Dr. Sheldon Nord shares his heart with the Corban Community surrounding the #metoo movement:
Dear Corban Community,
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations and the resulting #metoo movement (survivors of sexual harassment and assault coming forward and speaking up about their abuse), my heart has been heavy.
Sexual harassment and sexual violence are sadly neither new nor surprising and have affected every area of our society, from families to workplaces to the entertainment industry to higher education. What is new is a heightened awareness about speaking up about sexual misconduct and sexual violence, calling out perpetrators, and listening to the stories of survivors.
In light of this heightened awareness, what is the appropriate Christian response? How should we as Christians listen, speak, and act regarding sexual misconduct, the #metoo movement, and the stories survivors are sharing? I believe the following can serve as a starting point.
- Listen and believe. One of the reasons the problem of sexual misconduct has been so pervasive is that survivors have been systemically silenced and doubted. We as Christians can be intentional about listening to survivors, withholding doubt and judgment, and creating a culture that does not shy away from hearing the truth.
- Consciously stand alongside women. Please don’t mishear me: both men and women are subject to sexual misconduct and sexual violence. But one large factor in this problem is a culture that has objectified and sexualized women. Men, I implore you not to excuse yourself from being part of the solution. You can help create a culture of professionalism and respect toward women in the way you talk and act. Martin Saunders in Christianity Today writes to men, “If you're in that proverbial locker room and the joke gets made, the right thing to do isn't simply to curb your laughter, but to challenge the joke. If you're in that train carriage where a woman is feeling threatened, you can physically stand with her. More proactively, you can amplify the voices of the women in your life.”
- Pray for healing and restoration. Pray for the healing and restoration that only God can fully bring to the survivors of sexual violence and misconduct. Pray that God would give all of us the boldness to speak—and hear—the truth. Pray for wisdom, for God to show you what your role is in promoting a culture of respect. And pray for the perpetrators of sexual misconduct, that their actions would come to the light. Pray that they would experience justice, sincere repentance, and ultimately wholeness in God’s incomprehensible mercy and grace.
Join me, Corban Community, in listening, speaking, and acting in a way that glorifies God and reflects both mercy and truth. Join me in praying for the wisdom to discern what our response should be and the boldness to carry it out.
Sheldon C. Nord