The Church of Jesus Christ (all groupings including Moravians) should not register alarm or surprise at the mixed flock of birds that has swarmed around us and will continue so to do (most of the birds being john crows or dead flesh eaters but not all) because we have provided the dead flesh that such birds delight in tearing to bits.
I confess that owing to a barrage of work over the past few weeks I came to the sex scandal saga (soap opera, to be continued?) a bit late in the day and registered bewilderment at bits and pieces of the allegations levelled at my clergy Brother Rupert Clarke (yes, he is still my brother though I don’t think I know him personally) that I heard or read and responded with my usual “behold I show you a mystery” to things that baffle my mind.
Father Raulston Nembhard’s Observer column on Wednesday (January 11) spoke for me and to me and I emailed him and said as much.
Concern for the young miss in the saga should be extended to her whole family regardless of what may eventually be proven in court.
The Church in general has been far too reluctant to talk about things sexual in the settings where most of our people show up (Saturday or Sunday morning worship services). Relegating such discussions to mid-week evening/night meetings where comparatively few attend is deliberately failing to scratch where people continue to itch.
It is my long held belief and I open my CD Plain Talk on Sex with it that “if you have never felt a strong pull to sexual intercourse you are too young, too old or too lie!”
I go stronger now, whether you are a parson or not, as a Christian, if you claim that you have never struggled with a temptation to sexual immorality you are extremely rare or you need to be reminded of Rev. 21:8 “…all liars have their part in the lake of fire.”
I have suggested to congregations that with reference to our confessional prayer life before God we go beyond owning up to actual sin as S-I-N and acknowledge to God a personal proneness (leaning) to certain sins. Praying this way shows acute awareness of the weak areas in my personal life and reminds me that in these areas sin is not just merely possible or probable for all persons but likely for me personally. Thus it humanizes me.
Praying this way does another delightful thing, it sensitizes me concerning other Christians who sin or do unlawful things. So I avoid two extremes in response to such persons, the extreme of condemnation and of compromise. The recommended middle road is compassion.
Quite frankly, though hard to swallow as an idea, we all should ponder the thought that we may not have committed the sins of others not because we lack the desire for those sins or similar ones but because we simply lacked the opportunity that others had or created. What if desire and opportunity came together in my life would I not be ‘john crow food’ as others?
I was shot between my spiritual eyes years ago by a statement that I read from Christian philosopher Dallas Willard. He said, “The thought of sin is not sin and is not even temptation. Temptation is the thought plus the inclination to sin – possibly manifested by lingering over the thought or seeking it out. But sin itself is when we inwardly say ‘yes’ to temptation, when we would [want to] do the deed, even though we do not actually do it.” (Renovation of the Heart, p.33, my emphasis)
When we struggle unsuccessfully with some sexual temptations we may need, in addition to prayer/fasting, serious psychiatric help.
Struggling unsuccessfully with a proneness to sexual intercourse with minors, i.e. feeling a compulsion to have sexual intercourse with minors (paedophilia), I gather from my friends in Psychology, suggests a need for deep psychotherapy.
Some behaviours, in my weird mind though, go beyond immorality and illegality and border on insanity!
Still, we all need to heed the wise caution of Attorney Bert Samuels who chided the media (formal and social) for seeming to forget that an accused person has legal rights too until the case is disposed of in court. What we unlearned folk and even lawyers call an ‘open and shut case’ by the appearance of the allegations are at times not that at all