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.

Pope kills justification for death penalty.

PopeFrancisRoman Catholic death penalty advocates are in a tizzy! “Every life is sacred,” Francis said. No criminal beyond the hope of rehabilitation, he believes.

sisterhelenThat kind of optimism is astounding.  It interjects the mind of Jesus into death rows across the world.

Sister Helen Prejean is one of many in the US celebrating Francis’s proclamation.  Such a cause to which she has devoted her life!

Some preachers will do anything for some media attention. “It’s time for my Click-up, Mr. DeMille.”

How dare journalists call lies “lies.” Journalists who report facts are no more attacking those about whom they report than were the classical Hebrew prophets who told hearers–more often than not, their own people–that immoral behaviors carried consequences.

click

Gary Click has no business praying publicly at a presidential rally–nor does any other clergy leader from any other branch of Christianity or from any religion. Neither should they be praying publicly at schools, and so on. Then using a would-be prayer as a commercial for his brand of nationalism poorly disguised as Christianity is offensive to all who actually try to pray by the standards of Jesus even though Jesus was a Jew. Just because someone calls an utterance a prayer doesn’t make it a prayer. And what Click spewed off at the rally was not a prayer.

sinclairFurther, Click is no more careful with details than the president he admonished God to protect. Jungle journalism was Upton Sinclair’s coinage sorta kinda wasn’t it? And it won better working conditions for Chicago meat-packing workers, frequently exploited immigrants, and better treatment for the livestock waiting to become someone’s main dish. Health of consumers was improved.