Saturday, May 23, 2015

Josh Duggar Might Make Me Give Up on Church Forever...

I wasn’t going to write about this. I was going to comment on what others have said but I wasn’t going to write about this on my own site. Why? Because I have tried to stay away from bitterness and anger on this new page. My life has improved one thousand percent and I have adopted a refreshed view of positive thinking along with it. But this Duggar thing is eating at me and I need to vent. So here goes.
I wrote the initial part of this in response to this blog article on a very popular Christian blog. Here is the link if you want to read the original post:

Here is what I wrote over there…I’ll add some thoughts at the end.
“I'm amazed. Christian people rally around their own, when they're famous, without regard for truth. This article is so much BULL it's amazing! Let's get some things straight, shall we? First of all, the way the Duggars "dealt" with this was horrifying. You simply have to wonder what else they glossed over or "took to their elders." The timeline goes something like this; they find out Josh is diddling his sisters so they take him to the Elders of the Church, then a "Christian Program" that turns out to be nothing more than sending him off for the summer to work construction with a family friend, then when this apparently doesn't dim his urges, they have a sit-down with another family friend who was a State Trooper at the time. This is not the same as turning your kid in to the police. Why? Well because A: the Trooper did not report it or open an investigation...he gave Josh a "talking-to." and B: The Trooper...err EX Trooper is a guy named Jim Hutchens. You know where old Jim is now? Doing 56 years in prison. Guess what for...possession of Child Pornography! Yep.
To say that Josh "made some big mistakes" makes me want to throw up. You know what a teenaged mistake is? It's shoplifting a pack of baseball cards. It's raiding your old man's beer stash and getting drunk with your buddies behind the schoolyard. Those are mistakes. Diddling your sisters when you are fourteen years old is no mistake...it's a sickness.
The Duggars covered this up so well that they got themselves a TV show, book deals, speaking gigs and ol' Josh got that cushy gig with the FRC.
I'm a conservative, born-again Christian. I have a bachelor’s degree in religion from the largest conservative, evangelical university in the US. I know a few things about the Bible. Let's examine this fallacy about "casting stones" shall we?
When Jesus said "Let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone...He was saying "let any of you who haven't participated in this woman's sin go ahead and accuse her." Why would He say this? Here's why...the woman was caught in the act during the Feast of Tabernacles. It was pretty much out in the open. The man she was caught with should have been presented to Jesus for judgment as well, but he was not. Why? Well the best theologians, Dr. Elmer Towns among them, feel that it's because he was in on the scam. See, they didn't REALLY care about her adultery; they were trying to trap Jesus. If he condemned her, he could no longer call himself the "friend of Sinners." If he DIDN'T condemn her he was in violation of the Law, which he had already stated He upheld to the very last punctuation mark. No, they were ALL involved in this plot. In fact the only one who wasn’t was the woman herself. Yes she was committing adultery but she was merely a pawn. So, EVERY man there was guilty of this very sin, because every man that was accusing her had been a part of the plot. THAT is why Jesus said what He said. He was NOT making a blanket statement that nobody has the right to judge sin unless they are actually sinless. This is impossibility and He further demanded we judge each other by our fruits. He set up deacons and elders to JUDGE our behaviors. This OFTEN misquoted phrase was specific to those men because they were ALL participants in her adultery. So please dispense with using this as some sort of guideline for letting people walk scot-free with the most abhorrent behaviors. Jesus said "Judge not, or you will also be judged..." but what EVERYONE fails to quote is the REST of Jesus' statement: "For with whatever manner you judge another you yourself will be judged" Then He goes on to teach on the log in your eye. The principle is not "Don't judge" but "Don't judge people for what you are guilty of yourself" (Again, the most well known theologians agree with this.) We ARE to declare sinful behavior as sinful behavior. We ARE to demand accountability and we ARE to administer penalty at times. We are demanded to do so with clean hearts. So again I say, based on Jesus CLEAR teachings, this man is a disgrace. He is forgiven by God, but the fact that his parents covered for his horrendous CRIMINAL actions and this cover up allowed him to gain a TV show, a very influential position with the FRC, and his family to have book deals and speaking engagements for years is despicable. THEY wounded the Church, not people like me who are calling his actions, and theirs, what they really are.
Articles like this one make we Christians look terrible. And personally...I have worked hard every single day to maintain a life that bespeaks my faith. When I have failed I have been public in accepting it. I am a writer. I have wrestled with using even the tamest of words in my most recent book, because I was concerned with offending "the weaker brother" as Paul commanded. I struggle in anonymity, living my faith as I believe it should be lived. And when I see someone like Josh Duggar, covering something so heinous as this and the Christian world rushing to his side because they don't want to lose one of their superstars...I sometimes want to quit. Quit on my faith altogether. Not quit on Jesus, because He doesn't condone this. But quit on trying to live my life within the parameters of evangelicalism and the "flockstar" mentality that pervades it.
Lastly...I have a daughter. Had this happened to her I would have killed that little bastard on the spot.”

I wrote that this morning. I was disgusted at the attitude of the Evangelical world in its defense of this guy. Now let me tell you why…
I have sinned too. I’ve cursed at traffic, I’ve cursed while playing in men’s league hockey. I’ve gotten tipsy a couple of times. I was not a virgin when I got married. (I DID wait until I was 25 though, so there’s that) I’ve done things wrong…we all have. This isn’t about forgiveness; Josh Duggar is forgiven by God and apparently by his victims. (Although I have to wonder what choice they felt they had, given the control exercised in that household) This is about the way Christians pick and choose who they will attack and who they will defend.
Josh Duggar is famous. He’s famous because his mom and dad made a clown-car out of the womb and cranked out 19 kids. Okay…you want to have 19 kids, I say God bless. My dad is one of fourteen. But my grandparents were Catholic immigrants from Italy and nobody made them famous for their fertility.
But the Duggars have made a cottage industry out of it and millions of earnest Christians fell for it because the Duggars are Born Again Christians. Again…God bless.
If someone buys your product, be it a car, a cell phone, or your books and speeches and TV shows, that’s on them. I knew this plumber one time who used to say “There’s a butt for every seat,” and he was right.
Here’s where I have a problem with all of this.
The defense.
They claim Josh’s diddling his sisters was just one big mistake. An error in judgment. Teen-aged hi-jinks.
The Duggars covered it up in the exact same way the Hyles-Anderson Colleges of the world covered it up. I wasn’t there and I’m not privy, but I wonder if the old “Blame the victim” crept in anywhere. The Duggars covered this up, and nobody knew, and they profited from their image for years. They’ve made millions. He got a sweet job at Family Research Council. They have a TV show (since cancelled).
How does this affect me? Why does this trouble my waters?
First because I am a dad. I have a 17 year old daughter. Had this happened to my daughter I would have killed Josh Duggar, and called my cousins to dispose of the body. Right now, at this moment, I can’t really tell if I’m kidding or not. I hope I’d let the cops handle it…but they were never called.
Second, because I am a Christian. I am a conservative, born again believer. I love the heritage of my Faith. Therefore I HATE when I see the wondrous grace and forgiveness of Jesus so abused by someone, simply because the person they are defending is famous.
If Josh Duggar was a nobody…like me…these voices would be screaming for life in prison and waiting to hear how he’d be getting raped every night. But he’s Josh Duggar and the Evangelical world has invested a lot in him, and his family, and now they have to rally and regroup. They are giving him the chance to go away quietly. ‘Cause Gosh-darn it they like Josh. They love those Duggars, all 227 of them. They backed the wrong horse…again, and they need to salvage their investment.
So why does this eat at me? Here’s why…
I’ve struggled. I’ve wrestled with my faith and found it sturdy enough to handle the questions I asked. I’ve done my best to live this faith as well as I could, mistakes and all. Thank God I’ve never wrestled with something as sick as this. On that front I feel for the guy. The voices and images that surely haunt him must be terrible. I haven’t done that. I am thankful for that because I am made of the same sinful material he is.
But beyond that I have tried…I say tried…to live with integrity. I have thought about my actions. I have gone the extra mile for customers when I was in the mortgage business or the carpentry business and now in an IT position. I give my all. I try to see myself from the outside looking in, and I try to do everything with a filter of “How would this make the Church look?” I don’t do a perfect job of that, but I think I do pretty well and when I fail…I own it! I don’t cover it up or call it a childhood mistake. I own it.
I am a writer. I have written some faith-based books and some not. My most recent book is a fictional novel and when I was writing it I wrestled with whether to use the word “shit.” Yeah. That’s the worst word in the book. It’s a story about a guy who grew up blue-collar in south Philly and winds up wealthy and retired at 45 in the South. He is a Christian and doesn’t use those words but his friends do. I literally wrestled for weeks about using something that innocuous. I worried about what my pastor friends would think. What my employer would think. Would people not buy my wonderful Christmas book now that I said the “S” word in this book? I was that concerned about how this would make Believers look.
You know what? It’s a great story and critics love it and everyone who reads it says it’s a classic and it should be a movie…and I can’t give the darned thing away. I have sold fourteen copies. I self-published the book (although you’d never know that) and I have zero budget for publicity.
Zero.
I’m not famous. I don’t have 19 kids and a TV show because of them and a book deal and name recognition. I have me. I have twitter and Facebook and this blog. I have word of mouth. But I work a full time job and I don’t really have the time to work the few outlets I do have access to. Because I have ONE child and I’m doing my best to finish the job and get her to college this fall. I am a single dad. I was homeless for almost 5 years and nobody made a reality show about that. I couldn’t use it to sell books or get speaking gigs. I simply endured it in relative anonymity until I finally got a job and started the long rebuilding process. I graduated from college while homeless…a few people noticed. My alma mater did a really nice story about me that year. I got an interview on a local radio station back in Nashville. But TLC never did come calling. Tony Perkins didn’t offer me a job at FRC. I was asked to speak at two churches and the Brentwood TN morning Rotary.
I’m fine with that, really. I don’t want to be famous from homelessness. I don’t really need fame at all, I just want to sell some books. I would like the opportunity to tell my story because I think people can always use some inspiration. And I do think my tale is inspiring.
But I’m perfectly fine with just working every day and doing my job and raising my daughter and living my life.
…until I see a Josh Duggar and his family getting rich and famous while hiding this horrible secret. This secret flies in the face of everything they sold you about themselves and their faith. I hate that part of it.
I’m nobody. I get that. But People like Josh Duggar and his family should not be somebodies simply for doing something like having 19 kids. Nobody checked them out. Of course, because it was so covered up, there was nothing to check. But still…the way people have rallied behind this family hurts me. It really does. Because the one and only reason they are doing it is the fame the Duggars have. If it had been me, or the average nobody, the Christian world would have torn us asunder.
That is the sad truth I have to reconcile today. That is the truth about “Flockstars” and Christian fame and the blinders Christians wear sometimes. I have to accept this, yet again, and move on.
Then I have to go work a side job and then I have to try to sell some books.
By the way…if you want one, click here: Buy my book here...PLEASE



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