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Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
I knew nothing about the world. I wanted so much more for my life than the church was ever going to allow me to have. I wanted to have friends. I wanted to work. I wanted to travel. I wanted to meet new people and experience new things. I was thrust into this world, this whole new world without really understanding anything about it, and I was forced to for a very long time to kind of figure it all out for myself. . . . We were taught that every thought or feeling that we had that wasn't aligned with the church's teachings was the devil speaking in our ear. So even after I left, for years I was filled with guilt and shame and terror. I was trapped inside this prison of my mind, like my body had left the church but huge portions of myself were still there. I realized then, I have to give myself a voice. I have to speak my thoughts and my feelings, and I have to share with the world what I’d been through. If I don’t, there’s really not any reason for me to go on.
—Brooke Arnold, Comedian
No child can be enslaved without the consent of its mother. A mother fighting for her children is the most determined of foes. And a mother who believes that she and her children have no other destiny than slavery will tremblingly teach her babies the very values that the enslavers demand.
—Patricia Nell Warren
Forgiveness does not come from a position of powerlessness but from a place of empowerment and a degree of safety. . . . Justice, imperfect though it may be, makes forgiveness possible. The wound may heal even if the scar remains. In this healing, the body survives and may thrive, in spite of the scars and memories. Whether for a nation, a neighborhood, or an individual who has suffered trauma at the hands of an aggressor, justice is the key to healing and to a future.
—Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
I used to co-facilitate a group for parents who were trying to reunify with their children who had been removed by the state. I remember hearing the story of one mother whose 12-year-old daughter was removed from the home because she had been found walking the streets at 2am along with prostitutes and drug dealers. When her mother was telling the story in the group, she said, “The police brought her to my house and I said, ‘There is nothing I can do about this child. If it is God’s will that He test me with a spiteful child, then so be it. If it is God’s plan that she learn her lessons by getting raped, then I cannot do anything to prevent that from happening. Who am I to interfere with His will?’” In my head, I thought, “Are you serious?” To the group, however, I said, “I see that a lot of you are shaking your heads. What would you like to say to the mother right now?” Most of the group members said she was wrong, that God did not want little girls to get raped. Some members, however, stopped short and said that God’s will was a mysterious thing.
—Jonathan Singer, Host of the Social Work Podcast
The Child-Friendly Faith Project: Supporting faith communities in their efforts to protect and nurture children
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