What are we to learn – and teach – from the Duggar family? A federal jury in Arkansas has convicted former reality TV star Josh Duggar of downloading and possessing child pornography. Josh admits to repeatedly molesting, assaulting and sexually abusing his younger sisters, and another unnamed minor, as well as cheating on his wife. The parents, Josh’s wife, and others – including prominent Evangelical Christian leaders – call it all a “mistake.”
Yet these are the same people who, Bible in hand, condemn LGBTQ+ Christians as “a disgusting abomination and a threat to teens.”
How does this possibly make sense?
Oh, but it does make sense. Because the system is paramount – this conservative, male-dominated church system is paramount.
For box-christians, everything must fit neatly in a box, and that box allows for “mistakes” within that system, mistakes that don’t threaten that system. The same is true with pastors and priests caught with their pants down, who are buttoned up and moved on, with no real concern for the children involved. The overriding interest is maintenance of the male-dominated, rules-based, church system.
LGBTQ+ don’t fit that system. Non-acceptance of LGBTQ+ is NOT about God, or Jesus, or the Bible, by the way, not in the least, and don’t let anyone tell you it is. It is about the current system of power. And that power system must stand – no matter the cost.
Parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar said in the past that God had worked this situation for good. I wonder if the abused girls feel the same way?
Of course, when the girls are young and caught up in that system, they will feel whatever they are told to feel, sublimating their authentic feelings because there is no place to bring them out – but if they are able to unpack their wounds outside of that fearful system, I wonder what they would say?
I also wonder if the girls got real counseling for real healing, or if this was handled “in-house” as those invested in maintaining this conservative church system usually do.
Time and again this happens, as above with the pastors and priests. “Counseling” that quiets everything down and keeps the structure in place, that is the only kind allowed. The focus is maintaining the image of morality.
Real counseling pulls the rug out from under the system and upsets the whole patriarchal order – and that is just not allowed.
However much they may say they care about the girls and other victims, they don’t care enough to pull on the threads that would unravel the dominant system.
Do “box-christian counselors” tell LGBTQ+ people that they are wrong and must change, because they believe it’s a sin? Pshaw! No: it’s because acceptance disturbs the system. Do they really provide a safe place for the girls to really name names and disrupt structures so that the truth will out? No. It’s way too threatening.
Jim Bob and Michelle have said that all of this has “caused them to seek God like never before.” Perhaps they need to keep looking. God is not the rules-based system they live in and try to maintain.
They said, “we tried to teach him [Josh] right from wrong.” They taught right and wrong according to their system, but with no reality beyond that. Those who like to throw the Bible around might want to know that teaching right and wrong instead of teaching Jesus is eating off the tree of knowledge, which Genesis 2:17 declares forbidden.
They claim to follow Jesus but they have no idea what he taught or the way he lived. Their “Christianity” – the religious, non-affirming, behavior-focused Christianity – is immeasurably far from the truth, life and heart of Jesus.
To teach our children right and wrong in that system only sublimates them but does not do anything with the real heart (Colossians 2:20-23). It is unconditional love, it is the power of Jesus that grasps the heart.
I heard someone say, “This kind of doctrine squeezes the humanity out of people until they snap.”
Josh’s parents are obsessed with behavior, with i-dotting and t-crossing instead of loving as Christ loves, with right and wrong according to our own understanding – with doing instead of being.
People look at the outward appearance – God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
We are NOT supposed to focus on right and wrong. When we love God, then God shows us right and wrong far beyond our own stratified human systems.
When we love God and love others, the rest just works itself out in a beautiful way. Yep, it really is that simple.