Stories Long Untold: The Yuckiness of the Cross and Sexualized Violence


As I attempt to focus on the death of Jesus today, on Good Friday, I find it difficult. I’d rather check Facebook, read a magazine or stare out the window. Tonight there’s a church service that I’ll go to, but for now the ugly reality of death and violence feels far away.

What happens if I look more closely at that aversion: that sense of yuckiness? Recently, Rachel Halder of Our Stories Untold, shared with me a story that got me thinking about this in a different way. Rachel is a survivor of sexual abuse who has become an speaker and organizer around the issue of sexualized violence within the Mennonite Church in the U.S. She shared this story about an experience working with women in a Mennonite related project:

I brought up the fact that we needed to collect stories of women who have been abused. Again, as they always are, people were very hesitant about this. They were (perhaps rightfully?) worried that older women in the church would be turned off by overt language about abuse and they wouldn’t be willing to talk about any of their stories because of that "yucky" topic.

I too often find myself avoiding the topic of rape, sexualized violence or sexual abuse. These are topics that are extremely uncomfortable. I know they are important, but I’d rather let someone else talk about them. And this is where the yuckiness of the cross challenges me. In Philippians 2:7-8, we read that Jesus "emptied himself, taking the form of a slave… he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross."


Young women’s bible study looking for non-traditional resources

This request arrived in the YAR inbox last week. I hope YAR readers can help.

I’m a member of a young women’s (mid to late 20s) bible study group. We are sick of the “regular” bible studies and I’m writing to see if you can recommend anything a little more non-traditional, thought provoking and discussion encouraging….we are looking for something that would involve questions being asked in order to encourage/help focus discussion.

What we are looking for is something with a short text section that could be read by the leader for the week, based on something in the bible, or even just an issue in Christian culture, current events – we’re pretty open. We then would like to have questions which would help facilitate discussion on the topic presented in the text. Most of us don’t have lots of time to do readings/prepare ahead of time, so we appreciate sessions that allow us to focus on one topic the night we meet and then move onto a new/related topic the next week.

Post your suggestion of books or on-line resources to this comment thread or email them to