Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I Like the Red Sox and I Like Your Hat

"If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!"  Matthew 18:6-7

I read this comment from Andy and it got me all teary-eyed.  

I hope that we who have gone through spiritual abuse in whatever capacity - whether it was by a controlling or abusive pastor or legalistic teachings -  would now have a voice to speak out and defend others when we see it taking place.  

We, probably more than others, have a keener sense of abuse and legalism.  Do you suppose we can someday regard this sensitivity a gift?  Maybe it is.  We can use our negative experience in a very positive way.  Hopefully we will strive to have our spiritual abuse creepo meters calibrated and finely tuned, ready to discern.  

We can't rid the church of all abuse, but we can have a positive response when we see it right in front of us.  Bravo, Andy!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * 

AndyAugust 20, 2012 5:13 AM
This song always reminds me of one of the most horrifying moments of my Christian life. The worship service had just started and a young mother and her son of maybe eight years of age came in and sat down in the pew in front of me. She appeared to be partially supporting his weight as they came in, almost like dragging him. Everyone is standing up singing but they are sitting down and that seemed to enrage Marvin, one of the ushers that morgining. He strutted over, reached down and very roughly snatched this little guys baseball cap off his head and snarled, "can't you even stand up to sing for the Lord!"

The little guy tensed up and buried his totally bald head into his mother's shoulder. His mother's posture immediately sunk down looking like someone that was just attacked. About that time I noticed this huge scar on the side and back of his little head. Obviously the ball cap was to obscure the effects of his illness, but instead it offended Marvin's man-made code of "southern values" about men wearing a hat inside. Many emotions shot through me in the 3-4 seconds of this occurrence but I stood up and took the ball cap from Marvin and moved up a pew putting myself between these people and Marvin. I looked over at the boy and said I like the Red Socks too and I like your hat, placing his ball cap back on his head. Then I sat there the rest of the service and did everything I could to keep from losing it and crying. The grief I felt in that moment was just overwhelming. 

When the service concluded I talked with them and attempted to apologize for what occurred and then it dawned on me, that honest is the best policy. I looked the kid in the eye and told him, don't worry about people like that, he is just an idiot. I made it out of church that day without saying a word to Marvin. I was very proud of that accomplishment until he showed up at the same Olive Garden after church and walked right by our table. Then It all came out, "Marvin that little guy had cancer and you are a pharisee and a total as-----". Strangely I felt better after that but sadly I never saw that little boy and his mother again.  . . . .  

photo credit: Sister72 via photo pin cc


  1. Andy-

    My eyes teared the first time I read this story. I think you did the right thing. In MY book it's OK to call that guy an ASS. The word is in the Bible. Just spit it out...

    JA - Thanks for bringing this 'up front' where it will get more attention.

    1. Sheep-Dog - It's hard to think about wasted years of spiritual abuse. At least knowing that we can make a difference in someone's life might help the healing/recovery process in addition to helping someone else who might get caught in the trap.

    2. I certainly hope so JA. Andy did what he could to show Christ-like love.

      I hope that little guy will remember how kind Andy was, and forget Marvin. His mother most certainly won't take him back to THAT church. I hope they found a better one on down the road. (pun)

  2. I know that this is a little off subject, but I was just wondering, how many of you guys think that it is wrong for a pastor to go online and find a sermon, and preach it to his congregation, not giving credit for where he got it. In some cases even saying, "The title of my message is... " Yet when you find the message on another website, the title is different, but the message is the same.

    1. I'd call it what it is: plagiarism. Should we call it anything less?

  3. What a touching story. And, good for you for calling the guy out! He deserved it.

    As far as the preacher stealing messages, yes, it would be considered plagiarism. If the pastor has any college level ministry education, most ministry majors, especially preaching majors, have to take homiletics. If the pastor has had training on preparing sermons and is stealing other people's sermons, then he/she has become lazy and apathetic with their job.

  4. Agreed with the observations above, re 'willfully borrowing without giving credit.' I would like to add that the preacher is also missing the opportunity to wrestle with the text, experience some sweet direction from the Holy Spirit as they prepare, draw from their own past experiences, and be a part of weaving a word tapestry during the preparation. They are missing how things 'come together' and the other insights that are seen while they work it through.

    They are missing the opportunity for preaching their prepared message at that moment in history for those gathered there. They are missing the opportunity of seeing the Ah hah moments in people's eyes and the expressions on their faces from their labor of love. They are missing the opportunity of witnessing how the worship leader and others involved in the service, work with similar and often unspoken worship songs and Scriptures, that so dove-tale with what God has sovereignly put on their heart.

    Yes, everyone gets busy, but taking short cuts when this is your job/calling is missing out on so much and is being less than authentic in the same instant. Their vision is sadly tarnished and their work ethic needs restoration.

  5. Thank you guys. I have seen this becoming quite common in the ministry these days, and sadly many have grown so cold that they do not think that it is wrong to do. I have seen plagiarism split a church, and I know of a pastor right now that has sermons posted on his church website that are almost word for word of sermons posted at sermoncentral.com. What a bunch of lazy thieves some of these "men of god" truly are.

    1. yes, if you're reiterating some good stuff you should give credit, recognition, point people to the teacher whose teachings you are drawing from, from the pool of knowledge we all are drinking from.

      our job is to point to Jesus, why don't we just preach Jesus if that's all we have. honest to goodness, anyone plagiarizing needs to step down from his position of preaching. in real churches i would assume the pastor would be released.

      was this a real church, TBOLF?

  6. Andy

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful example of love.
    For seeing the need and defending the least of these. May your tribe increase.

    And yes - Jesus also - Did NOT hold back when rebuking scribes and pharisees...
    He pretty much blasted - “The Corrupt Religious Leaders” - of His day.

    Jesus mentioned lots of “Woe People” in the Bible. - Check out Mat 23 for starters.
    All these verses start out - **But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!**

    Mt 23:13 **But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!**
    .......for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: neither go in yourselves...
    14 ...for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a **pretence make long prayer:**
    ........therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
    15 ...ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
    23 ...for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, **and have omitted**
    ........the weightier matters of the law, *judgment, mercy, and faith*...
    25 ...for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter,
    ........but within they are full of extortion and excess.
    27 ...for ye are like *whited sepulchres,* which indeed *appear beautiful* outward,
    ........but are within *full of dead men’s bones,* and of *all uncleanness.*
    29-33 ...*Ye serpents,* ye *generation of vipers,*
    ........how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

    Wow!!! *whited sepulchres,* *serpents* *vipers* *pretence make long prayer.*
    *within they are full of extortion and excess.*

    Sounds to me like “The Abusive Religious Leaders” of today. ;-)

  7. Andy, did you ever see Marvin again? ;)


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