Michael B Linton

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Narcissistic duplicity or, as I like to call them, preachers.

I'm tired of self-serving pastors.

Narcissism is rampant. The idea among most pastors is that it's all about them. "How can I make a mega-church? How can I get on TV? How can I get my name known? How can I be impressive?" These are not the questions pastors are called to ask, but they are increasingly the goals to which pastors aspire. I've seen pastor after pastor start ministries, put themselves on the radio, and make their names on the church sign nearly as big as the name of the church. All in the name of evangelism? Yeah, right. All in the name of promotion--and not the promotion of the gospel. Seriously, what does http://www.pastorsname.com/ do to spread the gospel? I dare say, not much. Now, promoting a narcissistic agenda? Well, then it works quite well.

And when will pastors learn to just be a person?

Why must we put on our plastic face every morning and attempt to present to the world an idealized persona? The world isn't ideal. Life isn't ideal. Sometimes it sucks and we need pastors that will say it. We need pastors that will say we lust, that we struggle with our own finances, that we need help, that we often seek (and enjoy) the power and recognition, that we often succumb to narcissism, that we question whether or not God really knows what He's doing, that we are huge fans of Aerosmith. Pastors are only regular sinners, saved by grace, and called to a specific and special task. We are not special. We have no anti-sinning cream. We have the same responsibility to live the life to which Christ calls all Christians and we struggle just the same. And luckily, we don't have to preach our lives, we preach the inerrant Word--that which greatly surpasses and completely overshadows our failings. And besides, our sins and struggles as pastors help the flock to see that everyone's flesh is in constant struggle with the spirit.

I'm not saying that pastors should sin in order to give better object lessons. Nor am I saying that our sin is excused out-of-hand. I'm saying that we must be real. We cannot lead the lost to Christ by our holiness. We lead the lost to Christ by showing people Who is truly holy. People cannot relate to and will not follow a wax dummy. They will follow someone they know has been and will continue to be in the trenches with them.

In my life I have known two pastors that were real. To the best of my knowledge my childhood pastor, Pete Evans, was real. He was just a guy. The other one that I know was real was Pete Jory, the pastor under whom I served at First Baptist Galveston. Other than that, I've seen plasticity and I'm sick of it. I'm mad as Gehenna and I'm not going to take it any more.

Pastors, say it with me: narcissistic duplicity is bad and, if we ever learn to say it, we are taking it out of our vocabulary. It has no place in the church and no place behind the pulpit. We are turning people away from the gospel because of our conniving and hypocrisy and it has to stop. As pastors, it's high time we were honest with our congregation.

As fearful of this subject as we are, we have to have authenticity in the pulpit. I want people to ask me how I'm dealing with sin. I don't want them to be fearful of judgement because I portray myself as perfection personified. Because we are nowhere close to perfect. Hebrews tells us that we have a high priest that understands our struggles intimately and has overcome temptation. It is ludicrous for pastors to work so hard to convince the congregation that they can't relate to sin and give the impression that they've conquered it. Regardless of the many God-complexes out there, pastors aren't Jesus.

1 comment:

Korey said...

Your blogs become a bit more enjoyable when you get fired up. This posting and your post directed at the Republican party were seeping with passion.
I too, am sick of the cultural hiding game of sin, and "narcissistic ministers." What irks my bones is that, from what I've seen, people are drawn to these guys instead of those authentic pastors. And though we may differ on some thoughts, I completely agree with you that the progression of the Gospel in our culture is in dire need or real people behind the pulpit, and in our lives.