Monday, September 07, 2009
"The Road" To Ruin
Sin is a sneaky thing. And Satan is the master. I have no doubt that he goes after pastors with the express purpose of taking them down. The only thing that I can imagine is that he slowly tears them down, allowing them to justify little things first, then larger things until they are constantly and consistently doing things they thought they would never do.He does so in the context of pastoral scandal - pointing out that, for example, Ted Haggard did not just one day wake up and go do what he did. Todd is making a personal appeal to pastors for self-examination and repentance - cool, but I want to take things a step farther.
Todd is right, these things don't just happen, they re part of a life pattern. People who love us and are close to us can usually spot things before we may even be aware of them. One of the biggest problems I have with professional ministry in general is the lack of objective accountability, if there is any accountability at all.
I have counseled pastors through bouts of alcoholism, and related behavior, where their congregation was clueless - even their wives. I only found out because their kids came to me for help. When it all came out, the congregation knew, but was to cowed to act and the denomination was too distant to even have a clue.
There needs to be a better balance between pastor and congregation. only the congregation is close enough to see the pattern, but distant enough not to have a personal stake in the outcome of the confrontation. Yet such is rarely, if ever allowed.
WAAAAAAAAAAAY to many pastors become pastors because they can hide in leadership. It's a heck of a barrier if you think about it. You can hold the whole world distant because you are called "to be set aside."
I don't blame pastors for this - this pattern is an expression of the sin and hurt in our lives, we all engage in it to one level or another. But I do blame congregations. Why do we allow ourselves to be cowed? And why, when we do find something can we not make room for grace - or we allow way too much grace. Yes, the pastor must be removed from authority, but they must also be supported personally - we tend to think those things are some how mutually exclusive.
We need to grow up in our faith. We need to stop letting people be Christians for us.