Saturday, July 27, 2013

An Open Letter to Pastor's Follow up

My sister asked me the other day if I ever got a reply from the email to my pastor. The answer to that is I did. It came just a few days after I sent him the email and it was a good reply. He addressed my points and assured me that he does not shy away from that topic and has addressed it in church before. I am not sure what I was expecting to hear, but his reply was not it. It took me aback a little and left me a bit speechless. It took me about two weeks to write back to him. There is a lot of underlying junk that goes with a letter like that and his response was basically an open door to address some of that junk. I suppose that is what threw me off guard and left me speechless. You get used to hiding junk, or pretending it isn't there, trying to deny the effects of it on you. Having someone ask you how to help clean your junk away kind of stops you in your tracks. Well it does me anyways. 1. Where do I start pulling from? 2. Do I really want to dig that up? 3. What will I do with that freaky empty space where the junk used to sit? and 4. What if I can't really get rid of it, so instead of a freaky empty space I end up with dusted off junk, no longer hidden in a layer of dusty neglect.
It is kind of like the people on Hoarders. Their houses are so stuffed with crap and junk you don't really know what is there. They just walk over it and it becomes background. Internally, I feel like that sometimes. I have learned to walk around the junk, on top of the junk, between the junk. It becomes background. I am used to it. I may not like it. I may be embarrassed by it, but it is my junk. M.I.N.E. The thought of someone coming in and picking up my junk, holding it, inspecting it, discarding it; well, that gets scary. So, the follow up is really that I am left looking at my junk deciding if I really want to invite anyone else in to help clear it out and organize it. Introspection and an invitation of help is not the follow up I was expecting. Life is rarely what we expect though is it?

I chose the above picture because I think it says more than a house full of garbage does.  Each book tells a story.  It is more than just paper and a cover.  Looking at it like this you have no idea what is inside of each book.  That is kind of like my junk.  There is more to it than what you see.  You have to do some digging, some reading, some study to figure out what is junk and what isn't.  It is all my story.  It is all me. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

An open letter to pastors

I wrote this letter to my new pastor.  Really it could have probably been written to any pastor anywhere about the deafening silence coming from the pulpit about sexual abuse and how it has a huge voice that needs listening to in discussions of sexual purity.
July 1, 2013

Dear Pastor .......,

                I sat through service yesterday and listened to you talk on purity.  At one point the room went hazy and it became hard for me to see, so I knew it was something I probably really needed to hear.  But the more I heard the angrier I became.  Angry, because for every time I have ever heard a sermon preached on purity not a single pastor, not one, has ever touched on the sexual sins that adults commit on children and how those sins fundamentally change those children.  Not one!  And so I wanted to stand up and point my finger and shout out:  “Okay, OKAY!  I HEAR what you are saying, but what about us?!  What about those of us who were used as others sexual dishrags before we had any say in the matter, or when we were in that in between stage of child and teenager and we were so confused by what happened and our reaction to it that we felt somehow to blame for it?  What about those of us who grew up thinking that our purpose in life, or worth, was nothing more than that dishrag we were used as, maybe even made to be?  You tell us to be pure, to control ourselves, but you never once touch on how to do that when someone else’s actions fundamentally has changed everything about whom God created us to be. It changes who we are, how we see ourselves, how we see the world around us. Pastors love to speak on how sex is a gift.  I have never known it that way, so I understood when you spoke of the man who asked for his sexual drive to be taken away.  To me sex is more like a poison.  It isn’t intimate, it isn’t holy, and it certainly has never felt like a gift.  It is and always has been a thorn: a deep piercing, infection producing thorn, so how about we as a church discuss that sometime.  Because I know that I am probably not the only one.  I am guessing that just about 75% of any congregation at any given time has been or will be sexually abused, maybe even more.  So where are the sermons on that?  Where are the sermons telling the adults to stop using children as rags for their desires?  Where are the sermons talking to those raggedy children turned adults addressing their shame, their guilt, because they had desires from the time that they could remember that the church says is impure and wrong.  Where are the sermons that will stop making them feel shamed and guilty and start helping them figure out how to change those desires, because shame and guilt sure aren’t getting the job done.  Where are the sermons that discuss how to move sex from the shame/guilt/ poisonous thorn in my side box to the intimacy gift box, because boy I would sure like to know how to do that?!  Are pastors afraid to discuss this?  They aren’t afraid to talk about homosexuality, adultery, pornography, etc., but I am pretty certain that in a large number of these issues if you did a little digging that you would find that the root of many of these sexual sins would be childhood sexual abuse.  So yes, I am pointing my finger, yes I am angry, because why don’t we as a church, as a people address the root of the weed instead of just pulling at what we see coming out of the ground.” 

Please understand that I am not really angry with you.  I am angry with the situation, the silence, the deafening silence from the church when it comes to sexual abuse.  Do people think it doesn’t happen in churches?  That Christians are immune from this plague?  Are pastors afraid to offend the abusers or is it just nicer in general to pretend they aren’t there?  Because trust me they are there, in your congregations, sitting in your pews, invisible, but there and so are we… the sopping wet or crusted over stained and used dishrags. 


Karmen Madan