I’ve blogged about the integrity crisis of Christianity using football as an example. Christianity is much like sports though. Imagine every time a sports scandal breaks and the guilt is proven beyond doubt. The investigation of the whole situation is important in that it protects both the accused and the accuser. The recent situation with the evangelist Yuen who is accused of repeated sexual misconducts is the best example of a muddled up followup with lawyer letter from the accused and a whole lot of silence of the lambs. Now, he’s denied all charges but has taken a break (or maybe even quit) the ministry. All the people in his organization who depend on him for livelihood must now scramble to explain both his denial and his unexplained retirement. Well, actually he has an explanation “so as to retreat in the Lord and seek renewal.” Why one has to quit his profession (imagine a doctor quitting his job?) “to retreat in the Lord and seek renewal” remains quite confusing.
The lack of accountability and rampant misconduct aren’t just in religion. This stuff also happens in college athletics here in the US. If we look at what happened at Penn State, the problem obviously goes beyond Joe Paterno. The entire system needed reform, and the investigation that exposed its flaws hopefully help all college sports to do better in the future. I’m not saying that the investigation system is perfect, but there must be a system not so much to punish only but also to restore and improve.
This is where Christianity as a religious system has failed miserably. It fails because it has no such check and balance in place. It’s all about who’s got the most fans and who’s got the power. As such, the powerful controls not just the system but also the investigation of its own scandal. This kind of conflict of interest is quite commonplace. People are linked by networks of endorsement, ordination and business association. When an investigation happens, these networks will unravel into a huge mess. In such a case, what we see in growth in American Christianity is only artificial. Its essence hasn’t grown because it doesn’t allow for plain and brutal investigation for all its wrongs.
Unless falsehood is exposed, our faith can’t grow. Neither can it thrive.