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When a Pastor's or Priest's Character is Tested?

Updated on April 16, 2012

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Barack and Michelle Obama meeting with the Pope
Barack and Michelle Obama meeting with the Pope | Source

Do you think it's only human?

If you think a Bishop collar or pastoral robe would prevent Mike Tyson from unleashing millennial blows on your untouched face, think again. Many people in our culture would frown at a man who slaps, later on punch a lady.Whether in private or public. It's considered 'unclassy' and taboo. Besides, you have to be ready to face the law. However,this is no indication that it doesn't happen.

According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, statistics show that women experience more than 4.8 million intimate-partner related physical assaults and rape every year, in the US alone. And, less than 20% of the battered women sought any medical treatment for the injuries. Therefore, as a society we should be ashamed for letting this evil continue in this day and age.

But interestingly, what I wish to highlight in this article is not the typical intimacy that we are used to. It is one that is built on loyalty and trust. At times it can even be equated to levels of veneration. It involves the relationship between a pastor or priest with a member of the church or congregation. The clergy are individuals that are highly respected by virtue of their status and title. With that, comes also a certain level of expectation and moral responsibility, since they are supposed to reflect the life of Christ, as we have come to learn.

In fact the Bible says "those who aspire to be Bishop must show themselves worthy of the calling..." and it goes further to list a number of things they must exhibit - they must not drink too much wine, must be in a monogamous marriage or relationship, their children must not be wild or reckless, they must be tithers (a hot issue we wont cover in this article), and so forth.

So, what thing would really unnerve a pastor or priest to the point that he vigorously throws punches at a lady?

I don't know of any other thing that would be so annoying to a clergy, than a dispute on money. I have been in the Christian circles for a while now. Though I wouldn't claim to have seen it all, I've seen enough to make a sound conclusion. I have been in traditional churches like the catholic church, the Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal Assemblies of God, Charismatic churches and the now popular non-denominational churches. In all the shocking church fights and unabridged pew-punch contests, money and faithfulness (stewardship) has been at the center.

It is hard to understand why money is such a volatile issue. From the time I was born, I was programed to believe that the love of money is the root of all evil. That money was from the devil. Preachers everywhere bombarded us with this message. I am sure you can relate. So I grew up associating everything negative to money. Having a lot of money to me, was the same as loving it. So as soon as it came into my possession, I'd spend it or share it. I should confess that I grew up with this notion, and only recently did I have an understanding that actually money by itself is not evil. It is a means by which we can have whatever we desire and it can be and is a great resource to help the poor. That without money, you can do very little, no matter how faithful and loving your intentions are.

Money only expands that which already is. If you are stingy, having more money will make you more stingy. If you are generous, having more money will make you more generous. If you are reckless, money will make you more reckless. Money is not what defines your character, it only reveals you. Money is an enabler. So, don't think you are going to become a giver when you have a $100,000 annual salary. If you can't give five dollars to a homeless man now, there won't be anything that will move you then, that doesn't move you now. You are what you are, with or without money.

That is why, these days, I am not easily moved by a person's title or collar. I am a better judge of character than I used to be, and I would advise you to do the same. Experience has taught me never to be naive. I've had my library depleted by some Clergy who have borrowed my great materials and books, and who then vanished, decided to declare themselves bankrupt or chose to plead the 5th.

Therefore, be careful who you trust. Don't let every wind of doctrine sweep you away. Read for yourself, and inquire. Search for the truth. I am no longer surprised when I hear of the clergy that have done unflattering things like helping themselves from the church coffers. Or enticing the elderly to include them in their Will. You can easily tell a genuine pastor or priest with the heart for his church or congregation by studying his life-style. It's simple. Just ask a few questions:

  1. How do they spend their holidays? Are all prayer sabbaticals on a cruise ship, on an island or international?
  2. Does he or she move with a fleet of bodyguards?
  3. Are all senior church employees relatives or people too close that it is practically impossible for them to challenge the pastor?
  4. Do members of the church have access to church accounts? Churches are public institutions and thus, accounts must be publicly accessible by law.
  5. Is there a known existing Board? or is it just an imaginary one that exists only on paper to avoid trouble from IRS or Tax Bureau? Do you even know who sits on it?
  6. Are associate pastors rubber stamps or puppets? Can they hold the senior pastor accountable or are they easily replaceable?
  7. Is there a major economic difference between the pastor and the average members of the congregation? A genuinely prospering pastor will share his prosperity principles with his followers.
  8. Are their spouses actively involved or are they isolated and aloof, as if not in support?
  9. Are they generous givers, or are they as stingy as the grave?
  10. Is there are deliberate effort or mission to rich out to the poor - not just in name, but tangible physical activities and engagements?

These, I believe, are just a few signals you can use to have an understanding and help you know where your money is going. They can also help you know how to pray for the clergy. I should add a disclaimer and say, no one is perfect. But there must be an indication that someone is striving to live like Christ taught the first church. The Church must never be turned into a self-seeking arena. "My church shall be a house of prayer."

In the next article, I will share about my own observations concerning the issue of "tithe" and whether what we've been told is actually accurate. But before you go make sure leave a comment. Someone will benefit from your insight.

Pastor Punches Church Lady

Priest punches woman during baptism


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    • Fuller-Life profile image

      Fuller-Life 6 years ago from Washington, DC

      Hi Deborah. Great to meet you on hubpages. I know, right? Many would not take kindly to being asked pointed questions, yet they demand such from their flock. Happy reading!

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 6 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Congratulations on your hubnuggets nomination. I appreciate the questions you ask. Many pastors would not appreciate such questioning from their flock. After some bad experiences with "religion", I shy away from organized religion and have a personal relationship with God. Great hub.


    • profile image

      Fuller-Life 6 years ago

      Hi RippleMaker, thanks for your encouraging words. I absolutely love your suggestion that we all need to keep growing and learning. Intentionaly doing good to create ripples of goodness. We can do this by helping each other see the good in others. Thanks.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Reading your hub made me realize that wherever we are -whether in church or in other organizations - we need to keep on growing. We are in one way or the other models to our children, our neighbors and to one another. The good we do creates a ripple effect and the negative things we do causes confusion and disharmony. So I pray we may all strive to be better and help each other grow. Thank you for writing about this hub. This link will take you to the Hubnuggets forum. Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination!

    • Fuller-Life profile image

      Fuller-Life 6 years ago from Washington, DC

      Patty great to hear from you. Indeed you are right about the mission of the church. But these days the "so called ministries are nothing more than piggybanks for personal wealth embezzlement. Many would cause Jesus to cry again "my father's house has been turned into a den of thieves.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I'm disappointed in many individual churches because of the points you mention here. The Christian church's #1 job is to spread the Gospel - but I find that few do this, but concentrate on power and $$$. One pastor here had to pay $3 Million in a legal action due to his neglect and he threated the congregation if they did not ante up. No wonder the public is disenchanted with churches.

    • profile image

      Singsong 6 years ago

      I would like to know more about the red flags of a pastor using a bodyguard. Do you have a hub on that?

    • Fuller-Life profile image

      Fuller-Life 6 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thanks Sing and Dexter. Very touchy subjects, but we need to know some red-flags to help us make the right decisions.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 6 years ago from United States

      Another excellent hub. The questions are right on point!

    • SingSong profile image

      Julia Lee 6 years ago

      This is was a great hub. I think your ten questions were right on the money. (since you mentioned the money thing I thought I'd throw that figure of speech in there!)

      I personally think church leadership, if they have integrity, would hold themselves to a higher standard than required of them, especially in regards to finances.

      Thanks for the hub!

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 6 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      Anyone familiar with this story of a preist losing his temper?