This is my blog. I write stuff here that I hope is considerate and thought provoking. It's not a place where I really care about your feelings. I just comment on stuff from time to time that is important to me and probably not very articulate. Sorry. I am okay with it. If you like it, follow it. If you are not entertained by it, stick around you're bound to find something to either challenge you.
Here recently people have been making a big deal out of some preachers who say they are walking away from their faith in Christ. The fact that they had seen a need to make a big deal out of this choice has upset many mainline believers. I get it.
I am sure the reason these and other preachers do this is to try in the long run to protect their financial outcomes and possible obligations. I am honestly not surprised that these preachers have done it this way so publicly.
I don’t know how many times they have cried out for help in their lives before and were ignored. How many times they needed help growing but people found it easier to come and take from them spiritually. As with most issues in life there are warning signs that get ignored along the way. Depression for preachers is a reality of life and most of them have been boxed in by their own success and the image people have of them without honestly knowing them.
What seems to happen a great deal in ministry is that very talented young people get pulled into ministry and they look good doing it. They are supported and encouraged but often not trained on the pitfalls and the addiction to the social celebrity that often comes with being known and recognized by various large groups of people they see in person every week. The excitement that comes with this is attractive locally and people come to see the newest freshest face in town. Sadly all the while, the young minister is still not being trained against the temptation of the vanity of celebrity in the church as a substitute for their nurturing a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as their Savior in day to day living.
This is especially true in college and graduate schools that spend more time on rewarding the student but not mentoring the leader. Homework and study takes place of the personal moments of practicing faith. Often in the academic environment pleasing the professor and getting the grade replaces the growth of the ones soul. Nurturing becomes a buzz word that is really about promoting a political agenda, which is done by all groups.
One day they skip a quiet time and then another. Weeks pass and they can’t remember the last time they sat in awe of God in scripture or just in life in general. They are quick to pray with anyone but slowly fall out of habit of praying personally in their own life. They are busy with the kingdom work of the church but not submitting to the King of Kings. God has been quietly forgotten because they know He sees their “heart” but in reality its their pride in self that they show themselves. Without realizing it they have started competing with God for the hearts and minds of people and become further entangled in functions instead of faith. They rely more and more on gut instinct replacing being still and knowing God. All along they are cheered on by the system of the church locally and nationally. Growing Church Pastors are rarely asked “How are you doing spiritually? Who is your mentor? What steps of faith are you practicing to keep your first love?” If they are asked they will feel like they are being judged because, that is, too often the reality of it. Vulnerability in ministry is dangerous because people prefer strength instead of weakness that is dependent on God. Strength is an illusion, esp when its our own strength that we are using. Still there is no real intentional equipping and teaching that takes the Minister to a deeper place of, and yes I’ll us a buzz word here, renewal.
All along the way the church stops praying for the minister’s well being and everyone enters a type of silent conspiracy of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell.” The minister weakens more and more but thinks they are growing stronger and stronger as life events encourage them and they mistake that for personal growth. Their journals lay unopened and blank pages that should have been filled years ago remain blank. Perhaps they never drank from the well of Christ and have never became a believer in the first place but mistook their giftedness for conversion when nobody asked or inspected their faith for its validity. Yes our faith should be questioned along the way. Yes, the minister shouldn’t be inspected for their sin but rather for their faith. A minister can avoid sin and be lost down a rabbit hole of confusion and insecurity. They turn to the people who talked them into this looking for help but are fearful of letting them down so it never comes up. I have seen that happen over and over again.
I have questioned various ministers in different situations about their most recent moment when their faith was stretched only to find them answer they are excited about project x or y. Only rarely did they respond about God sitting on the throne of their heart revealing something new to them.
When pressed they would suddenly have something else to do. Like most junkies, being challenged on something, it irritates them because I believe they know in their hearts, they rotting from the inside out. When asked what’s the last thing God told them to do and are they doing it, inevitably what ever it was they have stopped doing it.
You see this problem isn’t new, its everywhere. It’s the kind of thing Ben Franklin said that Many people Die in their 30’s but live another 40 years.
I do believe the problem is a result of sin. The sin of the church for not ensuring their ministers are who and what they present themselves to be. The sin of not encouraging authentic renewal. The sin of putting too much stock in an individual instead of God. The sin of allowing the seasoned minister to be fired so they can have a fresh young face in the pulpit. The sin of not growing, nurturing and demanding mentoring within and outside of the church. The sin of not letting the minister to be broken and remade by God in front of them. The sin of wanting a manager and not a pastor. The sin of not praying for the spiritual leadership of the church.
Enough people in the body of the church have been not only in the shadow of the Cross but within reach of the Word of God & ignored the lessons in it.
These ministers who have stepped away from the faith are searching for the God of Salvation because they really have strayed so far away from God or never knew Him in the first place. Un Checked sin can easily make a real believer, even a minister lose sight of everything God is, when we focus too much on what God isn’t. Pray for them in this season of their life. They are hurting and my guess is most people need the practice of praying for someone other than their own check list. If you find that your faith is faltering then it’s time to take steps of renewing your relationship with God. You might have to confess that you have placed too much trust in the Celebrity of Ministry, instead of Christ Himself. Our faith and soul isn’t nurtured by social influencers but by allowing our lives to be poured into by Christ and the Holy Spirit. I’ll stop here for now.
Type Something I wrote for Good Friday. "Hanging There,"
Hanging there This Flesh Mangled by hate is wearing my sin.
I am in awe.
Who but you would do this?
I am humbled as I realize "You were adorned with my sin."
I scarred your body for the stripes I caused.
Every Opening, every violated part of You appeared my name.
Not one or a few stripes were mine, but All were Mine.
Showing the affect of my life on your body.
What I imagined to be my little impact became my confession.
Algo que escribí para el Viernes Santo. "Colgando allí,"
Colgando allí Esta carne destrozada por el odio lleva mi pecado.
¿Quién sino tú harías esto?
Me siento humilde al darme cuenta de "Fuiste adornado con mi pecado".
Marqué tu cuerpo por las rayas que causé.
Cada apertura, cada parte violada de ti apareció mi nombre.
No una o unas pocas rayas eran mías, pero todas eran mías.
Mostrando el efecto de mi vida en tu cuerpo.
Lo que imaginé que era mi pequeño impacto se convirtió en mi confesión.
Todas las rayas.
Todas las lágrimas.
Todos los picos.
Mi culpa. paragraph here.