Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pastoral Dominoes

That's twice this week. Two times, count 'em, two. Two separate pastors who have either been accused of or admitted to sexual misconduct -- all in a town of just 10,000 people. One is a
supposedly happily married pastor who is now getting divorced to begin life anew with a new woman. The other is a youth pastor who is being accused of improper conduct with two girls from his youth group.

Sure, this is nothing new. Pastors fall like dominoes every year. I've known pastors who have fallen prey to sexual temptation. And I've heard plenty more stories.

A youth pastor friend of mine in graduate school turned out to be misusing young boys and was sent to prison. I never had the slightest idea until he was arrested.

I've been told stories about all kinds of pastors -- and not just male pastors. One female pastor ran off with another man while her husband was SICK IN THE HOSPITAL!

Of course the pastorate can be viewed as a microcosm of society in general. In other words, there will be all kinds, good and bad, in pastoral positions. But it just stands out more when it is a pastor.

There are all kinds of people waiting for a pastor to slip up. I'm certainly aware of this. I know plenty of them. They see the Jimmy Swaggarts and Jim Bakkers of the world and think all pastors are the same way except they don't get caught. Perhaps it is a wish to
justify one's own sinful behavior or lustful temptations, I don't know. But every time one of those pastoral dominoes fall, another excuse for ignoring Christianity is erected in its place.

Being a pastor, I have a little bit of an insight into the other side of the coin as well. Fortunately for me, I'm ugly enough to repel any female's advance so I don't face the same kind of temptations that some take on. The relationship between pastor and a woman with an unhappy life can be confusing for both parties involved. And pastors, like any red-blooded human being (male or female) face the possibility that their mercy, comfort and understanding will be seen
as an invitation to something more. And it's not easy to resist a good-looking person of the opposite sex who is all but throwing himself (herself) at you.

So what's the answer? Sorry, I don't have one. Well, yeah, prayer is a weapon in the fight. But if a sometimes-happily married pastor wants to run off with the church secretary or organist or backup singer or occasional attender refuses to listen to common sense and accept the strength that God provides, that pastor reaps what he/she sows. But think of the lives that are torn apart in the process. Children... church members... scoffing skeptic.

Pray for your senior pastor and your assistant pastors and your worship pastors, and oh please, pray for your youth pastors. Pray that they won't give up the struggle. Pray that they will stand strong. Pray that God will use their ministry and their life's example.


Kim said...

I don't know if your assertion that you're too ugly to attract any female attention is really a sure-fire defense, Ed, although it made me laugh.

Sometimes, it's got more to do with whether or not a pastor has a good listening ear. I know of a situation where the pastor had an affair with his secretary, and the attraction was that the pastor would sit and listen with great sympathy to her woes.

You're right about the solution, I think. We must support our pastors in prayer.

HeyJules said...

Yeah, what Kim said...

julie said...

Sometimes we need to say, "NO!" to impulses that are not consistent with the life we say we want.

I want to be thin. I also want pizza and cookies. I'll have to make a choice.

We also have to make a choice between unbridled sexuality and fidelity. I certainly hope my husband is choosing fidelity. I am.

Jennifer said...

"Fortunately for me, I'm ugly enough to repel any female's advance so I don't face the same kind of temptations that some take on."


John said...

I used to think that ugliness would be a good defense for me. But last time that we hosted IHN, one of the women started coming onto me. I never even noticed until my wife pointed it out to me.

The image of pastor can be incredibly attractive to women who are hurting.

julie said...

Tony Campolo talks about women in counselling situations being interested in him. His theory is that it's becuase he listens to them. It's certainly not because he's irresistable (visually).

Catez said...

Hi Ed,
I think some people expect it to happen or suspect everypastor because they were in a church where it happened. I kow some people who have felt burned that way.

Yes, pray for the pastor. I think too the pastor needs accountability - which not all have. It is easier to fall prey to temptation if some-one is an island without open and honest dialogue with an elder or mature believers.

Good to see you back blogging!

Anonymous said...

Well, I was in a situation where the Pastor encouraged me to lust with him it started on the phone we had long talks and then one thing led to another he said I was a Deliah and he was Samson.Please,pray for us.