After this week, I am officially done with Christianese culture.
I am not done with Christianity. There is a difference between Christianity and Christianese culture.
The tipping point for me? The report that Josh Duggar, of the reality show 19 Kids and Counting, confessed to the sexual abuse of five girls when he was 14. Four of them were his sisters. Given the amount of publicity surrounding this family, and the amount of public information about them, just about anyone can do the math and come close to figuring out who the sisters were that were abused.
I am reading where Josh should be forgiven, where we shouldn't bring up something that happened so long ago (he is now married with three children and one on the way). I am reading where he was a stupid kid who messed up and it shouldn't be held against him. I have read where Josh apologized (which he did in a public statement this week) and I have read where his sisters have forgiven him.
But let me see if I can detail my problems with this whole event:
1. This was not a one-time deal. This happened several times before the behavior was discovered.
2. The father waited for a YEAR before reporting it to the police.
3. Neither Josh, nor his victims--to the best of my knowledge--received ANY kind of professional, impartial counseling to help them deal with the event.
4. As another blogger pointed out, "kids who molest have often been molested themselves". Is it possible that Josh himself was a victim of molestation? (I'm speculating here. I have no proof that Josh was ever a victim.)
5. Josh was sent away for four months to do hard labor at a family friend's place. When he came back, he was given a "stern talking to" by a state trooper--another family friend--who has since been arrested and imprisoned for possession and distribution of child pornography.
6. He came back and continued to live in the same house as his victims.
7. There is a question as to whether or not TLC knew of these events, and yet went ahead anyway with the 19 Kids and Counting show.
In this blog entry, the writer examines parts of the specific Christian culture that the Duggars come from. They use homeschooling materials put out by the Advanced Training Institute, founded by Bill Gothard. Gothard is a well-known name in religious homeschooling circles. He founded the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts in the 1960's (later known as Institute in Basic Life Principles). (Click here for the Wikipedia article.) Later, he developed the curriculum for the Advanced Training Institute.
He has also been accused of inappropriate behavior with young females--and this website has done an excellent job of documenting stories of that inappropriate behavior.
What I resent about Christianese culture is its emphasis on, "If you just do what we do the way we do it, you, too can have the happy life/happy family that we have!"
I came out of a group that taught just that. If you just "did it" the way the group taught, you, too, could be spiritual and close to God. If you just had your "quiet time" daily, confessed your sins weekly to a prayer partner, attended every gathering of the body, dated only Christian men within your group, and invited everyone you knew to church, Bible study, etc., then you, too, would be "spiritual".
Well, that didn't work. In the group I left, we had plenty of examples of power struggles, shunning, and sexual misconduct. I have never been a victim of sexual abuse, thankfully; but I was the victim of spiritual abuse, as were many, many others who came out of the group I was part of.
We Christians in the US are very prone to worship at the altar of the Christian celebrity. We want the "5 steps to", "3 ways to", etc. Our faith is a mile wide and an inch deep. We bicker and fight about how many days it took for the world to be created, about what "modest" dress is, about whether or not we should have prayer in schools, whether or not the 10 Commandments should be posted on public property . . .and where has it gotten us? Where?
Last week the Pew Research center published a study where it showed that the percentage of the population that identifies as "Christian" has declined to 70%. Personally, I think that our emphasis on "majoring in minors", and our refusal to take a good, hard look at some of our unhealthy teachings on certain subjects goes a long way towards why people--especially our young people--are leaving Christianity.
Our Christianese culture is leading people to abandon Christianity.
I, for one, have had enough.
I am done.
Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.