To date LCC has continued its policy of silence – acting like the events that led to CEF / DIL didn’t happen or doing anything to console the victimes. Synod even allowed Pr Ruf – a convicted criminal – to receive a Call to another church. Ordinarily that’s only allowed for clergy members in good standing. If that’s the case, then Synod – the Board, the President, the Regional Pastors, and all the other members of this Synod 2.0 structure – appear to be fine with breaching the Synodical requirement that a steward of the mysteries of Christ absolutely must be faithful.
Or – maybe they don’t have the tools to rightly deal with issues like this. A fundamental problem with the structure of Synod is that the only available responses to errant behavior is suspension, expulsion, or a stern talking-to. I’ve also seen shunning and shaming used even though they are abusive in nature. Given these kinds of limitations, decisively dealing with even the most minor of intractable issues becomes challenging if not impossible. Without experience dealing with more minor issues, synod personnel are without the necessary personal tools to deal with problems that have clear-cut responses that require putting the good of the membership ahead of collegiality and friendships that may span decades.
Whatever the case may be, in the months since my last article I’ve looked at other incidents of church abuse for cases where justice was found and where it was not. The one thing these incidents seem to have in common is the faith-organization’s inability to hold anyone to account. For a variety of reasons institutional authorities confuse the good of the institution ahead of the good of the mission, and sacrifice the good of the victims on the altar of “appearances”, or whitewash the most henious of acts because the alleged perpetrator is “charming”, “gifted”, or is a member of an “in” group, or offer any of a myriad of other excuses in order to avoid doing what needs to be done.
In the cases where the victims found justice, the vast majority of times it was from the left-hand of kingdom of God’s authority via the secular government. Even then the path is long and hard, and does not end with a “guilty” verdict.
Following are tweets I found of one woman’s expereince finding justice and her state of mind afterwards.
In closing I’ll emphasize that – no matter how unfaithful man (and Synod) may be – God is always faithful, just, and righteous. God is where we should put our faith and trust in regardless of how badly the church may fail us.
Update 2021-02-17: Revised the last paragraph for clarity