My husband and I left the US for Israel on May 21. In the span of the 10 days we’ve been here, I’ve been following a string of excruciating stories from the Evangelical world that have included the exposure of incest/abuse/coverup happening within America’s favorite Bill Gothard poster family, the Duggars; the tale of legalistic spiritual abuse of a woman who divorced her pedophile husband by the leadership of Village Church, pastored by Acts 29 head Matt Chandler (who did offer an apology this weekend for the clumsy way cases like these have been handled by the church in the past); husband and father of five, pastor Matt Mikela losing his job at his Michigan congregation after someone discovered he’d been caught trolling for sex on a gay hook-up site; and former congressman, Wheaton College grad Dennis Hastert being accused of siphoning funds to pay hush money for years to a former student with whom he had a sexual relationship.
These stories weren’t an aberration. Last week wasn’t a hiccup. Whether it is via recent Pew Research stats or the flow of blogs, books, and conferences describing the general decline in both numbers and influence of the church in society, it all adds up to a whole lot of subtraction, in part at least because the beauty of the love of Jesus has been obscured by sins of sex, power and money by too many of those at the top of org charts in local churches or denominations. [Read more]