PANIC. THEY ARE COMING FOR ME. THEY HATE ME, AND GOD IS ON THEIR SIDE.
THEY WILL STOP AT NOTHING TO SILENCE ME.
I AM NOT SAFE. NOWHERE IS SAFE.
heart pounding, eyes flicking this way and that, and so I shut them. I squeeze them so hard until sparkling flashes of red light burst across my vision.
but it doesn’t stop the panic.
each and every time I speak out on abuse within religious institutions, the old scab comes off.
ripping, tearing, bleeding.
this is the reality for so many, each time they speak out on abuse and injustice within the church.
because the church doesn’t want to confront its own abusive injustice…
so many have been minimized.
so many have been shamed and shunned.
so many have been belittled and slandered.
the church has deep pockets and insurance and tithes and budgets and discretionary funds.
the church has legions of lawyers, ready to terrorize and threaten.
the church has Nondisclosure Agreements and Spiritual Gag Orders.
the church has isolated Bible verses shaped like little bible bullets, designed to pierce and maim.
the church has the communication channels to shape their own narrative among the masses.
the church has committees and boards and deacons and inner circles of dedicated supporters.
the church has the authority of “almighty God”, a great sledgehammer of shame.
the church has all of the power.
it is no small wonder that so few speak out.
it is no small wonder that abuse flourishes in these “sacred places”.
but if you are quiet… shhhh, listen to the silence – do you hear it?
there is a gentle rustling, a still small voice, a mist wavering on the water.
do you hear it?
it grows louder, stronger, perhaps soon it will be a roar!
the cry of the abused, the lament of the victims. the voice of each tear and desperate sob and agonized scream:
the great unified chorus of a cry for justice.
“Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them.” Ecclesiastes 4:1 English Standard Version (ESV)