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
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…..