July 06, 2014

Sunday Soundbite:
Refreshingly candid looks at sexual abuse and evangelical Christianity

To date, most of our Sunday Soundbites have been on the negative side. Today, I am quite pleased to bring you a piece--from Christianity Today, no less!--that gives me hope for the future treatment of sexual abuse within Christianity.

From Karen Swallow Prior:
A central plot-line in the disturbing but stunning 1999 film American Beauty involves sexual fantasies about a teen girl by the main character, a middle-aged suburban husband and father desperately living out a quiet nightmare version of the American Dream. In a discussion of the film with my then-boss, an older man, a strong Christian leader and educator, he told me, "Any man who says he hasn't had such fantasies is a liar." His candor was as rare as it was refreshing. But what he said wasn't shocking.
Perhaps if the church dealt more honestly with sexual temptation, temptation would lead less frequently to acting out on it. Keeping talk of such temptations taboo leads naturally to imagining that one's temptations are somehow unique, which leads, in turn, to imagining oneself as somehow unique and, therefore, entitled in one's status as "special" to act on one's temptations.
From Halee Gray Scott:
Last week, when I read the Leadership Journal article, "My Easy Trip From Youth Minister to Felon," I had much the same reaction as when I first read Lolita. "This is a narrator who cannot be trusted. This is the voice of a sexual predator." For many people, like me, it was all too familiar. We readily recognize the biased perspective of sexual predators because we've been on the other side, as victims. 
I appreciate Leadership Journal's original intention to draw attention to the issue of sexual abuse by clergy, and I applaud their decision to take the post down and subsequent apology. I do think it's helpful, though, to also reflect on the mindset of the sexual predator, for this can reveal the skewed perspectives we find in many churches.
You can read more rounded up posts on the issue at the link.

I've been on vacation, but I'm back now and boy do I have a ton of thoughts for the upcoming weeks! I wrapped up Doubt: A History by Jennifer Michael Hecht, and I am thinking of introducing a series on Women of Doubt based on some of the stories included. Excited about that, so look for the first installment some time this week.

Also thinking of doing book studies of Job and Ecclesiastes, looking at doubt in the Bible. Anything else you'd like to hear about, drop me a comment. I've missed writing regularly this past week!

Anyway, have a beautiful, Sunday, guys!

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