Biscuit (and Spock)

Mikes Sumondong did a post over on his blog "Your Daily Word" entitled, "Should a Convict be Ordained? I say YES!" I left my commentary as follows:

Hi Mikes and All,

I started writing this in response to your question, Mikes, over on BlogCatalog: "Should a Convicted Sexual Abuser be ordained to be a MINISTER?"

I should think most people would prefer to answer the question: "Should no convicted sexual offenders ever be ordained to the ministry?"

Really, that ends up being the question of whether or not anyone who has ever sinned and repented should ever be ordained to the ministry.

Truly repented with stick-to-itiveness is the operative aspect, isn't it? If someone is truly showing the signs of one who now knows best in the congregation, shouldn't he or she be followed? Which Apostle never sinned? Even they deferred to each other.

There are plenty of former sexual offenders who were never convicted by the people. God knows though. How many people have been addicted to pornography for instance but have ended up swearing off porn?

After writing that and a bit more, I decided to see your whole post since it occurred to me that there is some story behind the question concerning which story I should probably learn more.

So, in your post, you are dealing with a particular case of a pedophile/pederast. Recidivism is taken for granted by so many. However, how may Christians claim we as human beings may change, as Jesus called and still calls sinners to return to the fold, if we also say that pedophiles, pederasts, homosexuals, adulterers, and also those who commit all manner of non-sexual sins, per se, cannot change. People can change and do change. As for who is and who is not given to do it, we only know in the end when everything is fixed and change is too late.

Jesus said that those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit won't be forgiven in this or the next age/life. Jesus though forgives ignorance. What is blasphemy in Jesus's mind that falls to the level of marking an individual soul unforgivable forever? I have wondered if I've ever made the mistake without realizing it. I do say that if I have, I am certainly apologetic and ask to be enlightened so as never to be so ignorant again. I don't say that disingenuously just to be feigning the right words, as if trying to fake out God. I don't want to fake out myself. I don't want to be playing mind tricks with myself. I trust you understand.

This post also brings to mind the Conservative Bible Project on Conservapedia.

They want the adulteress story you mentioned, Mikes, out of the Bible (their planned Bible). They also don't believe Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." They want that gone too.

By the way, Mikes, how do you know that the adulteress was Mary Magdalene?

I also wrote this before reading the other comments. I suspect that others will have echoed most of your position and perhaps mine.

Peace to all,

Tom Usher
Real Liberal Christian Church

Mikes' post was in response to "Should a registered sex offender be ordained?" over on "The Joyful Christian Wife" blog, by Marlo Boux.

After writing the above (so as not to be prejudiced by the comments of others), I read her post and the comments there. A thought that occurred to me as I was writing the above was why would the man want to put himself in that position. That same thought obviously occurred to others. When it occurred to me, I didn't write about it because taking that approach is aiming too low. Jesus came to raise the standard and to move us to have higher expectations. This man who sinned is aiming for Heaven.

Look, if he's going to be tempted, better to enter the kingdom missing that offending flesh (yes, his penis), then to keep it and end up in Hell. Drastic? Yes, but Jesus said it even if the Roman Catholics and others don't interpret it that way. Jesus meant it exactly as I've said here. I'm positive.

Anyway, I believe that Marlo is aiming too low for this man's soul and everyone else's. We fail, but what is the process of being perfected if we are going to believe that we cannot overcome such that as former alcoholics, we can't be surrounded by alcohol, or as former gamblers, we can't walk through casinos without succumbing? One can. Only God knows our limitations.

Marlo says that the man is being set up for failure. I say she's helping him not to fully overcome. She's helping to raise doubt about him in his own mind — not helpful. She believes she has the best of intentions. She believes the church, which ordained him, also believes it has the best of intentions.

I don't know that church. I don't know the man or his full circumstances. If the church is too lax or the man has even "subconscious" motives to get himself into a situation where he may then very wittingly offend again, then the thing to do is call them all to raise their levels of expectations above to where falling to such is not possible. God is there. We are to join him there as one soul. Marlo needs to help.

I know the man can make it if he aims so high that saying no to temptation is as with God.

Lord, please don't listen to those who say that we cannot change.

Marlo cited statistics (She has a B.A in Criminology and Sociology). "Most research on recidivism (reoffending) rates of pedophiles show that 52% REOFFEND in 25 years." Look at that the other way. 48% of people who committed pedophilia were not reconvicted even after 25 years. I look at that and consider some might have re-offended and not been "caught." Nevertheless, it does say that there are those who do not re-offend. I also though think about how much less offense of any kinds (greed, war, etc.) there would be in this world if we all had higher expectations of ourselves and each other and made that completely clear and why.

God bless everyone.

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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