Breaking news: an Australian church doesn’t like erections.
Okay, that isn’t quite the case, at least in some contexts. The church would just prefer that men with Erectile Dysfunction remain that way than worship alongside the female star of an ED drug ad in their church.
Recently, a church in Australia gave a woman the boot who starred in an ad for an ED drug. The woman has responded by acknowledging the ad was in poor taste and offensive, but she needed the money. The church leaders have reported that they will welcome their dysfunctional member back with open hearts…just as soon as the ad is off the air.
In a time when the conversation around churches is “acceptance,” and “tolerance,” the cherished age old practice of relentless ostracism and bloodthirsty witch hunts seems to be becoming less and less popular.
Did the Australian actress’ church have the right (or was it smart) to kick this woman out until the church leaders can walk this situation off, or should everyone be welcome in church at all times, no matter how embarrassing their behavior?
A Dysfunctional Family
The church looks like a really dysfunctional parent to me.
Many churches have come a long way from the days when pastors would spend a whole sermon blasting a tirade against divorce. If some pastors tried to do that today, there’s a good chance that they’d be fired or walked out on.
Today, many churches will put up with a lot within their ranks. There’s so many of us who are divorced, we can’t even identify them. It’s not like they wear a red letter on their clothes or anything. We know that people are dysfunctional emotionally, physically, financially, relationally and sexually. But as people who mind our own business, we figure it’s best to mind our own business. If people want to stop sinning, they’ll do it themselves. It’s like all the parents who don’t want to spank their kids because they’re afraid of hurting the little angel’s “self esteem.”
We just have bad memories of all the spankings the church has given in the past. All the people called “heretic,” and all the people ostracized wrongfully. It seems whenever the church decides a spanking is in order, it goes totally overboard.
If You Won’t Spank Your Kid, I Will
At the same time, a bunch of us are in a “culture war.” Christmas is coming up, which means a bunch of Christians will be sniffing out some store to boycott for not saying “Merry Christmas.” We’re continually offended and outraged at the behavior of people outside the church. We’re so protective of our beliefs that we demand that people who aren’t even in our churches submit to our beliefs.
Have you ever seen a parent in public with a screaming, out of control child? Have you seen that obviously “bad” parent go over to another parent and spank that person’s child who’s acting like a wild banshee? No? Of course you have, it’s called the chuch. Didn’t you read the last paragraph?
I heard a story once of a man who smacked a noisy kid across the face in Walmart. Granted, the kid was probably needed a light whalloping, but who is this guy? He’s in jail now, that’s who he is.
And that’s really what the church looks like when we try to spank secular culture. They aren’t our kids. They are going to run wild and turn into miscreants. I don’t think we can anything about that.
Spankings Are Good
Why did your parents spank you or put you in time out or ground you? Was your mother a heartless wench who only lived to ruin your life? Maybe. But if you’re like most of us, your parents spanked you because you were doing something stupid to hurt yourself, and the spanking would hurt a lot less in the long run than continuing to be stupid.
That’s what the church can’t seem to get right. People grow up and they’re still dysfunctional, just like when they were kids. Just because they get into church, it doesn’t mean they’re fixed.
And most people would rather live with a horrible problem in secret then have it come to light. Most of us don’t have accountability partners to replace the role our parents had. And we don’t see the church as a loving parent to run to when we mess up. We know we’re just going to get yelled at and spanked. Besides, most of us don’t want to stop being stupid to begin with.
And yet without spankings and groundings and yellings your loving parents bestowed on you, you might be on the street corner in your rusted out 1997 Dodge Neon which you have lived in for seven months, selling crack which you have cut liberally with ordinary flour, a shady business practice which does not please your customers, who are planning a most unpleasant end to your business. Hey, you never know.
Some of you come from big-time fundie churches who doled out the spankings all the time. On the other hand, I come from the more limp wristed whitebread churches whose official form of church discipline was beating sinners with wet noodles.
So what’s the balance? Does the church kick the woman out? Or do they acknowledge that they are pro-life and pro-marriage, and justify the woman because she is helping husbands to make their wives happy and make more babies? If Jesus welcomed prostitutes, would he welcome a woman who helps men get it up? I mean if the church is going to start a precedent by kicking this woman out for giving guys erections, well…never mind. Does the church have the right to judge it’s own people, or is it no one’s business?