HIGHEST EXPECTATIONS TO KEEP FORMER PEDOPHILES FROM BACKSLIDING


Biscuit (and Spock)
Temptation

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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    • hi Tom,

      I don't know what to say anymore. I mean the last thing I want to see when I posted that post was to cause division and disagreement between Christian bloggers like us.

      True it hurts me seeing Marlo and Greg saying things about me and my other readers "quarreling" at each other. I didn't want this. I only wanted God's grace to be shown instead of us branding anybody whatever his past is and whoever he is. However it's already here and I must take my stand and I stick to what I have posted. God can forgive. God can change lives. God is a God of second chances. We shouldn't be obsessed with realistic ideas, common sense and statistics that we forget the Power of GOD, that we forget the power of Faith! I'm just blessed that somewhat we are on the same point.

      About Mary Magdalene: with you asking I'm now confused. I realize there was no verse to prove it. and it was just something I know. *sigh* Thanks though! Once again, I respect you, your blogs as always!

      • Hi Mikes,

        You took the right stand. We need division to save the world. Jesus meant to clarify by division. You didn't want division on a different level though. I understand that. I'm with you on it. We will sort out the falsehood and then conflate. It's good.

        I friended Marlo on Facebook, which she accepted. Then she read this post of mine and became "pissed" (her word).

        She posted about it on Facebook. I replied. Many others then came to voice that they side with her. I replied again just now with the following (lone voice):

        A preacher killed many people including children and while ordained. He then repented and said he'll never do it again. Could he kill again or not? What do you do? How do you protect the children and everyone else?

        How many people disagreeing with you does it take before you feel overwhelmed with angry emotion? [Marlo's previous comments makes this paragraph fit.] I saw the commentary online. Was it enough? Apparently my post was the last straw, at least for awhile.

        If a pedophile or former pedophile doesn't want to be in the situation where he will feel tempted, that doesn't mean that the other man in question is unfit. He may be unfit. I didn't say he is fit (unless he has sufficient faith). I am saying that if the world expects him to fail (that the odds, based upon a very low norm, say he will), it won't aid him not to. You're not seeing it.

        "Jesus, please heal me of my pedophilia." "Do you believe God can heal you?" "Yes." "Then, go and be healed. Sin no more." What does Satan say? He says, "Don't trust it." Is that the self-fulfilling prophecy for those (individually and/or collectively) who don't trust enough?

        I live in this world even though on the Christian level I do not believe I am of it. I pray the Lord's Prayer to not be led into temptation. Is my faith great enough to move mountains? Is it great enough to overcome the doubts of everyone else combined?

        How high am I aiming? That's what I'm talking about. On what level are we conversing here?

        How do we rid the world of pedophilia? Kill them all? What? Better that a millstone were tied around your neck and you were thrown in the sea than what you will experience in the afterlife for having offended a little one who believes in me. What did Jesus do about the actual pedophiles right then and there when he walked the Earth? What is it to be Christlike toward others?

        He gave us his program for progressive discipline in the Church. If the person in question can't live up to it, he is not to be in the body. He is a heathen and out.

        Then what? If he's starving, do you feed him? According to Jesus you do.

        So, according to you all, no one who has ever sinned sexually toward a minor whether caught or not is capable of rising to become a proper leader. Well, I can't accept that as some cut-and-dried, hard and fast, rule.

        Again, I don't know the church in question or the man. I just won't accept the blanket rule that if held to forever, would forever preclude complete redemption.

        Can't do it, and I hate pedophilia.

        Peace

        I believe that this is good. I don't believe it is bad for Marlo. She does mean well. It's fine-tuning.

        Mikes, right now, you and I are saying that ideas retard God within and then God is not magnified and his power is not given into the world to heal it. Does that sound right to you?

        Peace to you, Mikes, and to all.

    • Because I don't agree with your point of view it means I need some spiritual fine tuning?

      My oh my, that sounds condescending, Tom. Between my bravery of accepting your request, my female 'overwhelm' at opposing view points, I am sensing a real them of condescension here.

      Holy anger at what I feel is a blatant disregard of children's safety does not mean I need fine tuning. We all need fine-tuning, in various things, but don't think you have my spiritual walk figured out.

      BTW, as I mentioned, you and Mike, LLevon and a few others who disagreed on his blog are actually IN the minority. Most of this stemmed from Mike's blog post.

      All of the emails, phone-ins, across three separate broadcasts (2 Canada-wide) on this topic agreed with what we were saying. So if there are about 8 or so who have disagreed and vocalized here online, there are DOZENS and DOZENS who share our view point. So if you are trying to argue that I am overwhelmed by all the opposition, 8-10 isn't a lot and it certainly isn't overwhelming.

      So it's all good as far as I'm concerned.

      What I don't like is people trying to compare me to SATAN, like some of Mike's followers did. Ironic, in that I am advocating for children's safety.

      With all this said, DO enjoy some of the topics you post about on your feed through FB. So I will continue to read those when a topic piques my interest.

      Cheers

      • Well Marlo (with a capital M in my house),

        First, at my discretion, I changed your name identifying your comment to initial caps, as requested of all commentators: "separate words in Title Case or Initial Caps". Did you miss that, or were you testing?

        Because I don't agree with your point of view it means I need some spiritual fine tuning?

        It's the view you have about my position with the exception that you don't think I need fine-tuning but am far a field from the Holy Spirit's voice on the subject. I'll speak more to that below.

        Marlo, the condescension you are hearing is in your head and is not from my feelings, thoughts, or written words as intended. You are assigning to me what does not apply.

        Wherein did I refer to "female" in terms of being overwhelmed and angry? I did not. You are injecting something that has nothing to do with why I wrote what I wrote.

        You've used a number of sweeping words throughout the back and forth, "blatant" here being one example. I won't list the others. My position is far from a "blatant disregard of children's safety." I have stated now repeatedly that I don't know the church or man in question enough to agree with you that under no circumstances am I to believe that he has overcome very certain sex confusion now and forever enough to trust him around children. That is the thrust of your argument. If you don't like that or can't grasp it but simply want a heated discussion rather than probing the deepest theological feelings, that's up to you. I don't have to engage you on that level though.

        I see that you take my statements as if I've written them with you in mind first and foremost. They may apply to you, but you are not always taking them correctly. When I said the discussion with Mikes and others, including you, is fine-tuning, I was speaking of the whole process.

        The fact of the matter is that in speaking first and foremost about your position, you are "far a field from the Holy Spirit's voice on the subject" vis-a-vis my position, obviously. You don't need fine-tuning from my perspective. If I move in on it, then the closer I get, the greater the distance between your position and my reading of Jesus Christ.

        Saying that does not state that I am blind to the safety of children. Are you sure your radar would pick up on a pedophile within range of the children before mine? Are you sure it would be more of a challenge for you to contain your urges to wrath concerning violations (even hints that others don't see) than it would be for me?

        No, I don't know you inside and out. It's mutual, isn't it? I am getting to know you. I don't hate everything I've heard. I hear where you are coming from, to use the language of the street.

        I know you believe you are taking the most righteous position of which you can conceive. What I don't get back from you is the sense that you've slowed down long enough to even look to see whether you've missed any of the import of my words to you. If that sounds condescending, then I can't understand how you can read the Bible without taking every admonition from the authors as some negative connotation of condescension. Who can say anything to anyone about how things ought to be and how far anyone is from it without that act being cast in a negative light?

        I hear some people's thoughts even now saying, who the Hell does he think he is, an Apostle. That can be turned around on anyone, including you, not that you necessarily thought that though about me; but my point still applies here regardless. I do have a right and even duty to speak from the heart, and I do.

        ...don't think you have my spiritual walk figured out.

        I don't know where this sort of quick retort comes from. What did I say that precipitated it? Are you lumping me in with former or other present "adversaries"? This discussion is adversarial although it doesn't have to come to soul-killing blows. It's meant on my part to be enlightening for all, including myself.

        As for your point about who's in the minority, it's only relevant concerning your "point" about whether or not you were feeling overwhelmed. That appears to be a huge issue with you, as you've mentioned it very many times (not on this post but throughout the back and forth on Facebook).

        When I used the term, I used it in reference to your being "pissed," as you said about yourself. From the post on Mikes' site and yours and from having read a prior posts of his and yours on Carrie Prejean, I could see the difference in your tone and could see that you were heated on this issue. You've made clear here that you feel "Holy anger." Wrathful feelings are overwhelming. You are reading in more to the term than I intended by its use. I was not referring to some head count for or against. You didn't know that. Now you do. I thought I had been clear enough elsewhere about it.

        By the way, since you've cited repeatedly now (elsewhere and now here) the numbers of supporters you have, bear in mind that even "scientifically" it should be obvious to you that you have been primarily preaching to your choir and democracy is far from a guarantee of identifying God's position.

        If you didn't intend to build up your position here and to run mine down by citing those stats so much, fine. If you only used them as concerns how you mistook my use of the term "overwhelm," fine.

        I raise it since there are others who might be misled if this "choir" aspect doesn't occur to them. Even if a worldwide poll came in hugely against what I'm saying, it would still be no guarantee of identifying God's position. Afterall, "few there be that find it."

        So it's all good as far as I'm concerned.

        I have no idea what that means to you.

        What I don't like is people trying to compare me to SATAN, like some of Mike's followers did. Ironic, in that I am advocating for children's safety.

        The concept of who is and who is not being Satan and when is not something that can be handled with a meat axe being wildly swung around by anyone, including you.

        If you hold someone down who is rising and can otherwise continue rising, you have engaged in what Satan does by definition. Don't you concern yourself with the possibility that you could be getting something wrong concerning one soul? Don't you think about every last word and deed of Jesus in terms of evaluating your words and deeds? Perhaps you believe that you do. I try to and know I'm still learning, still having what was once too fine to see becoming magnified and thereafter easier to see and to follow.

        Now, are you insulted? Am I offensive? Are we combative? Whose walk will end before God, accepted?

        I said I will not preclude the man in question from getting there where God says the children are safe in his hands. I do not know enough about him and neither do you.

        At the same time, I will not do things that run contrary to what the Holy Spirit says to me at any given time concerning pedophiles. They exist. They are sick. They require healing, but I can't beat it in to them. I can't beat the demons out of them (actually often more of them into them; hardening; fracturing) else I become Satan. I don't want to be Satan. Don't read that as saying that I've said you want violently to beat unrepentant pedophiles. You may want to, but I haven't claimed that.

        I have not said to close one's eyes. I have not said to do nothing about pedophiles. I'm an absolutist and situationist at the same time. I read Jesus as being that also.

        After reading my statements, you have continued to defend yourself without addressing the larger point about expectations and the part they play in how things unfold. Do your feelings not cause anything? They do, but those things may not last.

        We will probably have more opportunities for interaction.

        By the way, did you do a site search on "pedophiles," etc., here? The Lijit search (near top, left column) feature is brand new, and their database hasn't learned enough about this site yet. Use the WordPress search for the best results if you are really interested in coming to know who I am.

        Bless you,

        Tom

      • Hello Marlo,

        So, I visited your http://www.godtalkradioshow.com. The first thing is that I attempted to befriend the "Friend of Emergent" group but was summarily rejected because I don't hold with homosexuality. I view it not as identical to pedophilia but nevertheless a spiritual and fleshly disorder, error, falsehood, etc. I wonder what your views on the subject are.

        Do you believe that homosexuality is not a choice, all homosexuals are immutably so and born that way, and are harmed by words and deeds to the contrary, as so many Emergents appear to believe?

        Do you rather believe that homosexuality is harmful, as I know it to be, and something to be stood against, resolutely, although not violently or coercively?

        Tom

        • I just got around to checking Facebook notifications. Marlo left a message that I'm posting here because it has a direct bearing on people visiting and reading this post and attempting to access the links:

          Marlo Wallace Boux October 9 at 9:37am
          deleted all the threads - time to move forward and not enough time to truly do justice to an important subject.

          One can move on without killing a thread. It isn't as if Facebook was running out of memory in their database. It wasn't as if Marlo was obligated to reply to every comment. Killing the thread kills everyone's ability over there on Facebook to see the opposing view. That's obvious. She censored it whether she thought about it consciously or not. I disapprove of how she handled it. I'm not favorably impressed at all.

          If it was important to kill the thread on Facebook, why didn't Marlo also kill the comments on her post on the subject? http://joyfulchristianwife.blogspot.com/2009/10/s...

          Marlo's act is not at all in keeping with the statements on the godtalkradioshow.com site about engaging in discussion and it doesn't even matter if you're an atheist, etc. I said nothing that merited being censored. God knows it. Marlo knows it too.

          Bless you, Marlo. God makes it to rain on everyone, even those who censor me on Facebook without cause.

          Tom