It was all over the news that a priest of a church near my home had abused his position as pastor of the church. He had a lot of child porn on his personal computer including inappropriate pictures of the congregations children. He was a much loved pastor but is now reviled. In this age of awareness how did he think to get away with doing that? His church has changed from covering up for priest to exposing their evil actions.
Human beings often fail to live up to their most important ideals. The failure to realize ideals is often a mixture of apathy, baseness, cynicism, self-interest and ego. Even in our increasingly secular culture there is a conscious desire for people to find a spiritual dimension to their lives. Early Christians were first called the “People of the Way.” Christians are in essence members of a community of faith who follow a definite and certain path of the way of Jesus the Messiah. Church traditions sadly sometimes confuse the issues of following the way of Christ faithfully.
We say amen when something we see or hear confirms our own impression. We also become agitated or furious when something we hear is out of kilter with our personal beliefs. What are the truly basic beliefs of the Christian faith? There is a sense of beauty in the ideals of the total commitment and submission to God, the ideal Christian community, justice and peace.
It is sad that these same ideas are frequently corrupted to justify and legitimize the authoritarian and even brutal actions of people who contend that they are right. We must not confuse the ideal of the Christian faith with its misuse and abuse by people with political or power issues. This problem is not unique to Christianity as other religions are also hurt by mean spirited, power hungry; ego centric people who miss apply the tenets of our faith to their own perverted needs.
We as individual Christians must focus on what the Gospels teach us and seek to truly be people of the way of Jesus. We are each capable of focusing our lives on the teachings of Jesus first and saying AMEN to following those teachings. The way of Jesus was never easy for Jesus calls us to a different way of living than the way of the world. Say amen [ may it be so] and be a follower of the Way of Jesus.
I pray for the healing of that congregation as they deal with the results of a leader who was all too human and failed to live up to even his own Christian ideals. He is now under arrest and will face time in prison where his fellow inmates will not take kindly to his actions.