i’m being judgmental??… ‘ahem’; I’M BEING JUDGMENTAL???

standing out

by Kenneth Justice

~For most of my life I have gone along with the crowd…..

Growing up in conservative Evangelical Christian culture; conformity was the rule of the day.

Question your parents: Not allowed

Question your church: Not allowed

Question your pastor: DEFINITELY Not allowed.

Many of my immediate relatives still attend the types of churches I grew up in…..but because I don’t share their beliefs they are not interested in dialogue…

That is fine with me; I will live my life and they will live theirs…it is their choice to close themselves off from dialogue…I would never attempt to force someone to talk to me…..

Last week I made a comment on a pastor’s blog…..uh oh!

The pastor heads up a church outside the United States and he is well known in the circles I used to travel in……because I am always open to anyone’s ideas I often read blogs, articles and books I don’t necessarily agree with; I don’t want to cut myself off the way conservative Christians often do…..

Without getting caught up in the murky details of the public blog conversation I had with the pastor, here are the quick facts;

1) The pastor wrote a blog article about the great burden it is to be a pastor…..

2) Glossing through the comments to his article I was annoyed at all of the Evangelical Christians blowing smoke up the pastor’s arse;

“Oh pastor, you are so wonderful, it is such a burden to do what you do”

“Oh Pastor, how right you are, being a pastor is so hard and you do such a great job”

Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah……

Hey, I get that being a minister, pastor, or priest can often be a thankless job…..

BUT, when you write a self-indulgent post that is clearly aimed at getting people to suck up to you and tell you how wonderful you and other pastors are…..is that really being a good representative of Christianity???

Jesus doesn’t strike me as the kind of dude that goes out of his way to tell everyone how wonderful he is; he let his actions speak for himself.

Guess what…..lots of people have tough jobs…..lots of people spend their lives in the service of others and sacrifice a whole hell of a lot for the good of humanity….and they don’t write posts patting themselves on their backs hoping readers will blow smoke up their arse…..

So…..I made a comment on the pastor’s blog….uh oh!

Because there was some back and forth conversation with the Pastor, I actually made a couple comments…..but the heart of everything I had to say was encapsulated by this pithy remark,

In our day and age, pastor’s are often more comfortable on the golf course than in the ghetto

As you might imagine, my ‘little’ comment didn’t win me any fans on the Pastor’s blog……and if any of the big wig’s that he is connected to read our exchange….I suspect I am setting myself up for a lot of grumpy responses….

Yet, I stand by my words…….

When I consider what it means to be a follower of Christ….and especially what it means to be a pastor or priest (I am not a pastor or priest);

I believe it means;

A life devoted to loving others

A life devoted to service

A life devoted to helping the poor

A life devoted to feeding the hungry

A life devoted to giving aid to the sick

A life devoted to teaching others how to love each other

A life devoted to teaching and practicing peace

However,

In our day and age, pastor’s are often more comfortable on the golf course than in the ghetto

Get past the pithiness of my remarks…..and I suspect the truth is rather apparent; pastors, priests, and ministers spend more of their lives holed away in their caves studying and memorizing the bible, and attending church business meetings, and teeing of at the local golf course……

and the time they spend in the ghettos, with the poor, with the sick, with the needy, with the orphans, with the widows….is largely non-existent.

Sure there are always the exceptions…the outliers….

But I’m not talking about the exceptions…..

I’m talking about what is typical……

If the church want’s to know why young people are leaving it in droves…..its because your pastors and ministers have propped up a book and worship it like its a golden calf…..and all the people who really need to be visited, the people who need friends, the people who are lonely, hurting, isolated, sad, sick….are lost in the fray……

Well, the pastor didn’t like anything I had to say, and he accused me of being judgmental….which I thought was rather humorous;

I’m being judgmental?? He’s the pastor of a church in a particular denomination that condemns Roman Catholics, Methodists, Muslims, Hindus, Homosexuals, and everyone else they disagree with…..

He’s the pastor of a church that pretty much condemns the whole world except for those who agree 100% with him….

Well, I was being judgmental…I readily admit it…..but him saying as much was like the pot calling the kettle black……

So….I guess it’s clear I don’t really care to conform anymore…..

and if you’re a regular reader you know its time for my coffee…..

Kenneth



Categories: Religion

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33 replies

  1. I love your posts – they are soooooo cathartic!! It’s usually me…

  2. Kenneth, I agree with you completely. ‘Nuf said.

    Cheers,
    Dennis

  3. absolutely agree with you! Well, I am sort of like that. I don’t like when people act like their so great and they deserve only the best blablabla. I just had an argument with such a person. You can find it here.
    gesundheitsuze.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/why-should-you-win-the-ultimate-trip/#more-1890
    Would be interesting to hear your thoughts on it.
    I have to tell people when they’re exaggerating etc. I used to blame my German genes on it 🙂 Now I am not too sure about it anymore. 😉

  4. Judgmental is in the eyes of the beholder. Enjoy the badge! xoM

  5. Same thing happened to me when I tried to have a meaningful exchange on an education blog. Stumbled into a hornets nest of teachers who worship at the church of teacher unions. Now, I’m not particularly anti-union in fact. But I suggested that people should stop fighting from a pro or anti union stance and focus on things like public school structure, accountability measures and their effectiveness (or lack of), and where the overall system can be tweaked to allow better communication from actual teachers rather than politicians and such …

    I ended up being attacked (rather unsuccessfully I think) from lots of angry folks. I rather enjoyed it. I was actually hoping to learn more about those elements of the issue I don’t know, but they apparently weren’t in the mood to teach that day.

  6. interesting thoughts. i would have to say I tend to agree. I have a friend who is a pastor and attended a seminary. He has always stated that Seminary’s are better at teaching theology rather than reaching people. of course not all pastors are the same, some are really could at going into the ghetto and reaching all kinds of people.

  7. I don’t want to blow smoke up your ass 😉 but I think if more Christians were like you, the church would be in much better shape.

    • Amanda, I can see my wife’s eyes rolling upward thinking, “Kenny doesn’t need any more smoke up his ass!” ha ha…..maybe you and my wife can have coffee and you can convince her that more Christians like me would make the church a better place 😉

      seriously though, thanks for the comment 🙂

    • That may prove difficult, seeing as how you live in Boston and I live in Texas.
      But seriously, one of the first reasons I left the church when I did was the people. I was constantly surrounded by amazing, kind, wonderful people who weren’t Christians and a ton of Christians who weren’t good people. It led me to question my faith to the point where I realized I’d never really had any. That you can keep your faith in such a broken system is commendable; that you continue to strive to change that system even more so.

  8. A pastor, complaining about the burdens of being a pastor….is an Oxymoron

    Plain.and.Simple.

  9. my thoughts are simple today – i love your blog and your “rebellious” nature. i hope to one day have your “spunk.” great thoughts!

  10. Well done. I agree with you. I believe these men and women should live by their word and that they don’t most of the time. I admire your courage in speaking up and am ashamed to say I might just have closed the page down and quietly fumed to myself.

  11. You are a true christian. You are more spiritual then the people who push the Bible on my face and are trying to save my damned soul.

  12. Wow you are brave! I remember one time my dad said a certain pastor of, maybe the denomination you are speaking, “If Jesus himself showed up here you would tell him he wasn’t on the program and had to take a number.” Needless to say we never went back to that church. Your boldness is refreshing.

  13. I think you are discerning, not judgemental. There’s a big difference between the two. If we can’t look at the facts and talk about the truth without being labeled judgemental, then…I don’t know, What then?

  14. I wouldn’t fault pastors for doing a lot of Bible study. That is a legitimate duty they have. I do think it is ineffective study a lot of the time, study that is designed to under-gird a pre-existing opinion rather than grow in knowledge. That kind of study might as well not be done at all.
    I can say that my wife, the priest, is an outlier. I admire her greatly. I also have seen how aggravated she gets at all the trivia that she is expected to do as a priest. Nonetheless, people like her to the side, your exchange with the pastor sounds appropriate, if ineffective. I also think the kind of judgment you were doing is not the kind of judgment that the Bible forbids. Evaluating words for their truth and evaluating actions for their love is different from judging a person as saved or not.

  15. Absolutely on the mark again. I teach and am “an outlier” as you say. Have been beating my brains out on my blog as you know and elsewhere trying to wake up America’s “pastors”. Preachers are more like it. Preaching at someone does little good. Teaching them does good, but showing them Jesus’ love by your actions, that is the definition of a pastor.

    If you are not in the trenches getting your hands dirty and loving people where they are, you are not where Jesus expected and expects you to be. Too many playin church, not enough living the truth.

    Keep on spreading it, Kenneth. Great job, bro.

  16. Thank you for this. I hear a lot of complaints/hurt that let me know that it boils down to lack of action consumed with love.

  17. I can’t believe how many of these guys are absolute scoundrels.

  18. Hey Kenneth! I totally get it! “Send your MONEY TO THE LORD….in MY NAME!” …however, I want to speak to the “exception”…When I was growing up in deep very CATHOLIC South Texas…along the Rio Grande Valley River…on the Border between Texas and Mexico, the fact that my mother was A SOUTHERN BAPTIST (her father was an Appalachian Baptist Minister) meant that although we were half Hispanic, we were raised… ALL PROTESTANT! This being said, our Pastor (Jack Chastain) was an AMAZING MAN, he was ethical, humble, and God-fearing. He was as unprejudiced a WHITE MAN as lived in that little community. He worked hard, did house and hospital rounds daily, and was the epitome of the MAN OF GOD. His unwillingness to participate in the prejudiced politics of the church elders lost him his job. The Church was taken over by the kind of scoundrels and scallywags you are speaking of…and as I was a “half-breed”…(My father’s family were HUGE CATHOLICS in the community) I never felt comfortable again…in that Church…after I was old enough to decide NOT TO GO, I only went back periodically to see old friends, and found that most of them had also looked elsewhere…When the Church ran him off…we all lost a Champion!

  19. You actually stirred up a hornets nest. In Indian society as well we are taught not to question the parents and their beliefs. Though we are at free to choose our own beliefs. For us its more a cultural thing. However things are changing and now i have seen even elder generation doing things new way.

  20. Did you put in about taking out the log in his eye before pulling out the sty in someone elses’? Or how his post reminded you of the public prayers of the Pharisees? Your post did more for promoting what a Christian should be then all the others I have read this last week. We need more common sense, more willingness to actually be a light in the world and the salt of the earth. Instead we will be the ones’ that Jesus spits out. But as I have said in the past, I really think that few persons who say they are Christian really ARE. “Faith without works is dead” says Paul in Hebrews. Good philosophy from someone who gave it all up to serve others.

  21. Totally agree. Nothing more to say.

  22. You were speaking truth to power, and power didn’t want to listen. Great post and I agree with amandadance1234 that if all Christians were like you, then the church would be in better shape. Actually, the world would be in better shape!

  23. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being judgmental, in the Catholic church one of the gifts received at Confirmation is the spirit of right judgement. One has to be able to judge between right and wrong to make the right decision, yes? I constantly tell people I have the right to judge, we all do, but I don’t believe I have the right to condemn. Great article, I think Jesus would be dancing on water in response to it. 😉

  24. Pot calling the kettle black indeed. This is only one of a number of reasons why I stopped going to church so long ago. The egotistical attitudes that prevailed not only with the various ministers, but also their ‘flocks’, made my blood boil at their collective insensitivity. My religious affiliations ran from Dutch Calvinism, through the Dutch Reformed Church, on to Presbyterianism and finally ending with a short stint in the United Church of Canada.

    Wherever I went, I met people who ‘disliked’ other people because they were poor, had ‘histories’, belonged to the ‘wrong faiths’ or, believe it or not, had the wrong kind of skin. Their noses were normally so high in the air, they’d stumble on the church steps going in. On Sunday morning, they’d be pious as a bunch of reclusive nuns and dressed in their finery, but the rest of the week can be found in the local pubs or the gossip circles being pugnaciously arrogant, dismissive or snide about anyone not presently present.

    Judgementalism was, in my humble opinion, their core sensibility and about as far from true, pre-Nicene Council Christianity as you can get.

  25. Depends on the pastor or priest. I think the younger set are realizing what it’s all about for real. There was a long time when the motivations for being a prelate could be mostly political. The sun has set on those times– in the USA, at least.

    Nowadays, however, things are different. It’s no longer trendy to be a Christian. Nowadays, being a traditional Christian is counter-cultural, and I’m not talking about folks standing on street corners waving signs. Those radical 1960’s people are now in charge, and they are as intolerant as the previous generation was against them.

    Christianity will return to a certain purity when to wear a mitre or a roman collar is to risk prison or martyrdom. We might not have to wait long. And hey, public humiliation is enough ‘persecution’ to achieve some clarity on it’s own. If all anyone can think of is the scandals or ‘bigotry’ when they see you, then golfing with the local leading lights will no longer be a draw– because it just won’t happen. After all, you’ll be too busy trying to keep your church from going bankrupt to spend time improving your swing.

    Most parish priests don’t have time for golf anyway. There aren’t enough of them to keep up with all the work.

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