Monday, August 25, 2008

The Great Let Down

There is this extremely difficult part about being a youth pastor, or minister of any sort for that matter, when things that people always believed to be true, begun to be deconstructed before their eyes. It's like a horrible break up crumbling before you, something you thought was real isn't. It was fake, a facade, to the point you almost feel stupid for believing it in the first place.
The past month I have been teaching my students about Jesus as healer. When looking for worship music to go along with the teaching I stumbled upon Hillsong's powerful song, titled Healer. I even explained the dramatic story of the writer having cancer, and trusting God for healing in his life... only... to get a rude awakening. He faked his cancer. All of it.
Do I know his motives? No. I have no idea if he was trying to make a quick buck off of a vulnerable crowd with a moving story. I don't know if he just had an extremely bad lapse of judgment. I have no idea. I do know what he did was wrong, and that he is paying the brutal consequences of the choices he has made.
I've read many blogs on the topic. From how horrible it is that someone would defame the name of Christ like that, to how we should extend grace and love to someone who is in a tight situation. I honestly think he's felt enough consequences to his action, and Christ will certainly be the judge of his decisions and heart. Thus, that is not my struggle.
My struggle is, what do you tell a youth group who already struggles with concepts of trust? Who already have admitted to doubting so much about God because church people are hypocrites and liars?
I think I have to take the role Donald Miller took in Blue Like Jazz. Set up a confession both to confess our sins as Christians. We have such a shoddy past. The evils of the crusades and the Spanish inquisition. Tele-evangelist who claim to heal your pain, if only you just send them $20. Those who serve Christ on Sunday, and walk out and deny him on Monday. The fact that the divorce rate is as high in the church as outside of the church. The horrifying truth that the pornography bought on pay-per-view is higher in hotels during pastor conferences than any other time of the year. I just want to apologize for all of it, and add to this list someone's obvious blatant misuse and representation of worship. This isn't Jesus. These are people, who desperately need Jesus.
Such horrible things have been done in the name of Christ. We just have to apologize, look forward, and run the race set before us. Love God and love others. They are going to have to see Christ by our love, not our hate, our violence, our greed. They are going to have to see Jesus through the sincerity of our words, and the truth that even when people fail us, Christ never does.

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