Archive for October, 2010
I was in my office scanning Google news one afternoon when I read about the pastor of a megachurch in Florida who had been accused of sexual improprieties. I literally said, “Oh, crap!” Not very spiritual I know.
So many writers and pastors work hard to show the good news of God’s love yet this ugliness gets splashed over the front page. No wonder so many have a jaded view of the church.
As I thought about this pastor and his family I prayed for them. Having been a pastor for 10 years I can tell you the temptations are near constant. And my church was miniscule compared to his.
You have some of the greatest people in a church but also some of the weakest. You have people with their lives together yet some who are hurting leaving them and yourself vulnerable.
My spiritual mentor, a veteran pastor, once told me, “Never put yourself in a situation where you are tempted or could be falsely accused.” Read More→
The terrorist cat attacked again. This time our toughest male cat. Back to the vet for more antibiotics. Two weeks before the ninja cat had nearly killed our kitten. He still hadn’t fully recovered. This had been going on sporadically for three months. We kept the food picked up after feeding time. I’d shooed him away. I kept thinking the stray would wander on. In fact, there were weeks I wouldn’t see the big orange cat around and I’d think, “Finally, he’s gone.” Then he’d sneak in and attack again.
We were getting ready to go on vacation for two weeks. “We can’t have this going on. If this had happened when we were gone the kitten wouldn’t have survived. I’ve got to trap him,” I said to my wife. Read More→
I was chatting with a friend, at a car show recently, not the place you’d anticipate having a deep spiritual conversation. Yet, he told me about his brother who had just passed away in his early 70’s. As we stood under his blue popup sun shade on a warm September afternoon listening to classic rock blasting across the parking lot he related a fascinating story.
His brother had cancer and his prescribed treatment would extend his life for a few months but leave him sick every day. So his brother elected not to receive the treatments. He told Ron, “I’d rather just live out my life and when it is over it’s over.”
When his brother was near the end some friends decided they wanted to see him one last time. So one suggested, “Hey, we know where he’s going. He’s just heading out a little ahead of us. So let’s take some champagne and have a bon-voyage party for him.” Read More→
My pastor committed suicide a few months ago. Life isn’t supposed to work like that. Pastors have it all together we assume. Even though, having been one, I know they don’t.
The devastation to his family and friends was indescribable. We found out later he had struggled intensely with depression over the previous months. He’d been on an extended leave and we were told at the time only that he was “working through some things” and we weren’t to call or email him.
In the aftermath, the official church stance sounded a lot to me like God had failed. God had created Jamie the way he was. He hadn’t healed him when we prayed. He hadn’t protected him when he needed it most. And now this.
I rebelled against that position. But then I’ve chafed under official authority most of my life so that wasn’t brand new.
I checked out of church to clear my thinking. Ask some hard questions. “If God is all powerful why did this happen? If God didn’t fail then what went wrong? Do we and God really have no power over depression if it’s simply a chemical imbalance or congenital defect?” Read More→