Duke Kwon Profile picture
Mar 14, 2018 12 tweets 2 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
There appear to be some points of intersection between the #ChurchToo and #QuietExodus critique of conservative evangelical churches/institutions. Some common tendencies in the way sexual abuse and racial sin/injustice are sometimes handled in such places:
1. Misconstrued and misapplied theologies of forgiveness, grace, and God’s sovereignty that undercut biblical requirements of repentance, discipline, and moral responsibility.
2. General blindness to the interpersonal and institutional dynamics of *power* that lie at the heart of abuse/racism—a blindness exacerbated by vertical authority structures in tradition-centered communities.
3. An erroneous view of the sanctity of the Church and the sufficiency of scripture leading to a fundamental suspicion toward (and often refusal to cooperate with) “worldly” institutions such as the criminal justice system or the secular academy.
4. General silence around, and stigmatization of, unsettling topics like sex/sexuality/abuse and racism, leading to insufficient equipping and vigilance among leaders and members.
5. Primacy given to the sincere intentions of church leaders and members: Nobody *wants* women to be harmed or African American to be excluded, therefore, we must not be harming or excluding them.
6. Burden of proof of wrongdoing placed upon the allegedly abused/sinned-against rather than abuser/perpetrator, leading to a culture of implausibility/doubt for victims of wrongdoing.
7. The pursuit of truth publicly condemned as “slanderous” and “divisive,” leading the accused abusers/perpetrators to perceive themselves over time as the true victims.
8. Operating according to an implicit moral statute of limitations, accused abusers/perpetrators often defend themselves by repeatedly emphasizing that the alleged wrongs took place “long time ago,” whether 20 or 200 years ago.
9. Assumption by men and non-minority members that they understand the experience of women and black Christians, owing to the belief that correct theology takes precedence over lived experience, thus, listening to them is nice but unnecessary.
10. Motives of accuser/complainant or the veracity of the complaint itself sometimes viewed with skepticism based on cultural stereotypes -- of women (co-instigating “seductresses”) and of African Americans (“race-baiters,” “lazy,” inherently criminal).
11. Investigations of wrongdoing often center on self-preserving institutional concerns (“Did we respond rightly?”) rather than the concerns of the wounded victim (“How can we care for this brother/sister?”).

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More from @dukekwondc

Oct 8, 2018
1. The Church provided the moral/theological grounds for the dispossession of natives and “discovery” of the New World. It did so by issuing papal bulls such as Inter Caetera (1493), written by Pope Alexander VI the year after Columbus’ voyage. #ColumbusDay #IndigenousPeoplesDay
2. This bull established that any land not inhabited by Christians was available to be “discovered,” claimed by rulers in the name of Christ. It granted Spain by divine authority “full and free power, authority, and jurisdiction of every kind” to conquer most of the Americas.
3. Inter Caetera didn’t stand alone. In fact, it was a reiteration of, and elaboration upon, the moral reasoning of prior papal bulls. For example, the bull Dum Diversas, issued by Pope Nicholas V in 1452, appealed to “Apostolic Authority” and granted the Portuguese crown:
Read 6 tweets
Sep 26, 2018
1/ Most will agree that sexual assault is morally heinous. Yet the general public remains alarmingly ignorant of the nature and degree of the life-altering trauma experienced by victims of assault/abuse. This may be especially so among morally conservative Christians.
Put another way, sexual assault—perhaps for having been kept in society’s shadows for so long—remains vague at best in our moral imagination. This makes it disturbingly easy, even instinctive, to dismiss/minimize allegations of assault as being selfishly or politically motivated.
2/ Most are committed to due process, agree that falsely accusing an innocent person is unjust, contemptible. But far too many display a rashness that betrays a willingness to trample on the innocent (as moral collateral damage?) for the sake of winning their political war.
Read 8 tweets
Sep 11, 2018
I remember preaching the Sunday after 9/11 like it was yesterday. Hardest sermon I've ever had to preach, not least because I was young (just turned 25 the day before, just started my second year in seminary) and, despite my habit of feigning confidence, I was terribly scared. /1
I remember wrestling tearfully late Saturday night with a deep sense of helplessness and inadequacy. I remember the next morning looking out upon the 200+ mostly college students who hung onto every word from Lamentations 3, the text from which I preached. /2
I remember seeing the President of Brown University slip into the service, and I remember not caring at all, because clearly the moment was bigger than even she. And me. I remember sensing that God had shown up, giving us grace for our despair, disorientation, and doubt. /3
Read 4 tweets
Sep 3, 2018
A #LaborDay prayer for moms and dads whose daily (unpaid!) work and calling includes the glorious duty of diapers:
"Heavenly Father, in such menial moments as this—the changing of a diaper—I would remember this truth: My unseen labors are not lost, for it is these repeated acts of small sacrifice that are slowly being sewn into a quilt of lovingkindness that swaddles this child.
"I am not just changing a diaper. By love & service I'm tending a budding heart that, rooted early in such grace-filled devotion, might one day be more readily-inclined to bow to your compassionate conviction—knowing itself then as both receptacle & reservoir of heavenly grace.
Read 7 tweets
Jun 8, 2018
What is Tolerance? “Tolerance” once meant (A) the allowance of the free expression of contrary views, i.e., despite one’s opposition to them. Today it means (B) the acceptance of all views as equally true, i.e., relinquishing any opposition to them. /1
Thus, “Intolerance” once meant (A’) the prohibition of even the articulation of beliefs with which one disagrees, i.e., invalidating its very right to exist. But it now refers to (and based on the received definition of “tolerance” can only refer to) ... /2
(B’) the refusal to accept all views as equally true/valid, i.e., any absolute, exclusive truth claim, whether religious/political. This is how an individual/group can call itself “tolerant” (B) while acting in an utterly “intolerant” (A’) manner, unaware of the contradiction. /3
Read 7 tweets
Jun 6, 2018
1. The archetypal case of ethnic division upon which the notion of (racial) “reconciliation” in Scripture is based (Jew and Gentile) involved interpersonal “hostility” but NOT the systematic subjugation and corporate abuse that characterizes America’s white/black racial history.
2. In this regard, the theological category of “reconciliation” and its emphasis on personal relationship, though critical to achieving interethnic redemptive unity, by itself may be insufficient for the healing of America’s—and the American church’s—racial wounds.
3. For that endeavor, in order to address the enduring legacy of American racism adequately, we may need to mine the Scriptures for additional redemptive tools and biblical categories, such as that of “oppression,” ”justice/injustice,” “partiality/equity,” and more.
Read 4 tweets

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