Just a tinsy bit peeved over this idea that “you shouldn’t read that book, the author is flawed.” You shouldn’t follow that pastor, he is imperfect. That one over there is about to be caught up in scandal. This one is a defective unit. That one is broken. And so it goes until we are only reading and associating with politically correct, “spiritual perfection.”
That really creeps me out. A bit funny too, because tell me I shouldn’t read something and I am likely to be all over it like a boll weevil in a grainery.
The attitude is all wrong for a couple of reasons. First of all we’re putting our faith in the moral authority of people, rather than in the moral authority of God. I’ve yet to see a human being live a perfect life and never let anyone down. When we pedestal people, we promote a lie, we create a narrative that suggests there are idols in our world who will never let us down. Even someone who is allegedly “perfect,” can pass away and leave us adrift. That’s the problem with idols.
Second of all, we cut ourselves off from a wealth of resources, and in faith this is really dangerous. I happen to really enjoy some of Ravi Zacharias’ work. He is a flawed and imperfect man, but that is not why I read him, I read him because he is like a conduit from which flows some Divine wisdom. You can be a deeply flawed conduit, in fact, we all are.
Sometimes the best conduits are actually the Cracked Pots.
Taking this idea over into faith, who exactly is politically correct and worthy of our attention? Do we now cut ourselves off from the wisdom of Solomon because he had hundreds of wives and concubines? His wisdom was born of experience, of trial and error, of pushing those boundaries and learning the hard way. King David, be like David, who murdered a man and stole His wife? Well, he also wrote some beautiful poetry and wrestled with faith in a very real way. Abraham, one of the fathers if my faith, thank God for Abraham, but would you want to be married to him? I would not. Not so much.
I really can’t find a single person in the bible who is politically correct and meets this modern standard of “worthy of our idolatry.” And I think that really is the whole point, the characters in the bible are so carefully preserved in all their glorious imperfection for our own edification, so we will understand, such is the nature of man. Or such is the nature of woman, if you prefer dancing girls and a man’s head on a platter.
I wish to say this as gently as possible, but those involved in the #metoo/#churchtoo movements who seek to rid the world of sin and imperfection are really on a fool’s errand. Yes, speak the truth, yes hold people accountable, but at some point the question needs to be asked, why did you hand your power over to those people? What prevented you from exercising your own discernment? Why are you looking towards other people for your validation? What led you to take the opinions of Mr FlawednBroken as the gospel truth?
I have little or no affection for Paige Patterson for example, but long before he was a target of #churchtoo, his likeness was already being idolized in stained glass. I have to tell you, that would have been a huge red flag for me. Our faith is not supposed to be in men and for good reason. People are going to people.
When I observe culture, institutions, systems, it’s actually not the “bad guy” who leaps out at me, but the dynamics of the group relationship, the thousands of minions who propped him (or her) up, those who covered up, made excuses, overlooked issues, put so much effort into creating a stage set that enabled a deeply flawed person to walk right across the stage. That is who I often blame. Where were you when the stained glass was going up? Where were you when people were pointing to a man rather than to Christ? What lead you to turn to someones else’s biblical interpretation, rather then reading yourself and listening to the Author gently explain it to you?
Of course, I am seldom ever heard on this matter. I suppose it is far more rewarding to just perceive the world in black and white, with simple solutions like, just take down the bad guys. Some really should be taken down, I don’t wish to imply that is wrong, it is just that if you really wish to create change, than the system that creates them, that allows them to flourish must be addressed, and that means we must also address ourselves, and the things within us that made us vulnerable to either enduring or enabling exploitation.