Between a Hard Rock and a Place.

August 27, 2008


Filed under: Church,Uncategorized — camharris @ 11:36 pm

There have been some catastrophic events of late coming from ‘the church’.  In Australia at the moment, there are a lot of people reeling out of shock from the announcement that a very popular young pastor has been living a ‘double life’.

The pastor was allegedly diagnosed with cancer about two years ago and continued his ministry perpetuating this situation, even letting it fuel his ministry it seems.  Recently, he confessed that the cancer diagnosis was fabricated and was done so to hide behind the reality of his gripping pornography addiction. It was a lie that his family and friends had no idea about until it came to light this last week.  Sad, wrong, messy. Very messy.

This pastor was involved in a lot of youth rallies run by a group that would travel all over.  Libs and I took a group of teens to a weekend conference once.  I was very reluctant, but went anyway to check things out.  I would sit up the back with my arms crossed and concerned look on my face as thousands of youth were led into a Jesus frenzy.  I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it now. 

My problem at the time was that the performances over the weekend were incredibly manipulative, emotionally charged and left a lot of important stuff out in case it stopped you from meeting the sexy Jesus.  The intentions of the production group were probably noble.  There may have been some good things come out of the weekend, but I found it very dangerous.  That is a separate story though.

So this pastor confessed all (I think) this week and is at Ground Zero. He has hurt a lot of people, he lived a double life, he betrayed trust and he undid a lot of work it seems.  I really feel for the guy.  Unfortunately for him, he had demonstrated very publicly the nature of sin.  It is one of the nastiest aspects of sin that leaves the trapped person asking “How the hell did I get here?”.  Yes, a lot has to be forgiven, and a lot has to be worked through.  It is easy for me to stand back and say, “That’s fine, I can forgive him.” when I wasn’t affected directly.  I think if there was direct hurt involved I would find it very difficult to come to terms with. I fear I’m not that gracious.

But I do see him in a new light now compared to when I have seen him in the rallies.  My opinion only, but to me he is now less fabricated than he has ever been.  He has come cleaner than I have publicly about my sins.  His brokenness is obvious and real. I am sure he may not feel it at the moment, but in a way he is in a enviable situation – repentant and broken, but ready for healing.  

It could have been any of us in this situation, and to believe otherwise would show an ignorance to the ‘nasty side’ of sin and the graciousness of God.



  1. Christ’s body was broken for us…….

    Comment by Sojourner — August 29, 2008 @ 5:16 am | Reply

  2. Interesting to read your comments Cam!

    I thought of you when I heard the news. That pastor used to be at the same church as us, and I had “interesting” opinions of him then. I found out about his “cancer” just after I found out about yours (and several other young friends), and my response at the time was something along the lines of “Not another one! Why God?!”

    I was equally as furious when I heard this news, but surely I feel a little relief in there too – this is one less person I know who is facing the battle with cancer. Isn’t that something to be thanking God for that?

    I am glad that God is gracious and forgiving at times like these, because personally, I find it pretty difficult! How many people have been impacted by this? I pray for THOSE people. For now, that’s as much as I can manage.

    Comment by Spanna — August 31, 2008 @ 10:24 pm | Reply

  3. Dangerous – my sentiments (regarding a WHOOOOLE bunch of that stuff) exactly.
    I’ve been in churches where there have been massive failings by leaders, and when people have been following the leader more than God, then people feel let down by God, cos God looks a lot like the leader who is currently crying whilst confessing all kinds of weird stuff.

    The currency of celebrity, charisma, popularity, image – very powerful in a big church context, and extremely dangerous.

    I feel for the bloke involved – he was just doing what others in his church were either doing or wanted to do. Culturally, he was just successful at doing what the setup wanted.

    Leadership (especially popularist leadership) is often thrust firmly onto the shoulders of the young – makes it very hard to deal with your own insecurities and issues when you’ve got a world watching you!

    When Britney & Lindsay bugger up, they get to go to rehab, and it fuels a new album.

    When a church leader mucks it up, the consequences are so much greater…

    Comment by Toddy — September 2, 2008 @ 7:13 pm | Reply

  4. Another difficulty regarding this is that there is a line of thinking in some of the associated churches that have made some very controversial claims about mental illnesses. I noticed reports saying that the pastor is being psychiatrically assessed, but I am not sure if they will be able to bring mental illness into the picture. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

    Comment by camharris — September 2, 2008 @ 7:57 pm | Reply

  5. There is, in some circles, a need to always be right. Even when you are wrong, it is important to examine the outcome, dress it up as results, and then look retrospectively at it to show how it turned out how you secretly thought it would.

    I would hate to be as right as that. As well as being monotonous, it would make me think, perhaps, that I am God. Or even A god.

    I am neither, but a pretty flawed bunny who gets ‘told’ every now and then, and is kept O So Humble about it.

    The ‘need to be right’ seems to be a culture where success has such strong currency, that to fail is to lose currency hand over fist.

    Scary stuff.

    Comment by Toddy — September 3, 2008 @ 8:02 pm | Reply

  6. However, being wrong, knowing your wrong, admitting your wrong, and trying not to do the same wrong again is a success. It’s called repentence and carries much currency in God’s eyes. Doesn’t it?

    Comment by Sojourner — September 4, 2008 @ 9:57 pm | Reply

  7. It does. Is it bad that we’re talking about ‘church currency’ and ‘God’s currency’ and they’re 2 different things?


    Comment by Toddy — September 8, 2008 @ 7:26 pm | Reply

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