Pedophiles in the Church

I have recently discovered and been reading two blogs by the same family who have been dealing with a terrible tragedy.

They discovered after decades that a beloved Preacher Husband/Father was a practicing pedophile all along.

They share lots of good information about detecting pedophiles, boundaries that need to be set up, and how the church can/should respond, especially about protecting our children.

Here is a quote from Jimmy Hinton’s blog

“Repentance needs to be proved. A repentant pedophile will perform deeds by demanding that he not be near children again. A repentant pedophile doesn’t ask for pictures (no matter how innocent they seem) of any children. A repentant pedophile will renounce any internet use for the rest of his life, since pornography and fantasy drive them to their core. A repentant pedophile will not happily accept a role as minister where people now look to him as a spiritual leader of old and, yes even very young, people. A repentant pedophile will make sure that his presence is not traumatizing to survivors of child sex abuse in the congregation. And if it is, he will gladly find another church and not put up a fight. A repentant pedophile will not ask church members if he can babysit their kids. Please beware of these things and let’s work together to make our churches safe.”

Clara Hinton was the wife of a pedophile for 40 years and only looking back, do all the red-flags appear obvious.  She is courageously telling her story in attempts to help and save others.  It’s difficult to read.  It will make you cry and make you sick.  But the family is on a crusade (in a good sense) to educate people and especially churches about the dangers that exist. They will sound alarmist to some, especially because of all that they have been through, but if you love your children, you should listen.  If you are a preacher, elder, or youth minister, you should listen.

Finding a Healing Place by Clara Hinton

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Breathing Under Water, Chapter 6, by Richard Rohr

“Were entirely ready to have God remove all of these defects of character.”  Step 6 of the Twelve Steps

This chapter is a brief but helpful reminder about the tension between what God does and what we do:

But which should come first, grace or responsibility? The answer is both come first.

Almost all spirituality has a paradoxical character to it, which is why the totally rational or dualistic mind invariably misses the point, and just calls things it does not understand wrong, heresy, or stupid. G.K. Chesterton said that paradox is simply truth standing on its head to get our attention!

Christians must ever thank Martin Luther for his courage and persistence in recovering Paul and the Gospel for the Western “can-do” world.

Faith itself became a “good work” that I could perform, and the ego was back in charge.

It seems we must both surrender and take responsibility.

By personal temperament you will start on one side or the other, but finally you must build the bridge between the two–and let it built built for you–both at the same tiime

We must pray as if it all depends on us, and work as if it all depends on God. (reverse of what you usually hear)

Breathing Under Water (Rohr), ch. 5

“Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”  Step 5 from Alcoholics Anonymous

…a dualistic system of reward and punishment, good guys and bad guys, and makes perfect sense to the ego.  I call it the normal economy of merit or “meritocracy,” and it is the best that prisons, courtrooms, wars, lawyers, and even most of the church, which should know better, can do.

The revelation from the cross and the Twelve Steps, however, believes that  sin and failure are, in fact, the setting and opportunity for the transformation and enlightenment of the offender–and that the future will take care of itself. It is a mystery that makes sense to the soul and is entirely an “economy of grace,” which makes sense only to those who have experienced it.

You cannot heal what you do not acknowledge, and what you do not consciously acknowledge will remain in control of you from within, festering and destroying you and those around you.

He states that when one person confesses sin to another…”it is no longer an exercise to achieve moral purity, or regain God’s love, but in fact a direct encounter with God’s love.  It is not about punishing one side but liberating both sides.  If you are still inside the economy of merit, which is a quid pro quo universe, you will undoubtedly not like this, which is why it has taken us so long to get here.

He goes in a discussion of Ezekiel, God’s faithfulness to covenant in spite of Israel’s failure.  I just recommend reading Ezekiel (BPN).

Have you ever experienced the embarrassed red-faced look of shame and self-recognition on the face of anyone who has been loved gratuitously after they have clearly done wrong? This is the way God seduces us all into the economy of grace–by loving us in spite of ourselves in the very places where we cannot or will not or dare not love ourselves.

Only love effects true inner transformation, not duress, guilt, shunning, or social pressure.

Love is not love unless it is totally free.  Grace is not grace unless it is totally free.  You would think Christian people would know that by now, but it is still a secret of the soul.

Grace is always punishment for us.

He compares the two systems (grace and merit) by comparing two sequential processes, also referring to Ezekiel:

The usual and expected ego pattern is this:  sin →punishment→repentance→transformation

but proposes the Biblical truth is actually:    sin→unconditional love→transformation→repentance

I know have haven’t been blogging much, or interacting much in recent months on my blog, but I would appreciate some feedback and thoughts about what Rohr discusses in this chapter.  It seems foundational and paradigm-changing all at once.

Have you experienced the “grace economy”?  Why, when, or what happened?

Do you cling to the merit economy?  I can understand that, but it worries me.

Colonists vs Native Americans, Rd 3

“One agricultural disadvantage of tobacco is that it rapidly depletes the soil.  Rather than organically restoring the soil, most Virginia planters simply abandoned the land once it was spent.”

“Before long, there wasn’t enough land for both the white settlers and the Indians. This forced the Powhatan Indians to move their settlements…”

“Finally the Powhatans had no place left to move.  These Indians had been willing to coexist with a few hundred white settlers. But once settlers kept coming by the thousands, the Powhatans realized that they were going to be shoved out of existence if they didn’t do something.”

“So these Indians finally decided to fight back to avoid annihilation.  In 1622, a new Powhatan chief led a well-coordinated series of surprise attacks on several English settlements….they killed 347 colonists…”

“After agreeing on a truce with the Indians, the English colonists proposed a toast to seal the peace agreement.  They knew the Indians had a strong thirst for white man’s liquor.  But on this occasion they lace the liquor with poison.  After drinking the poisoned liquor 200 Indians fell dead.  The settlers then slaughtered 50 more of them.

Not content to stop there, the Virgina settlers started an organized campaign against the Powhatans.”

The European settlers consistently pushed their way into Indian territory, forcing them to move, and then considered it self-defense to kill them when the Indians got fed up.  Our history books talk about how violent and war-like the Natives were, but that wasn’t always the case and definitely not the whole story.

Also, remember which of these groups claimed to be “Christian.”