Yes, I Am A Fake

In my life serving as a pastor, I have faced my fair share of situations that tried me and hurt me. Recently, another hit me. It has been like other times for sure but there was something different and something I think needs to be brought to light. It may help some and for others, they may cringe but here goes…

I was addressed as a “fakea**” pastor. I even have it in writing.

And you know what? This is true.

“The early church fathers and mothers believed that just about the greatest sin a person could express is pride.” Those words of Roberta Bondi struck a chord with me years ago and have never left. My journey with those early followers of Jesus and the others I have been on the journey with these short years on this planet have taught me it does not do anyone any good to pretend to be someone they are not.

So let me be clear: I am a fake. I am not perfect. I am flawed.

Besides the fact I know this when I examine my own life daily, our church just completed my clergy review. I have always faced it with a bit of fear and trembling. You know what? It says very much the same thing. I have flaws So let me ask you my friends, how many of you are also beating down the door to not only have your professional life but spiritual life examined as part of your yearly review for your vocation? I am a tri-vocational pastor these days in order to make ends meet. No matter how hard I try to cover all the bases, I know I can’t do it all. More and more clergy are facing the same struggle. I’ve read the articles and I’ve seen their faces. Most of the clergy in our community and beyond are trying to carry it all. Sometimes we fail.  Maybe not you but it happens.

But in this day of the court of public opinion, people can now say and do whatever they want to attack the character and integrity of good, decent, and imperfect people. 

You read that right.  I don’t speak just for me on this, this person has chosen to slander others: people who give of their time, energy, hearts and efforts to care for others.

You see, we tend to judge others by their behaviors but only judge ourselves by our intentions. There are too many good people, NOT perfect people mind you, GOOD PEOPLE doing their gosh darn best to feed, clothe, visit, and care for others being spoken ill of because they were NOT perfect people. For this, they get deemed to be fake. Really? So you wonder why good people stay out of politics? Soon, you may begin to wonder why good people have disappeared from your community altogether.

If your expectation of a pastor, of a community volunteer or a church, is to be perfect, to be without flaw, to be like Jesus, then remember, the government, the religious leaders, and the crowd, all came together to crucify him.

None of us ever claimed to be perfect. Of course, we are flawed. And I reckon that I know that better than you do. It is why I ask for forgiveness when I learn I’ve offended someone.

I am a sinner. Maybe labeling sinners as “fakes” helps you feel better. It doesn’t matter much. I don’t say it proudly. It isn’t a badge of honor. It is the truth.

In our church, we own it too. Nearly every Sunday of the year, I stand and make the public confession and lead our church in the same. We admit it. And I point to what God makes clear: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9

If you buy into such venom in small-town USA or large city USA, good people doing good things get “punished” by opinions which know nothing of the truth of the struggle or the journey that anyone else is on.  Be very careful who you chose to listen to.

So go ahead, tell the world. I know very well who I am and if you’ve understood what the Bible says, you aren’t telling me anything I don’t already know. You aren’t telling anyone something they don’t know. We are all a bunch of fakes. By God's grace, some of us know the truth already.

A Fake Pastor


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