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.

"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

"Individual bodies can't heal until they receive a diagnosis. Likewise, the body of Christ can't heal until it learns what is making it sick. With bold storytelling and deep engagement with the biblical text, Ruth Everhart diagnoses the unchecked power, patriarchy, and shallow forms of forgiveness that plague many Christian communities grappling with abuse. She also points to the cure: a better, more biblical practice of justice for victims. May this book ensure that more victims' cries for justice are finally heard."

Katelyn Beaty, author of A Woman's Place: A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, the Home, and the World

"In The #MeToo Reckoning, Ruth Everhart creatively interweaves real-life stories of how Protestant churches have been complicit in the sexual abuse of women with counterpart stories from Scripture. In telling the stories—both the real-life stories and the biblical ones—Everhart does not flinch from pointing out how those who held the reins of power used silence, evasion, threats, and denial to protect abusers. In each case, she goes beyond denunciation, however, to point out how they could and should have acted differently. The result is a gripping, prophetic call to churches to halt the cover-ups of sexual abuse of women and secure justice for the victims. An eloquent, spiritually deep wake-up call. This book had to be written!"

Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, Yale University
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CONTENTS

To My Readers
Introduction
1. Power and Patriarchy
2. Silence and Shame
3.The System and Secrecy
4. Accountability and Justice
5. Purity Culture and Rape Culture
6. Betrayal and Deceit
7. Vulnerability and Voice
8. Apologies and Amends
9. Lamentation and Clericalism
10. A Way Forward
Acknowledgments
Index

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Ruth Everhart is an author, speaker, and pastor who has served Presbyterian (PCUSA) churches for more than twenty years. A graduate of Calvin College and United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, Ruth travels widely to speak at churches, conferences and retreats. She has written for publications such as Christian Century, Sojourners, and the Washington Post, and is the author of Chasing the Divine in the Holy Land and the Christianity Today award-winning memoir Ruined. She lives near Washington, DC.

BY Ruth Everhart

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