Sunday, June 8, 2008

So what do we want/expect from our priests?

Readers of recent posts will have picked up on a discussion about ethics and morality, particularly in relation to the those in Holy Orders. This arose out of a post where I attempted some lame humour and included a joke which included the word "tits" in its punch line and then changed it for a video clip of the same joke. This wasn't particularly where I was expecting the thread to go and I had to agree with Anne when she said: "What a very interesting debate. I bet you weren't expecting that, D.P. when you posted a few jokes!!!"

Neil has said on a number of occasions both here and on his own site that he is frustrated and made uncomfortable by those priests who "talk dirty":

'But among you there should not even be a hint of sexual imorality ... nor should there be obsenity, foolish talk or coarse joking which are out of place' Ephesians 5: 3-4

The Bible makes it clear that it is wrong for Christians, especially leaders in the church to swear and get involved in obscene talk and sexual innuendo. Unfortunately it is my (recent and past) experience that this too often happens. I would even go as far as saying that in the Church of England this is endemic and I would call for Priests to repent of this! I have known people to walk away from church because there was no fruit in the lives of the leaders. I have also known people who have been very hurt by sexual comments of leaders in the church."
He said that he found my post "offensive".

Leo commented: "I certainly don't want a hard drinking, cussing, smoking, womaniser (for a priest), but equally I do want one who I can relate to and who is human." Mimi agreed and added: "I like a touch of humanity in a priest, too."

Kate then said (in terms of sexually explicit language and how that might hurt someone): "My issues are and always have been MY issues. It's MY responsibility to work them out and find healing in God and in myself, and it's not YOUR responsibility to protect me from allusions to it, especially where you don't know me or my history. Having been a victim 40 years ago doesn't give me the right to stay one and project my victimhood onto others for the rest of my life. It's easier to see that now that I've mostly stopped.

The whole issue of personal sin ... When people went to Jesus and said, "She's doing that and I want you to make her stop ..." (or words of that sort), the response was, "You need to go home and get yourself right with God." One of Jesus' more endearing and aggravating tendencies."

Anne added: "I think God is so big he needs different people to express different things about his image. I can see both your points of view, (D.P. and Neil) and, based only on my cyber-space impression of you, (Neil), I think you express the need to strive earnestly for holiness. But God also needs other people to express what it's like to live in the freedom that redemption brings."

I then wondered whether there is a difference between taking offence and giving it and Anne came back with a comment about living in the world but not of it which Neil took up with the comment: "I guess the question is what is different about our life styles to that of non Christians?

In what sense are we 'in the world but not of it'?"

You see I've been here before with other bloggers over the content of another of my blogs, a one off post about my experiences as a Christian Doorman HERE where I felt strongly that there was a distinction between some words and the intention of the whole post. My detractors, selectively editing their quotes away from any context, viewed the very post as evidence itself that I was a "false Christian" and therefore not saved.
Doorman comment-Update2 (This link keeps coming and going.)

So, back to the question, what do we want/expect from our clergy? What is acceptable and what isn't? Where are the lines?