I'm not angry or bitter. I'm sad. Grieved. Torn. Disappointed. A child went through unbelievable trauma and the pastor that contributed to it hasn't been humble enough to repent and seek forgiveness. Where is the Gospel in that?
Child abuse, rape, molestation -- it has touched me -- my family -- loved ones close to me -- personally and deeply. I speak because I love God's work.
I think sometimes strongly controlling organizations get into message management when they are trying to do damage control. I can't assign that motive to BJU, but based on what has been done so far, I want to say that I believe there is more harm in limiting the information students get on campus about this matter. I think there's more harm to only promoting one side, to shutting down conversation, to defining the "opposition" by deflection, projecting, name calling or maligning intent by labeling emotions. The real harm comes from hiding sin. The real harm comes from failing to admit that the church at large has had a problem with covering up child abuse. It is not just the Catholic church, it's a problem within fundamentalism too.
Until those that have erred -- even with good intent -- confess their wrong, ask forgiveness and are willing to talk about it openly, this topic in general will continue to be very difficult. There will continue to be hurts. Bob Jones University is teaching students that will go out into the workplace and churches and communities that will have to deal with this issue. Many of those graduates will become mandatory reporters. If they do not see an example before them where these things are openly addressed, it hurts them. It hurts the Gospel. It hurts the name of Christ.
Oh, and for the record, with regard to the trial notes section of this blog:
- Every effort was made to carefully write down as much as possible--almost a full notebook.
- Where there was a question about something, every effort was made to compare with the three reporters that did live blogging and other attendees that took copious notes.
- If there was EVER one single area where something was doubtful because of incomplete notes, it was LEFT OUT of the notes transcribed for this blog.
- The heart and motives of the people taking notes was pure--seeking only to convey the truth. There is no bitterness, wrath or malice from this person toward Chuck Phelps or the Lord's work.
I do have a suggestion: if Bob Jones University is truly committed to pursuing love and truth in this matter, how about they seek the full support of Chuck Phelps to contact G.R.A.C.E. (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) and ask them to consider the facts and give counsel. GRACE "provides individual assistance and counsel to churches and Christian organizations who are in the midst of addressing abuse issues within their respective bodies."