Sometimes distinguishing between the clergy and the laity becomes difficult given the extraordinary behaviors that some clergymen portray. In unusual circumstances, even the pastors find themselves sinning. Poling (1994, p.118) states that “evil is systematic and organized at every level of human life, including in the religious level.” The degree of holiness between the clergies and the laities is immeasurable because all human beings are spiritually weak and prone to mistakes and sins. Although the lifestyle of the clergy is somehow qualitatively different from that of the laities, sins are normally of similar magnitudes before the almighty God. Lately, even pastors are getting involved in sex scandals and pornographic problems with or sometimes without their soul intentions (Poling 1994). This essay discusses a scenario of a pastor who is a porn addict, identifies the involved concepts, and provides an action plan to solve a problem.
The Dynamics in the Case
The case of the challenge of pornography in a priest presents a dilemma of whether or not should pastors conceal the ill behaviors of their colleagues in the ministries. Whereas it may seem important for a pastor to conceal, some secrets associated with the clergy to avoid setting doubts among the laities, the biblical teachings, and pastoral ethics are normally stern against the mistakes conducted by the members of the clergy. Given the case scenario, it is difficult to control the situation because the prevailing complexity is that the pastor’s addiction to internet porn had prevailed for years, and even revealing the secret never meant an end to the problem. In this scenario, a fellow priest would wonder whether to deal with the issue outside the biblical and pastoral perspectives or completely ignore the Christian principles.
Based on the conversation, it may be a quandary for a fellow pastor to deal with the pornographic addiction in Reverent Miller because the responses of the reverent did not show any proof of a lamentation. It is difficult to tell whether the actions of the reverent were intentional or unintentional because the priest reveals to have been hiding evidence and deleting the pornographic searches and videos on the computer. Another complexity in the case pertains to the dilemma as to whether the family of the pastor, especially the wife, would react in frustration and disrespect to the husband if the fellow pastor decides to reveal it to her. For a fellow pastor, dealing with the internet surfing behavior of Rev. Miller is a quandary by itself given that even his last communication ended up on an email.
Concepts Learned from the Case
The first idea, in this case, is that there exists no holy human being. This is because “the human spirit is subject to distortions, estrangement, and perversity of its finite freedom” (Poling, 1994, p. 118). The question that permeates someone’s mind in the scenario is whether the clergy is desolate of some sins. Believers should know that evil is evil, whether conducted by a clergyman or by the laity and that there is no genuine or invalid evil before God. The fact that the acts of the reverent never hurt anyone does not mean that his sin was legitimate in the eyes of God. Another concept that comes out of this scenario is that sin result from personal actions and intentions that often come from the minds of the sinners (Poling, 1994). Additionally, the case reveals the concept of how evil prevails in the clergy.
The priest relies on the web of clergy relations to discuss the problem, which probably ended up unpunished or the untold to the laities. Wrong priests may consider this action to be a genuine evil, one that Poling (1994) regards as an abuse of power. Evil is something other than good, and it is not desolate of any person, be it from the clergy or a laity (Poling, 1994). Another concept learned from the scenario is the idea that material possessions sometimes impel the sinful actions of human beings. Was it not for the ability of the reverent to have the economic capacity to own a computer, the evil of watching pornography could not befall him? Another idea that comes clear in the case is how digital Christianity has influenced the social behaviors of believers.
My Action Plan for a Certain Situation
A situation from the scenario that highly calls for my intervention as a pastor is how I would help the priest dissociate with pornographic material that is readily available on the internet. The first approach to this dilemma will begin by creating a friendly environment that would allow me to understand the main reason why Reverent Miller formed an addiction towards pornography. In the initial phase of dealing with the problem, I will use the biblical teachings that discern pornographic evil and encourage the pastor to understand the human body as a holy temple of God. A complete human body as identified in the biblical concept of trinity contains three elements known as the human mind, the human body, and the human spirit (Wind et al., 1991). They all make up the holy temple of God, which God claims should remain holy.
In First Corinthians 6:18-20, God says that believers should decease from sexual immorality. The verse also states that every other transgression committed by human beings is outside the body, but one that involves sexual immorality is a sin committed against someone’s own body. The biblical teachings discern the deliberate sinners because God considers such people to be the greatest sinners and pretenders in his world (Wind et al., 1991). The next step would involve assessing his family relationship to identify whether the problem is arising from the family’s frustrations. Maybe, familial frustrations may be the cause of his desperate behavior towards pornographic material. The last step is to set up a guiding and counseling framework that will support Reverent Miller to quit the pornographic addiction behavior. Providing him with multiple scriptures with teachings on holiness, adultery, self-control, and self-esteem may help.
From the case of Reverent Miller and his pornographic addition, Christians can learn that sin has no boundary as it cuts across the clergy and the laity. All sins have similar degrees of disgrace to God. Sin manifests itself in different means and explaining its true nature is very difficult to even for the human beings who serve within the Worshiping Alters. Reverent Miller is an example of the priests who use their power to justify their sins and pretend to be holy before God. Misusing the priesthood powers is abusing the biblical teachings and the pastoral ethics that require the God-chosen servants to maintain a high degree of holiness and at least act as role models to their congregants. Similarly, the situation presents a quandary that reveals how priests use their priesthood powers to conceal their spiritual downfalls.
Poling, J. (1994). Deliver us from Evil: Resisting Racial and Gender Oppression. Minneapolis, United States: Augsburg Fortress.