Three weeks ago I knew what I was writing for this month’s Giant Church Inc post.
I planned to share a link to the interview with Aimee Byrd on The Roy’s Report. They talked about the continued abuse Byrd has endured over her latest book. Abuse made public, known to church leadership, but without any real consequence.
Further, they discussed how a misogynistic view toward women fuels negative and power-over attitudes, and in many cases turns destructive. Julie Roy’s played a clip of a sermon that went viral. Not because the sermon was pointing to Jesus.
The sermon went viral because it’s almost unbelievable that a man, especially a pastor, a man who represents God, would speak these words. And spoken to a congregation who laughed at the objectification of women.
I just finished reading a book I’m helping launch into the world and the subject matter fit with what I’d planned. To simplify the subject of the book, The Making of Biblical Womanhood by Beth Allison Barr is a history of patriarchy. The subtitle says it all: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth. Look for my review soon.
That’s what I planned to write about.
But another story about a power hungry pastor came out. Then another story of a priest in the UK who abused interns and others for three decades. My heart was already broken when the story about one of the largest Christian camps in the world, located in Branson, Missouri, enabled horrific abuse for years. The leaders knew about the inappropriate behavior of one of its favorite up and coming counselors, but did nothing. The silence enabled the abuse of boys all over the world and some estimate there are hundreds of victims.
After reading the story, I thought to myself, “I don’t want to write about this anymore. I don’t even want to read about it or know about it anymore.” And I went about my day.
Isn’t that exactly what bullies, abusers, and perpetrators count on? That we pretend we don’t see or don’t know. We stay silent and look the other way. We convince ourselves it couldn’t happen here. He or she could never do anything like that.
I can’t keep my head in the sand because to do so would enable the wolves. To do so would ignore the victims and survivors.
More than that, to turn away from it would be to turn away from the heart of Jesus. He not only saw and touched and healed the suffering.
Jesus entered suffering, he entered the darkness to bring us to God. To give us life.
We can’t look away. What do we do, Giant Church Inc?
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Matthew 9:36 NIV
Photo by Jon Tyson at Unsplash