AlDuff – yes, plus-sized Pentecostalism may indeed be quite an appropriate strapline.
It will be interesting to see if anyone does report the incident of a pupil being struck. According to the church policy, any member of the church who is aware of an incident should report it, so any current member reading this thread should of course report the (alleged) incident.
To do so would of course require integrity and courage, neither of which are encouraged in Struthers, so it is unlikely to happen. Current members – does this not tell you something about the kind of organisation you are in, if you are scared to report something because you are afraid of what the leaders will do?
Rensil – it is interesting (and not surprising) to hear that Alison Spears leaving has left gaps in the church (including the role of safeguarding co-ordinator by the way, they will have to update that).
The problem is of course that they have no way of dealing with conflict: their whole message is that God speaks to them directly every single day, telling them where to go, who to speak to, which job to take, what to say etc. In this regard, they are obviously more advanced than Peter who needed a vision to tell him to go with Cornelius, and Paul to tell him not just to eat with the Jews; and also more advanced than Philip who needed an angel of the Lord to appear to him to tell him to go south to the road to Gaza to meet the Ethiopian eunuch. (And, referring back to the issues of plus-sized Pentecostalism, does God tell them what to eat as well? How does that work? Let’s not go there.)
This “divine instruction approach” leaves them with no way to manage different views. If you have a differing view you are simply labelled as less spiritual and side-lined so, as AlDufff points out, everyone other than the leaders end up as powerless sycophants.
It will be interesting to see how this is applied in the case of Alison Spears who was of course identified as a super-spiritual person and given lots of platform time. Will that narrative now subtly change? Will the story in a number of years be, “we always knew she was not all that spiritual?” Who knows?
Either way, as Rensil says, “Maybe, good will come out of this if it makes people realise that they belong to a church which has just the same problems as some other churches and workplaces and is not the holiness-filled church that we keep getting told it is.”
Absolutely. No church is super-spiritual in the way Struthers pretends they are, which is why we are told in the Bible to do things like test the spirits (yet another verse you will never hear a Struthers Sermon on).
That is actually the way it is meant to be, as a disagreement is not necessarily a problem, it can be a way of opening up new thinking and reaching solutions that no individual would have reached on their own. That is presumably why the apostles ask for a collegiate decision in Acts 6, and why other decisions in Acts are generally based on wisdom, not specific guidance. If you are interested in this idea, Matt Perman has an interesting article about decision-making in the book of Acts at [mattperman.com
After all that: Lintar – welcome back, it is good to hear from you. It is so sad that many, many people can echo your statement that, “the mental scarring of what Struthers did to us… was truly awful.”
I suspect there are more people scarred by Struthers than are currently in it, yet the leaders simply do not care. As Matthew 23v15 says, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.”