10 Women Who Are Changing the Southern Baptist Response to Abuse

ChristianityToday.com | 5/17/2019 | Staff
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A funny thing happened... Yesterday, Memorial Day, the clients at Milestones we’re spending a couple of hours celebrating with summery games. A match of water balloon baseball started up and as someone took a swing, the bat flew out of his hand and landed square on the left side of my face. I lost a front tooth and had four bones in the left side of my face break. Tomorrow (5/30) I will be having surgery to reconstruct that side of my face, followed by having my jaws wired shut for 6 weeks and three months of recovery before I can get that tooth replaced. I always wanted straight teeth. I think braces would have been a better idea. Most likely, given this, my time at Milestones will be ending, and I wanted to let you guys know. However, in the two weeks I’ve been there, God has moved in ways I didn’t even know was possible. I’ve been loved well, guided well, and my medication adjustments have brought me back up to a level of functioning and hope I wasn’t expecting. I have made deep friendships that will last a lifetime and coping skills to help when things get rough. I’m still working with Milestones on the details of payment and will let you guys know as soon as I hear what’s going on so that you know your generosity is invested with all integrity and gratitude. Here is a fun 3D X-ray of my face and some pretty gnarly selfies. Love, love, so much love, Anne

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For many years, even as revelations of sexual abuse by clergy had been coming to light for decades in the Catholic church, the evangelical church had not had “eyes to see” or “ears to hear” the extent of its own abuse crisis.

READ THIS ISSUEOil Is a Gift from God. Are We Squandering It?10 Women Who Are Changing the Southern Baptist Response to AbuseReal Raisings from the Dead or Fake News?

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In the words of Bible teacher Beth Moore, “By and large, the naïve couldn’t fathom it, the knowledgeable wouldn’t risk it, the perpetrators were good at it, and the victims were blamed and shamed for it.”

Women - Attention - Suffering - Stories - Baptists

But in 2018 and 2019, women brought new attention to the silent suffering of those whose stories were ignored, stifled, and left untold. Among Southern Baptists in particular, these advocates in churches and ministries platformed the cause and supported survivors pursuing justice, healing, and reform.

Faced with a growing wave of survivor stories and a newspaper investigation unearthing more than 700 victims, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is no longer downplaying the problem. SBC president J. D. Greear said the body of churches needs to “repent of a culture that has made abuse, cover-ups, and evading accountability far too easy,” months after launching a study group to develop new resources and recommend policy changes.

SBC - Pastors - Professors - Leaders - President—Paige

In the SBC, pastors, professors, senior leaders, and even a prominent seminary president—Paige Patterson at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary—have lost their positions over mishandled allegations or their own misconduct. Some congregations facing scrutiny over abuse have withdrawn from the SBC. Southern Baptists will vote at their June annual meeting on whether to add a provision threatening to disfellowship churches without adequate protocols for addressing abuse.

More broadly, two states have considered bills inspired by recent...
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