I think often, I think compulsively, about the last phone call I had with my father, certain portions of which feel permanently lodged into various portions of my brain, parroting the same phrases again and again in a 1,000-year half-life. I did not know it would be the last time I would ever want to speak to him. I used to speak to him often, and enjoy it, and looked forward to the next time I would speak with him again. Yet there was one thing I always knew, in all our talks both public and private, which was that it was not possible for a child of John Ortberg to express anger at John Ortberg. You might have suggestions, you might come to him as a supplicant, you might prayerfully encourage him to reconsider, petition in hand, but anger he would always reject right out. Sweetly at first, then with thunder. So often I would find myself choking on the one thing I wanted to say to him, the one thing I knew I couldn’t say, the one thing I would be endlessly punished for, and receive in response:
What strikes me about the conversation is he ALWAYS brings it back to the volunteer, who, like you. I have compassion for , but NOT at the expense of the safety of others in the congregation. You probably have heard of the term "gold Star" pedophiles that Dan Savage refers to. A big reason those pedophiles DON'T abuse kids is because they stay away from kids. You don't need "research" to you know come up with that, that seems pretty common sense to me! All of this is to say is that even though I don't know you. I feel so much indignation on behalf of you. What your dad said was just bullshit!! (but you know that). And to use suicide? (And you have talked about this in your column, that yes, we can care for someone and want them to live, but that doesn't absolve them of responsibility.) And it sounds like the volunteer actually understood that, and was seeking actual guidance, not just someone helping them hide from their issue.
I keep coming back to the fact that he refused to do the very least small thing he absolutely could and should have done which is bring this information to the church himself when the chance was offered. What kind of parent forces their child to blow the whistle on them? How wildly cruel. I'm so sorry.
I am so sorry that this has happened, and that people who you thought you could trust (on some level, if not challenge) have made the decisions that they have made. You have been courageous and strong and I am grateful that you have Grace on your side - but it's still heartbreaking. I wish for a measure of healing for you in this time of stunnedness and displacement and trying to form a new life apart from your family of origin.
Oh Danny. I'm so sorry. And that thing about where one may direct anger and at whom... I feel that on a deep level.
Late to this, but sending love. What a terrible position he's put you in. You're handling it as well as anyone could possibly hope to.
God that's horrible, I'm so sorry. I hope any children that were put under this person's care are okay.
I cannot imagine choosing to support a pedophile over one's own son. So very sorry for your pain...but glad you are facing the truth of your family's failings so you can move forward. Ten years out from estrangement from my abusive mother, I can promise you the sting of betrayal fades (though doesn't disappear) and the creative surge of freedom is greater than you could imagine. But you get there in your own time. Much love to you and Grace.
Danny, I don't even know what to say besides I respect you so much for the choices you've made in this awful situation, and I admire the grace you've shown. <3
I can't get over the irony of a queer man being the one to raise the alarm over a Christian leader defending and enabling pedophilia. The queer community has such a long and violent history that has inextricably linked pedophilia with our genders and sexuality and sense of community, that I can't help but shake my head at how flimsy those bridges are in reality. To invoke homosexuality in defense of pedophilia still equates the two as "perversions"; it's just usually not done at the protection of pedophiles, but rather to castigate the consensual relationships between queer folk.
I'm so sorry you've had to estrangement yourself from your family. As a longtime fan of yours, Danny, it's been chilling to see such private and painful events become so public. I'm sending you and Grace all the love and support to weather this tumultuous turn.
I admire your integrity and think I have some small idea of what it has cost you. You are courageous beyond measure. Love and strength to you and to Grace.
Sending vast waves of love, healing, strength, gratitude and support to you and Grace.
It seems from what I've read that the volunteer came to you, Danny, and told you about their compulsive sexual attraction to children and their seeking out volunteer opportunities to be with children as a way to 'treat' their problem. I'm so curious why they came to you, and I feel compassion for the painful predicament their telling put you in. Maybe it was out of trusting that you would do exactly what you did, and end the secrecy. You acted with integrity and courage.
I am so sorry your father put you in this position. There's no excuse. Whatever the difficult circumstances, *you* still did the right thing.
I am sorry beyond words that you (and the congregation, and the kids!) have had to deal with this. I wish you & Grace love & healing as you move forward with your lives.
Love, support, and gratitude for you both.
Love and support to you and Grace