Time Doesn’t Heal Sexual Assault If Victims Are Silenced

How churches can help victims decades after assault.

Christine Blasey Ford’s recent testimony added fuel to an already heated discussion on how we should respond to abuse allegations. Regardless of politics, pastor and author Ed Stetzer called for caution in how we speak about abuse so that we don’t harm victims within our own communities. Research confirms that victims stay silent because of a negative community culture toward abuse and often don’t receive emotional support. According to therapist Connie Baker, herself a sexual abuse survivor, our response as a church community can make tragic situations worse or they can help with the healing process.

Rachael Denhollander, the attorney who spearheaded the fight to take down Larry Nassar for sexually abusing hundreds of young female gymnasts, experienced both damaging and healing responses from her church communities. Before she came forward, she recalled the kind of church culture that had previously silenced her.

During a youth group discussion, Denhollander remembers a student asking whether they could consider King David’s misuse of power toward Bathsheba as sexual assault, and their teacher said no, opening the floor for others to give their opinions. (You can read why it is assault from a theological viewpoint here.) A friend of Denhollander’s raised his hand to share: “I think it had to have been her fault, because she could have chosen to die rather than have sex with him.”

“This immediately told me I would be better off dead than a rape victim. And if I didn’t fight to my death, it’s my fault,” Denhollander recalled.

The Impact of Silencing

Research indicates that when abuse victims feel like they can’t or shouldn’t talk about their experiences, …

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Kingdom Patriotism

When we are captivated by the great treasure of Christ and his Kingdom, we’re positioned to winsomely invite others to join us

Perhaps the most insidious error of the church in North America has little to do with liberalism and conservatism, and far more to do with exchanging our spiritual identity with Christ for a cobbled, syncretistic mixture of patriotism, consumerism, and political influence.

In this exchange, we have settled for a muted appearance of godliness that comes with little of Jesus’ power.

In our futile desire to simultaneously be a peculiar people while striving to be legitimized by earthly institutions, we may have unintentionally become quite unparticular. Rather than the distinct, counter-cultural Kingdom army, we’ve become common. Our message is confusing to the ears of lost and bewildered sheep, who are dizzy with the constant barrage of voices crying out for allegiance.

Our clarion call to the lost rings hollow amid the secularized themes that sound eerily familiar. We may ourselves have become a contemporary version of Jesus’ greatest opponents; our attachments to sacred religiosity and secular power appear to be more reminiscent of the Pharisees than of our Rabbi.

And what have we gotten in this exchange? Our ultimate patriotism is pledged to a temporal and sensual kingdom—one that is both in and of this world.

Our influence on that temporal kingdom is as vapid as it is unspiritual. Our agency within that earthly kingdom is secure only to the degree that our political verve remains useful. And our eternal impact on that kingdom is diminished to an amalgamation of zero and nothing. We have sold our Kingdom allegiance for a currency not too far from thirty pieces of silver.
So how do we return to our first love? How do we once again become the courageous kingdom patriots whose devotion is unmistakably loyal …

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Lightning sounded like a bomb, Scottsdale man says, when bolt hit his home Sunday

“It wasn’t a bang. It was a boom,” Don Ekstrand said Sunday after a lightning strike set his house on fire in Scottsdale.

      

 

 

Arizona Summit Law School's plan to have all students finish at ASU appears to be off

Arizona Summit Law School says it will work with each student to develop individual plans for degree completion that may or may not involve ASU.

      

 

 

ASU dean recommended Lawrence Krauss be fired following sexual harassment allegations

Lawrence Krauss, an internationally known theoretical physicist whose work includes the Doomsday Clock, is accused of sexual harassment.

      

 

 

Making Peace with Change

Transition is part of God’s original design. So is his peace in the midst of it.

We’ve been shopping for a new home. It’s tiring and exciting, a roller coaster of emotion for all of us. My young son, for example, is sentimental about every tiny imperfection in our 90-year-old house. “It’s time for a new season,” I tell him. But looking into his eyes by the dim reading light on his bedside table, I feel as though I’m looking into a mirror. I was change averse, too, when I was young.

I still feel small sometimes. And in moments like this, my empathy and emotion threaten to scramble my own inner compass, making me want to hang back in fear. Resistant, I don’t want to let out the sails. I’d rather stay put.

Jennie B. Wilson’s gospel song has been a theme for me lately: “Life is full of swift transition, naught of earth unmoved can stand. Build your hopes on things eternal, hold to God’s unchanging hand.” Change is part of God’s original design for the world, part of the fall of man, and part of God’s ultimate restoration. Making peace with change is a matter of the heart, of spiritual posture.

Psalm 84 puts it this way: “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion” (5, ESV). In this case, Zion is the pilgrimage where our hearts find rest while we’re in motion. While we follow him and follow the call on our lives, our souls find rest in God (Ps. 62). The peace of God is active within us, even as we journey on into the unknown.

We don’t have to be strong-armed by our emotions. We can keep on, knowing that ultimately the changes will not knock us off course. In every change, we are held secure. By faith, God holds us steady. Grace takes the external circumstances of …

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Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Christian Doctor Who Heals Rape Victims

Congolese gynecologist Denis Mukwege is on a crusade for women’s dignity.

A Christian gynecologist who has dedicated his career to caring for victims of rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been awarded a 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.

Denis Mukwege, nicknamed “Dr. Miracle” for his specialized procedures, was a co-recipient for the annual honor alongside Nadia Murad, a Yazidi activist who survived rape and kidnapping by ISIS in Iraq. The Nobel committee said both winners modeled “efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.”

Over the past 20 years, Mukwege has treated tens of thousands of women in Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, many of who had been gang raped by militants in the midst of the country’s conflict, left scarred and stigmatized.

His faith influences his approach to caring for patients holistically, “not only to treat women—their body, [but] also to fight for their own right, to bring them to be autonomous, and, of course, to support them psychologically. And all of this is a process of healing so women can regain their dignity,” he told NPR.

Mukwege is the son of a Pentecostal minister and was inspired to pursue medicine after traveling with his father to pray for the sick. Panzi Hospital, which he founded in 1999, is managed by the Pentecostal Churches in Central Africa (CEPAC).

If Christians do not live out the practical implications of their faith among their communities and neighbors, “we cannot fulfill the mission entrusted to us by Christ,” he said at a keynote for the Lutheran World Federation last year.

Further, the 63-year-old doctor advocates out of a Christian understanding of men and women as equal in dignity before God. He wears a button on his lab coat that says, “Stop Raping Our Greatest Resources, …

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New school letter grades: How is your school rated?

Arizona’s State Board of Education released 2017-18 letter grades. The grades, using data from last school year, are preliminary. Schools can appeal

      

 

 

Layoffs hit JPMorgan mortgage operations in metro Phoenix

Chase, one of Arizona’s largest employers, has more than 10,000 workers in Arizona, with mortgage operations in Phoenix and Tempe.

      

 

 

How Evangelicals Do Ecumenism

The World Evangelical Alliance explains why it’s engaging more with Rome.

During last year’s 500th anniversary of the Reformation, many asked: Is it finally over? The loudest “no” came from some of the Protestants closest to Rome.

In December, national evangelical alliances in Italy, Spain, and Malta charged the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) with “moving away from its historic position” of holding the line against Catholic and liberal Protestant theology. They worried about a purported statement of “greater oneness” between the WEA, the Vatican, and the World Council of Churches (WCC).

“These are serious charges, but they bear no resemblance to what [we are] actually doing,” replied the WEA, which represents 600 million evangelicals across 129 national alliances and 150 member organizations. It explained that the dissident groups “conflated two reports from two different meetings.”

But it recognized their concerns. “Beneath this specific misunderstanding lies a deep-seated, ongoing concern about the WEA’s intra-faith relations,” the WEA stated. The southern European alliances “fear that too close a rapprochement and collaboration with the Catholic Church could undermine our ability to articulate the historic evangelical faith in an uncompromised way.”

That’s not an unusual fear for people who watch their leaders engage in such talks, said Brett Salkeld, ecumenical officer for a Catholic archdiocese in Canada and a participant various Catholic–evangelical dialogues. “We imagine the people having discussions are papering over our differences and selling the farm.”

This gets tricky when ecumenism is done at a global level. Evangelicals in Spain, Italy, and Malta have faced years of …

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