I am still processing. I wasn’t going to say anything, because I am still working through exactly what there is to say, but I do believe there is at least this to say: You are accountable.
If you were a pastor, and a member of your congregation told you that their spouse had secretly filmed them having sex, would you consider it abuse? If one of a christian couple physically restrained their partner to have sex with them against their will, would you call that rape? What if they didn’t physically restrain them, but they did manipulate and threaten them? I suppose the answer depends on whether or not these things occur while you are a member of an OPC or a PCA church.
The notion that a good church, full of good theology and sound preaching, deeply invested in doctrinal purity and the disciplines of holiness, can, in its zeal for orthodoxy, leave people feeling unheard, unloved, and hurting, may surprise you. The Reformed church, especially the OPC, views herself as a lampstand of Old Light and Old Life religion. We embody the best traditions of the Reformation, and we are deeply committed to Biblical faith and practice. For decades, my family have fed on the nourishing meat of Reformed orthodoxy: the doctrines of Grace, the theology of covenant.
Granny and Pop Barger survived the Great Depression. Their basement full of decades-old canning and boxes full of rubber bands attested to the lasting trauma of that time. Still, my great grandparents were hard nosed, independent Americans from a time when we still were agrarians, before the government turned farms into food factories. From the depression to the New Deal, Granny and Pop leaned into the winds of change. When the government offered them a subsidy for their farm, they turned it down.
The Chattanoogan recently published a piece by Matthew Vos, a professor at Covenant College, entitled Rihanna, the Anti Role model. The piece got a little buzz on the Reformed interwebs, which is how it came to my attention. In the piece, Matthew recounts a moment in his search for a role model for his two daughters, persons of color growing up in a white, upper middle class family.