I have recently come across a piece of paper, one of those out church uses in the house groups, as we called them back then, or Lent courses used these a lot. It is typewritten and Gestetner duplicated, apart from being electric driven our church was using Victorian technology right into the 1990s.
Things like these normally go straight into the recycling bin, but I picked it up and read it. Here’s a shortened version, typos intact:
W H Y T H E C H U R C H . ?
A Some descriptions of the people of God on the Old Testament :–
a) THE VINE …..
b) Think of words in the New Testament …..
c) Can you think of any other words that could describe the Church,
e.g. hospital, army . . . . .
Handwritten at the end in my wife’s hand is “Ostrich.”
When I’d finished laughing I realised that it is unlike my wife to say something like that, more than likely a group exercise, I have one or two culprits in mind. But it is also so true. The church has become institutionalised, and nobody wants to live in an institution.
The church is supposed to show the love of God to thee world yet far too frequently is covering up abuse of its vulnerable members. The Roman Catholic Church, the Church of England, the Methodist Church, all in England and the Southern Baptist Church in the USA have all been exposed for covering child sexual abuse and not supporting the victims.
The IICSA report into investigations into the Anglican Church in England and Wales was published earlier this month. I try to be current with my blogs but I’m a few weeks late with this one.
Only if these churches turn around and be open about its past can it stop abuse being part of its present. We need openness, no more “we don’t talk about that.” We need to see the fruit of true repentance, an apology is not enough, monetary compensation of the victims is not enough, though they are a start. “Everything will be brought to light,” says the Bible*, but churches prefer to bury their heads in the sand and not face up to historic abuse.
Like an ostrich.
*For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. Mark 4:22 ESV