“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
~ Robert Frost ~
“The road was laced with hell and pain
E’en so it was the one I had to take
For it was led by the hand of God
And I took it for His sake,
Because HE chose a dark road stained with blood
~ Anonymous ~
When the word count in this blog hit over 4000, I divided it into several blogs to make it more manageable and allow readers to more easily read it in ‘sittings’ versus all at once. It is a bit overwhelming, to be honest. I tried to write without ‘story’, but that failed, so I wrote it all again. This is my third attempt. And even now, too much is left to guesswork.
Before reading this series of blogs, I suggest reading up on HOW PREDATORS GROOM. (Not all info is necessarily endorsed by me or applicable, but having a bit of understanding about this will help you understand why I am adamant that one character in this blog is a predator.)
Before going further, I will say what I’ve said before. There is grace for offenders of sexual crimes, no matter how heinous, how devastating the outcome. I hold the grace of God in high regard. But never, never, never… Not in a million years, is it acceptable to offer blind trust or look the other way when a predator is on the prowl. To favour the person who has offended (or even one who displays grooming behaviour), over the safety of others, is wrong. God takes protecting the vulnerable very seriously, and Matthew 18:6-9 summarizes how He feels about it. I am with God on this, so much so that I am willing to put myself out there for stoning, if that’s what it takes to warn and expose.
I understand now why many leaders choose not to touch the topic of sexual abuse. Why it is easier to be silent than to speak out in some cases. Why there comes a moment when you weigh silence against the potential outcome of speaking against power, and the scale appears to tip heavily in favour of silence. And you can’t tell if it is real, or an illusion. But, like Tim said this week, “We made a promise that this stops with us.” And we will keep that promise. I recognize that I do most of the communicating – I am the writer, I am the speaker – but Tim is my steady rock in ministry, the one who keeps me ever before our Heavenly Father, and guides me to Him and through the challenges of ministry. I am eternally grateful that God gave us each other in this battle against silence in the church, re-victimizing of those who have suffered sex crimes, and the persistent tendency to hear the voice of the offenders over the voice of victims. That day must end. That darkness must be shattered.
Some readers may be tempted to stone me. Some may be tempted to stone the people in this blog. I ask you to suspend judgement of people, and let God work with hearts… all of our hearts. Judge what is wrong without apology, judge what is not Godly, but don’t judge hearts. Mistrust our hearts, if you need to, question our hearts; these are normal responses to breaking silence. But I ask that you not respond with hate or destruction, especially against those I write about. Destructive comments against them will not be approved. If you must hate me, then hate me. And if you must speak that hate, then speak it.
There is extreme polarization of positions involved here, with both the other leader and myself trying to protect values we feel we cannot compromise without compromising ourselves before God. (That is my position, and it is what I ‘hear’ from the other side.) We both believe with certainty that we are taking our stand for the sake of God’s kingdom. The other leaders wants to protect ‘the Kingdom’ from damage (my interpretation is damage in the present), and I see an inevitable and extreme devastating outcome in the future. Furthermore, silence simply isn’t an option for me when I know of a predator, which is a very different thing than an offender who repents and displays only humility, not arrogance and ongoing predator behaviour. What I am about to share has been addressed with with by me and by other people before me, in both this particular situation and with similar concerns about other situations.
My first appeal to this leader dates January 11, 2018, sharing concerns I had (and have) not directly related to this. Little did I know that by February 3, when asking another man to explain his indecent phone calls to women and help me reconcile that with his public religious image, that I would find myself in deeper much than I ever wanted to go…. Never did I imagine I would be writing this blog. While I am certain it is what I am supposed to do, and at peace, I tremble… I tremble because all before me who have tried to address these issues, who have contacted me, took the fall. I have no reason to believe the same will not be my lot. I have not bolstered my defences or called on anyone to defend me, nor will I. And I am keenly aware there are masses who will struggle with my choice to do what I do here, and I can appreciate that. But I am confident in ten years, looking back, we will see God will have done some good thing… Hopefully in all of us. This is my prayer.
Nonetheless, the path immediately before me looks rough. And, to my shame, I am tempted to take the paved hi-way and be silent – and at this point even resigning from what I do looks more appealing than this – but I know without question that God has spoken.
Before I go further, there are a few things you need to know. #1. I speak from the place of truth and facts I know; facts I have heard or seen – screenshots of messages sent by various parties in this blog, with ‘parties’ including the unnamed victims. #2. There is always more ‘story’ than the evidence presents. I do not profess to have a full understanding, but I have been thorough in verifying what I know. I was presented with false information, and I weeded it out. It is not included in this blog. #3. I have chosen to use initials of the various individuals, because the whole world does not need to know every bit of those details. Those to whom it applies or who have been or could be impacted by it need to know. #4. I have the permission of numerous victims to share what I write of their stories, though I do not name any. #5. The offender never has been, and never will be, my client. Circumstantially, that is not an option.
…To be continued…
~ T ~
“Open your mouth for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all who are destitute.”