The people of God were in exile when the Old Testament prophet Isaiah wrote words of hope and conviction to them from the mouth of their God.
This morning I read: "Remember not the former things, nor consider things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" (Isaiah 43:18-19)
I could not help but be reminded of the earthquake we are experiencing in the arena of women and men and sex and harassment and inappropriate behavior and flat-out rape.
For men it may seem as if allegations and accusations are appearing out of thin air. Memories that have been buried in women's minds, psyches and bodies are emerging on a daily basis.
Bill Cosy - BILL COSBY! - was sent to jail today for drugging and raping women. The ground shakes ...
And I get that there is fear.
Because the ground IS shifting. The old ways are gone; new things are happening.
Innocent men feel fear. But I believe that fear is unfounded. Less than 2-3% of these kinds of allegations are made up.
Less-than-innocent men also feel fear. I believe that fear IS founded. Perhaps the chickens really will come home to roost.
Women have always felt fear. Fear that we will be touched when we don't want to be. Fear that we will be harassed and no one will believe us. Fear that we will be taken advantage of at a party or if we have an extra glass of wine. Flat out fear that we will be raped if we jog, or walk, or stay home alone.
So, fear is now a common denominator.
And if fear is what is needed for some men to understand that inappropriate and unwanted behavior on their part may very well cause immediate and future damage to their lives and their careers, then fear may be just what we need until this ship gets righted.
Over two decades ago while attending a church different from the one at which I currently work, I, and several other women, reported a pastor who inappropriately touched us. We did this at great personal cost. We were all "crucified." The man is still a pastor. Thus, #WhyIDidntReport.
Currently, I face innaproppriate male behavior every month or so as I live out my calling to preach and teach. Never from my colleagues, however. If they saw some of these men do what they do, they would punch them.
All too often, I have been silent. I don't want to be rude. I am a pastor; I'm supposed to be nice! I don't want to make men feel bad. Maybe they don't understand that times have changed and it is no longer ok to either touch or comment on a woman's body. Sometimes, I am so shocked that I am rendered speechless.
It is past time for me to speak up.
For the women who will come after me.
And for the men who do this stuff. For their sake, too.
The God who created us male and female desires that we treat each other with immense respect and fierce tenderness.
When we do this, men AND women, we will have absolutely nothing to fear. And everything to gain.
"Behold," God says, and continues to say, even in our day, "I am doing a new thing."