John 9 narrates the story of Jesus healing a man born blind on a Sabbath, challenging the rules of the Pharisees. The Pharisees' refuse to acknowledge their sin and Jesus makes clear their guilt remains as long as they think they see but don't.
Imprecatory Praying: It is a hard topic for Christians to wrap their heads around. When I normally speak of "imprecatory praying" I give qualifications. But Nehemiah, in a display of raw emotion, simply asks the Lord to destroy this enemy.
Christian leaders struggle maintaining their faith and integrity and King Asa of Judah is a good case study. Asa's godly leadership devolved into toxicity when he refused to trust God, instead depending on human support. Leaders need to constantly rely on God, acknowledge His paramount role, and heed advice from subordinates for continuous growth and strong leadership.
The book, "The Toxic Boss Survival Guide," by Chappelow, Ronayne, and Adams, offers strategies for dealing with harmful bosses. It distinguishes between merely "bad" bosses and genuinely "toxic" ones who intentionally cause excessive harm serving their own agenda. The impact of toxic bosses includes increased staff turnover, loss of productivity, and stifling of creativity.
A blogger argues that the focus on bad pastors and their abusive leadership in the Christian community might have been overdone and could overshadow the more common existence of good pastors. I disagree. Churches and Christians are called to judge inside their ranks and expose pastoral abuse when it occurs. The Bible calls for greater accountability for church leaders and warns against tolerating abusive practices in leadership.
Those who make themselves complicit with toxic leadership will often do so due to fear of loss of prominence or privilage. A great example is found in Esther's story.
My mother defended me always. She taught her children to defend the vulnerable all her days.
The article deliberates on the topic of abusive leaders who learned harmful behaviors from childhood. While some might give such individuals a pass due to their upbringing, the emphasis is that everyone is accountable for their actions, irrespective of their background. Abusers hold responsibility for their actions and must seek repentance and transformation. Christian teachings underscore this principle of individual accountability, urging people to reject oppressive behaviors, even if learned from authority figures or role models.
When Rachel Black was struggling to make sense of her abusive pastor, there was no Christianity Today Mars Hill podcasts and seemingly no books on how an employee in a church is to respond to such disregard. All she knew was the "hairs on her arms stood up" as she sought to understand her boss.
She knew that God was calling her to be a missionary. His seeming commitment to Christ and a future as a missionary "touched" her and they were married. But he can no longer harm Lisa.
It was a very good two years working for a mission college. Now they grieve the loss of what they had in Africa.
It is not unusual for those who have faced off with toxic leadership in the church to turn from the church. If you want to find a church of shalom, here are some hints.