The Enemy Within

I can’t recommend this conference audio highly enough.

There’s been a dust-up on twitter the past couple days among some big names I won’t mention, but basically the positions are “Believe All Victims” vs “Presumption of innocence.” Sadly, these are both just slogans that carry a lot of moral freight behind them and don’t do much to clarify anything. When each side does clarify their positions, they are basically saying the same thing in practice (although I think coming from two different starting points). These conference sessions really put things in perspective and show how these arguments on twitter are just nonsense. The hard pastoral work of shepherding the victims and perpetrators of sexual abuse won’t be done by hashtags, slogans, or think-pieces.

Thanks to those who ripped the audio for me so I could listen on mobile. :slight_smile:


Key takeaways (on first listen, anyway):

  1. Know and comply with mandated reporting laws of your state. Generally, the standard for reporting is suspicion, not proof.
  2. The main goal in shepherding the abuser is for them to confess their crime to the court without lawyering up.
  3. The main goal in shepherding the abused is their healing, which will not be a painless process. Sometimes the victim will be the one who wants everything to be covered up.
  4. When you engage in this work, you will receive the greatest blame for the things you did right, not for your mistakes.
  5. You can’t engage in this work without getting the muck of it all over you. But it is a work pastors and elders are called to do.
  6. The big victim advocacy organizations and ministries only exist because most pastors and elders refuse to do this work or turn a blind eye to it.
  7. Gypsies tend to bury stolen treasure underneath the bonfire of their campsite. I know there was a point to this, but I was distracted by how interesting the prolonged quotation about gypsies was. :stuck_out_tongue:

Just curious, @Zak_Carter - by takeaway, are you summarizing what the conference audio is recommending as righteous/prudent? Or are these points which you takeaway as principles which you are minded to follow?

I ask, because a couple of these points, as expressed, are ones I could not adopt for myself, at least as written in your list. And, I don’t name them at this point, because I don’t want to derail this topic onto a different subject matter.

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I’m summarizing what were my takaway points from all that was said, which I hope the speakers at the conference would recognize as valid, even if somewhat unbalanced or insufficiently nuanced.

Looking at what I wrote, I would probably re-word a couple things. But my point in making a list was to pique curiosity enough so that people will listen to the audio for themselves.

Thanks, @Zak_Carter. Indeed, I ought to reserve any possible disagreement (whether I express it here or not!) until I’ve listened to the audio. Perhaps I won’t disagree at all.

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Dear Zak, no quibbles with your summary of those particular points. I might trade the word “suspicion” for “fear,” but other than that…

So now, let the perfecting proceed.


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