Monday, November 28, 2011


Neither Do I

MMI headline:
Been there, pretty much agree. He quotes an Elizabeth Esther from a story in the Orange County Register:
I don't trust pastors.

I want to trust them – but I've experienced so much church-related devastation that I doubt if I can ever again believe the best about their motives, preaching or how they conduct their lives. My trust is utterly broken.
In politics, scandal is rarely the problem - the cover-up is. That should provide a lesson for the church - a lesson that will avoid the kinds of conclusions MS Esther draws. Let's start with a simple fact; "church related devastation" is inevitable. As the cliche goes, "we are all sinners." OK now what?

What is the essence of the gospel? - Face your sin, confess your sin, receive grace (which may still include consequences for your sin), try not to sin again, if you do repeat. Which brings me back to the cover up. Cover ups are not in that simple gospel formula. There is no "deny that it is a sin." There is no "grace removes consequence." Oh one more thing - if you hurt (not pissed off - hurt) somebody doing something you do not think is a sin, you sinned anyway. You gotta make it right with them.

And here is where distrust of pastors becomes so easy. Ted Haggard confessed and received grace, but appears to try to be circumventing the consequences. But forget the headline stuff, the same story is played on on a smaller scale in churches everywhere everyday. Anybody who has hung around for more than a few years and gotten seriously involved has a list of stories they can tell. Little thefts from some fund - sex with a parishioner in which the parishioner is shunned but the pastor keeps preaching - kickbacks on construction projects - I could go on ad nauseum.

If I saw the gospel practiced in these situation like I am told to practice it in my life, then maybe, just maybe, trust could be restored. Not asking the church for any more than it asks of me.

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