Dee and Jules Woodson after the Rally
“‘Why was I chosen?’ ‘Such questions cannot be answered,’ said Gandalf. ‘You may be sure that it was not for any merit that others do not possess: not for power or wisdom, at any rate. But you have been chosen, and you must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have.’” Lord of the Rings-JRR Tolkien
This sudden national attention has been a bit trying for me. Unlike others, I enjoy focusing on victims and helping folks figure out how to avoid abuse in the wider evangelical/Protestant church while sitting at my kitchen table. So, when I got a couple of calls from NPR the Friday before the *For Such a Time as This* Rally, I answered quickly and promptly forgot ab out it. As I was on my way to Birmingham, my brother called me. He was driving into work in Boston and always listens to NPR. He almost drove off the road when he heard my voice. I had only mentioned my blog to him on a couple of occasions. That was the beginning of my experience which left me feeling a bit discombobulated.
An observation on my way to Birmingham
The SBC relegated the rally to the public streets outside of the convention center.
Special thanks go out to the police and the city of Birmingham who allowed the *For Such a Time As This Rally” to hold their event outside of the convention center. JD Greear had no time to meet with the representatives for 9 months prior to the event and his two stand ins kept paying lip service about trying to get them int the hall. Suddenly, in April they decided *no go.*
There was *no room* at the convention hall. It had a nice Biblical ring to it.
However, due to a rather amusing coincidence, the Rally was right next to the SBC #19 participants waiting for their buses. So, Jules Woodson and I decided that there was a captive audience waiting for us. Jules stood in front of them, movingly addressing her abuse. So much so, that a number of the pastors standing there chose to lay hands on her and pray .
I, on the other hand, had some dialogue which did not result in being prayed over. One woman claimed that “not all of the pastors abuse people,” totally missing the point. I explained to her that she could do more than proclaim the virtues of the non-molesters. I suggested she become more involved in actively preventing abuse in her church. Her husband (I think) said “My church is safe. We do background checks.” I told him that most pedophiles are not convicted and that people in his church are in danger if that is all that they do. Silence ensued, especially when I suggested that the woman write Steve Bradley at Stonebridge Church and ask why he wouldn’t speak with Jules.
I got to hold up some signs for the first time ever at an event like this.
Dwight McKissic can preach!
I am profoundly grateful that Pastor McKissic took to the microphone during the Rally, speaking against sex abuse in the SBC. He is a member of the team over at SBC Voices and his preaching definitely garnered the attention of the media present.
SBC Voices came to say *hi* along with some others.
It was wonderful to meet William Thornton and David Miller of SBC Voices who attended the Rally. I know they don’t always agree with me but they have also actually listened to me a few times. One of them said I look nothing like *the Church Lady,* my avatar on Twitter.
It was fun, after almost 10 years, to lay eyes on *Oracle at Delphi.” Another pastor from the Midwest said he has been following TWW for years and admitted that he’s learned a few things from me! His parting shot: “You were right about Mark Driscoll.”
Wade Burleson, a supporter of the Rally, attempted to get the IMB to make public an internal report on predatory missionaries.
Not only did Wade attend the Rally, he attended the after party for the Rally. He spoke movingly about the work of Christa Brown who was honored during the event.
Wade attempted to get the IMB to make public an internal report on predatory missionaries as reported by the Houston Chronicle.
an Oklahoma pastor and longtime advocate for sexual abuse reforms, who called on his former employer, the International Mission Board, to make public an internal report on predatory missionaries. The mission board was the subject of a recent Chronicle investigation that found a pattern of coverups or mishandling of abuse claims by mission board officials.
Mission board officials did not address any abuse issues during their scheduled address to messengers on Tuesday. Burleson’s motion was not allowed to move forward, a decision he said was “stunning” and “tone-deaf.”
Christa Brown is finally honored.
Wade remarked at how much Christa had to suffer when she began her blog *Stop Baptist Predators.* He reminded us how pastors would turn away from her and accuse her of bringing shame upon the SBC. She was the true prophet who called out sex abuse in the SBC. There are a bunch of men who should hang there heads in shame for how she was treated.
The organizers of For Such a Time As This Rally are awesome!
One of the funnier moments in my conversation with NPR was when the editor asked me why I kept referring to the those who put together the Rally as *they.* I got what he was asking. I told him that I did not help in organizing the rally and that I was merely a *hanger on.* These folks did a great job and put up with the nonsense of the SBC organizers who I suspect never intended to allow them inside the convention hall.
Thank you for your hard work and for putting up with the brush off. I would not have been as pleasant.
JD Greear asked victims of sex abuse to stand and be prayed for.
This was not a wise move. There is nothing that the SBC has done, to this point, which proves they will actually do anything to assist victims except vocalize that they are against sex abuse. To top it off, they allowed Ministry Safe to have a table in the convention hall. Ministry Safe appears to me to be pastor and leadercentric, protecting the churches who have had a sex abuse problem.
Why would victims believe that the SBC wouldn’t use their knowledge to investigate those who stood to prepare themselves for lawsuits? I find this situation manipulative, at best.
The SBC appears to have its *chosen* victims to show off that they care and seems to avoid those who have not healed in an approved, gospel™ fashion.
is it me or are there any victims whose Baptist preacher predators are alive and well and being named? Are there any victims presented who are still struggling with their faith or have actually walked away from the faith? Is the SBC willing to present the very real pain and faith difficulties of victims of SBC abuse? Are the only ones being presented the ones who do it right, according to the SBC preferred *optics?*
Which brings me to the next point:
Founders: How could you play this sort of game with abuse victims? This is so wrong and so many ways.
The Founders at the SBC heap further abuse upon sex abuse victims by attempting to *trap* members of the For Such a Time As This Rally.
What happens to those who are sexually abused by their Baptist pastors (or any pastors for that matter but this post is dealing with the SBC specifically?) Here”s just a few reactions.
- Sone walk away fro the faith and never return.
- Some find a different type of church which doesn’t remind them of their abusive church.
- Some become more progressive in their theology, believing that conservative theology led to their abuse.
- Some become suspicious that male dominated churches led tho their abuse and search for churches which have female leaders.
- Some suffer for years, seeking out various measures to reduce their pain.
- Some stay in conservative denominations.
- Some believe but can’t attend church.
For those of you who do not know, I am a conservative Lutheran, having left an SBC church. My family and I were not sexually abused. I watched what happened when my former SBC church mishandled (in my opinion) a terrible sex abuse situation that affected over 13 teen boys, including a son of a friend.
However, I understand how such trauma can radically affect how people respond and view the church. I am a friend to many victims and my goal is not to *convert* them to my way of thinking. Instead, I try to support them by demonstrating that my love and support is not predicated on their acceptance of my theology.
A Founder’s documentary?
Do you know who the Founders are? They are an ultra-Calvinist Baptist group who are devoted to *calvinizing* each and every Baptist church on the planet.
Years ago, I wrote the other side of the story when it came to Andy Davis and First Baptist Church, Durham. Back then, I wasn’t well known but now that more people are reading my stuff, I can say that it is well worth your read. I promise. This gospel™ Founder called two wonderful Christian people that I personally know *wicked and unregenerate* because they believed that women could be deacons. The horror of it al.
Ashely Easter quizzed on issues other than sex abuse.
Ashely Easter mentioned that this guy cam up to her at the Rally, put out a microphone and interviewed her, asking question about her view of women in ministry and the LGBTQ question. She thought it was bizarre since was off topic. When I mentioned that I heard that a group called The Founders had their audio removed from the SBC#19 meeting, she said “That was the group mentioned by the interviewer.”
I was deeply concerned. This is a Rally, standing against sex abuse in the SBC and this guy thought that going after one of the rally members, who has been abused, was the agenda?
Ashely being interrogated.
Kyle Howard felt disrespected by the Founder’s interviewer.
Then, I learned that another Rally member was also cornered and felt disrespected. He was told they were doing some sort of documentary. Kyle is an abuse survivor, a preacher and a counselor specializing in racial trauma content.
It appears the insensitive interrogator was Jared Longshore and Tom Ascol stood by, encouraging him in his dubious endeavor.
I had Ashley look at pictures (a lineup!!) and this is who it was. Also we know that Tom Ascol stood by while this was going on
My thoughts and a warning to the Founders: Apologize, now!
The Founders probably believe that anyone who doesn’t see things their way must be unregenerate (the Calvinist term for not saved) and probably not one of the elect. That would also include me because I am wri8ting this about them and am likely in the employ of Stan (sic).
I was asked the same question by a number of reporters.
Do you think the SBC is going to do the right thing regarding sex abuse?
My answer was not expected. I said:
I don’t know.
I spent a number of years in the SBC and, then, the last 10 years watching them. The SBC are really good at fancy preaching and lots of tears, repenting sort of. However, just a few days after JD Greear said that they would go after the churches named in the Houston Chronicle, 7 of the 10 were exonerated. Days…Think about it.
Now, the Founders, who had their big meeting at the SBC, take the unique opportunity to interact, pray for, and learn from abuse survivors and, instead, use it to prove something. What is that? It’s pretty clear to me. That want to discredit the survivors. Instead of showing empathy and humility, they stick microphones in the faces of survivors and played *Gotcha in only 3 questions.*
I heard that their meeting SBC #19 didn’t go so well and that the audio of the session disappeared. I want to speak with anyone who was there. Confidentiality guaranteed. I will make sure that Jared “The Interrogator* doesn’t try to put you in his *documentary.*
Founders: You need to apologize. You have demonstrated to me that you don’t get SBC sex abuse nor do you want to understand or learn from anyone except those who share you laser focused theology.
What you did was unworthy of Christians who should care for those who have been hurt and let down by the church. It is because of this that causes me to worry that the SBC will actually move to do anything for victims. Will you encourage them to play 20 questions and only help those who answer it in Founders’ approved fashion? You tell me.
Matthew 23:1-4 NIV
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.