So say Catherine Clark Kroeger and Nancy Nason-Clark in their book, No Place for Abuse. This quote struck me, as I grew up in a fundamentalist church where mentioning some personal abuse brought blame to me and sympathy to my father. This book is refreshing in its directness as it addresses the ticklish issue of how churches have traditionally dealt with abuse.
It reads like a tragic novel: Nearly two-thirds of the world’s 876 million illiterate adults are women. Approximately 6,000 girls are subjected to female genital mutilation each day, and 30 percent of girls subjected to its most radical form die from the effects. Four million women are sold each year as slaves. In sub-Saharan Africa, 55 percent of HIV-infected adults are women, and teenage girls are five times more likely to be infected than boys. These numbers, gathered from a variety of sources and published by Global Women, an organization that supports the global ministry of women, are only the tip of an iceberg adrift in developing countries across the world.
The memories of child prostitutes on the streets of Bangkok are still swirling in my head. Even as the Lausanne prayer team walked and prayed through the streets of Thailand, one prostitute begged them to take her home. How can we encounter such suffering with- out longing to make a difference?
Going down the stairs on that last day, I intentionally kept my hand on the rail, trying to burn the memory of its feel in my mind. This would be the last time I would ever go down these stairs — the last time I would touch this railing.
The increasing incidents of abuse in our society are a sad reality with which all church leaders must come to grips. Mending the Soul is, therefore, a valuable resource not only for abuse survivors and those ministering to them, but also for church leaders who have to explore the uncharted territory of abuse because of love for their congregations.
Alan Johnson is emeritus professor of New Testament and Christian ethics at Wheaton College and Graduate School. His work on 1 Corinthians is particularly engaging. His reference notes and bibliography provide an entry into further study if desired, all while maintaining an appealing readable style. He deftly bridges the two horizons of the Greco-Roman culture and American culture.
I was born into privilege thrice over. I am white; I am male; I am American. And all that privilege provides me with the shortcut, the front row seat, the illusion of my own sufficiency. Yet, I need help, and I need it terribly.