Why Anabaptist Sexual Abuse Awareness (ASAA) Founder Hopes Conservative Anabaptist Church Gets Sued, Mr. Hoover on Mandatory Reporting, & the Porn and Sex Trafficking Problem

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When I met face-to-face with Randal Martin, founder of ASAA, and his wife at a Panera Bread in Lebanon PA, he said he hopes victims will sue the conservative Anabaptist church to force them to take sexual abuse seriously. His message was that if they have to pass the offering plate to collect money to pay for those lawsuits, they will be forced to take abuse seriously. Until it hits the pocketbook, he said, he is concerned that the issue will not be given serious attention. I agreed. Said that I fear, too, that victims will never be truly heard until this happens.

I had no notion on doing such a thing then (and still don’t), but I told him I know of someone who mentioned launching a class action against the Eastern Mennonite church. Randal gave me the name of the lawyer who  handled the Haldeman church lawsuit, to pass on.

It seems that this wish for a lawsuit – or was it a prophecy? – is coming to pass in the current CAM case. Ironically it is in the very case in which ASAA is being asked to help the victims in Haiti. God has an uncomfortable sense of humour, in the timing of things.

It is my hope that ASAA will support the victims in Haiti who wish to pursue litigation, even if it is against Christian Aid Ministries rather than the Eastern Mennonite Church. It is the only non-hypocritical thing to do in light of Mr. Martin’s comments.

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The following article on reporting sexual abuse is well written. Excellent, really. I’ve heard criticisms of details like, Is reporting really only important because it is a legal duty.. like, what about moral obligation? I’ll speak for myself and say this. Dealing with sex crimes is always a moral duty. Always. But how we deal with them is influenced by the laws of our land. Knowing Mr. Hoover a bit better than I did a few months ago, I know he also feels a sense of moral duty to get involved and does so. He and I do not agree on some of the ‘how’ of what he does, and he knows I have some grave concerns, but he does feel a sense of moral duty. Also, in fairness, he has disagreements with me as well. I am comfortable with that, and far as I can tell, he is too.

Some time ago I asked Mr. Hoover for permission to share it on my blog; permission he granted. He is on the Advisory Board for the Anabaptist Sexual abuse Awareness (ASAA). I have interacted with him a fair bit in recent months, and have been forthright with him about my concerns, both in ASAA handling of events last year — details he still knew nothing about — as well as ongoing concern over how offenders are being prioritized to the neglect of victims. (For example, victims’ voices are not yet being invited into the legal processes, nor are they being represented with skilled and informed support persons who know the legal processes. This support is still being given to offenders). In my honesty about my concerns, I have felt he tried to hear me in spite of disagreement. He has been honest with me too, from what I can tell, and I have tried to hear him.

Where truth is spoken, I appreciate it. The following article is truth.

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How can Conservative Anabaptists reconcile the command of Matthew 18, “If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone,” with the reporting requirements in Pennsylvania?

The entire issue hinges on the words, “If thy brother shall trespass against thee”. What sins would this include, this “trespass against thee?”

Perhaps he trespassed by having moved the line-fence and thereby taking some of his neighbor’s land, or borrowing something and returning it broken, or slandering a brother’s name by repeating unkind gossip. There are many ways that a brother may trespass against a brother personally, and we then need to go to him alone to see if we can come to an understanding.

But what about serious sins that are much more than a personal trespass against an individual? Did Jesus also imply that if my brother murdered his neighbor or raped my wife that I would need to go to him between me and him alone, and if he hears me I have gained my brother?

God forbid! Such a sin needs to be reported immediately to the proper civil authorities, who do not carry the sword in vain (Romans 13:1-6, 2 Peter 2:13-17), then to the church.

Yes, we believe that if a brother has trespassed against us, we should first approach him alone. But if we discover that he has seduced a neighbor’s 13-year-old child and ended up violating her (either emotionally or physically), we do not believe that Jesus would direct us by this command to keep it “between thee and him alone.” Such a brother has not only trespassed against his neighbor, but he has broken the laws of God himself as well as the laws of the land. This is not only a trespass against an individual, but a heinous crime. We are duty bound, both for our brother’s sake and for our daughter’s sake (as well as possible future victims), to report him.

Today we know of the terrible hold of sexual addictions. We have seen perpetrators who have been found out, and who “repented” and made their sins right with the church, and life supposedly went on as usual. But, life did not go on as usual. The sexual addiction had not been dealt with, and later there were relapses, with more cover-ups, more victims, and more children whose lives were forever changed, because we did not deal with the sin in an appropriate and timely manner. 

We need to acknowledge and recognize the difference between a trespass against a brother that can be taken care of “between thee and him alone,” and serious sins that are much more than just a trespass against a brother. This is why we believe that it is good, proper, and indeed necessary to obey state laws on mandated reporting.

The offender can only be brought to redemption if he or she takes full ownership of his or her iniquity, transgressions and civil responsibilities. Using civil authority is a part of that not a power play. We are loving the offender when the sin is exposed to authorities because he/she is in bondage to their sin and full of deception – and an emotional response to exposure and a few words of apology are no sign of repentance. The offender is self-injuring, not just injuring others. No habituated sin is easily stopped. If we are honest, we all know this on a personal level.

~ Allen Hoover, Advisory Board for ASAA ~ 

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I was surprised that ASAA advisory board wasn’t even made aware of the details surrounding last year’s fiasco, in which a man admitted to their vice-chair having assaulted a young woman and the young woman was not offered care while the offender continued in close relationship with the board member. And I am just as surprised that the Advisory board didn’t think it was important to know details or get involved, being too busy with other things.

As I said to Mr. Hoover, it is this sort of lack of engagement that created the dreadful abuse situation we have in Haiti, and I struggle to grasp how a group can help others overseas if they don’t first deal with their own situations appropriately at home. When victims are blatantly neglected in cases at home, how are they equipped to go to Haiti and help there. I would hope they can and will do better. Especially since Mr. Hoover’s statement so clearly states that “an emotional response and a few words of apology are no sign of repentance” as was proven true in last year’s fiasco. The offender at the centre of that case has continued with inappropriate connections with women. This summer I heard from three more women regarding the same offender, proving Mr. Hoover’s words to be accurate.

In light of this, while I support what is written by Mr. Hoover and promoted by ASAA, and I am posting it as I had told him I would after he granted permission, I appeal to them to live up to their own words and teachings. I appeal to ASAA to first deal with their own issues honourably at home, before going overseas. Don’t just teach better ways of responding; live it. When that happens, I will be happy to support ASAA efforts.

Disclaimer: When I asked permission to post the above, I did not yet know that the ASAA founder and the board of directors had not informed their other committees thoroughly of my concerns. This only came up in communication with Mr. Hoover on August 5, 2019.

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ASAA also posted the following video on their Facebook page. (It was from their site that I took my featured image, to give credit of sources). It is a powerful video addressing pornography. If you are into porn, you are part of the sex trafficking industry. You are funding it. Advertisers rely on your addiction to evil, to fund this industry. 

 

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If you have the stomach for it, the following news report is a powerful, powerful news report on sex trafficking. I submit that political agenda is intertwined, quite obviously. Tune out the jargon and listen to the problem of sex trafficking. It is real, and it is closer to home than you would imagine. I know of conservative Anabaptist youth being used as prostitutes, where one ‘user’ (Anabaptist adult male, in one case) will alert others to the girl being vulnerable. I know of them being offered money for sex. I know of one case where money was exchanged. This is not so far out there.

The video clip is hard to watch, admittedly. But this is based on the true story of a young woman who was trafficked.

Her brother speaks after the video clip. He shares a lot of wisdom on the problem of sex trafficking, and how it works. He isn’t about fear-mongering. He gives solid information. He addresses the fallen morality of the nation of USA. He talks numbers of what pimps make.

And he makes this gut-churning statement, “You can almost order a child like you order pizza.” And later he says, “This shouldn’t be a conservative issue or a liberal issue […] children should not be for sale.”

He also states, “It starts with a pornographic culture. Soft porn. It’s the objectifying of women. Which, we as a country have done a great job at completely objectifying women into sex objects and emasculating men.”‘

These statements should startle us. According to several studies, a high rate of men in church admit to porn use

There is no child immune. No culture protected. This wickedness is something we need expose. And we, as the people of God, ought to be leading the way. But I challenge you to consider that sex trafficking in a different form is happening among us. Just as in the country structure, in religious structure the top most powerful are protected. There is grace for these offenders, and protection, while those ‘sold out’ are mistreated to keep them in line. The similarities are startling.

Like our sexualized culture, we are desensitizing church culture to child sexual assault, but we are doing it through treating victims shamefully and protecting offenders. The culture is such that abuse thrives, the oppressed have no voice, and sexual violence against children is viewed as ‘moral failing’ and ‘a mistake’.

Children are being trafficked among us, and it starts with the cavalier attitude toward child exploitation that allows adult men and women to call it ‘moral failing’, or ‘a mistake’. It starts by dehumanizing the victims in the eyes of the congregation or community. It starts be silencing victims. And it starts by leaders hearing things and shrugging them off rather than digging deeper and doing their due diligence in cases such as Jeriah Mast. (Using one that is public of the hundreds or thousands I could choose from). Because when abuse is handled this way in church, it is the exact same thing as sex trafficking, with different players and a far more deceptive mask.

All of these things teach the ‘pimps’ and abusers that it isn’t really that big a deal to use and abuse the vulnerable. They do not take it seriously. I had one man say, after molesting his daughters, “I only did it for 60 seconds.” His church gave him a short proving period and then life went on as before. He had a history of sexually assaulting starting in his teens, right up to his late 40’s when I confronted him. The church blinked. Didn’t report. Bishop from PA intervened in TX to help navigate it. And life went on as before. (I tried to report. The social work I was communicating with who was passionate about the case, when I called back a few weeks later, was told, “She is no longer with us”. The church leaders talked with the Sergeant, and he stopped responding. I will never know why. I have solid evidence and an open confession in my possession, legally obtained. And the law does nothing. The church does nothing more than they have to.

That, my friends, is how sex trafficking continues in church.

These things have desensitized many in the church culture, and silenced others for many years.

And while all of that is going on, and children are being stripped, destroyed, raped and programmed… on the streets and in church… We can’t get our act together to stand firm against this wickedness….

God help us…

God help the children… And He will.

Someday, He will come and set the children free…

He will come…

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2019

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ANONYMOUS SEXUAL ABUSE SURVEY BY ANABAPTIST MEDICAL DOCTOR

Some time ago, a friend told me of a medical doctor (Anabaptist) who is doing research into sexual abuse in Anabaptist communities. To take his survey visit:
Anabaptist Medical Matters

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JASON GRAY CONCERT:
NOVEMBER 2, 2019
Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster PA
7:00pm
CONCERT TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC: Here

NOTE: Due to the concert being the celebration for survivors of abuse,
we ask that any who have sexually abused as adults not attend out of respect

November 2, 2019:  THE GATHERING, held at Lancaster Bible College, is a place where survivors of sexual assault, together with our support person(s), collectively invite God into our grief.  It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse and trusted support persons to gather for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering and sexual violence among us. We will cry out to God, together. Come as you are in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. We welcome you! The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to grieve and heal another layer, together.

NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.

Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.

NOTE: After August 1 concert is included dependant on availability. Once concert tickets are sold out, registrations will continue until October 1 and include lunch only.

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If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to info@generationsunleashed.com. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.

Haiti: Sex Trafficking? Anabaptist Sex Offender Watch Lists & Pastors Admit to Broad Leadership Corruption

ANABAPTIST SEX OFFENDER WATCH LIST:

This week I’ve thought a lot about how to address the thing of missionaries in our Anabaptist culture going to other countries, and then molesting children there. (Yes, I realize it happens in other cultures too. But I don’t work in those cultures). I don’t know the rates and percentages, but knowing the vast number of offenders who go unchallenged, and unreported, and then hearing the news of Jeriah Mast’s crimes in Haiti, I find no comfort in sending missionaries. No, I don’t think most of our men and women are offenders, but the rates are higher than many admit to. And too many of them are especially interested in ‘doing the Lord’s work’ where they are most sure they won’t be spotted. To allow it to continue seems, at least to me, to be a form of sex trafficking. Since it is almost impossible to get offenders in our culture to stand trial, let alone on a sex offender registry, there is no protection. And if we include leaders who enable and look the other way, even better.

As I hear of counsellors and support people being sent to help those who were victimized by Jeriah, I am concerned that opportunistic child molester will be more than happy to give their time. Such a list would hopefully make every child molester across our Anabaptist churches especially disinterested in mission work, if they knew they were marked going in. And leaders who land on the list as looking the other way would hopefully think twice as well.

As I contemplated this, an idea struck me. If we all work together, we can create a Watch List of our own TO SHARE WITH HAITI GOVERNMENT and other countries, so they can flag potential high risks missionaries. Since the American and Canadian governments leave Anabaptists to more or less deal with their own people’s crimes (ie; Amish Steering Committees, Crisis Intervention Committees etc.), why can’t we also create our own version of the sex offender registry, through an OFFENDER WATCHLIST focusing specifically on child molesters?

Other than law enforcement and government officials, to whom the list would be voluntarily sent, the list would not be available to the public, or anyone outside the team managing it. It would be up to the country to investigate and interrogate the individual upon entering or attempting to enter their country. 

That in mind, I am appealing to every victim out there to send in the name of every person over age *16 who sexually molested you when you were a minor (excluding states/provinces where minors must be protected until age 18). Please include both male and female offenders and send the information to: REPORT ANABAPTIST SEX OFFENDERS, with a subject line of “Anabaptist Sex Offender Watchlist“.

UPDATE: Someone has reached out to suggest we form a team to manage the list. I am reaching out to a medical doctor and several other professionals to seek such support. 

NOTE: Please do not send ‘speculation’ cases. There must be at least one confirmed victim, and the victim(s) must be willing to confirm. Send cases only if you are the victim, or the victims’ immediate family or if the victim has requested you send the info. Only credibly accused will make the list, and the more information that is included, the more credible. Vague, rumour-based accusations with no specific information will not be included. (Church confessions to ‘immoral failure’, in which the deviance is known to be against a child, is not speculation. That’s about as solid evidence as gets produced in our culture).

In the body of the email copy and paste the following and fill in all information, especially what has asterisks:

  1. Name of offender:
  2. Gender of Offender:
  3. *Citizenship of Offender:
  4. Date (or year) of offence:
  5. Offender’s church at time of offence: 
  6. Was the offender a church/ministry leader (YES/NO):
  7. If yes, what was the name of the church/ministry:
  8. * Is offender currently in leadership:
  9. If yes, what church/ministry:
  10. *Age of offender at time of offence: 
  11. *Age of victim at time of offence:
  12. *Offence committed (ie: rape; molestation etc):
  13. *Any confirmed current minor victims (YES/NO):
  14. *State/Province & Country of offence:
  15. Reported to law YES/NO:
  16. Handled by (Church Discipline/Law/Both):
  17. Name of church leader(s) who knew:
  18. Address of church leader (if known):
  19. Approximate age of church leader (DOB if known):
  20. *Name of church:
  21. Address of Church:
  22. *Church Affiliation (Eastern; BMA; Charity etc):
  23. Any additional information that may be helpful:

NOTE: Include ministry leaders (male and female) and counsellors who engage or have engaged in practices of ‘holding’ – whether heads lying on laps, sitting on laps or other physical touch, massaging etc – as these are not safe for working with vulnerable individuals.

Since  leaders who look the other way are as dangerous as the offenders themselves, I have included information on them. We will take the information, create a list and release it to the Haitian government, as well as other countries where missionaries tend to exploit children including Guatemala, Mexico, Romania, Thailand, Cambodia, and any other country that is interested. This will allow them to flag these individuals, and keep them out of their countries.

We will make it clear which cases have been proven guilty by law, which ones were handled by church, and which ones are allegations with neither law or church discipline.

If you know of church leaders or leaders of other ministries who have covered up, or are ‘looking the other way’, please send them through. (The victim should not be named if you are not free to disclose).

All cases involving minors will be reported to the law. The list is available to law enforcement internationally and in the state/country crimes took place.

Emails sent to this address are managed by volunteers, and messages that are not on topic are not guaranteed a response. Hate mail will be deleted. Threats will be forwarded to authorities.

Offenders who would like to report themselves and get support, will be responded to. We have connections with several gentlemen who offended in the past who are willing to help you navigate the process of taking full ownership and walking you through genuine repentance. I am willing to help also, as needed, and support you and these gentlemen in the process.

Together we can stand in the gap and stop the exploitation of children.

Please be aware: I will be sending in the name of every leader (this includes some ASAA leaders) involved in the cover up and dreadful handling last year’s case, related to David Denlinger, and giving access to the evidence I hold of such mishandling. Not one leader, to date, has had the integrity to own their wrongs and the gaslighting. I will not stand by and watch them get sent to other countries until  such a time as that issue is resolved and full ownership taken for the mishandling, gaslighting and leaving the victims unacknowledged to this day.

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CHURCH LEADER CORRUPTION:

There is a network of people in our Anabaptist communities who are skilled at keeping truth tightly ‘managed’, and sex offenders carefully protected.  They know each other, and they work together. Make of that what you will.

Oh, and some are very ‘nice guys’, so don’t go imagining it’s all the ultra conservative ones. It’s not. Most are the charismatic, people-drawing ones.

In the middle of that, this week pastors and their wives across multiple ‘brands’ of our Anabaptist culture reached out. They are weary. It is a lonely place to serve, and knowing which leaders to trust is difficult, when they feel surrounded by wolves. Yes, they are saying those things. How can they connect with other like-minded leaders who love Jesus and want to serve the people, rather than be dominated by power-mongers?

My dilemma is this, I am happy to be here to support you as leaders in whatever way I can. But the truth is there is only one way to find each other, and that is by you each boldly taking a stand. Some leaders who reached out have already resigned due to corruption. Others see the corruption of power and feel helpless to influence change, having watched how the power was taken.

Church, we have a problem.

This is not the Jesus Way.

Leaders, I urge you to stand against the wolves among us at all cost. Do so wisely and thoughtfully, but do so. Leave, if you cannot walk in truth among them. Confronting them rarely works. (Which does not mean that you should not, but be forewarned that you will be stripped). They will get up on Sunday morning and go into lengthy manipulative speeches about your divisive spirits, about how your are in rebellion and sowing discord. They will shame you and make it look like they love truth.

I have received messages – including audio recorded evidence – from California to Florida, to my little corner of the world, of how such leaders attack their people when you try to confront them. What I’ve stated is not even the tip of that iceberg. They are bullies. They are abusive. They care about image. And they care about themselves and their power.

Church members and attendees, I urge you to be aware. Be discerning. Watch for the signs. And be there for the wounded. These leaders are leaving trails of (spiritual) corpses in their wake. Watch for those ‘corpses’ and don’t by the ‘he’s just divisive’ line. Any time that is used in relation to a wounded person in the care of the leader speaking is a great time to lean in and hear the wounded.  It’s a sign the leader is spiritually abusive.

And if they’re throwing around the Jezebel line.. it’s pretty much a given, that you are dealing with an abuser. I’ve not met one man or woman who flings that term around who isn’t spiritually abusive. It’s a glorified way of demonizing people so they can be dismissed, and especially to silence the voices of godly women. And it’s demonic. It’s certainly not biblical.

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CLARIFICATION ON BLOG RELEASED JUNE 13, 2019, REGARDING MR. SHANKSTER:

Some of you have asked for clarification regarding the blog in which Simeon Shankster withdrew from CAM. To read the blog click here: Anabaptist Missionary Takes Stand

They partnered together in various ways; he was not part of CAM.

Mr. Shankster is 100% for reporting sex offenders to the law and not interfering with the legal process. Hence, no nonresistant Christian should interfere with legal justice for the offenders, nor should they try to force it. (He does not agree with my advocacy methods. However, he also does not condemn me as a Christian. We come out at a different biblical understanding on this matter. I would not hesitate to work for the government or the law — apart from the fact that I’m lousy at following politics, and am much too independent a thinker to cow-tow to the system – and Mr. Shankster would not believe that is appropriate. I respect his opinion and understanding. And I most certainly respect him as a man of God).

Mr. Shankster believes “We ought to obey God rather than man” and that for Paul Weaver and Eli Weaver to not speak out about their knowledge (since at least 2012) of Jeriah’s crimes, is unbiblical. This is part of the ‘two kingdom’ doctrine he refers to. Ultimately, lawyer or no lawyer, CAM board of directors or no board of directors, he insists these men owe the public the truth. And at least three of us hold hard evidence of truth.

I have responded based on my personal conversation with Simeon. I have spoken as truthfully and accurately as possible, given my understanding of what he said in our conversation. If he sends any corrections, I will update.

If you have any further questions please send them to: Trudy Metzger.

As always…

With love,
~ T ~

 

© Trudy Metzger 2019

 

Finding Hope Between Gunshots, Affairs, Sex Trafficking & Wringing Hands

This week I sit here, hardly knowing how to speak hope into a dark situation. For if it isn’t about offering hope, then what purpose is there?

Sometimes the hope I present is that victims will be heard and their hearts cared for, while not over-compensating and leaving them stuck in hopeless victimization, soaking up sympathies. That’s a destruction all its own, to get absorbed in self-pity, and leaves victims lonely as hell. Sometimes the hope I present is that churches are starting to perk up and listen, and hold perpetrators of abuse accountable for their crimes and letting them face consequences, while still offering Jesus and His love and grace. But always, even in the most exposing and revealing of writings, my prayer is that truth will speak and hope will rise up in hearts of readers. And, where I ‘get it wrong’–because all of us are flawed and sinful–I pray that Truth will speak, and override my scribblings.

Looking at the scandals, the violence and the helpless wringing of hands, words don’t come so easily. It’s all a bit overwhelming. And, yet, apart from the shootings–and actually carrying out such ideation, it’s just a larger scale of the same kind of thing I deal with: people dealing with murderous thoughts and/or suicidal ideation, and hearing dark voices in their heads telling them to act out and follow through; molestation and sexual abuse–often covered up; affairs and infidelity… and children carelessly ‘pimped out’ in their own homes and churches…

And to accompany this there are usually people who want to make these things go away as fast as possible through religious lingo, cheap grace and shallow forgiveness.. The offenders, on the other hand, try to make it go away by putting blame on the victims. (My wife/husband didn’t fulfil me sexually… the child asked for the molestation and flirted with me… The people made racial slurs against me… They treated me different because I’m homosexual… She shouldn’t have been out on the street, especially not dressed like that… )

And we offer hope how?
By siding with making it go away as fast as possible, if we’re religious? Or by siding with the offenders and endorsing their faulty beliefs, or demonizing the victim? (It is the duty of a spouse to give into every sexual desire and whim of his/her partner, without a voice… If people didn’t make those racial and bigoted comments maybe Vester Lee Flanagan–Bryce Williams–wouldn’t have snapped… I saw how the little girl handled herself in a very sexual way and I can believe she did things to ask for the man to touch her… The girl shouldn’t have been so foolish as to get messed up with those people and get pimped out…)

No, we speak hope by pursing truth, both on a practical level and a spiritual level…

Truth in Marriage:
Husbands and wives are blessed, relationally, when they connect at a heart level and care for one another. Sexual intimacy is a beautifully bonding experience, when partners respect each other’s needs and desires, both sides of the equation. Being a trustworthy lover requires sensitivity to our partner, rather than using him or her without consideration. A spouse who is considerate and gives his/her partner a safe place, sexually– a place to engage or decline; a place to sacrifice personal preference by choice for the sake of the spouse–will have a more fulfilling relationship. Caring for others is always more rewarding, and truth is, barring other struggles or health issues, the partner is likely to be more responsive in bed. Simple math. That’s all that is.

canstockphoto6989077 edited

Truth in Bigotry Based on Race, Religion or Sexual Orientation:
Victims of racial/bigoted slurs or mistreatment because of homosexuality, religion or any other thing, will feel hurt. It’s human nature. And though no human has the right to attack another for their choices, their beliefs or for differences, it will happen to all of us and it is our responsibility to learn to deal well with that side of it. However, not all opposing views are attacks, slurs or bigoted. It stands to reason–if there’s much reason left in the world–that if one side expresses themselves, the other side should have the same privilege, even if it steps on toes and collides with beliefs. That is not ‘homophobia’ or ‘persecution’ or ‘bullying’. It is the expression of differing views and if you have any confidence in your point of view at all, hearing an opposing view won’t offend. The greater the offence, the more glaring the insecurity. Shooting people to make a statement is about inner rage and personal issues, not about racial slurs, job losses or other offences. I would venture a guess that it’s a narcissistic response to the consequences of personal irresponsibility.

Truth in Sex Trafficking:
Sex trafficking victims are often struggling teens, though not always, whose vulnerability is exploited by predators. In rebellion or not, to put the crimes of skilled criminals on vulnerable and immature youth, not to mention often very trusting and naive ones–and sometimes even sweet, gentle and innocent youth–is simply not right. They are victims of horrible crime and need us to do what we can to help, and to stop this evil.

Truth in Child Molestation:
And a child ‘asking for it’ when he or she is molested is just out of this world insane. That a full grown adult could say such a thing is beyond horrific. Even more so coming from a person professing Christ. Unfortunately some buy into their lies and excuse themselves based on it. I could list numerous such (current) cases, but won’t. But I will say this, when a man in his 40’s has the audacity to say, “But she wanted it”, of a girl not quite ten years old, things are going to hell in a hand basket, and fast. And in any community that accepts this as a reasonable argument, there is a lack of discernment, to say the very least. Often there’s a bit more behind it than all that, but we’ll not go there today.

Truth, Freedom & Hope:
The reality is that truth brings freedom, and the hidden thing brings death and destruction. I’ve referred to the story of Achan before, and will again, because it’s a reality that will never change. God hates the hidden thing, and He’s creative about exposing it. And when He does, we are each given the opportunity to respond with repentance and ‘owning up’, or we can push the blame, excuse ourselves or find some other way to derail responsibility.

Truth brings freedom and offers hope. And part of truth is accepting responsibility, without excuses. But hope… hope is a Promise from Heaven that is given to us, a gift from God through Jesus, when we embrace truth; all truth. And hope is the beautiful thing that makes accepting responsibility possible, without being swallowed up in shame.

Hope…

Because of what Jesus did on the cross… And He did it for the worst sinners, the likes of Josh (we all know at least some of what he did), and Noel Biderman (founder of Ashley Madison who justifies adultery and isn’t the least bit sorry)… And then there’s me… who once held a gun contemplating murder….

And maybe that’s why, even though I believe in accountability and consequences, I believe in the power of Jesus and hope to transform lives. It’s so hard to deny the existence of a precious gift I hold in my hands…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger