These past months, the news has dealt with the way men in power have abused women. Politicians, entertainment celebrities, business leaders; have all been implicated. In many ways it is a depressing realization and even more unfortunately it is not new. The Bible acknowledges these realities and we will dare not ignore any part of the Bible in its instruction to us. But we do wish to handle this subject with grace as well as truth.
January 21, the Sunday message will deal with the text of 2 Samuel 13:1-22. The subject line in my Bible says "The Rape of Tamar."
Many of us know the story of David's rape of Bathsheba, but the story of his son Amnon’s actions years later is spelled out in even more clear and graphic ways. I do not intend to be sensational, but I also will not shy away from the clear horror of the story. The words that are used to describe sexual aggression will be a part of my talk: "sexual violence," "rape," and "sexual assault" will be spoken. We are not used to this language in church and yet when these realities are found in our Scripture and discussed widely in our schools and in the media we would be foolish to keep silence.
While preaching this text, I will try to take special care to be sensitive to the wounds of listeners who have experienced the pain and shame of sexual abuse. There will be counselors and prayer partners available to speak with during and after the service. We will have an opportunity in Second Look following the service to share our feelings and stories if we choose. I will lead that time.
Let us all be in prayer; that the Word of God will not return void, but accomplish healing, conviction, compassion and justice. If you have specific questions before the service of January 21 feel free to email or call me: firstname.lastname@example.org, 907.277.3322. God bless you.
How to discuss issues of rape, violence, and consent is an important topic every family will at some point decide, especially families of faith. As Pastor Max noted above this is part of our Scripture. Part of our discipleship, our path of spiritual growth, is learning how to deal with the uncomfortable and painful realities of sin in our material world. As parents, we have to decide when and how to begin this conversation and teaching, so that it would actually be fruitful and not harmful. If these aren’t topics that you have already begun to address within the home, then a church service might not be best to first hear about it.
When the younger children, preschool to 2nd grade, are dismissed for Kid’s time, older children will be invited to join them, at their parents’ discretion.
If you choose to keep your child in the service, I would encourage you to let the sermon be the start of a larger conversation about sex, power, and abuse, rather than the end of it.
We hope we'll have many contributors from our congregation. I imagine we will have regular and occasional contributors. If you'd like to contribute a poem, a photo, a devotion or anything that you believe enhances our life together, please contact Pastor Criss to learn about posting.