January 14, 2010 § 6 Comments
(I posted this on my facebook page and thought it important to do so here)
Being a pastor, you have to know that I, along with every other pastor, am affected when a visible and public figure such as Robertson speaks the kind of heartless words that he spoke yesterday. But more than that we (and I am speaking on behalf of all sane pastors), are saddened, because such comments do more than lump us into the same pitiful pile.
We are sad because it is incomprehensible that, in the face of the greatest human suffering, someone with a national platform, instead of speaking healing and comfort into the world’s pain, would insert himself and lunge for notice, effect and reaction at the expense of people who have not yet even buried their loved ones.
I am beyond disgusted, and you need to know that I am not alone – that we in the ministry entered because we believed we were called to serve and to embody the self-effacing compassion and humility of Christ – to serve the broken, to enter into sorrows, sadness, injustice, tragedy and death. In a word, we were called to believe in, announce and live out the promise of the New Heavens and the New Earth – that one day all the suffering that began in the garden will no longer be able to enslave and destroy.
What we weren’t called to do is to elevate our status at the expense of those suffering. We weren’t called to distinguish ourselves as better, bigger, more spiritual, holier, worthier or (and especially not), closer to God. We are a collection of broken, messy, needy people. We have screwed up. We have walked down paths we wished we didn’t. We have questioned our faith. We have been confronted by our fears. We have dark sides and dark places. We are nothing more than beggars leading other beggars to the One who has food, nothing more than the walking wounded who have met the One who has healed us by His own wounds.
And what of Robertson? He belongs to that hard, rigid, self-serving, unbiblical, unkind and unyielding crowd that finds joy in others’ miseries and sorrows and some twisted form of satisfaction in thinking that what they have, they have because they are better or right, or whatever ungodly, ungracious, prideful superlative they lean on to prop themselves up and raise their obscene amounts of money. Because they do have a following – you need to know that. A lot of people who are filled with the same fears that drive these folks love a message that is filled with self-righteousness – a message that is always about ‘them’ and one that never turns the scrutiny into one’s own heart.
And I do feel sorry for them. They are prisoners. They don’t sleep well at night because it is near impossible to feel good about having to always perform and put on a mask of moral perfection and superiority – it is impossible to have to keep up with that – to know what is true in one’s heart and when they look in the mirror, but then to go out and act as though none of what is dark within them is real – when all along it is – when all along they know what they know. It must be so hard to have to pretend that one is something they are not and that none of us can be.
I’m a pastor – and thankful to be one – Don’t lump us all together. In truth, on a very visceral level and in the reality of how good God is, we are far worse than Pat Robertson. That’s not the point. His problem isn’t that he’s bad – it is that he thinks everyone else is, but that he isn’t.
And know, that the Gospel is not an announcement that is meant to take a pound of flesh out of its recipients – it is intended to present One who has had it taken out of Himself, and One who now freely and joyously and unreservedly enters into the pain and sorrows and death and needs of the broken world we all share membership in.
He didn’t come to heal the well, but the sick. He didn’t come to condemn, but to forgive. He didn’t come shout at those desperately looking for light in darkness, but to seek them out and save them. He didn’t come to make the one sheep feel worse for its wandering, but to find it and take it in HIs arms and rescue it.
And today – and you need to know that I am in tears right now – Today, He is in Haiti…