Tuesday, July 26, 2011
When I press people on why they think single pastors are treated with suspicion, 99 percent of the time I get a list of fears rather than actual evidence:What I find most amazing is how very opposite this is of some churches that demand singleness of their clergy and I also wonder how much of the fear expressed here is rooted in the scandal that has rocked those churches? But then I know of a lot of scandal involving married pastors and married parishioners. Fact is, sex is a powerful thing and sexual sin, when it happens, does not respect singleness or marriage, it just, sadly, happens.
“What if he’s gay?”
“What if he flirts with all the single women at church?”
“What if he tries to steal a married woman for himself?”
“There must be something wrong with him because he’s single.”
“Aren’t single pastors more likely to molest our children?”
What we see here is simply fear of something different - something not the norm - at least the norm in our immediate circle. Have you ever thought about how much you define normal by your experience? Not by statistical norms, but by your own personal observations.
I truly wonder what the church would be like if we learned to embrace a true variety of expressions - not sinful stuff mind you - but just different stuff. Churches tend to be defined by a certain social "norm." It's a church with a strong singles ministry, or a church with a strong ministry to marrieds with young kids, or marrieds with youth, or single parents.
Some of this is driven by the fact that similar people tend to flock together. Much is also driven by the fact that the church views itself as having limited resources and chooses to target those resources.
I wonder what would happen if we came to understand that there is much to learn from people outside our "normal" and that the resources of the church, if we truly rely on the Holy Spirit are limitless?