(Post, in which I “go off”. there’s not a lot of “logical flow here”, I admit up front. But sometimes you see something and it just eats at you and you’ve got to say something even if few people read it. But the evangelical corporate church climate is just ridiculous and downright evil at times.)
In my mail today at church, I got a colorful invitation brochure to a popular youth ministry conference. Now I’ve never actually been to any kind of youth ministry conference designed especially for youth pastors–I’ve just never had the desire to walk around a bunch of 30 year-old men with goatees who look like slightly older, fatter Hollister mannequins. (ok, cheap shot).
There was the usual cast of authors and pastors, etc. But I noticed one person really stood out. I mean, REALLY stood out. There was the name of a former megachurch pastor who just a few years ago was discovered buying meth from his homosexual prostitute. It was kind of a big deal, especially since this pastor was a leading spokesperson for the sanctity of marriage. And the press loves any semblance of religious hypocrisy like my dog loves honey combs cereal.
Not that I was ever planning on going, but cross that conference off my list. Seriously. The man was doing hardcore illegal drugs, hiring prostitutes and showing up to preach on Sunday like nothing was wrong. And now, because a couple years pass, he’s suddenly back on the speaking circuit? No. This is just ridiculous.
And yes, I believe in grace. I believe God’s love can rescue us from the deepest pit and restore us from any sin. Read 1 Corinthians 6 and the litany of sins there, followed by some of my favorite words in all of Scripture: “And that is what some of you were.” The Gospel changes things, new creation happens, new hearts are given, and the Holy Spirit of God works in men and women.
But there are still standards for leadership and teachers in the Christian community. However one takes the “husband of one wife” phrase, I have yet to hear an interpretation that doesn’t see this at minimum including marital faithfulness to a man’s current wife. And I don’t think Paul would have said a couple months of counseling following infidelity suddenly made someone fit again to stand in front of 1000’s of Christians and teach.
And the public eye certainly makes things worse. this guy needs to experience authentic, grace-filled community. He needs to be taught Christ by godly people who know him and ask tough questions. He doesn’t need to be on stage dispensing advice or new-found revelations he discovered in therapy. Especially not to those who are training young people.
I can think of countless devoted Christ-followers I’ve met over the years who would never be invited to a conference like this because they don’t have “numbers” to match. Men and women who have loved people and given their lives for Christ who apparently aren’t seen fit to share the stage with pastors living secret homosexual lives and doing meth in their spare time. There’s already been one book published out this mess and there will probably be more. You can find it at your local Christian bookstore next to Jon & Kate’s book of family advice.
(sigh) I wonder if that whip Jesus made is still around.
Update: There is actually a part 2 of this coming (possibly tomorrow) in which I examine whether or not grace ever says no to people.
Filed under: Theology | Tagged: Conferences, Worldliness, Youth | 3 Comments »