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You may have noticed a brief blog break. Thursday I went out of town to a meeting and Friday I drove back home and later had a 3-hour interview regarding the bad side of Christian homeschooling and so I was tied up a bit.
I’d like to share a little bit about the meeting. Thursday, at the last minute, I decided to take a trip to Portland area to meet with a group of people connected with abuse ministries. The coordinator has been traveling around the country organizing meetings with people who are connected with abuse advocacy and our meeting was only one of many meetings in his travels. So what he did in this stop was and is being replicated other places as well. That’s exciting!
I met the coordinator via e-mail after reaching out for help when I was sued in March 2012. There were only two others that I knew only through e-mail at the meeting. It was so great to meet these folks face to face after exchanging e-mails for some time. There were 10 people in total at our meeting, 3 of whom were pastors.
What I saw Thursday blessed the socks off me. I arrived a bit late and missed some of the introductions, but what I saw represented was the heart of Christ. It was beautiful. Everybody shared a little bit about themselves and the ministries they were involved in. Many relayed personal stories of abuse. Others mentioned stories that they were familiar with and how they assisted in getting to resolution. There was laughter and tears.
Sometimes this blog can be filled with a lot of negativity because I expose pastors who turn a blind eye when it comes to abuse. So it was refreshing to hear from pastors who shared passionately and from their heart about defending and protecting victims of abuse. These men were tough on abuse, tough on perpetrators, but very compassionate and strong on defending the oppressed/abused. They were fired up about that. I wish you all could have seen it.
These are not pastors who care about the size of their church and church programs, they care about souls and the oppressed. Another thing really touched me – – one pastor brought up the subject of those Christians who are so hurt that they no longer go to church – the “nones.” I am aware of many readers who do not go to a church building anymore.
There was a bit of discussion about that and another pastor said he used to be concerned about people not going to church, but not anymore. They weren’t concerned in that they wanted people back in a church “building.” They were concerned that there were unresolved hurts which led them away, may have caused them to abandon their faith and simply wanted a way to reach out to them and love them. Once again, these men were modeling true shepherding – – it was not about them or their ministry. The focus was where it needed to be, on the people, and specifically hurting people.
Aside from pastors Ken and Craig who have been commenting here on the blog for a year now, here are three more who are equally compassionate for hurting souls. There really are pastors out there who are being godly shepherds and do care for your souls. You can find them. Trust me, there are more than 5 🙂
Ok, going back to the meeting. I think one of the goals of the meeting was first of all to have the opportunity to meet in person, and secondly, to see if we could connect our resources. This aspect was important to me and I’d like to share why from my perspective as a blogger who supports victims.
The visible side of blogging is of course the blog itself. I love blogging. I enjoy the interactions in the comments. That is the life of a blog. It can become like a community where people connect and support one another. Sometimes I can just sit back and you all can run this ship by encouraging one another, sharing your insights, challenge others. I love that.
There is also a behind-the-scenes part of blogging that happens here and with quite a few other bloggers with whom I work. In connecting with other bloggers and comparing notes, it seems that blogs focusing on abuse issues have a similar pattern: there is probably just as much time spent behind the scenes interacting privately with individuals as actual blogging/researching for blog posts and commenting.
Some of these people who contact bloggers like me are in a crisis. I was that person last year when I was sued by my former pastor. I was desperate, not knowing what to do, where to go for help. I reached out to blogger, Dee, of The Wartburg Watch blog and also found Dr. Barb Orlowski (spiritual abuse author). They were a tremendous help to me. Dee gave me ideas of what to do, gave me some contacts, and a whole lot of encouragement. Barb is networking queen extraordinaire. She put me in touch with a bunch of people who in turn shared ideas with me, prayed for me, encouraged me. Now I get to do the same for others in their crises and it is a privilege to do so because I will never forget those scary days.
In our meeting, we discussed pooling together our resources. It’s funny because I was talking to a couple of people about this very thing quite a few months ago when realizing there must be a lot of overlap and wasted man-power with so many of us doing similar things. I was thrilled that others have seen that same need and are willing to do something about it. It would be great to get key resources/ministries tied in together so that we can get real and practical help to people immediately.
So, as I was thinking about it, a lot of us who are victim advocate bloggers do a kind of “spiritual triage.” We may the first people who hear of a particular crisis. We can assess the problem, provide whatever help we are able to provide and then, if needed, we are able to refer to others who may be able to help in more practical ways. Having key resources available to share with people in crises is going to be such a big help.
I am so encouraged by the people I see working on the sidelines without fanfare, praying, contending, and wanting to make a difference in the lives of hurting sheep. Please pray for these silent contenders who are trying to coordinate efforts so that we can effectively meet the needs of so many hurting people.
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Update: I swapped out the video with another version because of a reference to a church with a known case of abuse. 😦