Alban Weekly | Christian accountability in a #MeToo world

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PRACTICAL WISDOM FOR LEADING CONGREGATIONS
Christian accountability in a #MeToo world
 
THE CHURCH MUST CONFESS AND CHANGE IN RESPONSE TO #MeToo
Now that the pace of the #MeToo movement has slowed from shocking daily revelations, the real work, the true reckoning, begins.
Before #MeToo went viral in fall 2017, with scores of women sharing stories of sexual assault and sexual harassment, I had found it hard to know what to do when I heard an off-color break room comment or felt objectified, overlooked or interrupted. I'd make mental notes of men who gave me the creeps and listen carefully when other women shared their experiences.
I would share my own experiences in hushed tones and with raised eyebrows, omitting names if it seemed professionally risky. When someone would say, "Oh, now that he's married, he's less creepy," I'd nod. But internally, my suspicion would not relent.
This practice, I now understand, is a whisper network. Monica Byrne rightly points out that what some call gossip is often the exchange of sanity- and life-saving information. But whisper networks are imperfect. Those on the outside of a whisper network or who are new in town don't get the information. And whisper networks provide only the bare minimum of protection, alerting us to avoid known predators and exploiters.
Moira Donegan sought to overcome the limitations of the whisper network when she developed the Media Men list, an anonymously crowd-sourced Google spreadsheet that allowed people to list men in the media industry who sexually abused, harassed or coerced others. The creation of the list sought to give women an alternative place to report harassment without fear of retaliation, judgment or reproach. Women were able to exchange important information outside the rules and laws that govern HR offices and law enforcement. The list was live for only a few hours before its viral existence surpassed Donegan's capacity to manage it.
Continue reading from Alaina Kleinbeck »
 
IDEAS THAT IMPACT: ACCOUNTABILITY
Loving accountability
Holding someone accountable is a way of loving that person, writes a chaplain and Alban author. When we fail to hold someone accountable, we have to ask ourselves if it was because we did not love them enough to tell them the truth.
 
Read more from David Keck »
Becoming mutually accountable: Strengthening clergy and congregations
Using a simple tool of accountability -- assessment or evaluation -- both clergy and congregations can enter a place of real growth, writes a pastor. 
 
Read more from Donna Schaper » 
 
FROM THE ALBAN LIBRARY
Healthy Churches, Faithful Pastors: Covenant Expectations for Thriving Together 
by David Keck
Congregations want to support their pastors, but don't know how. Pastors love their congregations, but they don't know what to ask of their congregations to garner needed support. Everyone wants to thrive together, but so often we get stuck. This clear and engaging guide helps pastors and congregations bridge communication gaps and set mutual goals and expectations. 
Dr. David Keck grounds his framework of expectations on both scholarly research and on interviews he's conducted with pastors and lay people. He finds many common difficulties in churches arise from failing to discuss priorities and expectations, and from not effectively working through the problems that arise when expectations aren't met. For pastors and congregants to arrive at common expectations, they need to understand each other-their respective needs, hopes, and distinctive callings. 
This book provides concrete steps to aid congregants and pastors communicate their mutual expectations. Keck presents fifty "expectation statements"-examples of what pastors and congregations can expect of one another; a vital resource to anyone who seeks to initiate a discussion of expectations in their own church. Elucidating goals and expectations allows congregations and pastors to support one another and flourish, and fosters church health and harmony. 
 Learn more and order the book » 
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