"Stop Abuse" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
*** Trigger Warning: abuse.
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I'm sad about Mars Hill Church
. It's always sad for me to see another church struggle, suffer, and slowly die. Even though I am a critic of religion and the church, I never rejoice to see a church close or split or see a pastor fall.
I'm a defender of the right of people to gather for religious and spiritual reasons. My only argument is that it be done in a healthy, consensual manner. Lots of people gather for religious and spiritual reasons. It takes more diligence for it to be done in a healthy, consensual manner. In my opinion, if it's not being done in a healthy, consensual manner, then it needs to be fixed or stopped.
Here's the thing: we make assumptions on what a relationship should be like. For example, the relationship between a pastor and his or her people should be a healthy and consensual one. It should be mutually supportive. Enjoyable! The same with a romantic relationship. It should be healthy and consensual. It should be mutually supportive. Enjoyable! That's the problem with this cartoon: the sheep SHOULD expect to be treated gently by the shepherd. They SHOULDN'T have to cower in fear of the imminent abuse.
Sometimes some people don't know when they're being abusive. For example, our Canadian story right now about Jian Ghomeshi
: apparently he showed "graphic evidence" of the "consensual" rough sex he was involved in to the CBC in order to exonerate himself. But after CBC saw the evidence they decided to fire him. It's like child molesters who think they were seduced by children. There is a devastating lack of understanding and respecting boundaries. If the allegations are true, he's in desperate need of help so he won't hurt more people. But before the help sticks he needs to know he needs it.
I believe Mark Driscoll needs help. I believe he lacks understanding about and respect for boundaries. He hurts people. The global community insisted he get help or stop. He refused to listen. It came to this. I really do hope he is not immediately rescued by other well-meaning pastors and leaders and reinstated into an influential position over people. I hope he gets the help he needs so he will stop hurting others. But before the help sticks he needs to know he needs it.
On the other hand I'm happy. I'm glad that the many voices inside and outside Mars Hill Church were effective in addressing and changing its toxic situation. I'm glad that the central church and satellite churches can have a fresh start and do it right in a way that serves the people well. The people spoke persistently and actually caused significant change! This encourages me to keep doing what I'm doing.
Stop the spiritual abuse!
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