Today’s Lent Talk on Radio 4 ‘The Silence of the Lamb’ was about Jesus being silent when being challenged by Pilate and being goaded into declaring himself to be God. Prof Katie Edwards commended Jesus for this but was concerned that the Church had taken the mandate of Godly silence out of context when applied to other situations. She was particularly concerned as to how historically children and young people tended to be silent or not listened to especially when they complained about abuse. I was won round by her argument and how she makes the point that being silent in abuse does not make you complicit, you are still the victim. She contrasts the way that Jesus is seen as speaking up in John’s gospel and wonders why she wasn’t told about this Jesus when she was a child but heard more about a silently suffering Jesus. It was a challenging listen (and be aware of potential triggers as she discusses grooming and child sexual exploitation in the talk). For those of us who teach it is important that we don’t inadvertently encourage attitudes that are damaging to individuals and discourage them from speaking up. We need to listen to those who share concerns, however tentatively, and not suggest that it is more Christ like to suffer in silence.
Website description of the talk…
As someone who witnessed the sexual abuse of her teenage friends in the 1990s, Katie Edwards wonders whether she – and they – might have spoken out more readily if they had not been taught that silence in the face of suffering is a virtue.