2014: A year of positive changes…and challenges

Religion News Service – Rhymes with Religion

Boz Tchividjian | Dec 19, 2014

As we arrive on the doorstep of another Christmas and 2014 comes to a close, I have spent some time thinking about these past twelve months and what I have witnessed as many faith communities finally begin to understand and address the many difficult issues related to child sexual abuse. Each step forward brings a new set of challenges that I believe give us much to look forward to in 2015.
Here are just a very few examples:

A conservative Protestant denomination adopted one of the strongest public statements on child protection by any religious denomination or community. Passing the statement was only the beginning. The challenge forward will be whether these words will actually propel faith communities to action in transforming their understanding and approach to child sexual abuse. Much to look forward to in 2015.

A powerful documentary brought to light allegations of systematic abuse and neglect of children inside a large and well-known Christian community. Making this amazing film was only the beginning. The challenge forward will be whether faith communities will embrace these brave voices as agents of change in creating cultures that better protect little ones and have no tolerance for those who hurt them. Much to look forward to in 2015.

A well-known fundamentalist institution requested an independent Christian organization to investigate its responses to sexual abuse disclosures made by students. Not only did this school voluntarily initiate this investigation, but also it agreed for the results to be made public. By voluntarily engaging in this independent and transparent process, this institution has set an historical and Gospel-centered precedent for Christendom and the watching world. Inviting the investigation and publicizing its results is only the beginning. The challenge forward for this institution and every other community that professes to follow Jesus will be to learn how to better love and comfort the afflicted, while implementing changes that value, protect, and serve the vulnerable. Much to look forward to in 2015.