If you've ever read Steve Hodel's book about the murder case involving the woman (ironically) named Elizabeth Short, and nicknamed the Black Dahlia, you've undoubtedly seen the haunting photos of the victim, who was discovered by the side of the road, cut in half at the waist. It's a sobering image of what men and women are capable of doing to one another. But it's also a sobering image in relation to the scriptural passage (Romans 12:35-48, particularly verse 46) with which I have illustrated this particular blog post.
How could a loving god do such a thing to a human being? That's the kind of question one might expect from someone who's bought into what I like to call the "false gospel of wishful thinking". A more appropriate question, it seems to me, is, "How could a loving God be indifferent to the suffering of people abused by pseudo-authorities in his name?"
If you read the scriptural passage I have quoted here, it should be clear that the person Jesus was describing was an abusive man (or woman) who used his or her authority to treat people like garbage. Unfortunately, I have been acquainted with some sorry excuses for pastors, who seemed to think that their job titles were blank checks which entitled them to abuse members of the flock (forgetting the fact that Jesus told Peter to "feed my sheep", not to lord it over his sheep).
Abusive pastors don't much like being reminded of passages like this one. Some of them may even respond with excommunication, instead of showing the humility followers have a right to expect from them.
By the way, as an interesting "coincidence", I did something I very rarely do when I am using Blogger, after writing the bulk of this blog post: I hit the "next blog" link at the top of this page. The very next blog featured the following images, which referred to sexually abusive Catholic priests, but the first image seemed equally applicable to abusive Protestant pastors, whether the abuse had anything to do with sex or not.