I was surfing around on another website tonight. It’s the page for a podcast that features lots of ex-pastors who are no longer in the ministry. I’d heard of their show before, but had never actually listened to any of their stuff until now.
Evidently, they’re pretty proud of having walked away from the church. And their programs have attracted lots of former church members who no longer feel they need the church either.
Then it occurred to me that my chosen moniker may give some people the wrong impression. They may think by calling myself “the Bad Pastor” that I’m a rebel against the “institutional church” like the folks I described above.
Maybe they think that to “play against type”, I’m a pastor but I’m not pursuing holiness in my personal life, and not trying to live like Jesus. Maybe I sound like a guy wearing a biker jacket who cusses and spits and crushes beer cans on my forehead while scaring little old ladies out of their pews.
Hmmm…I guess it’s time for a quick hissy fit, if you’ll indulge me a moment…
I want to clarify something. Nope, that’s actually not me at all. In fact, I’m really getting sick of people bashing the church and writing books and recording podcasts about it.
That’s not who I am at all. Sure, I have said a few bad words in my time. My car in particular will never get saved because of my bad testimony of occasionally cursing while driving. And while I admit I’m nobody special, there is a big difference in me and most of those other folks you’re thinking of.
I warn you this will sound pretty self-righteous, but the biggest difference is I’m still in the church.
And it really kind of ticks me off when Christians talk about “leaving the church but not their faith”, as if there’s any Biblical precedent for living that way. There’s not.
Please. The early church had all the problems we have today plus being eaten by lions in the colosseums. So I think you can handle a few judgmental old biddies in the back pews.
Also, I’m not an ex-pastor. I’m still doing the job, living the calling, and sucking up the pain of hurting people around me like a true “vicar”.
And I really resent guys that don’t have the guts to stick with it, but still want to pretend they have something to say.
I’m tired of ex-pastors wanting it both ways – they’re out of the pastorate but still want the platform of a pastor. And they end up attracting all the people who just want to bash the church and tear it down. Often, those former pastor’s negative influence makes the church haters feel justified in doing so.
Sorry, but you walked away, buddy. So suck it up, Buttercup!
So sit down and shut up while the rest of us keep doing your job.
Wow, that was a little harsh, wasn’t it? Can you tell I feel passionately about this? Well, I do. And if you really know Jesus, you should too.
I haven’t given up on the church. In fact, I’ve dedicated my life to nourishing it. Why? Because Jesus died for it. And I love Jesus, so I’ll stick with it and take my lumps if He’ll be pleased in me.
I call myself Bad Pastor for two reasons:
The first is because others have always seemed to look at me that way. I never was good at playing spiritual games. I wasn’t willing to try and one-up them in spiritual contests because I knew comparing my holiness with other believers is like comparing used toilet paper…
The subtle differences never override the stench.
The second is because I really, truly don’t feel I deserve to be a pastor. That compared to my holy calling, I’m a complete poser. This makes it tough for me when the spiritually competitive folks take shots at me. Deep down inside, though I know they’re no better sinners than me, I know their basic premise is right.
I really am a bad pastor.
- I’m spiritually lazy at times. I’m too led by my emotions instead of my faith.
- And yes, I want the big successful ministry with lots of people hanging on my every word, and other pastors looking on with envy.
All that and worse takes up residence on a daily basis in my dirty old heart. I’m really quite a mess.
I’m a patchwork quilt of a broken man, scotch taped together with more coping mechanisms than you can count!
But it’s because I know I’m a bad pastor that I actually feel qualified to be a pastor. It’s the ones who think they deserve this gig you need to worry about.
And maybe, if I can be honest about my weaknesses, and even my outright wickedness at times, someone reading this can believe God might just put up with their mess as well and forgive them.
So…I can pretend I’m perfect and maybe sell a million books. Or instead, I’ll just save you the trouble of judging me and call myself out up front…and maybe really help a few people.
That’s why I am The Bad Pastor.