As a preface, here’s some backstory on #metoo and why it has gone viral in the past few days.
I hesitate to share my #metoo story because so many women have been so brave, and I don’t want to come in and mansplain things here. However, the bravery of so many women has encouraged me to share my personal story connected to this.
Late in high school, a guy in his mid30s started helping as a leader at my church. He used a carefree attitude to suck in me & my friends. We can have fun at church? I’m game for that.
As a pastor’s kid at a large church, I was often approached by adults who wanted to be serious, because, for them, church was a big deal. To encounter someone who wanted to have fun was rare and something I grabbed onto. But this was a ploy. First, it was inviting us to his house. Then it was buying us stuff. Then it was encouraging us that having one drink w/ him was okay.
All these were little tactics to get us to trust him, get us a little closer. Then came the soft-porn movies, sexually explicit conversations.
His tactics were the very worst in my book—using assumed spiritual authority to bait young men into impossibly comprising situations.
It was not until he made his move on me that I realized what he was doing, that I wasn’t the only one. It was all calculated. I had no idea how to respond to this. Do I say something? Do I tell my friends? I had assumed he was trustworthy, godly, worth listening to, worth spending time with. In reality, he was a gay man preying on me.
While much has been made of the Catholic Church’s abuse scandal, evangelical churches are not immune to the same issue. Power often corrupts, even in the church. I am now a pastor prone toward cynicism about the church, because of one misguided man.