A little late – here is the monthly round up of the best of the interwebs (What I’m into will follow at the weekend):
- Sarah Bessey – in which I know, I’m sorry, and I hope I was kind. When I grow up, I wanna be just like Sarah Bessey – and this is why.
- Emily Freeman @ Chatting at the sky – why you need to tell someone how scared you are. “If I hadn’t told them I was afraid, they wouldn’t have known to cheer”. Love this, on authenticity and vulnerability.
- Leigh Cann – 30 things the church needs to know about Christian feminism. This is such a great list, debunking some of the myths about feminism. This is part of a series on Sarah McCarten’s blog – lists of ’30 things’ in celebration of her 30th birthday. There is so much good wisdom there – do check out the whole series.
- Cat Caird – When the broken walk in. Though I’m not healed, I rejoice in others’ healing – this is awesome.
- Abby @ Accidental Devotional – The hard thing, survivors guilt and rum tasting in the Caribbean. A must read for all teachers.
For weary parents
- Beth Morey – In which I stop silencing myself and tell you the truth. Anyone who has a young child/baby needs to read this. So good.
- Kath @ The long walk home – Weary… For tired parents in need of a pick-me-up.
- Alice Buckley – The Tiger who came to tea. Brilliant ideas for play, with pointers for disabled children, too. The following post on an alternative reading of the book is great, too!
- Alice Buckley – anger and ashes – for when you’re so tired you just lose it with your kids.
On God and suffering
- This was an outstanding talk by my friend, Dave Bish, on Ruth 1 – Naomi’s bitterness and how to respond when you go through suffering. If you have 30 minutes, listen. You will be blessed by it.
- Micha Boyett – The pursuit of enough. “Going to counselling is one of the bravest and wisest things I’ve ever done.” – so much to love in this amazing piece. This is Micha at her best.
- Billy Coffey @ Prodigal – A God with sharp edges. I love Billy’s writing, and this, on whether or not God breaks you, is excellent.
- After my post for Prodigal, one commenter pointed me to this: this is a guest post written by a therapist after meeting with Dan, who has M.S. It is poetically and poignantly written, about the struggle of having a body that feels like you, and yet not like you; the affects of having a disability upon your spirituality. I found it very moving.
- Guardian Comment is free – The NHS is killing disabled people
May was the month of M.E. awareness, and it was helpful to see some good stuff out there. I really appreciated all the support of those who shared my post on M.E. and silence.
- I was really touched that one of my friends wrote about M.E. on her blog, saying how she had discovered what the illness is really like through knowing me.
- If you’ve never read this, by Lauren Hillenbrand (author of Seabiscuit), read it immediately. It is a compelling account of what it feels like to have M.E. A sudden illness.
- Karina Hansen, a severe M.E. sufferer in Denmark, has been sectioned and forcibly taken to a psychiatric hospital, because the psychiatrists do not believe she is physically ill. Her parents are not allowed to see her. Her health appears to be deteriorating. Read more here.
- ME – not ‘tired all the time’ – blog by Jess
- Teenager with M.E. is accused of exaggerating her illness – short video from ITV news
- Please take two minutes to vote for M.E. research Uk to win this £2000 grant from Direct Debit? They’re winning but need more votes!
News, politics and response
- Angelina Jolie’s piece on why she chose a double mastectomy. You would understand if a mastectomy would make her feel disempowered, de-feminised, and yet reading this, it is her femininity and power that shine through. I was deeply impressed by her response to it, and her choice to go public in order to raise awareness.
- For links on Oklahoma and Bangladesh, read my post on those stories.
Spiritual abuse and silence
For those who are ignorant of it, there has been an ongoing court case in the US, accusing leaders of SGM ministries in a cover-up of sexual abuse in their church, going back twenty, thirty years. The case is controversial, because one of those accused of covering up is prominent conservative evangelical leader and author, CJ Mahaney. The civil lawsuit was recently dismissed, because 9 of the 11 plaintiffs were outside of the statute of limitations (if you are abused as a child, you have to sue for damages before you are 24, and they were older) and 2 were living outside state boundaries.
My friend, Ros Clarke, wrote this on her Facebook status, and it was so good I have quoted it in full here:
“Really horrified by this statement from the Gospel Coalition. This response from GRACE explains why: http://netgrace.org/where-are-the-voices-the-continued-culture-of-silence-and-protection-in-american-evangelicalism/
“While Mahaney continues to be on the Council of the Gospel Coalition and receive such support from its leaders, the integrity of the whole organisation is called into question. In the statement, Don Carson, Kevin De Young, and Justin Taylor say: “Furthermore, pastors are responsible to obey all mandatory reporting laws, alerting law-enforcement officials and fully cooperating with all investigations. This is not an alternative to church discipline and gospel counsel, but a necessary and complementary role of divinely instituted civil authorities.”
“But this is exactly the serious wrongdoing with which Mahaney is charged. These charges have not yet been investigated by anyone. The case was dismissed because it was beyond the statute of limitations, not because there was insufficient evidence, nor yet because anyone was found guilty.
“Who knows if children are currently being abused in Mahaney’s new church? One person who abused children as a youth minister at a church Mahaney previously pastored has been convicted already. And who knows if he is complicit in covering it up and advising others not to inform the police? Until this is investigated, how can it be known?
“In a statement on the same issue on the Together for the Gospel website, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan and Al Mohler say: “If a Christian leader is accused of any wrongdoing, those to whom he is accountable must investigate the charges and then deal responsibly with the evidence…. A Christian leader, charged with any credible, serious, and direct wrongdoing, would usually be well advised to step down from public ministry.”
“Why has no one advised Mahaney to step down? Why does he remain in public ministry? Why does he continue to receive public support from the Gospel Coalition and Together for the Gospel?
“Why has no investigation been announced into the very credible and serious charges that have been brought? Surely SGM ought to have their own investigation – invited a third party organisation to examine them? For even if there is a statute of limitations in the legal system, we can be sure that there is not one in God’s sight. It is part of our responsibility as Christians to bring sins into the light. If those accused are innocent, would they not welcome such an investigation to clear their names and restore confidence in their ministry?
“I don’t know why there has not been more outrage, and why so few have publicly called for Mahaney (and the others named in the plea who are not so widely known) to be thoroughly investigated. But if you are outraged, say so as publicly as you can. Perhaps if more voices are heard, this will not be allowed to continue.”
Ros’ comments prompted me to look more deeply at the primary documents, rather than just people’s blogs on the issue. These are the best links I have found to examine the evidence:
- This is the ABC news reporting on the ruling.
- This is the Defendants’ motion to dismiss the suit (ie SGM’s grounds for dismissing the action). It argues that the plaintiffs are not allowed anonymity, then (as far as I can work out), says that the church leadership cannot be viewed as a whole (“class”) and that people need to be named individually in order to answer any charges (ie the church leadership cannot be held guilty of cover up, the individuals have to be named and identified precisely how they covered up. It also argues that some of the plaintiff’s complaints are invalid because they did not file within 7 years of reaching your majority. (Confusingly, some reports seem to say ‘3 years’ and others 7 – but the critical age seems to be 24). That leaves two people – but as they are currently living in Virginia and not Maryland, they are not valid either, because they are outside the state. It also argues that if clergy are told something in confidence, they are not obliged to report it, but this wasn’t upheld, only the statute of limitations part.
- So this then is the Plaintiff’s amended complaint, which names both the plaintiffs and the defendants individually. (I read it and felt sick). It is fairly graphic, fairly specific, fairly horrific.
On my blog:
It has been a funny old month – I have been in the midst of this relapse, so it has been helpful that I’ve had so many pre-written posts on others’ blogs. It was a privilege, in particular, to write for Prodigal. It seems that my piece, When God doesn’t heal, hit a nerve, with over 4000 Facebook shares. I am so grateful for all who shared it and commented on how that was their experience, too.