Well, Holly and I (and Pax) just got in from a 2-day, 1-night trip to Yosemite with my Dad and Stepmom. It was a good, albeit tiring, time. I tasted some of my newly favorite zinfandel. I'll find their site and blog about that later.
The last few days have been searching for me, being with my father and stepmom. We are on very different (yet sometimes very similar) paths. It's always interesting to attempt to engage in conversation with them. It's as if we speak different languages, but share some common words. The words mean different things to us though...and that's difficult.
In the last couple days we discussed the tragedy of Ted Haggard. I also heard about yet another pastor who had "fallen" and had been let go of by his faith community. I also heard about a 1-800 number that Dobson (or someone else?) set up for pastors to call in to anonymously report their struggles with infidelities or homosexuality or whatnot. Apparently, like 600 pastors a month have been calling in.
It really got me thinking. That's really sad that the solution for all this crisis is an anonymous hotline. I hate to be a critic of a solution, but honestly...anonymity? Is that really helping anything? As I said in the last post, Craig reflected on how this Haggard situation indicts the whole system. I think that a call to real, honest relationships with people is the only way that stuff like this can be properly "dealt with" and that people possessing that sort of fame and power are products of a system where you are more honored and perhaps even "Godly" if you keep all your shit to yourself.
So, that being said, let me share an alternative.
For the last several years of my life (back into High School even), I have always remembered struggling with pornography. It's always been there.
I thought when I got married this would change. It didn't. I soon met others who said the same thing. Holly has known about this for a long time...even her knowing didn't necessarily cause me to change my behavior (although it always pained me to report it to her).
This last year for Holly and I was a year of attempting community in experimental ways. If we really believed that we could not journey through the most difficult parts of life without community, why not explore the boundaries of that. I shared my struggles with so many of the guys I saw along our pilgrimage. It was amazing to hear others' stories of struggle, addiction, pain, emptiness...and sometimes hope. It was both freeing and salvific.
You know, I don't mean this post to paint me in some sort of saintly light...a Pauline "follow me as I follow Christ"...but I must report how healing those conversations with real friends were. It was in real relationships that we are healed...not in some 1-800 anonymous hotline.
I feel bad for all these pastors who slept with whoever. Really, I feel for them and their family. Who likes to have their past catch up with them when there are skeletons in their closet? But can I speak frankly? Some of us would propose that a person given that sort of "power" amidst a community might be a bad idea. Elevating the pastor (as so many in this tradition do) to the status of God's Interpretor is just plain dangerous. And stages do nothing but promote double-lives. Trust me. This I know to be true from personal experience.
So what are we to do? Begin to honestly engage with each other about how fucked up we are...and remind each other about how beautiful we are...and realize that that sort of honesty is a good place to begin...even if it's way messier.