Sunday, December 2, 2007

Another Reason to Love Tenth

A part of me this week had been seeking reaffirmation that I wasn't attending Tenth for the wrong reasons, that there was a reason for me to be going - aside from BMMWH and an overall dissatisfaction with Willingdon. A few weeks back as I blogged, they discussed issues of homosexuality in very liberal, compassionate, open but still very spiritual based way, this week as they are working through 2 Samuel - they discussed the Rape of Tamar. I've got to say in my 20+ years at Willingdon - rape, abuse or any kind of sexual violation was never discussed. Maybe because we still believe it's a taboo subject, but I think it is more due to an inability to one, understand and two, believe that such a topic is relevant to the Church.

Just as I noted with the issues of gender, homosexuality and self-articulation - there is a need for the discussion of oppression and the need for justice, for the Church to stand not only between victims and the oppressors but also to find means of aiding healing.

I've discussed the situation with Iain - and most of you on some level have had to deal with the repercussions and healing process - especially when the healing is independent of any form of face to face or confrontational expression, to indicate his wrong doing and my pain. As well to some extent, I've discussed my relationship with Richard. Tonight's service reaffirmed that the issue is not so much what occurred but the guilt and subsequent shame. There is still a social undercurrent that says you started it therefor you were party to it - it doesn't matter that you said no, that your body language changed, and that you were visibly distressed. There is still the training or what have you that makes certain behavioral responses instinctual like that the first thing I did was plead forgiveness from him - that I caused this... I can't believe it when I look back on it - but some how my brain was there and in many respects it still is. He just responded dumbfounded like nothing had happened - he left it there and I carried it forward. Intimacy scares me, and yes that fear harms new relationships - I still get flashes of that morning, and it hurts, there is a part of me that remains broken and cannot leave it be. The part of me that breaks when I wonder how many women, especially young Christian women have found themselves in similar situations and walk away feeling that they are the perpetrator, their shame a result the sin.

How do you walk away from it? To be honest, I've yet to find a way to strip the whole mess down to what it was - which was a poorly constructed relationship - I was in to ease the pain of being more or less kicked out of my parents house - and he was in for whatever reason I do not know. There was lust sure, but there was no love, honesty or truth - I was fragile and he took all that he could and more.

Maybe Leah that's one of the most basic reasons I am still single, because regardless of the normal aspect of my emotions - that says any type of healthy (i.e. Christian) intimacy is not be feared, there is a greater more foreboding shadow that maintains that I should fear - that be touched by a man is to be violated - that to open myself up is to be made vulnerable, and that any miss step could end up more tragic - and even worse I should have known better. It starts that cycle, I know that to be a victim is in some level a choice. I have a choice to move beyond this from a rhetorical point of view, just haven't found the means to do so.

Postscript: I was thinking about this issue this morning - how do we address the underlying issue in relation to the Church - that this doesn't happen to good Christian girls - in other words - you dress modest, you don't go out to clubs/parties, you would never drink and of course your boyfriends would be void of any kind of sexual feelings. It shouldn't matter how I dress, or spend my weekends because in the end it doesn't protect someone nor does it make certain actions permissible. But I know I've been labeled in regards to the tattoo, the desire for more as well as maybe a facial piercing and that I'm a feminist - somehow that knocks me down a peg on the chaste scale and therefor easy/easier. I know some of you will laugh at this - but others know it, you've been told it to your face or had it insinuated. Part of me finds it ironic - the tattoo is the product of a steadfast love of a mentor, Bobbi - she held on as I grappled with my relationship with Andrew and continually reminded me - there is one Beloved I should be pursuing.


Chris Robinson said...

Its almost appalling how poorly the church ministers to the people who need it most. "That doesn't happen around here" is more prevalent than you'ld think. The church should be on the forefront of these issues. Visible as the place to turn. Instead its taboo to bring it up.

I long for the day when those who have been abused, pregnant teens, addicts, and single parents show up on the churches door step because they know they're welcome instead of being kicked to the curb (either by the people or their attitudes) for not meeting some invisible (unbiblical) standard.

Jenn said...

Amen. The reality is we are broken - whether we want to acknowledge it or not, and whether it is a result of an act against us or our own action or act of omission. The church should be a place of sanctuary as it once was - Jesus stood between the adulterous woman and Pharisees, but instead we seem to do as they did - focus the blame on the woman instead of seeking ways of aid/healing. Openness is one way of addressing these issues - avoiding teen pregnancy by being open about how to have dating relationships - in my 3 years working with youth at a large Church it was never discussed - and what happened? We ended up with a grade 9 girl pregnant, it wasn't her fault - as much as it was ours too both before and after. The purpose with openness would be to equip people to avoid certain situations where possible and know where to turn when they happen - regardless of the circumstances.

Btw - Welcome to the blog - hopefully you'll stick around - diversify the readership