When God says, “Wait”

Image from almgreen.blogspot.com

I’m about through month 9 of my dark night of the soul, and I have to say it’s getting interesting. I still can’t pray very often. I try to get up, and my broken legs put me back facedown into the dirt. One thing God keeps making very clear to me is that I’m exhausted through-and-through and really need to enter His rest.

This is really not the time I would have picked for rest. My son is a month away from starting preschool. I’m transitioning to a new position at work while trying to keep up with all of the responsibilities of my old position. My husband is applying to start college this semester while still working full-time. For the past couple of weeks, for these and other reasons, I’ve meandered through my days feeling like a dish rag.

Not a good time to be a dish rag. Continue reading

Pointing Out Sin

“You know what I dislike about church these days?” a reader of mine recently asked. “Preachers just don’t talk about sin anymore. I mean, when was the last time you heard a sermon where a preacher said, ‘This is a sin. That’s a sin.’ I bet it’s been a while.”

Well, he’s right. It has been a while. On the one hand, I’m grateful. On the other, I’m concerned.  I’ll explain what I mean. Continue reading

Responding to Trauma

Image from traumahealingpa.com

In my last post, I talked about what it means to be a trauma survivor and how difficult trauma can be to heal. Today, I’m going to enumerate the ways in which the Church can respond to trauma survivors to help them find healing.

Before I delve in, let me be clear: This is a common problem. Most pastors would be absolutely gobsmacked to know how many trauma survivors fill their churches every Sunday. Current estimates put the incidence of child molestation at 1 in 3 for girls and 1 in 10 for boys. That means in a congregation of 100 people, 5 men and 17 women are likely child sex abuse survivors. And that figure doesn’t begin to include survivors of other types of trauma, such as rape, assault, mental and emotional abuse, neglect, war, abandonment and accident.

If the Church wants to get serious about helping survivors, this is what is needed: Continue reading

Understanding Trauma

Image from The Low Down Blog

Because of a sexual predator’s recent article in Christianity Today‘s Leadership Journal (which has since been removed, hallelujah!), an important conversation has been taking place online about trauma survivors and the Church’s poor response to them. Some bloggers have suggested that church leaders should be educated on what survivors experience and compassionate ways in which they can reach out to help them. To this end, being a survivor myself, I’m going to share what I’ve learned. Because it’s really important. Continue reading

The Problem with Spiritual “Authority”

Image found at favim.com. Artist unknown.

Trigger warning for victims of sexual assault and abuse.

The other day, I published a post on what spiritual authority really means and how the evangelical church has abused the term. It seems rather timely that, shortly afterward, a huge uproar would arise over Christianity Today‘s decision to publish the story of a youth minister who sexually exploited one of the girls in his youth group. Of course, the ex-youth pastor doesn’t call it statutory rape or exploitation; rather it was a “extra-marital relationship” where both had “fallen into sin.” Many Christian bloggers, myself included, are calling for the story to be taken down.

Thankfully, that former youth pastor is in prison and, hopefully, his victim is receiving help. But if you want to know why sexual abuse is so prevalent in the Church, or why things like rape and pedophilia can be labeled “consensual extra-marital affairs,” or why it’s so darn difficult for victims to come forward and receive justice, the misuse of “spiritual authority” is a big reason.

To illustrate, I’m going to tell you my own story. Continue reading