When it comes to admitting where we’ve made mistakes, the Christian church has often failed to walk in the way of humility, love and repentance set out by Jesus. Two important new books seek to change that by wrestling with the sexual abuse crisis in the church and gender-based violence around the world.
Summer is for visiting relatives. So this summer my family and I spent two months visiting different churches. After all, scripture says that it is the community of believers together who make up the body of Christ – not just those who worship under the same roof or denominational title. “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it,” the Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 12:27 (NLT). When those words were written, denominations didn’t even exist. Basically, if you are a follower of Christ you are related to every other follower of Christ. While we may have different strengths and weaknesses, we all have a place and a purpose in the whole.
Summer is for visiting family. And since the church is supposed to be one big family – albeit with many different personalities and a few crazy cousins – this summer my family has made a goal of visiting a different church every week. That’s how we were invited to Richmond Corner Baptist Church’s Police Appreciation Sunday this weekend and discovered the moving story of Lewiston Officer David R. Payne, who was ambushed and shot to death by someone he was trying to help thirty years ago this week.
It shouldn’t happen, but it does. To remain silent is to take the side of the abuser, rather than the victim of abuse. What am I talking about? Sexual harassment, assault and abuse in the church. Maybe those three last words don’t come as a surprise, considering the swell of abuse claims against priests in the past decade. But many incidents of church abuse are never reported.