Welcome to CBE’s Library

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Snow falls gently
like little promises accumulating over the years,
piling into great mounds of failed commitment.
Too large to ignore,
it stands grim sentinel in the chill of resentment,
but it slowly melts away under the sunshine of mercy.

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Recently, in the small bowling alley where Shelby works, three immigrant women and eight children came to the counter to pay for their games. After Shelby realized that none of the women could speak English, one of them tried to apologize, saying, “Normally my husband…”  Shelby asked if her husband usually did the talking. She nodded and kept her eyes glued to the floor.

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We asked our supporters what concrete measures churches can take to combat abuse in Christian communities and strengthen their internal response to abuse. Some of you weighed in with some great ideas and examples, which we’ve compiled below.

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This past Friday, The Wartburg Watch exposed megachurch pastor Andy Savage for sexually assaulting a teenage girl, Jules Woodsen, who has now come forward to share her story. Twenty years ago, Savage drove then-seventeen year-old Woodson down a secluded road and sexually assaulted her. At the time, Savage was an adult college student and serving as a youth pastor at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church in Texas.

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We’ve all heard them. Stupid jokes and thoughtless comments. Sexist sayings and caricatures. From the pulpit, at the altar, in school, from boyfriends, girlfriends, teachers, parents, and friends. People pass off myths as facts and case-by-case examples as universal truth. Women are like this and men are like that. Women are obnoxious. Men are arrogant. Women are needy and men are emotionally unavailable. These statements are infused with cultural and gendered assumptions. They have no basis in the gospel and what’s more—they are rooted heavily in socialization. And yet, despite Christians’ pledge to reject unhealthy and sinful cultural messages, these painful and divisive gender jokes and ideologies have infiltrated the church. And it’s not no big deal, people. It’s a really big deal. Here’s why.

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We need to pay attention to how we speak about female biblical characters. Are we affirming their personhood? Or are we communicating that they are extensions or property of men?

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History is, quite obviously, a story. And like any story, it at times prioritizes the experiences of certain characters over others. If we try to do too much with one story, we obstruct our own efforts. Thus, good historians are wise and fair synthesizers of data, but they accept that no one story can include everyone and everything. 

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We ask too much of women and too little of men. It's time for men to stand and fight abuse. Here are four ways you can start.

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I’d like to present five steps for proper response to abuse disclosure in churches. I hope that churches facing similar situations in the future will have the tools and knowledge to do better.

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For a class project, I once spent a semester studying people I disagree with. Initially, I planned to report on atheists because their beliefs differ dramatically from my Christian faith.

I approached my professor with the idea, and he shook his head. “No, you need to choose people who frustrate you. Who don’t you get along with? Who is hard to like?”

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