He set down his coffee, leaned forward, and looked me in the eyes.
"I can no longer respect you as my pastor."
The reason for his loss of respect? The gas station story from my sermon.
I had told the congregation how I stopped at a gas station to fuel up. Inside, on the shelves, sexually explicit magazines peeked out from behind brown paper. Temptation smiled. I ran out of there and drove on. In the sermon I said something like, "The endings to our temptation stories are not always this happy. Sometimes, we don't run when we should and we regret it. But one thing that I know is this. No matter what, the grace of God can meet you in the gas stations of your life."
Recounting those words, the man sipped his coffee, sat down the cup and said, "No one who is a pastor should be tempted the way you seem to be. You have a real problem."
My head fogged. I respected this man. I was thankful for him. I also knew that four or five other men had responded in an opposite way toward the gospel in light of the story.
"Well," I mustered. "I'm very sorry to hear that."
Then I paused. Paul's words came to my mind. For better or worse, I spoke them. "All I can say is that I am what I am by the grace of God. I hope for the grace to always handle temptation in the manner of that gas station moment. But, I believe that your hope and the hope of our church should be in Jesus' perfection, not mine."
Since that exchange a question about vulnerability has dogged me. How transparent should a church leader be? I believe an answer to that question begins with something I call redemptive vulnerability.Read the rest.
Zack has a new website. I'd strongly encourage you to follow it. He has GREAT content.