Thursday, May 20, 2010

Time For Change

It has been a long time since I have posted anything new. I thought that it would be best for my family and myself to take a break and knew that when any news of Gilyard's release came I would pick this back up. There is no news of that, but my soul cannot rest.

I am grieved. Not for myself in any way - but for us as a church body, for people that are survivors of church abuses. For all of those who are still crying themselves to sleep every night, who are unable to hold down jobs and provide for their families, for broken marriages and failed relationships, those who have turned their back on any reminder of a religious institution that failed them. These things result from carrying a terrible secret and being trapped in a vacuum of silence. After being abused reaching out for help only to be told that you need to keep this a secret, being shamed and believing that if they ever told they would be responsible for weakening the cause of Christ. While they sit and watch the perpetrator move to another church, knowing that nothing is being done to protect the next person.

It happens more than we care to know, really it is a burden knowing how often this happens. The grief can be overwhelming. Just ask Christa Brown, she has carried not only her own story but now years of others pain within. It is so hard to know that there are so many people that have carried such a huge burden, that have been abused sexually by someone they should be able to trust and then abused again by the leadership that should step in and defend them. They are kicked and shamed instead. While the perpetrator is lifted up and put on a pedestal, transferred to another church and not one other person knows the terrible deeds they are getting away from.

I recently spoke with a law enforcement officer who shared that this crime happens more than we care to know. That our children are definitely not safe anywhere and especially not churches, until this changes.

These perpetrators should not move on to another church with no warning - period! This should simply never be allowed to happen. Yet it does, almost daily. We do not have to become judge and jury, but something has to change.

Do we really believe that this is what God would want to happen? Do you really think that it is best to let a Pastor get away with hurting a child in this way? Do you realize that you actually become a part of this by washing your hands of the knowledge of it? Are you really able to sleep at night knowing that he/she will abuse again and you have warned no one? I dare say that many leaders wrestle with this, have no idea what to do about their findings and at the cost of the innocent, they do nothing. You assume it is better to keep it a secret and "hope" they find healing, but God's word will not be mocked. These are His children and He cares for them, they are the tiny sparrows that are so precious to Him. Yes, God cares for the sinner perpetrating the crime also, but He does not condone their behavior, He is grieved by it and they will be put to shame. His word promise those things done in the dark will be exposed and pride comes before the fall. None of these things are done with the Father's approval or blessing - do not be fooled by the title of "Pastor" or "deacon" or "youth leader" - this does not mean all of their behaviors are right before the Lord. They are still but mere human men. We wish for healing for all, redemption and restoring of their minds and hearts - but FIRST comes repentance and turning away from the sin.

The big question is, "What will we do about this?"
Will we just be angry and outraged by it, talk about it, blog about it, feel the pain and carry the hurt, and is that all? What will we do to make changes? Obviously our leaders are not going to step up. They have excuses as to how impossible it is to govern churches. Really? So we do nothing?

We all know that nearly everything we touch in our daily lives was at one time seen as "impossible."
It took people with vision and that were willing to take risks to discover new lands, to fly for the first time, to invent the light bulb, the telegraph, modern communication - plenty of people stand by and say "it can't be done". If they had stuck with that mentality we would have never walked on the moon, had modern day communication, cars, planes, electricity and the list goes on. What man sees as impossible, God sees as possible.
If we all come together, surely God has planned a way for us. Do you not think that He wants us to rise up and do something to protect His sheep? We need to pray about it and ask what our role might be. We need to do more than just hear a sad story and go on about our day, only thinking about it from time to time. This is an epedemic crime that is leaving the church very wounded and unprotected. We have become a laughing stock as the media presents yet another story of a preacher pedophile getting caught. We need to step up and protect our people and not allow them to continue to prey on our trust and abuse their title.

There are those of us with resources and connections to make this happen - let's all pray and ask God to show us the way. How can we protect our children and families against predators within our churches? I am on board, how about you?

I have no idea what my role in this may be, there may be a plan for someone else to do this and they just need encouragement - I surely don't know God's plan. I know that many have lain the foundation and have done all that they know to do - Christa Brown has a database started, others are sounding the alarm and have given calls to action. Let's continue to lay this railway and make a way.

I have recently taught my children about the Underground Railroad and about The Civil War and all of the obstacles people faced trying to fight for what is right, how people pulled together to make things happen and help slaves find their way to freedom. We have modern day slaves to secrecy and shame right now in our churches.

I know there were many that risked it all historically- let's lay the foundation to have the "above ground railroad". We want to live above this hypocrisy, living honorably and transparently in our churches. This needs to be done right and responsibly, but it needs to be done.

We can trust that God will surely provide the way. This is blasphemous to Him to allow this in His Holy places and to "the least of these". Those in positions of leadership that have done nothing, will one day answer for all of this. But we cannot count on them to do this and we cannot judge them for their choices. But we can be different.

We must pray individually about our roles and God will move. He will lay out a path.


Anonymous said...

He has laid out a path, my friend. It is in the warnings we are giving others about what is going on. It is why they have resolutions against bloggers. They do not want their secrets known. It is going on everywhere from the Gilyards, to the liars to those peddling the Gospel for personal gain and influence.

We must warn: This is NOT the Body of Christ looks like. Go to the Word and pray for the Holy Spirit to teach you. Many have been taught by charlatans their whole lives and have no clue of truth.

Debbie Kaufman said...

I agree with what anonymous has said. Tiffany, you are the type of woman I want my children and grand children to have as a role model. Thank you for all you did at a great cost to yourself personally. You showed great courage despite...and that I will never forget.

Rose said...

Thank you my sister, for the courage you have shown in speaking out. It is incumbent upon each of us to stand up for the injustice we see...especially from those in leadership in the Church, who taking advantage of their positions try and take away our God given freedom in the name of Christ. As fellow citizens of the Kingdom of God - Truth reigns supreme - Let us speak out! God Bless you...Rose

Tiffany Thigpen Croft said...

As I hear more and more stories of victimization and all of them include the victim being silenced. It grieves me.

Thank you for the kind words - BUT in the scope of things I have not really done fact at times it feels as if nothing has changed. There is just so much of this type of sin within our churches and I never knew the scope of it until now. Many have carried this burden of knowledge (and it is a burden) and feel helpless to do much of anything. This needs to change. Wouldn't it be better to be able to report that this is a rare problem? Instead, I have learned that this happens more than we could imagine.
I am praying and asking what could be done - what would He have us do. Is there an answer, a system, a wake up call? Or will it continue to be this "dirty little secret" among our churches, leaving tattered souls in its wake?

Thank you to Christa Brown and all of the many, many others who have been sounding the trumpet and shining the light before us.

Lord, give us wisdom.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Tiffany: Do not underestimate how God has used you. The world saw and changes will be made. Change is slow, but you touched me and countless others. We see the power abuse where it has no business being, in the church. We saw the corruption up close and it will continue. You Tiffany and Christa Brown will always be the heroes of the faith in this lifetime. Darrel Gilyard is in jail because of the two of you. He can't hurt anyone for a very long time. It's one of many but there have been other arrests of sexual predators in the church, and it is because of the two of you that is happening. Make no mistake about it.

Anonymous said...

Tiffany, our message must always be: Follow Christ...not man.

Perhaps more and more will start coming out of these false churches following man and start seeking Jesus Christ. He is purifying His Bride. And that Bride is not a church building but HIS people.

If we wait for the leadership who either does this or looks the other way, to change, it will be too late. They cannot be leaders without followers. We must start there with warnings.

Robert said...

I am an editor for which is a social network dedicated to the christian community. As I look through your web site I feel a collaboration is at hand. I would be inclined to acknowledge your website offering it to our users as I'm sure our baptist audience would benefit from what your site has to offer. I look forward to your thoughts or questions regarding the matter.

Robert Wright

Tiffany Thigpen Croft said...

Absolutely. We welcome any resource that allow victims to know that they are not alone and also to let the Christian community see that changes are necessary. Thank you!
I have emailed you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tiffany,

You've been on my mind a lot in the past year, so I was glad I checked your blogsite today. My heart is in complete agreement and sorrow with you. I, too, grieve for the women and children (and in some cases men) who have been hurt by the atrocities of pastoral sex offenders and the church. I deeply hurt for the church, and for our country. God does not tolerate such evil. God will not bless our land with such evil going virtually unchecked. I am going to pray with you that God will clearly lay out the path.

Your blog has given me new hope. "If my people..." Tiffany, we are God's people. I am calling out to the people of God who are of a humble heart to pray that God would bring the sins of the church to light, and then healing, and blessing, so we can once again honor the Lord.

I woke up this morning to see that the "Touchdown Jesus" was struck by lightning, and burned to the ground. It is no wonder to me why God would so blatantly and clearly show his disapproval of how churches today worship His Son.

Tiffany, what you did in the Darrel Gilyard case was to bring to light that clergy are not only abusing children, but women as well. That is an important piece of the truth telling that the church needs to fully disclose--that children and women are being sexually abused by clergy in this country. And then the church needs to be held accountable for their appalling response to victims of pastoral sex offenders.

Churches need to start by telling the truth--churches need to admit their wrongs. And then the church needs to repent. Laws need to change to prevent churches from harboring sex offenders in their pulpits, putting the innocent in harm's way.

I look forward to see all that the Lord has in store. He will create a path because He has begun a good work to shed light on the church's darkness.

Sharon Rose

Blackie White said...

I came across this blog while repeatedly clicking the "next blog" button.
Can anyone explain exactly what this Pastor Darrell Gilyard has done?

maybe said...

very good and cool,thank you for your sharing.

Lloyd said...

I will be lifting you up to the Lord in prayer Tiffany. May our Lord continue to give you the courage and wisdom to carry on each day. Blessings to you. Lloyd

Tiffany Thigpen Croft said...

Thank you for your prayers and support!

Maddy said...

Tiffany, do not underestimate how awesome God is. He is so glorious that he might even be able to forgive the Jews and the Muslims. Maybe, he could even forgive Hitler. Perhaps he might forgive that perverted pedophile of a person, but it is in God's hands. As are you. If we are his children, then we must never rebel against his will--for we shall inherit the kingdom of HEAVEN. It shall be vainglorious I say. Do we inherit it when God dies; because that's usually how inheritance works... Hm. Well peace be with you. Remember that The GOD of Abraham is watching.

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Anonymous said...

Gilyard will be out in DEc 2011. Too soon for my comfort. He will start a church and many will follow and even go as far as supporting him financially. I don't know what this will cause, his release that is, but pray for my dau and her family. She has not dealt with this and refuses to seek help. Meantime I am watching her die slowly to the events forced upon her by this man. God help her see she needs help. Its affecting her abilty to be the mother she could be to her children.


Grevillea said...

Your problem is twofold:-
1. You need to forgive Darryl Gilyard NOW. The fact that you keep on raising this subject over and over again indicates that you still harbour unforgiveness and this attracts demons. Demons want to keep you in bondage and it would be by far healthier for you to turn your life around by entering into a sound study of the Word instead of dwelling on and expounding evil over and over again. will provide you with excellent material.

2. God has forgiven Darryl and washed him as white as snow and now when God sees Darryl he sees only Jesus.

You are wasting valuable time and emotional energy dwelling on stuff that should have been buried long ago.

The healing truth is that you need to spend time on your knees confessing each and every grief, rage, anger and unforgiveness to the Lord and beg Him to set you free in Jesus name.

Then choose to give to God every unclean thought the moment it surfaces.

Grevillea said...

Frankly, Tiffany you are not a person I would want as a testimony to the way God has worked in your life for you have not been an overcomer in His name.

God wants to see you forgive Darryl not hold on to all your grief & anger or whatever else you are still harbouring after all this time. Demons love this sort of stuff it is a veritable playground for them.

Darryl has been forgiven by God in Jesus name and now when God looks at Darryl he sees only Jesus and cast his sins as far from the east is to the west.

You would be far better employed if you made up your mind to make a sound study of the Word and a good place to start would be through ARIEL.ORG.

Every time an ungodly thought enters your mind ask the Lord to take it from you for harbouring all this stuff. Repeating it ad nauseum is not what God wants for His child.

Get on your knees and spend carpet time confessing all your grief, anger or whatever else you persistently dwell on to God in Jesus name.

As for raising this all again upon Darryl Gilyard's release this is really evil and totally unconscionable. The law has dealt with him as you so long desired and this should be the end of the matter.

Now, just in case you think this may have come from someone who does not understand I say now I was horrendously abused by a dearly loved dad for eight years of my life and the trauma and PTSD lasted for 12 years. I overcame my suffering through an assiduous application to reading the comforting and assuring pages of my Bible and throughout it all God pointed me to "mercy not judgment". I spent hours on my knees bringing my grief and rage to God and would not let my suffering during that time (agoraphobia and multiplicity of excessive fears, and that of hearing doors close) control me. I did this without any medication save I brought everything to Jesus and He and His Word healed me and set me free. I had two trusted friends to pray with me who were "Jesus with skin on".

When you truly forgive then you will see Darryl as one of God's children sin-riddled just like you and me.

Citizen Atheist said...

Just another example of how the imaginary God has no power. The pastor was a man without morals, just as all rudderless people are.

This is also proof that morals don't come from the Bible.

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Anonymous said...

Grevillea where did you get also that nonsense you blogged? Are you a member of some type of cult???

That was the biggest bunch of hockey I ever read!

Please ask God to save you and open your eyes to the truth...PLEASE!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Great Post Grevillea. We All Have Falled Short - We All Have Sinned and do Every Day We are on this Earth.v

Anonymous said...

It is the people (and thier thinking) like Grevillea that will join this man's church and help him cover up the ungodly things that he does.
If he has truly changed, he will ask for forgiveness from each of his victims (which the scripture states he should do since his sin was open before people). That will be the true and ultimate test as to whether or not he is Godly sorry.

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mary said...

Keep watching this Pastor has not change my dear friend left this church 6 months ago christ tabernacle sad he was dating a 19 yr old right out of prison, she said the relationship is no more. but kids have been back at the church since Dec 2013 and parents need to watch there teens/kids Darrel Gilyard is a sheep in wolves clothing its just a matter of time so many RED FLAGS!!!!