Ok, everybody is throwing in their two cents worth. I thought I would do the same. There are some very perceptive and pastoral comments on the blogsphere. Scot McKnight’s comments are helpful…so are Mark Driscoll’s. I put some comments on “The Jesus Creed” site for reflection with everyone…here they are:
Good words Scot…unfortunately, I think we have to take steps further into this “issue”. I believe it is time to find ways to live life in faith communities where leaders can struggle with transformation without threat of losing their jobs. We have to remember that for many “leaders”, the ministry is their profession. I don’t know of one professional who hasn’t had to wrestle with the “shadows” of their life in the context of their work. We (Christianity) assume that pastors/leaders will have their “act” together when they do ministry. Wrong assumption. All that assumption does is take the issues in the life and push them deeper into the “shadow”. I love one book in this regard, The Paradox of Success by John ONeil. It is pretty explicit about the deadliness of living with “shadows”. We have to find ways to get people and institutions to NOT expect pastoral leadership to be the modern incarnation of the perfect Son of God. BEcause we have titles like “reverend” and “God’s Servant” and “the ordained”, we set men/women in leadership up for falls. The expectation that I have experienced as a pastor/leader for over 30 years is that people expect perfection. That drives a leader into hiding. You can’t be public about who you are. That leads to living a double life. It leads to anger and resentment that displays itself in addictive behavior. I don’t know…this is a huge subject. All I know is that we need some careful reflection on this matter. It is time to let leaders be people…like you said, we all sin. To expect anything less is to set up another Haggard situation again and again and again.
Some serious conversations and decisions have got to be made. Until we start confronting our celebrity culture…until we stop worshipping @ the altars of “successful churches”…until we stop expecting that we are going to model our lives and ministries after people whom we want to put on pedestals as “false gods”…until we start to give some serious consideration about what it means to live in community where everyone is experiencing bold honesty…we are going to experience this type of tragedy again and again (didn’t I already say that? mmmm, yes). All I know is that some changes have got to be made.