Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Running both ways at once

I’ll be making another trip to Nashville next week. So, I am weighted with the thought of again standing in that room with men who mostly seem profoundly uncaring and oblivious. I dread it. It’s painful. Yet, I have come to the belief that this reality must be shoved in their faces until they eventually see it.

In repeatedly choosing to put myself in front of them (and it IS my choice), I sometimes feel as though I have chosen to run straight into an oncoming train.

That train carries not only the trauma of my own experience, both near-past and far-past, but also the trauma-filled stories from so many of you. They are stories that I now carry with me in my head and heart.

I am consciously choosing over and over again to confront this train of horror full-front and head-on. Wouldn't any normal person run the other way?

I don’t think most of those men in Nashville have any clue about the extent to which they themselves are part of that train of horror. They think it’s about the perpetrators. But what so many of us know is that the horror is also about them – the ones who do nothing. It’s why the train is so big and powerful.

It’s not the perpetrators that haunt me. I know they’re out there. You know they’re out there. Plenty of them are standing in Southern Baptist pulpits. That’s the evil reality that I can wrap my head around and grasp.

What haunts me is the silence of the many. That’s the evil reality that I cannot wrap my head around. It’s too big. It’s too pervasive. It’s too powerful.

So many Southern Baptist leaders have known about perpetrators and found excuses to stay silent. So many Southern Baptist leaders have chosen to do absolutely nothing when so many of us tried to report abuse. So many Southern Baptist leaders have answered reports of abuse with uncaring "not my problem" responses at best and with appallingly ignorant responses at worst. Either way, they were horrifically hurtful responses. And all of it is an evil reality that I simply cannot accept.

So...I continue to run head-long into this a though by forcing them to see me, I can force them to see themselves and the horror of what they’re allowing in Southern Baptist churches.

But sometimes I think maybe the train will finally just run me down. Given how entrenched the pattern of denial is in this denomination, that seems more likely than the train hitting the brakes or switching onto a different track, doesn’t it?

Maybe that’s why I’ve started doing more real running lately. Psychologically, I keep running head-long into the train, but physically, I’ve started running harder and longer as though I could simultaneously run away from it. It feels as though I’m running both directions at once.

Maybe I’m trying to outrun physically what I can’t outrun psychologically. Maybe I’m trying to outrun my own nightmare. Maybe I’m just running.


John Harrison said...


To borrow a phrase from a very popular movie, "Run, Christa, Run!"
May God give you the strength. You are in our prayers.

Christa Brown said...

Thanks John. This gave me a laugh, and it's a self-image I like. Now all I gotta do is dye my hair orange and keep on running!