Can Scandal Benefit the Kingdom?

Post a Comment » Written on June 3rd, 2015     
Filed under: Updates
by Yvonne DeVaughn and Meagan Gillan

It is with sadness and frustration that we write about more sensational stories reported by the news media regarding sexual abuse. Between the recent sexual misconduct allegations against former House Speaker, Dennis Hastert (R-Ill), and Josh Duggar’s latest confessions of molestation of young girls, it’s hard to deny how prevalent abuse, sexual or domestic, is in our faith communities.

PewsThe harsh reality is that sexual abuse is one of the most tightly held secrets a person can have, and every congregation has victims, survivors and perpetrators. To us, the silence about this issue is deafening. It is our Pandora’s box and admittedly, opening that lid is not for the faint of heart.

According to Bill Harbeck, founder of Holding On to Hope Ministries, “Sexual misconduct is the most shameful behavior in any community. Engaging in a public discussion about the issue and/or healing rarely happens. Every family in this country has or knows someone in their family that has been molested, abused, or inappropriately approached. It is so much easier to deny and ignore it than take it on.”

Take it on…what on earth would that look like?

It would require re-thinking how we do evangelism, how we disciple, how we talk about family life, how we raise our children, how we counsel couples before and during marriage, how we design and communicate a healing model and especially, articulate what forgiveness really looks like.

It would mean changing our seminary curricula so that pastors are equipped to talk and deal with these issues. It would mean admitting that this issue is alive and well and at its root is the desire to destroy the fabric of the family by any means necessary! It means being honest, painfully honest that sexual misconduct and the resultant pain and damage are among us and will be until we decide to attack it with all we have.

In spite of the reluctance to deal with the issue, we remain grateful that the Evangelical Covenant Church chooses to address abuse, and that congregations continue to grow in awareness and understanding through AVA (Advocacy for Victims of Abuse). We’re doing well, but as Pastor Willie Jemison has wisely said, “We can do a little better.” And we can, particularly when it comes to preventing and healing abuse.

So, as the media frenzy continues around these two recent revelations, it is appropriate to urge pastors, leaders, and parents, as well as the Duggar family and Wheaton College, to use these moments to raise awareness about sexual abuse and molestation, and to work to eliminate both through education and awareness.

AVA is calling pastors and congregations to Save A Sunday in the month of October to raise awareness about Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse. Is it time for your church to begin the conversation?

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