This is the final post in this series and covers Chapters 7 and 9-12. So far we have learned that Bill Hybels has quite the background on sex. He has mentioned excitedly sneaking movies of childbirth to show other boys, sneaking peeks at soft porn magazines, viewing child pornography, and oddly manages to describe a hotel room in a seductive manner.
There are a couple of other stories Bill shares about his experiences that I would like to highlight. First:
I suffered from homophobia for many years of my life. I liked telling stores about gays. I knew some very funny queer jokes, and every time I told one I thought it affirmed my own masculinity. It removed any doubt about where I stood on the subject. Back in college, if we didn’t have anything to do on the weekend, we’d say we were “going into town to beat up some queer.” Of course we didn’t do it, but the fact that we said it revealed our attitude.page 112
Then there’s another detailed childhood experience (Bill has to be about 10-years-old):
When my father finally entered our room, he sat on my desk. With uncharacteristic nervousness he began to tell us that God made boys to be attracted to girls and He made girls to be attracted to boys. I almost burst out laughing. I thought he was kidding. I couldn’t believe we were going to get the birds and bees talk from my father. He didn’t know it, but I was already quite experienced with the neighborhood girls. I was only in fifth grade, but I knew the difference between boys and girls.Page 124
What is even more interesting are the “stories” he describes in the book of people telling him about their sexual experiences. Usually when I hear, “I once received a letter from a woman who….” my first gut reaction is to question whether or not this is real. Who writes, calls to talk to, or meets their pastor about sex? Perhaps Bill asked people for their stories as “research” for the book. Maybe he did preach that series on pornography as promised to James Dobson, and made a request from the pulpit. Who knows – but I find it odd. One example is in the chapter on abortion:
I keep meeting women and receiving mail and phone calls from women who tell me how abortion has scarred their lives. One woman wrote: “Bill, I’m sure my letter won’t be any different from the hundreds that you receive concerning this subject, but knowing others have experienced this doesn’t lessen my pain. My hands are shaking as I write this letter and my eyes are filling with tears again. I too made a terrible mistake some years ago. I had an abortion, and I wish to God I hadn’t.”Page 84
Then there are the women who challenge him and the elders at church. Bill directly asks why and finds that the issues stems from them being sexually abused as children.
Several women who seemed very spiritual and had an obvious desire to grow with the Lord were very critical toward the male elders and toward my ministry in the church. It seemed that every time I gave a message that had any real challenge to it I would sense resistance from these women. As I got to know them better, I asked, “Why is it that you resist me so much? Why don’t you trust my leadership?” More than once that broke down a wall, and the truth came out. One woman said, “I have reasoned for many years that if I ever submit to another man, I expose myself to the possibility of abuse. Every time I submitted to my uncle or my father I got abused and I’m never going to submit to any man, because I make the connection of submission and surrender and cooperation with abuse.”page 107
He would “sense resistance.” I’m very curious to know what he means by this. What did he sense from these women that was “off” to him? From what we now know, maybe these women had a better sense of Bill and were smart!
There are a couple of chapters on homosexuality, and apparently Bill also had many homosexual friends who confided in him:
One homosexual told me his experience. “When I was seven years old my mother began to live in common law with a man who was secretly bisexual. We became really good friends, and one day he took me fishing. Before the day was over I had my first homosexual experience.”page 116
Ummm…No…Unless this “experience” happened after he turned 18, this was child abuse.
One of my homosexual friends explained to me his early family dynamics. It illustrates how destructive family dynamics and an early erotic experience worked together to create homosexual desires in him.page 117
I don’t know how many people attended Willow Creek in 1989, but can you imagine being a member there and reading this book wondering who Bill might be talking about? Someone might be able to figure out he was talking about “Susan Smith” with this:
At 2:30 in the morning, the woman came to meet with the elders of our church. She was exhausted, offtrack spiritually, out of tune in her marriage, and contemplating adultery. She knew she needed help.page 135
I’ll wrap up this last post with one more quote:
That is why that woman’s attitude about committing adultery affected me so much. We must never treat sin with such a flippant attitude. How dare we presume on God’s forgiveness when we fail to understand the cost of our sinful actions? There is no such thing as easy sin, easy repentance, and easy forgiveness.page 138
All in all, this book suggests that Bill, from a young age, had a problem with sex and how he sexualized women. The writing seems to be a self-fulling prophecy. Bill couldn’t seem to follow his own words above because he took the easy road out when allegations of sexual misconduct were addressed. Instead of repenting and accepting corrective action, he denied his actions and retired early. How dare he point out the sins of others when he is not willing to acknowledge his own sin!