Letter From Texas…

April 28, 2008

I was raised in the fellowship and intend to remain. I understand those who have left and do not intend to debate those issues. I try to read the Bible as if it is not fiction. I believe that if we do that, believe that our salvation is through Christ, and pray, most of the questions will be answered. Life is not nearly as complicated as we tend to believe sometimes.

I am a parent and husband who will protect my family first, but have a strong desire to preserve the church.

I have no immediate connection to CSA issues but know several who have been abused. My heart weeps for them more than I can explain. To abuse a child (or person of any age) is a crime against God and humanity that should never be tolerated. I don’t believe that this is a “truth” issue, a new issue or an old issue. I believe that it is an issue that civilized people must deal with immediately. Shirking that responsibility causes us to lose a little civility with each passing moment. If you believe that we should wait for God to deal with these issues, you are missing the ‘reading the bible for reality’ part. Look to Eli. God does not honor those who stand by and wring their hands in fear and indecision. Quite the opposite.

– To all those who have been abused, hushed or shunned, as a man in this church I offer a most sincere apology and my determined service. If you have exposed your abuser, my hat is off to you. If you have not, please do so. If it is a current case, simply dial 911. If it is an old case, please come forward in an effort to prevent the spread of this cancer. If you have nowhere to turn, you are in a safe place here.

– To the abusers, I pray for your soul but have no room for compassion or care toward your dignity or place. You are the one who is supposed to have the millstone tied around your neck. I don’t read that verse for fiction either. This is not about revenge or even justice. By definition, those who prey on children are evil and rarely reform. This is not a sickness that can be cured with a pill or a little therapy. For the health and future of the church, (not to mention the safety of the children) evil must be put away from our midst.

– To those elders/workers/overseers who have known about abuse and covered for it, swept it under the rug, moved the abuser to another area, blamed the victim, etc…. I am deeply ashamed of you. Unless you are actively and currently working to right those wrongs, you are not fit to lead.

– For those parents of the abused, I pray for you. For those who stood up, I applaud you. For those of you who helped in the cover up, I am confident that you did what you thought was best at the time but you were wrong. If that is harsh, I accept that. Now it is time for you to accept a few things yourself and step up to the plate. I would suggest you start by giving the abused all your love, ask for forgiveness and then go do what you should have done years ago.

– For those still in the fellowship. Pray for us all and support the changes that must be made. Tell your workers and overseers that you will no longer tolerate this cancer and expect abusers to be held accountable. This issue has not yet infected all, but unless you have been searching with your eyes wide open, it is much bigger than you think.

– For you workers and elders. Understand that you have a physical responsibility for the safety of the church not the abuser. If you know of abuse, report it to the authorities–it is your legal and moral duty. Realize, that as a person in a leadership position, you are held to a higher standard by the law of man and God. You know how to do the right thing, quit using the excuse that God will resolve all things in due time. Remember Eli, God is waiting on you, my friend, to act now. You are in a position of leadership. Don’t let us down. If you need any assistance, advice or support, feel free to contact me at any time.

I will stop now, not because I am finished, but because I must sleep. If anyone would like to contact me, please feel free to do so.

Your brother in Christ,

Joe T.

League City, Texas

NOTE: Joe T may be contacted through WINGS

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