The Well Magazine Spring 2013 - Page 21

compare in her reputation and power with a Sunday School teacher or church elder? The church’s response is “Hey, we’re going to take a big hit if we go after this father, elder, deacon. Let’s say this child lied or this is her spiritual problem.” Here’s what’s really insidious. If you say someone broke into my house or stole my car, who says “Are you sure you’re not lying?” But if someone says “My uncle or my stepfather abused me,” which is very common, the leadership says we’re not sure we want to buy it because it’s going to cost us a lot. The child, especially if he or she is still in their developmental years, is afraid to “out” this leader because the family, community, and church could fall apart and they are going to feel guilty. They need an advocate. They need help. They need leaders in church who can help them. You are dealing with a child, someone who is still developing. They don’t know how to think about this. They think that it’s their fault or something they did or something they should just shut up about. Churches don’t have adequate policies to deal with this. There is not a robust legal, psychological, spiritual response to this. All churches need to make sure that they have policies in place. Let’s say you have a primary school teacher in a Christian school that finds out a student has been abused. They tell the supervisor and the supervisor tells the director. But the director says, “I’m up for promotion” or “That’s my cousin. That’s my sister. That’s my brother.” People in the chain of authority say “We can’t report this up the chain because we’re going to lose a lot of money, big reputation, donors, etc.” Meanwhile, who is thinking about the victim? Church authorities should immediately go outside to civil authorities when an allegation of abuse occurs and then go back into the organization and investigate. We have to have a check and balance that is not depending on people in the chain itself. This should have been done generations ago. Part of the problem too, is victory theology. Victory theology is a simple message, a happy message, a resurrection message. But dealing with abuse is ugly. It’s messy. There’s no simple solution. Someone’s in trouble and maybe several people. It’s easier to preach: if you just pray this prayer, you’ll be healed from this. If you just go to this seminar, read this book. The church doesn’t want to do the hard homework—paying for counseling, listening and walking with their victims. The secular counseling community looks at the church and says you guys are out to lunch because you don’t want to admit the cancer we see all the time. They are saying we hear the horrible stories that your leaders are committing, don’t know how to handle or won’t handle. Therefore, there is mistrust between the counseling community and church. The church has fallen asleep on this. What has to happen for healing? How can the body of Christ help victims? Pastors need to start talking about this—regularly. Why do we pick and choose the sins we want to name? When it is named in the church by the leadership, especially the pastor, then the victim doesn’t need to break the silence themselves. They can say, “Thank you for that sermon. That’s my story. I need help.” It needs to be named. Biblical stories that address sexual violence need to be taught sensitively and carefully. These stories would include: Dinah (Genesis 34), Joseph (Genesis 39), Tamar (2 Samuel 13) the rape and killing of the Levite’s concubine (Judges 19). In the New Testament, Paul calls out a man who is sleeping with his stepmother. That stuff is still going on but we’re not talking about it. It’s already in the Scripture. Biblical stories connect with contemporary stories. We need to have testimonies and written prayers. We need to have community responsive readings. We need to have stories They need an advocate. They need help. They need leaders in the church who can help them. told of people who were abused years ago when they were children who are now in their 30s, 40s, 50s and they’re lim Ёѥ݅ݥѠ]Ѽ͕ٔ٥́ȁ٥ѥ́Ʌѥ٥͕Յ͔]Ѽٔѥ͕٥́ͭéMɥЁѼٕݡѡ݅䰁ͭ!Ѽѡ́ͽé䁅1ӊéɅ䁙ȁѡ͔1䁡́ѡ1Ёѡ܁ѡЁݔɔѡɔȁѡѡЁѡ䁅ɔЁQ䁅ɔЁͽѕ'eٔɐɍ́٥ݡєɽ͔ɽЁم͔͕ɵȁ͔٥ٽ́ͅ她ѡ́́܁٥́胊qYɝ䁥ٕ́݅䰁Ёх݅䇊t]ٔѼͅѡЁݔٔԁͼՍѡЁݗeɔѼ݅ݥѠԁѡ݅䁥Ѽչ͕׊eɔѼЁ]ٔչ͕Ёȁմ͕ͥͥ́չ͕ݡɔݔ݅ЁѼԸɍ́ٔ́مȁЁɽ́ȁ٥ٽ%ݔeЁɕ́ѡ̰ѡ́ȁݥх̸5٥ѥ́Ѽ͔ѡȁݸɕ]Ѽɕє܁ٽձ䁥ѡɍ]ѼхЁѡ̸'eЁхЁ͵ɥ Ё́ͥ ЁЁ́ɹ丁 =9Q%9U=8AMɥ̼Q]5饹Mɥ̼Q]5饹((0