NOT a Standard Post Lamenting Pastor Sex Scandals, Or A Different Kind of Lesson

This post isn’t just another rampage against pastors for falling short of their ideals, nor is it to point out hypocrisies in the church, especially among its leaders.

I always like to start with disclaimers since I’m sure the blog world is tearing apart Bishop Eddie Long in a tornado-like frenzy. I don’t really plan on commenting on this situation (they’re allegations against a rich person which could be true or be made in hopes of a payout, but I’m also not commenting because I never heard of the guy til the scandal hit), but rather I’d like to use it as a catalyst to make a different point.

(Back story for those possibly unaware – mega church pastor Eddie Long has been accused of sexual misconduct by a few young men, some of whom were underage at the time of alleged events, to whom Long was a spiritual adviser of sorts and they’re filing a lawsuit. The irony the media is eating up is Long’s previous & frequent statements condemning homosexuality).

The scandal is so big because, well, Bishop Eddie Long is. His church has membership of 25,000 people. He’s got books out, some CD’s, a charity, leadership awards, and friends in high places.

Put simply, if his congregation consisted of 200 people I don’t think even the local paper would have picked up the story.

But rather (writers – is that redundant? It doesn’t sound as good without both, however) because he’s so built up – not a reference to his enormous muscles – he has all that distance to fall. And falling he is (inevitable, even if the allegations are found to be untrue).

If we didn’t make celebrities and public figures out of our pastors, we wouldn’t likely have this problem. It does seem the media gets a hold of some big name Christian who commits infidelity of some kind on a near quarterly basis – and each time the fuel against Christianity is back in full stock and ready to burn freely.

I’m not sure if this is a post against mega churches – but really if 25,000 people didn’t claim him as pastor then his name wouldn’t be thrown in the mud. Its because we lift up fellow followers as celebrities that we find ourselves being lampooned and embarrassed when the scandals hit the print.

And could it be that very fame we thrust on them sets them up for this disaster? (not to shift blame as their actions are their own actions, but the pressures of fame and the allure of power are both real and daunting)

I’ll try to start by not getting googly eyed over my preferred authors and speakers, and lifting them up to pedestals that shake in the wind and make the fall all the more punishing.

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3 Responses to NOT a Standard Post Lamenting Pastor Sex Scandals, Or A Different Kind of Lesson

  1. David says:

    Interesting take on it all, Charlie.

    It is human nature to be attracted to excellence, physical beauty, talent, works and human sacrifice or selflessness – oh, and the amazing power of Jesus. Even the apostles “tore their robes” when they were revered as miracle workers. They wanted Jesus to have the credit.

    We are not going to change human nature.

    I once prayed for a woman and God healed her hearing on one ear. Her husband was so grateful he gave me a huge offering – more than the church I ministered at all weeekend. That was after he had let me use his mountain cabin, and fed me well too. He didn’t want to hear that it wasn’t me – he was thankful – but because his Christian experience had previously been religious, he didn’t recognize God when he showed up. My personal dislike of stardom is the reason I don’t use my last name. If folks truly care about Jesus, they don’t need to know who I am.

    More to the point: who cares who is popular or not? We often applaud performance over character anyway – it happens all the time. We think that 25,000 parishioners is a big deal – especially if you are leading a home church of a half dozen.

    The problem for Eddie Long is that he took a political position on homosexuality (according to the CS Monitor). Instead of simply preaching sin and repentance, he got involved in lifestyle bashing. Now, if the allegations turn out to be true, he’ll be a hypocrite instead of a garden variety sinner.

    What matters it the kingdom; not income, not numbers.

    Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

  2. i suppose we won’t change human nature – so I can all I can do is point out all the little hang ups along the way.

    good story – and I think part of it is that we like tangible things – so for that husband you were a tangible thing he could touch and thank – whereas God isn’t as obvious and overt. I think that’s part of the reason God gave us Jesus – to make the whole concept a little easier to understand. But alas our lack of a perfect world leads us to exactly these type of situations of scandal.

  3. Pingback: In Praise of The Gay Pastor, Or A Giant Leap for Christiankind | Charlie's Church of Christ

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