The Duggars, The Jenners, And The Growing Exodus From Christianity

Sometimes revelation comes in just 140 characters.

Tonight I had another Christian tell me on social media that he was okay with Josh Duggar fondling young girls “because he repented”, but has a big problem with Caitlyn Jenner, who he said was willingly sinning and being “sexually deviant.” The former he sees as a typically flawed believer restored and deserving of our forgiveness, the latter as an unrepentant, dangerous presence in the world who needs to be condemned and called out.

As we talked more, my virtual friend’s comments clarified the duplicity of his position: a child molester is excused because he’s said sorry to God (even though he and his family concealed the activity until recently exposed), however a transgender individual is clearly immoral by openly seeking to be the most authentic version of herself she believes is possible. One engages in criminal activity and still gets the benefit of the doubt, while the other operates completely within the law and is still vilified. One exploits their family and their faith on a reality TV show and is revered as a religious role model, the other lambasted for leveraging her own story for publicity and personal gain.

And we wonder why Christianity is leaking so horribly from every crevice, why so many churches are becoming barren ghost towns and dusty museums, why organized religion is on virtual life support in America?

Thinking like this is why intelligent, thoughtful, rational people are finding it harder and harder to want to be associated with Christians, and why faith seems less and less an option for so many of them. The Church is heading off a cliff and it’s we who are actually in the back, pushing the hardest.

People are watching and worrying. They see it from a mile away, our vacillation. They see the inconsistencies of our outrage, our selective sin policing, our schizophrenic moral stands. They notice how often we can defend one person’s deplorable activity just because he or she is a professed Christian, while simultaneously demonizing another outright the moment the discussion turns to the “naughty body parts.” In examples like this week, we’re content to ignore and overlook the scarred, flesh-and-blood victims of a sexual offender because he claims to have repented, yet we can somehow manage to manufacture untold invisible, theoretical victims of someone seeking to make their own peace with the mirror, on the other.

Sadly it seems to all come back to sex.

Our religious panic buttons are so easily pushed by gender identity and sexual orientation, that when the topics surface so many of us stick our fingers in our ears and run around the room like embarrassed third graders, yelling “Nah nah nah, I’m not listening to you!” In times like these, we knee-jerk our theological responses out without bothering to wrestle with the complicated, nuanced aspects of the situations, let alone stopping to consider the deep humanity of the people involved and how we may be trampling over it.

This is a problem, friends. In fact, it could be a near-fatal blow to our faith tradition outside our walls and maybe it should be.

We who claim Christ can no longer be people who abandon logic and decency and compassion for the sake of religion and get a pass. No one is buying that anymore thankfully, and so we need to fight to transform our faith from the inside; those of us who believe that Jesus is better and more loving and more beautiful than the bitter, judgmental junk that’s been representing him lately. I know I do. People outside of the faith may indeed eventually reject Jesus, but I’d rather them do that than reject the bastardized, counterfeit version of him that they getting far too frequently from us.

I’m not sure exactly how we can recover a corporate faith that consistently does more good than harm in the world, but it seems like the thing is upside down right now and that grieves me terribly. I want people to receive the best of this faith from us. I want a Church that accurately represents Christ to the world. I want a Christianity that defaults to compassion not contempt when it sees people from a distance. I want one that purposefully removes that distance and steps into other’s stories to find the inherent goodness and to remind them of it. I want that for both Josh Duggar and for Caitlyn Jenner because both are equally deserving of that as they are.

Some might contend that bringing up my online friend’s commentary is just a noisy, massive straw man designed to distract, but I’ll argue that it’s our great religious blind spot, made crystal clear in real-time.

You may choose to see my conversation with my friend as an isolated, anecdotal event without a larger meaning, but I view it as a telling symptom of a bigger sickness.

The bottom line, is that this week too many Christians are far more outraged at a person altering her own body, than one assaulting another’s. 

I’d say that’s a shame.

Actually, I’d say it’s more than that.

I’d say it’s a sin.

0 thoughts on “The Duggars, The Jenners, And The Growing Exodus From Christianity

  1. Excellent commentary, as always. I appreciate the bold stance to call out the sin here. I’ve taken a lot of heat this week because of my position on Caitlyn Jenner, including comments about the status of my salvation. So I am 100% with you in the trenches of this debate. Keep on keeping on, my friend.

    • I would not call it excellent comment: John, I believe that you are ONE of those people claiming to be Christians but whose works are directed against Christianity. For your information, There is a difference between Biblical or Practical Christianity and those who profess to be Christians. I do not know if you ever took a look at biblical Christianity: It has never been on a popular contest to win souls. Christ himself said in one of the Gospels: Narrow is the way that leads into eternal life and very FEW are going there. On the other hands, wide is the way that leads unto perdition and MANY are going there. The Exodus from Christianity is not because some of us stand for what we believe is right, It is because those water down churches and believers like yourself today are following popular demand instead of sticking around true doctrines upon which the church was built: MOST OF US CHOOSE TO FOLLOW THE WORLD. Who said the Duggars are right? People like you refuse to say the truth: Who says the Duggars are heroes: the truth is: YOU AND THE TALK SHOW GURUS OUT THERE ARE MAKING BRUCE JENNER A HERO WHEN TRUE HEROES ARE OUT THERE EITHER HOMELESS OR IN DESPERATE SITUATION…It is true that our teachings allow us to forgive when people repent, God does, why not me? Furthermore, not everything that is not against the law( such what Jenner did) is morally right in the eyes of God.. There are many past criminals such as myself who made mistakes in the past (and some are still in jails) who are more free inside than those who never violate the law. Bruce Jenner could be YOUR HERO and you could call him she/her all you want but I would never call him she/her regardless that people move from my church: they move away from Christ teachings too: they want what they want and want to hear what they want to hear, not what they suppose to hear…The Duggars are not my heroes either: Just put yourself on the OPEN as an anti-Christian writer….

      • Just because you recognize one individual for there bravery does not mean that you are cutting out all other hero’s or do gooders. This article was about being open minded and helping your faith because your community is becoming aggressive and non welcoming and social media had a big part in this. You are a radical Christian and in my mind a terrorist. You are the reason my generation feels scared of church and organized religion. I’ll pray to my who ever that you can open your mind and heart to the truth that is this world.

      • I’ll “put myself in the open as an anti-Christian writer” (for your variant of Christianity, anyway) and say that if your words really reflect the will of Jesus, then he’s not worth worshipping. Attitudes like yours actually played no part whatsoever in my leaving the church, but they make it easier to stay away. So thanks, I guess.

      • As has often been said, if heaven is going to be occupied mostly by people like you, I would gladly be part of the open, kind, friendly, and loving people in Hell. That’s what they say

        I will give you another one too that is all my own:

        I see the real God in Jesus—in the things He said and did—and in the way He loved. If I should find out that Jesus was just a man and not a member of the holy trinity, then God needs to study Jesus and follow him to learn how to be become a better God..

      • You claim to be steadfast in your faith and keeping it on the “narrow path” to salvation, and that would be fine, except that you forget Christ surrounded himself by sinners that, only through walking with him, discovered their salvation. The problem, my fellow believer, is that you seem to forget that the only way to Christ is through Christ… but here YOU (and others like you) are blocking that door to his office.

        Last time I checked, Jesus has an open-door, open-heart policy, and you are doing everything you can to keep people away from him. Why would these sinners bother coming to see Jesus, when the people surrounding him are telling them He doesn’t want them?

        We seem to be quick to forget that WE are not the judge and jury of Heaven. WE are not the gatekeepers. WE are not the shepherds. WE ARE THE FLOCK, and in my youth on the farm, I didn’t witness the sheep attacking one another.

        We need to be quicker to remember that we are ALL here as sinners… each and every one of us are so far from perfect, and yet we come together to put our trust and faith and hope for salvation into one God, one Savior, one Lord, and one Master.

      • I would ask any Christian who says we should follow the word of God on the issue of Caitlyn Jenner rather than the masses to find me one verse, ONE VERSE in the Bible which says that living as a different gender than you were born is sinful. On top of that, find me one verse that says that homosexuality is immoral. Just one, and I’ll be on my way. I’m not talking about that mistranslated passage from Corinthians either, I’m talking about a passage that every Bible version and translation agrees on.

        You can’t because it isn’t there. In the entire original greek text of the Bible, the word “homosexual” occurs exactly zero times, proving that what you think you believe about Christianity is a lie that someone told you and you ate up–this goes for Christians and non-Christians. Religion has always been an excuse for corrupt legalism and opression of the masses, and this is exactly what Jesus tried to combat. Christianity is dying, because Christians are too fond of making up laws that God never handed down, ignoring the ones that he did. Christians like to take vague directives from God and Jesus about how to live one’s life to its most extreme conclusions, casting out anyone who doesn’t fit their narrow worldview of “sexual purity”, making up a lot of nonsense about what is “natural” and “unnatural” to plead their case, despite mounting scientific evidence proving their ignorance.

      • And Saul’s comment is the typical response from a typical knee jerk Christian in America today. John never once stated in this article that the Bruce Jenner was a hero. But when you are a reactionary emotional knee jerk person you take your ingrained talking points and just respond to what you think you heard.

        Just because modern American Christianity has created it’s own narrow path in no way equates to the narrow path that Jesus talked about. If you could take a honest hard look at Christianity today you would see it more like the Pharisees and not like the teachings of Jesus. We are more concerned with how someone chooses to live their private lives then we are with people serving in ministry with hidden sins.

        Also, no offense intended but how dare you question if the writer knows true Biblical Christianity or practical Christianity. Because he doesn’t agree with you he some how is ignorant? I for one sir went to Bible college, have spent most of my life in full time ministry both here in the states and in a foreign country and I have gotten to the point that I no longer have any desire to participate in the commercialism of american “church”. Are you too going to say that I don’t know true Biblical Christianity?

      • Saul, John Pavlovitz preaches love and compassion. How is that unchristian? I believe that is exactly what God wants. I feel God’s love when I read his comments. All I feel when I read yours is anger and contempt. I belong to a Southern Baptist Church and haven’t attended for months because of Christians like you. I’m not LGBT but I love and accept those who are. Thank God for pastors like Mr. Pavlovitz. In the long run, what we do is between us and God. It’s really none of your business.

      • ooh: zing.
        Presumption of what ‘God wants us to do about…’ is the most toxic of doctrines followed today by “C”hristians.
        To presume to know the will of God is the biggest sin, I think: the rest follows from that.

    • Tonight I had another Christian tell me on social media that he was okay with Josh Duggar fondling young girls “because he repented”…

      I doubt that this person was “okay with Josh Duggar fondling young girls”. Why would he be OK with sin? God tells us that he has removed it as far as from the east to the west, because he did what Jesus commanded, and repented. So if John is not OK with God’s forgiveness through repentance, not only is Bruce Jenner in trouble, we all are. And that’s really a bad thing.

      …but has a big problem with Caitlyn Jenner, who he said was willingly sinning and being “sexually deviant.”

      Bruce Jenner is being sexually deviant, and he is willingly sinning. I’m not sure what the problem is. Jesus would preach to Bruce the same thing he preached to everyone else when he was incarnate: “repent”, which apparently Josh did.

      The former he sees as a typically flawed believer restored and deserving of our forgiveness,

      Yes, true, just like the Bible says. Again, what’s the problem?

      the latter as an unrepentant, dangerous presence in the world who needs to be condemned and called out.

      Bruce is unrepentant. But as long as he’s breathing, there’s always time, and then John’s “friend” would defend him in the same way he is now defending Josh if someone attacked him with mean spirited accusations and pointing out his past failures like the accuser of the brethren does day and night before God.

      If John’s “friend” said that he needs to be condemned, then he would technically be wrong, for Jesus said that all are condemned already. IT’s too late to condemn Bruce, but it’s not too late for him to repent, praise God.

      As we talked more, my virtual friend’s comments clarified the duplicity of his position: a child molester is excused because he’s said sorry to God

      Yes, isn’t it great? God forgives even child molesters, even grown up child molesters. So, if you are a child molester dear friend, and you’re reading this, there is hope for you. Read the book of John in the Bible. I paid for an abortion, so I’m guilty of murder, and much more, and praise God he cleansed me. I could go on, cause I do so love to talk about a new life in Christ. But suffice it to say now, there is hope dear friend.

      (even though he and his family concealed the activity until recently exposed),

      Yes even if your child fondled another child, like the 14 year old boy down the street did me, and your parents don’t go racing to the police station, there is still hope for you.

      however a transgender individual is clearly immoral by openly seeking to be the most authentic version of herself she believes is possible.

      Yes, a transgendered individual is immoral, and so are thieves, murderers, and even the nice lady down the street. Man is immoral, if we are to believe the Bible anyway. That’s why Jesus died on the cross dear friend. The Bible actually says that we are new creations, hidden in Jesus Himself, and that we are fellow heirs with him if we have repented and been born again.

      One engages in criminal activity and still gets the benefit of the doubt, while the other operates completely within the law and is still vilified.

      Dear friend, don’t worry about Man’s law. Man is corrupt. Best to worry about God’s law, and we have all run afoul of that. and again, there is hope for you. Also, if you worry about God’s law, you won’t have to worry so much about man’s law, until persecution comes. But, believe me, it will be worth it to be cleansed unto righteousness.

      One exploits their family and their faith on a reality TV show and is revered as a religious role model, the other lambasted for leveraging her own story for publicity and personal gain.

      I’m nor sure how a 14 year old boy “exploited” a family and faith. My guess is that he was curious. That coupled with his sinful nature and he sinned in private. But even if Josh did put himself on the front of a national magazine, and gloried in sin for all to see, there would still be hope. Do you see it? That is the Gospel. THat is the good news. You can be a brand new creation.

      And we wonder why Christianity is leaking so horribly from every crevice,

      No, “WE” don’t. John might be worried, but if you are in Christ, you need not be. Yes, it is no longer popular to be a Christian, and many fake “believers” are walking away, but none of this is a surprise to God. Persecution always drives away the chaff. IT is the liberal churches that are dieing. And Christianity in the rest of the world is actually growing.

      … why so many churches are becoming barren ghost towns and dusty museums, why organized religion is on virtual life support in America?

      Thinking like this is why intelligent, thoughtful, rational people are finding it harder and harder to want to be associated with Christians,

      The Bible is clear dear friend, “those claiming to be wise became fools”. You don’t have to be “intelligent”, or “thoughtful”, for God to love you. Jesus died for all kinds. Churches are not devoid of smart people. But it is filled with not so smart people also. Isn’t God great? I love it. And you would fit in our midst also. Let the haughty prideful go their way. Eternity is before us.

      …and why faith seems less and less an option for so many of them. The Church is heading off a cliff and it’s we who are actually in the back, pushing the hardest.

      So he finally got a pronoun right. “WE”. Cause they are pushing with all their might to get it over the cliff. But they are boxing the air, running without aim. They will find themselves on a 2000 year old trash heap of those who tried to destroy the Church of God. Ain’t gonna happen. No way, no how. God is good, and He is strong too.

      People are watching and worrying. They see it from a mile away, our vacillation. They see the inconsistencies of our outrage, our selective sin policing, our schizophrenic moral stands.

      Correct pronouns again. But the “our” is not the same as the “us”. There is a world of difference.

      They notice how often we can defend one person’s deplorable activity just because he or she is a professed Christian,

      Wait? What happened to repentance? A change of horses mid stream? So, dear friend, while you won’t find people “defending your deplorable activity” in Church, you will find people embracing the repentant sinner. Ask me how I know. I am the “deplorable” sinner. And I was loved anyway. God is good.

      …while simultaneously demonizing another outright the moment the discussion turns to the “naughty body parts.”

      “naughty body parts? Wouldn’t that be like the bank robber saying, “all I took was paper. Why all the fuss?” I hope you’ve noticed, dear reader, that this gentleman seems to use soft words for some sins, and harsh words, like “deplorable activity” with others. But don’t buy it dear friend. Other people’s sins do not give you a pass for your own. You will stand before the judgement seat of Christ one day, don’t go without being washed in the blood of Christ.

      In examples like this week, we’re content to ignore and overlook the scarred, flesh-and-blood victims of a sexual offender

      THere’re are those harsh words again. But now its incest. So, dear friend, if you have ever committed incest, know this, there is hope for you. Please seek salvation. I actually beseech you. Please do it.

      …because he claims to have repented,


      …yet we can somehow manage to manufacture untold invisible, theoretical victims of someone seeking to make their own peace with the mirror, on the other.

      No, I’m sorry, God does that one. BTW, the best way to make peace with the image in the is through repentance. This reminds me of a story I just read. A wealthy sports figure got hooked on drugs. When he was born again he was able to ditch the drug habit. His wife asked him why he stopped shaving and flossing and brushing his teeth in the shower. He told her that he could look at himself in the mirror again.

      Sadly it seems to all come back to sex.

      Yes, for John, the writer of this article. But don’t be fooled. You could live a celibate life, be hetroxexual, and never ever look at porn, and you would still fall short of the glory of God, and you still need to repent and seek refuge in Christ. Don’t be fooled my friend. No one is good enough. THat really is the essence of the Gospel.

      Our religious panic buttons are so easily pushed by gender identity and sexual orientation, that when the topics surface so many of us stick our fingers in our ears and run around the room like embarrassed third graders, yelling “Nah nah nah, I’m not listening to you!”

      There’s that “our” again. Love dictates that we call all men and women to repentance. Why in the world would anyone think that sexual deviants are the only ones who need to repent?

      in times like these, we knee-jerk our theological responses out without bothering to wrestle with the complicated, nuanced aspects of the situations, let alone stopping to consider the deep humanity of the people involved and how we may be trampling over it.

      These times are no different than any other time. Men sin. Jesus died for those sins. He rose again. THere is only one hope for humanity, no matter what their “nuanced” situation is, and that is the blood of Jesus. And that, dear friend, is the truth/!

      This is a problem, friends. In fact, it could be a near-fatal blow to our faith tradition outside our walls and maybe it should be.

      If God were like, say a political figure, yes, ,the times might seem shaky. But fear not! God is not a little itty bitty God, He is a big and powerful God. He is almighty. He is big enough to stand behind His word. This is a theme through the entire Bible BTW. If you are in Christ, you need not worry about the body of Christ. It will be here long after the folly of this age is on the trash heap of history, This is not the first time that God has blown the chaff from his Church. It won’t be the last.

      We who claim Christ can no longer be people who abandon logic and decency and compassion for the sake of religion and get a pass.

      Dead on. Nailed it.

      No one is buying that anymore thankfully, and so we need to fight to transform our faith from the inside;

      No John. Yall go on and transform your faith. When given a choice between a guy named “John” and the the creator of the universe, you’ll forgive me I hope it I sign up with the creator of the universe.

      those of us who believe that Jesus is better and more loving and more beautiful than the bitter, judgmental junk that’s been representing him lately. I know I do. People outside of the faith may indeed eventually reject Jesus, but I’d rather them do that than reject the bastardized, counterfeit version of him that they getting far too frequently from us.

      Yes, just like the “bastardized junk” that has been around for 2000 years. Funny. I will be called judgemental and uncivil, but look at that comment. My My.

      I’m not sure exactly how we can recover a corporate faith

      We can’t John. But be happy. If it were left up to us it’s fallen apart 1990 years ago.

      …that consistently does more good than harm in the world,..

      Yep, but there is a “but” coming.

      but it seems like the thing is upside down right now and that grieves me terribly.

      Fear not dear John. The Body of Christ is not going anywhere. It will be here till the end of time, and then it will become the Bride of Christ.

      I want people to receive the best of this faith from us.

      Me too, I want people to receive what Josh received, and what I received, and what is available to Bruce. Forgiveness of our sins. That really is what I want, because that really is what is best.

      I want a Church that accurately represents Christ to the world.

      Oh, so do I. I want people to realize that there is forgiveness for their sins, just like Josh, and just like I’ve received. Again, if you want an accurate picture of Jesus, read the scriptures for yourself. Jesus is in the Gospels, that would be Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Many have found Jesus there, and you can too. IT involves eternity. Don’t trust your eternity to a guy named “danny” or “john”. Jesus actually says that he will help you to understand the Gospel. He showed me, and now I am, as the Bible points out, a new creation.

      I want a Christianity that defaults to compassion not contempt when it sees people from a distance.

      And so do I again. I don’t want a Christianity that condemns a poor boy for fondling another child, or a family that doesn’t run to the police station as soon as they find out, or a poor tortured soul that wants to distort his body because he has become convinced that he is a woman, or that he is attracted to other men, or robs a bank, or murders someone, or told a pack of lies. But that is the Christianity that the Bible offers, if you are born again.

      I want one that purposefully removes that distance and steps into other’s stories to find the inherent goodness and to remind them of it. I want that for both Josh Duggar and for Caitlyn Jenner because both are equally deserving of that as they are.

      Sorry friends, but this is not the Christianity that has been for 2000 years. That is a new Christianity. Remember, Jesus said that we are all condemned. You need to know that God doesn’t condemn us because we are inherently good. Josh proved it. I’ve proved it. And Bruce is proving it. But there is hope. I can’t say that enough.

      Some might contend that bringing up my online friend’s commentary is just a noisy, massive straw man designed to distract, but I’ll argue that it’s our great religious blind spot, made crystal clear in real-time.

      Stawman, no. Poisoning the well, yes.

      You may choose to see my conversation with my friend as an isolated, anecdotal event without a larger meaning, but I view it as a telling symptom of a bigger sickness.

      Nailed it again.

      The bottom line, is that this week too many Christians are far more outraged at a person altering her own body, than one assaulting another’s.

      Nope, the bottom line is that Jesus says that we are all condemned. But he also says that if we trust in him, repent and are born again, then we are saved. Then, even if you miss it and get angry about Bruce Jenner, or Josh’s sin, or your friend’s or wife’s or husband’s,or you falter in any number of other ways, that sin is covered with the blood of Christ. Repentance will seem natural. God will still love you if you are in His son. That’s the glory of Christ. Seek it dear friend.

      I’d say that’s a shame.

      • Wow – lots of commentary but actually, at the end of the day it’s just this…
        If your God exists… you aren’t God. So shut up and stop talking for your God. (And your god needs a good editor and writer because he’s a really really bad writer. The guy who wrote “It was a dark and stormy night” was a better writer.)

        As it is, I’m glad. Your god is just a storybook character. A storybook character that more closely resembles the villain in the story than the hero. Hmmm… maybe that’s why I’ve come to associate christianity with an utter lack of awareness of personal boundaries, a ruthless desire to force other people to behave against their wishes because a christian says so, a desire to subordinate women and children, a genuine lack of understanding of good and evil, a lack of understanding of the concept of consent, a lack of empathy or compassion, and a lack of understanding concerning justice and mercy.

        Just in case you don’t get the point – many of us don’t see any beauty in your religion or the culture of christianity. I’m happier away from christians who are so miserable that they must impose their misery and viciousness onto other people. I’m happier away from the hypocrisies committed on a daily basis by christians who flock to protect a pedophile and his family rather than focusing on protecting the victims and ensuring that no more children become victims. I’m happier away from christians and their petty subjective barbaric morality. I’m happier away from angry christians who resemble the pharisees and the sadducees rather than the victims. I’m happier away from hateful christians.

        And if your god exists, I’ll be quite unhappy because I’ll probably be invited through those pearly gates and you will be suffering in hell. If your god exists, he created an animal that can use logic and reason beyond animal consciousness. A far advanced being that provided those traits to his creation would demand that his creation use those traits rather than behave like primitive little apes who fling poo at everyone and anybody. (And yes, to me, your type of christian is no different from poo flinging monkeys).

        The bible states you will know them by their fruits. Well christians. What do you think? What kind of fruits have you produced? hatred, lack of compassion, viciousness, brutality, oppression, selfishness, lack of justice, lack of empathy … I see nothing to be proud of. I wish the author of this post had the power to transform christianity. Maybe then, it would be an instrument for good rather than an instrument for evil.

        • Would Jesus go to a prison and say to all the prisoners, I’ve come to make you prisoners? No, that would be silly. He came to set them free. In the same way Jesus said, that whoever believes in the Son is not condemned, but whoever does NOT believe is condemned already. Do you understand that? All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, that would include me of course, yourself, the writer of this article and the subjects of this article. Jesus preached repentance. I’m sorry, but that’s what he preached. He preached it to sinners, because he could not have done otherwise for there were none righteous. My dear JH. I was once as you are now. But that is the power of the Gospel to change lives.

          Christianity is actually worse than you think. It actually rushes to defend people who are much worse than a kid who fondles his sisters. It defends serial killers, like Jeffrey Dahmer, while pointing out that seemingly nice people will be casted into the Hell fires, like Jesus said that they would. But that is the good news. No one is too evil to lose a chance at salvation, and no one is good enough to earn it. Check out the video of Dahmer in an interview with Stone Phillips on this site, not long before he was murdered, and you’ll see what I mean:

      • @jh
        A scathing indictment of Christianity that is totally warranted. Even most well-meaning and good hearted Christians today are happy to turn their heads and look the other way on the issue of LGBT rights and the treatment of such persons in society. They might not openly condemn or attack gay and transgendered people, but they also won’t lift a finger to stand up for them. I’m glad more christians like myself and john pavlovitz are coming out to say, “if this is what we must believe in to be Christian, we want no part in it.”

  2. Excellent commentary, as always. I appreciate the bold stance to call out the sin here. I’ve received a lot of heat this week due to my stance on Caitlyn Jenner, including questioning the status of my salvation. So I’m 100% with you in the trenches of this debate. Keep on keeping on, my friend.

  3. The essence of the Christian life is “Love one another,” and at its core is counter-culture. If you are in agreement with the culture on these hot button issues, you probably aren’t in alignment with the instructions Jesus gave us. My question is, “Why should I care? That’s her issue, not mine. She works that out between her and God, and I don’t have to have an opinion on it.” I’ve got stuff to do.

    • Yet, here you are, giving your opinion. By your logic, Christians that try to influence the culture to be more reflective of Christ’s teachings are wasting their time. I agree, it is all a waste of time.

      • My opinion? “I don’t care. Not my problem.” Not much of an opinion. I don’t try to influence the culture, but I have had a role in some individuals finding a better way of being. I think small, one person at a time. The culture lies, there is no fixing it.

  4. Thank you for boldly and unreservedly confronting issues that need confronting. Keep doing what you doing. We have to remember that ultimately the church is the Lord’s and He will somehow in some way at some time bring it to be the body He intends it to be by the power and work of the Holy Spirit. We must keep loving God with all our hearts, minds and souls and we have to let the Holy Spirit work in us to love one another – to love our neighbours, all of them (the good, the bad and the ugly) as we love ourselves.

  5. Reblogged this on The Spiritual Blog of Rev. Michael F. Copado. and commented:
    John articulates things so well.
    This is what I’m striving to do in my own meager way;
    “We who claim Christ can no longer be people who abandon logic and decency and compassion for the sake of religion and get a pass. No one is buying that anymore thankfully, and so we need to fight to transform our faith from the inside; those of us who believe that Jesus is better and more loving and more beautiful than the bitter, judgmental junk that’s been representing him lately. I know I do. People outside of the faith may indeed eventually reject Jesus, but I’d rather them do that than reject the bastardized, counterfeit version of him that they getting far too frequently from us…
    …I want people to receive the best of this faith from us. I want a Church that accurately represents Christ to the world. I want a Christianity that defaults to compassion not contempt when it sees people from a distance. I want one that purposefully removes that distance and steps into other’s stories to find the inherent goodness and to remind them of it.”

  6. I heard you were going to be have the Reformation project, unfortunately that same day I am going to Kenya. I love your writing and you thoughts. Keep it up!

  7. Hi John
    I see where you are going with this. And in many ways I agree. The one thing that I am not sure about is the Duggar situation. This happened while the kid was a Teen ager and the family didn’t want the world to know so he could have a normal life. I would bury the incedent too if it was my son. He shouldn’t be labeled for the rest of his life for bad behavior as A teenager. We all have skeletons of one kind or another from that time in our lives. At the time he did repent and he did ask forgiveness and so God has forgotten his sin. Shouldn’t we?

    • Then you are a shitty person and certainly not to EVER be in a position to judge others…but, all those lunkheads who think like you do are out there judging away. Or does all this fly over your head?

      • I think it flies over his head—but he is in a measure correct. The key thing now is to make sure he is not a pedophile, and if there is any real question on that count after all these years, keep him away from children for their sake and his too—not as punishment but as a loving gesture for all involved.

    • Fair enough- but would you then turn around and publically, noisily and self-righteously judge others as sinful or against Christ because they’re LGBTQ? Would you advocate for laws to harras and restrict the rights of others because you believe that their behavior is sinful? Do you, or do you teach your children to hate and shun others who aren’t living their faith the same way you do?

      I think we can all agree that we are all sinners and are entitled to seek forgiveness from God, but that isn’t the point being made here.

    • On small detail – what Josh did was against the law. What his parents did was against the law. Caitlin Jenner has not broken the law. Fundamentalist Christians seem to be obsessed with bathrooms, sex, and genitalia. Creepy.

      • So are you labeling John Pavlovitz as…obsessed with bathrooms, sex & genitalia? A fundamentalist. That would be a legitimate conclusion since he is the one writing this blog.

      • Yeah. You are right. They are also obsessed with law in the context of their religious system, but they seem to forget that the same law exists when one of their own does wrong—or is law important on when criticizing those outside of fundiedom? I guess I look at it like this. If your religious system requires you to tell John Pavlovitz he is going to Hell for his sins, you damn well better be telling Josh Duggar the same thing. Faith should be as consistent and fair as possible. Right fundies?

      • What Josh did was against the law, but he was a juvenile. The juvenile justice system is totally different than the adult justice system. In my state even if he were brought to trial, I highly doubt as a first time offender he would have done any time.

        I am quite sure that parents are ..not.. mandatory reporters (meaning they had no legal obligation to report Josh’s activity to the authorities) so it is quite unclear to me what laws they may have broken.

    • No. He was a molester. I don’t care if he was a teen. A teen commits murder, and he/she is charged as an adult. They covered this up to take care of the statute of limitations. And shame on you for saying you would do the same.

      • Not to mention that there have been articles that have come out saying if it had been investigated, it’s not out of the question that Josh could have been molested as well. But as that would likely indicate someone else close to the Duggars was Perp Zero, they covered the whole thing up for statute of limitations, as you said Steve.

    • Why doesn’t anybody saying this seem to care about the victims and THEIR process of forgiveness (which in this case is a constant process that will probably take at least a good part of their lives)?

      They, and God, are the ones who get to forgive Josh Duggar.

      It’s easy to “forgive” a sin, or blurt out that God has forgiven it, when it doesn’t affect you. It’s not easy to forgive a deeply invasive and damaging sin committed directly against you. It’s very wrong to tell somebody who’s been seriously harmed that they just need to forgive their abuser – otherwise they are even bigger sinners than the abuser! That sounds like it may have at least implicitly happened to the victims twelve years ago, unfortunately.

      Not saying we need to go out and find/out the victims so they can tell us just how much they’ve forgiven him of course (that is none of our business and part of the reason why big figures basically speaking for them is such a problem). However, we should never be sanctimonious about forgiving somebody who didn’t harm us.

      Additionally, just because somebody is forgiven doesn’t mean they are not subject to fair punishment by society. We don’t live in a system where the judge just says “OK, God forgives you!” and refuses to punish you.

      Religion aside, the Duggars (and possibly others involved) broke the law in a pretty egregious manner twelve years ago – hiding the whole thing is part of how the law was broken, which is key here – and that is a fact. They are protected from being punished for it only by the statute of limitations.

    • Josh Duggar broke the law. It wasn’t just ‘bad behavior.’

      And his parents helped to cover up his crime and continued to provide him access to more victims.
      The parents did nothing to protect their daughters.

      God may forgive his sin, but the State of Arkansas is a little less forgiving.

      The parents know that, that’s why they covered up his crimes.

    • I feel bad about the Duggar situation. I wwould agree with you that it should stay in the past, except time and time again, they have presented their way of life as healthy and superior, and tried to cast LGBT people as unable to raise a healthy family. Furthermore, they have, ironically, cast transgender people as scary predators, based on a narrative that is simply not supported by statistics. The awfulness of falsely vilifying others, while hiding this dark secret, is what has lead to such a strong backlash. Normally, I would say that whether this ever went public should have been up to the victims. The question is whether forcing his victims to relive this experience is worth a political victory. I don’t personally believe it is. But now that the information is out there, there are lessons to be learned from it, about the credibility of the Duggars on family values and morality in general.

      • Good point about whether or not forcing the victims to relive the experience is worth it. On the other hand, this is not just a political victory, but also forces Josh to face the consequences of his actions in a way that he never had before, and maybe giving his sisters some semblance of justice. Maybe that’s worth it, but I can’t say, because I’m not one of them. Remember also that most of these girl’s lives have been a TV show, so they have never been able to expect a ton of privacy. Perhaps now, with the show canceled, they can .

    • Mike, the issue that so many of us are appalled at is: Josh Duggar and his parents are VERY vocal about how “terrible” LGBT people are. They make crazy accusations about how gay people are the biggest danger to America’s children, and how trans people are likely to molest kids. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones!

      In the last three weeks, I have not heard ONE news report of a gay person or a transgendered person molesting anyone. However, the news is rolling with Josh Dugger’s preying sexually on young girls, his parents covering that up, and Denny Hastert is now up to TWO discovered victims (teenaged boys he had sex with when he was a teacher & coach at our local high school). Denny was a conservative Republican and supporter of “family values” while he was Speaker of the House! WHO is the “danger to America’s children”? People are just tired of the hypocrisy. I am to the point where I barely want to admit that I used to be a conservative christian church-goer.

    • I hate to tell you this, but most normal teenagers do not sexually fondle other people, especially when they are sleeping. They do not look at 5 year old sisters and want to finger them. They do not touch their sister’s breasts. This is aberrant sexual behavior that probably resulted from the Duggar’s christian lifestyle.

      What scares me about this story is this – the number of christians who genuinely don’t understand why this is wrong and think that it’s a small crime Stealing candy from the corner candy shop is a small crime. Skipping school is a small crime. Jaywalking is a small crime. Lying about the dog eating your homework is a small crime. Feeling up your 5 year old sister when you are 9-10 years older is not a small crime. It is wrong on a level that can’t be expressed.

      I repeat – normal teenagers do not finger 5 year old girls. Normal teenagers do not repeatedly touch the breasts and vulva of girls (especially their sisters) while they are sleeping. Normal teenagers masturbate and fantasize and they look at their peers (and the slightly older unavailable man or woman). They do not think of 5 year old girls as potential sexual partners. They do not look at 5 year old girls and go “yeah I wanna tap that ass”. This is not curiosity. This is abnormal sexual behavior that Josh engaged in for over a year.

      Please understand – when a christian says “He was just a teenager” that most normal, healthy, adults (and even teenagers) understand how wrong it was. To us, we look at the pro-Josh Duggar crowd with fascination that anyone would be so unaware of how wrong and immoral it was to finger one’s five year old sister. Our eyes go cross eyed and we take a huge step back away from freaks who don’t have a clear understanding about how very wrong this was.

      The duggar family did not help Josh. They did not find a therapist who could help Josh. All they did was send Josh to a construction site to pound some nails. They willfully obstructed justice and the legal system. (And yes, if I caught a family relative fingering a child, I would report his or her ass to the authorities so fast, I would have broken the speed record. My first obligation is to protect the young victim, not the perp.)

  8. Thank you, I am involved and the same sort of discussion on Facebook and the “Good Christian” keeps saying that Caitlyn is the unrepentant sinner and that Duggar is forgiven because he repented… so your conversation was not a one off… BTW I have lots of faith in Jesus and God… just none in organized religion. I have prayed and made requests of Him and He has answered every time!!! Praise Him!

  9. Is your new Bible American Law? If they passed a law tomorrow requiring child sacrifice to reduce your carbon footprint, which one of your children would you sacrifice?

    • If you would like to compare two adults in a mutual, loving relationship with killing one’s child, go right ahead. I would say that reflects your heart and may be a problem you want to address.

  10. There’s something also really important to notice. Josh Duggar is under the same covenant that we are. Christians must hold other Christians to a higher standard than the world because we all have made the same promises in Christ’s name. Part of being part of the church is the mutual accountability. The world is not accountable to us. They are not accountable to the covenant that we are.
    I agree with you 100%. This is a part of why people don’t want to be associated with the church. The world has a more consistent moral ethic than we do. They love more. They do more for those who have less. We’ve got issues with smearing Christ in our partisan politics, and putting this “Christ” before the one of the Bible.
    Thanks for sharing. It did need to be said.
    Blessings on your journey.

  11. While I heartily support and congratulate Caitlyn, I am at the same time hoping that the acts of a 14 year old Duggar and the apparent omissions of his family can rest silently. Unfortunately, the cynic in me believes that Jenner and the Duggars both have a vested interest in the continued notoriety and publicity of their platforms and will fan the flames until their is no fuel left. That I personally feel Caitlyn’s self absorption is more likely to help educate many more people and facilitate in the elimination of the fear and anxiety that seems to accompany the transgender subject doesn’t change the light in which we must look at all individuals and families that choose to bring their circumstances before the public eye. As Christians, I hope we can ignore the hoopla and extract the virtue and value and move forward– not judge one or the other by giving them some moral rating. Rise above and move on.

  12. I want to say that there is a change needed on the ground as well. The people that embody the church need to understand that they are indeed the church, and every single one represents the best and the worst of humanity, like all of us. When I walk through a street fair in my hometown, holding hands with my girlfriend and the various Christian churches that populate the town have booths, they call out to passers by, but not to us. And it is blatantly obvious. While the various church leaders state “all are welcome”, the people interacting with the public are of a different mind, determining worth at a glance.

  13. What I find interesting about Christianity in America is that it does not tell you how to have a direct connection to God. It stresses the political. I want to know how I can achieve ‘oneness’ like the mystic Meister Eckhart. I have to look to ancient church fathers to deepen my spirituality. I can’t find anything worth salvaging from the many different church experiences I have. The last church experience felt more like a pep rally ‘optimize your potential’ etc. I’m reading the book ‘Resurrecting Jesus’ which is helping me to deepen my faith and love for God. I just wish they would let go of the political and sexual which is really just cultural baggage and get to essence of the teachings. I wish Caitlyn all the best as well.

    • Trust me, the last thing American Christianists want is for you to have a direct connection to God, or God forbid, to the Christ Jesus. Nothing could be more threatening to the power structure that supports it, lavishly funds it, and uses it shamelessly to advance an agenda that is anything but Christ-like,

      I have always found it curious that those who most loudly insist that the Bible is the Inerrant Word of God are the first ones to aggressively demand to be recognized as divine interlocutors.

      No thank you. I have eyes to see and the brain that God gave me. I’ll read it myself.

  14. “…stopping to consider the deep humanity of the people involved and how we may be trampling over it.”

    This is what we, as Christians, forget. We prefer to judge and skew the lines of what is accepted and what is not. Based on what? I believe it’s our own phobias and insecurities rather that a walk with Christ. We cannot trample on humans that way. Josh Duggar can be forgiven, yes, but he also has to pay the legal consequences, like everyone else who commits a crime. In regard to Caitlyn Jenner, I have no issue with her lifestyle. We have a similar person in our church who has been accepted by the community and who has accepted Christ in her life. I cannot judge her in any way.

    “I want a Christianity that defaults to compassion not contempt when it sees people from a distance.”

    I want the same thing, John. Absolutely, without question. I love my church community for this reason. They invite everyone in. Everyone. That’s how it was meant to be, right?

    • There is an inconsistency in what you said. Real and thorough forgiveness means no jail term. Real forgiveness is free an unmerited. You cannot say “Jesus forgives you” out of one side of your mouth and the “county judge does not.” out the other side of your mouth. You are either thoroughly forgiven or you are not.

      • There is no inconsistency. We live by forgiveness, but also by laws. If someone commits a crime, they have to face the consequences. Yes, the victim can forgive and society can forgive, but the offender has to repent in some way other than simply say, “I repent.” Can you imagine our civilization if there were no consequences for illegal behavior? You obviously do not understand that there are people who cannot change their behavior with simple forgiveness and prayer and promises to change, like sociopaths or people with severe personality disorders. I was married to someone like that. Although he never committed a crime, my prayers and pleas for change and eventual forgiveness did not change him. It gave me peace, but it had no effect on his behavior. Josh Duggar needs help beyond our prayer and forgiveness if he wants to change his behavior. I sincerely hope he gets that help. (By the way, I did not say “Jesus forgives you.” I simply noted, as I just said, that you and I and the rest of society can forgive Josh Duggar, but the laws of society apply to everyone and he has to face the consequences. Jesus can only speak for himself.)

  15. Beautifully written. “They see the inconsistencies of our outrage, our selective sin policing, our schizophrenic moral stands.” This is why I left.

    I also left because I can’t understand how our omnipotent, omnipresent, filled with love and healing, does not have a big enough heart to allow anyone into his kingdom who doesn’t accept Jesus as savior they way humans have instructed other humans to do. It’s all boiled down into bumper sticker sayings.

    In this case hate the sin, love the sinner! I don’t think Caitlyn Jenner is sinning. God doesn’t make mistakes. I don’t believe that God made a mistake when he create Bruce who could not inherently connect with the gender he was born with. Cancer seems like a pretty big mistake to me but no one ever calls it that.

    There are so many issues that have undergone the Christian Treatment. Where it’s just easier to believe whatever the pastor tells you because he has a title. Heck, How do we not see this? How do churches not see the damage they’re doing? It’s frustrating.

  16. Oh my goodness, this is beautiful. This speaks to my heart and expresses the opinion that I’ve been trying to form, but couldn’t quite get there on my own because no one else was confirming my thoughts. Thank you.

  17. I do believe that we need to start a conversation about sexual brokenness. It is rampant in the Church, even among leaders. I believe that the reason people are leaving the Church in mass is because we are not addressing the root issues and people are not finding the freedom they are seeking.

    After watching the interview with the Duggars with Megyn Kelley, I realized how twisted the facts have been in this case. Josh was a minor when he inappropriately touched his sisters. He felt guilty and confessed what he did to his parents. His parents sought professional counseling for him and his sisters. He was removed from the home for awhile and appropriate safeguards were put in place to protect the girls from further abuse. The incident was reported to the police (who was not a “family friend” as has been reported). To me, it appears they handled it well and should be shown mercy and compassion. Since this offense occurred when Josh was a minor, his record was supposed to be sealed and it’s inexcusable that it was leaked to the media.

    • As far as I’m aware the police officer violated the law by what he did(n’t do), and you are downplaying how much sexual abuse harms its victims (regardless of the age of the perpetrator) by claiming they “handled it well”. Far from it.

      • They sought counseling for their children, they didn’t cover it up….they told the victims what happened (even though most were unaware), put safeguards in place (locks on doors, etc.), talked to all the children about what to do if someone touched them inappropriately, sent Josh away for a period of time, went to the legal authorities, etc.

        WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY IF YOU WERE IN THEIR SHOES? If your son, at age 14, came to you and confessed he had inappropriately touched his sisters, what would you have done?

        I am afraid this is sending a loud message to families in crisis…..the message being whatever you do, don’t report it because, if you do, you will be publicly shamed and your children will be re-victimized.

        I don’t understand the hatred and vicious slander towards them. It is scary.

    • You do understand, I hope, that you are completely wrong about what happened, according to the police report (that was released under a FOIA request.) He didn’t confess until his sisters complained. The idea that “they didn’t know” is a lie. There is no indication that the girls received any professional counselling at all, (except for shaming them for having tempted their brother.) The “safeguards put in place to prevent further abuse” were a joke. He had no professional counselling. The state police officer they took him to see was obviously carefully chosen, and did not follow procedure. The whole business was conducted in an unprofessional manner meant to coverup the molestation, and pretend it never happened. The interview Wednesday night was a succession of lies.

      • I did not read the police report, Kevin. Obviously, we do not agree on the facts of what actually happened. I believe what the Duggars said in the interview. They seemed sincere and so did the daughters. According to what they said, and what the girls said, they did handle the situation correctly.

        Regardless, Josh was a minor when this happened. I did some research and found that many boys between 12 and 14 have inappropriately touched younger children and most do not become pedophiles or sexual offenders as adults. I am in no way condoning this behavior, but I do believe that the media has blown this completely out of proportion.

        And my question to you, Kevin, is what would you have done if you had a son who was 14 and he inappropriately touched younger siblings?

        The Duggars love their children and, in my opinion, are being viciously attacked by the media and the public. Even, if what you said is true, I don’t believe they should be treated this way.

        • When one makes the choice to pray loudly in front of the synagogue, or on street corners, or on Television in front of millions, so that they may be seen of men, they will collect their reward.
          Sometimes, that reward comes in unexpected and unwelcome forms.

  18. Evangelical Christianity, for lots of reasons, has been going down the wrong road for a long time, and rather than admitting its many errors, it compounds the problem by speeding up, so to speak. What began with a diminished view of Scripture’s message (limiting it only to personal salvation and heaven), has become demonic, and what’s demonic becomes hateful. Very sad. Thanks for you helpful comments here.

    • Right you are. It is like applying a tourniquet to your neck and twisting really hard to save your head. What it costs to deal with the wound on that one little part of your body alone ends up killing the rest of the body—and then the head too.I guess that makes fundiedom sort of like “The Night of the Living Dead.”

  19. Your lack of knowledge about the Duggar case was so evident I had to leave a comment…
    It’s obvious you used the tabloids as your sources…which makes me wonder why you even discussed this at all…before you bring a subject to the table it’s always wise to get the best information you possibly can…which it’s evident to see you did not!!!!
    For shame!!!!

  20. John – sometimes you are brilliant . . . and then there are times like this when you are stupid and naive. The whole “Duggar scandal” was known about and planned for release before their reality show was ever filmed. This is part of the plan by the media (controlled by Satan), and unfortunately the Duggars are complicit in all of this. This isn’t about the Church at all. This is about the wolves in sheep’s clothing and exploitation. All of this is satanic, including you using the term “faith tradition”. Jesus is NOT a “faith tradition”. He is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, GOD Almighty who spoke the universe into existence with His Word.

    ps -and yes the whole Bruce Jenner thing is satanic as well. He is not a “she” no matter how many times you say it. Bruce is another sick man who society told was OK to mutilate himself. What Bruce needed was mental health care and prayer. That you support it and make excuses for it shows how worldly you have become. You want revival? draw a chalk circle around yourself and pray God brings revival into that circle. That is what I am doing.

  21. You are always so thoughtful and eloquent, and I sincerely appreciate your ability to put my own thoughts on so many similar subjects into words. I feel like, being a Christian in the world as it is, we are measured by exhausting extremes. I struggle to show people what Jesus means to me, because so many are overwhelmed with the fire and brimstone that they associate with religion as a whole.

    You and others who champion Jesus as what he was and is–a forward-thinker and a beacon of love, grace, and kindness–give hope for a future of acceptance for all people, as they are. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

  22. John, for the 1st time, you PISSED me off. We ALL have family skeletons. They did as parents what they thought to be right, just as our parents did, and those before them. Why aren’t you outraged that the SEALED and protected juvenile records were leaked out? That is a scary thing to have leaked because teens make mistakes. Their mistakes at 14 do not equal who they will be as 30 year old’s. The girls are being victimized, in a way, worse then when they were little. It is their story to be told, when and if they want. NOT the tabloids and some evil wpman who leaked this all in the 1st place. Please respond.

    • Josh was 18 when it came to telling the police. He was an adult. Lawyers just went over all of that in the news this morning. Records did not have to be sealed. 🙂
      The situation is a fluid one, with facts coming out every day.
      Unfortunately the girls are learning, in public, about how cruel people and the world can be.
      Whether they are a Christian family or not, Josh was/is a pedophile. Hopefully, after treatment, he is a changed person. He was also over a youth group or camp. ??
      Pedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children, generally age 11 years or younger.
      Lots of healing for all involved is needed.

  23. You are always so thoughtful and eloquent, and I sincerely appreciate your ability to put my own thoughts on so many similar subjects into words. I feel like, being a Christian in the world as it is, we are measured by exhausting extremes. I struggle to show people what Jesus means to me, because so many are overwhelmed with the fire and brimstone that they associate with religion as a whole.

    You and others who champion Jesus as what he was and is–a forward-thinker and a beacon of love, grace, and kindness–give hope for a future of acceptance for all people, as they are. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

  24. For some reason I signed up to get your blog, and for the life of me I still shake my head as to why. Concerning your “opinions” on each of these current events, you obviously don’t understand Christianity yourself, just as the world doesn’t. I don’t expect the world to understand, but someone who claims to speak for it, I certainly do. What the world doesn’t understand is that we (Christians) are not perfect, if we were, we wouldn’t have needed Jesus to die for us. When one of us sins, the world cries hypocrite when no one ever said that we were never going to sin. Josh Duggar sinned, just like all of us do, and he did exactly what MY bible says to do and that is to repent. Not just ask for forgiveness alone, but to turn away from the sin. The sin was dealt with within the family and the church (as the bible says it is to do) and was taken care of, for him and all those that were affected by it and God. It was not screamed out to the world (but concealed as you put it) because it’s none of the world’s business. It was an internal situation between him, his family, those that were effected by it and God, and as far as I know all have forgiven him. Why can’t you? The Word says that if you can’t forgive him, you’re not going to heaven, plain and simple. Now, you say I am suppose to forgive “Caitlyn” because she also sinned just as Josh did? That ridiculous. Why Because she/he/it continues to sin, has not repented and doesn’t even want to change. Am I suppose to condemn him/her/whatever it is? No, because as a Christian, the Bible says I’m not supposed to judge the world, only the church, as then world will judge their own, and as we cannot expect the world to live as Christians do, they do what they do best and that is sin, the same thing I did before I was born again. If I don’t condemn him/her/it, am I suppose to condone the acts? Of course not because it goes against the laws of God and nature. But don’t get the wrong idea, I don’t condone what Josh did either, (although I do believe it was blown way out of proportion by those that want to discredit Christianity). Oh, I know, you never did anything stupid when you were 13, so that changes everything. And I’m sure you live a sinless life today. We all did stupid sinful things when we kids, but Caitlyn is not a kid, and continues to “willfully” sin. But I cannot expect anything other than that out of a sinner. That’s the only thing they know how to do. Josh Duggar is a good witness for TRUE Christianity. He sinned, he repented, and went on with life lifting up the name of Jesus and as the wors say, there is now no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus . On the other hand,Caitlyn is a true witness for the world, which says live life any way I want to, it’s all about me, never mind what God says, as long as I’m happy. That’s the world and we as Christians can’t change that. All we can do is give them Jesus, through the Word and through the way we live NOW and hope that God can change it. Ii’s bad enough for the world to call us hypocrites, but to have those speaking on behalf of the church to do the same thing needs to go take a few minutes looking in a mirror.

    • How is Caitlyn continuing to sin? You telling us all above in your post and calling out Caitlyn are as guilty as you say John is about calling out Josh.
      Remember God sees and knows all and we need to leave each person’s relationship with Him, there, with HIM. 🙂 🙂

      • Wrong!!!! The gospel of Jesus is BOTH. The problem with your side is that you want to abandon the social so you can focus solely on fundie BS. You do not care one wit if a little girl’s arm is about to fall off as long as you save her soul. Well, I have news for you. You gotta do BOTH—ALWAYS. And you do not do the social part as a cynical and half-hearted carrot dangling on a stick to get to get a “Just as I Am” aisle walk. You also do not do the social part because Jesus command you to. You do it because Jesus has changed your heart, and you know that love and compassion are every bit as important as the task of saving souls. You do it because your heart cares. Fundie hearts do not care—which makes me question whether Jesus has really changed them. Please tell your commentary buddy for me: “You can shove your own 50 percent ONLY argument where the sun don’t shine”

    • I think you need a Th.D. You are presuming that Josh has really repented just because he is a fundie and he and his family say so. I think that is great if he did and it really took—but how do we know that? How does he know that? How do they know that—and more especially—how do you know that? As for whether what happened with Josh and the girls is any of the world’s business, I can tell you this. If my daughter is in child care and Josh is still roaming the church, you better doggone well believe it is my business and the business of everyone else who has a child in that church.

    • Actually Caitlyn is a Christian but sitting up there on your high horse it’s too hard for you to see and I’m not sure you’d let her keep that title either. Somehow she’s still sinning in your eyes and displeasing God.

      Josh gets a pass on sexual abuse since he repented and is a “real” Christian and hey we’ve all done bad things as a teen. He harmed his sisters and babysitter while Caitlyn became the person she always knew she was. She’s committed no crime or sin but you condemn her.

    • I agree Robert, very well said. I have read all these comments and so far you and Danny Wright are the only ones who are biblically correct and are giving a true Christian perspective on both issues. John absolutely dropped the ball on this one and muddied the waters even more. Thank you. I must say the ignorant remarks and statements made by some of the Christians on this blog are a poor reflection of true Christendom.

      • You and Robert’s defense of the gross mishandling, concealing, and now (as shown in their most recent interview) excusing of the Duggar’s behavior as well as the illegal, deplorable acts of Josh (while you are simultaneously condemning someone who is doing something both not illegal and not prohibited in Scripture, and to their own body, not someone else’s) is the very reason I wrote this piece in the first place.

        Your use of the term “Biblically correct” is perfectly framing my argument. The way you hide behind the Scriptures, conveniently using “repentance” when it allows you to let a fellow believer off the hook, is exactly why people are leaving Christianity. The hypocrisy of your responses unfortunately is the very problem the piece talks about, though I know you cannot see that. You can disagree if you like, but many are telling you on this thread that this inconsistency (the kid gloves with the Duggars and the hard nosed response to Jenner) is reflecting poorly on the faith. If I muddied the waters, you clarified them here.

        I’m glad Robert responded as he did and that you applaud him, because it underscores the fact that there are real Christians out there perpetuating the Duggars and people like them while bullying the LGBT community and feeling Biblically justified to do it.

        Yes there is a “poor reflection of true Christendom” and I’m not sure it’s where you think it is.

    • I am sure with your Masters in Theology at the end of your name you will also appreciate my posting here as reference to Submission to the governing bodies: Romans 13:1-7. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honour to whom honour is owed.”
      Taking it to his church elders, including Minister/Pastor involved/having knowledge (mandatory reporters) did not submit to the law in Arkansas:
      Please also note also Jim Bob Duggar (father of Josh) from 199-2002 was vice chair of the House Corrections and Criminal Law Subcommittee and also participated in the Insurance and Commerce Committee and Judiciary Committee. I would be hard pressed to not think he knew the law, especially when he had made a statement that those who committed rape and incest should be executed when he ran for the Republican Party of Arkansas primary election for the United States Senate in 2002:
      If we try passing laws, supposedly representing scripture, as believers for non-believers to live by then we are forcing by coercion. Jesus and the Apostles did not do this. We are commissioned to spread the Gospel.
      Matthew 22:20And He said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” 21They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” Then He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”
      Peace of Jesus be within you.

  25. Well written. I think we need to concentrate on Loving God, Loving others, and baptizing folks and making disciples of folks. At some point we need to let our children and other brothers and sisters in Christ build their own relationship with HIm, and they must be responsible for their own salvation. It is their journey.
    I wonder how churches got to be so big and so in to membership qualifications and you can join another church, but you have to bring a letter from your old church? Etc…….Just having paid attention to more of this lately seems the paper work and human qualifications sure do make many feel like they have no business being there. ?? Is that what Jesus wanted us to do?
    My neighbor whose son in law is in seminary, said it is a business. I see where it is 2015 and we have buildings, staff, utilities etc. to pay and so budgets etc. must be set up….but has man gone too far in the, you can be a member and you can’t? You can hold this position, and you can’t? ????? 🙂

  26. As a Christian, I have not been sure what to think about either of these issues, so I have not said anything. I feel sympathy with Caitlyn Jenner, and I think we have no place judging people who feel that they are in the wrong body.
    But on the Duggar issue, I have tended to think that the Duggars did more than most parents would to both hold their son responsible, and to make amends to the injured girls. Maybe I’m wrong, but didn’t they actually take their son to the police? I doubt that many parents would have done that. And as I understand it, the Duggars paid for the molested girls to receive counseling. Short of announcing his past sins every time he met someone new, what else do you feel Josh Duggar should have done? I am seriously asking, because I don’t think I am getting the full issue here.

  27. You make some very good points.

    I tweeted my disgust about the Duggar situation and had a rabid fan send me an angry tweet spouting scripture about non-judgment and casting stones. I didn’t bother to respond. I figure anyone who’d take the time to tweet me (and others, I looked at this person’s timeline) in defense of a man who molested 5 girls, is beyond the help 140 characters can provide.

  28. What a read! I didn’t know if I was mourning or cheering .. maybe both. This is so very clear (as usual) – it’s obvious this was thought out (also as usual). I stand in the same place – I found no argument in anything in this post. Though I would say that some of us in the back aren’t pushing …. some of us are going out the back window and returning to their true faith and love in a God that is all loving. Whether we can find a unity is yet to be seen, but I still hold there are enough Christians out there to make a difference in the world. (to me the haters, fear mongers, sexually hungup individuals … I don’t see them as “Christian” .. How can I if they don’t display Christ?
    Thank you for sharing.

  29. You’ve been on a roll recently. And it’s all good. I was raised a mix of Episcopalian and Quaker and am married to a Swedish Covenant girl. All I can say is I hope you are correct and sound in what you say; you feed my spirit.

  30. Pingback: The Duggars, The Jenners, And The Growing Exodus From Christianity | x2plive

  31. the only comment about sexuality that Jesus made was about eunuchs. Some are born and others are made. All LGBTQI are born and come from straight parents. God loves, mankind not so much.

  32. John, I appreciate and agree with the message you are trying to give through this blog. I do believe though, that you are confusing peoples concern over the transgender issue with their condemnation of Bruce/Caitlyn. These things are not one and the same, and I’m afraid your blog works to make them just that.

  33. I admire much of what you write, but feel the need to point out an error: the churches that are “leaking” the most are the “mainline” denominations with progressive social policies; the ones “leaking” the least are the hate-fueled fundamentalist churches who are not only serving those with the philosophy you describe, but are actively recruiting (often successfully) on the basis of their appeal.
    One of the biggest problems of Christianity outside the right-wing environment is their timidity to challenge what has become the public face of their religion. The United Church of Christ challenging North Carolina is not well publicized and is such an unusual event that it leads many of us to conclude that all Christians are more comfortable being associated with the Westboro folks than with the people who disagree with their extreme stances on gays, women’s right, reproductive rights, protection of children, separation of church and state, or much of anything else. If the Duggers, their allies, and Westboro are the only ones speaking out loudly in the name of your religion, you can hardly whine about being misunderstood.


  34. Josh should have been handled through the legal system in the same way that any sexual misconduct is handled. As Christians, we are not above the law. And I try to live my life with my philosophy on life: I was not put on this earth to judge others.

  35. So you noticed that you built a straw man based on a single kid’s tweet, admitted it, but stuck with the post hoc ergo propter hoc that the “fail of Christianity” is related to our (I think you mean the entire Church) meanness and failure to accept what a person did to their own body as worthy of praise. We’re ignoring the toll on Jenner’s family, the self promotion or the fact that the media has jumped on this hyperbole with the Duggar kid as if he were a rapist and a pedophile rather than a kid who felt up his sisters and then felt really bad about it.

    As a Christian I’m not taking responsibility for what you are accusing me of. God loves Bruce Jenner just as much as He loves me. Bruce’s sins are no greater than my own. I never said anything contrary. I don’t understand the celebration of Jenner. Is that wrong? I don’t think so and I’m tired of fellow Christians for trying to shame all of Christianity for not accepting everything that the world thinks we should accept. I’ll take my direction from the Bible, while being careful to remember our greatest commandments… Which begin with loving God with all my heart… And then loving my neighbor as myself.

    • Aha. It’s the old “felt up the sisters ploy.” Everything was okay because his fundie penis was not involved. The fact that their labia were involved was no real issue—what—because they were girls?

      There is no way you people are going to just “write this off and get away with it or just wait and hope that things die down.” You people present yourselves to the world as the rarified and purified pinnacle of all human righteousness on planet Earth—and you think you can just write this off because the labia of the girls were not important. I have some very bad news for you fundie folks—the bigger the self-righteous ass you are—the harder you fall. Your whole faith tradition has a HUGE lemon creme pie on its face, and the Duggars gave it all to you. I want to see if you are consistent with the the traditions, words, and actions of your own faith. As you have laid it out to the people of the world who are not fundies in your merciless and hypercritical judgment of them, we see that your only true, right, and consistent choice (based on your own past behavior and religious patterns) is to TURN NOW AND REND THE DUGGARS. When is it going to happen? This is your specialty, your forte, the thing you are really, really good at doing as a religious tradition. Why don’t you just pick up the old, pointy, rusty rod and impale the Duggars with it like you do all the nonfundie Christians and the nonChristians every day of the week? Many of us out here are waiting to see whether you really mean all that mean-spirited stuff you say to everyone—or whether you’re just a bunch of puffed up bags of hot air.


  36. Pingback: The Duggars, The Jenners, And The Growing Exodus From Christianity - Trending Mama

  37. As Jacques Ellul points out, the Christian faith has gone wrong since the 1st century in so many ways. What was once sacred has been replaced with human cultural things and ideas people value more than what was once sacred, and those cultural things have been sacralized by humans in place of what was once truly sacred. I remain convinced that the current EXODUS from the church is not a flight from the Jesus Christ of the New Testament, meaning the kind of person He showed us that He was, the words He said, and the things He did in his walk on this Earth.

    Never forget this: “Multitudes followed him!!!” These multitudes were not in exodus mode. They were in entrance mode. I am convinced and I remain convinced that people are not fleeing the church today because they are fleeing from Jesus. They are fleeing from the RESACRAL CULTURALIZATION of the church over the past 1900 years—just as Jacques Ellul points out so clearly in his book “The Subversion of Christianity.” I think all churches have made assorted mistakes in resacralization and culturalization, and many of them were made long before we were ever born—hundreds of years ago. We grew up in church just blindly accepting that those earlier resacralizations and culturalizations are “righteous and the way church is.” We thought they were normal. However, as time went by, those of us who the Lord made sensitive enough to see what was really happening began to understand that many things the churches do today are as far from the example, words, and deeds of Jesus Christ as the east is from the west.

    For example, Jesus says a great deal about money and rich people—and none of it good. American culture is a culture that has always valued material wealth, arguably above all other things. The so-called “American dream” has always been to “grow up and become the richest man in America so I can live a life of security and comfort.” This is not a Jesus value. This is an American cultural value, and the modern megachurch is, in my opinion, a monument to that American cultural value. It is a spectacle of wealth on exhibition to all the world. “See us!!! See what great works we build!!! See our wealth!!! See how much God has blessed us!!! See this as the evidence of our manifold righteousness!!!” It is not a celebration of Jesus and his values. It is a “celebration of us and what we have” while a child with no health insurance dies slowly and agonizingly in a bed at a residential home only three blocks down the street from the megachurch because she cannot get the care she needs. The megachurches fail to recognize that before the eyes of Jesus—all of them and their people are in reality paupers dressed in rags. The humility and reality have been lost in a sea of avarice that has been self-stamped “Approved by J.C.”

    That was just one example. There are 1000s of others. Children who actually read their Bibles, take them seriously, have a sensitive heart, and a sound mind see every last one of these inconsistencies—how the church and the people in the church—are not like Jesus—do not have his mind—do not have his heart—and the kids WANT OUT. They KNOW that their churches have gone wrong, their pastors have gone wrong, and their parents have gone wrong. They see everything at church—EXCEPT JESUS.

    Nowhere is this massive inconsistency and hypocrisy more glaringly open and apparent than in the Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches of the United States. It is on display in spades every day of the week for all to see in their pastors and in their people—particularly the old people—and those children who really love Jesus and his ways do not like what they see. They see UNLOVING CHURCHES. They see CHURCHES SOLD OUT TO POLITICS. They see churches that TURN A DEAF EAR TO “THE LEAST OF THESE.” They see churches that value WEALTH AND AVARICE. They see churches that do not FEEL THEIR PAIN. They see churches that do not HEAR THEIR CRIES FOR HELP. They see churches that REFUSE TO LISTEN to whatever is on their minds.

    An acquaintance of mine by the name of Doug Frank, who works at the Oregon Extension, was raised in the Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical milieu. Later in life, he became troubled by just the kinds of things I have said above about the churches of his youth—and he too wanted out. He is still a Christian and works in a Christian college program in Oregon. Frank once said something that has stuck in my mind for many years. Reflecting on the Christian fundamentalist.and conservative evangelical churches where all of these graphic inconsistencies are present, he once said in a book chapter that he wished everyone of these churches, their pastors, and their congregation members would do what the inconsistent words, beliefs, and actions in their churches should compel them to do. They should all fall down on their knees before God and cry out in sack cloth and ashes:


    I am convinced that the real Jesus of the New Testament no longer lives at many of these fundie churches, which are now little more than hives for sorry bastards. “The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost…well…they took the last train to the coast.” Donnie McClean recognized it in 1971, and the children of today recognize it too. They are fleeing from a Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical church culture where they see everything but Jesus at the center of their church. They do not want out because their hearts are heavily laden with American-culture-induced sin, and they do not want to come to church where their sins will be laid bare and reproved—as many fundies would like to deceive themselves into believing. Instead, they see a church that is devoid of Jesus and devoid of his love. Their hearts know the mind of Jesus, the words of Jesus, the love of Jesus, the ways of Jesus, the heart of Jesus, and the deeds of Jesus, They see little of it in their church—and in so doing—they see a fundie church that has become SIN ITSELF.

    I share the perspective of the Jesus-enlightened people who are abandoning these churches. Join us at the “Flee from Christian Fundamentalism” blog: Go find Jesus and his love. Find a new church that puts the true persons of the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit at the center of the church—and let it all flow out to the world in REAL LOVE. If you cannot find a church like this—then go plant one.

  38. The Duggars are so twisted, if not downright evil, as to be beyond comprehension.

    In Duggar world, it’s simply “common sense” to keep a trans person out of a public restroom. However, knowing that your 14/15yo young man has/is molesting your 5yo daughter, and then allowing him to continue not just as a member of your household, but to subject your 5yo daughter to the constant presence of her attacker … well, it just the most effin’ sick thing that these so-called Christians could ever do. I only wish they could all be tried and jailed for the CRIMES they’ve committed.

  39. I wish I could fist pump this entire post into oblivion. All of your posts speak so eloquently to the thoughts and feelings I have towards Christianity and my own frustrations with it (as someone who’s been a Christian for practically all my life).

    Your blog honestly has given me hope and motivation to hold onto the remainder of my beaten, worn and sometimes seemingly threadbare faith that I have left with the reminder that not all Christians are like ‘that’.

    Thank you.

    Thank you.

    Thank you.

  40. “…too many Christians are far more outraged at a person altering her own body, than one assaulting another’s.”

    I do wonder if it’s because one of these people is seen as “one of our own”, and the other person is “one of them”. It makes it worse when “ours” has a high profile and is seen as a christian ‘leader’ of sorts. When we live life according to who’s ‘us’ and who’s ‘them’, we have no choice – our team has to win!

    I long for the day we start living the way Jesus showed us to, seeing all people as equally worthy of love (and equally in need of rescue). Until then, we will continue in our (religious) tribal mentality – always defending ‘our own’ and condemning the ‘other’.

    • Many years ago in a place where I worked, a new employee started work in our office. Her last name was so distinctive and rare that few would ever miss seeing a possible association. She knew that. One day she broke down and told us that she was terrified that the people in her new workplace would find out that her brother had gone through sex change therapy to become a woman. Apparently,a few years before, the American tabloids had gotten a hold of his story and made a huge public deal out of it. It was not so much that she was ashamed of her brother (although I think she was), but she was fearful that our company and its employees would punish her for what her brother had done—if they found out. She was not afraid of the Beer Bubba Freddie types on the streets. I think she was frightened out of her wits about what people like these people would do to her:

      The question I would like to ask the fundies here is this:

      Why do you never worry about or be concerned about the image of evil that you are showing off to the rest of the world so clearly and so plainly on so many different fronts that an ordinary woman in an office is scared witless that you are going to punish HER for what her BROTHER has done? You must surely know that your words and actions are having this kind of impact on millions of innocent people. How do you still sleep at night—or are you so high on your spiritual horse that you just do not give a shit anymore?

  41. I appreciate what you have to say here and it is true. I’ve been in a same sex relationship for ten years now although becoming a christian when I was younger. It is a huge battle, devastating internal battle. I’ve tried to go back to church many times but can’t. Every time I’ve heard from christian groups that we are- pedophiles, should be killed, destroy America, need to be exported, hedonistic, wants to destroy families/marriage, etc,… how can I go back to that? The politicizing of certain sins (over heterosexual fornication, divorce, adultery), the hypocrisy, the distortion of identity and worth for everyone by certain groups is not what I want to go back to in the middle of my own intense battle.

    God’s grace in the Duggar story is not about the Duggars, it is about truth and humility. By Gods grace… when that no longer applies to everyone as they are right where they are, it doesn’t apply to anyone. When a person can stand up and say, I am the reason, me, he had to die… that is a clearer understanding of grace and the gospel.

    • That was the most poignant post I think I have ever read. The disconnect in my opinion is not with God,or a higher power, name it whatever you need, but instead it is with man-made religion……that totally neglects the teaching of Jesus. I am not gay. I do have a gay child. BUT long before I was blessed with that child I, like you, had an issue with “church”. I am 65. And years ago I felt my faith was out of sync with mainstream “religion” Now I have no doubts. I have no need to believe that I have to be any thing other than I am, to be the best I can be, to be in the good graces of God .I wish this to you.

      • Cgar, I was surprised to get response here since I asked John to take the comment down lol. Your response is kind and I understand what you are saying appreciate it! It is hard to distinguish the difference between church and politics these days. Please John, remove my previous post. There is no other way to contact you that I found on your site. Thanks!

  42. 1 Corinthians 5
    1 Corinthians 41 Corinthians 6

    1 Corinthians 5 King James Version (KJV)

    5 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

    2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

    3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,

    4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

    5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

    6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

    7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

    8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

    9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

    10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

    11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

    12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?

    13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

    King James Version (KJV)

    • In the future, please engage in the conversation. Anyone can post isolated quotes from Scripture. It is a cheap tactic, one that does nothing to thoughtfully participate in honest, open discussions, or to explain your perspective on complex issues. If you have commentary on why these quotes are relevant, then offer it.

      Thank you.

      • And seriously you wrote that post without any knowledge of that CHAPTER….not isolated scripture there is an entire bloody chapter on incest…likely more if i looked hard enough…conveniently it also tells them…..stuff you im not interested in what the pagans are doing they arent my problem look at cleaning your own house which is so much dirtier

        • You can drop the whole Book of Romans here, without context and your perspective on the verses they aren’t helpful. Posting Scripture without commentary is an easy way to avoid discussion. Anyone can copy and paste the Bible. We’re trying to have conversation here.

      • really? doesnt look like it….just scrolling through to find this one to read the response all I saw was you attacking….it looks like the whole point of the post was to Bait fundamentalist christians not to actually discuss the circumstances and the bibles take on the whole situation, nor how write or wrong any of the parties are in taking their positions…

        FFS I actually AGREE with your position and posted scripture which SUPPORTS the position and you give me shit for doing it?!

        • I asked you not to post Scripture without context. I do that every time someone posts that way because I want people to know that this space is for conversation, which means including the Scripture with the reasons they include it, otherwise we get Scripture quote battles which shut down conversation. Whether you agree with me or not isn’t the point. Many people don’t read the Bible or know the context. Thanks.

      • In others words you want everyone’s opinions except God’s. If Jesus was replying to you opinion, He would probably start the same way he replied to Satan as he was being tempted… ” It is written…” and began to quote him scripture. Why is it good enough for Jesus but not good enough for you? Could it be that you don’t like the truth because it goes against your opinion? I know Satan didn’t like it at all because it kept him from accomplishing his agenda, which was to twist the Word of God and destroy Jesus in process.

      • Its directly related to the situation…..did you read it it entirely supports your stance in this circumstance……or would you have preferred the NIV? If so the chapter and verse was included for you to find it in a translation you prefer….

        It basically says stop worrying what non christians are doing they arent our responsibility. Be more concerned with what is happening within the church. Your sins are far worse than the pagans. You have a son sleeping with his fathers wife and yet you do nothing to deter in fact you even celebrate it….cast him out from amongst you.

        I didnt write to you saying to keep yourselves away from the sin of the world for to do so you would have to completely leave the world…..but to keep yourselves away from the sin that is amongst you…….

        Rough translation….one bad apple spoils the bussel

  43. “…bastardized, counterfeit version of him.” Exactly what so-called “Christianity” has become. And exactly why people are leaving that false god in droves!! Thanks John, for being a Christian (in the good sense) voice of reason.

  44. i just think that COMPARING a 14 year old’s behavior to a 65+ year old man is not quite what we want to be doing- it’s apples and oranges. and I don’t judge the behavior of either- That’s God’s job

  45. As a child, I was repeatedly molested and raped by a male night nurse in a County Hospital, I told my mother who did not believe me. The head nurse did believe me, and it turned out that the nurse had been released from another hospital for the same offense. NOW–where is my justice, no help was given, no criminal charges, no nothing!!
    The Duggers believed the children, therapy given, the child was taken out of the home, the records were sealed, people moved on, who are the media that they can pass judgement on anyone. I have heard comments that you can’t be good parents to 17 children. May I point out some cannot be good parents to one child. Even as a public figure, they have a right to an opinion, don’t like them, don’t watch.
    My opinion on Bruce Jenner (since everyone has one) is that I will miss Bruce, liked him. I am happy for him, but I don’t need this in my face 24/7, so I don’t watch.

    • I’m very sorry to hear of what happened to you as a child. Abuse is a terrible thing and rarely is it ever handled properly. I hope and pray to God above that you’ve somehow found healing.

      Your abuse case was handled absolutely abysmally (and it was), but that does not mean an only slightly less badly handled case is OK. Both Josh Duggar and your abuser deserve punishment that they did not get.

      All abuse cases should start with the victim being taken seriously, be investigated to the fullest extent possible, and culminate in justice for the abuser and healing resources for the victim. Both you and those victimized by Josh Duggar were grossly wronged, even if the victims of Josh Duggar got the first part of that and you didn’t.

      It’s great that the media takes the side of abuse victims.

      I know at least having your abuser recognized by your mother would’ve helped you and mourn that we live in a world where abuse victims of all kinds are routinely doubted and ignored and just having your abuser recognized (without him or her being punished) is a significant hurdle.

      • Thank you for the kind words, however, the damage was done. No one can understand this, you learn to move on, but why can no one realize, you can’t move on. What is it about religion(we were Catholic) that we can’t talk about this, can’t teach our men that this never goes away. Putting this man in jail, having my mother recognize the act does not make it go away. Don’t get me wrong, I have done wonderful things in my life, and I don’t sit having pity parties. I am not saying this right, but somewhere in the recesses of your mind it is always there. Therapy is also not a help–I have had the best–it is not something you want to hang on to forever, it just is. Ask anyone who has been raped, their life changes,.

  46. Very well said! This is from a protestant-Catholic (married into with first wife who is deceased)-protestant. Let’s just call all of that Christian. When I remarried, we tried different churches. We thought we found one which is a “mega” church in this community. Periodically, I would hear things that I felt to be untrue and very counter-Christian. For example: All of those of the Jewish faith will be going to hell. What?? Anyone that is not baptized in Christ will not make it to heaven. There were other comments but the final straw was from the senior pastor who said, “The earth is 6000 years old and I can prove it.” They had also brought some scientific guy in who was making statements that supposedly disproved all of what science has shown over the years. The dinosaurs did not exist! Carbon 14 dating is terribly flawed! And on and on and on… Needless to say we left and began our search again. We found a Methodist church we really like. It has a “churchy” atmosphere, the pastor is great and the people genuine. A refreshing difference! My problem is that I have been turned off by organized religion and I find it hard to make the effort to attend church on any regular basis. I struggle with this. I know it hurts my wife because she was raised in a church where her dad was the pastor (he also is a career ex-marine; what a combination!). She faithfully listens to a minister on television on Sunday and also reads her Bible daily. She does not wear her faith on her sleeve at all. She is private about it for the most part. I have not abandoned my faith but I keep it private too. So, you are hearing from someone who, being 67 years old, has lost confidence in organized religion and definitely is tired of hearing the judgmental, holier than thou Christians. How more two faced can you get! Enough of my ramblings and confession. Keep saying what needs to be said!

  47. Beautifully written and so, so right. I am one of those that have left The Church and while I hold firmly to many of the tenets of my faith, I don’t associate myself with the word “Christian”. Thank you for so concisely articulating some of the problems that I, and people like me, have with the current state of “Christianity”.
    (And as an advocate for mental health awareness, I’m just going to point out that the use of the word “schizophrenic” in describing moral standards can be perceived as offensive.)

  48. Lots of people are more concerned with what people think rather than what God thinks. Sounds like you’re one of them. No sin should be condoned… All sin needs repentance. God doesn’t care what people think about organized religion; He just wants them to follow Him. And your statement that says you would rather people outside the faith reject Jesus, clearly shows you do now have God’s interests at heart.

  49. Don’t be too quick to condemn anything under the term “Christianity”. You said, “And we wonder why Christianity is leaking so horribly from every crevice, why so many churches are becoming barren ghost towns and dusty museums, why organized religion is on virtual life support in America?” What do you say about In Touch, a born again Baptists Ministry for reporting this case about Josh Duggar so that it gets exposed? No, I am not wondering why “Chistianity” is leaking so horribly, because I know what Christianity is, you don’t. Not all organized religions who claim to be Christians are Christ followers. Little knowledge is dangerous. But seek and you shall find what will answer many of your questions about today’s people leaving their traditional Christian churches. Know who Christ is and then look around you to find who are the true followers of Christ. They are growing in number but they are not in what you consider “organized religions.” They call themselves “born again Christians”. Listen to them and you will find why they call themselves “born again” and why they are growing. Here are born again scientists:; and here is Dave Hunt…exposing a church denomination that claims it is a Christian religion but on the contrary: Bless you in your self-directed effort to say what is needed to be said.


  50. First of all, you are doing the exact same thing that you are mad about this social media Christian of doing. I got to the end of this article and all you give us is that you think this “Christian” on social is a “sinner”? News flash… everyone is a sinner according to the Bible, except Jesus of course. Is calling this Christian all you have to communicate? Does this kind of writing make you feel better about your own humanity and sin? I would encourage those who are truly wanting to read people who have wrestled with issue from a biblical standpoint to read @JohnPiper or @JackieHillPerry. If I were a young or uneducated Christ follower, I would have left this article thinking repentance… even sin were not important concepts to concern myself with.

  51. As an evangelical Christian, I have been appalled at what some of my fellow believers have said regarding the Duggar and Jenner issues. We should be outraged that such a public family (who willingly invited us into their home via reality tv) portrayed themselves in such a way and as the facts unfolded…blamed everyone but the molester. I pray that this behavior trait was counseled in such a way that there has not or will not be a repeat offense. I’ve seen people call it “normal sexual curiosity”….a fifteen year told does have that…but I have never seen where touching your sisters or someone at the age of five is “normal.” I’ve read where other parents have said they would have protected their son as well….this parent, of a son, says foul. I would be the first one to take my son in for legal processing. I say that with conviction and without any wavering. I would do it because I love him enough to stop it at the first offense and I love my neighbor enough to stop it from happening to anyone else. Just as Christ disciplines us….we are called to show that same love to our own children. I cry foul over the timeframe upon which it was all reported. At the end of the day, their are victims everywhere in this…but I can assure you that Josh is not one of those victims. Consequences are not fun….even when brushed under ever rug around….truth always finds a way out. What has equally concerned me about this story is where it is based….I am from there. Just this past year, a young man was convicted of RAPE for touching three girls. Granted, he was over eighteen at the time, but he came from a strong Christian home, was well liked and a great looking kid. RAPE. So, that double standard is alive and well….that concerns me. That is not a judicial system when we pick and choose who gets what standard applied.

    As far as Jenner goes….Don’t call him a hero..other than that….it’s between him and God and I can assure you that God loves him/her in spite of whatever Bruce may do surgically. Just don’t call him a hero.

    We, as Christians, have to stop picking and choosing which sin to stone at the town square based on which parts of the Bible we want to enforce. We are called to be Christ-like…and while we struggle daily and fall into pits of failures….we are His…and He weeps for all our sins…especially those against children.

  52. As a Christian minister, liberal hippy and former extended family member of Caitlyn, as well as the father of a trans daughter, I find the sentiments echoed in your blog to be very insightful and wonderfully uplifting. Too often we have the vision of Christ as being a Christ of love and reconciliation have sat quiet while others have hijacked their view of a more judgemental and puritanical God and pushed it as Gospel. I am not saying they are wrong necessarily so much as short-sighted and unwilling to wrestle with the complicated and nuanced questions that being a faithful follower requires. Faith that cannot change or be questioned isn’t faith in my opinion. It’s just memorization and brain washing.

    Thank you again for your thoughts. I look forward to reading more of your blog.

    • Has it ever occurred to you that Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism arose at a time in American history when money barons had a hard-hearted lock on the United States and poor, ignorant,educated people were reeling under the thumb of the Dark Lords of American business. Much has been made historically and sociologically about the first fundie masses being the economic bottom feeders in American life. Sometimes an angry and oppressed people need an angry and vengeful God who will step in one day and slay their tormentors. So, what if you could found a new American religious revolution that held out just that exact promise to the bottom feeders—and held out one more promise—you and you alone are God’s sole people on the entire Earth. So, you no longer have to worry about being a bottom feeder (even though you really are) because God makes you a top feeder above Mr. Rockefeller, Mr. Mellon, Mr. Carnegie, and all of your other oppressors. So no, we do not want to have anything to do with this God or love and reconciliation. We want and need an angry and vengeful God that will kick ass for us and make us feel more important in the overall scheme of things than we really are right now..

  53. Pingback: The Duggars, The Jenners, And The Growing Exodus From Christianity | losing my {reli}ginity

  54. Josh Duggar was 15 at the time of the incident. First of all, a minor is not a pedophile. Secondly, I don’t tell people about the time I shot out a window with a BB gun when I was 15, or the time I stole a pack of cigarettes, etc… The Duggar family did more than most on reconciling the issue. They are not obligated to the public to air dirty laundry. According to the bible, God forgives and forgets, and we are commanded to do this also.

    I’m not going to say anything against Mr. Jenner. I’m going to speak against others claiming he’s a hero. I didn’t see anyone’s lives saved, or sacrifice being made. He had a want, had the funds to do it, and then did it. To make a big deal about one man’s issues over another’s is judgement and that is not the cause that Christ calls us to.

    • “To make a big deal about one man’s issues over another’s is judgement and that is not the cause that Christ calls us to.”

      No one in the fundie circle gives Oprah, Obama, and a cast of 1000s a break—but the pedophile gets a break because he stands within the fundie circle. So, it is not what you do or do not do in life that counts, just that you stand within the right circle with the right people who believe the only right things.


  55. The Duggars are doing what has been done for generations, burying the molestation/incest, so that the family continues to look good to the community and the world, this has been the practice forever, it is time to open up this dirty little secret, for the sake of the ones who are abused! And to get them them the help they desperately need, until this family denial is brought out into the light and made clear, it will continue, I was abused by my father and nothing was ever said or done about it as he was a very much liked man in our community, I went on to my own therapy as an adult and then became a professional counselor, and worked with adults who were abused as children, the Duggar incident is just the tip of the iceberg, it goes much, much deeper than that! When are we going to stop this horrendous abuse of one out of three girls in our country and boys about one out of four,
    It has to be brought out and addressed and corrected, if we are going to have
    A safe childhood for our children,
    Shirley Bailes

  56. John, I do not know you (yet) and have no idea how you entered my faith journey. You sent me a copy of Grief Valley and it has been a powerful statement for me and others. Your reflections on our current discussion of who is a Christian and who owns “the brand” are right on target with conversations I’ve been having in eastern NC. You and a few other commentators have given me the strength to say that there is a place on the continuum between non-believers and conservative Christians for those of us who profess and practice what is derided by both “theological bookends”. This is tearing my family, my neighborhood, and my state of NC apart. Keep it coming and I’ll keep sharing.

  57. While I appreciate your article and stance on the topic, reading the disparate comments just proves that becoming an Atheist was the best decision I have made. If all the professed Christians can’t agree then how can anyone understand or accept. Also from childhood I saw my Christian friends misbehave and then repent, as if it was an open pass to do injustice, while I strived to live clean and be good everyday because I knew in my heart it was right. Now I am proud and happy to be rid of the hypocrisy that is religion.

  58. The only real issue I have with your post is how you say that the Duggars concealed this. What else were they supposed to do? Were they supposed to air their old dirty laundry to the world – especially when the issue was investigated by the police, a report filed (which is where the knowledge of this came from BTW), and he was removed from the home and sent to counseling after it happened again? You do know that his victims forgave him right? What he did was wrong – there is no argument about that. What this exposure did was not only take down the family as a whole but also re-exposed his victims to something that should have stayed in the past. All over some corrupt policewoman trying to make a buck by releasing juvenile records that by law are supposed to be sealed.

    As far as Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner – I really could not care less what he/she is doing with his/her life. I wish him/her nothing but the best but It’s quite frankly none of my business – just like the issue with the Duggars is none of my business – but since it’s out in public and has been made everyone’s business I’ll express my thoughts on issues.

  59. Reckoning Bruce Jenner, Josh Duggar, and lack of compassion as a reason to leave the church! As you say, it’s a complex issue to be sure. It’s obviously important to get this worked out in one’s heart – especially in today’s America. There was a case in Minneapolis recently where a school director took a group of kids to an adult novelty (porn) shop for a “sex education field trip.” The group from Gaia Democratic School included boys and girls as young as eleven. No parental consent was sought or given – in fact they weren’t even notified. These were not necessarily religious parents. However, when they found out, they were livid! Most people think a line had been crossed. But was their outrage justified? Shouldn’t they just have compassion and forgiveness for this progressively minded educator and the people running and using the services of porn shops? No. They are mad as hell and they’re doing more than speaking up. Now I personally can’t imagine being Josh Duggars parents, or the parents of his babysitter, and being less outraged than these Minneapolis parents – and at the same time being just as heart-broken because their own son is the perpetrator, (even if he was just fourteen.) One would expect a demand for justice along with demonstrated reform.
    But what is so interesting about the Gaia school case is that it clearly demonstrates something else. It wasn’t just a severe lack of judgment, it was a betrayal of trust. The parents right to morally direct their kids in matters of sexuality was revoked by this “teacher.” This is scary ground for most parents. And religious people have similar fears about what their children are exposed to when the media parades Bruce Jenner’s sex change as heroic. It is invading on what most Christian parents deem to be sacred ground – directing their kids moral upbringing. Why should the news be in the business of leading a moral dialog? (One could say that all we need to do is turn off the TV – but that’s a bit naïve.)
    The truth is that the Bible does not say nothing about the type of choice Bruce Jenner has made. And most Christians consider the Bible to be their primary source of faith and morality. So people of faith can and will take issue… and they do. And often times those responses are driven by fear; fear for our culture, fear for our community, fear for our families and their future, fear for change. Truly, our responses should not be driven by fear. That’s when things tend to get ugly. But I am not held to account for someone else. I am held to account for my response. And the Bible doesn’t say nothing about that either. If I am right, my response should always be driven by God’s compassion. But how is that defined? Doesn’t that depend on my particular situation?
    Let’s say I am a father with a number of children and an older one gets caught up in drugs and alcohol. I provide treatment options for him but he refuses. I see that his actions and attitudes are affecting his younger siblings. My compassionate response isn’t to “understand” him or woo him out of his stupor. My best and most compassionate response for him and his siblings is to inform the police and kick him out of the house! He can be welcomed back when he rehabilitates.
    Compassion often has little to do with how we feel about a person. It’s about a commitment to “be” for that person’s best interest. Loving someone is usually a lot messier than it first appears. And it is a very real thing that we can love someone deeply and yet hate the decisions they’re making. And sometimes love requires that we tell them – even if they might hate us in return. That’s why Jesus can chase the money-changers out of the temple with a whip, forgive the adulterous woman, reward a Roman centurion’s faith, and not follow after someone who has decided to walk away. Compassion can’t be put in box anymore than He could be.
    One problem in America is that everyone’s got a smart phone and a not-so-smart opinion. And for some reason we feel obligated to give it, (which, of course, happens from the pulpit as well.) But giving it doesn’t necessarily equal compassion, which ever “side” we take! Real compassion is extended at arms length or closer and we don’t have that privilege with Jenner. So unless we’re in his “personal community,” we’ve got no skin in the game. We may say that we support his decision – but we don’t know him or his situation. We don’t know what this is doing to him or his family. It might also be true that Bruce never had a friend’s ear to bend or a relationship to Christ that might have made his choice different. For our part, compassion may just require that we remain silent beyond what we know. And what we know is that God does love Bruce Jenner – a lot more than we do. And this applies to Josh Duggar as well.
    Maybe it should be asked, does anyone really want to make peace with these issues? In America we are free to draw our moral lines in the sand no matter what our faith. We are free to express, discuss, and argue till we are blue in the face. Especially when we don’t have to do it face to face with our life on the line. Bruce and his family have to do it with their lives on the line. Josh and his family/victims have to do it with their lives on the line. The rest of us have our own problems to work out. Sometimes I feel like all of our varied, multi-faceted culture gets rope-ulated into these battles by a media that has no stake in it except to get us all stirred up and divided. We take the bait. It’s like we can’t wait to get onto the battlefield and draw the lines and take our positions and start lobbing our bombs and bloodying each others noses! And for what? To see who has more bragging rights about compassion or righteousness?

  60. The institutional church and Christianity as we currently know it are doomed. Young people, in particular, are voting with their feet and leaving religion in droves. It’s only a matter of when, not if, religion will crumble under the weight of its own inauthenticity. The blatant hypocrisy, the lack of critical thinking, the blind adherence to dogma at the expense of human decency, the homophobia/transphobia/misogny that is so rampant in right wing religion, the religious resistance to scientific fact–all of these factors and more are contributing to the quickening demise of religion in general. And frankly, I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. I’m a lot more concerned about a real relationship with God than I am about religion or any church. If religion withers away, perhaps we can develop something new and infinitely better to take its place. Maybe we can get back to communing with God instead of letting a monolothic, dogmatically rigid institution tell us how to live. Wouldn’t that be nice?

  61. Pingback: Defend your God | The Unlikely Spiritualist

  62. I absolutely LOVE this line

    “The bottom line, is that this week too many Christians are far more outraged at a person altering her own body, than one assaulting another’s. ”

    It’s so true. Everything is so off balance with the church. Their response to marriage equality is, of course, another example of this. There is no way allowing same sex couples to marry is in any way an attack on traditional marriage. Christians are not being told to marry people of the same sex. They can still think and act in accordance with their beliefs. What they can’t do is dictate to the rest of society how they must think and act. Same sex marriage does not harm anybody. I honestly believe a murderer responsible for killing multiple people would receive a greater welcome in most churches than a practicing homosexual who harms no one. Simply because the murderer has ‘repented’… even though repentance does not mean that s/he won’t act on their murderous impulses ever again.

    The fact is, these days we have a lot of what some call Christianists – They are not so much followers of Christ as followers of the CHURCH and the TRADITIONS of that church. And they have very little compassion for anyone who does not believe as they do. Sadly, SOME Christians have become like the pharisees Jesus addressed in Matthew 23:27-28: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

  63. Here’s what’s really grating me: we know for a fact that it’s a sin to violate another person’s body. What we DON’T know is how God feels about gender dysphoria, an officially recognized, legitimate condition acknowledged by psychologists. There is virtually nothing in the bible that addresses gender identity, which is a separate issue from sexuality, and the amount of confidence I’ve seen about this condition that many people know little about is astonishing.

  64. This morning a Facebook friend I really admire and respect posted that we shouldn’t “feel bad” for Josh Duggar’s wife because she married a person who admitted that he had fondled his sisters. This really troubled me a lot. (Especially as the person who’d posted it is so kind and compassionate.) Did he really mean to imply that forgiveness is not possible for someone who did something reprehensible? That the woman should be punished for the sins of her husband?

    Then someone posted a suggestion to read this article, and I feel like I’m seeing something even more frightening. I feel that you’ve not only written that Josh Duggar has no hope for forgiveness, but also that a person who believes forgiveness is a reality of Christianity, a reality for all sinners who repent, misrepresents Christianity. If that is the case, how did Paul, who was complicit in MURDER become and apostle of Christ? All of us are sinners, and the beautiful reality of forgiveness is what Christianity is.

  65. The Duggar family USE “Jesus” as an excuse and use *cough* Chrisitan ideology to make money. Period. They are vile, vicious and the axis of evil in what is literally sending our country’s people backward rather then moving forward. This family uses religious ideology to spew hatred and bigotry. What’s worse are the Duggar humpers. The ones who stand by them!
    This family is vermin in every sense of the word. The only one who will judge that sorry excuse of a human, Josh is MY Hipster Jesus: My blog post explains it!
    As far as Caitlin Jenner goes. Look, I feel the bravest transgender people are the ones who do so silently or the ones who live out in the boonies of our country and are bullied and treated horribly. THEY are the gender heros. There is just something “off” about the way Caitlin Jenner is approaching her transition. It just reeks of “Kardashian” publicity to me. Again, this is just my opinion, but I feel that Jenner is using this as a publicity thing for her own self gain and just doesn’t seem trustworthy to me!
    Great post by the way. Thanks for the great read!

  66. There’s a significant difference between the 14 year old Josh Duggar and the 65 year old Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. For one thing, one is a minor and the other an adult, and a senior citizen at that.

  67. Making a statement like this. I’m not sure exactly how we can recover a corporate faith that consistently does more good than harm in the world” is not factual and is the kind of “painting with one brush” that is as harmful as all of the flaws that you keep pointing out about Christianity. I agree with many of your points, but emphatically not on this. You are painting Christianity with one brush. Just one case in point…I have a friend who is an author who travels and writes about many international disasters and ministries. She said on one of her trips that a fellow secular reporter commented that “it’s really interesting that in all of her reporting, it is Christian’s that are the largest, fastest and most generous group of people, and the staggering ratio that she saw in Christians leading and benefitting this charge and cause was staggering and asstounding. That is just one example of the “Christian community that you attack, following the teachings of Christ. Make no mistake, at statement like this is an attack! I hope in future you take this into account when you make such a blanket statement.

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