Wednesday 27 August 2008

by the fireplace: 27 August 2008

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.
James 5:16a

It’s been knee-jerk responses ever since the startling revelation that the supposed cancer of a renowned youth pastor and song writer was a fake. On one hand are those who condemn him for what he has perpetrated and on the other, those who dispense grace and love like Panadol (simply, over-the-counter). And then there are those, somewhere along the line, who are simply bewildered and are asking the question, “Why? Why did he do it?” (I would rather ask the question how?) Of course there are those who don’t even care. (Would that make four hands?)

On one level, I don’t understand how he could have pulled off such a great fraud, one that lasted over two years, garnered thousands (or more? Fuzzy on that) in donations, and whose ‘truth’ was well-documented (and distributed). It must have taken great guts and audacity to pull such a scam off. And yet, on another level, I think understand two major factors of how he got to be where he was.

Primarily, he was a Pastor’s Kid (“PK”). In a large church. There was tremendous pressure to perform – to live up to be what the church expected him to be. He needed to be charismatic and spiritual, have everything together, show leadership potential, be involved in or head up a ministry, and basically, be, for the younger generation, everything his father was supposed to be for the older. Secondarily, he had a very visible ministry in a very visible church. The stakes are extraordinarily high.

Frankly, in such a set up, there is no room for mistakes. You are seen and looked up to by the world (or at least your world) and to admit to a sin would be a big no-no. It would be tragic. To step down of your own volition because you feel that you need to get your life right with God would be a cause for alarm. Why has he/she backslidden? What happened? And so in such a situation, the only thing he could have done was to press on. And hope. And pretend.

And that is what I understand. Because sometimes, the ministry to God seems faked and put on, like another garment, another mask. Because sometimes, the feeling inside that all might not be right has to be suppressed and shushed because I am a visible face in the ministry. And maybe, that is why I am comfortable where I am, in hiding again. Shari asked, “Did you ever consider that you feeling this responsibility is already a sign in the right direction?” Honest answer? I don’t know.

I agree with Colin Pearce in his scathing anti-heroism when he says,
“We keep needing success and heroism, signs and pointers and miracles to justify faith. It’s unbridled man-ism. It’s feeble. One person’s fall or departure from truth doesn’t negate the truth. Another’s rise and success doesn’t verify it.”
Yet at the same time, in our fleshly frailty, we all need someone visible to look up to. All very fine and good to say that we look to Jesus and try to be like him, but it’s often easier to follow a tangible person who is following Jesus, than to follow Jesus himself. Besides, doesn’t Hebrews 12:1 say that we have a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us? These include fallen men: Abraham lied about his wife, Jacob stole his brother’s inheritance, Moses finally didn’t enter the promised land because he showed his temper, Rahab was a harlot and David slept with another man’s wife and then got him killed to cover it up.

The thing is, like a little white lie, things tend to snowball and it takes great guts to set things right again. In fact, if you think about it, it often takes greater guts to admit to a wrong and a subsequent cover up, than it is to let the wrong go undetected. And the great thing in reading about this great cloud of witnesses, heroes of the faith, is that we know they messed up somewhere along the line, but God caught them, and brought them back. Abraham got caught out by the Pharoah. David got convicted by a prophet. We haven’t written them off from the hall of fame, or scrutinized each of David’s psalms to delete those (or at least the authorship of those) that he wrote “while in sin”.

This pastor merely decided to come clean out of conviction that the truth would set him free. True, it could have been done earlier, before damage was done. Or it could have been nipped in the bud before any of it started in the first place. But as it stands, it wasn’t, but it is now. Like Natasha Bedingfield says in her song Unwritten, “Today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten.”

I believe that Healer will be a timely song in a timely place for Michael Guglielmucci himself, because truth remains the truth and God remains God, whether or not you are whole or broken, right or wrong.

Healer – Michael Guglielmucci
You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease

I trust in You
I trust in You

I believe You're my Healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You're my Portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus You're all I need

Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands

Good reads for further thought:

1 comment:

  1. hey there.. thx for dropping by my blog. but do i know u? from pcc?