Why on earth do religious workers believe there are special rules, or rather special exemptions, that apply to them? No where in the Bible does it ever once say that there is a lesser standard for people with good religious intentions. In fact, the last time I looked it said they would be "under the greater condemnation", i.e. scrutinized and held to a higher standard.
Religious workers should welcome that scrutiny. They should expect that scrutiny. It should be pretty obvious going in to that career field that if you are going to go claiming God told you to do this or go there or say these words, you will be held to a higher standard.
One of my HUGE beefs with the career field of fundamentalist missionaries is the child abandonment they practiced, nay demanded, because of their high-falutin' airs that their career was more important to Jesus than the hearts of their children.
Or in other words, their obedience to their interpretation of the command "go into all the world and preach the gospel, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you" seemed so grand and noble in their eyes as to exempt them from keeping the command they were supposed to be teaching: love one another as I have loved you (John 13:34).
This same Jesus, who welcomed the little children and told us to do so- this same Jesus who recommended we endeavor to emulate the simple, completely dependent trust of little children (Matthew 18:2, Mark 9:36-37,Mark 10:13-15, Luke 9:47-48, Luke 10:21, Luke 18:15-17)- this same Jesus who warned the disciples to treat children well ("do not despise one of these little ones") because "their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18:10-11)- this Jesus of whom the Bible teaches, NEVER commanded or called anyone to practice child neglect and abandonmentso they could be freed up to do religious work.
How do you convince yourself that could even be a possibility?
Pride, pride and more pride about being called to make so great a sacrifice, no doubt.
The only trouble is that it was not their lives they were sacrificing to the call, but their children's lives.
In some cases that would be literal. For most, it was "merely" their spiritual, emotional, and psychological well being. It's pretty easy to sacrifice other people's well-being. It doesn't hurt you much at all, maybe a twinge of conscience now and then.
I have complete compassion for missionary parents duped by their cult leaders into believing that God demanded this sacrifice from them and their children. I have heard of parents crying in anguish over the cruelty of this practice.
But for every missionary parent who still wants to claim they did the right thing, SHAME ON YOU!!
Your children's lives were not yours to sacrifice!
I hear much pro-life noise from the same quarters, about the sacred responsibility of motherhood. Does that only apply to the child in utero? Is not motherhood/parenthood, a lifelong calling and vocation?
Jesus wanted to gather the Jews in Jerusalem under his wings like a mother hen. Why is that maternal instinct missing or stifled in the women who claim to represent Jesus in foreign fields?
God is represented by Jesus as a loving Father. What does that mean if Christian fathers send their children away? That our Father God is also unconcerned with us once we have been alive a few years? Why would any Indian want the white man's "father God" when Christian fatherhood is distant, remote and unconcerned?
And why would any tribal person see God's sacrificing His Son as any big deal? The missionaries, who represent God, don't care for their children much. They send them away as a matter of course. Giving up something you don't care much for is no big deal.
Who thought this practice of separating children from their families "in the name of Jesus" was ever smart? They didn't think too deeply about the issue apparently. The practice of sending their children away cheapened their whole message to the tribal peoples in more than one way.
And the message to their children? Well, that's the worst part of all. We know that in a child psychological development, everything that happens in the world is their doing. It's all their fault, if you will. Logical explanations don't dent this belief in a young child's heart.
These are the sorts of messages that filter through a young MKs heart when he first arrives at boarding school:
My parents sent me away because I'm no good now that I'm older.
The kids in the dorm make fun of my tears and call me names because my feelings are repulsive.
God sent me here because He loves the tribe more than me. I'm just in God's way.
If I complain, God will send the tribe to hell, and it will be my fault.
I'm stupid because I can't get my chores done right.
I hate myself for being so stupid that I am late/in trouble/in the way/unloved.
I just finished Rob Bell's book Love Wins, and mostly the author merely reminds us over and over again of Who Jesus Is. He never says there isn't a hell, though he poses many questions about scripture and what is actually recorded there and he speculates about the nature and duration of hell in light of Who Jesus Is.
But it was Jesus who said that drowning would be preferable to the punishment awaiting those who offend little ones who believe in Jesus. Sounds like hell to me! Yikes!
All those missionary parents made double sure their children believed in Jesus. Too bad they didn't make double sure not to offend them as well.