I loved Mom’s post about the sociological events, and just felt compelled to add my little two bits. When things like this happen, there are a few things that growing up in the home of a faithful pastor taught me.
First of all, don’t get involved if you are neither part of the problem or part of the solution. Long distance judgments never profit anyone. Sometimes you might feel like you are involved, but the truth is that someone has just shared a grievance with you. Accusations and serious sounding things do not a full story make.
This brings me to the second thing. Pastors are very uniquely vulnerable to assaults like this, because (especially when they are respectable men), they cannot fight back in the same way. Someone can gallop around the Internet accusing a pastor of being rude and selfish and generally nasty. The pastor is not at liberty to stand up and say, “FYI folks: Bill is the guy who has been in counseling for six months because of his problems with porn and petty theft, and he is just angry because I turned down his offer of co-pastoring with me.” But if you had been going to coffee with Bill to talk about his concerns, and sympathizing with them, you would (or should) feel foolish if you knew the whole story. Proverbs speaks to the point (18:17) “The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him.”
Sometimes, pastoring is an uphill battle that ends in fiery accusations. After three years of midnight phone calls to say, “Pastor! I am thinking of huffing glue! What do you think I should do!?!?!” And three years of, “Don’t do it! It never works out!” finally comes the call “Huffed glue! Now I am in prison! It’s all your fault, I can’t wait to tell everyone! They’ll be shocked!”
So just remember that if you are not actually the person appointed to wade through all the mess and sort it out (and you aren’t), you are not at the security clearance level to hear the pastor’s side. So be gracious, and be judicious, and don’t get your skivvies in a knot. And if it is on your mind, turn it into a prayer that the wronged would be righted, and that God would be honored.