All posts by steve.e.black@gmail.com

What’s the gameplan?

gameplanGameplan. Plans are things that we make in preparation for an event. Games are things we play, sometimes against a rival or adversary for recreation. If we put these two terms together we get the term “gameplan”.

A gameplan is defined as, a strategy worked out in advance, especially in sports, politics, or business.

When looking at the definition of gameplan, it does not have to be a game being played. Politics can be far beyond a game, often politics is quite adversarial.

Knowing that a gameplan is not only for recreational pursuits, shouldn’t one have a gameplan for protecting those around them?

The failure to have a plan when any event occurs, often leads to emotional decision making. Proverbs 21:5 tells us, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” When one allows emotion to decide, the decisions made are often far less intelligent than decisions are made when there is more objectivity and far less emotion.

Unfortunately, child sexual abuse with all of its prevalence, remains a taboo topic in our families and our churches. With one in six being abused before the age of eighteen, why the silence? The only ones benefitting from the silence are those who abuse or hide the abuse. If this is the case, Why the silence? No gameplan.

This is not a fun topic, it might be about as much fun as discussing life insurance, but a plan of what to do if something happens to one of your children or a child you know can make the difference. The difference is between the abuse of others continuing and the abuse coming to a halt. So, what should the plan be? For starters, wouldn’t obedience to the law be the minimum? This would put one on the correct side of the first part of Romans 13.

When it comes to those in your care, having a gameplan prevents others from preventing you from following the law. Think it does not happen? Child sexual assault one of the most underreported crimes in America today. Why? Predators are masters at deception and fooling many around them.

If you don’t have a gameplan consider one. You will make better decisions if you do.

 

Upcoming events

There are some upcoming events that need to be shared. The Ezekiel 33 Project has a couple of trips planned for this fall. Searcy, AR is the first stop.

  • Harding University Annual Fall Lectureship September 24-27
    • We will have a table set up in the Benson lobby come by and meet us.
    • If you don’t have a copy yet, we will have several of copies of, “What Kind of Watchman Are You?” available.
    • Monday, September 25 @ 1 and 2pm Steve Black will be a panelist on the “Predators in the Pews” discussion in McInteer 145.

I believe you

It is a powerful statement. It is a declaration that the individual that just received surprising or shocking information believes the information to be true and that they stand with the person who delivered the information. In the case of the survivor of sexual abuse, the person hearing the shocking news may be the first time the survivor spoke of what happened to them.

I Corinthians 13:7 states, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

I believe you is a declaration that the survivor will not face the coming days alone.

I believe you means that the survivor will not navigate the justice system alone.

I believe you is the statement that the lies the survivor was told if they ever spoke up were just that, lies.

I believe you is telling the survivor that their voice matters in what happened to them.

I believe you means you listen to the survivor over the excuses of a perpetrator.

I believe you is a statement of love.

Big Announcement

I am happy to announce some big news! My posts have been far fewer recently, and that is for a good reason. I have been writing a book. The book goes live on May 30th, but you can preorder it now! Those of you that have followed me for some time will recognize some of the text in the book because it started here with the blog.

We will continue to make posts here hopefully on a more regular basis going forward. Thank you for all of your encouraging words over time.

In the presence of a predator

Sheep will not remain still and get rest in the presence of a predator. When watchmen fail to remove the possibility of contact with a known predator, how can a survivor sit still, learn, heal, grow? Short answer, they won’t. Families, Churches, and Youth organizations need to know this and put good watchmen in place to protect those who are vulnerable in their midst.

Psalm 23

1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.a
3He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousnessb
for his name’s sake.

4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,c
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6Surelyd goodness and mercye shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwellf in the house of the LORD
forever.g

The best watchman found in scripture is the Lord himself (John 10). Looking at the first three verses of Psalm 23 one can see that the shepherd shows care for the sheep before anything concerning or questionable. In verse four it depicts the shepherd leading the sheep through a concerning place with the shepherd comforting the sheep on the journey through it. Then in verses five and six care is conveyed again.

When in the presence of a known predator, survivors are re-victimized. The predator and their flying monkeys go to work defending the indefensible. This is used to make those who take issue with the predator appear to be unreasonable.  This is a combination of techniques used by predators:  gaslighting, smear campaign, and the flying monkey. We need good watchmen to stand in the way of these practices. By doing so the watchman is giving the survivor green pasture and still waters, where they can rest, learn, heal, and grow. Does your family have good watchmen? Your church? If so great, are they training more?

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The theme each year is coordinated by the National Sexual Violence Research Center, and this year’s theme is, “Engaging new voices”.  The idea being that the more who are involved, the more powerful the movement to end sexual violence. We couldn’t agree more with this year’s theme.

The Ezekiel 33 Project continues to work to bring awareness and action to families dealing with the sexual abuse of children. Each family that takes a stand is a new voice engaged. We believe that the appropriate adjustment of attitude towards these crimes begins with individual families, and then those families impact their extended family, churches and the community organizations they are involved with. When a family makes the determination to learn about the tools that child molesters use, and the techniques that the molesters and their advocates employ to avoid prosecution, you have a family of good watchmen. That family will then impact other families and the organizations that they are affiliated with in a positive way.

To weed sexual abuse out of our communities, churches, and social circles we need to engage new voices. One way of, “Engaging new voices”, is to train more watchmen. We need those who are responsible, are willing to inconvenience self and others, and pay attention to the details. Consider what you are doing to put an end to sexual abuse in your circle of influence, and make the decision that you will be the good watchman.

Cascading failure

Cascading failure involves a system of interconnected parts, and when one part fails other parts that are connected in the system can fail as well. This can be observed with power grids, computer networks, machinery, and human relations. Churches, youth organizations, and sports organizations. There are many reasons behind why silence is the evil king in dealing with childhood sexual abuse. Our families range on the spectrum from being consciously competent at teaching to look out for others and speaking up when one sees wrong to being unconsciously incompetent on confronting wrong. This is how in case after case it is discovered that several knew that an individual was molesting children, but nothing was done. Each person that knew and remained silent was a part of an interconnected network that experienced a cascading failure, and each person who remained silent was a component in the network that failed.

It is our responsibility to train up good watchmen and we must to create more links in our networks that will speak out. By doing this we are stopping the cascading failure of abuse where molesters average between 50 and 150 survivors before they are caught. It is a sad reality that not all abuse will be stopped, but with good watchmen the magnitude can be greatly reduced. Fathers, you set the tone, you are the ones that must train conscious competence in yourself and in your children to be a voice in the face of those preferring silence.