Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Talk

The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.
Proverbs 22:3

Religion and institutions of authority are separate entities.  Both bring order and a semblance of peace to the practitioner but if in an unbalanced or abusive relationship with either occurs then the offenses that happen can lead to horrible and scarring experiences.  Some individuals end up at a church because it is a last hope to try on the path of a broken life; others see the military as a proper authority and place that corrective action can be obtained to straighten out the wrinkles of a few bad choices from youth.

Trust builds up in the system, faith builds in leadership and a mentality that a religion or an outside authority is a safe harbor for family, friends and a person is given.  Most of the time, it proves true.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  

Sometimes that trust is violated or betrayed.

When the latter occurs, the response that follows after the failure is almost always more important to the person than what benefit was obtained before it.  

Eight years ago while doing my IT job, I met “Angie”.  She placed a call to me to try and sell hardware, software and consulting services.  Most of the times when these people call you, they want to take you to lunch and buy your loyalty and a few minutes of your time.  Sometimes it works, depending on the restaurants they offer to take you to.  And that’s awesome.

We went out to lunch and she handed me the folder of her company’s services and as any good salesman does, they talk about everything but the folder first to establish a rapport before you buy anything.  Because you aren’t buying a product, you are cultivating a relationship that then gets you to buy a product.  This is sales. 

Everyone has a story, be willing to listen.

As we talked further, we chatted about family, kids, moving around, experiences and church.

Church.  It seems I had my own stories and so did Angie.  Both Christians at the time, I was still in church but she wasn’t.  I started going as an adult at 21, she left around that same time period.  We talked for a bit longer and we hit a spot where she told me why.

Someone at the church, in authority, violated trust.  They abused their position and took hold of an opportunity in a basement and robbed a young woman of her innocence and inevitably her practice in that faith.  

I had to reach out to Angie tonight; I haven’t talked to her in years.  But I wanted to get her permission to tell her story, because recently I had to share it with my daughter, and it wasn’t my story to tell. 

She told me to blog it, so that others would know too.

Angie’s dad went to the Pastor of the church to expose it, but the leadership there wanted to cover it up, deal with it internally.  This is where a good father steps up and overrides stupidity and heads straight to the police.  You don’t ever cover this up.  You drag this into the light and you expose people like this for who they are, because as I found out from Angie tonight, these people do it again until someone stands up and makes them stop. 

Recently, I sat my daughter Katie down and had this talk.  Sometimes, the wrong people are in charge.  Sometimes things happen that aren’t your fault.  Sometimes adults still act like they are in High School and make stupid decisions.  Sometimes adults around these people are so oblivious to the environment they have allowed themselves to perpetuate these events, it’s abhorrent.  And everyone must own up to the part they played in it.

Some men in charge prey upon a certain personality type that has been wounded already and are fine with manipulating these people again.

Sometimes, people are just evil.

And my just turned teenaged daughter had to hear about the stupidity of some people she looked up to.  Where this pattern could start, how she could be affected and most importantly if something like this ever happens to her, it’s not her fault.  And if it does happen to her then tell someone.  Don’t bury this, don’t hide it and don’t agree with leadership in a closed door meeting that we are just going to cover this up amongst ourselves so we can carry on with the same environment that allowed this to happen to begin with.  That’s as evil as the offense. 

Shame on us and Heaven forgive us.

My friend taught me something 8 years ago.  Something I never thought I would have to revisit and that I had to start teaching my 13 year old daughter those lessons now. 

If her story could keep it from happening to one more “Angie”, then it was worth it to tell.

Thank you, my friend.