The woman’s voice waivers.
She breathes deep, then rushes forward to detail how church pastors took part in the multiple years of sexual abuse when she was a child. Despite my anger and disgust, I probe more. Years of war prepared me for the dark underbelly of human nature, but — within in these interviews and confessions — my stomach lurches. I try to contain my temper, but punch the steering wheel as I drive home later in the day.
My investigative article will release a year after interviewing sources, survivors, and experts. Once published, I grow tired and cynical. Perhaps it’s more of a lament. So few Christians even cared that mega church pastors glossed over rampant sexual abuse and continued to protect their buddies. Some Christians even went to bat for the pastors in question. I ponder, for months, how it’s possible that the American church has strayed so far into cults of personality and politics, money and power, and a desire to be “blessed” more than following their founder’s teachings about worldly possessions. …
This weekend, an old Army friend shot me a text message with a video of a military humvee ramping a sand dune. Underneath the video, he wrote the caption “No balls.”
I laughed and was transported back to 2006 during the height of the Iraq War. Back then, my team made a habit of challenging each other by exclaiming “no balls” (I realize this expression is crude for some of you reading, but I always ensure I tell the stories just as they happen — good, bad, and ugly). …
My mother often recounts how I refused to look people in the eye when speaking. It was almost as if looking into their eyes would allow them to discover my deepest insecurities. Granted, this was already apparent as I stared at the pavement and mumbled words.
By the time I was in middle school, the thought of writing a letter like this terrified me:
I like you. Will you go out with me?
Instead, every attempt to write the note ended up in the trash. I settled for being the nerdy art kid who lived perpetually single. In addition to my shyness, the fear of failure was so ingrained that I viewed receiving a “B+” in school as defeat. …