So, there I sat, enjoying my coffee and skimming through Facebook. It’s a common activity both personal and professional and as a result, my “friends” list includes a rather wide range of people from all walks of life. A point that was brought home to me via a coffee-sputtering moment of disbelief.
Let me make something very, very clear – I really don’t care what religious beliefs you hold. They’re your beliefs. End of story.
So… a friend posted a link about pastors coming out as gay. Me? I have no issue here. I understand that certain fundamentalist Christian organizations do. They have that right. And I have the right to think they’re wrong.
So far, so good. No problems. Then I read the comment someone posted that said, in essence, “what if someone came out as attracted to stealing? They wouldn’t belong in the finance ministry. Or if they came out as attracted to young children, they shouldn’t be working in the nursery.”
Ummm… OK… let’s set aside the initial WTF kinda logic is that reaction and address this nicely.
Since stealing and pedophilia are both illegal, I hardly think this is an apples-to-apples comparison. No one in their right mind is going to ask a pedophile to work with children, or a thief to keep the books. But let’s have fun with this for just a moment.
No one questions the heterosexual pastor who has “recovered” from an “addiction” to porn. Why not? By this logic, it’s inappropriate for a man who has ever enjoyed viewing porn to be in a ministry position where he might encounter attractive women.
No one questions the overweight pastor who obviously has an issue with food. They preach on self control, and on denying the carnal nature, and yet there they sit at church potlucks. How can you have someone who isn’t in control of a part of their own carnal nature admonishing others to turn away from theirs?
The commenter goes on to say that these pastors should not be allowed to continue to serve “unless they have experienced deliverance and victory over these temptations.”
Let me follow the logic here… that means… it’s OK to have a pedophile as a children’s pastor if they’ve “experienced deliverance”? It’s OK to have a thief as your treasurer if they’ve been delivered? (resisting the urge to go off on a comical rant about putting my kids in that nursery, or tithing to that institution…)
Define “delivered” and “victory”? Does that mean, “no longer tempted at all”? Or does it mean, “I’ve overcome the temptations and no longer allow them to control me”? And who, exactly, determines at what point someone is properly delivered? When does someone go from being an unacceptable choice for ministry to being someone walking in victory?
My problem here isn’t that a religious institution has a problem with homosexuality (that’s a whole different problem, quite frankly). My problem is the lack of consistency in the application of this judgement (and make no mistake, it’s judgement). My other problem is the inherent hypocrisy of the whole damn thing.
I’ve seen it time and time again, and it never fails to frustrate me. Some Christians will happily quote “we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of god” and talk about things being “covered in the blood” as they experience “victory” and “deliverance”. But in practice, what it means is: “my sins are OK, they’ve been washed away. Yours, however, make me uncomfortable, so yours are not OK and I don’t think you should be in ministry because of it.”
Apparently, the blood isn’t enough for some people, and his grace isn’t sufficient for all.
PS – before commenting, please remember that these are my opinions and I am entitled to them. I welcome comments and opinions, even if they differ from my own, so long as they are polite.