About a month ago I decided I wanted to write one more post about the #MeToo movement, this time simply giving you a list of resources for women, men, and church leaders. Although this isn’t directly about marriage, it IS about something that has had an impact on far too many marriages. I know that many of my readers have experienced sexual misconduct in some fashion. This is an issue that matters to many of us as well as to many we encounter in our lives.
I wanted to wait until things had died down a bit from the constant string of allegations in the fall, thinking that would make it easier for us all to reflect on what was important in addressing sexual misconduct and supporting survivors. That way it would be easier to focus on the issue rather than have you think this was about any one situation.
Unfortunately, things haven’t died down. During the past several days, in fact, I’ve seen two things that reminded me how far we have to go.
One is news about a pastor’s admission that he committed sexual assault twenty years ago as a youth pastor—and the congregation’s response to his admission. This has brought about much-needed conversations about what it means to forgive and about how we should—and should not—respond when a person comes forward with an accusation of sexual misconduct.
The second thing I’ve seen is a video going around Facebook in which a woman says that a lot of women participating in the #MeToo movement are guilty, pointing out that these women should have known better than to accompany their bosses to their hotel rooms. She says, in essence, that unless there is a gun to a woman’s head, she isn’t a real victim. Furthermore, she takes issue with the fact that many men have been losing their jobs due to accusations about incidents long ago that cannot be proven and that she says weren’t really sexual harassment in the first place. She represents a great deal of frustration with the #MeToo movement and with how allegations are handled.
These two things—news about sexual misconduct within the church and a viral anti-#MeToo video—highlight how much work we have ahead of us—as a society, as individuals, and as a church.
I’ll still give you a list of resources, but I want to say a few things first.
Every time I see yet another thing in the news about sexual misconduct or about #MeToo, I sigh a sigh of weariness. Not again, I think. Why is this so hard for us to figure out?
We have so many questions: What does it mean to support a victim? How can we minister to both the victim and the person who has been accused? Can we recognize God’s redemptive work in the heart and life of a person who committed sexual misconduct? Should proof automatically result in a job loss? Should lack of proof result in no consequences at all? What counts as proof, anyway? How can we help a person restore what was broken at some point in the past? How can we acknowledge a person’s sinful nature and bad choices long ago? How can we help people walk in repentance and forgiveness? Can we do so without heaping on shame? How can we show Christ’s love and bring glory to God as we respond to accusations?
Learning the Uncomfortable
As we consider all these questions, one thing we can do is to learn and absorb. We can listen to the stories of those who have come forward with their own experiences as victims or as accused perpetrators of sexual misconduct. Whether or not we understand the choices they made, we can acknowledge that their pain or regret is real and acknowledge the very real impact that their experiences had on their lives.
We can learn from how churches have handled allegations so we can aspire to the good examples and learn to do better than what the negative examples show us.
We can try to understand what is carried in the hearts of those who have sexually harassed or assaulted, those who have been harassed or assaulted, and those who have been in the position of responding to allegations.
No matter what your views are on the #MeToo movement or on the specifics of any particular situation, we need to remember these things:
- Both a victim of sexual misconduct and a perpetrator of sexual misconduct are sinners.
- Both are God’s beloved children, created in His image.
- Both are people with lives and loved ones who will be affected by allegations, whether the incident happened last week or last century.
- Both will encounter difficulty as a result of the allegations.
- Both are deserving of our love, compassion, and ministry.
In order to move forward in any meaningful way, we are all going to have to learn to do some things that will be uncomfortable.
We need to learn to listen, confront, rebuke, forgive, ask hard questions, listen to unsettling answers, make decisions, and be like Christ. It isn’t always easy, and it is certainly isn’t always comfortable.
Until we learn how to work past our discomfort, we are going to see #MeToo-type movements come back again and again and again.
Let’s figure out how to work past that discomfort so can can better minister to those in our lives who have been victims, have committed sexual misconduct, are married to those involved in accusations, and who are in church leadership positions. Let’s support our sisters and our brothers in Christ.
So here are the resources I collected to share with you. Some were suggested to me over a month ago. A few are more recent.
This list contains a wide variety of resources. Some are for women; others are for men. Both news and opinions are on the list. I’ve included resources from both conservative and liberal sites. Many are from Christian sites, but some are not. I don’t agree with everything I’ve listed here, and I expect you won’t, either.
Read and learn from some of these posts. Let yourself be uncomfortable with what you read. (Is this where they would say to “lean in” to the discomfort?) Seek to feel compassion for all who are mentioned in the story, even if it doesn’t come easily to you.
- #MeToo in God’s House: Reflecting on Sexual Harassment and Assault in the AME Church, The Christian Recorder
- #MeToo, #ChurchToo: Some resources for congregations and pastors, The Presbyterian Outlook
- #MeToo, #ChurchToo: The Church is Facing the Truth About Its Sexism, EcoPreacher
- #TheOtherMeToo, The Generous Husband
- 18 ways churches can fight sexual assault in 2018, The Christian Century
- 4 Ways Churches Can Respond to the #MeToo Movement, Sojourners
- 9 Things You Should Know About Sexual Misconduct, The Gospel Coalition
- Accusations against a former youth pastor reveal the difficulties of #MeToo in the church, Vox
- America loves Hugh Hefner…but hates sexual abuse, Corwin Wong
- Andy Savage’s Standing Ovation Was Heard Round the World. Because It Was Wrong. Christianity Today
- As A Mother of Sons … My Take On #Metoo, A Good Christian Woman … Not That One
- Aziz: Another Reminder That Something is Wrong, Authentic Intimacy
- Because #MeToo Breaks My Heart, Makes Me Pissed as Hell, Red Letter Christians
- Character Trumps Party, Kevin A. Thompson
- A Christian Male Response to #MeToo: Smash the Patriarchy, Missio Alliance
- Christians Share Their ‘Me Too’ Stories Of Sexual Abuse And Harassment, Faithfully Magazine
- The Church’s Weinstein Moment: Nailing Some Theses for Assault to the door of the Church, Ann Voskamp
- Dear Church: #MeToo, Southwest California Synod, ELCA
- Dear Predators Who Don’t Know (Or Maybe Do) That They are Predators: (And How to Not Raise Another Generation of Predators), Ann Voskamp
- Do You Care About the #MeToo Trend? Beth Moore & Kay Warren Explain Why You Should, CBN News
- The Downside of #MeToo, U.S. News & World Report
- Evangelical Women Just Joined #MeToo – and They’re Urging Churches to Address Abuse, TIME
- Every Female In America Is A #MeToo Including Your Mom, Wife, Sister And Daughter, Something to Stu Over
- First Grade Chivalry: Parenting Boys in a Boorish Age, Earl Grey and Yellow
- For Sexual Abuse Victims: God does not place any guilt on you, and neither should you, Corwin Wong
- Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore, ‘Me Too’ And Christian Witness, Faithfully Magazine
- Healing After #metoo, Authentic Intimacy
- It’s Time To Stop The Sexual Witch Hunt And Take A Hard Look At Ourselves, The Federalist
- Mary Knew the Risks of #MeToo, When She Writes and Preaches
- Me Too. And Why This is a Christian Problem. Anxious Bench at Patheos
- Morally Diminished: It All Boils Down to Immoral Sexual Practices, The Thoughtful Pastor
- My List of #metoo, Kirsten Oliphant
- Of Sexual Harassment And The God Who Heals Us, Intentional Today
- On “Pigs,” Good Men, and the Difference, Hot, Holy & Humorous
- A pastor’s #MeToo story, The Christian Century
- Pastor’s admission of ‘sexual incident’ has evangelicals calling for their own #MeToo moment, The Washington Post
- A Pastor’s Response To #Metoo: 3 Thoughts for Men, Pastor Dave Barringer
- A Plea for Christian Men Not to Trivialize #MeToo, To Love, Honor, & Vacuum
- Praying for the Victims of #MeToo, Hot, Holy & Humorous
- Predatory Pastors and the Monsters Who Make Them, John Pavlovitz
- Q&A with J: Is Modesty an Issue with Sexual Harassment? Hot, Holy & Humorous
- Q&A with J: What about All the Sexual Misconduct Allegations? Hot, Holy & Humorous
- The Unsettling Truth Behind the #MeToo Movement, Christianity Today
- What Does #MeToo Have to Do with You? Christianity Today
- What Men Think About #MeToo: The Top 6 Reactions, Shaunti Feldhahn
- When Abba’s Daughters Cry #MeToo, Walking with Shiloh
- Why #MeToo Matters
- Six Things I Do When Sexual Assault Is in the News
- 8 Ways to Support Other Women in an Age of #MeToo
Sex Chat for Christian Wives Podcast Episode
Note: I will continue to add links to this for a while. If you have a suggestion about a link that will help others better understand the suffering of those who have experienced sexual harassment or assault or that will help other understand how to make things better in their own sphere of influence, please send it to me at email@example.com.
Image credits | Christianpics.co