A Commentary By “That Other Girl”

“Every uncorrected error and unrepented sin is, in its own right, a fountain of fresh error and fresh sin flowing on to the end of time.” -C.S. Lewis  -The Problem of Pain

“This year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practise ourselves the kind of behaviour we expect from other people.” -C.S. Lewis  -The Case for Christianity


Allow me to introduce myself.  I’m “that other girl” in the fact or fiction saga posted last week.  Even though I’ll reach the half-century mark this year, I guess the other gender believes it’s all right to label females as “girls”, as I was called by a church leader.  I probably shouldn’t be surprised since Carolyn Mahaney, wife of CJ – a charismatic leader who is revered mostly by “reformed” Christians – hosts a blog called “girl talk”.  She also wrote a book by the same title.  Yes, we’re just “girls”, and we obviously don’t count in the eyes of some.  What would Almighty God say about that?  I sincerely hope you know. 

My family has been involved in a non-denominational Christian school for ten years.  The first year my daughters attended that wonderful school, I met a lady through the Moms in Touch ministry there.  She and I gradually became friends.  Even though her sons and my daughters are different ages, we have managed to keep up with each other through the years.  Despite the fact that she and I have never been in the same church together, we’re still “sisters in Christ”.

In the summer of 2006 I opened up my local newspaper, and to my horror I read an article about a seminary student who had molested some teenage boys at a church where he “volunteered”.  Because so many students from this rather large church attended the same school as my daughters, I realized there was a strong probability that at least one of the victims was a student there.

For years I have been devoting my life to leading the Moms in Touch prayer ministry at this Christian school.  Praying for the teachers, students, families, and school concerns each week is an extremely high priority for me.  The prayer concerns that have come to my attention over the years have become my deep concerns, and all the requests shared in Moms in Touch are kept strictly confidential. 

Next year will be my tenth and final year in Moms in Touch since my younger daughter will be graduating.  Because of my strong commitment to prayer, I immediately began to intercede for these victims, even though I didn’t know who they were.  I became so concerned after reading the newspaper article that I sent my pastor an e-mail asking him to join me in praying for these matters, which he did.

Some time after the pedophile went to court to confess his guilt in a plea bargain deal, I discovered that I did indeed know the mother of one of the victims.  She finally opened up to me because she knew that everything shared in Moms in Touch is kept confidential.  It was my friend whom I had met in Moms in Touch years before.  It seemed her family didn’t have much of a support system to help them overcome such a tragedy. 

I discovered later that her church kept the matter about the pedophile and his victims extremely confidential in order to “protect the victims”, so there was no way she could have received much support from her congregation since few, if any, besides the pastors knew what had happened to her son.  The congregation was told they should respect the privacy of the victims and their families. 

A full two years after the pedophile’s arrest, this mother FINALLY confided her agony to my best friend, who was also a member of the church.  The mom explained to my friend that her son had NEVER been offered professional counseling by the church in the aftermath of his victimization, and to the best of her knowledge neither had any of the other victims.  What?  

Thus began a special bond which culminated in the Fellowship of the Wounded.  The Fellowship pondered how to help this victim and his parents who had also been emotionally traumatized.  After several months of research and deliberation, the tiny group resolved that the matter needed to be brought before the elders of the church. 

The members of the Fellowship composed a five-page letter which was hand-delivered to the head elder on October 10, 2008.  I was the only non-member involved, and I received criticism because of it.  Unfortunately, my critics didn’t seem to grasp the concept that those who claim Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord are ALL members of His church.  I felt it was extremely important to stand in the gap for my hurting friend.

We, as members of the Fellowship of the Wounded, believed that once this matter had been brought to the attention of the elders the church family would embrace those who had been deeply wounded – physically, emotionally, and spiritually – with the pastors leading the way.  However, the letter, which outlined the Fellowship’s concerns (particularly the church’s neglect in providing professional counseling – not pastoral counseling – to the victims for OVER TWO YEARS), appeared to harden the hearts of those “in charge”.

Perhaps the Fellowship would have been more effective in soliciting help for the victims if it had written the following letter:

Dear Elders,
It has come to our attention that, although counseling was promised to the sexually abused victims immediately following the arrest of the pedophile, somehow, the much needed professional counseling has not materialized.  We know that managing the affairs of the church keeps you and the pastors extremely busy.  Would you please take a moment from your hectic schedules tending to the more “important” matters of the church and check on the teens who were molested (do you know who they all are?) and see whether they need professional help to recover from the crimes committed against them? 

                                                                       With admiring love,
                                                                       The Fellowship of the Wounded
P.S.  Please, please don’t be mad at us!!!

The church leaders accused the Fellowship of using harsh language in their letter. We could publish the letter to allow our readers to be the judge of that. Hmmmm, do you think that a kinder, gentler approach would have been more effective in getting these victims the professional counseling they desperately needed? 

In cases of sexual abuse, time is of the essence, and failure to act swiftly can cause permanent and near irreversible damage to those who have been molested.  For the Fellowship of the Wounded, the victims have ALWAYS been the focus.  We have refused to be sidelined in demonstrating our deep concern for the wounded (whomever they are). 

Now that I have explained what actually DID occur, it’s up to you to decide what parts of the saga are FACT or FICTION.  Fiction is often the best way of telling a story, as demonstrated by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, and C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia.  As a Duke alumna who majored in English, I learned that one of the best ways to address a serious problem is through satire. 

In our public service announcements, we provided information from experts regarding pedophilia.  If you read them, you know that pedophiles are CON ARTISTS extraordinaire.  They are some of the best manipulators in the world!  They WANT innocent children for their own deviant purposes, and they will do ANYTHING to gratify their sinful desires.  If that offends anyone, we WILL NOT apologize!  Remaining ignorant about these matters will only put more innocent children at risk.  Pedophilia is not going away!!!

It’s important to realize that pedophiles are manipulating the minds of prepubescent children (in most cases) who are terribly insecure with their identity.  Can you remember those awkward years?  Pedophiles spend much effort “grooming” their victims so they will fully trust them.  When the “bait and switch” finally occurs, the victims have come under such, severe mind control that they don’t think as you and I would.  How dare “anyone” ask a pedophile victim “Didn’t you know that what you were doing was wrong?” or “Why didn’t you tell your parents?” 

These may seem like logical questions to the naïve and uninformed, but they are insensitive at best and cruel at worst.  It’s crucial to understand that when it comes to child molestation, the victim is NEVER (Never, ever, ever, ever) to blame!!!   Go back and see what the experts have to say.  That’s why it’s so important to bring in professionals when these horrible situations occur.  Victims’ lives – from both a physical and spiritual standpoint – are at stake!

In hindsight, I wouldn’t change ANYTHING I did to stand in the gap for the victims and their families; however, it hasn’t been easy.  In fact, it’s been one of the most emotionally draining things I have ever done.  All in all, it’s been worth it because those who desperately needed professional counseling are finally getting it.  Valuable time has been wasted due to church shenanigans.  I continue to pray for the victims and their families, and I trust that God will providentially meet their every need and restore what the locusts have eaten. 

Finally, I trust that proper procedures have now been put in place at the church.  It seems that the Fellowship of the Wounded, who brought this matter to the attention of the elders, is not privy to the entire report of the investigative committee or its recommendations.  Had the Fellowship not submitted their letter, there would have been no need for an investigative committee. 

Even though we (the Fellowship) have been ridiculed, gossiped about, and labeled as troublemakers, we are content to have represented the “forgotten” victims and their families.  We put our reputations on the line because we love all of our brothers and sisters in Christ who had no voice.  In writing this post, it would have been so easy to provide evidence of the horrible crimes committed by this pedophile by linking to articles covering his arrest and conviction; however, I have chosen to protect the identity of the church from the public-at-large.

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