SATURDAY READING: SEXUAL MISCONDUCT AMONG CHURCH LEADERS

I’d like to introduce you to a new friend and new blogger for this weeks “Saturday Reading.”

I wrote some articles last month on “Sexual Ethics” among church leaders. I did a two part series that you can find here: (part 1 and part 2). It obviously touched a nerve from the feedback that was received. Through those articles I met a lot of people who emailed me with questions, hurts and past experiences.

One of the people I met was Di. Di is a 51 year old woman who was first abused by her youth minister 34 years ago. She told me in one of our emails, “I appreciate your facing and publicizing this topic. It is a topic that needs to be taken out of the corners and into the light. If God opens the door, I intend to help with that.” Di has done exactly what she has said. She has begun to speak on “Sexual Ethics” at church leaders conferences to ministers, clergy and other church leaders. She’s written articles and she has begun to help others, who have been hurt, through their healing journey.

Di has recently started a blog that will offer a safe environment to talk about this subject. Di’s first post is a powerful one about her journey to find healing. It is a must read, but let me warn you, it is not Rated G. I hope you’ll stop by and welcome her to the blogging community. You can find her blog here: “The Prodigal Daughter.”

And, I am going to have to agree with her, this subject is something that we don’t need to hide like it never happened or happens.

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
9 Comments Post a Comment
  1. NB says:

    A few years ago, I attended a seminar concerning sexual abuse of children. The scariest thing that I remember from the seminar is that the presenter said that most likely, you won’t find child sexual predators working in dept. stores, convenience stores, grocery stores, factories, etc. She said that often, they are people who work through schools, churches and other organizations that allow them to have contact with youth and to gain the confidence of children.

    It makes sense but it is so scary for me as a parent! I want my children to be able to trust people in these positions but I don’t want them in a position to be taken advantage of because an abuse of power either.

    The church that I attend has a policy that there must be at least two adults present at every youth class or function. It helps protect the youth, and the volunteers or employees. I don’t know if this is just standard policy for all churches or not. What do other churches do to protect everyone involved?

  2. Di says:

    Hi Trey and NB, I had a refreshing conversation with my pastor this past week. I asked him exactly what churches do now to filter out the abusers. I was surprised to find out this denomination does quite a lot. First of all their seminaries require full batteries of psychological tests – and it sounded very full. Then the regions and states often require a repeat of tests when a minister moves into the region. I think this has been happening for less than 10 years though and I doubt seasoned clergy are required to undergo testing if they are staying put – though after my experiences and knowing my abuser moved back to this state prior to these measures being put in place and thus never had to face the tests, it does make one wonder why they are not required every 5 years or so. I do know that many churches require their pastors to attend ethics seminars to keep their license.

  3. David Kirk says:

    Trey:
    Wow! Thank you for having the courage to deal with this topic. I hope and pray this new blog can help some folks.

  4. chris says:

    Trey, seems like we were thinking along the same lines today. As always, good post.

  5. NB says:

    Please don’t think I was attacking employees and volunteers of churches, schools and youth organizations with my previous comment. (I am included in these groups also.)

  6. Monalea says:

    Trey,
    I checked out your blog this morning, but didn’t have the courage to check out “The Prodigal Daughter” until the evening. I have come so far in my healing of sexual abuse that when I must come face to face again with the subject I tend to panic.

    Di, The Prodigal Daughter, really hit home in so many ways and she has such courage. Thank you for being brave and facing this subject that many need to face. If the statistics are close – 5 out of 10 girls and 7 out of 10 boys, (actually I think they are much higher) are being sexually abused, then there have got to be a lot of perpetrators out there. Next time you are in a big group of youths, do the statistics

  7. TREY MORGAN says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts today guys.

    NB – no reason to apologize. I understood what you were asking. I think Di did a good job answering.

    David & Chris – Thanks for hanging out and sharing some thoughts.

  8. TREY MORGAN says:

    Monalea, Here are some intersting statistics that you mentioned.

    http://www.darkness2light.org/KnowAbout/statistics_2.asp

  9. Di says:

    Monalea, I think you will understand what I mean when I say, “Thank God someone else panics!!” Not that I would ever wish that on anyone, ever, but it is nice to not be the only one.

    Recently when I started back to attending the denomination in which the original perpetration occurred, I did really well the first 3 or 4 weeks. I was proud of myself and thrilled I could do it. Then one Wednesday I sat and talked to some of the youth – 17 year old youth and the bottom fell out. Panic is the first thing I feel. It is awful. Usually I get mad at myself for the emotions that I have no control over but this time I was infuriated at the whole mess that was stealing my healing. I contacted the pastor, who God had already told me was safe, and asked for a meeting. I had to wait about a week so I spilled my guts on email and as I expected he was gracious and loving. It took about 2 or 3 months for the panic to stop popping up at times. There is this dependency issue too that pops up at times and it came full throttle out of me towards Tom. Tons of shame over feeling it also arrived.

    Enough healing has occured that my boundaries are healthy, and I thank God for that. It took a lot of work for me to trust my own boundaries but now I know they are healthy.

    Anyway, I am finally able to be there and feel no panic. Soon I plan on contacting my abuser and inviting him over to talk. I can’t help but wonder what in the world will surface then. But I feel like God is behind this.

    Sometimes I go in to this fog to protect myself emotionally. I do that mostly in therapy and have to fight it to get myself to come out. It sort of feels like you are a million miles away and I forget whatever it was we were discussing that triggered it.

    All of these things, the panic and the fog, I thought they were things only other people did. You know you read about them in the books but then I did them. It took me a while to let myself join the human race.

    I am proud of you Monolea. Every step takes the same courage that you said I had. Reading my blog took more courage on your part than writing it did on mine. So do something to treat yourself special for a moment because you just took a big step and God’s proud of you too.

    And everyone’s journey is at their own pace. There is no time schedule. I had to tell myself that a lot too.

    Di

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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Husband, father and cancer survivor & Senior Minister for the Childress Church of Christ. Tweets about life, marriage, Texas Rangers and randomness.
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