SOURCE: Twitter thread from June 19, 2019.
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THREAD: COMMENDATIONS AND CONCERNS FOR SBC. Here are main conclusions I’ve distilled from tracking recent SBC annual meeting, plus horrific news over the past few days about SBC abusers. Bottom line: #SBC19 was a positive milestone, but they’ve still got millstones to deal with.
Replying to @Holly4Hope and @ERLC. The way I interpret the big picture, some SBC entities are acting as if June 2019 marks their start-point of dealing with abuse and they’re good to go from here on out: just maintain, implement, keep moving forward. While it was a positive milestone, they’ve still got millstones. 1/
What we’ve seen in less than a week from the #SBC19 annual meeting is that there is no going forward as a whole body of local churches and SBC entities–until they’ve gone back and resolved all those specific cases and systemic problems they refused to deal with before. 2/
The SBC should be commended for many of the changes they’ve begun making: statements, resources, commitments. But these represent only partial course corrections along a trajectory based in some horrifically destructive “DNA” whose genetic characteristics have emerged in full. 3/
My opinion as one who’s spent over half of last 45 years as an adult in SBC churches: You need to recognize the corrosion in the roots and cover-ups in the fruit of at least 2 previous generational movements in SBC: Conservative Resurgence and Young, Restless, and Reformed. 4/You need to listen to those who experienced abuse within SBC entity or local church and left because of it–not just to those who found support in the SBC. You owe public apologies to SBC survivor advocates you shunned for calling you to account; they proved right, you did not. 5/
As a whole, you do not have a track record for wise self-critique, so I strongly recommend you listen *right now* to insights and cautions about the ERLC conference being voiced by survivor advocates with expertise on systemic abuse–a perspective you’ve demonstrated you lack. 6/
Yes, keep moving forward with positive overall course corrections you’ve set at #SBC19. But also repair past failures. Rebuke revered but corrupted leaders who enabled abusive systems. Consider outsiders; stop frat-boy antics that make SBC UNSAFE for survivors/advocates. Selah. 7/
A main phrase used by SBC Sexual Abuse Advisory Group, Caring Well resources, and Statements of Principles (Seminaries, State Conventions, Associational Leaders) = “safe for survivors and safe from abuse.” Immature antics seemingly designed to antagonize survivors create NOT “safe.”
In a system of individual autonomy plus institutional cooperation, the reputation of the parts infuses into the whole, and vice versa–like it or not. That is just the reality. A/
So, bad reputations from unwise or otherwise sinful actions of uncontrolled local churches and of sub-movements within the SBC–like Conservative Resurgence, Young-Reformed-Restless, Founders Ministries–accrue to the whole, negate SBC’s “Safe for survivors and safe from abuse.” B/
SBC entities and local churches, take heed: Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33; NASB) If you don’t rebuke current bad-faith actions that are abusive, why should we take you seriously that you’ll ever be “safe from abuse” in the future? C/
I’m a linguist by training. I do content analysis on concept words that are there and also *what is missing* that should be there. For an insightful study, check SBC Statements of Principles, press releases, news articles for items that show gap of confronting past situations. D/
See what words appear (and are missing) about repairing/resolving past cases of abuse that give concrete evidence of dealing (or not) with systemic abuse. (There may be mention of offering support during recovery to victims – but that is about individuals, not institutions.) E/
Re: those who want to maintain power and refuse transparency–if they “win,” the SBC will die. As a futurist, I watch for *survivability* of cultural shifts you can’t control. I don’t think SBC can survive external trend of #MeToo if they don’t repair their past and radically change.
I also watch for differences between *sustainability* (viability and flexibility to last beyond two generations) versus just *maintaining* (keeping on the same inflexible trajectory that leads to an unsalvageable system and eventual dismantlement).
SBC insiders AND outsiders need to monitor actions/inactions of SBC institutional entities, state conventions, regional associations, and local churches. Protection of predators, failure to report sexual abuse crimes, and lack of abuse prevention are ALL matters of public interest.
Re: monitoring. Worst case scenario = If SBC church or entity can’t prove it functions clearly and consistently in the public interest it has NO business being non-profit corporation. These are constituted for public benefit, not self-dealing, and shouldn’t inflict harm on the public
Best case scenario: Opposite of that. Accountability is about consequences. As I’ve noted before, ultimate consequences of failure to deal with systemic abuse by SBC entity or local church could/should result in (1) civil suits to hold accountable and (2) dismantling of corporation.
This is not a game. Abuse deeply affects victims for decades, reshaping their whole life. Such soul-wrecking actions get amplified when spiritual authorities in essence justify what happened by failure to deal rightly with survivors and righteously with perpetrators. Get it right, SBC!
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