Shannon Bellamy is a brave woman. After years of a not so secret affair with a pastor from a Philadelphia area mega church, she wrote a small book about a big problem.
Full disclosure: the church, Sharon Baptist Church, is one I have worked with in the past. Other than a demanding business manager, I had no real issue with the church.
However, others have big issues with Bellamy. At the Lansdowne Public Library, she discussed the book. Had I read this book without speaking to her, I KNOW I would have flung it across the room asking who the bloop did this chick think she was? Or to quote the Teen, “Really?”. But I listened to Shannon talk about her tale. I learned WHO this woman was that felt she should expose the horrors of the church. WHY she felt it was her mission to do this. WHAT she expected to gain from the book. And most important HOW she maintains her faith and walk despite what happens.
I grilled Shannon. To meet her and talk with her you wouldn’t think she’d be vulnerable enough to fall for the okey doke she was handed. But she did. She went to church like most of us do, looking for a better way because our way just isn’t working. What she found were men who abused their positions, men who twisted the Word of God to benefit them. Men who have NO business ministering to people.
My complaints ( hey, I wouldn’t be ME if I didn’t kvetch!): this book was horribly, horribly edited. Speaking to Bellamy in person, you understand where she was trying to go with her story. But reading the book does her an injustice! She has a compelling tale to tell but it’s difficult to focus when there are glaring grammatical issues and the flow of the story is not there. It’s like reading a very informal email from a girlfriend. Also, she plans to write a second book that goes into more detail. It would have been so much better if she had taken the time to get me a little more invested in her in THIS book. Again, reading without the benefit of speaking to her, it’s a salacious read. But when taken with the knowledge of her WHY, then it comes together.
It’s not clear from this book that Shannon wants to have same sex counselling and more accountability from the church. I attend a different type of church so to make her mission clear and not just dive right to the good parts, would have cleared some things for the casual reader. As it was, the book felt like it was published after a rough draft, and the editor was either too involved in the story or possibly afraid of Bellamy to suggest changes.
I admire anyone who writes and published a book. But don’t write so you can say you did it and please! Edit your work.