The #MeToo Reckoning

Facing the Church's Complicity in Sexual Abuse and Misconduct

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Pub Date 14 Jan 2020 | Archive Date 13 Mar 2020

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Description

2020 Publishers Weekly Book of the Year - Religion ★ Publishers Weekly starred review. The #MeToo movement has revealed sexual abuse and assault in every sphere of society, including the church. But victims are routinely ignored by fellow Christians who deny their accounts and fail to bring accountability to the perpetrators. All too often, churches have been complicit in protecting abusers, reinforcing patriarchal power dynamics, and creating cultures of secrecy, shame, and silence. Pastor and survivor Ruth Everhart shines a light on the prevalence of sexual abuse and misconduct within faith communities. She candidly discloses stories of how she and others have experienced assault in church settings, highlighting the damage done to individuals, families, and communities. Everhart offers hope to survivors as she declares that God is present with the violated and stands in solidarity with victims. Scriptural narratives like those of Tamar and Bathsheba carry powerful resonance in today's context, as do the accounts of Jesus' interactions with women. God is at work in the midst of this #MeToo moment to call the church to repentance and deliver us from violence against the vulnerable.

2020 Publishers Weekly Book of the Year - Religion ★ Publishers Weekly starred review. The #MeToo movement has revealed sexual abuse and assault in every sphere of society...


Advance Praise

"In The #MeToo Reckoning, Rev. Ruth Everhart takes the church to task in what has been an abysmal response to sexual abuse behind its closed doors. Laying out proof of the abuse of the most vulnerable among us in the place that should be the most safe, she gives suggestions for how pastors, congregations, and the church at-large can begin to serve everyone through openness, victim support, and use of the legal system. With an unapologetic voice, she calls for the protection of individuals from predators that have too easily been not only allowed to serve but protected by spiritual leadership from pastors up through the highest liturgical powers that be. With personal experiences detailed as well as those of other pastors, The #MeToo Reckoning is an engaging, thoughtful, and necessary book in these times that Jesus asks of his church, 'What will you do with me?'"
-Lisa Samson, author of Quaker Summer, The Church Ladies, and Love Mercy

"Ruth Everhart writes with great insight and passion. She shines a steady, penetrating light on sexual abuse in the church. Alas, this book is entirely necessary."
-Neal Plantinga, author of Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin

"This is a book for survivors, for churches who have failed victims, for those who seek to mourn with those who mourn, and for those who love justice and endeavor to bring healing and renewal. By weaving together biblical narratives and contemporary stories with her own painful past, Ruth Everhart unflinchingly confronts the culture of silence, shame, and denial that too often characterizes a Christian response to abuse. This is a book of reckoning."
-Kristin Kobes Du Mez, professor of history and gender studies at Calvin College and author of A New Gospel for Women

"In her remarkable clarion call for change, Ruth Everhart reminds religious leaders tempted to view #MeToo as a dismissible modern political movement that variations of 'me too' have echoed off the walls of the church since its foundation. This book begs us all to answer the question: How much longer will we shut our ears to the voice of God heard in the cries of the 'the least of these'?"
-Linda Kay Klein, author of Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement That Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free

"In The #MeToo Reckoning, Rev. Ruth Everhart takes the church to task in what has been an abysmal response to sexual abuse behind its closed doors. Laying out proof of the abuse of the most...


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Featured Reviews

This was a book that I was not sure I wanted to read as I was a probation office, have read many works on spousal abuse, sexoffenders, and treatment options. I do no regret the day I decided to read it. Ruth uses narratives, biblical exegesis, and ends each chapter with: 1) the text asks us, and 2) My Hope. Ruth structures the chapters such that she introduce a narrative followed by a Biblical passage fitting to the theme of the narraitive. Ruth' covering of different passages exigetical treasures helping us to gaze deeper into each text and movong us to take action in building churches that protect and stand alongside those who have been sexually abused. This is an excellent book, with a very timely subject, that deserves to be read by members of the Church. I was moved in the reading of this book and believe it should be mandatory reading followed by discussion, and action by Church staff in a transparent way.

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Ruth Everhart's The #MeToo Reckoning addresses the prevalence of sexual abuse in the church through a combination of her personal experience as a pastor and biblical analysis. As an active and faithful member of the church, she places the blame on corruption in the ranks, and challenges church goers to hold their clergy accountable for their actions. This was a compelling read, and I think a very valuable account to share with the world. Because Ruth Everhart has been through so much and still holds her faith, she provides a valuable script or guide for Christians who've heard the rumors of abuse but have previously been unable to face them.

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The #MeToo Reckoning Facing the Church’s Complicity in Sexual Abuse and Misconduct by Ruth Everhart InterVarsity Press IVP Books Christian Pub Date 14 Jan 2020 I am reviewing a copy of The #MeToo Reckoning through Intervarsity Press and Netgalley: In this book we are reminded that victims of sexual assault are crying out for justice. And that their voices have been amplified by the #Metoo movement, which is passing through the culture like a freight train. The phrase #Metoo as relating to the movement was coined in 2006 but it truly gained momentum in 2017 when allegations against prominent film producer Harvey Weinstein roared through the media prompting others to share their stories. This book prompts the question where is the Church in all of this? And reminds us the #Metoo movement is not a women’s issue, but it is a human issue. The author reminds us that it is important we not blame the victims of sexual assault, that they not, and that when someone is assaulted in the Church it needs to be taken seriously not swept under the rug. We are reminded in this book that the concept of justice is a complex one. I give The #Metoo Awakening five out of five stars.

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We are a nation facing so many broken issues, this book hopefully can shed some light on ways to help fix one of them. I was a little skeptical about reading this, as a victim like so many women I tend to stay away from these books because they either trigger me or trigger some depressive episode. This book actually did the opposite. I wanted to applaud the fact that she chose to take on such a subject and give some light on things such as "grooming" Alot of people are not aware that there is such a thing as grooming done, that people choose their victims and fix it so they hurt them and then make them feel isolated. I also liked at the end of the book there were resources to help those who have been abused. This is a book that needs to be talked about for the resources provided alone, so people who are still afraid know that there are others fighting for them to be comfortable and safe to step out into the light.

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As a survivor of sexual assault, this book was very difficult for me to read; however, the pain surrounding these issues is the very reason why it is so important to talk about them. Everhart’s writing is concise and theologically grounded. I was deeply drawn by her interpretation of scripture. I found her commentary of the story of David and Bathsheba to be particularly empowering. I plan to use her analysis to aid my preaching in the future. Everhart takes an unflinching look at the way people, especially women and the most vulnerable, have suffered. She uses true stories and case studies to shed light on these issues. The #MeToo Reckoning calls the church to accountability and offers hope for the future. At the end of each chapter, the author provides questions and ideas for how we as the church can move forward to offer hope and healing to the world. I highly recommend this book to all other clergy and to those who are interested in ministering to survivors. Trigger Warning: Violence against women, violence against children, sexual assault Note: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Ruth Everhart's book on sexual abuse and the church is an excellent, albeit difficult, read. She shares her personal experiences with abuse/assault, as well as other people's experiences with abuse within the context of the local church, in juxtaposition with stores from Scripture of abuse, assault, and sin. I was surprised about how common all this heartache is, not just in the present day, but also in the Bible. If you read this book with your heart and not just your mind, it will change how you view the church and how you view Jesus's work and mission. All in a good way (in my opinion) but it will still be challenging. I read this book for a broader perspective on what Christians can do in an era of #MeToo. I encourage all Christians to read this book and to truly consider how we can better love those around us like Jesus did. Everhart's writing was compelling, engaging, and very readable despite the challenging nature of this subject matter. I truly appreciated this book and the heart behind it. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review.

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#MeToo This book hit all the soft, broken spots in my heart, not only for myself, but for the church in general. The church routinely ignores and belittles sexually assaulted men, women and children. The church needs to wake up and figure out that protecting the assaulter isn't ok, and protecting and believing the assaulted is what they need to be doing. I love the hope, the peace and the validation Ruth gives to survivors in this book. I think it will bring healing, and hope to hearts that feel dry and desperate.

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