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Where’s Alice Cooper when you need him?

Be warned, gentle readers, for what I am about to write has the gentle strains of “No More Mister Nice Guy” running through my noggin…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For several months now, I have been thinking and reading about “What does it mean to be a Christian?” This question arises in my innermost thoughts every four years or so, when the three ring circus that is “American politics” swings into the Presidential election. I feel sorry for evangelicals in America this year. Since voting Democrat is apostasy in the US de A (‘scuse my French…), evangelicals have to choose between the serial adulterer and the Mormon in order to assure that “good Christian values” are once more represented in the White House.

(never mind that Obama has been faithfully married to the same woman for 19 years, and has been a member of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ since the early 80’s. We need someone in the White House who is friendly to Christians… my head hurts…)

Let me start moving towards my point. I have been trying to stay current with the whole PBI thing without letting it consume my life right now. I recently had a chance to be present at a meeting with Mark Maxwell, and I have to say this. I was sorely tempted to go into that meeting with guns drawn and Bible in my hand, ready to call down fire and brimstone on his head. But a couple of people whose judgement and wisdom I trust completely told me “Mark Maxwell is a good guy – give him a chance”. So I did. While I still don’t want to trust Maxwell, I am willing to believe that he is committed to finding justice in the situation at PBI. Since then I have seen both Mark Maxwell and Linda Fossen take sincere steps toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict between “survivors” and “administration”, and I think they should both be commended for their efforts so far.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, Facebook has shown me that not everyone who has an opinion in this mess has the same commitment to peaceful resolution that Mark and Linda have demonstrated to me. And now I turn to them:

Galations 6:1-3 says: “Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.” 

(Read that again in case you missed it the first time.)

You have been calling down condemnation on Linda and her associates for quite some time now. Some even refer to her and her friends as “bitches”. Where is Jesus in that? (Answer? Nowhere.)

You cast critical comments her way because she dares to threaten PBI, and somehow in your minds that means she is threatening God Himself. I have a newsflash for you – God is a big boy. He can take care of Himself. If he wants PBI to remain where it is, a million Linda Fossens would not be able to move a single pebble. If God does not want PBI to remain, a million alumni will not be able to stand in His way. Being a “good Christian” has no more to do with defending an institution than it has to do with blindly following one political party.

I hear over and over again, “Linda and her friends keep pointing out the bad that happened at Prairie, without mentioning the good that happened.” Really? That surprises you? Newsflash – THEY WERE SEXUALLY ABUSED!!! Focusing on the negative is kinda what happens. Deal with it.

In Matthew 25 Jesus had this to say:

 41-43“Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because— 

   I was hungry and you gave me no meal, 
   I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 
   I was homeless and you gave me no bed, 
   I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, 
   Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

 44“Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

 45“He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’

I think it would be safe to add these verses in this context:

“I was raped, and you did not believe me.”

“I was abused, and you offered protection to my abuser.”

“I came forward, and you called me a liar.”

What you are doing to Linda and her friends – you are doing to Jesus.

When we hear the stories that are coming out right now, the Christian thing to say is NOT “Be quiet, forgive and forget”. Micah 6:8 says “No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” The right thing – the merciful thing – is to say, “I cannot believe this happened. This should never have happened. This is not right. We need to make it right.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amos 5 says:

21 “I hate all your show and pretense— 
      the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. 
 22 I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. 
      I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. 
 23 Away with your noisy hymns of praise! 
      I will not listen to the music of your harps. 
 24 Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, 
      an endless river of righteous living.”

Quite frankly, if we cannot respond to the survivors with love and a commitment to seeking  justice, we have no business calling ourselves followers of Jesus.

(And if we are going to bully them, call them names, and threaten them with legal action, we have no business being in ministry. Just sayin’…)

So alumni, instead of critical comments and calls for lawsuits, how about sharing the burdens of those who have been abused? And by sharing their burdens, I do not mean making them talk to anonymous alumni. Has anyone considered the possibility that some of these anonymous alumni may play a part in the stories that these survivors tell? “Sharing their burdens” in this case means joining them in their quest for truth and justice. This is not about destroying the school. This is not about Salem-style witch hunts. This is about justice.

Remember justice? The stuff the God we say we follow wants to see rivers of?

If you think you’re too good for that, you’re badly deceived.

 

About Shawn Anderson

I think the picture speaks for itself...

34 responses to “Where’s Alice Cooper when you need him?

  1. This is a excellent article. It is the heart of a Pastor bleeding for the scattered sheep.

  2. Kathy ⋅

    Such a very well written and articulated message. May “those that have ears to hear” actually “hear” what you are saying!

  3. Barb

    Thanks Shawn for your clear assessment and critique of this situation. You have plainly called Christians to take a second look and not to be afraid to face the challenge required to intentionally bring justice to the oppressed. Keep sharing your words–people are listening!

  4. Diana ⋅

    Thank you and bless you for caring.

  5. Totally righteous…thank you Pastor Shawn!

  6. Joyce Brouwer Jones ⋅

    Wow, thank you so much! You put into words very succinctly the thoughts that I have been having in my head the last couple of days, especially since last evening when I posted from my heart in response to what Linda shared from her heart. God bless you.

  7. Dan ⋅

    Dear “Pastor” Shawn… Thank you for your eloquent words and interpretation of Scripture. Maybe it would be a better idea for you to rather spend time looking at the WHOLE Bible – especially the parts about judging people – like people that you haven’t even had the decency to talk to. Instead you would rather take 2nd or 3rd hand gossip and spin it into your version of truth. You have NEVER talked to the person YOU are accusing. You have NEVER made an effort to know TRUTH. I am disappointed that one that has been called by God to shepherd His people has fallen into the snares of the evil one to listen to gossip and then spread it further with your soapbox. Time to practice what you preach.

    • Wow, “Dan”, really? How do I reply to a comment like yours? How does someone like myself – a person that you have never had the decency to talk to – reply to a judgemental, condescending, hypocritical, self-righteous comment like yours?

      Here’s an idea – try reading the Bible yourself – especially the parts about treating others the way you want to be treated, and the parts about being Jesus to the “least of these”, and seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

      But I do have to thank you for your comment. God says that when His people speak the truth in righteousness, the forces of evil will stand against them. So thanks for reminding me that I stand on the side of righteousness.

    • Hank Hamm ⋅

      Dan, I hear the pain underlying your anger, and I think perhaps a cry for help. I do hope that you will find healing for the trauma that you have experienced. God bless.

  8. Pingback: When communication breaks down – PBI abuse survivors, alumni and the online dance | Bene Diction Blogs On

  9. Carol ⋅

    I am seldom impressed by anything religious but I was very touched by this article.

  10. Shawn , Thank you for editing your blog. Your current version does not have the false accusation and slander. Thanks for having the integrity to do the right thing!

  11. Wanda Janz ⋅

    Hey Shawn, It’s me, Wanda. Although I like your blog very much I was wondering something. Since I refused to jump onto Linda Fossen’s bandwagon, and since I, myself, am an overcomer of abuse, what does that make me in the Bible? I do not go after the armed forces who employed my abuser (a major Canadian institution) but have dealt with my abuse in a different and it seems, better way. I am not angry nor do I get angry about abuse or at abusers. It accomplishes nothing! I do not get angry at those who do not understand what I went through or at those you do not care; that is not healthy for me. So why is it that this is such an issue? And why shouldn’t I be ashamed of those who want an Institution to stand up and take responsibility for what happened to Ms. Fossen? According to her, her dad is the one who should be on trial. But I see no sign of that happening. So, my original question stands, my friend. What does that make me in the Bible?

    • TK ⋅

      Wanda it is alarming that you feel no anger at abuse. Really? You can hear of a three year old being raped and not have an emotional reaction? Perhaps you are not as healed as you think you are. I suggest a good counsellor for your mental health and for your soul.

    • I as going to reply to your question, Wanda, but Elsa said it much better than I could have.

  12. Elsa Raab ⋅

    Hi Wanda. I’m sorry for the abuse that you’ve had to suffer. It’s also good to hear that you have overcome your abuse. People deal with abuse in various ways. God has created us very differently. As a foster/adoptive parent I realize constantly how my children react differently to the trauma that they have experienced. What I hear Shawn saying in his blog is a plea that we are to love and show mercy to all survivors of abuse, period. How they are dealing with the abuse, however unsuccessfully or successfully, should not enter in to the equation. So I am glad that you feel that you have healed from your abuse, but please know that I still feel sorrow and pain that you had to experience this.

    Linda Fossen is not asking Prairie to take responsibility for her father’s actions. The picture is much, much larger than that. Linda is asking Prairie to acknowledge that sexual abuse happened (and especially not just to her). Secondly, predators continued to remain at Prairie on staff. Linda wants to make sure that this is not happening now and does not continue in the future.

    As a parent, I would certainly hope that if my children attend Prairie, I can be assured that sexual abuse will not occur at the school in the future and that Prairie is doing all that it can to prevent this.

  13. Wanda Janz ⋅

    As far as TK is concerned – grow up! As far as Elsa Raab is concerned – showing love and mercy are a far cry from showing anger. And I feel both love and mercy for all victims; just not anger. So, my point is this: I don’t NEED anyone’s anger – righteous or otherwise. It would have never helped me heal at all; it would have just left me stuck in the myre that was my life. But what I am seeing is major amounts of anger displayed on the different sites and I wonder just what it is people are hoping to accomplish? Love and mercy will take the victim very far; anger will keep them the victim for a long time. And an advocate who gets angry and vindictive CANNOT help victims at all. And there seem to be a lot of advocates who are speaking anger, but the victims I have talked to show mercy. Amazing, isn’t it?

  14. TK ⋅

    Thank you Wanda i am trying to grow up.

    Thought you might find this site interesting.

    http://divorcesupport.about.com/od/abusiverelationships/a/Pass_Agg.htm

  15. Wanda, I wonder why you continue to find it necessary to harp on how much you disapprove of the way I am handling my abuse? I am not telling you how to handle yours so why do you feel so passionate about telling me what I am doing wrong? To tell the truth, the more you tell me you are not angry, the angrier you sound! Several months ago, you rebuffed my attempt to join forces in the best interest of all the survivors. I never talk about you and criticize your way of coping with your abuse. The last I checked, we are not even casual friends but do you find it necessary to make me your enemy?

    Wanda as long as you continue to get your “facts” from Freddie you will not have the facts. I have said it a million times but will tell you again. My father will never go on trial for my abuse because of the statue of limitations. That means that the law does not allow me to go back that far in the past to press charges against him. Believe me, if I could have taken him to court, I would have. It is the only way to stop these pedophiles.

    You seem to have an unhealthy fear of people expressing anger. In the midst of your intolerance, you might want to think about showing love and mercy to me. If you are so far ahead of me on “overcoming abuse” then why are you not offering to help me? You ask Shawn where you fit in the Bible. I ask you “where do I fit in your world?” Am I unworthy of your love and mercy? I don’t find it amazing that survivors have mercy. What I do find amazing is that you got ANGRY at T.K. That anger just boiled over in an instant…I agreed with T.K. but didn’t take offense to either his response or your anger!

  16. Wanda Janz ⋅

    Ms. Fossen, what would you like me to do to show you love and mercy? What would make you stop thinking that I am your enemy? As for my ‘facts’ they are your own words I see on various sites you are a part of. How I get my information is my business so please do not ask me. As for Fred, he is not my source at all. And I was not angry at TK. The response was valid as his/her comment was pathetic to say the least. As a victim and then a survivor, the anger was there for a really long time. I spent years wallowing in it. And it did nothing good for me. As a survivor yourself, you should know that you getting angry for a victim does nothing to help the victim. It demeans their healing process. You may agree with their anger, of course you would, but to display it for them? Or to be angry when trying to help them: that does nothing. It just stunts them as I am sure you are aware of. As for enemies, I have only one. And he doesn’t picture much in my life. I said a prayer for you. I meant it. People like you and me who help others are ALWAYS surrounded by the enemy. He wants to see us fail. I thought a prayer could help you in this. It was heart-felt. As far as your dad is concerned, I wasn’t aware of a statute of limitations on abuse. That makes me sad. As for not getting angry anymore, I just don’t! It drains me of all that is good and the work that I could do. Do I feel for the victim? Absolutely! Will I do anything in my power to see them heal no matter how long it takes? Absolutely! But will I give in to anger? NO! It does not help them. And I just want to help them to overcome their abuse and to go on to have a good life. That is my goal. It has taken a lot of work not to get angry and I am not sorry for it. To me it is a waste of time, but that is my way and NO ONE has to agree with me. That is THEIR choice as well. I am truly sorry you think I believe you to be an enemy, I certainly do not. Blessings,

  17. TK ⋅

    Wanda I will be 74 years old in March. I think you are the first one to ever call me pathetic. I was just trying to get you to see the obvious. I used to feel like you and many other alumni. Very late in life I learned that I had just been brainwashed into thinking that I had forgiven and was not angry. I am serious about the counselling. I wish I had done it decades sooner.

    • Hank Hamm ⋅

      TK, I have just so much respect for you and your courage; thank you so much for speaking out and helping others to find their voice. God bless.

  18. Wanda Janz ⋅

    Ms. TK, I am so very sorry to have disrespected you!!! I would have NEVER done that had I known your age. My point is that I do not live with anger, it does me no good. I do feel other things and they are very positive. And those are what I work with. As for counselling, I have gone through it. I have also attended school to become a counsellor. I do know what I am speaking about. Just because I do not expel on my anger towards an abuser, doesn’t make me less of a person who can deal with an abused person. And that is my final say on this matter. Again, my apologies for disrespecting my elder. Blessings,

  19. Kudos to you TK – it is never too late to “unlearn” the brainwashing. I am doing the same at 53. I am proud of you! (You are anything BUT pathetic…)

  20. If you mean what you say Wanda, then send me an email and let’s start a dialogue. Let’s get the focus here back where it needs to be – and that is on Shawn’s blog which brought out so many excellent points.

  21. Just an FYI. Wanda Janz refuses to accept a Facebook friend’s request so all this rhetoric about not being my enemy leaves me perplexed…if you truly are as genuine about showing love and mercy to me than wouldn’t trying to get to know me be a good first start? As expected Fred Whaples has not responded to his drive by shooting and your challenge afterwards. Typical Fred…

  22. “You cast critical comments her way because she dares to threaten PBI, and somehow in your minds that means she is threatening God Himself.”

    I thought this was very well-said. If something is truly godly, I believe it will speak for itself. It doesn’t need an army of aggressive sharp-tongued defenders.

  23. Wanda Janz ⋅

    Am a member of the PBC alumni and current student site. Thought we should first meet on middle ground, Ms. Fossen. Hope this is ok with you.

  24. Wanda Janz, I would love to meet you at the PBC Alumni and Current student site. Unfortunately, I was unceremoniously booted off the site without warning. This after I had bared my soul and had told how I had effectively ended the stalemate between Mark Maxwell and myself by contacting him and telling him my story. I have no idea why I was removed. I would seriously welcome an email so that we can begin to explore finding common ground. I would welcome that. My email is Linda@LindaFossen.com

  25. Jenny ⋅

    Wow! I’m not even sure what all of this is about but most of sound like terrible people! It’s people like you, namely, ms fossen with your ugly jabs that make me afraid to be a “strong” Christian because it appears you must talk junk and go after people. God help me if I ever need your assistance. Yikes! Back off, get a life and move on!

    • Sorry if I come across that way. Personally, when I see wrongs being committed in the name of Christ, it gets my back up. If that makes me sound terrible, I’m willing to take that risk. To me, that’s better than doing nothing and keeping my reputation intact.

      (I’m not suggesting that you do that, I’m saying that if that’s how I come across, that’s why…)

      And as an aside, Ms. Fossen deals with people who have been seriously abused in religious circles, and helping them get the justice and closure they need. So I seriously, seriously hope that you never need her help. In fact, it would make me happy if nobody ever needed her help again.

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