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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Take all the lost home

Take All the Lost Home

One of these days I'll become proficient enough at this techie business to know how to link the song to this post: "Take All the Lost Home by Joe Wise

Why do I do this?

Blog. Write what and as I do?

At the recent Aspen Writers' Conference we talked of the variety of reasons for tweeting, blogging, and using other social media. It was easy for me to articulate my purpose. Let me say it again here.

You. You. You, any, all of you who have become victimized by the abuse of power.

Clergy sexual abuse is the particular area of my expertise. I have not myself experienced it but I speak at the request of, and on behalf of many who have known this shredding of their soul. I encountered those victimized over a period of fifteen years, directly, and realized in the meanwhile that I'd known victims of clergy sexual abuse all my life.

It is hidden. It is misunderstood. In Protestant, or non-Catholic churches, where most of the abuse occurs between a male pastor and an adult female parishioner, it is often 'simply' thought of as an affair. Women are most generally blamed. Pastors are viewed as the victims, seduced by the 'wiles' of manipulative, needy women.

Not true. Not true. Volumes of data, rooms of statistical evidence, acres of women could stand together and bear witness to the truth. They were manipulated. They were used. And then cast off. Blamed. Ignored. Thrown away.

"All the perpetrators ask of us is silence," says Judith Herman in "Trauma and Recovery."

I will not be silent.

These women and men, children and teens rarely get a voice. They get lost from our midst, frankly, by our own decision. We don't want them among us as a reminder of what, at some deep place, we know to be true. Or could be true. And so they are lost. From us. From the church. From their faith. From the joy of life.

My mission is expressed by Joe Wise in his beautiful simple song, "Take All the Lost Home." I won't be able to find all who are lost but I will be here, "a voice of the living God, calling them all to live," and calling the rest of us to repent. To welcome, to love, to care, to embrace.

"Their faces are grey 'til you call."

I speak of my own experiences as a victim of a different kind of abuse of power for one reason: what happened to me occurred to shut me up. It is not my own pain I express most deeply. It is yours, it is theirs. I speak not for myself but because I am called to use what voice I have to tell the truth of abusive power, to be a voice for the silenced, and to do whatever I can to reach out with strength and empowerment to those who are shattered and lost.

More of this to follow in the days following.

Meanwhile, will you be a partner, to take all the lost home?

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