Bullying in the Churches (Finlan)

Bullying in the Churches (Finlan)


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Do bullies have free rein in our churches? Who are the bullies? What is scapegoating? Is it possible to practice the mercy and forgiveness demanded by Gospel ethics while also protecting people from emotional and professional damage?

These are some of the questions that Stephen Finlan seeks to answer, looking for an ethic of behavior that is both spiritually valid and psychologically wise. He seeks responses to bullying that are both "wise" and "harmless" (Matt 10:16), that do not leave people helpless against the cruelty of church bullies. Bullying has become a major concern in schools and workplaces, but the church sometimes lags behind the secular workplace in its ethics.

"Finlan comes to this serious problem of bullying in the church with the power of Jesus' ethical teaching, with revealing psychological insights, and with his own tenacious defense of those victimized in congregations. Thoughtful readers will be well fortified by harkening to what he provides us."—Robert L. Randall, clinical psychologist, United Church of Christ minister, and author of Pastor and Parish

Stephen Finlan was the pastor at Mathewson Street United Methodist Church in Providence, Rhode Island, for three years and is now an ordained United Church of Christ minister. Finlan is the author of Problems with Atonement (2005) and The Family Metaphor in Jesus' Teaching (2013), and co-editor of Theosis: Deification in Christian Theology, Vol. 1 (2006). He taught at seminaries and universities from 1998 through 2011.

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