There are so many people living in desperation and isolation, looking at the church being silent, and hearing that silence as even coming from God himself. It’s time that they at least have an acknowledgment that what has happened to them has been soul-altering and life-changing.
– Pastor Gary Morgan (Cowboy Church of Ellis County – Texas)
Its been one hell of day. Can I say that? Why not – its my blog right?
I have been recovering from pneumonia recently, and so I have been so worn down it isn’t even funny. It sure does take so much out of you.
Anyway, I received an email that just rocked my world.
The following letter is a tool that I have written. My desire is that it be sent to pastors to help open their eyes to the misuse of power and control in their churches, and to caution them regarding how very easily any of us can become guilty of lording it over our people.This is Pastor Jeff’s introduction, and I encourage you to go and read it. He also has given you the permission to share it word for word. You may also share it with your pastor or church as well. It’s a letter FROM a pastor to other PASTORS!
In particular, I want to assist pastors and church leaders to understand that one extremely common scenario which is occurring in our conservative, Bible-believing churches with alarming regularity, concerns how we are mishandling cases of abuse (both domestic and sexual) that are brought to our attention and/or occurring right under our noses within our own congregations.
Readers are freely granted permission to reproduce this letter and use it to good ends. Please do not alter or change the wording. We would be very interested in hearing from anyone who uses this as a tool to call the body of Christ to justice and wisdom in dealing with the oppressed.
To the Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ,
Pastor Jeff Crippen,
If you like to hear sermons on domestic violence? Jeff Crippen is on sermon audio with a nice series you can listen too.
In the letter he speaks of a journey he and his church went on. How they had to take certain traditions of the church, and place them on their heads. I highly doubt most churches or clergy mean to come across with the wrong type of message, but I have to admit they do seem to hard headed at times to go against a tradition that seriously needs to be looked at. I call it tradition, because quite frankly that is all it is. They feel it is truth, but when their truth oppresses so many people? They seriously need to take a closer glance don’t you think?
I read Pastor Jeff’s letter this morning, and it just shook my whole day. Tears were streaming down my face while reading, and the emotion I felt just stayed with me. I was hoping and praying that other clergy would take the time to read, and they actually open their heart enough to realize what he was saying. I believe most churches feel they understand abuse of all sorts, but no one can be an expert in everything. Lets pray that they hear, and not be defensive.
Lets be honest they have just enough knowledge – the surface stuff – and believe they can handle it ‘in-house’. They tend to do what the secular world does also. They zero in on victims, and make them question their sanity. They treat it like other martial issues – or family issues – and approach the abusive party as if they are a reasonable, honorable person. The facts are it opens a can of worms, and at times allowing the light in makes the victims life’s hell. The abuser gets defensive, family and friends are defensive, and they feel this type of thing never should have seen the light of day.
Its hard to reveal something like this, because your ‘support’ system you feel is in place may crumble. People are so caught up with looking for fault in both parties, because it makes THEM feel better. They use it to rationalize things, and don’t wish it to get to big because the hurt it may cause them, their job, their position, their church. All they are truly doing is saving their butts in all honesty. The boat you choose to rock was way to big for them to handle.
I’m going to close with a sermon I saw yesterday, because this pastor will admit he knows he is over his head in some areas. He also speaks truth about things that most don’t wish to touch. It needs to be said. His sermon is on sexual abuse, but he does acknowledge the effects are the same for all types of abuse. How abuse effects your soul, spirit, and outlook at times. How it can be very hard especially after the abuse is revealed, and how you may never be the same person again. That does not mean there is no more hope.
I found the sermon, and I have uploaded it to my Internet Archive Account, and its called ‘sexual abuse’.
Let us pray that domestic violence in the church, and that child abuse, sexual abuse within the church is addressed and dealt with as God would have it done.
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