In a blog-eat-blog world, why do so many writers keep at it? I’ve been putting the spotlight on a few bloggers who are sharing their words, lives and/or passions in cyberspace, and asking why they write, what they hope to offer others, and even what gives them hope. I trust you’ll enjoy their answers as much as I have—and maybe even hop on over to their digs and take a look around.
THIS WEEK’S “BECAUSE SHE BLOGS” SPOTLIGHT: WATCH KEEPAt some point several years ago, I realized one of the most dedicated online advocates for victims of abuse in Christian environments was a beautiful Texan with a big heart named Amy Smith, known to her Twitter followers as @WatchKeep. Justice work usually comes at a cost, especially when you are seeking justice within the Church, and no one knows this better than Amy. But, still, she keeps at it. Even when many of us grow weary.
So, who is she? Amy Smith is a Dallas leader for SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Baylor University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Baylor University School of Nursing. She’s a Registered Nurse with—as her Twitter bio will tell you—a great man and kids too. When I announced she’d be featured here in this series, a few wonderful things were immediately said about Amy in the Twittersphere: She was called courageous and bold, a tireless fighter, and even an “amazing hero” by child protection champion Boz Tchividjian himself.
Me: What made you want to start blogging?
Amy: I started my blog about four years ago really not being sure if blogging was for me and wondered if I would have anything worth blogging about. It became a place for me to post from time to time things meaningful to me or a place to post a recipe that I enjoy baking. Then, it was in the early years of my blog that I began to wrestle with the child sex abuse of boys at my former church, Prestonwood Baptist in Dallas, by my youth music minister John Langworthy.
In 2011, I became the Houston leader with the Survivors Network of Those Abused byPriests, known as SNAP, which is a volunteer self-help organization of survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their supporters. I continue to be a SNAP leader today, now in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
The SNAP mission statement says:
We work to end the cycle of abuse in two ways:
- By supporting one another in personal healing;
- By pursuing justice and institutional change by holding individual perpetrators responsible and the church accountable.
Our most powerful tool is the light of truth. Through our stories and our actions, we can bring healing and justice to ourselves and others.
Me: What would you like to offer your readers?
Amy: Speaking up has not come without personal pain for me. My parents are extremely angry with me for exposing and reporting Langworthy’s child sex crimes and Prestonwood’s cover up of those crimes. They’ve stated repeatedly that they never want to see me or my family again. My dad even threatened that I would “pay a big price.” But I hope by speaking up for those abused and exposing the truth on my blog that I can, in some small way, give the hope of light shining in the dark places.
Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night;
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and vale in slumber sleeping,
I my loved ones’ watch am keeping,
All through the night.
Me: What gives you HOPE in your day-to-day life?
Amy: The promise that my Jesus loves me, and He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
My husband, who is my best friend and biggest supporter and our four daughters. They are my whole world.
Also, really great, strong coffee …
READ AMY AT WATCH KEEP
POWERFUL POST: One of Amy’s most powerful posts chronicles the very case of abuse mishandling that led her into activism: Prestonwood Baptist and the Cone of Silence
HER MOST RECENT POST: I Stand With SGM Victims
This post contains a collection of viral Tweets from Amy and others on May 16th, 2014, and is a fantastic testament to the activism that Amy is known for. She frequently collects information and stories many of us forget and then disperses them to challenge those who would sweep abuse under the rug, to comfort victims, and to rally for justice.