|7 days until court date!|
Yeah, we’ve gone viral.
Average amount of blog hits before news media attention: 250-400 hits. Today, I have over 18,000 hits. (Did you just hear that loud thump as Julie Anne fell off the couch?)
Evidently, people have been trying to leave comments, but have been unable to. Sorry, please keep trying! Maybe too much traffic?! Oh, and also people have informed me that Beaverton Grace Bible Church voice mail is full and their e-mail is full!
If my original Google review had remained unchallenged on the Google review site (it has been removed – and not by me), maybe 50 people would have seen it. This is a church that had close to 100 people when we were there.
The original review was removed, but I found this draft copy in my computer:
Although this church touts to be “Beaverton Grace Bible”, the “grace” word is lacking. This is more of a legalistic church where if you don’t do things their way (which is the “only” way), you will have challenges. Beaverton Grace is famous for shunning former members/attendees without giving an explanation or following Biblical principles on disagreements. You will be fine in this church if you never question the elders or pastor. Their emphasis is heavy on evangelism to the extent that you get the feeling if you do not regularly evangelize “their way”, you are not a true Christian. Be wary of churches that broadcast that they are one of the only few remaining churches that preach the Word. There are true Bible-believing churches who preach the Word, don’t mince the hard teachings, yet also have a balance of truth and grace and humble leaders. Do not be deceived.
But I think God had other purposes regarding the Google reviews.
Someone posted this in a comment. I love it. If you know the source, please let me know: “And then I looked around and said “somebody needs to do something about this”. At which time I realized…. I AM somebody.”
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We no longer live in the same area, but were visiting Portland/Beaverton over the weekend. We attended our former church (not that church, but the one after that church – a wonderful church). There was a Mother’s Day message and part of the topic was how mothers protect their children. He specifically mentioned a family in the church who had sons who were wrestlers and the different ways the mom and dad responded to their sons as they watched their sons’ wrestling matches. It was quite funny – dad said to the kid to, “man up”, while mom dug her nails in her seat as she watched her sons’ matches – she instinctively wanted to protect her babies. I know that feeling well.
As I was sitting there, thinking back on my times of mothering (been doing this gig for 25+ yrs now), I thought of times I had protected my children and times I had not protected and actually harmed them (thinking of Hannah here). But then my mind shifted to this legal case. I started thinking about the many personal stories people have shared with me and how they weren’t protected. How some people went to their pastor for help, but were abandoned, either emotionally, physically, or spiritually. Their pastor, who was supposed to protect his flock, failed.
This kind of thing is not only a church problem. It’s a problem in society. We are now reading a lot in the news about bullying in schools, some leading to suicide. There is discrimination in the work environment where people from other countries are treated as second-class citizens. Elderly are neglected in nursing/retirement homes. Disabled don’t always get treated respectfully. We’ve even read stories of people watching violent crimes against someone from the sidelines and not get involved at all. How can this be?
I was abused as a child. I remember reaching out to adults who “dissed” my story. They either didn’t believe me or did not want to get involved.
I get very angry when people sit by idly and allow abuse to continue. I remember so many times in my childhood asking God, “why is this happening to me?” Could God be using my childhood story for a higher purpose? I don’t know. All I know is that somehow this story has taken off. I did not plan this. When I posted the review, it was to give my story, share my church experience so that people could come to their own conclusions. I did it because I wanted to protect others from what we had gone through.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Years ago, I went through counseling and one of the most difficult concepts for me to fathom was that adults heard my story and did nothing. Let me repeat, they heard the story and made the choice to do nothing. There were things they could have done with that information. But they didn’t want to get involved.
That is what ate at me after the year we left the church. Nobody was doing anything. There was no one to turn to. They elders noticed no problems – we had already asked them. There was no one above the pastor to call – he was at the top of the chain.
Google was the only thing I could do – I felt if the information in my review could help just one family, just one person, then it was worth it. Little did I know what would happen.
I’m getting literally barraged with comments, private e-mails, reporters calling for interviews, radio show interviews, people sharing their stories of abuse and lots and lots of encouragement. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined this much publicity.
I want to tell you that my life is overflowing with richness right now. I am physically exhausted, but oh, so happy – yes, even with a $500,000 lawsuit hanging over my head. The connections that have been made, the people who are saying, “YES!!! That is my story!!” others are saying, “pastor cannot do that”, and “this must be stopped!”.
What has gone in my former church is just a small experience that is happening all around us in churches, schools, homes, and businesses. When you looked up my blog or clicked on that link to come to my blog, I have a hunch that you already you a problem with bullies. I’ve got my Mama Bear on. Will you please put your Mama Bear or Papa Bear on and join me in this fight against abuse – not only spiritual abuse, but all abuse around you – especially against those who are weak and need our help. We cannot sit by and make the choice to do nothing.
I now see God’s purpose in my life as this is unfolding before my eyes. What a gift and privilege to bring this subject in the limelight. That abuse was not in vain. Lord, let me be your ears and eyes and your heart as I come into contact with those who are hurting!
Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.