Oregon’s Church for Sex Offenders

Indeed, these people are about as ordinary a slice of traditional Americana as one can hope to stumble across in 2015: a small, All-American community of All-American neighbors getting together to share All-American food, sing the praises of Jesus, and share the weight of the various challenges that face today’s modern American registered sex offender.

[This is a short excerpt of a piece originally published in The Daily Beast. The entire piece can be read here.]

 

It is six o’clock on a Sunday evening, and like so many other Americans I’m sitting in a restaurant breaking bread with the local church group

The particular group I’m sitting with is part of the Sonrise Church in Hillsboro, Oregon, and the banter that rattles back and forth between them is what you might expect. Praise and critique for Pastor Rocky Wing’s sermon are interwoven with prayers, favorable reviews of the house cheeseburger, friendly gossip about common friends, and strategy pitches for the endless mission of saving souls.

The group of 12 that crowds around this table made for eight even looks like the platonic ideal of an American church group. There’s the handsome and charismatic pastor, and the impossibly beautiful young married couple sitting next to the betrothed couple hoping to tie the knot later this spring. (All of whom met at church, because of course they did.) There’s the roll-up-your-sleeves blue-collar dad and the cantankerous guy who looks like everyone’s grandfather. There are a couple of white-haired ladies whose lives revolve around the behind-the-curtain inner workings of their house of worship, even as their grown children wonder aloud why they bother.

Paint a picture of us, right here, right now, and the scattered iPhones and Androids that litter the table are the only clue that we are not some Norman Rockwell painting miraculously sprung to life.

Indeed, these people are about as ordinary a slice of traditional Americana as one can hope to stumble across in 2015: a small, All-American community of All-American neighbors getting together to share All-American food, sing the praises of Jesus, and share the weight of the various challenges that face today’s modern American registered sex offender.

OK, so maybe they’re not so ordinary.

 

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Please read the article in its entirely here.

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