Sunday, April 24, 2011

Future study on Baptist clergy sex abuse survivors... maybe


As some of you already know, my life has changed a lot over the past year. I’m now pursuing a Ph.D. in religious studies in the joint program at the Iliff School of Theology and the University of Denver. I hope that, with a broader understanding, I may become a more effective voice for encouraging compassionate outreach to those wounded by clergy sex abuse and for prodding the implementation of effective clergy accountability systems.

[Incidentally, the Iliff School of Theology is not in any way connected to Baptists. It is loosely affiliated with the Methodists, but just so you’ll know, I’m not Methodist either. I don’t categorize myself as much of anything when it comes to institutional religion.]

In the future, I hope that I may be able to conduct a research study on Baptist clergy sex abuse survivors, and on the survivors’ thoughts and feelings about various things related to the abuse and its aftermath. I hope many of you will participate. (And by “clergy,” I’m referring to pastors, ministers, deacons, Sunday School teachers, missionaries, and church officials.)

It may be a year or more before I can even begin such a study, but the blog and website have been getting a lot of hits lately, and so I would like to use this spike in visibility to go ahead and start gathering email addresses from people who might be interested in participating.

If you think you might like to participate in such a study, please send an email with “Future Study” in the subject line to

Please do not include any additional information with your email.

This will not in any way make you part of any study. It will simply put your email address on a list that I may use down-the-road to send out information about a possible future study. If and when that time arrives, you have absolutely zero obligation to participate in any way unless you choose to do so at that time. And, of course, I’ll have a lot more to say about the specifics of the study at that time.

Please feel free to link to this post on your own blogs, websites and Facebook pages. I am hoping to reach as many Baptist clergy abuse survivors as possible.

Many thanks for your help.


Wendy Stubblefield said...

I'm so glad you're considering this study. With your personal history, education, and organized advocacy efforts, you're the perfect person to conduct this study. I just posted the link on my facebook.

Thank you for being THE voice for Baptist clergy sex abuse survivors!

Ginny said...

Christa, are you going to deal with just the sexual aspect of clergy abuse or are you compiling a list of all types of abuse by Baptist ministers? While I do not know personally of any 'sexual' abuse perpetrated by ministers I have dealt with in the SBC, I do know of men who were 'abusive' in other areas, such as physically abusive to spouses/children, fiduciarily abusive to the churches they were in, psychologically abusive to members of their congregation... I know that 'abusive personalities' are not limited to one area, and these may be the outward sign of more 'hidden' abuses. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.

Jim said...

Christa, best wishes as you pursue the Ph.D. Perhaps a scholarly approach to the issue of Baptist clergy sexual abuse will garner more attention and generate more support in the battle against this pervasive, persistent evil within the SBC. Stay strong; don't be bullied nor discouraged by the enablers that seem to populate the pews and protect their favorite pedophiles. Bless you, sister.

Christa Brown said...

Hi Ginny,

In whatever study I may wind up doing, I will focus on Baptist clergy sex abuse. I know all too well that there are far too many other sorts of abuses being committed by ministers. I hear horror stories about domestic abuse and child physical abuse. And I've written on a few occasions about financial exploitation. But for the sake of my own time and energy, and because it's what cries out to me the most, I feel as though I have to keep my primary focus on clergy sex abuse.