Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ecclesiastical Tampon: The Wrap-up

It's time to wrap up the thread on the ET. I'm sure most of you have figured out the the point of the whole thing was to relate my personal experiences as a former pastor with the institutional church. The basic conclusion I've come to is that most institutional churches are not able to successfully deal with and integrate former pastors. Whether the fault lies with the churches or the individuals will be debated for a long time. Former pastors can be a tremendous benefit to the life and ministry of any church if said church can get over the stigmatization of the "fallen pastor". Till then they will continue to serve as those who will do the dirty work that no one else wants to do. I hold out little hope that much will change.
Since I started the blog on this topic the pastor that I worked with, and then was thrown under the bus by(so to speak)because I opposed his building project, has resigned and now lives in an adjacent town. He now finds himself in the position(if he doesn't take another church) of possibly ending up as an ET. I do not wish this upon him and I think he will eventually come back in some official capacity maybe as a "fill-in" in some of the local churches in the area. He did manage to escape the situation he created(big new building,drop in attendance and finances) remarkably intact. He self diagnosed himself with MS (forgive me if he really does suffer from MS) and told the congregation that he had to leave the ministry because of the stress it was causing him and his family. I personally tend to be a bit of a hypochondriac (I thought I had Lupus once because of the symptoms listed on a billboard) and think this may be the case here. I will retract all comments and apologize in print if I am wrong. Sad to say when I heard he had bailed out and left the church, I was tempted to self-diagnose myself with Tourette syndrome and utter a few choice epithets. I have calmed down since then and realize the blame lies as much with the congregation that voted for all his proposals.
But the question I have to ask is why does a clergyman have to pull his membership when he steps out of the pulpit. Isn't he also responsible to help pay for what the group voted on? This is not the case though because of the very nature of the institutional beast. Correct me if I'm wrong but are there any examples of pastors remaining viable members of the congregation after stepping out of the pulpit(other than retirement)? I would love to hear it's possible. I'm afraid the ET model continues to thrive however. Since I live in an adjoining community I will no doubt hear what transpires in his life. Being an unrepentant skeptic I believe we will once again see the Ecclesiastical Tampon effect repeat itself. If that occurs I wonder if his personalized license plate will be changed from "DA REV" to "DA RAG". (I know it's horrible of me to type that but I couldn't bring my fingers to hit the backspace key). Come to think of it let him keep "DA REV", I'll gladly continue to do the lowly dirty jobs, it's where I've found the person of Jesus to be most evident. ET on his way home!