“Behind Sorrow, There is always a soul”

I direct a non-profit ministry committed to addressing the silence that surrounds the epidemic of sexual abuse through awareness, training, and healing. In the years since we began we have seen the awareness piece gain momentum to where the media is covering and exposing the issue frequently. That is a welcomed development and hopefully the attitude will continue to expand.

In the world of sexual abuse those in positions of power take advantage of weaker individuals and exploit them. The victims, usually younger, are in a position of vulnerability and trust. The more powerful swoops in with promises and acceptance. The weaker welcoming the attention willfully submits to the advances. The abuser maintains control, as long as the victim cooperates and keeps silent. When the abuser is finished with the latest prey, the broken are further devastated by the betrayal and relegated to a world of silence. Occasionally a survivor musters the courage to speak out against the villain only to be refuted and further betrayed by the powerful and his or her supporters. The prevalence of this behavior goes across all of culture at epidemic proportions.

One would assume that everyone would agree that this behavior is completely unacceptable and when uncovered should be addressed or prosecuted aggressively without any questions considered. Unfortunately, that does not happen. Take this specific case. An incredibly powerful man uses his position of authority, celebrity, and power to manipulate a nineteen year old girl into engaging with him in inappropriate sexual behaviors. Never mind that he is married has an enormous reputation to maintain not only for him, but for the many he represents. His charismatic high-profile and status is irresistible to a nearly adolescent idol worshiper. When called to his office the thought of resistance never crosses her mind. This is the opportunity of a lifetime to be close to a man who has devoted genuine attention to her. Not long after the first meetings, the man in power manipulates the young girl into playful sexual talk. After monitoring closely her responses to insure safety, he moves the behavior further until he gets what he desired. From there h will go as far as he chooses and as long as he perceives safety.

Not long after, the girl in passing mentions to a friend of her encounter with the man of her dreams. The story slips out and begins to spread like wildfire finding its way to the perpetrator. Quickly, the man steps out to deny and discredit the story as the make-believe fantasies of an idol worshipping immature girl. The papers cover the story but because of the man’s power and influence it doesn’t take long for them to turn on the girl citing a lack of any evidence in her claims. Life quickly moves forward. The man and his power and influence remain intact, and his reputation remarkably grows in stature. Even after acknowledging a slight misjudgment in behavior he moves on seemingly unaffected.
In the meantime, the girl has now lost her life. She was manipulated and abused. All trust was betrayed and as time goes on every time the incident is mentioned, the betrayal feelings resurface. She attempts to present herself as unaffected and unscathed by the whole ordeal, but years later she continues to strive for value that was stripped from her by a selfish powerful man she adored and admired.

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Tragedy? A woman’s life and future stolen and broken a tragedy for sure. Worse, the man moves on without any repercussions or remorse. The powerful around him pretend it never happened and as time goes by he continues to maintain superstar celebrity status.

Monica Lewinsky spoke at the Forbes Under 30 Summit yesterday in New York. Her remarks demonstrate the power her abuser still holds over her. She said her life has been ruined, not by the man who abused her, but by the media that marked her as the villain. Read between the lines of her remarks:
“But back then, in 1995, we started an affair that lasted, on and off, for 2 years. And, at that time, it was my everything. That, I guess you could say, was the golden bubble part for me; the nice part. The nasty part was that it became public. Public with a vengeance.
Thanks to the Internet and a website that at the time, was scarcely known outside of Washington DC but a website we all know today: the Drudge Report, within 24 hours I became a public figure, not just in the United States but around the entire globe. As far as major news stories were concerned, this was the very first time that the traditional media was usurped by the Internet.
In 1998, as you can imagine, there was a media frenzy. Even though it was pre-Google, (that’s right, pre-Google). The World Wide Web (as we called it that back then) was already a big part of life.
Overnight, I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one. I was Patient Zero.
She continued to talk about her experience, her embarrassment, and the bad press, urging people to have compassion for people like her who are the focus of scandals, concluding with:
Actually, what we really need is a cultural revolution. Online, we’ve got a compassion deficit – an Empathy Crisis, and something tells me that matters a lot more to most of us.
Oscar Wilde wrote: “I have said that behind sorrow there is always sorrow. It were wiser still to say that behind sorrow there is always a soul. And to mock at a soul in pain is a dreadful thing.”
My feelings, exactly.” http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/monica-lewinsky-drudge-ruined-my-life

“It were wiser still to say that behind sorrow there is always a soul. And to mock at a soul in pain is a dreadful thing” Her feelings exactly.

I have no doubt that Ms. Lewinsky suffers in pain every day. The way to begin healing from the pain is to acknowledge that she was abused by a married man. That he took advantage of her innocence with his power and prestige. She will need to transform her thinking from; the perpetrator is innocent to, he took my life. She is mourning what she lost, unfortunately in the public arena with a false narrative. One day, she may discover that if she truly wishes to heal her soul, she will have to move toward forgiving the rock star and refusing to allow him to control her life anymore. It won’t be an easy journey given the stature of the man, his media loyalists, and a culture that accepts evil as long you are on the same side.

I hope she finds the peace her soul is longing for.

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Mark Driscoll resigns…

“I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. That is the way Jesus came to reveal God’s love. The great message that we have to carry, as ministers of God’s word and followers of Jesus, is that God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created us Mark Driscolland redeemed us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life.”  Henri Nouwen

The temptation to be relevant, popular, and powerful have been with us since the garden and will haunt us until the King returns.  Stay the course…

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I know I am older….but it makes me wonder…

Coming KingWhen I was a kid, every once in a while I would hear in church from my elders that the end of the age was imminent. “Yeah, right Grandma. They have been saying that for a few thousand years now and nothing has happened.” I like all my friends dismissed that as old people just fearing the end of their lives and trying to scare us into obedience.

Well, now I am a grandpa. So, am I afraid of the end of the world? Is the end of the age imminent? Is it my desire to impose fear onto my children and grandchildren for my own peace? I don’t know about you but it sure seems like Luke 21:11 is becoming more descriptive of the times than ever before. I questioned some college kids I teach about this recently and their response was, “Yeah, we hear that a lot, but Christians have been saying that for centuries.” They perceive the advancement of technology informing more people than ever before, so it appears worse, but it is just because we now have better access to information.

Things haven’t changed much I guess. Us “older” folks sense a world of impending disaster, and the younger ones are optimistic about their present situations.

“And He answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you, for many will come in my name saying, ‘I am the Christ’ and will mislead many. And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes.”

Just an old alarmist I guess. Just showing my age I guess. I know that time is not in our hands. I know that there is no one that knows when the end of the age will come. When I was young I imagined what the world would be like in 100 years and I believed it would be  a better place. Given the last thirty years can you imagine the world being a better place in 100 years? Given the last five years…given the last three months:

Isis…Ebola…Russia…HHS… Entervirus D-68…China…Chikungunya…Iran…H5N6… 68…China…Chikungunya…Iran…H5N6…Nigeria…Fukushima Radiation…Somalia…Afganistan…HIV…Madagascar…Vibrio vulnificos…Egypt and on and on it goes.

Makes me wonder….

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Robin Williams…legacy of despair

Entertainer…humanitarian…will not be the first thoughts coming to mind when you hear the name Robin Williams from this day forward.  Instead, it will be suicide and the world will always wonder, why?  All the accolades and all the platitudes will be forever clouded by, “he took his own life.”

Inside the masterRobin Williams of performance was a piece we did not know.  The piece that is in all of us; the voice that whispers over and over and over that we just don’t measure up.  We are befuddled by the reality that someone that accomplished so much, who gifted the entire world with laughter and joy would surrender to the pain inside.

Somewhere in his life there was a moment, maybe once, maybe more when his heart was injured at its very core.  In that moment he believed he lost all value and from that day forward until yesterday he shaped and molded a master of disguise.  Innovative, spontaneous, masterful, brilliant are the terms used to describe his work while kind, gentle, and compassionate echo from those that knew him intimately.  But the legacy will be…”he killed himself”. He is not the first nor will be the last in the entertainment world.  Every day thousands of every day folk make the same choice without the attention.

It’s the pain we never see.  It’s the pain we never hear.  It’s the shame that began when someone wounded us in the heart and we forever believe we are worthless.  It’s in all of us.  We all have a moment in time.  All the laughs, all the accomplishments, all the eulogies will not replace the pain of a broken soul.  When hope is lost…despair enslaves the soul.  Robin Williams at last told the world what was truly in his heart.  He could no longer live with the pain.  His last message…grip hope with every last ounce you possess and never let it go.

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We are His Beloved

The recurring theme that underlies the devastation of childhood sexual abuse is shame. The initial trauma produces shame and communicates a lie that in time becomes a core belief. The belief is that I no longer have value or worth as a human being. As the journey of life continues the core belief determines behaviors. Sadly, many if not all of the behaviors are destructive to the individual survivor and the community at large.

Healing begins when survivors acknowledge that they were abused. The next step, the most important, is to tell the story and release all the poison that has collected over the years. The shame is shrouded in silence and it is often years before the point of release can be reached.

The lies must be addressed, confronted, and reversed. There must be a renewing of the mind and recognition of the truth that has been silenced. The original lie that I as a survivor have no value or worth is where to begin. Henri Nouwen in his book, “The Return of the Prodigal Son” helps begin the healing process by reminding us of who we are as followers of Christ. Nouwen says:Jesus Orphan

“Home is the center of my being where I can hear the voice that says: “You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests”—the same voice that gave life to the first Adam and spoke to Jesus, the second Adam; the same voice that speaks to all the children of God and sets them free to live in the midst of a dark world while remaining in the light. I heard that voice. It has spoken to me in the past and continues to speak to me now. It is the never-interrupted voice of love speaking from eternity and giving life and love whenever it is heard. When I hear that voice, I know that I am home with God and have nothing to fear. As the Beloved of my heavenly Father, “I can walk in the valley of darkness: no evil would I fear.” As the Beloved, I can “cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils.” Having “received without charge,” I can “give without charge”. As the Beloved, I can confront, console, admonish, and encourage without fear of rejection or need for affirmation. As the Beloved, I can suffer persecution without desire for revenge and receive praise without using it as a proof of my goodness. As the Beloved, I can be tortured and killed without ever having to doubt that the love that is given to me is stronger than death. As the Beloved, I am free to live and give life, free also to die while giving life.”

The most important truth to combat the lie of value is to hear from the heart that I am a “beloved son of God and on me his favor rests.” That truth may take many years to overcome the lie. It may come after years of silence, pain, and struggle. But it will come. With care and kindness from followers of our Lord, it will come.

AWARENESS is the necessity of moving this issue into the public arena. Holding onto Hope is working every day promoting awareness and walking with the courageous survivors that emerge from the silence searching for hope. Whether you are a survivor of sexual abuse or not, the issue of shame is common to everyone. Trust in our Lord and the truth He provides combats the lie in all of us that we are not worthy. The King made the way to restore us and one day we will be whole again. In the meantime, Hold onto the Truth and embrace more each day that WE ARE HIS BELOVED.

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The End is Nearing

It is now literally every day that I witness the slipping away of this great country. As discouraging as that is, I am energized by what it all means. We are living the results of what began over 100 years ago. This is not a surprise. Here is a brief reflection on what got us here today.

March 1925 The Butler Act Tennessee
Law designed to prevent the teaching of Darwinian Evolution in the public schools
July 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial
Led to ruling that evolution could be taught in the public schools which led to the 1987 Edwards v Aguillard decision that judged mandatory creation science to be an unconstitutional intrusion of religion into public schools.

Result: God determined to be unnecessary in American Public Education. Science replaced God
Consequences: Public Education became the bastion of Humanist Religion

Whenever you remove something in this case a belief in God, it is always replaced with a different belief. Man does not live in a vacuum. With the door now open in 1925 Humanism and its most influential advocates began to preach about the need to proselytize the new religion:

I believe that…it is the business of every one interested in education to insist upon the school as the primary and most effective instrument of social progress and reform…”
“I believe that…in this way the teacher is the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of God.John Dewey 1940

“The coming phase of religion will reflect man’s power over nature and his moral courage in the face of the facts and possibilities of life. It will be a religion of action and passion, a social religion, a religion of goals and prospects. It will be a free man’s religion, a religion for an adult and aspiring democracy.”
      “The religion of human possibilities needs prophets who will grip men’s souls with their description of a society in which righteousness, wisdom and beauty will reign together….Loyalty to such an ideal will surely constitute the heart of the humanist’s religion.” Roy Wood Sellars 1918

We make a religion of our education, we profess unbounded faith in its possibilities, we point with pride to its advance, we term instruction an art and school management a profession. Faith in education signifies nothing less than belief in the possibility of deliberate direction of the formation of human disposition and intelligence.Dewey 1922

“Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching. “
Charles Francis Potter 1930

A significant portion of the two generations following the Scopes Trial were influenced by the proselytizing of the new belief system. Just thirty-four years later there was a significant achievement.
1962 Engel v Vitale The Supreme Court ruled that the “Regents School Prayer”
“Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon thee, and we beg
          Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our country.” was inconsistent both with the purposes of the Establishment Clause and the Establishment Clause itself. It is no business of the government to compose official prayers.” Justice Hugo Black

1963 Murray v Curlett    Not a single Christian organization filed a brief in support of school prayer, so the case went virtually uncontested before the Court. The Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 in favor of abolishing school prayer and Bible reading in the public schools.

Consequences: Since God was determined unnecessary in 1925, it was now incumbent to remove him from the public square. Atheism was declared a religion.
June 17, 1963 in the Wall Street Journal:
“…atheism is now the one belief to which the state’s power will extend its protection.”

Ideas have consequences. The purveyors of a society without the stifling control of absolutes went into overdrive in the 1960s and 70s. For Fifty years they aggressively used the public school to develop the core of societal transformation which led to the laying of the final foundation block:

January 1973 Roe v Wade The Supreme Court Rules in favor of the legalization of abortion on demand.

Result: Sixty million children destroyed. God removes his hand of blessing.

Consequences: Recognition of a Higher Power and absolute truth is determined to be the enemy of the new order. God is dead. Long live man. The destruction of the family, gender confusion, rise of sexual immorality and abuse. The crumbling of a people and country.

I have been blessed to live during the coming of the age. Roe v Wade was a warning. September 11, 2001 was a warning. The economic collapse of 2008 was a warning. There are warnings going on all around the world. It is 2014 and I am observing every day the collapse of the most powerful country in man’s history. It is over 100 years now that this county has attempted to eliminate the creator. We are living the consequences out every hour now and the signs are clear. It won’t be long. The King has removed his cover on this country. Either there is individual and national corporate repentance or there will be final judgment. As much as I desire repentance for the safety of my children and grandchildren, I welcome the return of truth. Only then, will “righteousness, wisdom and beauty reign together”…with peach, joy, and love.

Don’t lose hope. Don’t give in. Stand with all you have. We win.

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When the HAND is removed….

Remember in the Old Testament how every time God removed his hand of protection from the chosen people bad things happened. I have now lived long enough to see it happen in real time. One of the promises to Abraham a few years ago was that any nation that blessed Israel would be blessed by God. It is a covenant; it has never changed and will never be broken.
America began with one purpose. A place where people that desired to worship the God of Abraham without restraint could do so in safety. For three hundred and eighty years God kept his promise. America has grown and prospered like no other nation in the history of man. Chance or divine providence? “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.” I have lived under this blessing in the greatest country to ever exist.
I have also lived long enough to see God remove his hand from this country. “And the one who curses you I will curse.” We are witnessing two paths. First, the intentional move to eliminate God from this culture and second to turn our backs on God’s chosen people. The consequences of both decisions are taking form rapidly, like every day.
America is declining on a daily basis both internally and as the most influential country in the world. Internal strife, greed, lust for power, and immorality are bringing this country down right before our eyes. Israel is moving daily toward having to go it alone against what seems to be insurmountable odds. They are surrounded on all sides. Confrontation is imminent.
Angel WarI hope I will live long enough to see God’s promise to Abraham fulfilled. Israel very soon will destroy all of its surrounding Arab neighbors in a show of force never seen before on this planet. America will decline to a weak has been incapable of influencing again with any credibility. Then the King will return and put this place back the way it was in the beginning. I hope I live to see it….I just may.

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