Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Moral Meltdowns

Over the last couple of months in the wake of Ted Haggard's widely publicized fall from grace, I've been thinking a lot about pulpits both private and public. If a pastor is caught in a certain type of sin in North America (typically anything sexual) they're asked to leave their ministries immediately. I wonder how often, however, a letter like this shows up at a church council meeting:

Dear Congregation Members,

I'm writing to announce my resignation, as I am no longer fit to be your pastor. I need to make a confession and I can only hope you'll forgive me. I hate to bring such personal matters up in such a public forum, but you have a right to know why I'm leaving the ministry.

For years I've struggled with materialism. I’ve bought things that I don’t need and, I'm ashamed to say, filled my garage with stuff I’ll never use. I have more books than I can ever read, clothes than I can ever wear, and food that I impulse-bought is rotting in my fridge.

In addition, besides being a materialist, I've been an idolater for years. Yes, I know that St. Paul equates greed with idolatry, and yet I've continued to desire more than I need. Rather than sacrificially give to the poor, I've cared more about my own comfort level than theirs. And rather than offering my time and resources to helping the hurting, I've spent huge segments of my life trying to improve my own standard of living. I've been addicted to comfort for years and finally, when I was caught in the act of coveting last night, I've had to admit to myself, and now the world, the extent of my sin.

I know I am getting specific in admitting these sins, and I hope you won't be disgusted by them, but I need to make a clean break and get them off my chest. I want you, the kind people of my congregation, to know that I'm seeking professional counseling to deal with my problems. I know that God will forgive me for being a materialist. I can only hope that, in time, you will too.

Your Former Pastor

Your comments are invited.


Mitchell McClure said...


TrollyHerdsman said...

We probably actually need more letters like that.