Wednesday, May 28, 2008

at first i say i don't know, but that's not true. i know.

a friend of mine was arrested sunday. i heard about it yesterday afternoon; a journeyer heard it on the 5 o'clock news. we're all in shock. it turns out, the police have charged my friend with episodes of ongoing sexual assault of children and adults. and they say they have video that my friend had hidden in his house.
i am just sitting with this. breathing. hurting. my heart hurts. my head hurts. i'm afraid. i'm heartbroken.
their family and our family have known each other for a few years - high school club friends, that sort of thing. all of us watching our kids at the football games. church friends. so, i know this sounds like a cliche, but this is the absolute last person i would ever, ever have imagined would have such a dark aspect in his personality. this is a good, caring, servant-hearted person. but if he did these things, there's also a part of him that's deeply twisted and addicted and toxic.
hurt people hurt people. i don't know what happened. all any of us knows so far is what we're hearing and reading in the media, which is all secondhand from the police statements, which are secondhand from those involved in investigating what happened. which is also secondhand - because my friend is the only person who can ultimately know what happened. i'm careful about jumping to conclusions about what my friend did or did not do. but it sounds bad.
so, i'm praying.
praying hard.
when i prayed last night off and on, i received peace. i believe i connected to god and god connected to me. that's not theory; it actually happened. it kind of surprised me, actually. i pray a lot, and talk to god, and listen. but it's still a mystery.
i would say i don't know what to do or how to respond to this devastating news. but that's not true. i know.
reach out to this family - this man's wife and children. love on them. reassure them. comfort them. provide for them. do not judge them or stigmatize them. surround them. god's love does that.
reach out to journeyers - there will be all sorts of emotions we'll have: anger, sadness, betrayal, worry, confusion, fear, brokenheartedness. we'll need to work them through together. god's love does that.
reach out to the victims of whatever happened. whatever we as a faith community can do to give god's love to them in healthy unselfish ways, i want to do that.
reach out to my friend. he's a human being, a child of god, someone i care deeply about. he's innocent until he's proven guilty. he's my brother and friend. if he did these things, he just got very, very lost and he did great harm. he'll have to face the consequences of that. but he doesn't stop being god's beloved.
journeyers practice what we call "radical inclusion." that means that every human being is god's beloved. because of that, we keep working to give our lives to serving god, and receiving god's love - and then giving that love to the world. we have to work through our emotions and filters and shit in order for that to happen - and god helps us.
i know what to do. keep doing what we know god has called us to. if it is true when times are good, it is true when times are difficult.

3 comments:

carl said...

if we really believe what we profess to believe, then it is in times like this that we express the love that you are talking about to everyone involved. I'm certain that is what the Journey community is doing, and will continue to do, and I take comfort in that reality.

A friend in CP said...

It's easy to be a loving Journeyer when everyone around you is well behaved and conforms to our expectations of what a good and moral person should be. We all dip into the mud from time to time, and for the most part we can easily forgive and forget. When someone we love as neighbor, family, pastor, caregiver, coworker commits the most heinous of acts; it is the most difficult thing to do is to continue to love them. It is this time they probably need to feel that love the most. Love them to seek accountability and through it redemption, healing, and forgiveness.

So I too will pledge to love them and pray that they are open to God's love and salvation. Hear me father; let this man and all men receive your love, be accountable for our trespasses, and be open to salvation and forgiveness.

Love ya teacher-man

Wandering servant said...

I will be very detailed yet very vulnerable here. I am very conflicted. I have typed...deleted..typed.. .deleted.. several times. I want to be angry and justified and show how 'bad' this man is or how much 'better' I am.. all that crappy stuff we humans 'need' to do. But I won't.

If the charges are true, then this man has fallen and there are consequences he should have to face them and to be held accountable to. I could say that with malice and anger and feel 'justified' but I mean that just plainly and black and white. If you touch fire, your fingers will get hot. If you add 1 and 1 together you get 2. Break a law = get punished according to law. Done. Period.

I have fallen in my life to. And there is a voice in my head wanting to say 'Yeah but you didn't do what this man allegedly did'.... how shitty is that? How's that for righteously justifying how I am better than him? But when I ignore that voice, which is REALLY hard, I remind myself that I have fallen to. I have hurt people. I have manipulated people. I have used people.

When put like that, this man and I are equals.

As much as that hurts my delicate sensativities, its true. I have moved away from the ugly parts of my life, but not without consequence. I know for a fact, that the biggest moment of clarity and understanding, at least for me, was when 'caught' doing things I shouldn't be doing. This is the intersection where you get to choose the road back into familiar darkness, feeling guilty and not moving at all, or choosing to walk away from it toward God. My prayer, for this man and for any person in this situation, is to choose to walk away from the darkness... and... almost more so, that we accept them back into our love circle so they don't get stuck in the intersection with guilt. Guilt is one of the many walls we build between God and ourselves and we readily use it as a weapon against each other enough as it is.

Allowing someone back into the loving circle without guilt doesn't mean they get off 'scott free'. There are worldly consequences as mentioned above. When did Jesus ever say if you are punished on earth, you shall be banned from God's love? Thats the thing we all have a problem differentiating. Love doesn't mean we aren't holding people accountable. Jesus didn't help the other men off their crosses, but he Loved them.

We are called to love God and love other people. This is the toughest job God could give us. What faith He must have in us to do so. I don't know if there is any other more encouraging fact than that.