Do all United Methodists have a dark side?
Though it was posted November 11, I just ran across this piece from the United Methodist Reporter. Jerry Sandusky is a United Methodist. According to this ESPN piece, Not only was Sandusky recognized by the U.S. Congress for his volunteer work, but he is also an active U.M. layman.
The article talks about how Sandusky blindsided so many imporant, influential people with his now-alleged “sickness.” I suppose blindsided is a good word for ESPN to use as it references that great feel-good movie of a couple years ago. The Blind Side was a story of finding the hidden good in a teen and his adoptive family.
Blindsided is the opposite. Blindsided is about finding hidden darkness. Stories like Sandusky’s too often help us pile on others as indicative of “what is wrong with the world.”
What I hope stories like this do, on the other hand, is give us each the space to acknowledge that we, too, have dark sides. Many of us have kept ours in check, generally speaking, so as not to have seriously hurt any one. Even so, everyone of us has the same potential to slide into places and activities and behaviors we 1) know are not right and 2) really do not want to give in to.
What are we to do? I do not expect a flood of comments here confesses to dark sides. This wouldn’t really help. Confessing to a blog can be a start, but it cannot bring healing. What each of us need, rather, is a trusted place, a person or a few people, with whom we can trust our dark sides and invite to help us.
This is the kind of people that church, or a Church, ought to be.
What a great Christmas gift this would be for Jesus – whose birthday Christmas is – if we would each become more the kind of person someone else trusts with his or her dark side.