Archives For July 2017

They’re stories that have happened everywhere–and more often than we like to think.

In the 1990s, I was a radio news reporter. A huge story at the time was the Francis Luddy trial. Luddy had been a respected priest until someone accused him of sexual abuse and sued him. Luddy admitted that he had abused boys. But this particular boy, he said, “wasn’t my type.”

The jury didn’t believe Luddy. After all, if someone could abuse children, he could lie about it too. They called upon the local diocese to pay up.

Luddy’s victim died in 2012 at the age of 44. Few questions surround this case.

Such is not the case regarding Jerry Sandusky of nearby Nittany Valley–Penn State.

Despite Sandusky’s ongoing denials, too many believable accusers won their day in court.

A cloud of accusation and doubt encased the final days of beloved Coach Joe Paterno. But national news coverage of Sandusky has neglected what could be an important factor.

The district attorney in office at the time of the original allegations–Ray Gricar–disappeared in 2005. In 2015, The Patriot News reported that “Gricar had played a central role in quashing a child sex abuse complaint against Sandusky in 1998.”

Does Gricar’s disappearance relate to the Sandusky scandal? Why would Gricar fail to prosecute–even refuse to try? And why wouldn’t the media be eager to investigate this mystery? Did Paterno ignore later allegations because he knew Gricar simply would refuse to act?

With Paterno’s death, Gricar’s presumed death, and Sandusky’s denials, it seems unlikely we will ever have answers to those questions.

These cases are representative of many others around the world. The scandals of the Church and Sandusky are not just the horror of the abuse. The scandals extend to cover-ups and, in the case of the Church, pay offs. Silence as more innocence dies. More children wounded. More agony compounded by betrayal.

These scandals horrify us. Abuse is bad enough, but to allow it, to enable it! We think of these situations as aberrations. But are they?

If I told you about authority figures who were slow to investigate allegations of abuse and who sometimes failed to report such allegations, you might assume I was talking about those responsible for supervising Luddy or Sandusky.

You would not likely think of a public school district. You would not likely think of the Los Angeles Unified School District–the second largest school district in the US. In 2012, a California audit showed that LAUSD failed to report allegations of sexual abuse.

Beyond that, if I told you that principals who don’t report allegations of sex abuse are rarely prosecuted, you might be outraged. But as an LA prosecutor explains, it’s hard for principals to report their colleagues whom they trust.

Where is the public outcry? Where is the 60 Minutes investigative team? How is this situation different from the Church’s? From Sandusky’s? How can anybody get a pass because “it’s hard”?

Luddy’s case was the first public realization that abuse had happened in our town. Then came Spotlight, the Boston Globe story of Church-wide abuse, then the movie about the story. Then came, in our state, the attorney general’s report last year.

That report might have happened sooner or might even have been unnecessary. But the media were taking a nap. George Foster, a Catholic executive, wrote an op-ed in the local paper urging the Church to “clean up its house.”

Victims saw Foster as a refuge, a person to whom they could tell their stories. His file folder grew thick.

He went to the courthouse to look up the Luddy case and realized that Church officials had known about the abuse all along. Foster did the media’s job for them. He did the job of everyone tasked with informing the public, protecting children, or punishing their abusers.

Schools–Penn State included–have the incentive of wanting the public to believe their campuses are safe havens for the young. But schools need to be safe havens, not just appear to be.

Churches–all churches–need to be sanctuaries. The Church itself needs to be the ultimate safe haven.

The child abuse scandal is the second greatest betrayal in Church history. It’s perpetrated by betrayers of children and of the Gospel, not true followers.

Abuse that is ignored is agony followed by betrayal. But there is a betrayal that produces agony.

Next time–the wrongly accused.

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“People speak with incredible contempt about–depending on their views–the rich, the poor, the educated, the foreign-born, the president, or the entire US government. It’s a level of contempt that is usually reserved for enemies in wartime, except that it’s applied to our fellow citizens. Unlike criticism, contempt is particularly toxic because it assumes a moral superiority in the speaker. . . . People who speak with contempt for one another will probably not remain united long.” (Sebastian Junger 126)

We are a divided people–a people in many ways at war with each other. Sebastian Junger examines the reasons in Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging. I picked the book up because it’s the common read this fall on the campus where I teach freshman composition. All incoming freshmen receive a copy of the chosen book each year.

I haven’t participated in the common read before. Other books didn’t fit with my course plan, and some students indicated great relief that I wasn’t making them read the books.

But when I read the description of Junger’s book last week, I couldn’t wait to get ahold of it. It deals substantively with the division of our society and with PTSD–Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Junger explores why PTSD is a larger problem for us today even with a military much smaller than those of the World War II, Korea, and Vietnam eras.  Continue Reading…

Sunshine Blogger Award!

July 14, 2017 — 2 Comments

I’ve been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by the amazing, versatile Mitch Teemley!  Please visit his website. It’s fabulous and inspiring.

Thank you, Mitch! And keep shining the light!

My Answers to Mitch’s Questions

  1. What would you like us to know about you? I love Jesus, my family, and my life right now. So blessed to be able to write and teach. Still young enough to live boldly but old enough to be allowed the occasional (I hope) eccentricity.
  2. How long have you been blogging? Just passed my two-year anniversary.
  3. What is your goal for your blog? To speak truth, encouraging Christians of all traditions to walk together in faithfulness and accord.
  4. Would you share one of your favorite quotes? “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” C.S. Lewis
  5. What has been most rewarding for you since starting your blog? Having a post  I revised published at July 15, 2017!
  6. What are your hobbies? Sewing crafts and clothing for grandkids, restoring antique quilts, reading.
  7. If you were starting all over with your blog, what would you do differently? I wouldn’t obsess over the numbers so much.
  8. If you had to live in any time in history other than this one, what time period would you choose and why? I think I’d pick the era of World War II and the post-war times. Wonderful heroes in those days–like my parents! But I wonder if I would be a person of faith if I lived in a different time. So I’m content here and now.
  9. If you could give a new blogger one piece of advice, what would it be? Put yourself out there. That deep feeling or fear you’re hiding is exactly what someone else needs to read about. Be transparent.
  10. What has been your most useful life lesson? Trust God, no matter what!

Questions for My Nominees

Mitch’s questions are terrific, so I’m going to do what he did and ask the same questions. 

The Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog (see above)
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you (see below)
  • List the rules and display the award logo
  • Nominate 11 bloggers to receive this award and ask them 11 questions

My list isn’t 11, but it’s a good list! I nominate the following bloggers!

  1. John Lewis 
  2. Colleen Scheid
  3. Chris Lindsay
  4. M.R. Charles
  5. Rob Stroud
  6. Laura Booz


We don’t like to think about it, but most of us will disappear from history. All we do for family and friends will vanish over the next several generations.

To be sure, God will remember. But it’s human nature; people forget. Over time, even our memory of the very remarkable tends toward distortion–for good or bad–or extinction.

It’s a sad case, even when someone played a big part in one of history’s most notable moments.  Take the case of Aaron Burr, for example. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) does just that in his new book Written Out of History: The Forgotten Founders Who Fought Big Government. Continue Reading…

The pastor said, “If you’re like me, you . . .” Then he described feelings that closely reflected my own. I was surprised to think my experience might be common.

When I was new at the church my husband and I now attend, Communion was wonder-filled. Not remarkably different in its practice from my previous experience. But profound with awe.  Continue Reading…

“Sin is the failure to live freedom excellently.” George Weigel

When we were children, we told ourselves, when we grew up, we would do what we want. We would stay up late, drive a car, and watch whatever we want on television.

But then we grew up and wished we could go to bed earlier. We wondered how we’d pay for car repairs. And we wanted to find some time to watch TV. Or when we did have the time, we wished there’d be something on worth watching.

We didn’t realize as children that our extra sleep helped us function and learn. Our parents chauffeured us around while bearing the burdens of car ownership and maintenance. And we enjoyed an innocence about how the world worked–or failed to work well.

We still don’t realize–and often don’t like to admit–rules are good for us. Continue Reading…

Some define liberty as something the government gives you–or doesn’t give you.  Freedom is your ability to think your own thoughts and do your own thing. Internal freedom can remain even in an oppressed society.

America’s founders defined Liberty as the second unalienable right–the right that no man bestows because it comes from our Creator.

But much of America now denies the Creator. And with the Creator go His other aspects–Savior, King, Providence, Protector, Guide. Continue Reading…