There was a time in my life, like many other seekers, when I would spend every Sunday in a pew. My inquisitiveness led to several years of learning under the tutelage of PhD’s at a Theological college and eventually to my leading a congregation.
Every Tuesday morning I would begin preparing my sermon for the following Sunday’s sermon. After several years of this, I faced my own demons and decided I could no longer stand in the pulpit and preach what I was not prepared to live.
One Monday morning, following what I considered one of my most persuasive and compelling sermons, I handed in my resignation. As I was also the Assistant Chaplain of a National Football team, I also abdicated by position with the team.
As you can imagine, the news of my relinquishing my position at the church and with the team shocked the congregation and the teammates. “Why?” That’s what they wanted to know. All I could respond with is, “I am tired. Tired of living like a hypocrite. Tired of living a lie. Mostly, I am tired of whom I have become.”
When I was acting as Assistant Chaplain and not standing on the pulpit, I was expected to inspire and motivated the players. When I was in the pulpit, I was expected to “make everything right,” to make sense of all of life’s nuances and idiosyncrasies.
Players were seeking the answers to transitioning from college life and mediocre lifestyles to being thrust into the limelight and multi-million dollar contracts. The once unpopular zit-faced skinny bow-legged kicker who prayed for any girl to take notice, now had his pick from dozens of women throwing themselves at his feet (and his fame and fortune), and he now believed he found the treasure of King Solomon’s Tomb.
After a church service I was cornered by wives and husbands alike, wanting to repair their deteriorating relationship. Family feeling they have a free-pass to sin as they said, “I’m in because you have a Heavenly connection to God,” as if I held the secret key to God’s Kingdom and I was the gatekeeper. I had no powers to exonerate anyone from evil or wrongdoing. No desire to hold anyone accountable or to charge an individual attrition for his or her sin. But somehow, my relationship and association to the clergy brought with it certain strange misconceptions and ill-conceived beliefs.
I suppose what helped me to see the light, is the way the congregation was no very different from the secular world, only the congregation, being Christian and all, somehow felt they were sanitized and sanctified so long as they made it to church on Sunday. I too felt this way and I now realize how wrong that behavior was – how wrong I was.
If I enjoy a drink, and in my younger years I enjoyed many, and I decide to sit in a tavern, I have no business talking about how much better off I am then the man or woman who decides to sit in the tavern every night, or for that matter, the alcoholic who is trapped in a darkness he or she knows not how to escape from.
How can I justify one character flaw in myself through another individual? Don’t get me wrong, I like to have a beer or two, or three. What I’m saying is; you will not hear me passing judgment on someone else for sitting in a bar, or for drinking, even our Lord turned water into wine (and back in Biblical day’s wine was more like moonshine than what we know of how wine is refined, watered down, and sweetened with fruit, today).
Just the same, if I were to flip through the pages of Playboy, accidentally browse a pornographic website because my browser was hijacked or email was spammed and I innocently clicked on the site, but hesitated before leaving the page, how could I fault anyone for having a persuasion towards pornography?
In all of my relationships throughout my life, for some reason there has been a question revisited over and again and I get the same response to my answer every time, “Really! You’ve never been to a strip club, gentlemen’s club or anything like that?” Really! No. I have not.
They find this unbelievable, because I have led a colorful life (aside from my years with the clergy), and I have been a biker all my life.
I have nothing against strippers, they have to make a living too. If exploiting sex and one’s body is the way an individual decides to make a living, so be it. I do not condone the behavior, nor do I condemn it, I am simply indifferent and I am intellectually competent enough to realize there are more pertinent arguments to get involved in like hunger and homelessness than skin and pleasure.
However, I will say the advertisements who use teenage and pre-teen scantily clad models in sexually provocative ads do much more harm than good and the parents of Tierra wearing child competition beauty pageants exploiting children and their budding sexuality deserve the most stringent legal prosecution. The advertisement capitalist send and encourage a pedophiliac based message; look at the young bodies of these sexy children. The thirty-something year-old dancers in strip clubs are merely trying to raise their fatherless babies, but society says, “Check out the sexy kid on page 69, but lock up the hard working desperate stripper mom because, as a consenting adult, she voluntarily reveals her body and while we’re at it let’s send her baby to a foster home.” There is something very wrong in our society with this message!
Admit it, we all have character flaws. We need not concern ourselves with our neighbors, or our friends, personal business. And if you are going to hold someone above reproach, begin by looking in the mirror. It’s very easy to say, such and such has this or that wrong, it takes courage to consent and acquiesce to one’s own faults and even more, it takes conviction and strength to make a change.
Yes people, we are in need of a moral calibration. But I’ll concern myself with mine, and you with yours — it seems to work out better that way!
Good times and I bid you well wishes on your journeys.
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