“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.”
― Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
“I didn’t tell anyone, and you’re telling all women that they don’t matter, that they should just stay quiet because if they tell you what happened to them, you’re going to ignore them. That’s what happened to me, and that’s what you’re telling all women in America, that they don’t matter. They should just keep it to themselves because if they have told the truth, they’re just going to help that man to power anyway. That’s what you’re telling us all of these women. That’s what you’re telling me right now. Look at me when I’m talking to you. You`re telling me that my assault doesn’t matter.”
–Maria Gallagher, age 23
I’m writing this blogpost before any FBI reports have been read on the Senate floor. Before any confirmation votes. I don’t know what will happen today.
Truthfully, though, I fear the worst.
For me, the worst is not actually that we don’t #believewomen.
My fear is that we don’t actually care. Worse than not being believed is the fear that your truth, your story, your trauma, your life will be seen, believed — and it will not matter.
My fear is that these senators, and this president, and these laughing crowds, all actually do believe Dr. Ford. They just don’t care. His attempted rape, her trauma — it just doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter as much as tipping the court. It doesn’t matter as much as the trajectory of a Yale-grad’s career. It doesn’t matter as much as the voter backlash in November. It doesn’t matter as much as the inconvenience of delaying the process. Her story, her truth, her life — it just doesn’t matter.
Our deepest need, from the time we are children, is not just to be told we are loved. It is to be known and loved. We need to be loved for who we really are — in our complexity, our mistakes, our uniqueness, our unloveliness. And Keller is right — this is a way to describe the power of the gospel. A humanity that was not loved from a distance, but close up. A humanity that was not loved in theory, but on the cross. A woman at a well who was not ignored, but whose story was fully known. This is love. This is good news.
I’d like it if the church found its calling beyond just believing women. (Certainly, we must start there. And we have work to do.) But what I believe would actually reflect the power of the gospel that has transformed our lives is more than just seeing, more than just believing. It’s valuing. I’d like it if the stories, the truth-telling, the pain, the lives of women mattered enough to the church to disrupt the status quo. I’d like our lives to matter. My fear is that the Kavanaugh saga will confirm again what has been true for too long, what that people of color, immigrants, those who are poor, women have been testifying to the senate and the sanctuary alike: In the eyes of the ones holding the power, some lives don’t matter.
I hope I’m wrong.