Even these. Even such as these. Even pastor thieves and adulterers. Pastor swaggerers. Pastor gluttons. Pastor arrogants. Pastor haters. Pastor self-satisfieds. Pastor judgmentalists. Pastor preeners. Pastor willfulists. Pastor pistols. Pastor condemners. Pastor vilifiers. Pastor greedists. Pastor holy-holy-holier-than-thou-ists. Pastor ignoramuses. Pastor sloths. Pastor liars.
Even these. Even these gross distortions. Even these evil ones. Even these run-of-the-mill sinners. These humans. These poor misguided. These pastors of the world.
Even these charlatans. Deserve our love. Even these require our love. Even these.
I was having dinner with a friend the other evening. A friend who is an organist now and about 80. Whose wife died just over a year ago. A guy who was a preacher once himself in his early twenties. Tells me about the pastor at his church. A man about 425 pounds. A man who wears his sin for all to see. A man who cannot hide.
A man who plays video games most of the day and surfs the web, according to my friend. A man who does not visit members of the congregation in the hospital or at home because there is no furniture that will accommodate him. A man who rarely gives a sermon anymore. A man who imports others to give the sermons.
A man who sits in the back of the church and tells his congregation when to stand and when to sit and when to kneel. But who can do only one of these himself because of his gravitas. His gravity. His great fleshy weight. And because of his disintegrating knees and hips.
A man whose congregation is slowly dwindling. Dwindling down and down. A man who is reaching the end of the line. A man who is reaching the end of his days. A pastor who has nowhere to go. But here. In this dwindling church.
Even these. Even these people who drive us away from God. Even these who body forth a God who one wants nothing to do with. Even these poor creatures like you and me.
One wants to get out the rod. One wants to cry real tears. One wants to shelter these poor souls from their own merciless judgments. Because somewhere in them there is such self-loathing, it would make for fine horror. Fine torment. Such hideous torment that goes on in there. That one wants to cry like a baby to contemplate it.
Oh. Pity them. Love them. These poor creatures. Torn by their own thoughts into so many fleshy lumps. Distributed among us for our delectation.