A Letter to A Friend

I sat this morning in a sacred space with a secondary victim while he searched through the lexicon between his head and his heart to find the words for the betrayal trauma of ; the loss of faith in Christendom; the amputation of communal identity; the silence that is deafening.

He wept.

I listened as he struggled to find the words the fit the gaping cavern between his former self and his present path; the words to wrap the gangrenous gully of another’s malfeasance and the malignancy he now has no choice but to fight.

Perilous is the path of the lied to, the lured, the lied about, and the cast aside.

Perilous.

I sat long as he dictated his despair. Once spent, he rose. His eyes soft, his face set like flint. His bravery and beauty are boundless. Brutality did not create beauty,  it uncovered it. His letter is a window into sorrow and suffering of the secondarily slaughtered.

Herein rests his found and fitting words;
his heroic heart;
his discourse of despair;
his harbinger of hope.

Friend,

It’s awkward for me… things have changed since the #churchtoo trauma. I have changed. I am no longer interested in or able to invest in Christian anything. I have lost confidence in the church and faith-based organizations entirely. Our own experience and the experiences of others that I am learning about daily concerns me.

Frankly, I am disgusted by anything Christian, given the caustic culture in Christendom that perpetuates, covers up offenders and/or stays silently indifferent about abuse. This has cost us a great deal, but we can’t sit back and let known offenders continue to prey in the name of Christ.

I know you have said our friendship is more important than the money I donate and I appreciate that. I know I have historically been a big supporter of various Christian ministries. These ministries were the vehicle that several offenders have ridden in on, right into, and right over our lives. It’s not that I blame any singular Christian organization, but in their quest for reach and relevancy, they capitalize on celebrity clerics, providing a platform for abuse of power, and deception.

When abuse disclosures occur, it has been my experience that individuals and institutions rally behind the celebrities who champion their cause or wring their corporate hands, staying woefully silent and claim that “God will adjudicate justice.” I cannot abide or support this complacency.

Most of my friendships have been based on my willingness/ability to give out of low self-worth. I’m sorting all of that out at present. Some of this dynamic is my responsibility. Some of that dynamic is the usury so embedded in Christian culture and its version of the “Great Commission.”

I am also learning that Christendom doesn’t want to look forensically at the flaws in its system that are leading to abuse and oppression. Christendom is the loudest on issues outside the church and is dead silent on the slaughter inside it. 

As a friend, I am sharing my heart with you. I am not blaming you. I became a Christian at age 33. I bought all of this crap hook, line, and sinker. The more I become acquainted with Christ and to whom He ministered, the farther from Christendom I feel. I find myself drawn to the example of early Christianity, before church leadership became a profession and before it became a business. 

It is hard to explain the way it feels to be left behind, lied about, and unprotected by the brotherhood/institution/commission that I invested so much of myself in and believed in so strongly. My family is contacted daily by survivors of this slaughter… the statistics are staggering. 

The only thing that has saved my faith is that the religious establishment of his day did the same thing to Jesus.  Not only did the religious elite treat Christ like this – but they also held the same views of the broken and the vulnerable then as they do now. This grieves me.

I knew what it was to be broken before I gave my heart to Christ. I now know what is like to be traumatized by Christendom. 

Some days it is all I can do to hold onto the hope that He is who He says He is; that He will act; that there will be justice that I do not see; that my life is of some non-monetary value; that somehow we can be a voice for not only ourselves but those who have also been victimized by the church. I feel like a teardrop of abuse in the ocean of indifference that is Christendom.

I did not choose this path.
Nonetheless, this has been the path.

Truly,

Brad Thompson
A Secondary Victim of #ChurchToo