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.
Today’s Faith Notes’ guest post comes from midcoast Maine writer and editor Carlene Hill Byron, a valued friend who writes about the church and mental illness. Let us listen as we learn to love each other well:
You know you’ve lost your mind when you can’t believe what you know is true.
For several years, doctors in a new city had been trying to manage my bipolar disorder with new medicines. In my old hometown, I’d taken one medicine “as needed” for a dozen years. Now, they were testing one drug on top of another, with generally awful results.