The reception is going to be modest. In a conference room. Apparently, not a large crowd is expected. I've RSPV'd for four Erickson-Pearson's. We want to tell the bishop "God Speed" -- as in speed you away from us!
For the record and before Bishop Allan "Paterno" Bjornberg leaves office. let it show that he and his staff did everything but tie me to a pole and light it on fire to keep me from venturing anywhere near the sad subject of clergy sexual abuse at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Littleton. My intentions were tender but mis-communicated and he whipped the congregation into a frenzy of anxiety. One of his assistants recently expressed her regret that I am still angry?
After a day again like today, filled with nightmares, intrusive thoughts and terrifying memories. Madelyn, anger doesn't even begin to cover it. In fact, it isn't anger. It is trauma.
Interestingly, over the past ten years I've heard from a score of experts, including the work of an MIT organizational expert, about how organizations will do every single thing in their power to avoid humiliation and embarrassment, ANYTHING, EVERYTHING. That is a lot of things.
My mind can comprehend the failure of nerve, the lack of conscience but the MIT guy was not writing about churches so much as about business and politics. Call me naive but I did not expect such behavior in the church. Yes, call me naive. Me: very naive.
I know I will never hear a word of apology, not an offer of responsibility, of accountabiity. That is how power works.It closes in on itself. So let me just say thing again, for the record, Holy Trinity is Penn State and Bishop Bjornberg is Joe Paterno -- he and legions of others who have done all in the power -- which is a lot, it turns out -- to cover-up the abuse and turn any whistle-blowers into scapegoats.
It is not a career path I expected. Not something I planned for my resume. But here we are.
And you, victims of abuse, don't ever bother hoping the institution will come to its senses and repent. Church or no church, repentance is not part of their picture -- at least in this synod. You can expect nothing.
Instead, get a really really good therapist. You might think I am writing this in a pique of anger but actually I am writing out of a sense of hope, and power. You will find ways to heal. You will move forward. But not if you count on the church to help. Your therapist can help you frame the situation as abuse. And help you to understand what can and cannot be counted upon by abusers -- and those who cover up for them. Get help because you can get better!
I'm far more than angry. I am hopeful. I am in treatment twice a week and three times one week of the month. I am on more medication than you can imagine. And I do EMDR and, you know what, it all helps.
What the church won't offer, the healing arts can and will and do. My prayer for you is to find the very best therapist you can and work to undo the abusive syndrome that now floods your spirit. It is slow. But it can be done. I believe you will be better.
Just because the church will always be screwed, you don't have to be. Peace be with you and keep in touch. The journey is home.