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Curious Reads: "We Believe You"
Faith Leaders Against Sexual Violence
#1 Today’s “top of the fold” story are faith leaders who are speaking against sexual violence.
That is, in light of how much I’ve been harping on the language of sexual violence inherent in evangelical messaging about sex and gender, I thought I’d point you to an opposite message, too.
Because, as survivors, it can feel as if every faith leader everywhere has shut his/her eyes to abuse. But that’s simply not the case.
So I want to invite you to explore a Sojourners project I recently discovered: 100 sermons against sexual and domestic violence.
Here are the highlights:
“When #MeToo went viral in 2017, the movement paved the way for #ChurchToo and #SilenceIsNotSpiritual, hashtags that insisted that because Christians are not immune to perpetrating sexual and domestic violence, they must actively denounce it. Christians all across the spectrum spoke out online against abuse. But we wanted to know, would faith leaders be willing to elevate the conversation from Twitter to the pulpit?
So, in January 2018, we invited pastors and parishioners to send us sermons on domestic and sexual violence, hoping to have 100 sermons by the end of the year. By the end of July, we had nearly 150.”
This database reveals how many faith leaders are actively fighting patriarchal and violent sexuality by using the stage to speak safety and healing to victims (and judgment to perpetrators).
From Rich Villodas to Wilda Gafney to Melissa Florer-Bixler to Nadia Bolz-Weber to Rev. Otis Moss III to the pastor down the street you’ve never heard of, clergy are speaking out. They are growing in their capacity to confront perpetrators and to protect victims.
Personally, as I read through what Sojo had collected a few years ago, including many meaningful quotations from the sermons preached, I felt a great sense of solidarity and hope for the American church.
I often struggle to maintain hope for the big C Church because, some days, I admit it feels like a lost cause. But this list proves otherwise.
Change is happening. The end of abuse is not here, but we are gaining the skills to uproot it, one congregation at at time. Do not give up hope yet, friends.
Thanks for reading. Warmly, Liz Charlotte Grant
Tell me: How does this Sojo project make you feel? What does the American church need to do in order to uproot abuse altogether?
More Curious Reads
#2 If the writer’s guild of America strike has left you with nothing to watch, consider making your way through this list of best independent films of the 20th century. —the New Yorker
#3 Self help isn’t new, but the cult of the billionaire is. —Vox
“Self-help, particularly the kind doled out by the very rich, has adopted the posturing of New Thought preachers, with echoes of the prosperity gospel that found a resurgence in post-World War II America. And it looks a lot like today’s woo-woo vision boards, manifesting, and ‘Lucky Girl Syndrome.’”
#4 Pete Buttigeig on his episcopalian faith, beer, and his electric mustang. “Perhaps the religious left is rising again.” (God, I hope so.) —Wired
#5 Why do we really care about getting to Mars? Because it tells us more about the planet we live on. —Lit Hub
Just for Fun…
Since I’m currently watching what I eat (oh, the endless diet cycles!), I found this pro/cons list of diets snort-worthy. —McSweeney’s Internet Tendency