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Posted by on Apr 19, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Are You Ok If Your Pastor Looks At Porn?

are you okay if your pastor looks at porn squareSome studies are saying that up to 50% of pastors are at least mildly addicted to porn. That’s not bad, seeing as the men in their congregations are pushing 70% with women at about half of that number. So, if you have a coin in your pocket, go ahead and flip it. I’ll call “heads” and if I win, let’s consider this question: should your pastor be disqualified from his position because of his struggles?

Craig Gross asked this same question recently and had some thought-provoking answers, but I want to look at it from a different angle. For some of you, the answer to this question is simple. In the minds of some, pastors are required to reflect Jesus at every level. They must be the moral examples that testify to the truth that when a person chooses a life walking in the footsteps of Christ, we are “made new.” Their reading of the Bible essentially puts the cart before the horse, equating this path of Christianity to a magic-carpet ride.

Can we finally and forever admit to ourselves that this perspective and subsequent reading of the Bible is neither helpful nor accurate? Think about it: what’s the difference between your pastor and you? Other than their education, what’s the real difference? The stats are saying something pretty simple: very little. The true difference is what our pastors symbolize in our culture and in our minds.

Our pastors are not unlike that guy on the overpass holding that cardboard sign with something creatively etched in black Sharpie. Just like our pastors, very few of us know that person beyond what they trigger inside of us. They are an experience of our own doubt and unknowing and struggles with our beliefs. The poor face us with an inherent conflict inside of ourselves – their presence always reminding us that all is not right with the world and we can’t do a dang thing about it….can we?

But you may be saying, “But my pastor is amazing! He brings the MEAT every week and has two smiling kids and they have perfect teeth and his wife is just so happy and she beams from the front row when he shows us all that if we just understood what he was trying to teach us, we would be like him. And then they probably go home and have supreme divine sex, like King Solomon did!

You have to know that this experience we are having is something taking place within our unconscious because we need our pastors to be this way. Because if my pastor is like me, then I am forced to face the fact that I don’t really always know the truth. I don’t know why I struggle with this addiction or struggle. If he’s human, then I have to be human and my beliefs have to become human and my reading of scripture becomes human. And depending on my doctrines, that may have dire circumstances.

So to return to the overpass – if my pastor is another person representing the real, human experience of doubt and unknowing and struggle and wrestling and seeking and falling – just like my friend on the overpass – I have to get through this intersection ASAP so I can wipe them from my memory and pretend they don’t exist. I believe this is why when we discover a pastor has become (and always was) human (after the coin-flip), we have to get them out of that position as soon as possible. We need them gone from our memories so we don’t have to face the fact that our belief systems are inherently human. We don’t want to face the brokenness within ourselves and if my pastor can fail, what does that say about my beliefs? (Tweet This!)

What would it look like to put the coin down and just accept that our pastors are like us? What would happen if congregations all over the world turned to their pastors and confessed to them the sin of idolatry, asking them to forgive us for making them into containers for our fear and pain and doubts? What if we invited our pastors to an experience of the marriage of God and man we call grace? I imagine then that we would have to face our fears and the pain that we are medicating with all of this stuff we (and they) do in secret places. We could lose our psychological crutch and start truly seeking a movement of the Spirit. And our pastors could be on this path with us, guiding us with their wisdom gained through the same struggle we are having.

The only thing I require of my pastor is that they seek more than Christian celebrity. (Tweet This!) I ask my spiritual leaders to be pilgrims on the road like me – sages with wisdom gained from the road. And if they have the courage and ability and experience to walk down this road ahead of me, I am grateful, because it is a beautiful thing to be able to learn from that.

Blessings to any and all pastors reading this that have struggled with the pressure to be something more than truly human. I pray you find freedom in more ways than one and for my part – I am truly sorry.

 

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