Revival Time

By the time the month-and-a-half-long campaign ends on April 29, some 80 percent of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) 37,000 churches are expected to have participated in a major revival effort around the theme “Here’s hope. Jesus cares for you.”

This message is now being communicated in radio spots and magazine ads, and on billboards and bumper stickers all over the United States. The campaign is sponsored by the SBC Home Mission Board and is intended to promote simultaneous revivals organized by SBC churches.

Sad State Of Affairs

One in ten ministers have had affairs with members of their congregations, and about one in four have had some kind of sexual contact with parishioners, according to a major study conducted by the Chicago-area Park Ridge Center for the Study of Health, Faith and Ethics.

Over a four-year period, hundreds of ministers from urban and rural, large and small churches responded to questions as part of the study. In a talk discussing the project, Karen Lebacqz, a United Church of Christ minister and one of the project researchers, said that clergy engage in extramarital sex usually out of loneliness and a feeling that they are not supported.

Almost all of those interviewed who acknowledged illicit sexual behavior said they felt guilty about it and blamed their failure mainly on the intimacy of counseling situations. Many cited sexual behavior as the most confusing personal issue they face and said they had an inadequate sense of how their theology shapes their sexual feelings.

Said Lebacqz, “We need to deal openly and realistically with this.” She said temptation of pastors and parishioners could be minimized in part by limiting counseling to daytime hours and through ...

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