If someone asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your body?’ he will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’ Zech 13 v 6

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Taking A Stand

He creeps into our world once again. It was discovered that Patrick was in fellowship with some individuals at PLU who are associated with the only other church our family has attended (we had attended this church for 12yrs.) We still have a very good friend who attends the church, Puget Sound Christian Center (PSCC.) We also have a history with the head pastor. Our friend panicked at the thought that Patrick would attend her church. She was disheartened to think her leadership would support such an individual. Upon hearing the connection she immediately called the head pastor, Lance Powers, to see if he was aware of the connection. Lance was not aware of the Bible study Patrick was attending with one of the leaders from PSCC on the PLU campus.

I will say, yesterday, when all of this was going on I walked around numb. I was afraid of the reaction Lance would have. I was bracing my heart for yet another blow. Instead, within 24hrs of Lance being called on his vacation, I received a personal phone call from pastor Lance Powers assuring me all ties between Patrick Rojas and PSCC were broken. This is such a redeeming moment. A church leader was willing to take a side. To take a stand. Pastor Lance Powers took the side of the victim.


Brian Byrd said...

A few months ago, I read an article on CNN.com entitled "Florida housing sex offenders under bridge". Because of more and more restrictive laws, some convicted sex offenders cannot find a place to live, so the state is housing some of them under a bridge, in horrible living conditions. You can read the article at http://www.cnn.com/2007/LAW/04/05/bridge.sex.offenders/

Last year there was a public outcry in Albany, the town where I live, when a halfway house was to be opened for recovering sex offenders. I think it would be safe to say that most people's attitude to this issue is "of course they need to live somewhere, but not in MY neighborhood."

For 2000 years the Christian Church has extended its arms to the outcasts and rejects of society. In Jesus' day it was the lepers who brought great fear and horror to the public. They too had no decent place to live in society. Jesus set the example for us as His followers by not running away from them in fear or rejecting them in horror, but by reaching out and touching them and transforming their lives.

Sex offenders are today's lepers: social outcasts that bring great fear. Nobody wants them around. If the Christians will not reach out to them and show them God's love, then who will? If sex offenders can't come to the Church for help, then where can they go? If there is no hope for them in Christianity, then where can they find hope?

I think it would be safe to say that most Christians' attitudes to this issue is "of course they need to be set free from their sin somewhere, but not in MY church." Unfortunately, it seems that many Christians are following the Pharisees' holier-than-thou example rather than the example that Jesus gave us.

"Pastor Powers took the side of the victim", and broke all ties between his church and Patrick, but I just can't seem to totally convince myself that that's what Jesus would have done. I definitely don't have all the answers to this difficult issue, but I think we really need to think it through deeply and carefully, lest we find ourselves on the wrong side of God's agenda.

Rather than breaking off all ties with Patrick, is there a church that has the love and courage to say to Patrick, "We know what you have done, and we want to help. Come to us, and we'll spend time with you, help you to heal, help you to turn from your sin and walk in righteousness, and to get your life back on track"?

Such is the high calling of love and commitment that Jesus has called His Body to. Will we respond to this call, or go the way of the Pharisees? May God have mercy on us.

Anonymous said...

Hooray for the pastor who said in effect, "not in my church." I have no doubt that Jesus would not welcome an unrepentant pedophile into His church. The Church has an opportunity to minister to pedophiles, yes, but not within our churches. Praise God that He revealed this connection and Praise God that this Pastor acted honorably in drawing this boundary of protection for the believers within his flock.

Danielle, Thanks so much for hammering on the fact that silence is not the solution, that the crimes need to have consequences and that this begins with the "victims" having voices ...

Corrie ten Boom said, "Jesus is Victor." And with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we are victorious as well.

It is understandable that you have bitterness and anger to deal with regarding this whole situation. You wouldn't be human if you did not. Praise God for giving you the continued strength to persevere in spite of the legal obstacles. Vengence is the Lord's. The criminals in this story will not go unpunished. I've got to believe that separation from God is the ultimate punishment. A pedophile and those persons who would harbor him in the midst of his crimes and pretend to protect his victims ... I can not believe that any of them know the One True God, Jesus Christ, or the power of the Holy Spirit. They are deceived. As you have said, they walk in darkness. I continue to pray for you and your family.

a sister in Christ

Rebecca said...

What would Jesus have done?

He said to His disciples, "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble. (Luke 17:1, 2 NASB)

But you, Brian, would rather welcome them into your church, and supply them with yet more potential victims.

You know who the real lepers are? The child abuse survivors who dare speak out and don't instantly forgive and carry on a loving relationship with their abusers...the parents who have the audacity to side with their wounded children...the ones who don't allow the abuser continued access to their minor children...the ones who don't sweep it under the rug...those are the real lepers in our church.

Look at this situation here. The leadership sided with the molester. I wish I could say that was freakishly abnormal, but it's not.

Perhaps you love the idea of predators next door stalking your children, if you have any. Perhaps you want to send your children to a church where they can sit next to someone who will spend the whole service imagining raping your child.

I cannot fathom why, in our society, there is so much more compassion for sexual predators than for their victims...who are too often basically told to shut up bad get over it already...and why can't they treat their rapist or molester with more love and compassion?