Archive for the ‘A Tale of Two Sinners’ Category

Some Resources for #metoo

October 18, 2017
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This week’s #metoo campaign on social media has been a powerful and sad reminder of how many of us have experienced sexual abuse, assault, or harassment. If you missed it, the point was for women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted to write “Me too” as a Facebook status in an attempt to give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.

I have especially appreciated the #complicit follow-up, in which men have acknowledged their part in the problem even though they may never have perpetrated violence against a woman. They confess that their objectification of women, their silence in the face of misogyny, their laughter at statements degrading or mocking women make them complicit in a culture that allows abuse and protects abusers.

Jackson Katz’s insightful statement pointing out that the way our language about sexual violence practically ignores the existence of predators is also making the social media rounds again. By the way, his powerful TED Talk about violence against women being a men’s issue is definitely worth watching.

Awareness of this issue is so important and is a topic Christians should be addressing regularly because so many women and men in our churches have been affected by it. Jesus was an excellent model of respect for women. In The Gentle Savior Bible study, I pointed out in Chapter 10 that

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No More Looking the Other Way

September 5, 2014
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girl_rain[Trigger warning: The topic of this post is adults who ignore signs of child sexual abuse.]

 

Not again.

Not another one, please.

But there it is: “Rotherham sex abuse scandal:1,400 children exploited by Asian gangs while authorities turned a blind eye” reads the terrible headline in last Tuesday’s issue of The Telegraph.

The proportions of this crime are epic. A mind-numbing number of children have been abused over the past 16 years, which should make us all weep for their trauma and the deep depravity of the human race. Yet, what makes this case all the worse is that the people who should have protected the children and prosecuted the pedophiles turned a blind eye and ignored all the signs of it. Here are some particularly disturbing statements from the news article and the report revealing the scandal:

 “Police officers even dismissed the rape of children by saying that sex had been consensual.”

 “Senior officials were responsible for ‘blatant’ failures that saw victims, some as young as 11, being treated with contempt and categorised as being “out of control” or simply ignored when they asked for help.”

“Some councillors seemed to think it was a one-off problem, which they hoped would go away.”

“For years, the police failed to get a grip of the problem, dismissing many of the victims as ‘out of control’ or as ‘undesirables’ who were not worthy of police protection.”

“It emerged that there had been three previous reports into the problem which had been suppressed or ignored by officials, either because they did not like or did not believe the findings.” (Read More)

A problem we can’t ignore…

July 27, 2012
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My sisters, this is real and is happening right here in the USA.

Those ‘Monsters’ Have Victims

May 26, 2012
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In the May 2012 issue of Christianity Today, the editors were appalled to learn that a former co-worker at the magazine was arrested for sexually assaulting two of his foster children. On the heels of this story came the revelation that a Wheaton College Christian education professor was arrested for hoarding and trading thousands of child porn images. They suddenly came to the revelation that all faith-based organizations can harbor child predators, not just Catholic rectories. In their article “The ‘Monsters’ Among Us,” they offered two principles for the Christian community in response. 

I have read articles from Christianity Today off and on over the years and respect the quality of their writing and the broad array of Christian perspectives they represent. I only recently subscribed to the magazine, so I don’t know how much they have discussed this issue in prior articles. (Read More)

“Thank You” or “Please Forgive Me”? Pondering the Prostitute’s Purpose

May 8, 2012
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Was she there to beg his forgiveness or to worship him for a cleansing already received? 

This was the question that sparked all the Bible study I’ve invested in the subject of Jesus and women over the years. (God may have possibly had something to do with this, as well.) The question was prompted by an ambiguous Bible translation, which resulted in a significant misinterpretation. 

One day back in the mid-1990s, I was preparing to teach a children’s Sunday school lesson on the story of the sinful woman in Luke 7:36-50. I was taken aback by a statement in the teacher’s manual that Jesus forgave this woman because she had demonstrated a sufficient amount of sorrow for her sin. 

In other words, they thought Jesus was saying, “Give her some space, Simon. This woman is working hard at proving to me that she is sorry for her pitiful life. If she grovels long enough and with enough conviction, I’ll forgive her.”  (Read More)

Protecting God’s Daughters

March 7, 2012
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Yesterday, my daughter Jessi and I attended a conference on violence against women at the UVA Nursing School. We learned more about the emotional and physical tolls of abuse on its victims, about interventions to protect victims and aid in their recovery, and about efforts here and abroad aimed at violence prevention.

Consider these staggering U.S. statistics:

– One in four girls and one in six boys is sexually abused before the age of 18.

– More than 600 women every day are raped or sexually assaulted.

– One in five women will experience rape or attempted rape during their college years.

– Women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner-related physical assaults and rapes every year.

– There is a $32 billion/year business in commercial sex trafficking of women and children in the U.S. The average age of entry into prostitution is 11 to 14 years old. The U.S. is the second largest destination for trafficked victims of sexual exploitation. (Read More)

Women of Notable Faith

February 1, 2012
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Jesus explicitly mentions the faith of only three women in the Gospels. Can you guess who they are? His mother maybe? Mary Magdalene? Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus? 

Nope. These women may have possessed notable faith, but the Gospel writers never mentioned it. The faith Jesus commented on belonged to three women least likely to be commended by his fellow first-century Jews:

 1. A ceremonially unclean woman who had missed worship services for 12 years.

2. A Canaanite woman who was neither an ethnic nor religious Jew.

3. A prostitute. 

Here’s what Jesus said to these women.  (Read More)

Compassion Is Never Wasted

October 22, 2011
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My daughter, Jessi

My daughter, Jessi

File this under the category “You can never predict what effect your actions will have.”

In Week 9 of The Gentle Savior Bible study, I mention a local newspaper article reporting the arrest of seven women on charges of prostitution. That was the only time in our 11 years in Charlottesville that I can remember the paper printing the photos of prostitutes, so it stood out to me.

I didn’t mention this in the book, but at the time—this was probably 2007—I cut out those photos and took them down to my teenage daughter Jessi’s room. We talked about how sad they looked and how prostitution was far from a glamorous career choice and that they needed our compassion. Jessi wanted to pray for them, so she pinned the photos on her bulletin board.

Fast forward to spring 2011. I was preparing to teach the Week 9 lesson at a sister church, and I remembered the photos. They were still on my daughter’s bulletin board after all these years, even though she was then a junior in college. As I sat on her bed, my brain suddenly made a connection it hadn’t before. At that very moment Jessi was in Washington, DC, interning with Shared Hope International, a group that works to raise awareness of and to end commercial sex trafficking in the U.S. Even now, she wants to continue working with rescue organizations, whether she serves as an employee or a volunteer. Did I mention that I’m very proud of my daughter? She is also a strong advocate for the safety of women on her college campus. (Read More)

No Good Reason to Use the Word Slut

October 8, 2011
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slut [sluht] 

A word used by women to demean other females for their perceived provocative style of dress or behavior around men.

 A word used by teenagers to mar the reputation of a girl they want to hurt. 

A word used by parents to shame their young daughters when otherwise unable to control the daughter’s behavior or appearance. 

A word used by verbal, physical, and sexual abusers to humiliate and subjugate a woman for cruel, selfish purposes. 

A word used by men to convey disrespect for a woman. 

A word used by certain men to justify their coercive sexual advances. 

A word used by Western “Christian” culture to communicate a double standard of expectations (Women who are perceived to be sexually active are sluts; men who are perceived to be sexually active are studs.) 

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RAINN Day

September 21, 2011
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Here’s a little public service announcement for all my sisters. Thursday, September 22, is RAINN Day, an annual campaign by the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network to raise awareness and educate students against sexual violence on college campuses. There are a number of helpful resources on RAINN’s website at www.rainn.org regarding prevention and ways to get help if you’ve experienced sexual violence.

No one deserves sexual violence in any form. Help and healing is available. If I can help point you in the right direction, please email me at lynnbell209@gmail.com.