Looking for Loopholes
The most conservative corners of the evangelical subculture were also not immune to scandal. Far from it: the more an evangelical leader emphasized male authority and female submission, the more twisted his justifications for any personal scandal.
~Jesus and John Wayne, Kristin Kobes Du Mez
One of the unfortunate realities of recent Christian history, in particular, has been the fact that the Church has been a safe-haven for those who are unsafe for others. We are aware of the scandals, too innumerable to list here, but we are aware.
It makes headline news — as it should. Some would say that this is because the “liberal media” has it out for the church. But the truth is, these are the types of stories that followers of Christ should want highlighted. Yes, it’s absolutely a blight on Christianity, but you know what’s worse? Covering it up.
I think we’ve seen how covering it up never ends well. Light shines on the truth eventually, no matter how embarrassing it may be for those involved.
One of the truths I have worked to instill in my own children is that you are going to get in more trouble if you don’t tell the truth than if you do, no matter what you’ve done. Yes, you may get in trouble for doing something wrong, but it is only magnified when you try to lie about it. It works pretty well for now, but they are only 5 and 6. Best to get that ingrained now instead of waiting for them to be better liars through practice.
The sad reality, however, is that Church culture, especially in church’s that emphasize male dominance (I won’t even say “headship” here), are ripe for abusers:
🗹 No real standards for ordination.
🗹 The “Man of God” is in charge.
🗹 He has unquestionable authority.
🗹 The ability to create your own leadership team full of “Yes” men.
🗹 Nobody else can rightly interpret the Word of God.
There are few things that burn me up more than watching some clips of pastors who are abusing their position. Because in the eyes of those who are not involved in Church, this only confirms their assumptions about how shady the Church is.
And, I know, in the grand view of things, these type of people only make up a small percentage of actual pastors and churches. But even 1% is too high. And if you are going to offer a counterargument, let me stop you there, and ask you to hear this again: in an institution (and the Church is an institution to a degree, no matter what connotations may come with that word) that relies on integrity from its leadership and is supposed to be representative of the holy God, 1% is too high, and a somebody who is part of the 99%, I’m tired of my reputation being scarred by those in the supposed 1%.