Let he who is without sin cast the first stone! In the wake of recent events, this phrase has been taken up like a battle cry by those who wish to defend the sinful actions of a man who (ironically enough) has spent his entire career throwing stones. It’s odd that fundamentalists aren’t concerned with who is pelting the Catholics, the gays, or men-with-Calvinist-looking-beards with rocks. If the rule was that one can never speak out about sin until they themselves are perfect then we can only assume by their proclivity for judgmentalism that fundamentalist pastors are all perfect and rule churches full of sinless people.
Even as we watch them defend the indefensible,however, it’s hard not to feel a pang of sympathy for the people who have believed a lie and followed the Deceiver. When your pastor is the final authority on what God says to the point where he himself attains the status of a demigod then it must be a crushing blow to realize that he is nothing but an idol with his feet stuck in the mire. It is a hard thing to see your Dagon broken to shivers and to realize that you’ve been played for a fool.
All is not lost, however. Perhaps love may win a few at last and two or one will truly begin to renounce their worship of men and their trust in the arm of flesh. Maybe a few will even depart from that place and find a strange and glorious freedom for their souls. But I fear that many will still stand hurling the stones of self-righteousness, and hatred, and fear even as they search for a new idol to prop in place of the one that now lies shattered in the dust.
Christ, have mercy.
Teenager, are you in a jam? Have you been caught red handed shoplifting or listening to the rap music or indulging in some heavy petting in the school gymnasium? Will people in your church be talking about the scandal of your misdeeds for weeks on end? Is your future career as a preacher boy or pastor’s wife in jeopardy?
There is a simple solution that is 100% guaranteed to get you out of the mess you’re in and even turn it into a net gain: Get Saved Again.
That’s right, boys and girls, take a trip down and old fashioned, red-carpeted aisle to the mourners bench and confess that all these years you’ve just been “playing church” and just today when the pastor preached on how the Democrats are ruining America (as found in Judges chapter’s 6, tapes available in the back after church) you felt the conviction of the Spirit and made a choice of your own free will to get saved. Again. For the eight time. But who’s counting? This time it was real!
Now, if you’re going to commit to this, course of action the details are very important. It helps if you grab an available adult by the arm and drag them down to the altar with you to pray with you. And you’ll need to it on the second verse of the invitation hymn so that it doesn’t seem too premeditated but also doesn’t risk that the invitation might conclude before you go. Note that tears are not optional. Neither is snot. If your church doesn’t supply tissues at the front then pack your own. Finally, be careful not to run the aisle on the same night as some other troubled teen is pulling the same stunt — unless it’s someone who was actually involved in your own scandal.
It’s almost impossible to lose in this scenario. The church gets to write off your past wrongs as the indiscretions of a lost person and avoids the embarrassment of admitting that their own young people are prone to evil. They also get another soul saved for the yearly report. And you get a clean slate as long as you don’t do anything too bad for a month or two. Buying a slightly larger Bible than the one you currently carry is also a nice piece of window dressing.
There are two warnings for this particular strategy. First, you can’t do it more times per year than your church has Bible conference. Second, it really only works until you graduate from Bible college. After that, it stops being cute and it really doesn’t impress the members of the jury at all.
(I wrote this in the comments for the last post but I figured it really deserved its own post)
There is a proven four-step method to spinning any scandal that arises in fundamentalism. Observe these well and no scandal is too large, no outrage to unbearable, no offense is too great to be withstood.
1. Admit the problem in terms that make it seem trivial. Concede that “everything wasn’t perfect” or that “yes, we have a few problems.” That problem may be anything from grand larceny to a double homicide but hey nobody’s perfect, right? We all have our little mistakes. AND YOU’RE NOT PERFECT EITHER!
2. Defend the man involved. He’s a good man. He’s God’s man. He’s a great man. He’s our man. Quote his years in the ministry and the personal impact he’s had on your life as you’ve spent your whole life knowing him. (If the man in question happens to be a woman you won’t be defending her anyway so the point is moot.)
3. Claim that there is more hidden information yet to be learned that will cast this situation in a totally different light. “There are facts about this that have yet to be made know, and once they are that child porn found on our pastor’s computer will have a perfectly reasonable explanation.” Do this even if the rock solid evidence so far is completely damning. Even if this alleged information never surfaces assure everyone that you know someone who knows someone who knows there’s more to the story.
4. Circle the wagons. Invoke a defense of the faith, God, Liberty, and the American way. Make defending your man an issue of defending against liberalism, Communism, and everything evil. Insinuate that everyone who doesn’t defend him is 1)bitter 2)jealous or 3)a member of the Illuminati.
Note these steps well. These arguments happen the same way every single time.