Saturday, July 23, 2011

I couldn't decided on a title for this post...

"Another one bites the dust"
"It's happened again"
"They'll know we are Christians by...."
"The new 'unforgiveable sin' "...

We just heard of another pastor who was asked to resign.  He didn't get a chance to really "fight it".  The options were "resign now and get severance pay" or "don't resign now and you get no severance pay".  You may wonder what horrible thing he must have done.  Murder?  Adultery?  Embezzlement?  Nope... they just didn't have confidence in his leadership.  It happened to us two years ago.  It happens all the time to pastors all over the place.  (I know... I've talked to many of their wives!)

"Another one bites the dust" - Yep, another pastor is asked to resign, no second chances, "you're outta here".  "Turn in your keys and don't come back". 

"It's happened again" - Satan's tactics just don't change.  He knows what works, and when it works, why change?  Satan causes division which spreads by means of gossip and slander.  It's often coated in words like "concern, love, the best for..., etc."  It still smells like sulfur to me.

"They'll know we are Christians by..." - These days, people outside "the church" know we are Christians by this kind of "stuff".  I know plenty of people who don't go to church for these very reasons.  Why can't Christians get along?  I mean, aren't we supposed to be the most loving, kind, gracious and forgiving people?  Aren't we supposed to give people the benefit of the doubt?  Offer them second chances?  Christians are not known by love anymore. 

"The new 'unforgiveable sin' " - Apparently these days, it is absolutely a horrible, and unforgivable sin to lack confidence and not be a good (enough) leader.  Yep, a pastor could have an affair (they call it a "moral failure") and get all kinds of help, support, counseling, grace, love and even a  leave of absence.  But if his leadership isn't confident enough, that's it!  (We had one person tell us that if my husband had been unfaithful, they could have forgiven him, but, his lack of confidence... well, that's just too much!). 

It's sad.  It's not surprising.  I long for the day when all will be made right.  The church is full of sinners... every church... but there is supposed to be grace and forgiveness.  I think one of the problems is that we have become churches with a consumer mentality.  There are so many churches to choose from that it's easy to just move around when you get tired of a church (I want better music, cooler looking people, more technology, less technology, bigger and better programs...different color carpet, cafe's, etc).  It's also easy to just get rid of a pastor when you don't like something about him.   Marriages are the same way... too easy to split up and not work out our differences.  The marriage vows say "in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow, in plenty and in want, for richer and for poorer"... too bad churches don't go by this. 

Churches should be places of love, hope, grace, loyalty, steadfastness and forgiveness.


Mom of an Airman said...

Jean -

One of the hardest things about news like this is that it reawakens all of the memories of what happened to us. I could hear it in your blog and I felt it with you. My prayers are with you and this pastor's family.


Jeano said...

Thanks, Win. We thought of you and talked about the "stuff" that you went through, too. We pray for you every day!

Maureen said...

Wonderful post makes me angry (God forgive me).

I told my Mom once that one of the good things about growing up in the Catholic church was that we had no choice in which priest we were given. We went to church and were expected to listen and learn and participate no matter who was in the pulpit. It wasn't always good, but the going and the sitting and the praying was still OUR responsibility.

When I started attending the Protestant church I found it odd how much criticism was directed at the man behind the pulpit. I can still remember the hurt and frustration I felt sitting in a church meeting and listening to people argue over our pastor's salary (ie. his WORTH).

I know there are bad apples out there but I think our priorities are all out of whack and you hit it on the head with our 'consumer mentality'. We want what we want....and we want it NOW. Very sad.

Jeano said...

Maybe it's just our affluent society where so much is handed to us, or our laziness when everything is available at the touch of a button or click of the mouse (and if we don't like what we find, do another Google search), we think we can do the same with churches. "Hmmm, I don't like his clothes, the way he stands, speaks, prays... I don't like __________.... "Fix it! Make it what I like, right now!" "It's all about me!" Sigh...
Things like hard-work, devotion, loyalty, commitment and just plain courtesy and kindness are things of the past. My parents' and grandparents' generations would be appalled at what they see.
My best friend summed it up... "immaturity" (childishness).

DrDDK said...

Jean -
Don't have a clue who you are but your insights and comments on this topic are priceless. Pastors aren't 'perfect' but for the vast majority they love God and His people. They work long hours, get paid almost nothing and sacrifice in ways that most will never understand. You are "dead on" when you mention the "consumer mentality" of the church today. When the church sees itself as a business it will act by a set of values that will make it really ugly. If I recall correctly Jesus gave us the "value" that is to direct all of our action, even those toward the pastor. Hmmmm wonder what that might be. Thanks for your thoughts. DrDDK

Jeano said...

Thanks for your comments. I am married to a pastor (you may have guessed that) and we have seen things change over the years... and not necessarily for the better. However, we see the same attitudes and actions in God's people since the time of Moses. People are people. We just hope that Christians will behave better than they sometimes do.
Someday - no more sin... bring on heaven!