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.