Ah well, the tragic drama at Willow Creek continues to unfold, the rain is threatening our happiness, and something something something Russia. It must be Thursday. And that means it’s time for my Essential Guide for not ruining your whole church.
Pro Tip #1
Try not committing sexual immorality, like adultery, pederasty, pornography, that kind of thing. I know, this is totally counter intuitive, because, if you’re in some kind of powerful position it stands to reason that you should be able to do whatever you want, especially in the gratifying of the sinful desires of your flesh, but…maybe just don’t.
Instead, try thinking of people as people, even women, and not using them as things.
Pro Tip #2
Try not being a hypocrite. Again, I know this hardly makes sense, because no one can do all the things they profess to believe are important, good, and honorable, but it will be better in the long term to at least try really hard.
Instead, try humility. Imagine yourself as you are from God’s perspective—a very bad sinner who desperately needs redemption and who is not so critical to God’s divine plan to rescue the world and glorify himself that if you go sit in some miserable tiny church with sketchy music and no screens anywhere and the only job anyone will give you is sweeping the floor, you won’t die and God will still be God.
Pro Tip #3
Try including other people in your own experience of the human life. I know, crazy right? Is there anyone beside you? How would you know?
To do this, you could try, as that weirdo Paul suggested, counting others as more significant than yourself. If you did that you wouldn’t sort of be able, hopefully, to emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically manipulate other people, even women, for your own foolish pleasures. You would have to think that maybe they, as people, should be allowed to be people and not means to an end of some kind.
Well, that’s just a few tips. I was tempted to add Read the Bible, and Invest In Godly Church Hierarchy, and Have A Smaller Church, and Empower Preachers For Small Local Congregations, and Love Your Wife, and Think About How Your Actions Could Possibly Be Humiliating To You And Others, and Consider The Cross As A Way Of Life Which Precludes Sexual Immorality But I Feel Like I Already Said That.
All kidding aside, I am going to spend the day, as best I can, in prayer for the congregation of Willow Creek, for the people who have worked faithfully and invisibly and who must be so discouraged to have this continue to unfold so badly, for the family of Bill Hybels, for Bill Hybels himself, for the women he misused, for the leadership there, and for all the Christians around the world who looked to that model of church and who must be so angry and disappointed right now.
The fact is, God is God, and he is the one who organizes and preserves his church. He doesn’t need us. When we fall into sin and wickedness, he is still God. But sometimes we in the church like to fuzz over that distinction. We like to say that when we speak, God himself is speaking, when we act, God himself is acting. When we do that, and then fall, so many people are destroyed and ruined. Whereas, the church isn’t God. God is God. We worship him, and serve him, and obey him, and love him. And more than anything today, we need him to sort out our idolatries and wickedness, to bring light into our darkness and restore what we are busily ruining.
I say we because I also am a sinner. I say and do wrong things. I am not indispensable for the mission of the church. I could go away and God would still be God.
And because this is so, there is hope for us more than for the world. As #metoo spins out, and the sexually addicted and confused West tries to sort through the rubble, #churchtoo can turn to the One who has always been the Light, who has always been Life, who died already so that we who are perishing might live and be healed from all our diseases. We do not mourn and repent as those who have no hope. Rather, we cling to the one whose very name is Love.