Part 2 of a 3-part blog series. Letters from former Christians who have left the church because they did not receive support or inclusion as a member of a marginalized community. As LSS Justice Ministries, we do not share these to inspire shame or blame, rather as a rare opportunity to learn from communities and perspectives that are rarely willing to share their truth with us. Our hope is that these letters will inspire creative conversations about how to grow in our expression of Christ’s wide welcome. This blog comes from the perspective of a survivor of sexual assault.

Dear Christians,

Elie Weisel famously said, “silence favors the oppressors.” That’s why we MUST speak out about our politics, about the people we love, and about sex and our abortions.

How can we just be for peace? How can we just be for justice?

Our peace does begin at home, and it begins with justice for those considered the least of us. Our peace means feeding the poor and caring for the sick. Our peace means funding the organizations and shelters that provide for the poor. Our peace means looking to those organizations and holding them accountable to spend more money on the afflicted than on overhead. 

Our peace means not looking the other way when shopping. Our peace means spending the extra dollars to get an item from a smaller business instead of a mega-corp, and choosing not to shop at places that do not pay a living wage, deny dignity to any person for any reason, or deny employees the opportunity to have decent medical care. (While we’re at it — Universal Health Care and a Universal Basic Income would both be cheaper than insurance tied to jobs and all the red tape of SSDI and welfare programs.)

Our peace means protecting people in need of abortion. Not looking the other way when “a girl gets herself into trouble.” Our peace means knowing when a pregnancy is and isn’t medically viable, and challenging our lawmakers to learn the same basic biology before deciding that a fetus has more value than a woman. Our peace is finding justice for people who have been raped. Our peace is incomplete when everyone knows a rape survivor, but no one knows who the rapists are. Our peace is not complete when we tell girls how to be safe, but we don’t tell boys not to rape — or to rat out their buddies who are rapists. 

Our peace will be complete when we can, one law or legal precedent at a time, create spaces where men and women are truly equal. We still have so much work to do on that front. 

It isn’t enough to laugh and say “boys will be boys.” We need to teach boys that girls mature faster and so boys should look to them respectfully for guidance. But we need to do this without forcing every girl to be the mother hen to the boys her age. Undoing the damage done by the Patriarchy is so hard. We must unlearn so many things we took for granted as children.

But when we don’t, we simply compound problems for the next generation. If we want better, we must be better! 

Because it doesn’t look like we can dismantle the Patriarchy very easily, we’re going to need leadership teams of strong women who can rely on each other AND we’re going to need more than a few good men to make sure that the women are heard respectfully. We need a female leadership that understands the issues which have plagued women for years. We need women who will hold men accountable and hold them when they cry.

I think our peace starts when we are honest with ourselves. Whether we see ourselves as ultimately good or ultimately sinful, I think we are all humans subject to mistakes but fearfully and wonderfully made. I think when we lay ourselves bare to our brothers and sisters, admitting the truths of ourselves without shame, being ashamed only of faults for which we seek absolution, we can draw back the curtain of silence that allows fear to reign over us. Let us be not afraid. Everything we are and everything we have done is already known to the people who love us. And if they do not love us, what weight should their opinion hold at all? 

With Kindness,

Wandering, Not Lost