Heather Larson et al and the Bill Hybels bubble…8 facts

1. Churches that profess to live by the teachings of Jesus must practice forgiveness.  It isn’t optional.  It isn’t praiseworthy.

2. Being forgiving doesn’t mean putting an offended person or group back in a position to be hurt again, or over and over again.

3. There is no reason the power person in an organization deserves automatically to be believed over a subordinate, client, etc.

4. Blaming a person whose boundaries have been violated cannot be the basis of diminishing her or him as a person or as a potential truth teller.  An individual who was compromised in circumstances that made it easier for someone to take advantage of her or him can however warn others about how such circumstances made overstepping boundaries easier than anticipated. For example, Hybels’s former administrative assistant should not have moved into the home of Pastor and Mrs. Hybels. She was at a vulnerable place in her life according to her recollection of events. Perhaps she was also a gullible person who trusted her pastor/employer to do the right things, even during a back rub in front of a fire place. Again she is not to be blamed for whatever wrong was done. But she can warn vulnerable people not to get in similar situations.

larson5. I am thinking that Pastor Heather Larson might have been a stronger advocate for this former employee of the church, woman to woman. Let’s face it. Long before corporate abuse of women hit the headlines women moving up ladders of success knew what many women had endured even if they themselves had been fortunate enough to escape.  Maybe behind the scenes she was.

6. Power in a congregation should never rest with one person, even/especially with the pastor or a pastor–no matter how much celebrity is associated with her or him. Power should rest with members of the congregation–regardless of how often they may resemble Keystone Cops.

7. Pastors of all sized congregations need TLC. It’s an often oppressive occupation.

8. Pastors who serve as if by the example of Jesus are servants, but if congregants keep telling them they are deities to be worshiped, and not mere humans–much less servants to humans–most clergy will eventually believe the repetitive messages and begin behaving as if standards established for mortals do not apply to them.