Sorry guys, this post won’t be a super fun one. Today was a bad day for me, and really for the church. No, it’s not because the Patriots are in the Superbowl again, but that obviously didn’t help. It’s also not because I personally did something that I need to make a big public apology for. It’s because I had to find out another spiritual leader failed in a big way.
Fail may be an understatement, morally compromised doesn’t even cover it either. Basically, this person chose evil in the face of good. He misrepresented the mission of the church, and in doing so, he took that name of God in vein.
Now I know some of this might be very vague, but If you live in San Diego you have almost certainly seen this all over the news. Basically, this man who was a former pastor and professor of mine has been accused of some terrible things, things that involved victims. Things that make my stomach turn. This was a person I once looked up to, once held in high regard and respected.
I will not speculate, I will not slander, I will not make excuses. I will simply say this on behalf of the church that is once again seen in the worst of lights… Read the story for yourself if you really want to know what is being said.
I’m sorry for all the times the church has failed…
For all the times those in leadership use their power and influence for evil…
The damage that has been done in the name of Jesus…
I am sorry…
We obviously still have a lot of work to do…
This isn’t the first time I have had to see someone I respect fall from grace. Too often I have seen something similar played out within the church. Leaders who people place their trust in becoming predators, manipulators who let the power of leadership corrupt them have been storylines we are all too familiar with. Something needs to change. Too often victims are ostracized, alienated and vilified in the name of, “My Pastor would never!”
Obviously, that narrative is getting us nowhere. So again I will offer something on behalf of the church that I see modeled far too rarely.
This shouldn’t have happened… We should be better than this…
I for one am unwilling to look the other way. No, I didn’t do anything, have never done anything like this and would never do anything like this, but I too am a pastor. I now have to live with another horrible example of a pastor hanging over my head, another thing that people will say is their reason for giving up on church altogether. Honestly… I get it.
I will not pretend those terrible things haven’t happened within the walls of churches… places that should be sanctuaries from the evils of the world, not hunting grounds for predators. If we can no longer live with integrity, to own up to our shortcomings, we have no business leading the church. I will not try to excuse this terribleness. I will not put on the air that a pastor is anything more than a simple human, that as a human we have all fallen short of the glory of God. I will not contribute to the narrative that oppresses victims, that makes accusing a spiritual leader difficult because so many are more willing to protect a leader than listen to a victim.
Leaders… We are not above reproach.
We can fail, and when we do we need to own up to it and do something that no one in leadership does anymore… apologize.
Instead of pretending this crap doesn’t happen, maybe we could offer a broken world something new for a change… Honesty.
We can model something different than the world’s leaders which seek to shame victims or silence them with money… Instead, we can offer empathy
It’s Time For A Revolution
I know for some, news like this is all the more reason to disengage from church, to be suspicious of pastors and to even be angry with God.
I get it… and honestly, I have some of the same feelings.
We need a new storyline. We need a break from the status quo, a direction change because this is not sustainable. We need a revolution.
As a young up-and-coming pastor, I was challenged to be the change I wanted to see in the church. That stuck with me and still drives me to this day. I will not sit idly by as something sacred is desecrated by something evil.
I hope you will keep me honest, hold me accountable and join me in this revolution. Don’t let this be the thing that defines someone’s view of God. Be the church Jesus called us to be, and in doing so we can offer a different narrative, one full of people who are saved by grace, who love each other and desire nothing more than God goo’sd and perfect will for their lives.
Until next time…