Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Day The Pastor Called Me an A-hole


Pastors are just people. They aren't divine. They aren't better able to call on the Holy Spirit. They don't possess any sort of supernatural power that lifts them above the rest of us. They're just people. Who call themselves "pastors."

People who pray. People who seek God's will. People who try to be a witness of the love of Jesus to others. Wait... we do that around here too. But we stop short of calling ourselves "pastors."

I guess legally we really have to stop short - I mean nobody in our camp is ordained or spent time in seminary (though I do think the amount of God in the early lives of all of our kids trumps any degree from any bible school).

Because when ya toss that word "Pastor" on there - things change, don't they? Francis Chan has warned us time and time again to not fall prey to this - but we do it anyways. We put these folks - these "pastors" on some sort of pedestal. We start to believe that they actually know God better than we ever could. And then... then the inevitable happens. They fall - and our image of them is shattered. And even worse - our image of God takes a hit.

I did this recently.

I had placed a pastor - a human being, flesh and blood sinner like me - but a pastor - on a pedestal. The guy was worthy of it in my opinion - he had shown a lot of love for people in the name of Jesus, had done a lot of amazing deeds in His name and usually wrote really encouraging and inspiring tweets, Facebook statuses and blogs.

So there he was - perched atop the pedestal on which I had placed him. Willingly perched I should add. He wasn't fighting it. And he sat on that perch for several years - doing good, saying good and rallying people along with him.

But then... something changed. All of a sudden - his posts became less encouraging and less inspiring... and more antagonizing. Instead of bringing people together - his words were divisive. He had become racially charged and let racism and his narrow and singular view of it... become his god. And in the process - he had begun rallying people to follow him - instead of Him.

Some other people saw it and commented. He belittled them. He threw his education at them and claimed superiority over them because he was so schooled. He basically acted towards anybody who did not agree with him like the Pharisees did towards Jesus. Not a good look for a pastor.

I fought the urge to weigh in. Everything felt so wrong about this guy for the last couple months but I fought it - maybe it was me - maybe I didn't get it. But when the Holy Spirit prompts ya to say something - it usually ends up happening.

And so I did.

And I was promptly banned from the public discussion he had started and had asked for people to engage in.

That's when I emailed him and let him know that banning people (myself included) from partaking in the public conversation he had started left it a really one side conversation - which isn't a conversation at all.

He didn't like this. Not one bit. And after a couple email exchanges, I left it with this comparison for him to see.

A comparison between me - just a dude trying to chase God, stand for truth and be more like Jesus - and him - a PASTOR trying to chase God, stand for truth and be more like Jesus.

I said: "I respect you, looked up to you and still love you."

He said: "You're a self righteous asshole."

I said: "I am praying for you." and "Best to your family."

He said: "Leave me alone."

I said: "the stuff you write was encouraging and spirit filled."

He said: "For you to write this mean spirited bullshit... is just weird..."

And there ya have it... April 29, 2014. The day a pastor called me an "a-hole."

My take away? Well - there were several:

- Stop putting humans on pedestals Tymm... they don't belong there.
- Stop allowing people you don't know to have free access to your mind.
- Check people's theology before buying in to what they're saying.
- be more thankful for a torn veil and direct access to God.

And for God's sake... I mean literally for the sake of God and His Kingdom - read the bible yourself and form your own opinions.

And so - I go forward - with my eyes opened a bit more - reading a lot more and listening a lot less - and wondering if being called that by a pastor makes me an "ordained a-hole."

4 comments:

Jace said...

Find for me the place in the Bible that defines the role of a pastor as it is defined by current church culture as the lone man who owns the church...

Anyways, love you brother. Don't be discouraged. You're the kind of guy that doesn't need to preach, because you live the life.

Fun books you might like: Pagan Christianity, Finding Organic Church, Church 2.0, The Rabbit and the Elephant

Jace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I have had the same situation happen but was not called an **hole, but I allowed myself to put the pastor on a pedestal, that was what I thought all my young years in church, but when I questioned something I was told I did not understand and yes, I did not understand. Evil is evil, forgiveness is forgiveness, going forward is the way to go. Sorry for your situation, but we do learn from them.

Greg Stenzoski said...

Hi Tymm, I'm sorry you had this experience, but I believe you handled it very well. Pastors are people just like the rest of us, with the same trials, tribulations and temptations we have, but with a bigger target on their head by the enemy. Donna and I had a similar experience and I learned we just need to love and pray for them anyway (Rom 12:20) and maybe he will come to his senses and apologize. But whether he does or doesn't, you should forgive him and continue praying for him, while you also pray to be led to your new church home. Love to you and Laura and your family. Please let Laura know we miss her at GaTech! Your brother in Him, Greg