A Committee of Correspondence

A Committee of Correspondence

Our Culture of Corruption: Part I

God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

~ 1 John 1: 5 -10

When we were a LOT younger and still rather naive, one set of our parents was required to deal with a scandal within their church. It seemed that their married priest was involved with a married parishioner.

When the husband of the “wandering” parishioner brought the problem to our parents in their role as lay leadership in that church, our parents and the rest of the lay leadership were forced to confront the priest. Our parents were hoping and praying for repentance on the parts of the people involved in adultery. In addition, our parents were praying that forgiveness from the injured spouses would allow the families involved to heal and, eventually, even thrive once again in God’s love and mercy.

But none of that was to be. The priest and his paramour decided that their “love” was far more important to them than prior covenants with God and their spouses. Even the emotional well-being of their several children left them unmoved. Almost certainly, the members of the congregation didn’t even make honorable mention in the “factors than need to be considered” category.

The adulterous couple did not appreciate having the error of their ways pointed out to them. This was especially true when, as was inevitable, the matter became known to the church’s entire congregation, all of whom seemed to recall that Scripture is very clear about God’s stand on adultery. To wit: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” It is, after all, number seven in God’s Big Ten and does not provide any room for “interpretation.”

We told you we were naive, but we weren’t that naive. So, the part of this saga that surprised us was what happened when the congregation took the matter to the Bishop. The Bishop did remove the priest as rector of that parish, which was what everyone was expecting to happen. But then, the Bishop gave the priest another congregation in a small town within the diocese. Eventually our eyebrows settled back down to their normal positions on our faces and our jaws snapped shut; but we still couldn’t help querying God: “Okay, Lord, we don’t get it. What’s going on?” That is how naive we were.

Shortly after our request to God for enlightenment, one of us began making trips to the airport every Friday evening to collect a weary traveler. And, on each and every Friday evening for months on end, we were given Divine Instruction into “what was going on.” In short, we witnessed the Bishop, who was more than middle-aged AND married, standing right there in the airport kissing, with great gusto and absolute disregard for anyone else who might also be in the airport, a woman who was most definitely NOT HIS WIFE. (For those of you who wonder if she might have been his sister or some other sort of relative — as if that might mitigate the circumstances somehow — we feel we must point out that if she HAD been, then we would have been in even deeper do-do than we already thought we were in. Trust us.)

When Paul enumerated the qualities a Bishop must possess in 1 Timothy 3, he begins: “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife . . .” It doesn’t require a Bible scholar to know that the “Bishop” in the airport was on mighty shaky ground. The “what was going on” was now very apparent. The church was corrupt at its top and that corruption was thereby allowed to flow throughout the church’s heirarchy. There is, unfortunately, more than one meaning for the old saying, “S*** flows down hill.”

When his wife finally threw in the towel and divorced the philandering “Bishop,” he married the other woman, who, as it turned out, was a director of Planned Parenthood. To add further injury to injury, that “Bishop” subsequently attended pro-abortion rallies and lobby groups, always being sure to wear his Cathedral-purple shirt and backward collar. We know this because, of course, that “Bishop” made a wonderful photo-op for the main stream media forces of darkness.

We are pretty sure there is a ring in Hell with his name inscribed on it. But maybe not. The good news, the Gospel, is that if that “Bishop” repented and sought God’s face then God would have forgiven him and he might actually be in Heaven by the grace of God and because of the pardon that Jesus purchased for him when He died upon the cross.

However, as Jesus states, in the event that “Bishop” did not repent: “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6; Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2)

The Lord holds those in authority over others to a far HIGHER STANDARD. The reason for this lies in the multiplicative factor that authority grants.

It took quite a while, but that “Bishop” was eventually removed as Bishop. He was removed because he was caught with his hand in the till. Ironic, no? But there are folks in the Church who, just like folks in the world, care much more about money than about any pesky spiritual and moral issues that might be involved. And MANY of these people who care a great deal about money are ALWAYS among the powers that be in ANY institution, including the church.

The saddest part of this very sad saga was that the “Bishop” wasn’t defrocked. Had he been defrocked he would have been kept from wearing his purple shirt and backward collar to events promoting the slaughter of unborn babies. This was the greatest failing of the church in this story of its corruption. The fact that the church was corrupt from top to bottom was bad enough; but worse by far, was that its corruption brought death to innocent victims. And that is the inevitable result when those who take positions of authority allow themselves to become perverted and corrupt.

The “Bishop” never asked forgiveness; instead, he maintained his hallmark “I can get away with anything — the more outrageous the better” attitude until the very end of his public life. The last we saw of his widow, she was helping to add paved lanes to the road to Hell in order to better facilitate the greatest number of people arriving at that final destination. She was doing this by aiding and abetting the Episcopal church in its fall into absolute apostasy. No surprise there.

But our long sorry saga is still not finished. God believes in giving a complete education to each and every one of His children; so, He made sure that we didn’t remember the name of the small town that had became home to the adulterous priest and his paramour/second wife with whom we started this story. Of course, it’s pretty easy for us to forget stuff like that just all on our own, too.

However it came to be, more than twenty years after this story of our education on “The Inner Workings and Ramifications of Corruption” began, we were attending a family reunion in a small resort town, and on the Sunday morning decided to go to worship services in the tiny church there. To say we were surprised when we realized who the priest was would be to understate the situation. Unfortunately, the congregation was far too small to provide adequate cover had we given in to our all-but-overwhelming impulse to stampede toward the exit.

So, we allowed ourselves to be trapped by social conventions, and, even worse, we did not make good use of our time. When the service ended and the priest made an unexpected beeline for us — it was a VERY small congregation and we were the only people he thought he didn’t know — we hadn’t thought to come up with false identities. When he introduced himself and waited for us to respond, the only names we had to give him were our own. We introduced ourselves with reluctance because we did NOT want to recall to his mind what we thought was probably a painful period in his life — a period during which he had let God, his family, his former congregation and himself down — a period for which he might well feel he could never sufficiently repent. Yup. Over twenty years later and we were still that naive.

We could have saved ourselves the anguish, momentary though it was. Not only was the priest not repentant, he was still VERY angry at our, by then deceased, parents! Amazing!

In retrospect, we had no call to be amazed. God refers to rebellion and “bowing of the neck” in MANY places in Scripture. AND we’ve been there and done that. We don’t like to be wrong. We don’t like being responsible for our choices and actions, either. Those traits long-term, however, are not the hallmark of a Christian.

By the time we reached the car and had filled in the back-story for the members of our group who hadn’t lived through that sorry episode in history and were absolutely astonished by the priest’s attitude and remarks, we were laughing in incredulous exasperation. Our parents’ only “crime” had been that they had done their best to bring light and salt to a situation in extreme need of both. Their reward is in Heaven.

God is all about TRUTH and LIGHT. And Jesus referred to Himself as the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. (John 8:12)

God created each and every one of us. He formed us in our mothers’ wombs. And He placed us in a world which was also of His creation. He carefully supplies each and every one of our needs. And He asks only that we walk in fellowship with Him.

We all know what it means to “walk in fellowship” with someone, anyone. A child knows what walking in fellowship with his parents requires. A wife or husband knows what walking in fellowship with her or his spouse requires. A brother or sister knows what walking in fellowship with his or her siblings requires. A friend know what walking in fellowship with another friend requires.

We sometimes decide NOT to walk in fellowship with some select others because we know we do NOT want to do what that would require.

We all understand how to “walk in fellowship” on many different levels, with many different people, in many different situations.

Our God, Our Lord and Savior, the One Who made us has very kindly written down what He requires: He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)

He obviously knows our limitations, so it’s a short list.

The World is not a friend to Truth or Light or Life. The World is, instead, filled with lies and darkness and corruption.

“Corruption” in the Bible is synonymous with “death.” Corruption is the antithesis of what God intended. Corruption is the perversion of what God intended. And that is what the World does. It perverts, it twists, it distorts the Truth and the Light of God and by doing so it brings Death into a world that God meant for good.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! . . . Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! ( Isaiah 5:20, 21,23)

The Church is called to be in the World while not being OF the World. And THAT is where the CHURCH has failed and does fail and can fail. But God always points the way out. And this is no exception. As Paul declares: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)

Lord, please strengthen us.

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