The Wages of AMOG

Meaning, Alpha Males Of God! I do love to sharpen my claws on entitled, ivory tower clergy who complain about how hard they have it in modern America. No sooner did I warm up on the usual Christian scratching posts than the Associated Press tried to generate sympathy for the devil, too! Catharsis for everybody!

Stresses multiply for many US clergy: ‘We need help too’

https://apnews.com/4260d04acec3a697db826d029ea5a9f6

By David Crary, 18 February 2020

NEW YORK (AP) — Greg Laurie is among America’s most successful clergymen — senior pastor at a California megachurch, prolific author, host of a global radio program. Yet after a youthful colleague’s suicide, his view of his vocation is unsparing.

“Pastors are people, just like everyone else,” Laurie said by email. “We are broken people who live in a broken world. Sometimes, we need help too.”

Then ask for help… from your congregation. Look at you, Greg. Megachurch pastor AND prolific author AND running a radio show? You’re like Moses, who burned out because he refused to delegate authority.

What the Hell are you teaching if, after your mega-congregation “receives your wisdom” in sermon and print and audio combined, you don’t trust ANY of them to help you out? Because they listened to you?

Laurie’s 15,000-member Harvest Christian Fellowship, based in Riverside, California, was jolted in September by the death of 30-year-old associate pastor Jarrid Wilson. He and his wife had founded an outreach group to help people coping with depression and suicidal thoughts.

Jarrid’s problem was not burnout. It was being raised as a feminized man. My post on his suicide is my #2 most-read, between Epstein’s cellmate and Eddie Gallagher’s accusers.

“People may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people,” Laurie wrote after Wilson’s death. “We are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not.”

Then. Act. Like. It. Step down a little. Allow laymen to guest-sermon. Bring a co-host onto your radio show. But no, Greg Laurie is an over-accomplished Baby Boomer too busy being awesome to share his success. For his kind, the key to winning at life isn’t just dying with the most toys. It’s making sure the world lies rudderless the day after his death.

This demand for sympathy to burned-out clergy is in truth, a demand that we overlook their refusal to treat us as equals before God. It’s tragic because many of us, me included, would be happy to help them share the load. Alas. They hog the pulpit then complain about its weight. You want sympathy for that, priest? Here’s a dictionary. You’ll find sympathy in it somewhere.

There is similar introspection among clergy of many faiths across the United States as the age-old challenges of their ministries are deepened by many newly evolving stresses. Rabbis worry about protecting their congregations from anti-Semitic violence.

No, they worry about goyim uprisings should we ever find out, as a society, how they’ve repaid us evil for good since WW2.

Whoa, hang on. Don’t warm me up with a pastor-bashing spree then offer up da J00z for the next target! People will think I go out of my way to find them and that’s simply not true. I keep talking about them because they won’t leave me alone, like women.

Islamic chaplains counsel college students unnerved by anti-Muslim sentiments.

No, they plot how to murder Christians and colonize the West with our leaders’ black-hearted collusion.

…Heh. Also a bad choice of alternative target but whatever. All targets are worthy! Full speed!

A shortage of Catholic priests creates burdens for those who remain, even as their church’s sex-abuse crisis lowers morale.

That’s a symptom. The cause is the pope ain’t Catholic no more. Who would shame himself by voluntary association with Pope Pachemama?

Worries for Protestant pastors range from crime and drug addiction in their communities to financial insecurity for their own families to social media invective that targets them personally.

Attention dumbitch Protestant clergy, dissent against clergy is at the heart of Protestantism! Protest-ant-ism! You don’t get to be above suspicion when you’re the top dog in the church for all kind of good, historically-validated reasons. And the ones of you who complain most about dissidents, tend to be the ones most in need of scrutiny.

You want more money? A job in the private sector can pay better than social work. Many of you clergy might not know that, never having worked a single private-sector job in your entire, sheltered lives.

Adam Hertzman, who works for the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh, witnessed the emotional toll on local rabbis after the October 2018 massacre that killed 11 Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue.

The Poway shooting had an amazingly oversized reaction upon the Jewish psyche. They must fear us as much as they hate us… a complete surprise to the many Christians who think Jews are great and God-blessed.

“Somehow in the U.S. we expect our clergy to be superhuman when it comes to these things,” he said. “They’re human beings who are going to feel the same kind of fear and numbness and depression that other people do.”

___

It’s difficult to quantify the extent of clergy stress, nationwide or denominationally. But a 2018 Gallup poll bears out a common impression that clergy no longer enjoy the same public esteem as in the past. Only 37% of American rate members of the clergy highly for honesty and ethics, the lowest rating in the 40 years Gallup has asked that question.

If clergy are no longer respected then it’s obviously because the little people have too high expectations of them? Or because clergy cling to institutional power with such desperation that the men all leave in despair of ever being allowed to participate in church functions? I will never forget the shame of being put on the slide projector rotation with junior-high kids, time and again, despite being a skilled professional in the working world.

“Not very long ago, they were seen as one of the pillars of the community,” said Carl Weisner, senior director of Duke Divinity School’s Clergy Health Initiative. “There has been some loss of status… and that does add to stress.”

It shouldn’t. Clergy get judged more harshly than non-clergy so one should have a better motivation for taking the job than improved social status. That’s a tool of the job, not a perk.

Any pastor too thin-skinned to handle anklebiters on Twitter is unfit for the job of defending his flock from the wolves.

Stress — and rewards — come in many forms for Rodney McNeal, 54, an Army veteran and social worker who has pastored Second Bethlehem Baptist Church in Alexandria, Louisiana, for nearly eight years.

Officially, the African American church has 300 members but only about 130 attend a typical service, he said.

“They don’t understand that I get tired like they get tired,” he said. ”They want you to be at their constant beck and call.”

You could train lay assistants to help you out. You could set guidelines for non-emergencies. Or, you could bitch to the Associated Press.

He has attended five seminaries but never completed them. The courses, he said, didn’t cover all he sees on the job.

Talk about wasting time and money! Dude, you don’t need a seminary degree at all, to say nothing of the value of an attempt #6.

“The preaching part is the easy part,” he said. “Had I known the ugly side of ministry — the hospital visits, burying the dead, being in the room when someone is dying and trying to comfort their family… Had I known all that, I don’t think I would have accepted being a pastor.”

Have you considered resignation? You stepped up and found out you aren’t a good fit to the job. It happens. Why persist in being miserable?

What keeps him going?

“I will be out in the community and somebody will say ‘Hey man, you changed my life,”’ he said.

Ditch that savior complex. You SAY that it’s God who saves, then you ACT like the world will stop if it’s not all about you.

____

Episcopal Bishop Chilton Knudsen, from the vantage of a nearly 40-year career, cites several factors affecting the clergy’s morale — including sex-abuse scandals that have rocked several Protestant denominations as well as the Catholic church.

“As the scandals became public, the public trust of clergy has dropped a little notch with each revelation,” said Knudsen, 73. “Even if you never had a scandal, there’s still a taint by association.”

Why does that taint linger? Because no church, in any denomination, teaches that unrepentant homosexuals are evil people that should not be tolerated in society. No church makes a point of alienating the LGBT crowd. No church criticizes secular leaders for endorsing or tolerating sodomy. And thus, the laity have every reason to believe that the next homo termite discovered infesting the Church won’t be publicly shamed into oblivion then handed over to law enforcement.

It’s not that some of you clergy did bad. It’s that the rest of you aren’t setting it right.

“At the same time, the clergy has more complicated situations come across their doorstep,” she said. “There’s a wearing-down effect… they’re thinking, ‘I’ve spent all these hours with people trying to do good things, and I’m just getting nowhere.’”

Another challenge, she said, is the willingness of some churchgoers to engage in “clergy bashing.”

“Sometimes your congregation is polarized — a group who wants you gone and believes another priest will be so much better, and a group who are supportive,” she said. “People are acting out, circulating rumors about you in email chains — it’s traumatic.”

Not traumatic. Female. Start saying “No” to women or reap the gossip whirlwind.

The National Association of Evangelicals, which represents more than 45,000 churches in the U.S., published research in 2016 detailing pervasive financial stress among its pastors. Of more than 4,200 pastors surveyed, half earned less than $50,000 a year; 90% worried about insufficient retirement savings.

Kiss my ass. I have NO retirement savings because I couldn’t find full-time work until my mid-thirties and then the Second Depression hit me hard. If I’m not incarcerated for peaceful homophobia then I expect to work until my body breaks and then eat a gun because I’d rather die than justify the welfare-industrial complex with my cooperation. The Church has until then to start caring about its vulnerable men.

At this point, the article diverges fully to the plight of Muslims not getting everything they want and Jews with comically overblown persecution complexes.

___

For Muslim clergy in America, the stresses of their jobs are often magnified by awareness that their communities face prejudice and suspicion.

“We’re framed in this idea that somehow we’re a fifth column trying to take the country down,” said James Jones, a Manhattan College religion professor and vice chair of the board of the Islamic Seminary of America. “We’re asked to prove ourselves — that we are patriotic — in ways that other people aren’t.”

Your beliefs DEFINE you Muslims as a Fifth Column against both Christianity and the US Constitution. Not to mention what your Muzzie brothers are doing in Europe right now. Lorries for peace, driving on the sidewalks!

But seriously: USA is a Christian nation, no matter what our leaders say. Get out, Mohammed. Make your pilgrimage and stay there.

Adeel Zeb encountered anti-Muslim sentiment head-on as Islamic chaplain at Duke University in 2015. The school invited Muslim students to give their call to prayer from the bell tower of the campus chapel, only to withdraw the invitation — citing safety concerns — amid a backlash that included death threats and outraged criticism from prominent Christian figures such as evangelist Franklin Graham.

A case in point. They coopted the Christian chapel to blare their obnoxious prayer summons and astonishingly, people didn’t like either the noise pollution nor the symbology.

I like how author David Crary phrased that last sentence to imply that Mr. Graham, of all Evangelical voices, was making death threats against Muzzies. You can’t claim to be persecuted in a country whose media, government and even other-religious leaders are lockstep determined to see you thrive at literally all costs.

___

In September 2017, on the first day of Rosh Hoshana — the Jewish new year — a security guard found a hateful anti-Semitic message scrawled outside Temple Sinai — home to the oldest Jewish congregation in Oakland, California.

Why are liberal strongholds STILL such hate-filled, intolerant communities? Haven’t they chased out all the intolerant Christians and dissidents yet? Nobody is left but the Left itself!

Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin rushed to the synagogue and devised a plan before worshippers gathered for morning services. As they arrived, she encouraged them to write positive messages on sheets of butcher paper, which then covered the graffiti until workers could paint over it. …

Mates-Muchin says her congregation was heartened by an outpouring of support from civic and religious leaders. But the incident — and the subsequent deadly attacks on synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, California — took a toll.

…And why is an account like that in an article on clergy burnout? I am only a man but in her place, I would have kept a few cans of color-matched spray paint in the janitorial closet for the inevitable vandalisms by Jew-hating atheists. As easy as stocking butcher paper, plus the job is done immediately instead of after a team of (male) workers can get to it on a workday.

Which gives me an idea why Rabbi BARBIE might not feel welcome in her position. Wikipedia partially confirms!

Segue

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacqueline_Mates-Muchin

Jacqueline Mates-Muchin, a San Francisco native, is the first Chinese-American rabbi in the world. Her mother was second-generation Chinese-American and her father was the son of Austrian Jewish immigrants. … After serving as an assistant rabbi in Buffalo, New York, she joined Temple Sinai in 2005. She was chosen as the first female senior rabbi of Temple Sinai in January 2015

Being a Chinese Jew could easily make her feel uncomfortable among the notoriously clannish Jews. And being the first woman to rule over them? The Jewish God never appointed female leadership any more than Jesus did. Those ‘oldest’ denominations can be sooo traditional!

But of course, the AP can’t report on Jews being racist against a half-Chinese or toxic patriarchy in the synagogue. She must have been traumatized by… by… some asshole in San Diego! And a crude swash-tika three years ago.

End segue

Since the Pittsburgh massacre, she said, “I don’t begin a service without having a rough plan of where I’d direct people if someone came in with a gun.”

Rough plan: lock the door.

During that span, her synagogue has beefed up security measures — more lighting, security cameras and guards. For the most recent High Holy Days, synagogue leaders deployed armed off-duty police officers.

Rabbi Amy Bardack, director of Jewish Life and Learning at the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh, helped coordinate support for local rabbis after the Tree of Life massacre.

“No one learns about this in rabbinical school,” she said.

Faced with such deliberate anti-Semitic attacks, Bardack said, the rabbis “are both the wounded and the healers.”

Possibly the vandals, too, knowing Oakland. There are so few Neo-Not-Sees left in the Gay Area that sometimes, the people have to victimize themselves!

Back in the day, clergy didn’t have to stress about such things.

 

5 thoughts on “The Wages of AMOG

  1. “Jarrid’s problem was not burnout. It was being raised as a feminized man. My post on his suicide is my #2 most-read”

    It was a good read.

    We are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not.” [..] Allow laymen to guest-sermon. [..] And the ones of you who complain most about dissidents, tend to be the ones most in need of scrutiny.

    Over the course of a couple years, I did over a dozen sermons at two different churches. Not once did they demand to review my sermon ahead of time. All they needed to know was the scripture passage that I’d be teaching on and the name of the sermon. I don’t remember if I was allowed to pick out the songs, but they probably would have let me do that too if I had wanted.

    My church also did men’s discipleship groups where we men (including the pastor) opened up about our joys and our struggles, including addictions. We discussed theology and everyone, from the lowest to the highest, stated their piece.

    The pastor was a shepherd, not a guru. I even had a key to his house!

    I’ve never seen this at mega-churches. Actually, I’ve never seen it outside an Anabaptist church, regardless of size. I get something out of the large church that I attend, but I don’t promote it to others.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “The preaching part is the easy part,” he said. “Had I known the ugly side of ministry — the hospital visits, burying the dead, being in the room when someone is dying and trying to comfort their family… Had I known all that, I don’t think I would have accepted being a pastor.”

    Who decides to be a pastor without knowing what the job entails? Probably someone who is in it for the power rush of telling others what to do.

    Pastoring—visiting the sick and dying, taking communion to the shut-in, comforting the suffering, funerals, weddings, counseling—is the beautiful side of ministry. Preaching is the hardest part because God holds teachers to a higher standard (James 3:1). Every Sunday after I preached I felt like I had run a marathon. It was the most draining thing I did, and I was pretty much done for the day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You want more money? A job in the private sector can pay better than social work. Many of you clergy might not know that, never having worked a single private-sector job in your entire, sheltered lives.

    I’ve stated many, many times that no seminary or bible college should ever consider accepting any students under the age of 30. The inability of the sheltered mama’s-soyboy who has never done a day’s honest labor in the real world in his life and who is unable to relate to the very real problems facing other men who DO work in the real world for a living is the root of the current rot in the church.

    The day of the career pastor is over.
    Indeed, the fact that most of these clowns see it as a career rather than the calling that it is bodes ill (and explains much).

    Liked by 3 people

  4. In addition to not accepting new or immature believers as students, they should also limit the “seminary” degree to 1.5 years at most. And for credit for the rest, show that you have memorized 500 or a few thousand verses of Scripture. Being able to recite, with references, a few thousand verses from God’s word will make you far more qualified to teach than years of “religious teaching” from men.
    2 Timothy 3:16-17 – 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

    Like

  5. Pingback: What I’ve Been Reading, Listening to, And Noticing This Week | Free Matt Podcasts

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