I have a feeling that you may read that first sentence and say...
"And this is new... HOW??"
That's pretty sad isn't it?
Because you'd be right.
Here are the details if you're interested, but that is not really the point of me writing this.
http://www.christianpost.com/news/jack-schaap-facing-10-years-in-teen-sex-case-as-troubling-details-unfold-91897/ Jack Schaap was the Senior Pastor of a fifteen THOUSAND member church in Indiana. A church that forcefully pounds the fist at "sinners". Priding themselves on their ability to know the RIGHT way to live. Here is a small sample of Jack's fine preaching on women and their "place" when he was questioned by a "worldly" reporter from CBS.
Pretty insanely dogmatic wouldn't you think? Fifteen THOUSAND people listen to this sort of thing. We wonder why Christianity gets a bad name?? To have such a low view of women when scripture says... that male AND female were created in the image of God and in Galatians 3:28 it says that in Christ there is NO male or female.
So when preachers and their "flocks" come in and twist scriptures to make one appear lower than the other... Men above Women, Leaders above Followers, Married above Divorced, White Collar above Blue Collar, Blue Collar above Welfare Recipients, Republicans above Democrats (or vise-versa), Straight above Gay, Not-So-Bad sinners above You-Nasty-Sinners, church Going Christians above Non-church Going Christians...
You will always be left with the fodder for abuse and mistreatment of others. Because then you can justify yourself OR you can justify turning a blind eye. Jesus did NOT teach this way.
Just because "your" church may not not have these "BIG" sin issues or these "CRAZY" teachings... doesn't mean it isn't there. Often times the "sins" are more sneaky and don't really look like wrongdoing and the "crazy teachings" are more veiled, unwritten and assumed. Whether you go to church in a building or not...
If you agree wholeheartedly with this sort of preaching. Please move on, this blog is not for you. Enjoy your peaceful world, where everything is figured out and you have it all down to a science as long as you follow the teachings of your "church" and read only the cozy warm stories of christianity. It will always be "those" people who have it wrong, not you.
I used to live there, and sometimes I actually miss it.
But if you realize that this message and many of the other "church" messages and practices that happen all over, (and usually in these HUGE churches) are laced with this exact type of backwards and love-less theology? That too many people are influenced greatly by "leaders" instead of thinking their own thoughts and following their own conscience/Holy Spirit within? (Have you ever WATCHED TBN?) That sometimes, the Bible (or how it's interpreted) seems to trump Jesus in order of importance?
Then please stay and ponder with me.
I know that when stories like this one get shared or discussed; the first reaction that many Christians have is something like this...
"Oh, that's just the Devil, trying to snuff out the Gospel!!" I know this, because it's how I would often think. Blame it on the devil.
I'm sorry, but the Devil just called, and he said that he's really not needed, because SO MANY "Christians" are doing his work so well FOR him. He went on vacation.
Pardon my sarcasm here. It DOES sneak out from time to time. Paul used sarcasm too by the way so I'm claiming "biblical influence".
I've seen people react like it's such a horrible sin to speak out against injustices in the church. They rebuke the people who do, for "hindering people's walk with Jesus." or "causing division" or "being a Troublemaker." If this is true, then Jesus is guilty of these things too! Jesus, would you quit hindering people's walk with you!?
Can we PLEASE just stop and think about how many people get "hindered" from knowing the True Jesus or have turned away from the loving, grace giving Jesus when these things are allowed to go on unchallenged and unchanged?? It reminds me of the abusive or alcoholic family that guilts the fellow family members into never speaking about what happened. That is why abuse often continues in those families for generations by the way...
I think we too often confuse what the Church really is. The Church, according to what I've read in scripture, is actually everyone who is, ~in~ Christ. It's not a building or a denomination. And guess what? WE don't get to decide who's in and who's out!
Although we're VERY good at deciding things like that, aren't we?? It's why we Christians have such a shining reputation for being judgmental and hypocritical.
I personally just try to treat everyone like they're "in" since I'm pretty sure I'll be surprised One Day anyway.
I think it's referred to in the bible as
"Love thy neighbor as thyself."
I find it interesting that sometimes it's easier to consider my Muslim, Wiccan and Buddhist, etc... friends, as being more "in" than some of my "christian" friends. Just an observation.
When Jesus walked the Earth, He actually often attributed "Faith" to people who were clearly ~outside~ of what people of His time considered "In".
You really think He's stopped doing that??
Jesus Himself said, "if they're not against us, they're FOR us." Here is another issue that always greatly saddens me. Why is it that Christianity has become this thing that we have to "protect" and "defend" and have "Truth Wars" about??
Throughout the ages people have always felt that their Religions need protecting. Wars and fights and crusades and witch burnings have risen from them for years and years and WILL continue to, I'm sure.
Funny, the bible defends "religion" in an interesting way...
James 1:27 (from The Message)
Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.
"The godless world". I would hazard a guess that you could interpret that as "The Loveless world". Never once have I met a self proclaimed non-Christian who is AGAINST this kind of religion. Isn't that interesting??
What people seem to actually be against is the hypocrisy that NEVER gets acknowledged in churchianity. We keep excusing it and pointing the finger right back and telling people, "Well, every one's a hypocrite".
I get that, I really do, becuase I know *I'm* a hypocrite...
For once though, it would be refreshing for some of the "repentance" and "humility" and "being held accountable" that I've heard preached for 25 years now, actually be done by the "little c" churches in regards to the ways they DO get it wrong.
I know some people think I constantly address these issues because of my own pain I have experienced in churchianity and that I'm just "bitter" or "angry" or "lashing out".
I will be honest, from time to time there is some anger and bitterness in my heart about things. Especially when situations like this arise and bring up old wounds. Are you completely free from this in YOUR life?? If you are, please check your pulse.
I can honestly say that I truly believe that is NOT my motivation for feeling and expressing these things with such Pathos.
I guess if it is, then it's up to Jesus to reveal that to me, isn't it?
I have no desire to tear any person down. Nor to create "sides". If I did I sure would have NO CLUE what "side" I'd be on!! I guess the side of Love?? I have been cast off or rebuked for expressing my true feelings... Maybe the side that doesn't want to do THAT to people???
I truly hope that this Jack Schapp guy finds REAL grace and can be freed from all this stuff that has choked his soul! That he will be freed from churchianity and doctrines that demean women and worse. I hope he finds healing that, I believe, flows from Jesus.
I hope more people in the Church will realize it's OKAY to point out the areas where we have really blown it. That we stop making enemies of those who wish to say, "Yeah, I'm a Christian (for lack of a better term), and I think this really SUCKS that Christians do this! It's... wrong."
It actually may make us more approachable to some. I don't know.
Maybe I hope for too much?