Here is a man who knows where Jesus would be…

Read this story about a pastor who has made himself an outcast because he lives the Gospel that is good news for the outcasts, for the fringes of society.  He is a good illustration of the fact that it is not popular, it is in some cases illegal, and it is always subversive to follow Christ.

Matthew 9:9-12

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6 Comments

  1. I use to work in a Washington Prison with an entire wing for sex offenders, the other two wings were for psychotic murderers. (yes, a bad prison)

    My stories from those days lighten up an lull at a bar.

    The psychiatrist working there told me how there are 4 or 5 types of sex-offenders. One type being guaranteed to repeat and other types as being fixable and others as just results of dementia. Such analysis is probably important. Much like you’d want to look at Matt 9 and wonder if their are different classes of “sinners”. Or do we take the stance that “We have all sinned in the eyes of God” and just let it blur. I say more careful categories are always helpful.

    Funny, one last prison story, most sex offenders were the most intelligent, socially skillful and pleasant people in the prison. Several said to me, “I am a very dangerous man around children, I should never be let out of prison.”

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  2. Wow, thank you for pointing out this article James. I love that his book his titled, “The Modern Day Leper.” It’s true.

    A few years ago, after watching some stuff that happened to a friend in ministry, I realized that despite the church’s message of “redemption” it’s very hard for anyone to be “let back in” (especially if they were in a leadership position) once they’ve messed up in any sexual way. We hear about and read stories from leaders like Brennan Manning coming out of alcoholism, or others who are able to talk about their past divorce, drug addictions etc… You can wax poetic about prior struggles with almost everything else. but this is such an uncomfortable area to address or even acknowledge any prior existence of in a person’s life.

    This article is probably one of the first I’ve read where someone is actually taking a step toward showing the act of redemption and love rather than just stating that it exists. Very challenging. Thank you!

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  3. I heard the interview with this guy on NPR. Blew my mind.

    I have to confess…having four kids and knowing a lot of people that are totally f’d up by sexual abuse, I’m scared to death of sex criminals.

    Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.

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  4. I get the gist of this, and I understand why we need to consistently apply the belief that Jesus changes the people (all people) with which he comes into contact.

    However…(pausing)

    Many of these “modern day lepers,” to echo what Sabio has said, have gone to great lengths to prevent themselves form harming others – some even mutilating their own bodies. This is a sign of psychiatric illness (referring only to those special cases of course).

    They should be offered the fellowship of Christians, they should be given dignity and value, and I pray they are transformed by the Spirit of God.

    However…

    Not my kids, not my wife, and if that constitutes a lack of faith or “sin,” then so be it. I will bear the burden of that sin to keep my precious ones safe from people that cannot even trust themselves.

    Does that mean that I do not want to extend Christian fellowship and what it entails (sans contact with children, et al)? No. But do we invite recovering alcoholics to bars for Bible studies, because we don’t have a problem with abusing alcohol? Then, we shouldn’t be placing people who have these kinds of struggles in harms way.

    The real poignancy of this post/article is that these are the real “issues” of life that cannot be ignored. It takes a community of faith, bearing the light, living in tension with the darkness of our world to address these issues – eyes wide open.

    Peace

    Reply

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