Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Most Pastors Are Hypocrites

Let me tell you about Reverend Ryan.

He was a tenant of mine.

A sweet, young kid.  God damned boy scout is what he was.

He kept his apartment in perfect order, could fix things faster and better than I ever could, and if you ever needed to rely upon somebody he was the guy you'd go to.

Only one problem.

He wasn't a reverend.

I thought he was because he got his degree in youth ministry, and so I naturally assumed he was a pastor.  But as I found out later, that was nothing more than yet another college-education scam perpetrated upon the youth to support an academian scheme, but this time of a religious variety.  His degree was utterly worthless.

But his moral character and caliber was not.

If you were to ask me, and in all honesty, he is BY FAR a better man than I will ever be. He is honest, he is pure, he is noble, and he is righteous in the truest sense...matter of fact if you just took me and multiplied me by a -1 you would mathematically get Reverend Ryan.  I don't think the boy has ever committed a sin in his life.  He is virtuous and upstanding and I am, frankly, surprised such a man exists in a modern day environment today which is so hostile to such virtue.

Ironically, this results in a paradox.

For while this is one of the most pure, innocent, virtuous and noble men I know, he cannot become a pastor because he doesn't have the right credentials.

But I know men who have become pastors.

And I know men who did jump through the hoops.

And for the most part, most of them come nowhere near the caliber and quality of man as my former tenant.

THough I don't harp on it much, one of the most worthless degrees you can get is "religious studies."  I don't harp on it because it is presumed you do not enter such a study in the hopes of riches, but out of charity, altruism and selflessness.

But that cannot be further from the truth for many religious studies majors.

For like journalism, management, even economics, "religious studies" grants the major an air of authority.  Jounralists always seek truth.  Business management majors always seek optimization an production.  And economists always seek efficiency and progress.  However, in pursuing such lofty endeavors, those studies are nearly-guaranteed to be corrupted by lesser souls using the lofty position of the study to wield power and control over others for their own selfish gain by abusing its moral position.  And "religious studies" is the most loftiest (and consequently, corruptible) of all because it presumably is the authority of morals and decency.

Such a discipline attracts two types, both the most opposite you could ever imagine.

Pure, virtuous, and noble saints like Reverend Ryan

and

worthless, lazy, (but worse) power-hungry scum who wish to abuse a religion as a means to advance themselves without work, effort or rigor.

Unfortunately experience has told me most pastors (as well as most practitioners)  are not of the Reverend Ryan caliber.  They are in it for themselves, in it because it's an easy subject, in it for the power immediately granted to them, in it for the business, and in it because they lack the intellectual power and capability to determine their own morality and virtue and thus rely on a religion to spell it out for them.  And yes, yes, I know fellow Christian, Jewish, even Muslim, Cappy Cappites, I know you may have that one special pastor that does not fit this bill, but this is (admittedly) the personal, yet empirical, data I have experienced and I still contest the majority of clergymen/women aren't in it for "god" but in it for themselves.

The only thing that is going to convince me otherwise is when I see the church (of whatever religion, sect or denomination) start opening the priest/pastorhood to people with moral caliber like Rev. Ryan who have good hearts, instead of requiring (much like the HR witches in the labor market) "degrees" and "certifications."  When religious entities start promoting good people with good intentions and good hearts to the roles of leadership and not the scamming, verminous scum willing to effectively lie and play "Game of Thrones" to get into positions of leadership then I'll start granting American religions more credit.

In the meantime, I don't care whether Reverend Ryan has the qualifications to be an actual "ordained" minister or not.  He's the only man qualified to be a reverend in my book and my standards are a hell of a lot higher than most official religions'.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

"They are in it for themselves, in it because it's an easy subject, in it for the power immediately granted to them ***"

You left out some big ones.

In it because it's perceived as a cushy, easy job with near 100% job security, it's nearly impossible to lose a job as a pastor in the major denominations; and in it because the work is not intellectually taxing or rigorous.

deti

Anonymous said...

I remember a pastor of mine who sold cars. My dad always used to say that pastor and a car salesmen required the same skillset. His sermons were the typical charismatic evangelical approach, with the prosperity doctrine and typical feminist capitulating.

Unsurprisingly the church was full of women and relatively few men.

Pax Empyrean said...

"The only thing that is going to convince me otherwise is when I see the church (of whatever religion, sect or denomination) start opening the priest/pastorhood to people with moral caliber like Rev. Ryan who have good hearts, instead of requiring (much like the HR witches in the labor market) "degrees" and "certifications.""

So, a church with an unpaid lay clergy? Those exist because paying church leaders gives us precisely the problems you're talking about.

Adam van den Hoven said...

Captain,

I'll take your challenge.

The Canadian & American Reformed Church does not actually require a degree of any sort to be made a minister. We do have our own seminary where ministers are trained and ministers typically have a Masters of Divinity from this or some other seminary but it is not a strict requirement.

The churches all agree to be bound to a common church order which provides instructions on how things are done. According to Article 4: Eligibility for the Ministry and Article 8: Exceptional Gifts, you become minister after being examined by a classis (an assembly of several congregations in a particular area) provided you either completed a course of study (ie you have an MDiv or similar) OR possess exceptional gifts of godliness, humility, modesty, good intellect, and discretion, as well as the gift of public speech.

So we provide training to equip ministers for the task, and most people follow that course, but we actively recognize and allow for the possibility that such skills as are needed to be a Minister of the Word are not the sole product of education.

Adam

Eric Mueller said...

I have a friend with a son who just graduated high school and wants to go into ministry. I keep trying to convince him to read your book, but some people insist on failing first.

Even as a Christian, ministry is the last place I'd want to be. Who wants to spend their short life dealing with legalists and whiners?

I'm also convinced there are other ways to minister than going 100k into debt for a seminary degree then fighting to get an underpaid position at a church and dealing with the legalists, whiners, and professional attention getters who need to call the pastor at 11 PM every night with a new crisis.

sacredwinslow said...

Do you mean Religious Studies or Divinity? Religious studies as I know it is more like anthropology than anything to do with actually working with believers.

It is true that even for the Catholic Church that even the most worthy person does not have a chance without at least a four-year degree.

Liam Callahan said...

Outstanding post, so what happened to Mr. Ryan ?

M. Liam Callahan

Captain Capitalism said...

Adam,

That's actually good news. The Khan's Academy as it were of the religious world.

Cpt.

The Great and Powerful Oz said...

I've started taking seminary classes on a very part time basis (because of the cost) and it has been life changing for me. I would still like to become an ordained minister for the simple reason it gives me the credentials where I might actually be able to help some people. However, I have realized that even if the seminary doesn't kick me out for my conservative political beliefs, the Ministerial Fellowship Committee will never accept me unless I lie through my teeth.

I need to find a faith that both accepts me and that I can accept.

Anonymous said...

My wife has an MSW and is in training to be a deaconess in the Methodist church. She has taken courses from the NY Theological Seminary and has one set of classes remaining.

She is thinking very seriously about taking a bit more coursework and becoming an ordained minister and Pastor.

Her local church is small, fiscally weak and also well older than average.

There was a fellow who attended her church who got one of those correspondence certificates for ministry and literally couldn't deliver a sermon that was understandable. He left - shortly after the Pastor asked my wife to deliver the message in his absence.

She's not a polished or dynamic speaker, but she speaks very simply, about practical application of the faith to everyday life.

Oh, and did I say that she's 62.

I come from a Baptist background and at one time,I was a deacon. Sounds like a big deal, but it wasn't. Deacons and deaconesses in our church were service functions. This was in a large 2000 member church and we had a team of a dozen of us that would check on shut-ins and do hospital visits. We had 12 groups of 15-18 people and we were to visit them twice a month, then rotate to the next group of 15-18 each month. The rotation also included the two hospitals.

I cannot possibly explain how difficult doing that was - try to offer words of support for a young mother aged 22 that was diagnosed with MS. It still brings tears to my eyes. There are so many situations like that for which there are no words. But pastors do that daily and good pastors know their flock and serve their needs, no matter what.

Wraith said...

Some of the best Earthly wisdom in Scripture is found in Matt 7:16, 22-23.

"By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"

"Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity."


You can bamboozle folks with a myriad of degrees, but your soul is illuminated by your actions. Let these 'pastors' have their Earthly glories. I'm thinkin' they'll have some explaining to do in due time...!

Anonymous said...

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (The Mormons) has an unpaid lay clergy. All the local pastors and teachers and priests are volunteer workers that support themselves with a normal job and then keep the local churches running in their spare time. These positions are filled by a process that involves other volunteer workers carefully analyzing and praying about who they think could best fill an available position and then asking them if they have the time to do so.

Strefan v said...

The Bible knows nothing of clergy, or this creature called pastor. God literally HATES the practise of setting up hierarchies in His church (see letters to the churches, Revelation Ch 2 & 3). The Lord prescribed a plurality of elders, and that leaders are to be servants. He also did not command the wasteful and arrogant practise of building flashy expensive buildings, or of salaried employees. Hirelings, He calls them, and not in a good way. Remember "Lord, Lord, we did all these wonderful things in Your Name..."..Reply: "I NEVER KNEW YOU; DEPART FROM ME...". Also, Mormons do not qualify for the description "Christian".

dalrock said...

Thank you kindly for the linkage Captain!

Anonymous said...

Female pastors... why even call it Christianity if you aren't going to follow its tenets? Go ahead and start a social club---there's nothing wrong with organizing peaceably---but don't call it what it is not.

Anonymous said...

Mormons are christian. They are criticised for belining the same thing as early christians. Case in point, the three degrees of glory. Who believed this. Papias. Personal friend of the apostle john and bishop of smyrmia. As well as ireneaus, a leading christian in the second century. Mormons dont believe in traditional norms that contradict the scholarship on the dead sea scrolls and new testament christianity.

Anonymous said...

I can't throw all pastors under the bus, but I can speak for one I work for. He runs a computer repair shop in the bible belt. HE preaches to 1 in 20 people, not 10 minutes, but for at least 90 minutes once he gets warmed up). Included are his employees-whether you want to hear it or not-- he thinks he must "save" them all--even if you are baptist. All other baptist churches are wrong, except his. If you have no religion, or a religion other than baptist, he will badmouth all other religions. He cares not that is he wrong. It is a total head trip for him. Once out of earshot, even those that brownnose and attend his church (to kiss his butt), back stab him. IT is a total joke.

He is in IT for the money. Most of his customers are from his church. He gives them a discount, but then his rips them off anyhow--they have no clue.

He treats his employees like crap. HE talks behind their back, talks down to his employees, and treats them with so much disrespect, I just can't believe it is the same person when one of his brothers in christ comes in to the office--he is mr. fake nice guy.

He will fire his employees (Mr pastor is also admitted OCD) and then fight paying unemployment, and he will downright lie about all of it. He owes the state employment commission back pay for the last 3 years--but everyone who is late or tries to get away with not paying thier bills or fines, etc are sinners of the lowest kind--according to him.

I do believe in God, but I never picked a religion-denomination because they all are hypocrites. I was married into a strict catholic family--that was a joke. They were all two faced, backstabbing jerks. They sent their kids to catholic school, but turned around and did all kinds of things theie church would not support--in front of their kids no less.

I have always followed the golden rule--raised my kids on it, am honest, respectful, charitable, don't lie or deceive, loyal, give 200% on the job expecting nothing in return except respect. My ex lied, cheated, abused, etc--his religion began as an altar boy. My inlawed family, all catholics, turned my stomach. They had all the traditional religious ceremonies for the cash and presents. Greedy--and then would bitch and moan if someone didn't buy them the gift in their registry--I have 28 extended such in laws.

So, religious folk leave a bad taste in my mouth. When I went to work for this last guy, at first, I actually considered going back to church, baptist no less. Then I got to see his true colors and now I have lost total interest in anything related to going to church EVER. I will just keep my belief between me and God, no church to waste time and money on--no socializing with a bunch of hypocrites.

I wonder how many people are like me.