Baptistland
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6 X 9, 352 pages
Paperback $21.95 9781957687445
Hardcover $31.95 9781957687421
eBook: $9.99, 9781957687452

Baptistland

A Memoir of Abuse, Betrayal, and Transformation

Christa Brown, Foreword by Boz Tchividjian

A “story of resilience.” —Kristin Kobes Du Mez, author of Jesus and John Wayne

It began with just wanting to tell the truth. But truth-telling has a way of snowballing.

When Christa Brown first spoke out about the sexual abuse she endured in her Texas childhood church, she never imagined it would expose the ethical chasm at the core of the Southern Baptist Convention: male religious leaders so focused on institutional protection that they sacrifice the safety of children.

A book about speaking out and speaking up, Baptistland weaves together Christa’s vulnerable survivor story of hope amid Southern patriarchy, religious fundamentalism, and clergy abuse. You’ll meet the young Christa who endures family dysfunction, the trauma of bodily desecration, and the death blows of a gaslighting church and faith community. Then you’ll meet the Christa who finds her voice and rises above the limited expectations of her given culture, taking tiny step after tiny step toward a life filled with goodness.

Ultimately, Christa Brown transforms into a vivid tree of life, rooted in love, individuality, and beauty. But it was unrelenting honesty, to herself and others, that guided her to this ordinary paradise. Baptistland speaks to the power of truth-telling—for ourselves, our relationships, and our institutions.

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Praise for Baptistland

“. . . the confessional and sometimes excruciatingly intimate story of Brown’s life trapped in Baptistland, and her harrowing escape.” Texas Observer

Baptistland is a searing yet inspirational memoir and sorely needed guide to all who try to expose any corrupt institution. Christa’s recovery from childhood horror, her tireless work to expose church complicity, and her savvy and relentless efforts to prevent more abuse and cover-ups are beyond admirable.”David Clohessy, activist and former executive director for the Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP)

“In this steady, harrowing account, Christa Brown details the brutality of the social hierarchies of the Southern Baptist Convention, as evinced in the SBC’s leadership, its clergy, and the teachings from its pulpits. In almost fractal-like fashion, the dominance and patriarchal aggression of abusive pastors is recreated in smaller and smaller settings, between husbands and wives, parents and children, older and younger siblings.” Lacy Crawford, author of Notes on a Silencing

“Baptistland is a story of abuse, brokenness, and betrayal, but more than any of these things, it is the story of resilience.” —Kristin Kobes Du Mez, author of Jesus and John Wayne

Baptistland is the moving story of how Christa Brown broke cycles of intergenerational trauma, helped her fellow abuse survivors, and kept her sense of empathy and truth, even after the heartbreaking theft of faith. The work of reform continues, and Christa has given advocates a powerful place to start. Anyone who has survived abuse, caused trauma, or simply needs courageous inspiration should read Baptistland. Rev. Nathan Empsall, Executive Director of Faithful America

“Christa Brown has long been a crucial voice speaking out against clergy sexual abuse and its systematic cover-ups within the Southern Baptist Convention. Baptistland is a powerful and truly inspiring read!” R. Marie Griffith, author of Moral Combat

“Overcomer. This word effectively describes Christa Brown … When I read Baptistland, I was overwhelmed as I read of her emotional and physical abuse at home and school, as well as in church. Instead of becoming depressed and ineffective, she went on to become an Appellate Court lawyer and the most well-known advocate for change in how the SBC deals with sexual abuse. She persisted and triumphed and inspired me, as well as those who read her story, to do the same.” Dee Parsons, The Wartburg Watch

“Baptistland will make you weep. It will make you angry. It will break your heart. It will open your eyes. Christa Brown is not just a survivor—she is a hero we don’t deserve. Every Southern Baptist needs to read this story, and every Southern Baptist leader needs to account for what it reveals.” Karen Swallow Prior, PhD, author of The Evangelical Imagination

“In Baptistland, Christa Brown bravely summons her own experiences of child abuse in her family and church as she stares down the abuse crisis that is rotting evangelicalism from the inside out. With lawyerly precision, she dissects the lies underlying evangelical obsession with authority and power. You are your own, Brown insists, and you have one wild and precious life.” R. L. Stollar, author of The Kingdom of Children

“Baptistland is the story of what happens in many religious communities when a woman steps forward and uses her voice, her agency, and her life to speak out to bring light to dark places.” Boz Tchividjian, BozLaw

“This memoir is a clear call for Christians to do better in their dealings with predators and survivors. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who cares about sexual abuse survivors, the problem of clergy abuse, and the need for churches to make structural changes to prevent abuse and support survivors.” Susan Shaw, author and professor of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University

“Christa Brown is renowned as a fierce and resilient advocate, someone who has demanded truth and justice from one of the most influential church bodies in the United States. In Baptistland, we see Brown’s origins: coping with a family legacy of fear and dysfunction, childhood clergy abuse, and the painful, vital work of learning how to demand a better life for oneself and those who will follow. There is vulnerability and courage in these pages.” Sarah Stankorb, author of Disobedient Women

Christa Brown

Named as one of the “top 10 religion newsmakers” of 2022, Christa Brown has persisted for two decades in working to peel back the truth about clergy sex abuse and coverups in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention. As one of the first to go public with substantiated child molestation allegations against a Baptist minister—and documentation that others knew—she has consistently demanded reforms to make other kids and congregants safer. Brown has been featured in The Houston Chronicle, Vice, writes for Baptist News Global, and has had numerous mentions in national media. She’s also the author of This Little Light: Beyond a Baptist Preacher Predator and His Gang, a retired appellate attorney, a mom, and a grandma. She lives with her husband in Colorado.

Also by Christa Brown

This Little Light

Christa Brown Recommends

Jesus and John Wayne
Truth and Repair
Disobedient Women
On Repentance and Repair

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