Things I Think…
1. The mainstream media is now recognizing the work of “watchbloggers” and the SBC is “focusing” this week on abuse in the church. What real difference will these developments make in American Christendom? Very little…
2. First of all, too many senior pastors view their position as if it were covered by the Second Amendment. They’ll give up total autonomy when you pry it out of their cold, dead, hands…
3. Second, many of these guys don’t believe women (or any one else) are harmed in churches and those that are were somehow complicit in their abuse. That’s just a fact…
4. When I started blogging (oh, so many,many years ago) the thought at the time was that we would be able to shame leaders into acting like biblical shepherds. That’s when I discovered that shame doesn’t matter much in this culture…
5. When someone is fired or disciplined in a church, HR laws are such that releasing any of that information opens churches up to lawsuits galore. In business, secular and sacred, lawsuits make the world go ’round…
6. At some point my esteemed comrades in blogging will come to the same conclusion I have…that the biggest problem isn’t in the pulpits, but in the pews…
7. People in the pews claim they want godly leaders…don’t believe it. They want charismatic leaders and political power…and if the scoundrel in charge provides one or both, he’s ten feet tall and bulletproof…
8. Americans worship success and success in religion means butts in the seats, cash in the coffers, plus influence. We’re not the first culture to sell our souls for those things, but we’ve sold them, indeed…
9. Until the pews empty when abuse and corruption happens in churches, all of the great reporting and victim advocacy will not change anything. The congregations that support the scoundrels are complicit in and enable the abuse…if the pews empty, that changes everything…
10. Keep reporting and advocating anyway…
#2 – I can’t imagine why autonomy is seen as a problem in this area.
# 9 – The pews are emptying as we speak.
Good morning, Josh…thank you for what you’re bringing to the blog…good stuff…
Autonomy too often translates into no accountability.
As to #9… so far, every one we’ve busted here has more attendance than before their scandal broke…I’m not bitter…
Authority that cannot be questioned cannot be trusted.
I wonder where the men are in these situations. If it were my family being abused, the church worker would be suffering from a gun shot wound…or something more serious.
As primitive as it sounds…I’m 100% in agreement…
Men of character and uncompromising principles are marginalized today… We are building toward a mindless pendulum swing … dangerous .. Spiritual and secular…
but the true Church is in a different category, i think, i.e. this website
In other words, amen to all the above comments…. Except i don’t want to see MLD going to jail for shooting a pervert. .?
Maybe take him half way across the Mojave, give him a straw hat and a popsickle and tell him to walk home?
Michael, has your thinking on this evolved any? I had an interaction w you a while back (or at least you made a comment soon after a comment of mine so it seemed an interaction) where you said that, as far as you’re concerned you think that the #EXvangelical movement’s best place of dialog is inside a church congregation, and not outside of it. I noted that response and said no more of it at the time (my ’nym includes a preposition describing my own physical and metaphorical position re church and congregation). And here, in Number 9, you sound the call to #emptythePews, which is consistent with what many in the #Exvangelical movement say as well.
Curious if your position has shifted, or was there something I missed from the prior time around?
7 & 8 are always on my mind. The staffs of church-growth-seeker-sensitive-marketing-driven-entrepreneur-led churches (pick your term) either have themselves or have it put on them from leadership, an invisible moving target. They don’t know what they are aiming for, and every so often they aim somewhere else. This takes the form of staff turnover, space remodels, new initiatives, “back to basics” or re-identifying “who we are” every so often. The money spent on the irrelevant is shocking and somehow it keeps coming in.
The target isn’t invisible; it’s very simple. Building God’s Kingdom. At the same time, it is also very difficult and obstacle-ridden, two things that do not keep butts in the seats and bills in the bank. Churches that are 40+ years old have no discipleship/mentoring capacity. Accountability in marriages (or much else) doesn’t exist because it requires (a) relationships and (b) teachable people (vulnerability) which is not a very American quality. Outreach is driven by marketing, rarely by calling. And as Michael points out, the problem has more to do with people in the pews than the person in pulpit. The pulpit is going what the pews asks and then they wonder why they don’t grow?
I often wonder what things would look like if churches didn’t pay salaries and being a pastor was a volunteer position? (I get that that’s the reality in many/most churches, but I’m wondering in the contexts of this thread.)
When confronted with abusive and corrupt leadership that is unrepentant in a specific situation , we need to empty the pews.
For long term solutions to the problems facing us, we have to work inside the institution to make change.
:::plays the Jeopardy music theme while waiting for comment to be liberated from moderation:::
Stares down at hands. These hands, at this keyboard, know the ways of the Blessed HTML Hyperlink, and, like so many things that can be used for ill (spam) or good (relevant conversation), we must wait on others to judge our intent and approve our comment.
My timing (jeopardy theme) is atrocious. Shoulda refreshed one last time. Yikes!
Thanks for elaborating.
It is beyond me why people want pastors who have six years or more of higher education and devote their lives to the church to be volunteers.
I get chapped every time that comes up…
“Autonomy too often translates into no accountability.”
Hierarchy hasn’t proven to be an effective remedy. The autonomous local church should have accountability built in.
“As to #9… so far, every one we’ve busted here has more attendance than before their scandal broke…I’m not bitter…”
I seriously doubt that. Most every scandal that I’ve read about here has ended with a local body in shambles. Any that have grown have been the exception to the rule.
“What real difference will these developments make in American Christendom? Very little…”
Like you, I am not optimistic. About the distinction you mention.
The Problem: abuse happens in secret and stealth, and the pastor(s) in power shame and silence the victim, and enact a response that ties a millstone around the victim’s neck (or the victim’s family’s collective neck), casting them into the sea, in order to protect one’s own local churchy kingdom, that series of acts make it all the harder for others in the pew to know what’s taking place and to recognize and respond to abuse by emptying the pew.
To that amount of discernment required, there’s still more that you ask — the will to Stick Around and Stay In Dialog to ultimately fix the problem. (I am sympathetic to the distinctions you draw between Leave Entirely and Stay and Fix Institution on the Inside; I see a parallel to this in another fraught institution.)
What form would Stay and Fix The Institution From The Inside take? How many people banding together in response to say This Must Be Fixed will tip the scales? How does the prophetic, faithful remnant (Watchbloggers, Rachael Denhollanders, Phoenix Preachers) grow into a movement large enough to address this?
Autonomous pastors happen in all forms of church government.
The church of Spirit filled does not need your help Mike ….
No one engaged in Sexual sin should be leading anyone as they are lost
Your Manifesto doesn’t talk much about Jesus….
Because it is not about Jesus and HIS Church….
It’s about you Mike and you thinking you are standing just a little bit taller than the rest of us…
Hey call me Stupid ..great man have been called the same …
But you are a Fraudster …Demon infested
Tell us what sexual sin I’m involved in.
Be aware that I have enough information to identify you, so be careful how you libel.
Now show us the sin and your proof.
Where do these people come from?!?!
I think the greatest of men was also labeled a fraud and demon-possessed. Nice back-handed compliment.
OTF – The problem is that we don’t have a solution. We see a myriad of problems but none of us know how to fix them.
Hey me too I like to sue people …got enough money to hire a lawyer too..
you have been running your pie hole pretty Good Pastor Mike.
I know who you are already so no sweat…do what you have to do
Soo let me see you sling accusations my way and insult me and I throw a few your way and you…
now you are going to sue me ….Wont work ask DJT… HaHa lol. What a little coward you are.
Just like a liberal…Is this your safe place Mike??? You cant even live up to your own Manifesto….
this is what you are I have met many in church just like and even some in C.C.
you see mike you are a common Creep, garden variety, but all have the same moral delusional authority as you possess.
Looks like the clown show moved over from the old Bob Coy thread.
The reason you know who I am is that I have publicly posted my identity since the day I started.
You on the other hand, speak lies about a brother hiding behind a keyboard.
Let’s talk about how this story happened before I ban you.
I was sent the police report on Coy…by Calvary Chapel pastors.
I was told the depth of Coy’s depravity by Calvary Chapel pastors…at least a dozen were interviewed before I wrote a word.
Then I spent three months doing research, tracking down leads, interviewing other people involved….before I ever wrote a word.
I do the work necessary not to accuse frivolously and without evidence.
That’s why I don’t get sued.
You lie about me without repentance and hope something sticks.
Coy made a million to go away…and you call me an exploiter?
You’re a sad and unbalanced person…it’s been fun, but not fun enough.
You’re out of here.
He’s been banned so that’s over anyway.
“How does the prophetic, faithful remnant (Watchbloggers, Rachael Denhollanders, Phoenix Preachers) grow into a movement large enough to address this?”
It has to be organic…and I don’t think it will ever happen.
We have multiple generations now who define church differently than it has been defined historically.
But the “historical church” was abusive too. The answer is not back to some golden time. It never existed. The answer is faithful service in the here and now.
But there was time when faithful service was the expected norm…more so than a hot worship band…
Michael – that was my attempt to take money motivation out of the equation for the pastor and for the church. What would it be like if churches and entrepreneur pastors weren’t motivated by money, either from a selfish or selfless standpoint? Where would their hearts be then if there weren’t lifestyles to maintain and images to uphold?
Education is an entirely different matter for a different post.
I think status and power are even greater stumbling blocks.
I was bi vocational for most of my ministry life…and it’s brutal and makes you less competent at many things instead of just one.
Man I hate the demon infestations. The manifestations are bad enough, but don’t get me started on the infestations. That’s a whole new level.
I never had the head licestations as a child, so I’m desperately attempting to keep myself pure and unstained.
The line I wrote awhile back was
It’s been real
It’s been fun
But not real fun
You can use it if you like 🙂
I obviously wasn’t committed to it
Thanks for cleaning up the riff-raff from this room!
In an odd way this lines up with Duane’s article – both are about the end of free market religion.
In my part of the world, in a lot of churches, particularly baptist churches, the idea of emptying the pews in response to a bad pastor is foreign. You turf him out. The church has been around forever, the people have been there nearly as long, the pastor has only been there five years and can be forced out.
Some churches, however, are much more tied to the pastor. A new pastor takes over and the church changes its name the next week.
Here there’s widespread understanding of how big a deal child abuse has been (not least in the dioceses with multimillion debts from payouts – they are selling church buildings). As for non-criminal abuse, it hasn’t been talked about that much yet in my circles.
We’re a bit more egalitarian than the US, more suspicious of authority, celebrity etc. A MacDonald or Driscoll would not fare so well here. But the Church overall is not doing so well here.
I so much enjoy the dialogue on this site. Sometimes contentious, but well meaning Believers having their say, which I believe is honest edification from whichever Tribe you may belong to.
You have an amazing ability to respond to Sewer Rats like John, in a “G Rated” manner. I could never respond in said manner as you do. My return rant would be somewhere between PG, and R! Thanks for all that you do.
Thanks for the kind words…but you didn’t see what I edited out… 🙂
I find the more gray hair in the pews, the more stringent the accountability in the church. At least in my town. When I left Calvary I went looking for the older generation (70’s / 80’s). It’s paid off so far. But I think my attitude has been tempered somewhat by hanging out with all y’all.
I have been thinking about this subject for a few days now. I want to address it because I’m a Southern Baptist, as embarrassing as it might be. The steps taken by the SBC will not make any difference. The convention will disfellowship them but they don’t need the denomination to be a church. The only solution is legal charges against the church if there was any kind of coverup. Hopefully it would put the church out of business which needs to be done. I have had some experience in these matters and none of it has been solved with satisfaction.
The larger solution is to start over. I’m committed to the free church tradition or otherwise I might join Michael and become an Anglican-there is actually a connection with a Baptists.
Churches are dying. Their property will sale for cheap. People who are interested in creating a biblical church ought to do so while ignoring the other churches. If biblical standards mean anything, it should be a great start. But the same cycle of rise and decline will always happen. The question can renewal happen before the great decline?
Well, I think I’ve read about a number of Roman Catholic dioceses where the civil
authorities have prosecuted priests. Don’t know why it couldn’t happen in the
SBC — unless the good ol’ boy network prevails.
We need good clergy…come on over!