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Of all the things I’ll remember from #SBC19, what just happened at an airport bar will stand out the most. #SBCtoo #ChurchToo

A brief story about the prevalence of sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention, and just how much work is ahead:
Our flight was full of Southern Baptists, including two guys who spent most of their flight talking about #SBC19 and what they felt was a slow but important shift in the SBC’s broader culture.

I occasionally took breaks from reading, as the subject absolutely fascinates me.
After the flight, I waited outside the gate to see if they’d be up for talking to me a bit more.

Both were, and one had a 2-hour layover, so we sat down at a nearby bar table. He knew of and appreciated our work, and had clearly thought a lot about the issues #SBCtoo #Churchtoo
Over the course of 15 minutes, we talked about the #SBC19 reforms, and the conflict in perception of them as lackluster vs. historic.

He thought the latter— not because they are sweeping, but because even acknowledging the issue hasn’t even been on the radar of many SBC pastors.
The man, a missions director of a local assoc, told me a few anecdotes about local pastors who have mishandled situations for fear of lawsuits or just sheer ignorance/misunderstanding of abuse.

That, he said, is the problem— not malevolence, but incompetence. #SBCtoo #churchtoo
He then told me why he takes this issue so seriously: As a 7th grader on a missions trip, he was abused.

He hadn’t even told his parents, feeling at the time that the episode was, for lack of a better term, “grab-asking,” etc.
It didn’t traumatize him, but it stays with him decades later, and reframed his feelings on that “gray area” between abuse and not-quite-abuse. #SBCtoo #Churchtoo
It’s an issue he said he’s seen many people fall on the wrong side of because they simply don’t have the training/experience to understand. #SBCtoo #Churchtoo
There was much talk this week about the thousands of abuse victims who have never come forward, and few things illustrate that point more than the fact that a random person who I pulled to the side for a casual convo was among those who’ve stayed quiet. #SBCtoo #Churchtoo #SBC19
And that brings me to the title of this book.

“Becoming” — not “being” or “staying” or “improving as.”


It’s hard to believe that word wasn’t used intentionally. And I think that’s worth noting, too.
Because for all of the conversations, reforms and resolutions re abuse at #SBC19 this week, there are still so many churches for which — and as this man, a survivor himself, said — a mere acknowledgement of the problem is the first step in the direction toward “becoming.” #SBCtoo
Anyways, there is a lot for me to unpack from the last week/hour, but I’ll leave it at this:

There is so much work to be done. And I can assure you that our team plans to stay busy. #SBCtoo #Churchtoo #SBC19

FWIW: This thread might to some sound like me inserting my opinion and thus abandoning objectivity.

But virtually every SBC leader or pastor we spoke to this week/previously has said as much.
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