Tender Is The Night: How To Take Care of Each Other in Troubled Times

Tender Is The Night: How To Take Care of Each Other in Troubled Times October 1, 2018

Last week I wrote that calls to the National Sexual Assault Hotline went up 57% when Christine Blasey Ford’s claims about Brett Kavanaugh hit the news.  The number of calls the hotline received jumped from a 57% increase to a 201% increase on September 27th,  the day Ford testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I don’t think we’ve ever lived in a time that’s as tender as today for survivors of sexual assault.

One in six women and one in 33 men is the victim of completed or attempted rape.  Which means we have hundreds of thousands of people whose nightmares reawaken and memories sting and panic rises and hearts ache with each headline, each news report, each #MeToo story, each retelling of a night a victim can never forget.

We’re living in a tremendously tender time and yet, instead of treating each other with extra care, we’ve become more angry, more violent, more rude, more intolerant, more heated than ever.

The vitriol spewed out in the snarled, angry, yelling, contorted faces of Lindsey Graham and Brett Kavanaugh during last week’s hearing.  The hostile nature of the climate we’re living in showed itself in Kavanaugh’s asking a senator if she had a drinking problem, if she’d ever had an alcohol-induced blackout, instead of answering the question himself.

It played out on social media, too.  I experienced it personally when a person who didn’t agree with my post asked me in the comment section of my post if I’d ever been sexually assaulted, as a way of minimizing my concern over the violent sexual culture we’ve permitted (and in some ways encouraged) as a rite of passage for young American men.

Yikes, I thought, as I hit the red “block” button.

In this tender time, it’s utterly important, particularly as followers of Jesus, to remember that we’re called to go to radical depths and lengths and heights to share Love that is gentle and patient and kind and empathetic and compassionate and merciful.  Love that is slow to anger. Love that gives gentle answers that diffuse wrath.

We’re called to transcend artificial boundaries constructed by human beings — like race and economics and politics — to see that we’re all related, we’re all in this together, we’re all part of the same family, and we either heal together or together we bleed out from our anger-inflicted wounds.

Today.  Right now.  In this moment, choose to be someone who treats others tenderly.

When everyone else is yelling, choose to whisper. When others take a defensive posture, open your arms in embrace.  When others are fighting, choose to make peace.  When others are grabbing greedily, practice generosity.  When the world is falling apart, use Love to glue it back together.

Realize that he cashier who checks you out at Target, the Lyft driver who takes you downtown, the passenger sitting next to you on the subway, the worker who collects your cash at the toll booth, the barista who blends your frappuccino, the young parent whose toddler is melting down in the cereal aisle, the colleague in the next cubicle, the students on your kid’s sports team, the customer service agent on the other end of the phone, the driver who cuts you off in traffic, the pokey post office employee, the homeless person begging for change, the patron sitting alone in the bar — have each lived a story that, if you knew it, would break your heart.

Live tenderly in this collective night.

Be the calming, peaceful, loving presence of Jesus in a world of hurting hearts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Ivan T. Errible

    Why are churches so boring?

  • The Mouse Avenger

    -_- Really? Is that ALL you have to say? You don’t have anything relevant or pertinent to this article, or its message, to give?

  • Widuran

    Sexual assaults are evil but false testimonies are also evil

  • Patrick

    Your needle skipped the groove.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    No, I’m just confronted by the same idiocy.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Nope.

  • Michael Lomuscio

    Hey Sarah,

    I really appreciate your blog posts. Thank you for your thoughtful reflections and call to action on such an important issue. It’s terribly sad to hear that someone(s) have responded in a negative way.

    You mentioned that 1 in 6 women have been the victim of a rape or attempted rape. It made me wonder, how many male assalents must exist in order for those numbers to work out. The 2015 census estimated that there were 163.2 million women in the U.S. in 2015. One sixth of that is 27.2 million. To find a lower bound I’ll make the assumption that each assalent attacks 100 women. Using the same year’s estimate for the number of men in the U.S. we get that about 1 in every 1000 men has raped or attempted to rape a women. That number increases if you assume that each attacker has fewer than 100 victims on average. It can reasonably get as high as 1 in 100 men.

    These numbers are really disturbing! That means that most people likely know a male rapist.

    I feel like more men need to be speaking out against sexual assult, especially with this many men involved as attackers. It seems like most of the burden to raise awareness and bring about change has fallen on women. This seems to only compound the injustice.

    Thanks for furthering the conversation and taking on such an important topic!

  • crosseyedandpainless

    “the violent sexual culture we’ve permitted (and in some ways encouraged) as a rite of passage for young American men.”

    I do not remember ever being taught that, by anyone.

    “The hostile nature of the climate we’re living in showed itself in Kavanaugh’s asking a senator if she had a drinking problem, if she’d ever had an alcohol-induced blackout, instead of answering the question himself.”

    She asked him if he’d blacked out way back when. She might have tried the last decade. By the way, this is all pretty rich coming from a Christian. The NT contains more than a few works by this fellow named Paul. He is guilty of multiple homicides. Wonder how he would have fared under questioning. I know what my first question would be, Sir, you are guilty of multiple homicides, correct? Then let me say, Sir, that in doing so you’ve forfeited any moral authority. In other words, Sir, who are you to question my morals? Now, if you say that Paul later became a changed man, well, where was that line of questioning from Ms. Blackout?

  • Michael Lomuscio

    Cultural messages aren’t something that we can remember being taught. Culture is like the water that a fish swims in, it is always present to the fish, but easy to not notice. It is easy for us to be unaware of the messages and worldview that our culture propagates. In the case of the United States, women have been objectified and marginalized. There are many examples of how this systemic objectification has resulted in promoting heinous acts on the part of young men. It is a sad situation. Christ consistently broke with the cultural norms of the time in His interactions with women. Instead of marginalizing and objectifying them, he empowered them and treated them as sisters and fellow workers in the kingdom. We need to follow his example and work to break down the systems and thought patterns that have left women vulnerable in our society.

    With respect to comparing Kavanaugh to Paul, I feel like there are a few key differences that are worth noting. You are correct that Paul was guilty of multiple homicides. However, his encounter with Christ led to great humility and repentance. Paul was very open and humble about his dark past. He referred to himself as the chief of sinners. Through Christ’s calling on his life, he spent the rest of his life painfully serving the same people who he had murdered and mistreated. Paul did not say “Hey y’all, that was when I was young… You can’t still hold those things against me.” Paul also wasn’t running for public office or attempting to hold any public position of respect or authority. He actually remained a tent maker and lived the life of a servant. He was frequently imprisoned for supporting those who he formally persecuted. I don’t know Kavanaugh and I don’t know the truth about what he did or didn’t do. But I do know that if he did sexually assault a woman, it matters. It matters greatly. A Paul like response to that kind of action is repentance and a lifetime of dedicated service toward working to love, build up, support, and champion the cause of those who have been wronged. I think any comparison to Paul should take his humble response to the acknowledgment of sin into consideration.

  • st

    Yes, false testimonies are wrong. But they happen only 2% of the time when it comes to sexual assaults. So there are overwhelming odds in Dr. Ford’s favor. Believe her.

  • st

    Repentance starts by telling the truth. That’s all these hearings were ever about. If Kavanaugh screwed up as a young man and has since changed his ways, he has to acknowledge and apologize for his past, regrettable behavior.

  • Widuran

    2% of the time is rubbish it is much higher and everything points to Dr Ford being a liar so far.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Thank you for your prophetic ministry!

  • Patrick

    As are those who read your posts.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    At least I don’t get tax breaks or housing allowances for my posts.

  • Patrick

    You hold the moral high ground. Take a bow!

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Thank you, Jeebus!

  • Adrienne Reda Regnier

    Except the author is talking at us, not to us. When she uses the address “you” rather than “we,” she is saying she is not one of us or with us. All the people WE come across in OUR daily lives have stories that might well break OUR hearts, but I guess the author is separate from the rest of us. A tiny thing, perhaps, but then I don’t like to be preached at.

  • st

    Instead of saying “it’s rubbish,” why not offer facts that support your argument?

  • Shirley Blake

    It should also be noted that there are also male survivors. Much of which is even more under reported. Which sadly makes those numbers even more disturbing. We all bare a share of the responsibility. I know I feel as strongly about talking to my son as I do my daughters about sexual safety

  • Widuran

    They should support their 2% claim which is clearly rubbish

  • Widuran

    Great post

  • Widuran

    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/rape-allegations-fabricated/

    This shows it is morel like 5% – 33% which is still not really provable.

    It is more likely to be 33% of rape allegations are falsehoods.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    celebrate your irrelevance!

  • I experienced Jesus Christ as the consciousness of the Sun.

    This was during a time when I was using a legal substance intermittently
    over the course of a few years. I wrote an ebook about my experiences
    that is free to download in pdf form and the ebook is also available on
    blogger, links are below

    link to my free ebook, “Messages from the Sun God, Jesus Christ”

    http://www.mediafire.com/file/riox16d87g86626/Messages_10.pdf/file

    link to the ebook on blogger: https://messagesftsg.blogspot.com/

    blog http://www.jesuschristsungod.com