is "terrorism" at home. Home – the place that is created to be a safe haven.

Family is the backbone of society.

While the world's governments spend billions of dollars on fighting global terrorism, we are neglecting the worst source of terrorism, right here in our homes. If we fought as hard to protect our families, I believe the rest of the world's problems would disappear… seriously.

My first husband used to call it a "game". He actually explained it to me one day – how to manipulate and control people so they don't even know it's happening to them. He was proud of his expertise. I think he wanted to impress me, or to intimidate me. But I was disgusted… appalled.

The day after 911 happened, in a state of awe, my husband told me, "Sue, I'm horrified that more people didn't die in the Twin Towers. We should have seen more deaths. I'm so disappointed. Then there's this other side of me that's horrified that I wanted to see more deaths."

What do you do with an intimate family member, a Christian leader, who is secretly fascinated by torture, ruin, and death?

In a calm, matter-of-fact voice, he said, "Sue, I have this picture of me using piano wire to slice off your breasts…." and I won't type the rest of the picture, but there was more.

Whenever he shared things like this, it was always in a "reasonable and calm" voice. 

After the divorce, he turned our three children (all teenagers) against me. He played the hurt, abused man to the hilt. He turned the childen against me. My eldest daughter, age 17 at the time, called me a maniac, a mental case, etc. I know she was just dishing up what her father had served her, a toxic brew of lies.

That is pure terrorism… to turn children against their mother… to hold their souls captive. 

The church openly supports the abusers, while blaming the victims. My pastor said to me, "Can't you just have more grace?"

When a victim is isolated and subjected to unrelenting terrorist tactics she becomes prey to the next cannibal who wants to lick the bones left over from the first cannibal. I'm afraid that's all my second husband had when we married… my bones. I was so dead in my spirit, crying nearly all the time. 

As I look back on the past 30-years, there has been no rest.

I am working but it's not enough to live on, just barely enough to cover the bills, but usually not quite enough… like, it's enough as long as you don't really eat, that kind of "enough". And I try not to drive anywhere… that kind of "enough". Poverty. 

I feel like "road kill" here. My first month in this town a very nice man, a motel owner and pastor – a missionary – befriended me. He said God told him to provide a "safe refuge" for me. He literally chased me down everywhere I went, but in a "fatherly" way.

This pastor, also a missionary as well as business owner, explained the reason he chased me down was because he knew I was terribly abused and was being hunted by bad people and he called himself a "bounty hunter for the Lord". An older man, I began to trust him, for he talked always about the love of God. He was always reading godly books and telling me about what he was learning. He preached every Sunday morning and it was always about love.

I truly thought God had brought me to a safe place! But then he fell in love with me, or so he said, at the very end.

I told him I could not be or do what he wanted. I felt like a bird trapped in a cage. By then he had given me a job and an apartment. His wife had me terminated and evicted. Everyone at the motel and nearby RV park knew what had happened and they knew I was innocent. They saw it all. So one of them arranged for temporary housing, along a river, in the yard of a woman who was good friends with the motel owner.

Once again, I thought God had brought me to a safe place! But the motel owner became angry at me. He perceived it as a personal rejection.

It was so upside down and totally confusing to me. I couldn't even think straight at that time.

Another homeless woman had just found an old run-down trailer to live in along the edge of a hayfield. She invited me to join her, so I went to live in the hayfield. I purchased a 1976 15-foot camper… and for the first time had a "safe place". I rarely go anywhere except to the pools and work. 

There are other women out here who feel isolated…. they don't talk to anyone. They live like me, just trying not to be eaten by the wolves.

That's what this town is like, a place of great fear. One of these women, a well educated lady, is friends with a local neurologist, who told her that 50% of the people in this town are bi-polar. Census data confirms that the majority of the people living here depend on social security as their primary income.

It's extraordinarily beautiful here…. canyons, mountains, trees, sunshine 300-days of the year, hot mineral springs…. but the town is full of predators.

One of my first days working, I was being trained by a woman who told me that my coming to the hotel was her answer to prayer. She began to share her life story with me. And last night, another co-worker also began sharing her life story with me… 

People are suffering so much here. It's just love, they need. They need to be seen, to be heard. 

Listening is an act of anti-terrorism, and loving these wounded ones is what the real Jesus would do.

From the depths of my heart I want to shed these layers of pain and grief and help set some captives free right here in this predator-filled town. I want to let my Light shine again… I want to confront, head-on, these predators! Just my heart talking…. just the anger coming out. I'm a lioness arising.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Note from the future: It's now four years past these events, and I am writing and confronting the predators, one-by-one. Sometimes publicly, other times privately. People ask me why don't I just move on and quietly live a normal life. Well, I can't… because there are so many today, who like me, are stuck in a hole.

They need my voice. They need your voice. They need us to rise up… because each one of us who rises up makes it easier for them for them to rise up.

What has been the result, since I began telling my story? This very town is now becoming a place of true community, in places. "Love one another" is not just a catch phrase adopted from Jesus, but a continual feast of actions and words that ae feeding and nurturing souls. The tortured are becoming healers. In saying this, I don't take credit for the changes, but I rejoice in the power of Truth and Love to change lives and make people whole from the inside out.

I will keep telling my story because social justice begins with letting the victims speak and listening is an act of anti-terrorism. This is one way to heal the heart of the family, and that is my mission, because family is the backbone of society.

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With all my love,


Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate to freedom and fullness.  
Today Susan helps people write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into their future, creating new family legacies.

Copyright © 2010 to 2015 Team Family Online, All rights reserved.   For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Joyce Lagana September 3, 2014 at 1:05 pm

I remember right after the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 seeing an interview on television where the reporter was questioning a man on the streets of New York City about his reaction.  He said (and I'm paraphrasing):  "It's terrible.  I don't feel safe.  I don't think I will ever feel safe walking the streets again.  My world has been shaken to the core."

I remember thinking "Buddy I'm so glad someone else feels like that.  You poor baby.  Some of us have NEVER felt safe ANYWHERE!  Just try being a woman in America!"

Terrorists — that's what abusers are.  They rule and reign with terror and intimidation tactics designed to kill the soul.

"As I look back on the past 30-years, there has been no rest."  

So it is for me, as well.  But I am finding rest, one day at a time, in the arms of Jesus and on your website.  I am finding peace as I let the wonderful counselor clean me up.  I am finding joy in helping others out of the darkness.  Someday, Susan, you and I have to join forces.  I would be happy to serve in your rag-tag army!


Susan Schiller September 3, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Dearest Joyce,

May it be so… I want to serve with you, my friend, under our King. I believe we are already beginning, you know. And there are others, too. We meet in the desert, the wastelands, and the wilderness. Outside the city gates, sometimes in the place of death. It’s such a great mystery, this story unfolding!

You have blessed me richly, my friend, simply in reading my story and sharing your own! 🙂


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