I spent most of my day in tears yesterday.
I spent the morning watching another rough cut of the movie adaptation of The Shack. I found myself deeply moved by the retelling of this story. Tears welled up often with a tenderness for the work of God in the midst of human tragedy. I’m not sure when it will be released yet. They are still working on it, and pushed the release back to November 18, 2016.
Last night I was in tears for far different reasons. When a dinner date we had planned cancelled, we went to see the new film, Spotlight, which tells the story of the Boston Globe reporters uncovering sexual abuse by Catholic priests and how they were enabled by a hierarchy more interested in protecting their reputation than little boys and girls. I mostly see movies for entertainment purposes. I get enough pain in my emails and conversations from the brutality of life. I’m not going to review the movie here though it has received much acclaim and is incredibly well done. I just want to say everyone needs to see this movie. Admittedly it isn’t easy to watch, but I think everyone would find a depth of their soul enlightened…
- To feel the pain of those who were abused and for so long ignored by the people that who were supposed to have protected them. Many of them committed suicide or overdosed on drugs and alcohol to deal with the undeserved shape and a pain no one would believe.
- To be reminded how the desire to protect a religious system can twist otherwise well-meaning people into co-conspirators of the worst kind of evil, all while they maintain their place and status in the culture. The power of spiritual hierarchies is unfathomable and unrelenting.
- To appreciate the courage of those who pursued the truth even when everyone stood against them and made it nearly impossible to find
And don’t be so naive as to think this is only a Catholic problem. Although it reached systemic proportions that boggle the mind due to the specific nature of that institution, I know many Protestant churches who engineered similar cover-ups, one who refused to expose an elder who was molesting his stepchild and a denominational official who kept moving his son to different congregations even though he was abusing women in every one he’d been to. The hubris of a “church” institution being superior to the state and able to handle it’s own problems, combined with the fear of negative public perception was a powerful brew that led many to the poorest of choices.
What a tender day! One that will shape me in many ways for days and experiences to come. And to all those who have been abused in their youth by someone they trusted, my heart goes out to you as does the heart of God. You are deeply loved and your brokenness is not to your shame. You are not damaged goods; you are a beloved son or daughter of a Gracious Father. Your abuse is not proof that he does not love you, only that our culture is permeated by those who chose evil over health and healing.
May you find your path to healing and freedom as well and triumph over your tragedy.