By Danni Moss
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Reasons I didn’t speak out as a young person:
1) I had seen the mincemeat made of others who didn’t “toe the line.” I knew I would be blasted with more power than I could withstand.
2) I also knew my parents and siblings would be tarred with the same brush if I dared.
3) I didn’t want to dishonor my parents, who advocated submission to authority and felt that if there was really something wrong happening God would take care of it.
4) Young people were not ever allowed to “talk back” to authority. I tried to speak up within these parameters, without making direct accusations, but only gained a reputation as an angry person.
5) We were completely indoctrinated with the concept that we were too immature to know God’s will, Word or truth on any matter; we must have the direction and interpretation of our elders in all things. Any time a young person dared to suggest they thought God “told” or taught them something, there were sternly – and probably publically – rebuked.
Reasons I haven’t spoken out as an adult:
1) First, and most importantly, I spent 20 years in a marriage that didn’t allow me that option. My husband was strongly opposed to my beliefs and writing. I studied and learned and wrote a little – and tried to stay within the limits I was allowed as far as possible.
2) I still don’t want to dishonor my parents.
3) Fear – I grew up in abusive churches, went to an abusive, cult-like Christian college and spent 20 years in an abusive marriage. I know very well how rabid abusers and abusive systems can be. In these environments acceptance is a rare commodity, and emotionally, I’d love to spend the rest of my life being accepted and affirmed. 😉 I don’t really relish making a target of myself by speaking out.
4) There is always the possibility it could put a crimp in my future career; or maybe not. But the thought has certainly occurred to me.
5) What can I say that would make a difference? I’m only one person with no particular “power” that would incite anyone to listen to me.
Reasons I’m choosing to speak out anyway:
1) In the larger picture, I have nothing to lose. The truth is often not popular, and the truth is all that matters to me. Should I attempt to protect myself from attack if speaking for truth might help even one person?
2) How much can one person do? One person can speak one word that changes the life of one other person. And with the church in desperate need of change, one person, plus one other person, plus one other person – multiplied by the number of people God raises up – can make a difference.
3) Do I have a responsibility to speak out if I know about wrong, injustice, and false doctrine? I’ve asked myself that about a million times. I’ve also wondered, as I’ve walked through the events of my life, why no one in the church would stand up for me. The church’s silence and even corroboration with evil in their attempts to “save a marriage” hurt me deeply. Do I have the right to do the same to others?