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Several years ago I was on my way to a conference. I had not been speaking long, for very long on this subject, and I was on my way to a pretty large conference. And I called an advocate friend of mine, somebody that I trusted who has been in the work longer than me. And I asked her, I said, “Look, if you were in my situation and you were going to be addressing hundreds of pastors, what would you say?” And she thought for like just a few seconds and she said, “Chris, can you just remind them that the domestic violence is a sin?” And I think where that was coming from was all her years in the shelter, the place she had seen the most resistance was from the Church. And so I think there has been growing awareness in the Church. And I think the most beneficial thing we’ve done is we’ve actually reached out and had conversations with folks that maybe philosophically, we disagree with but we’ve acknowledged there’s a problem. They’ve been doing this work for a while. Let’s at least have a conversation, “How can we best help as members of the body of Christ?” Rather than just denying its existence. Once we recognize how severe of a problem it is, understanding we have a role to play.
And I think when service providers see that, especially in this day and age when government funding is down, where shelters are closing, where talk therapy’s not so popular, the Church actually has a pretty big void that we can fill. And if people who are doing this work see our compassion and our genuine sincerity, it can be an inviting atmosphere. So I think there’s plenty of work for us to do here.