never ever told anyone about that for years. That momentary exposure of my nakedness before their laughing eyes was a humiliating assault that left a wound, and crushed the spirit of a rather naive mid-pubescent kid.
As a pastor, and a member of the clergy I wish I could bow at the feet of every little boy or girl now in an adult's body, who has been sexually abused, and weep bitterly for the untold damage inflicted by the clergy.
I say that in full recognition of the fact that often I have been personally aghast and dismayed by my own sin.
The challenge in even talking about this subject is that somehow you can portray yourself as a pillar of virtue. I wish I were.
Yet despite my frailties I mourn for the damage we've done.
I once sat in a jail cell, in the protective custody unit of a facility where a young man was incarcerated.
He had sexually molested a baby. If he had been released amongst the other inmates he would have been dead within five minutes.
Prison justice leaves no room for mercy.
I remember sitting there that day thinking, "How could you?"
At times I fear for the institutional church.
We have been less than candid when it has come to dealing with the sexually abusive in our midst.
Our transparency, or lack of it, has often clearly revealed that we would rather hide the facts and avoid the public scrutiny.
It is therefore no surprise when Hollywood readily portrays the Church in such movies as "The Da Vinci Code," as clandestine, secretive, unworthy of trust, an institution to be viewed with suspicion.
It is also no great surprise when pollsters ask society who they would put most trust in, that the clergy now occupy a position closer to the bottom than the top.
Amidst all this, clergymen continue to be some of the loneliest people in our culture.
The demands placed on their lives are abnormal, and the demands being placed on them in a culture that is increasingly writhing in pain from the impact of stressed out lives, are intensifying.
It is often the loneliness within that leads men of the cloth into sexual aberration.
Most men, and women, who fall, have no accountability built into their lives, no confidante to ask them the serious questions of life, "Did you view any pornography today?"
"Have you considered having an affair?"
"Do you fantasize about anyone in your congregation?"
"Are you lying to me?"
Without accountability, clergy will fall, one after the other like a string of dominoes.
And not only will they fall, but they will leave behind an entangled mess of humanity, broken lives shrouded in a veil of secrecy and shame, men and women, the abused, for whom no amount of compensation will adequately repay the extensive damage done.
"You should increase your liability coverage, "said the caller.
Who would have thought that this recommendation should ever be made to the Church.
I'm sure God must weep.
First of all for the abused, but regretfully, for the state of His Church... oftentimes the abuser.