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 →
When I started Revolutionary Faith a year ago, it was never my intention to write from a largely personal perspective. I had done that on a previous blog and wanted to keep this one Bible-centered as much as possible. That’s still my intention.
But, for today, I need to make an exception. And a confession.
I announced (rather boldly) a while back that when it comes to gender relations, I’m functionally egalitarian. In reality, that’s only half true. Complementarian teachings have had their claws in me for years, and they’ve proven rather difficult to shake.
A family member emailed me recently, asking to hear my thoughts on immigration. To be honest, I hadn’t before pondered the issue within the context of my faith. Immigration, particularly illegal immigration, is a sticky topic at present and not one I prefer to dwell upon much. But as I weighed this request, I realized that the Bible does have some meaningful things to say regarding the Christian response to foreigners within our borders, both legal and illegal. And I think there are many who might find such a teaching helpful.
Illegal immigration is a tough issue to discuss precisely because it intersects those delicate lines of faith and politics. On the one hand, the Bible commands believers to extend generosity and equal rights to foreigners. On the other hand, illegal immigrants are lawbreakers. They’ve found some way to circumvent the system, sneak across the border, and make legal immigration tougher for those who wish to respect our country’s laws. So, what should the Christian perspective be?
A few years ago, I watched a powerful documentary entitled America the Beautiful. In it, filmmaker Darryl Roberts explores America’s obsession with physical beauty–to the point where even 8-year-old girls are succumbing to bulimia. But the thing I found most intriguing about the film was Roberts’ own confession of how cultural standards of beauty affected him as a young man: He broke up with a charming, intelligent, beautiful woman whom he loved very much just because she didn’t look like the models he saw in magazines. Only years later–after his dynamite lady had married someone else–did Roberts realize he was chasing an impossible fantasy.
About three years ago, I started following the blog of a woman in Colorado. She and her husband had been married for about 13 years, and their sex life was starting to feel a little stale. They decided to try an open marriage to spice things up. (She started the blog to document the experience.) Within six months, her husband left her for a serious relationship with another woman, throwing the lives of their 3 school-age boys into turmoil. Betrayed and desperate for some genuine affection, the woman sought it in the casual hookups she made during her open marriage. This only wounded her further, as the men expected only one thing from their relationship: sex.
Porn has been called “America’s #1 addiction.” And it’s not hard to see why:
1. This year, researchers in Canada had to cancel a study on the effects of porn after they couldn’t find a single young man who hadn’t viewed porn for their control group. Their initial search revealed that, on average, young men first view porn at the age of 10!
2. Statistics show that at least half of Christian men (including pastors) view porn on a regular basis.
3. Approximately 1/3 of Christian women access porn regularly; 28 percent of all self-reporting porn addicts are women.
4. Twenty-nine percent of born-again Christians believe it is acceptable to watch sexually explicit movies, yet nearly 60 percent of pastors say porn addiction is the most damaging issue within their congregations.
5. In 2003, 2/3 of divorce lawyers reported that for more than half of their cases involving Internet issues, couples cited online pornography as a significant factor in their divorce. Continue reading →