Katie van Schaijik

Joined: Aug. 12, 2011


Restless, melancholic soul of Irish descent. Born and raised in Connecticut, married to a Dutchman, mother of two daughters and three sons. I love books, conversation, friendship, delicious food, gardens, long walks and beautiful places. I am easily ensnared in politics and web-browsing. I crave silence, sweetness, poetry and peace. I am always wanting to write and ever-failing to write. All my hope is in God’s power and will to save; all my trust is in His promise.

Most recent posts by Katie van Schaijik:     (See all of them)

A memoir of spiritual abuse and recovery

Mar. 20 at 4:22am | Comments: 21 | Most recent comment: Apr. 23 at 1:23pm

I don't recall how it is that I started reading Elizabeth Esther's blog, but I know it was in connection with the problem of spiritual abuse, which we could define as systematic violation of the central features of personhood, i.e. suppression of a person's freedom, autonomy, and conscience. It's what happens in cults and cult-like groups and families.  Elizabeth Esther grew up in one of those. Her grandfather founded a fundamentalist Christian cult, called the Assemby, in which...

The potent places of salvation history

Mar. 19 at 6:26am | Comments: 2 | Most recent comment: Mar. 20 at 4:21am

One strong impression from our visit to Israel earlier this month is of the geographical concentration of ground zero of salvation history. The place is small, and the spiritual imagery that pervades it incredibly dense. Today's readings (for the Feast of St. Joseph) bring the point home again. The LORD spoke to Nathan and said:“Go, tell my servant David,‘When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,I will raise up your heir after you,...

Teaching kids about sex

Mar. 12 at 4:16am | Comments: 4 | Most recent comment: Mar. 21 at 9:11am

Jules just came home from dropping our son Benedict off at school here in Holland. He told me the teacher had a approached him to say that they would be doing sex education over the next three weeks. She mentioned it because "I know you're religious." (How did she know that?!) She thought we might have concerns. She said he could possibly join the 4th graders, where they cover only the biological aspect of human reproduction. In fifth grade, they...

RIP Ann Kiemel

Mar. 10 at 4:32am | Comments: 0

When I was a teenager, Ann Kiemel was one of my heroes. I read all her books. I wanted to be like her. I wanted to "change the world for Jesus." It was especially her simplicity of faith and personal warmth that drew me in.  I was used to a cold, prohibitive religious and moral environment—one where being Catholic was mainly about knowing the teachings and following rules rather than love and mercy. Evangelicals—Ann Kiemel...

Over-protection cripples children

Feb. 20 at 6:03am | Comments: 0

I'm reading a book about a young woman's escape from the Jehovah's Witnesses when she was 18. Her mother had been a fanatical devotee for ten years, blighting her youth with excessive control. It's not a very good book; I don't recommend it. But it has its insights. I'm thinking about this one today: My parents had failed to follow through on the most important obligation they had as parents. They had failed to create autonomy in me by letting...

Latest comments by Katie van Schaijik:     (See all of them)

Re: A memoir of spiritual abuse and recovery

Apr. 23 at 1:13pm | see this comment in context

And don't forget Girl at the End of the World!!

Re: The Gift of Joy

Apr. 23 at 2:11am | see this comment in context

This is new to me:

The dark night, after all, is not the result of sin, an absence of grace, but rather a presence of God so overwhelming that the soul is blinded. She experiences as darkness what is really an abundance of light and love. God allows this for the good of the soul, even though it is excruciatingly painful. While she may not feel His presence, it can be felt by the persons surrounding her, sensing God’s presence in her.

I've never come across so clear a distinction between this sense of dark night and mere suffering, or so clear an explanation for how Christian joy can coincide with inner anguish.

Reading it, I realize how much my tendency is to feel guilty about not being joyful, and then to "will myself" to be joyful, which of course backfires.

Re: A memoir of spiritual abuse and recovery

Apr. 23 at 2:05am | see this comment in context

M.C., I've found the book Co-dependant No More very helpful and illuminating. There were "recovering alcoholics" in my life growing up, so I'd heard the term. But it it's only recently that I've begun to really look into what it is, and try to understand what it means for personal and interpersonal life. Now lights are going on.

Another great book on the same theme (which I read at Kate's recommendation) is Boundaries.

I know I'm going to spend years working out the relation between the nature of a person as a being "made for her own sake and called to make a sincere gift of herself in love" and the problem of dysfunctional relations, wherein the master/slave dynamic disguises itself as Christian community.

The "master" figure in that situation typically (and unwittingly) teaches those around him to regard their attempts to be a self as "selfish" and otherwise morally and religiously defective. He imagines that by imposing his will on others, he is being a leader and an example. The "slave" figure disguises to herself her lack of courage and strength as humility and service. She imagines that she is being loving and giving.

It's perverse.

Re: Marriage and Freedom

Mar. 26 at 3:57am | see this comment in context

Wait!  Don't forget that, according to von Hildebrand, there's an even more important sense of good than "beneficial", there's "valuable".

Marriage is just pleasant; it isn't just good for us; it's good in-itself.

The distinction between "beneficial goods" and "intrinsic value" is one of von Hildebrand's most basic and important contributions to the perennial philosophy.

Carry on.

Re: Marriage and Freedom

Mar. 23 at 12:59pm | see this comment in context

One thing I wish that young woman understood is how much pain her naivete must cause couples whose marriages are struggling, or spouses who were betrayed.

In the last year, while someone close to me is going through divorce, my eyes have been opened to a lot of suffering marriages.

In many cases, we are speaking of couples who were full of the same kind of hope and confidence that she has when they started out.  

There is an ineradicable tragic dimension to human life.  

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  • Re: A memoir of spiritual abuse and recovery
  • By: M. C.
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