Quoting someone, even with disapproval, gives him or her credibility as a conversation partner. It implies that he or she has said something worthy of attention. I have no desire at all to give such credibility or attention to televangelist Pat Robertson, but something he reportedly said the other day is so outrageous and such an egregious distortion of the gospel that I must comment.

A viewer wrote to Robertson’s “The 700 Club” saying that her husband had been cheating on her. She had tried to forgive, and they had gone to counseling, but to no avail. She felt she could not trust her spouse any longer.

Robertson replied that she should make her home more “enticing” (that presumably included herself), and her man would not stray. She owed this to him and should be grateful if he was a good provider, nice to the children, and handsome. (It seems to me that made her little more than a prostitute, paid with financial security for keeping her mouth shut about his dalliances.) And besides, she should have expected his behavior, since men wander.

That poor woman, already burdened with grief over the brokenness of the marriage and the betrayal of trust, thus had even more heaped on her by a “Christian” preacher she trusted enough to turn to in her plight. She (and presumably she alone) was responsible for her husband’s behavior and for keeping him faithful.

It’s a short leap from Robertson’s notion that wives are responsible if their husbands cheat to the widespread idea that women are to blame by the way they dress or what they say for sexual assault and rape or for being beaten by spouses, boyfriends, strangers, their superiors in the office or the military, and kidnappers. “Boys will be boys.” “He’s a man.” If a man needs to feel powerful by raping a woman or a child, he’s just displaying his nature. Women have to ensure that men’s tendencies are kept in check.

Robertson’s comments deeply offend and anger me, as they should any faithful, loving man, husband or boyfriend. How dare he lump me and all the millions of good men with cheating scumbags like that viewer’s husband? And is he so naive as to think his opinion will not give the imprimatur of a famous Christian preacher to those who already are disposed to treat women as responsible for both all the wrong in the world, yet ironically also expected to hold back all the evil in the world? Each individual, whether man or woman, is responsible for his or her behavior, of any sort, and will be held accountable. And in the covenant of marriage, we are expected to help each other and keep our vows; the burden of morality and decency does not fall disproportionately on one more than the other.

Is it any wonder an increasing number in our nation see Christianity as woman-hating, power-hungry, and hypocritical? Robertson’s comments are as faithless to the compassionate Christ he professes to serve as that philandering husband’s affairs were to his wife. The televangelist should be ashamed, and one day he will be, as he stands before the judgment seat of the Lord.

© 2013 Tom Cheatham. All rights reserved.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/15/pat-robertson-cheating-husband-wife-marriage_n_3281416.html

Note:  After this reflection there is a complete list of all Lenten posts by writers associated with CCBlogs. I invite you to visit their sites.

 

“[W]hen I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways…” (1 Corinthians 13:11).

 

“…until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…” (Ephesians 3:13-15).

 

“Your mother doesn’t live here. Clean up after yourself”—sign in the kitchen of the Presbyterian Student Center, Montevallo, AL, circa 1983.

 

Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding! My SUV is being obsessive in its attempt to protect me by insisting I put on my seat belt. It doesn’t know that I’m only going down the driveway and slightly around the corner with a load of cut timbers for pick up on the curb by the local recycling center.

 

Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding! Again, with the warning! This time my vehicle thinks I’m leaving my keys in the ignition. But actually, I’ve left the door open while I unload more wood. I know exactly where my keys are.

 

Beep-beep-beep! says the microwave as “food is ready” scrolls across the screen. If I don’t immediately get the plate out of the oven, it beeps at me again, once, and will keep on doing that very often until I retrieve our breakfast burritos or get my reheated half-cup of coffee. Enough with the beeping!

 

We’ve gotten used to machines saving us from ourselves, haven’t we? Besides the insistent beeping and dinging, there are power toothbrushes that signal every thirty seconds that it’s time to go to a different part of the mouth. Computers make any variety of sounds to alert us that it’s time for our appointment or that a message has come in. And, of course, who can forget the humble alarm clock?

 

Sometimes it’s nice to be protected, reminded, and coddled, whether by machines or other people. I generally am glad that my car lets me know when the lights are left on or my keys are in the ignition, especially when I’m in a hurry. And when my brain is full, I’m grateful for the reminder of a promise to do this or that or for someone else doing a task I don’t have the energy to undertake.

 

But I wonder if we haven’t gotten so used to being taken care of that we expect others also to take the blame for our stupidity, weakness, and wrongdoing. The businessperson whines about circumstances when a deal falls through, but he or she actually wasn’t organized or didn’t pay attention to details. A young adult makes a bad mistake, but tries to paint himself or herself as the victim of poor upbringing. You or I sin, but it was due to (fill in lame excuse here).

 

No, being an adult—whether physically, emotionally or spiritually—means making up our own minds about what we want and what’s important. It’s keeping up with our lives and fulfilling our obligations. Being an adult is also taking responsibility for our actions, owning up to mistakes, failures, and sins, then trying to make restitution as we can. It’s accepting the consequences, whether we lock our keys in the car or hurt someone’s feelings or make a drastic error that has long-term effects on the community or the nation. It’s putting away “childish ways” like dependence and lack of accountability. We police ourselves, by our conscience, without needing so many external warning bells or legal sanctions to keep us in line.

 

How wonderful it would be to live in such a world.

 

© 2009 Tom Cheatham

 

 CCBlogs Lenten Posts

 

Don’t Eat Alone      The Connection      Pastor’s Post

Faith at Ease      Holy Vignettes      I-YOUniverse

Where the Wind      As the Deer      The Other Jesus

Mark Powell      Getting There      Ellen Haroutunian

Theolog      Welcoming Spirit      Living Word by Word

Where the Wind      Faith in Community      When Grace Happens

Theophiliacs J. Stambaugh      Theophiliacs A. Hunt      Everyday Liturgy

Available Light      Work in Progress      Allan Bevere

A Diner at the End of Time      The Painted Prayerbook      Just Words

The Church Geek      Breaking Fast on the Beach      The Pocket Mardis

Reflectionary      One Hand Clapping      Unorthodoxology