How can a community of believers maintain that strength if the truth is buried for the sake of power, if the Gospel plays second fiddle to money, and if appearances matter more than the spiritual condition of those coming through the door?
Throughout history, women overwhelmingly have been silenced when they’ve had a truth to tell, so much so that it felt detrimental to speak up. A waste of words. Yet Jesus, who came to make all things right, who came to overthrow power structures that demean and oppress, gave women a voice when others didn’t.
The epidemic of clergy misconduct is not only the abuse itself, but the Silence that enables the abuse to continue to exponentially harm people. While perpetrators will always exist, the damage they do can be diminished and halted with a way to break through the Silence that protects power.
The loved one is in prison, the hospital, hospice, quarantine, or serving abroad. Some extended families face all of these circumstances at once right now. Yet the scriptures don’t avoid the expectation to feel joy.
Our country is aching to see the strength it takes to accept responsibility for more than our own individual acts. To be wrong, and admit it. To be the first to apologize. To accept the hard truth that we’ve sown bitterness and are reaping violence. Violence doesn’t start in our fists, it is born in our hearts.
Within our denominations, grassroots justice organizations, organizing networks, and movement partners, we have engaged in the best of our sacred traditions to pursue a vision of Beloved Community, of an America that is yet to be, of a nation where ancient breaches are repaired.
We must still raise our voices to denounce Christian pursuit of power and boldly denounce cycles of violence perpetuated in the name of Jesus. We also seek that justice be given to those involved in last week’s events. Nevertheless, we can still own and apologize to a watching world the sins that our fellow siblings have committed.
I’ve spent time over the last few years researching people in church history who struggled with depression, but intertwined with their stories are those of their friends and family members who kept company with them in the dark.