We live in a day where it seems that every public issue becomes weaponized to score partisan points. The painful reality is that when these verbal bombs start flying, problems aren’t actually solved, and suffering is not relieved. Wounds are made worse rather than healed. In our cultural movement, the very act of having hard conversations characterized by compassion and humility is a way to witness to our crucified King. This is the impetus behind the Center for Public Christianity’s upcoming public forum, Christianity and #MeToo.
A movement was started more than 10 years ago to support victims of sexual abuse and to stand in solidarity against perpetrators of sexual violence. With the addition of the hashtag to “me too,” it virally catapulted this issue to a global stage. As a recent book has pointed out, the #MeToo movement has caused a needed “reckoning” for segments of our society, including the church (see Ruth Everhart, The #MeToo Reckoning). Yet frequently overlooked today is that Christianity sparked the moral revolution against sexual brutality in the ancient world. For example, it was a Christian Emperor in the 5th century “that enacted a law banning the use of coercion of in the sex industry . . . repressing prostitution of slaves, daughters, and other vulnerable members of society.” These activities were central features of the Greco-Roman sexual order. But as the classicist Kyle Harper has pointed out, “The moral foundations of the law [against such acts] were, there can be no doubt, Christian.” It is a sad irony that though Christianity launched a moral transformation that is embedded in our deepest modern ethical aspirations, the Church has tragically too often failed to confront these abuses. And yet, the story of Church’s response is not finished. Though the Church has been slow to pick back up its own script, the gospel offers unique resources to bring hope in our me too moment.
Join us as we explore Christianity and #MeToo, offer resources for accountability and healing, and spur us on to seek the common good of our city together. This first forum will be held on Mar. 27 at 7pm at Vintage Church. We hope you will invite friends, as well. To learn more and register, to go centerforpublicchristianity.org/metoo.