Tag Archives: Jesus

Sexual abuse is always a big deal

duggar-family-jana-duggar

The Duggar family. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

I’m angry.

It takes a lot to make me angry.

It’s true that I tend to rant about random things and I’m fairly sarcastic and even a bit cynical at times. But anger isn’t something I feel very often.

I’m angry, and here’s why:

This morning I was greeted with news story after news story that one of the Duggar kids had molested some other children when he was 14. Now, I don’t know much about the Duggars other than the fact that they have 19 kids, they promote the bizarre homeschool cult that was started by Bill Gothard, and that Christians love them. I’m a devout Christian myself, but I’ve personally found the strange, almost cult-like following of the Duggars a little weird, and I also think it’s a lot weird that Michelle and Jim Bob have chosen a life in which their ever-growing family is shoved into the limelight in exchange for money, but whatever.

I had no problem with people liking the Duggars. But I cannot stand idly by while people who claim the name of Christ try to excuse and brush over what happened.

The reasons I’m angry are threefold. I’ll start with the obvious.

1. I’m angry that it happened.

Sexual abuse is horrific and it scars the lives of those who live through it. Add to this that the counseling the girls received is questionable at best considering the sources from which it likely came, and this entire situation is just a giant train wreck of emotional turmoil and baggage. I wish I didn’t have to belabor the point, but since a lot of people keep saying really insensitive and disgusting things, let me make this very clear: no matter how long ago it was or who the offender was, sexual abuse is always a big deal.

If it helps to make it personal, imagine your daughter or son or your niece or nephew coming to you and telling you that someone had touched them. Is it a big deal now? Because the girls in this scenario are someone’s kids too.

Which brings me to my next point…

2. I’m angry that it was covered up.

First off, Michelle and Jim Bob: what is wrong with you? It appears that your son molested your own daughters. Repeatedly. Snuck into their bedrooms and touched them. Why didn’t you report this to authorities? Why did you decide that it was okay to ignore the well-being of four of your children? What in the world?

Secondly, church elders who were told about this: Congratulations! You’ve all won Class A misdemeanors, which is the minimum charge for a clergy member in the state of Arkansas who does not immediately report the abuse of a child! Good job!

Seriously though, even if you were morally conflicted, you have a legal obligation to report situations like this. There are way too many instances of abuse being covered up within the Church and it disgusts me. You don’t get to decide that you’re above the law.  Josh’s processing and possible sentencing should have been up to the governing authorities. At the point in which he broke the law, he should have been reported. Period.

And then the big reason…

3. I’m angry because of the reactions of Duggar Fans.

The messages I’ve seen defending the actions of both Josh and his family astound me. “It was a long time ago”, “He was only fourteen”, “‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone'” (that last one doesn’t mean what you think it means).

No. No. No. NO.

Look, I’m fully aware that the Duggars have always presented themselves as a nice, devout Christian family. And I’m aware that one of the things the world likes to do is point out any potential area of hypocrisy it can find in the lives of Christians. And I’m also aware that many Christians feel the need to try to avoid this sort of thing, which results in them attempting to make excuses for, cover up, or distract from blatant, public sin. That’s not okay.

People are sinful. You are sinful. I am sinful. Every last Duggar is sinful. The only thing that sets Christians apart from unbelievers is that we are saved by the work of Christ. Not by our own works, not by avoiding the “really bad” sins, not by pretending that we don’t sin at all lest people think that we’re fallible. By the work of Christ. We still sin. And we repent. The Lord works to sanctify us, but until we die we will have to battle our sin nature and we will sin. Every day.

It’s rough to have the world look at you and say, “The Bible teaches this, but you did that.” And our initial inclination is likely to try to cover ourselves, just as Adam and Eve did in the Garden. But the fact of the matter is we are sinful and are dependent daily on the work of Christ. We cannot escape our own flesh. It is always there.

All that being said: defending the actions of Josh Duggar, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, or any of the elders who did not report this issue to the authorities cannot be justified. Five young women were sexually abused. Yes, it was a long time ago. But Josh did molest them, and multiple adults felt it was necessary and acceptable to hide the entire incident from governing authorities. These facts cannot and should not be defended.

It’s fair to say that there’s not much that can be done now. I have no demands of the Duggars (though Michelle and Jim Bob admitting they handled the situation poorly would be nice). But I do think that those who follow the family, particularly my Christian brothers and sisters, need to deal with the fact that the family is made up of sinful human beings and need to stop defending any part of this occurrence.

These events are horrific. They are damaging. They altered the lives of five young women forever. Covering up sin and illegal activity is despicable. Disobeying the law because you consider yourself above it is abhorrent. And defending people who do any of these things is simply disgusting.

Grieve the situation, grieve with the victims, pray for the Duggars – even Josh. Do what you need to do to come to grips with this entire tragedy. But do not under any circumstances try to sweep this under the rug or treat it as if it’s not a big deal. Sexual abuse is a big deal and it should not be tolerated. Period.

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The constant chase of a meaningful life

So, there’s this fallacy of thought common amongst Christians of a Certain Age (generally under 35 or so) that if our everyday life is not filled to the brim with Deep Meaning and Dangerous Acts of Bravery then it automatically doesn’t count as a life. I’m sure we’ve all bought into it in some way or another, or at the very least, had the idea shoved down our throats half a million times over the years. This is, at the very least, a horrific misunderstanding of the truth.

We live with our parents past the age of nineteen-and-a-half and we consider ourselves Losers Who Live With Their Parents. We don’t have a job filled with Selfless Acts or that Makes a Difference. We may or may not finish Higher Education and may or may not know what to do with our Very Important Diploma once all is said and done. Everyday looks mostly the same as the last, and we’re told at every possible moment that our boring, unfulfilling lives can change in an instant if only we take a chance! learn something new! let go! jump into the abyss with Kierkegaardian abandon!

The problem I have with this line of thinking, particularly among Christians, is that it 1. exhibits an inherent distrust of the sovereignty of God and 2. is, quite frankly, usually selfish. I’m sure there are those out there who want to be World Shakers and live Exciting Lives purely for the Lord…but, if we’re honest, most of us want that sort of excitement because it will make us feel like we’re worth something, like we matter. Instead of taking the Lord at His word (that He loves His children, that we are called according to His purpose, that He has chosen us not on our own merit but because of His steadfast love), we want the comfort of knowing that we matter on our own terms. And that attitude is selfish.

The fact of the matter is that you and I are not mistakes. The Lord created each and every cell in your body. He has you in the place that most glorifies Him and His purposes. That place may be boring; it may be unpleasant; but it is purposeful. When we long for something else, something that was assume ascribes meaning to our short existence here on Earth, we also assume that the Lord’s purposes aren’t meaning enough. We assume that only out idea of Meaning Something counts. That is prideful beyond belief.

The Lord may have you in your parents’ house or in that dead-end job or in that state you hate because He plans for you to connect with those around you. He may have you there for some other reason. But one thing is for certain: He has you in the place that brings Him the most glory and that will sanctify you as His child.

He loves His children. And that alone makes our lives worth something.


Random thoughts from one of the most emotionally wearing weeks of my entire life

  • The amount of times I’ve had to tell myself, “It’s really none of your business; you don’t have to have an opinion on everything.” in the last week is astounding considering the fact that I am, in fact, a 26-year-old woman who manages to keep old friends, make new ones, and maintain a decent relationship with most of my coworkers and family members.
  • Really the fact that any one of us puts up with the rest of us is the common grace of God in His understanding that His creation needs companionship.  Because, really, we’re all such self-centered messes.
  • I trust people’s philosophies way too much and their motives way too little.
  • I would really, really like a dog.  A great, big, floppy dog who I will name Theodore or Remus or Paddington or something.
  • I absolutely have some of the most devoted, kind, loving, patient, wonderful, and dear friends in the entire world and I’m very glad the Lord has placed them in my life.
  • I find my brain to be buzzing more and more with useless and absurd imaginary conversations simply because I’m so used to thinking constantly. This week has been so crazy that my brain wants to be quiet but habit dictates that I fill the void with something.  These aren’t even conversations that I expect or want to have; they’re more like A Word from Our Sponsor filling the space between thoughts.  I think maybe I need to learn to sit quietly, mind included.
  • I’ve had such sweet conversations this week despite the tossing and turning of my mind.  It has been quite wonderful, really.
  • Sometimes, sleeping on a giant pillow and a giant stuffed bear really does make most everything better somehow.
  • Astoundingly, I don’t have to continue to feel as if I’m responsible for the actions of others.  I’ve known this for awhile, but it’s just now sinking in.
  • I have a friend who has two sisters and the three of them are essentially best friends and it’s really the most lovely thing.  I wish I saw that sort of sibling affection more often.
  • The Lord really does come through with His promise to progressively sanctify His children.  He equips, He chastises, He encourages, He loves.  Utterly phenomenal.

Dear Christians Who Are Planning on Eating Chick-fil-A Tomorrow in an Effort to Accomplish Something Spectacular

Dear Christians Who Are Planning on Eating Chick-fil-A Tomorrow in an Effort to Accomplish Something Spectacular,

I will not be joining you.

This is not because I don’t hold to a biblical definition of marriage.  This is not because I think that homosexuality exempt from being classified as sinful.  This is not because of the month I spent wiping down tables at Chick-fil-A when I was eighteen and someone left their purple acrylic nails all over one of the tables and it scarred me for life a little.

No, this is very, very different.

It seems that most people who are participating in this anti-boycott-whatever-it-is are those who feel very strongly that the United States should enforce Christian values and beliefs among its citizens.  While I am in full support of Christian values and beliefs (as I, being a Christian, hold them myself), I do not think that the U.S. should be the prime enforcer of them.

Why?

Because the Bible is pretty explicit with its own teachings, and I don’t think the Lord needs help from the government.

No, really.

The conservative branch of American politics seems to have it in their heads that the government needs to get back to upholding and enforcing biblical principles.  This is kind of ridiculous for two reasons:

1. People who haven’t been transformed by the working of God on their hearts are not going to act in accordance with biblical teachings.  It is absurd to assume that people who are not Christian will accept the standards of the Lord with open arms. And, an attempt to enforce them doesn’t make the nation Christian; it only spreads about shallow moralism that saves no one and misleads many.

2. The last time I checked, the Lord is the one who enforces His standards, He is the one Who defines sin, and I’m pretty sure He doesn’t need us to eat chicken to accomplish this.

This goes beyond American politics.  The fact of the matter is, the American government doesn’t define a godly marriage; God defines a godly marriage.  Politicians don’t get to decide what’s morally right or wrong; the Lord does.  And while I don’t think we should applaud or support things that we know are wrong biblically, looking to the government to create biblical laws is frustrating and pointless.  God can and will enforce His own standards, whether the President of the U.S. or the president of a fast-food chain agrees with Him or not.

Oh, and this support-showing anti-boycott-thing doesn’t accomplish what should be our true goal as Christians, which is preaching the Gospel.

This is a disgusting distraction from what Christians should be doing.  Even if every activist stride you take is rewarded with biblical principles being set into place in our laws and across our country, even if every homosexual person gives up their lifestyle because they suddenly find it to be wrong, even if every person that’s ever lied or stolen or cheated on their spouse or let their anger get out of control or been lazy reforms their ways and becomes a productive, moral member of society, they will still all be productive, moral members of society on their way to eternal damnation if Christ has not transformed their hearts.

This whole thing has gotten out of control, and it’s blurring the already hazy lines between genuine Christian behavior stemming from a heart changed by God and putrid, meaningless moralism enforced by a national government.  What good is it if people know that you hate the idea of homosexual marriage if they never hear the Gospel?

So, though I will undoubtedly crave Chick-fil-A tomorrow (it is Wednesday, after all…I always want Chick-fil-A on Wednesdays), I will not be joining any of you there.  I cannot support the propagation of Cross-less moralism.

Sincerely,

Chelsea