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Current Events
From CNN.com: Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar was arrested in suburban Atlanta on simple battery charges, police said Friday. Deputies in Georgia’s Fayette County responded to a call about a domestic disturbance about 1 a.m. Friday. Dollar’s daughter, 15, said she argued with her father over attending a party, said Investigator Brent Rowan of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office. The daughter says the argument got physical. She said her father charged her, put his hands around her throat and began to choke her, according to a police report. She said he then slammed her to the ground, punched her and beat her with his shoe. — Please pray for this family.  Regardless of whether or not you agree with his theology, he and his family need our prayers. Todd
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Leadership
Recently, Bishop Eddie Long settled out of court with his accusers… young men who accused the Bishop of pressuring them into sexual relationships with them. Long’s friend, Creflo Dollar, recently defended Long, saying that people expect forgiveness but don’t extend it to preachers who also need forgiveness. Dollar said:
Then you become self-righteous and you become judgmental and you’re gonna leave the preacher for his wreck when you done had more wrecks… That preacher’s still anointed to do what he was called to do. He just had a wreck. The blood will take care of his issue just like it will take care of yours.
This has caused Lerone Marti, a professor at Eden Theological Seminary to write an open letter to Creflo Dollar that I found quite interesting. Marti says:
Long’s move from adamant public denial to private settlement left no way for onlookers and members alike to obtain an account of what exactly happened. They have been left in the dark as to whether their shepherd indeed has an ongoing problem… Would you send YOUR kids back to a summer camp where one of the key officials was shrouded in the “wreckage” of sexual abuse? Would you send YOUR kids back to a mentoring program where the leading mentor privately settled his sexual abuse “wreck” out of court … Would YOU continue to unquestionably financially and otherwise support a non-profit organization where the power structure was clouded in a questionable history of inappropriate sexual contact with children? Or would you seek to place your family’s treasures, time, and talents elsewhere?
I think Marti makes a great point.  When someone settles out of court without explaining what happened, without admitting guilt but paying thousands (some estimate millions) of dollars, it does leave a congregation lacking. When the money is paid, everything goes away. Including in this case, many people from Long’s church… they’ve just gone… who knows where… to other churches… or to no church at all. This really is a problem in many churches, I believe.  When there is moral failure of any kind (sexual, integrity issues, financial issues), the leadership of the church does everything it can to control the flow of information rather than just telling the truth. Whenever church leadership decides not to tell the truth to the people, there will be problems. Always. Backpeddling never looks good on a church leader or board. Now, I realize that these situations get difficult and complicated very quickly. In Long’s case, maybe he was completely innocent.  But paying huge sums of money to make the problem go away and acting like nothing ever happened will usually not work.  In Long’s case, it appears it hasn’t.  Attendance is way down from what has been reported. Maybe it was a better financial move to just pay off the accusers than to fight the accusations in court.  If that was the rationale, say that that was the rationale. But if you just pay money, you look guilty as sin, and you’ll have to suffer the consequences of having a reputation that is forever scarred. How long do you stay in a church mired by scandal? When do you decide it’s time to leave? At what point do you lose confidence in your leader/leadership in situations like these? And at what time is the reputation of the leader/church so scarred that it will realistically not be able to be effective any longer in reaching people for Jesus? I’d love to hear your thoughts… Todd More here.  
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