Within my experience in the Church, and probably before that, too, I have had lots of criticism for speaking up on what I find wrong. I think it is an absorbed trait from our American…especially the German inflected American culture. We have so many clichés, but probably the best known on this topic is : “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. We want nice, we want acceptable, we want rosey-colored. And we don’t mind slapping you and trampling you to get it.
Why the ranting? Because I can’t really say what I would like to say… and it has nothing to do with how I’d be taken… it has everything to do with the way some things are so evil and foul that the pain in facing them is just too much for me at times. And I can’t even say I had personally experienced that pain. I haven’t, but I have been on the listening side of victims. And the pain of just hearing some things is sometimes too much. I’m talking about sexual abuse, and power abuse and the fact that it finds welcome places to root in the Church.
This should not be. It should never be. But it is. And I am writing this because I think this putrid attitude of shutting down the … I’m going to call them prophets…. the people who whistle blow the problems, who betray the false loyalties so that there can be a reality of virtue….. I think the attitude that desires clouds of happy, foamy, and flattering image-making should be eschewed. Refused. Rejected. Instead of those who, were they given proper place and attention, could help make the environment of the Church less secretive and condusive to predators.
We are supposed to be on watch for wolves, aren’t we?
Aren’t we? Well? Would it so ruin your fantasy of an all-embracing ‘hospital’ church to keep things a little cleaner…holier? Just because the pendulum at times has gone too far to the side of the legalistic and domineering, isn’t it worse to declare open season on the weak, helpless, and innocent…because we want to seem ….. accepting, or is that just acceptable in the eyes of our ‘tolerant’ culture? I think an openness to considering criticsm acts as a type of preventative for worse problems. It creates a climate that is better for growing the good, if carried out in the proper way. Measured criticism that is examined for veracity.
This was all inspired by reading a blog about someones writings of their childhood experience, and how it was in the Church. It awakened memories of a time when I listened-counseled someone who was victim to a church predator… and it always has amazed me that those things go for so long and without detection.
Yet, I know personally how anyone who has negative views is disliked and disdained. It ruins the pretty facade. But my thinking now is that this pretty facade is exactly what predators bank on. And of all places, we should make Church safe for the innocent and naive. We ought to have warriors on the battlements, and watchmen at the gates.
But then we might offend, we might seem too rigid… better to take chances on the hurt going on while we try to band-aid it later.
Somehow though…. this does not jive with the pictorial of a Shepherd.
I believe we should care more for the vulnerable and the victimized, and deal more straightforwardly with the predators.
Less calling good evil and evil good. If Christians can’t do this in their own jurisdictions of the Church…. of what use are they in the larger culture of the World?
Take your hands from your eyes, open your ears to hear, and speak up for what is right.
Get salty…… real real salty. And that means make some judgments.