A picture of Reverend Christine at the pulpit during her installation ceremony

Several years ago, a TED talk by novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie went viral, about the danger of a single story. While people have evolved even in their thinking around this, it has stuck with me. The video of it is here.

One week after we shared the news about the misconduct, I am finding myself thinking about this a lot. Because as we are grappling with this news, we are wrestling with the fact that there are multiple stories that are all true. In my service last week, I talked about the “Holy And.” I think this is a variation of it.

The key thing after a trauma like this is not to simplify it to a single story. Oftentimes, the story tends to demonize the adult and create a victim to be pitied of the youth. We’ve already seen the courageous Together Time last Sunday where the youth disrupted that story (also in the video link from last week).

I’m watching several of you do the holy work of holding space for the multiple stories–all that can be true.

  • The youth has good support around him.
  • The adult cared for a lot of people in our congregation
  • The adult is worthy of compassion and dignity
  • This event will have long-term impact on the youth and his family
  • There is worry in the congregation for both the youth and the adult
  • This event will have long-term impact on this congregation
  • There were boundaries crossed and there are ramifications to that

There are so many more. My encouragement to you is this: think about all the multiple stories that exist in your mind and make the spiritual space to hold all of them. Resist the urge to reduce this to one simple story, especially if it paints the adult or child in one extreme way.

This is hard work. I so appreciate all of you who have shown up for the different ways we’re supporting each other during this time. I am confident that we will get through this with compassion and commitment.