Resources for Reporting Abuse, Surviving Social Media, & the “At Least” of These
Wisdom for Your Weekend is your regular installment of what we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web. Presented to you by Chris Pappalardo, with guidance from Pastor J.D., this is our attempt to reflect Proverbs 9:9: “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” While we do not always agree with everything these authors post, we share these resources because we find them challenging and enriching. As we often say around the Summit, when it comes to reading, “Eat the fish and spit out the bones.”
Resources for the Church
We’re trying out a new feature of W4YW—“Resources for the Church”—in which we will share many of the position papers and policies we’ve created here at the Summit. We want other churches to benefit from our resources, most of which have come about over the course of many years (and with no small number of mistakes). Even a fool can learn from his own experience; the wise learn from the experience of others. Be wise, my friends.
When Prevention Fails: A Sexual Abuse Response Policy for Churches. “Every church ought to have the best possible sexual abuse prevention policies in their children’s ministry. These should be followed closely and reviewed regularly. But what happens when evil slips through the cracks of even the best policies and procedures? How does the church respond then? How should the church care for the victim, the victim’s parents, the alleged perpetrator, and cooperate with the legal authorities?”
Articles of the Week
Are Your Sermons Bananas for Jesus? Stephen McAlpine. The late Keith Green defined a Christian as someone who is “bananas for Jesus.” Now, I (Chris) will admit that Green lines up more with Pastor J.D.’s generation than my own. So for the other millennials out there, you might translate that into the words of DC Talk: Be a “Jesus Freak.” Either way, these songwriters are drumming out a beating a drum whose rhythm preachers would be wise to follow. Our preaching should be like the sun—warm and enlivening—but for too many of us, it’s like the moon—clear, bright, and cold.
Six Warning Signs of a Bad Pastor and Spiritual Abuse, Stephen Altrogge. Whether in the secular world or in the church, toxic leadership tends to carry many of the same hallmarks. Unfortunately, God’s sheep often fail to see the warning signs in their leaders until the damage is already done. So what are the warning signs of a spiritually abusive pastor? He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Can Your Soul Really Survive Social Media? Russell Moore. If social media ever provokes you to anger, or anxiety, or envy, then the answer is “probably not.” (And if social media never leads you to these emotions, then the millennium has apparently begun, because you must be Jesus.) Moore reflects on a recent book, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Silicon Valley pioneer Jaron Lanier, revealing many of the dangers we are reluctant to see in social media platforms. Perhaps chief among them: Social media doesn’t just give voice to trolls; it tends to transform all of us into trolls.
The “At Leasts” Among Us, Lore Ferguson Wilbert. This starts off stinging. Not only have I experienced the “at least” from others, but also—and more importantly—I recognize how often I’ve done this myself. Whenever someone has the courage to share their struggle and we reply with, “Well, at least you don’t have to deal with…” we negate their struggle and elevate our own. But Lore ends with a balm of healing, reminding us that God is never doing “the least” of anything in any of our lives.
On the Lighter Side
Sheep in a Swing. Just remember: Of all the animals in the world, God chose to call us his sheep. This is a parable of our spiritual intelligence.