This month Freeing the Oppressed was released as I put the finishing touches on my second manuscript and began editing my third. While I actually hate writing I have found that it seems to be the best way to communicate with a larger audience concerning God’s will and work in this world (that is why we do a newsletter). I signed three contracts with a publisher in January to publish these books by the end of the year (what in the world was I thinking?) and published three separate articles in journals. While this is difficult for me something has been driving me to speak out both verbally and on paper. I am reminded of Jeremiah’s haunting words that he cannot hold God’s word inside, it is a “fire in my bones” (Jer. 20:9). I have also found something productive to do during those occasional nights of insomnia that come with middle age. I hear that old people don’t need much sleep. I wonder what I will write if I make it to 90!
Freeing the Oppressed is my second book on domestic violence. My first was published in 2005 and since then 1 in 4 women continue to be physically assaulted each year, 1 in 6 males have been molested each year, and 3 million children per year witness a traumatic event each year. 1 in 5 women become victims of dating violence each year, and an equal number are sexually assaulted each year. Even worse, the church still continues to turn their heads to domestic violence and abuse—each year. I continue to hear stories from victims of abuse concerning how their churches rally around the perpetrator and, in many cases, believe the oppressor rather than the victims. I personally know of 5 churches in my fellowship who, over the years I have been here, have not addressed the issue of an older male inappropriately touching a younger male. The victims end up leaving the church while the offender goes unchecked.
The past few months we have also become aware of a shocking statistic that Portland has one of the highest underage prostitution rates and highest amount of strip clubs per capita as compared to other US cities. Even more Pimp is seen in a positive light (Positive Individual Making a Profit) or as a funny term such as “Pimp my ride” or “Playing the Pimp.” I know that this Halloween the “Pimp and Ho” costumes will be a favorite among kids and adults.
September has been a month to prepare for October (Domestic Violence Awareness Month). Already we have done trainings in Portland, spoken in Memphis, and are working with the public schools to address sex trafficking. More talks will be given in October in Atlanta and Portland State University, abuse groups will grow and reach out in our recovery ministry, people will be trained to address trafficking, and many will heal from their pain and abuse.
In addition to this Lori and I will rejoice that we have a staff that is fully committed to addressing abuse in all of its forms and giving their lives to Freeing the Oppressed. We are also excited to be leading a church that is equally as passionate about confronting abuse and validating those who have been hurt.