04
Feb
09

Pastors Ain’t Special by Mrs. Blue

slacksAs has been the case, about as often as not, it is one of my periodic (and increasingly rare) phone calls with Mrs. Eager that has inspired me to come over here to the dear hubby’s blog and go on a rant about something.

In talking with her, she told me Mr. Eager has been having some trouble with ringing in his ears (tinnitus for you technical minded types), and he was starting to wonder if it was God’s judgment on him for having words with the pastor of a church they were going to until recently. Give me a break! But before I get to that rant, in all seriousness, if you’re Christian, pray for Mr. Eager. He’s a musician, and a good one (guitar and bass mostly) and I think he could do great with a modern music ministry. But hearing problems could be a big muck-up for plans like that.

Anyway, to get back to the point, I think it’s ridiculous that he’s worried God has judged him with illness or injury for questioning  the head of a congregation. Granted, this is the second church he’s done this at, but let me recap:

The first time, it was at the same church that hubby and I fled from as it got increasingly freaky and fixated on speaking in tongues and espousing questionable doctrine and things like that. Mr. Eager and Mrs. Eager were essentially kicked out (of the church band and the church) when he questioned that pastor on doctrinal stuff. This is the very same kind of stuff that made us leave, so fact is that he was on the money. The stuff that was (and is now) being preached there is half made up by the pastor now.

The second time well, I’m not sure the details on that discussion/confrontation, but dear hubby and I had taste-tested that church too and found it a bit wanting. I think the new pastor there has a bit of an ego (though he was an improvement over the fire-and-brimstone, vegetarians-are-all-pagans guy who came before him) and he seems more focused on his own vision of stuff than on leading the congregation he has in the way that they need to be led. Just my humble opinion of course.

But the point is that pastors aren’t special. They crap out the same kind of hole the rest of us do. Assuming they have both their legs, they put ’em into separate legs of the jeans or slacks just like you or I do. They get angry, they can be selfish and shallow, they can get hopeless, they can get confused.

In short, they are human.

Pastors are not, as some poor souls seem to think, some special spiritual emissaries that God has set down in a church. I like to hope that most pastors are put in place with a little nudge by God, but realistically, I know it is church boards who do this, and they’re human too. They hire humans. Humans who can get led astray or get full of themselves or just make mistakes.

Pastors are great for providing leadership, just as an executive director leads a non-profit. But they still have to answer to a board of directors, just like an executive director does, and they sometimes have to answer to the membership (congregation) as well. They aren’t perfect. And when they are wrong, either because of bullheaded choice or by honest mistake or by a case of the raving loonies, they need to be called to task. They need to be made aware. Mind you, I say this as the daughter of a preacher, who used to head his own small church. I love my dad, but if anything shows you how a pastor can be just as imperfect as the rest of us, no matter how much biblical knowledge he has, being the child of one will do it.

I know Mr. Eager well enough to know he’s pretty softspoken for a big guy. I doubt he read the riot act to the pastor. I’m sure he was trying to be helpful and led by God to say something. In short, even if he was mistaken about the pastor, he was right to speak up.

What wasn’t right was for the pastor and cronies to ease him out of the church for having spoken up. Dealing with dissent by kicking people out is a piss-poor and un-Christian way to handle things.

No, the tinnitus is most likely from a life of playing loud music. And I hope Mr. Eager gets past that physical problem. He really wants to do a music ministry and I hope he can. The only punishment he is receiving is what he is heaping on himself for no good reason, and what yet another pastor did to for trying to do the right thing.

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14 Responses to “Pastors Ain’t Special by Mrs. Blue”


  1. February 4, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Good post Mrs. Blue.

    Preachers are a trip. Many of them love to play the flip flop game. When they want people to do something they play up the fact that they are special emissaries from God. When people call them to task for effing up, they point out that they are only human. It’s a trip.

    I respect that pastors are human and have human failings, but that’s only acceptable to a certain extent. At some point, if you’re going to be the spiritual leader of people you have to hold yourself to a higher standard. Now, that doesn’t mean your perfect, but it also means you can’t think you’re perfect.

    However, I’ve learned that it’s a lose/lose to argue with preachers about most things. They’ll just get up in the pulpit where nobody can challenge them and say whatever they want to say to make themselves feel better.

  2. 2 thewordofme
    February 4, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Hello Mr. and Mrs. Blue,

    I like your post. You are both very good at what you do.

    I would like to comment on your post as it reminded me of something that has always been at the back of my mind. Please-Please don’t take this the wrong way.

    How can you, or any other preacher, minister, Rabbi, etc., reconcile the fact that there are so many Christian sects or divisions preaching sooo many different ways of worship. Each sect says that they have the ONLY true conduit to God and salvation. From what I can see and research, none of them have any bettor answer than any other. You would think that a God would take care of this so as to make His religion clear and undeniable.

    And how would you explain people that are doing God’s work in the Churches and their ministry constantly going off the deep end and committing sexual crimes and misdemeanors–usually with a member of their own congregation? This has truly puzzled me, and it’s one of the things that makes me reject organized religion. It happens in all churches at one time or another and its a world-wide phenomenon. Is this a Godly enterprise…to use the office they are entrusted with to slake their sexual thirst? Do you think the ministers know something we don’t know.

    Reminds me of the Jews as they are waiting for Moses to come back from the mountaintop. Supposedly they had seen real evidence of God. The things that are written about the trek through the desert leave little doubt in my mind that God was showing himself through His power too manipulate, and if I had been there I certainly would have believed in Him. But after a while they build a golden calf and start back in their pagan ways. After *knowing* God in a much more immediate way than we can imagine, they disgrace Him and themselves. Where is the logic in that; where or how is this proof that a God is real?

    Sorry, I tend to rant and run on. 🙂
    twom

  3. 3 Deacon Blue
    February 5, 2009 at 1:29 am

    Big Man:

    I agree that confronting a pastor is often a losing propostion. I suspect that of all the pastors I have known, probably only my current one would stand still for an actual challenge to his position and hear me out.

    TWOM:

    You’ve asked several questions; I’ll do my best. And understand this: I realize that none of what I say will convince you of God’s existence, as none of it is proof, but it will, in part at least, explain how these things you mention could be.

    1. DIFFERENCES IN APPROACH:

    First, the fact that different Christian denominations or sects would approach things from different angles isn’t itself a problem. The core belief is in the divinity of Jesus and salvation through him. Much of the rest is a matter of interpretation, and while these differences can sow division, it is human nature that this will inevitably happen.

    As to why God doesn’t make things clearer. Well, how could He? First, he could have made the Bible into a guidebook, I suppose, and made sure there was less imagery. Still probably wouldn’t have helped…look at how many different versions and translations there are, with subtle differences.

    Of course, He could have simply made it VERY clear by making sure that he revealed Himself to all peoples of the world at the same time. Certainly, as history worked its way to archeologists and historians, they would have seen that every people on every continent got the same start from God. That’s something that even the most die-hard atheist would have a hard time explaining. However, it would also make faith a moot point.

    Faith, and seeking God out, are critical. If God is obvious, as in the example above…or better yet, if He simply sat in the sky, visible to all and spoke to us constantly…there would be little or no doubt He exists and is sovereign. Of course, then we have a spiritual tyrant, even if He behaved in a relatively benign manner. Becuase in knowing for certain He exists, who in their right mind would disobey Him? We would behave ONLY out of fear, most of us, and almost never out of love or faith. The only thing worse would be for Him to orchestrate our every move.

    2. SEX CRIMES AND OTHER MALFEASANCE IN THE CHURCH

    Your use of the word “constantly” overstates the case. I would argue that the majority of pastors don’t misuse their positions in this way. But the fact is that while most don’t, many will. Even if they are the minority, there are still too many of them. But isn’t that the way it is in any area? Don’t many business leaders misuse their power? Politicians? Teachers? Police?

    Organized religion doesn’t cause these things. But damaged and evil people do sometimes enter into organized religion. We cannot be immune. If we were…if every Christian church never had a scandal or taint and all was perfect…again, it would be clear that God MUST exist, because how else could that happen. Also, it would mean that God wasn’t allowing free will to exist, becuase he would have to be pulling all the strings, altering behavior and preventing bad people from entering into the churches. Do we want a puppetmaster? I don’t.

    3. TURNING AWAY FROM GOD

    I don’t know what motivated the ancient Hebrews to fall by the wayside. Except that out of sight is out of mind. When God wasn’t obviously in their presence, I think they thought he wasn’t watching. Or they doubted He was all-powerful. And so they turned to other gods they thought might give them what THEY wanted, instead of what HE or SHE wanted for them.

    Again, short of God never leaving our sight and essentially waggling his finger at us constantly, we are not, as humans, going to be perfectly obedient.

  4. February 5, 2009 at 5:53 am

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  5. February 5, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    If Pastors are just like the rest of us, then how come St. Paul writings are considered infallible? Isnt he human just like the pastors?

  6. 6 Deacon Blue
    February 5, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    First off, what’s “infallible?” I don’t think his letters are necessarily 100% infalliable nor do they need to be.

    I don’t think Paul is infallible in all matters; and he certainly was human. He mentions in various places that some of what he writes is his personal opinion and not doctrine.

    Second, he was writing doctrinal stuff. Presumably, much of it was under the power of the Holy Spirit and via the teachings of Jesus, and so theoretically is from God and reflective of God’s will. But even if it wasn’t…he was one of the early church leaders, and his teachings were largely accepted as sound. So, even if it WASN’T driven by God, it will still be the legitimate foundational teachings for Christianity. Get my drift? Even you reject the divine inspiration, it would be like someone seeing up a business or non profit and writing down the mission statement, official policies, etc. The person may be flawed, but that doesn’t make the rules any less official or make following them any less important.

  7. 7 thewordofme
    February 5, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Hi Deacon, thanks for taking the time and writing a good answer to my questions.

    Worry not about trying to convince me of the existence of a God. I am collecting information, words, thoughts, ideas, and opinions about religion in general and Christianity in particular. I love to read your blogs as you have a unique slant on life.

    From what I read and from those I talk with, or correspond with, I would think that manner of observance or how you perceived God and Jesus was very important. After all perception of Jesus was what got some Arians killed in early Christianity.

    Do Catholics think that Protestants will go to Hell, and vice-versa?

    I know some Baptists who think some Protestant sects, and all Catholics, will go straight to Hell.

    There are sects out there that don’t believe in the Trinity, as well as sects that don’t believe in a Hell. What’s up with that? Seems to me these are Big Points in Christianity.

    Of course there are those sects that believe that all sickness is cured by prayer and consequently kill their children by neglect in using real medicine. Is their religion so important that society should not interfere in how they raise their children? Is their practice of this particular form of religion protected by God?

    As to how God could make Christianity more clear today…I don’t really know. Perhaps something (long ago) inserted in the Bible that modern people could easily see or understand. Perhaps by adopting a new group of people in today’s world. Since the Jews are on His s__t-list, maybe He could adopt the Spanish Reformed Episcopal’s-or some such group-that He feels is most representative of how He wants to be worshiped. That would at least tell the world that there actually is a way He prefers His worship and will accept.

    If the method of worship used doesn’t matter than why is there so much killing going on about it?

    Also why would God set up such a non-nonsensical wall to belief in Him. That you have to believe without real evidence seems kinda’ silly. It seems to me that apologists have probably set up this explanation (you have to have faith with no evidence) to explain away Christianities inability to provide any real proofs of a God.

    In reply to your question:”Don’t many business leaders misuse their power? Politicians? Teachers? Police?” Yes, of course people/groups in any position in the world are likely to have some individuals that step out of bounds. It just seems to me that religious people should know better, and would think constantly about God looking over then when they do really reprehensible stuff…and so obviously go against Scripture.

    Maybe the followers of Moses weren’t really convinced that there was a real God looking down on them. Maybe the Ministers and priests and rabbi’s of today know something we don’t, and don’t feel in any real danger of loosing their souls, or life in Heaven or Paradise.

    God seems to be up in the air about free will, He says we have it and also says we don’t. What is one to believe, or who is to be believed? Below is a link to a previous post of mine about free will:
    http://thewordofme.wordpress.com/2008/03/28/did-god-give-us-free-will/

    Again thank you for your patience and replies and thoughts…Rock On.
    twom

  8. 8 Deacon Blue
    February 6, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    You have a lot of good questions. Unfortunately, I’m suffering from a nonfunctional wireless home network right now and on my wife’s laptop for a quick check on things…so I’ll try to get back here to respond ASAP. In the meantime, know that I DO plan to repsond.
    🙂

  9. 9 Deacon Blue
    February 7, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    OK, still no wireless connection to my PC, so borrowing the wife’s computer again, and the little girl hasn’t woken up from nap yet, so let me at least start, TWOM…

    1. I don’t think that most Christian denominations would say that the other ones are going to Hell. I could be wrong, but it’s not my impression overall. I think it becomes more likely to see that attitude as you get to the fringe sects that are so off-doctrine that I hesitate to call them Christian, despite have some slim connections (LDS church being the one that really springs to mind for me as a fringe sect)

    The core issue for most Christian denominations is: Do you believe Jesus is the son of God, who died for our sins, was raised from the dead and sits at the right hand of God now?

    If you have that, most else is gravy, really, IMHO.

    2. As for belief in the Trinity and Hell, that depends so much. The Trinity, with God as father, Jesus as son and the Holy Spirit, is mostly a matter of semantics. Are they one entity with three different presentations/faces? Are they co-equal in their infinite power? Is God alone sovereign and the other two are complementary/support roles? Is the Holy Spirit really a separate entity or is that just us accessing the spirit of God Himself? None of this is answered clearly in the Bible, so it will always be up for debate.

    And Hell, as we can see, is also open to interpretation. Are we in Hell spiritually already? Is Hell literal? Is there no Hell but we are destroyed if we reject God? Is Hell something you choose or that is chosen for you. Etc. I don’t think it is necessary to believe in Hell, but it does seem disinegenuous to think that we don’t have penalities for sin because that means we wounldn’t need forgiveness.

    3. I don’t support the neglect of children based on biblical precepts, mostly because the “evidence” in the bible that prayer alone is all you need is slim at best. Most (well, all, pratically speaking) people lack sufficient faith to tap God’s power like that. Moreover, we are never told that prayer or faith can protect us from all things. The “you will pick up deadly serpents” part of the new testament and shit like that were words directed at the folks in the early church who really were working miracles under the power of the holy spirit…it wasn’t a blanket statement for everyone, as it would contradict Jesus’ own words that we will have sufferings in this life. The law should come in to protect these people. REligious beliefs aren’t totally sancrosanct. We don’t let people commmit murder and then defend it as a religious belief. We cannot put our children at risk like that either. It’s one thing to reject certain types of preventive care…but actually needed medical attention for an illness is another thing entirely.

    MORE LATER…

  10. 10 thewordofme
    February 9, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Hi Deacon, thanks for writing.

    The impression I get from Catholic people is that some Protestant types are definitely not going to make it to heaven/nirvana. I seriously doubt that the Catholics would make it seeing as how they have totally corrupted a lot of the Bibles core teachings I know that the Jehovah’s witnesses think they are probably the *only* ones who will make it. You notice I am ‘talking’ here as if there was a heaven to go to. 🙂

    I can’t see any logic at all in the Trinity. I try to see the Trinity believers point on this issue, but it just isn’t at all evident in any scripture I have read. And most of the scripture points out that Jesus constantly refers to his father and that all things come from the father. And how does it make sense that God kills himself on the cross to relieve mankind of the sin that He (God) is responsible for. And we still pray to him as the *Son* of God. I think the Catholics really screwed up when they made up this rule(?)

    How much do you think the Catholics messed with the early scripture? I can’t believe that God allowed the Catholic Church to have sole possession of the early papers that would lead to the Bible. We can only guess at what was lost by the censorship and destruction that the early church employed with the scriptures.

    I would support a total clampdown on any church that denied medical help for any child under 18. It is total insanity to think prayer will cure any human sickness. There is no evidence that prayer works for anything.

    Do you think God wants to be worshiped? When I think about this it seems so silly to me. Here is the “Master of the Universe” looking down on us and thinking “These people really need to get down on their knees and ask for forgiveness for not washing their hands before dinner. I’m pissed.”

    You write
    “The core issue for most Christian denominations is: Do you believe Jesus is the *son* of God, who died for our sins, was raised from the dead and sits at the right hand of God now?”

    Is that all Christianity boils down to?

  11. 11 Deacon Blue
    February 10, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    I’ll be back soon, TWOM, with my thoughts on these latest things as well as earlier one I didn’t address…it looks like just maybe, I’ve finally solved my Internet connection problem, but I don’t have the free time just now for lengthy stuff. Come on back soon. 🙂

  12. 12 Deacon Blue
    February 10, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    First, I don’t think that this statement I made:

    “The core issue for most Christian denominations is: Do you believe Jesus is the *son* of God, who died for our sins, was raised from the dead and sits at the right hand of God now?”

    is ALL that Christianity boils down to. But it is an essential defining point. Christ is what makes Christianity, as opposed to Judaism or Islam. The issue of sin and repentence and redemption is also essential. There are many other important things, but those things are, in many cases, covered as part of the pre-New Testament texts as well.

    As for your comments on Catholicism, I do agree that the Roman Catholic Church has seriously perveted scriptural intent for the church. For example, the act of confessing sins to a human is so counter to the Bible, which says we bring our sins to God through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. Also, the whole papacy thing got way out of control centuries ago and hasn’t gotten much better in the modern age.

    BUT, I would never say that Catholics themselves are less likely to get into Heaven. The additions to scripture are something for the church’s leaders to bear account for, NOT the rank and file folks.

    I believe that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are separate entities myself. God is father and Jesus is son. Jesus was a human who bore the truly divine nature of God…but he could still be tempted and hurt. God cannot be tempted and God cannot die, ergo, for me, it’s clear that Jesus is not God. What isn’t so clear sometimes in the Bible is whether Jesus already existed from the beginning and simply went down to Earth later…but that’s where some of the metaphysical stuff in the Bible gets confusing with the way things are presented and the language in which it is presented.

    Does God want to be worshipped? Yes and no. Does any parent wish to be respected, loved and acknowledged? Of course. The notion of “worship” is a fuzzy thing. It doesn’t mean I have to get down on my knees and self-flagellate with a whip. It doesn’t mean I have to pray in a certain way. But by speaking with God through prayer and ackowledging him and thanking him and expressing my love and my apologies for my failing…that is itself a form of worship. But it’s hardly some onerous thing to do. Hell, it’s the LEAST I can do.

    And going back to one of your previous comments about it not making sense that God would make it so hard for us to have proof of him…again, I don’t see from my perspective how it is truly possible to make an honest choice to pick God and love Him with a honest love if he were to be obvious.

    He made himself all too obvious with the Hebrews at times, and I think he walked a thin line there to show himself and his power to the Hebrews and others that were around them. He had to show himself enough to make it clear, but not so much as to take away the ability for us to choose other than him.

    I suppose the alternative would be to have God and Satan openly duking it out and we choose sides in the war…but that feels wrong to me too. After all, if God were duking it out with Satan directly, it would be game over and again, we are left without real choice. And if God “outs” Satan, he once again forces us to believe and limits our ability to choose…and in fact, it is Satan’s choice to be unseen himself, because it suits his purposes.

    It may seem a weak apologist argument to you that faith = free-will choice and that’s the way that makes sense. To me, the alternatives don’t make sense. It’s all in the perception and persepctive.

  13. 13 thewordofme
    February 10, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Hi Deacon, thanks for your answering.

    Of all the people of religion I ‘talk’ to on the net I think you make the most sense and can explain your faith better than anyone.

    Regarding worship and prayer…do you think its something that is necessary to do on a daily basis? I tell my wife I love her everyday, but not in any worshipful way, just give her a kiss and a simple “I love you” Some people seem to indicate that they go into a 5 minute long prayer and worship routine every day and I think a god would get tired of that pretty quickly.

    Do you feel that many people of religion pick and choose from a menu of “what do you believe?” when they are finalizing what they believe in? I have talked to people from clearly defined sects and none of them seem to believe the exactly the same stuff. That picking and choosing bothers me a lot. I know I have mentioned this to you before, but it seems wrong.

    Anyway I think you very much for your patience and clear thinking. It’s nice to ‘talk’ to you occasionally.
    twom

  14. 14 Deacon Blue
    February 10, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    I think acknowledgment on a daily basis is a good thing. I believe that prayer daily, of some sort, is a good thing, though I admit that I easily get caught up in getting up, getting to my work, etc. and don’t do it as much as I should. Mrs. Blue kicks my ass in that department, as she makes sure to start her day with a little bit of Bible reading and prayer, and she does the same thing before bed. I’m a slacker on that front, and have been for too long.

    As for boring God, well, I’m not into rote prayer when I talk to God. For me, rote prayer, like doing the Lord’s Prayer, is more like spiritual exercise or maybe warmup even. It’s a centering thing and a reminders and stuff along those lines. When it comes to praying more directly to God, I try to address things that are one my mind at the time and thank Him for where I believe He has moved in my life, so that’s rarely all that repetitious.

    Picking and choosing…there’s a tough one. I think we ALL pick and choose in life. Which tasks we will take seriously, which rules we’ll follow at work, which traffic laws we think apply to us. And there are places in the Bible were things are fuzzy enough for interpretation to cause one person or one sect to differ from another in approach. I think it becomes problematic when we as Christians openly defy something that seems clear in the Bible and (a) show little or no remorse, (b) make no attempt to change, and/or (c) simply ignore or blatantly twist. One of the big things here though is that Jesus summed up obediences to God in the love God and love your neighbor themes. Mostly, if we are pursuing love and understanding and we are trying to avoid hurting people, we’re on the right track and there’s a high probability that we won’t run into too many overt instances of cherry-picking our beliefs to serve our own ends.


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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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