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Gospel According to Glee – Day 37

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Gospel According to Glee – 40 Days at McKinley High

Day 37 – Wednesday in Holy Week

Please Note – this reflection deals with child molestation.  If you have been affected by this you may want to stop reading now…

 trigger-warning

 

To Read: (Series 4 Episode 20)

[There is a power failure at school so WILL organises the Glee Club to sing songs unplugged with acoustic or makeshift instruments only.  RYDER sings R.E.M.s ‘Everybody Hurts’ with deep feeling and then explains why… ] 

WILL:   That was amazing, Ryder.  You certainly unplugged whatever you were looking to let out.

RYDER:   I didn’t want to just get them out.  I wanted to get in touch with them so I could maybe have the balls to tell you guys something.  Something that’s pretty hard to talk about.

JAKE:   It’s cool, bro.  You can let it out.

RYDER:   I’ve actually only told one person this.  Not even my parents know.  But…  I’m not sure if I could trust that person to keep it secret.  So before this gets out, I want to be the one to open the box.
When I was eleven I was molested by my babysitter.  She just walked in on me in the shower, and she touched me a bit.

SAM:   Wait, hold on.  Did you just say “she”?  Like, as in a girl?  Like, a teenage girl?

RYDER:   Yeah, she was, like, seventeen, eighteen.

SAM:   Dude, you were eleven and some hot 18-year-old plays with your junk?  I’d have killed for that.

ARTIE:   Why are you ashamed of this?

RYDER:   I don’t know, I… It kind of messed me up a bit.  Like, I have trouble trusting girls because of it, I think.

WILL:   Guys, this is not something to high-five about.  Ryder, I’m sorry, but I’m obligated to report it.

RYDER:   Whatever, she already got locked up.  She was caught doing it to some other kid.

SAM:   Okay, I’m sorry, but why-why is that a crime?  I mean, it’s every teenage boy’s fantasy.  I mean, there’s, like, 50 ’80s movies about it.  I mean, My Tutor,  Private Lessons, Gym Class…

WILL:   We get it, Sam, thanks.

TINA:   Guys, this is so uncool.

MARLEY: His truth is his truth, not yours.

RYDER:   You know what, it’s cool, okay?  Uh, the guys are right.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Uh, I’m, like, the luckiest guy in here.  So…  You know, yeah.

ARTIE:   Good job.  Thanks.  I mean, kid clearly has superior game.

To Watch:
‘Everybody Hurts’ sung by Ryder
Original Artist: R.E.M.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzzR_oplGl0

 

From the Scriptures:

When [Jesus) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”

20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”  (Luke 4v16-21)

To Reflect:

As far as I can see, though new procedures to make Safeguarding more resilient are beginning to be put in place, one of the only good things to come out of The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse for the Church of England so far is that the House of Bishops volunteered the Church to be the first National Body investigated by the Inquiry. (Read the report here).

In the Report there is much of which we are to be ashamed, much that requires letters to a broken churchrepentance, and much that needs changing.  Our care of Survivors and Victims has been woeful.  Their voice has often gone unheard and their wounds left untended[1].  Any words on this topic between Christians must be spoken with a penitent heart and a recognition that our Lord’s manifesto in the synagogue at Nazareth that he came..

to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,

…may have been more honoured in the breach of it and that in the most shameful of ways.

Too often the bible verse ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me’ has been turned into an ironic accusation that sees the church as a place of abuse and shame instead of it being a safe place to be.

Everyones invitedHow do we change to become a beacon, a place of refuge, for the oppressed instead of being a haven for abusers?  For change we must if we are ever to lead others in doing things not only in a right and proper way but in a righteous way.  When we do that that we may finally become a place of freedom instead of fear, and hope instead of despair.  For the sadness that still faces our nation (unfolding in the media thanks to the work of Everyone’s Invited concerning sexual abuse of children at schools even as I type) will be great and far reaching.

The way the Church of England (and other Churches) work to transform our practices – this is something that must not only happen in Lambeth Palace but also in our local parishes and fellowships – is key to bringing healing and hope to literally millions of our fellow women and men.

If we can reform our ways and repent of our past there is an outside chance that we will be able to pass valuable lessons on to other groups and institutions as they undergo their own long overdue scrutiny by IICSA.

There is one place, and only one place to start in all cases where abuse is disclosed and that is to with the victim not the abuser, the pain presented in front of us and not the reputation of the Institution, the hesitant words of the wounded and not the banter or presumptions of the predator.  As Marley reminds some of the boys in Glee Club after they indulge in ‘locker room talk’ after Ryder’s heartfelt disclosure, His truth is his truth, not yours.’ 

More than eyebrows should be raised when phrases such as ‘she was asking for it’ or ‘he looked like he was enjoying it’ are bandied around.

Too often we have believed the accused – often because they are in a position of trust and authority – and have not given the same weight to the words of the abused.  Yes, very rarely, a false accusation may be made[2] but that is why having resilient Independent Safeguarding procedures is of paramount importance..

Matthew 23v27It is the nature of the Gospel that broken people will be drawn to the community of faith.  The Church remains a hospital for those who seek healing and not a sanctuary for saints.  If we do our job well,  we will find ourselves working more frequently with fractured people whose voices are hard to hear and whose stories are difficult to unravel.  But we must persevere and so learn the lesson again and again that ‘Their truth is their truth, not ours.’

If we are ever to be the bearers of Good News we must ensure that we are no longer a hideout for those who pervert the Gospel.  For when we do we become the ‘Whited Sepulchres’ to which our Beloved compared the religious leaders that wanted to silence His words of welcome and love, restoration and reconciliation, healing and hope.

  

To Pray:  A Hymn 

Alchemy of Healing 

The courage we borrow, the courage we bring
Shall bind us in strength to the healing we sing
The courage to face any wound that we fear
Shall bind us in beauty and bless every tea

Bring grace and bring kindness to all that you sing
To heal and to honour each fierce tender thing
Each shame left unspoken may yet shine a light
A place that seemed broken, that place can give lif

The darkness we banish, the shadow we blame
Though hidden, may help us to find our true name
So bring all your courage that all be made whole
Transforming your story in body and sou

Come gather your power with good friends around
Together we stand in the truth of this ground
Our courage can make us, can heal and can mend,
Any wound can be sacred, any wound we transcend 

Text     © Gilo  2017
Tune    Columcille (Irish Melody) 11.11.11.11 

 

To Do:

  • If you have not completed any Safeguarding Awareness Training aim to complete some. Most Church fellowships have free training in place.  For those in the Church of England click here.
  • Familiarise yourself with what to do is someone makes a disclosure of abuse to you – The Church of England procedures are

 

PLEASE:  If you have information about a safeguarding situation where a child or adult is in immediate danger or requires immediate medical attention call the emergency services on 999. Do not delay.

Reprise:  Click here to watch the original version of today’s song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rOiW_xY-kc

 

Acknowledgements:

Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Transcripts of Glee Episodes were made with thanks to gleetranscripts.tumblr.com
These Reflections, ‘Gospel According to Glee’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2021 and may be reproduced without charge on condition that the source is acknowledged.
[1] A good place to start listening to the voices of Survivors is the book, Letters to a Broken Church – ISBN978-0-9932942-6-6  published by Ekklesia
[2] A Social Worker once told me that she was concerned if someone in a position of trust, such as being a vicar, ever said that no safeguarding concerns or allegations had ever been raised against them.  ‘After all’ she said ‘it happens frequently to us in Social Work, why does the Church think it doesn’t happen to their vicars and workers?’

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