abuse policy

Another older cartoon. A very popular one. So I thought I’d post it again today because it is very relevant.

I’ve been thinking: would we say about a man who beats his wife and sexually abuses his girls: “But he does such good work in the community!”? No we wouldn’t. We would see his actions as hypocritical and duplicitous. We would even suspect that he was using his good public service record as a coverup for his abuse at home.

So why do we excuse the church in this way? So many people say to me, in response to my blog, “Sure, even though it has done some terrible things and even though there are terrible things going on behind its doors right now, the church is doing some good in the world!

I love the church. I believe it has the right to exist and should exist. But let’s work to do it right please.

Get my book of cartoons. For just $9, order Nakedpastor101: Cartoons by David Hayward“, from amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.de. Great for laughs and serious discussion!

"Nice vid David - hilarious! We'll miss you and wish you all the best! (and ..."

nakedpastor’s goodbye video to patheos
"Good idea! I look forward to exciting developments at your own site. I like Patheos, ..."

nakedpastor’s goodbye video to patheos

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Jane

    HA HA HA!!!!

  • so funny. and i agree. I have hope for a church that does it right.

  • This reminds me of something I need to dig out of my file cabinet. There was an article in the Marine Corps Gazette very similar to this, so its not just a problem in the church. The article was saying something to the effect of “Have you ever heard this?”:

    “Sure, he beats his wife, but he’s a good Marine.”
    “Sure, he drinks too much, but he’s a good Marine.”

    The author went on to point out how absurd those statements are, and that its not appearance that is important, but substance. Just because someone always has a haircut, starched uniform, and spit-shined boots does not mean they are a good Marine. A good Marine embodies the values of the Marine Corps.

    It is the same in your cartoon. The values of the church/Christianity are not external, they are internal. We have to internalize the teachings of Jesus until they are first nature. I Cor. 13 teaches us that real love is not abusive and is not selfish. All the stained glass and [fill in the blank here] does not make a good church. A good church is one that has Jesus inside.

  • The church is a place where you can (should) hear what a sinner you are.

    And also, just how much God, in Christ Jesus, loves sinners. So much so that He died for them. The church is a place where you don’t have to pretend you are NOT a sinner (at least it ought to be). It’s a place where beggars can receive the Bread of Heaven. For free. It’s not nirvana. That doesn’t exist on earth.

    It’s not nirvana. That doesn’t exist on earth.

    (that was just in case there are any utopian types lurking here who have a twisted notion of what church ought be)

    It if still isn’t good enough for you, you might want to give the Mosque a try.

  • bring it.

  • Darrow Woods

    David, your cartoons often remind me that there are many different church “cultures”, and many different lived experiences of church. While the denomination I serve is far from perfect, I have to say that my own lived experience of church has for the most part, been far more positive, uplifting, and healing, than the picture of church as institution that comes through in your cartoons. I would go as far to say that the church communities I have known have been, mostly, at least a little better than life in the non-church world.

  • David’s cartoons are not the only ones reflecting this. Do a Google search of “Theophilus.” This guy kept a running cartoon commentary of the abuses of the church he once went to. Needless to say, he left that whole movement.

    The church culture is a very broad spectrum. I’ve been to and worked at some phenomenal churches full of people who love Jesus and each other. I’ve been to others, unfortunately, that are isolationists, hostile to outsiders, and brutal to insiders. Where I think David is doing a great service is in airing the “bad.” We cannot sweep it under the rug. Such things DO exist. The church is not about always putting on a happy smiling face. It is ultimately about being real, because Jesus is the ultimate reality. I haven’t given up on the church. But I refuse to allow it slack to allow abuses of power or from people.

  • Yes, I think too many folks have been involved with churches that are not, and probably were never what a church is supposed to be in the first place.

    They are not supposed to be places of self-affirmation. They are not supposed to be places that whip you into some sort of spiritual shape.

    They are supposed to be places where the heartbroken can go to hear the truth about themselves (that they DO NOT measure up to God’s standards), but that God knows this about them and has decided to love and forgive them anyway.

    Church ought be a place that reveals the fact that we are ‘being had’ in this world (unto death), and the only antidote is the forgiveness of sins in Christ Jesus. Not that all will be rosey in this life…it won’t be. But that He will raise you from the grave and bring you home with Himself. And there, ALL will be rosey!

    This Word from God is the glue that holds sinners of all sorts of dispositions together in a church.

  • what I appreciate about David’s cartoons, is that he’ll go on for awhile exposing the flaws in some of our churches, right up to the point where I almost don’t want to hear any more and then *KABOOM* he hits us with the love and grace of God.

  • oooo thanks Bill. i hoped someone would notice.

  • Do it more and it will be more noticable.

  • Jeannie

    HA HA HA
    So familiar! @Steve, I feel impulsive in my replaying to you, because it is probably pointless. But, it has always seemed funny to me that whenever someone points out a problem in the church somebody else will always say, yeah, but that’s not the “real” church. Really? How do you know? Most of us live in cities filled with the fake kind then.

    I am not a sinner. I make mistakes. I am learning. I am maturing. I am not and have never been evil. I need instruction to master new skills and forgiveness for my mistakes that actually hurts someone, in the same way I work with my little girls. Christians do not need to hear about their sin from preachers or anybody else. If we really want to reach people, I say we learn to shut up and listen.

  • james

    plenty of spiritual abuse goes on as well…. that would be acceptable in most church abuse policies.

    For those who don’t like what david is exposing -perhaps you should see him as a prophet.

  • Jeannie,

    I don’t mind critiqing the church. Not at all. I do it myself. But the church was instituted by Christ and is one of God’s tolls for keeping the faithful in faith, and for spreading the gospel message.

    If you are not a sinner…then you have no use for Christ Jesus. He said it himself when he said that, “I have come for the sick. The healthy do not need a physician.”

  • I actually glory in the fact that I am a sinner (although I don’t glory in my sin)…because that means that I qualify for the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ, the Savior of sinners.

  • james

    Jeannie – you are speaking my sort of language and I totally agree with what you said.

    Steve – I think I’m beginning to realise by now that you belong to the perfect church, which preaches the absolute truth. You are in total touch with God and know exactly what is on his mind and what the church is. I’m glad that you know you are a sinner and am really pleased that your sins are forgiven.

    From my point of view Steve – you have completly missed the point of the message of Christ? You have successfully followed a reductionist understanding of christ that ceases to give new life and only furthers to support your point of view.

    I don’t and could never follow the Christ you talk about…

  • No sweat, james…follow any kind of god you want to follow.

    I will stick to the God of the Bible. The One who loves and died for real sinners.

    My goal was not to convert you, anyway. My goal here is stand up for the truth of the gospel. What happens after that is not my business.

    And, no church is perfect. Only the Word is perfect (FYI).

  • Oh boy, we’re really into it now, aren’t we?!

    It sounds to me like Steve follows a Christ who is willing to love, forgive and accept me even though he knows I’m just as much to blame for the mess we’re in (as a race AND a church) as anybody else.
    I’m trying to find something in there that doesn’t sound like good news…
    I can’t find anything!
    The Bible reveals, I think, a tention where the church is made up of people who are called both saints and sinners. Maybe we’re just arguing about which side of the same coin is shinier.

    James, can you summarize for me what it is you think Jesus’ message is?

  • Sadly true in a lot of cases. Though there are some that defy the odds. Gives me some hope!

  • Jeannie

    You know, I used to know everything too, until my world was blown apart. I was forced on this journey. I don’t wish it on everyone. If Jesus came to heal the sick then I certainly qualify.

  • “If Jesus came to heal the sick then I certainly qualify.”

    You sure do, Jeannie. It is exactly for people like you, and me, that He came into this world.

  • james

    He spoke also this parable to certain people, who were convinced they were right and all others were wrong
    “Two men went up onto a blog for a discussion…

    One was a Follower of the true God (according to him!) , and the other was a follower of other gods. (according to him)
    The Follower of the true God, stood and prayed to himself like this:
    Thank you God, that I stick to knowing the God in my bible and that I stand up for the truth of the gospel and that after that, I don’t care – it’s none of my business. Thank you god that I am not like those other’s, I am the biggest sinner there is and I am proud of it. I am so pleased that I’m not like those who follow any kind of gods, not the true God that I follow. I tell people every week what they need to do to be saved and you know I am right.

    But the follower of other gods, said, god, I struggle to believe in you most of the time. I struggle to believe in me and have no idea where you are or what you are up to. I fail, I am am weak, I am lost and I have phucked up. But I am seeking to live life to the full, being in touch with your creation, my body and feelings.

  • james

    Bill – in answer to your question…

    to be it sounds like Steve follows the forgiveness machine ,worships the word/s and loves dogma.

    Whereas the jesus I see is flesh and encounters us in flesh, is intersted in people and met people where they were at. There was no ABC of the gospel..no sinners prayer.

    I also think that Steve worships the Jesus from 2000 years ago – I don’t – I seek to find the jesus in myself, others and see what s/he is doing. Christ lives in us, lives though us – see Mt 25.

    The Jesus I am challenged by is the Jesus who was sensual, tender, vulnerable and loving. He was emotional, angry and doubted and and in touch with his whole being. He was interested in people not dogma.

    What I would love to hear from steve would be less words and I would like to see more flesh – who is he? what makes him tick? What are his real struggles? His vulnerbailites?
    This blog creates a safe place for people to share who they are…. and therfore where some can be healed,heard, transformed, loved, belong and real. Therfore it is a place where the love/ forgiveness of Jesus is.

  • Christine

    Wow, james. Thanks.

    I guess the problem I’ve had with the dogma (and not the only one), is the question: “ok, what now?”.

    Because that works great if you are messed up without hope and have never heard of grace, mercy or forgiveness.

    But there’s more. And dogma means that we are so zero-ed in on one thing, we miss everything else.

    We could all accept that dogma, and then go around with everything being the same as it was before. No real manifestation, no change, even no visible sign that we have faith, love, compassion or anything else. In other words, faith – but dead faith.

    I can’t imagine Jesus, who preached as much through actions as words, actually wanting us to behave that way.

    But it’s telling that the first comment from, you, Steve, when David suggests not even cracking down on, but simply not being apethetic to abuse of people in churches, is that there is no utopia, so just accept it and don’t bother trying to change anything.

    Bceuase that’s what Jesus would do – tell you there was no hope, so just give up and let people suffer…

  • james

    Yes Christine – dogma narrows down possibility, it reduces, it limits, it contains, is dormant, dead, hard and is based on fear. Whereas flesh and body is messy, expansive, living, viberant, sensual, moving, uncontrollable, fun, loving, tender and soft.

    I think Dogma is particularly suited to men and male cenetred theology. Logical, rational, hard, control centered, word based… men are typically afraid of bodies, of sensuality, of vuleberability – however, jesus and other authentic men have tried to embrace these elements.

    didn’t Jesus say something like… those that say they can see are blind and that the blind- see…

  • I’ve experienced father God faith & witnessed his presence without the presence of my own father & allowed a toppling of my faith to understand what compassion is for I act in commitment for years bored to death. So I guess & surprised this James explores that like now I am forced, the scorned for chasing not the brag Baptist, Nazarene, or Catholic…all I know is Jesus must not have had true confidence & wanted to test his true father. How could he have such power, compassion, commitment without experiencing the anger, sorrows & overcoming fears like us. I think if Jesus had to live like us, he needed to fail & raise up again like us. How could he have healed without feeling pain, seeing it, surviving it & choose not to let it have its full grip on himself without activating who he really was & meant to be? Who are you meant to be, & what spirit gives you rights to theorizing grace & decipher as a judge? What & who are you trying to be or prove? Why must it be so important a pinacled contest?