Grief is simultaneously a raw, hurt-filled terrain of the heart, and, as the calendar pages flip, its occasional infliction of breath-sucking pain becomes the only tangible connection you have to the one you’ve lost. This is neither good nor bad, as my spiritual director would say. It just is.
Dealing with sexual harassment and abuse in the church is hard, and I remember almost every day that I don’t have all the answers. But I do know that we have to do better than we have done. And that starts by being willing to talk openly and honestly, and to act with courage to make sure the church is a place of safety and flourishing for everyone.
In his lovely, gentle way, he was professionally pissed off, never fully comprehending how anyone could ever imagine a God who was not an advocate for the oppressed.
I’ve been pondering the cost of being a leader who has the courage and tenacity to tell the truth. We can all agree that we need leaders who do, but how exactly do we sell the vocation of truth-telling when our own human story makes it pretty likely that if you tell a hard truth long enough you will lose your life?
We’re going to have to do more, to move past talking (even preaching!) and into the messy and painful work of deep conversation held together by real relationship. In fact, it’s increasingly my conviction that this may be the heart of the faith community’s work in this moment: building authentic relationships upon which these difficult conversations can rest.
After 2017, we now see more clearly the critical work ahead of us, and each of us has a decision to make about what will happen in 2018.
One of the ways our society has vastly changed in just the last 15 years has been the creation of an alternative world, a digital world, and we’ve been trying to assess its impact on relationships and institutions ever since we realized it wasn’t going away.
There is nothing new about Harvey Weinstein or Michael Oreskes or any number of other men publicly accused of sexually harassing women and others. But nobody is talking about the persistent, wearying presence of sexism and misogyny in our churches.
Struggling to find the right balance between naming darkness and preaching hope is the substance of our work in this moment: as leaders, as people of faith, as participants in the work of healing the world.