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Let’s Talk Religion: It’s not fair, but it’s my reality

Let’s Talk Religion: It’s not fair, but it’s my reality
November 27
08:08 2019

Since I began writing these religion opinion articles, I have received a lot of positive feedback and continued conversations through emails and phone calls. That was my goal when I first started, so I am excited to continue the conversation.

Several months ago, I wrote an article about how our religious leaders are held to a higher moral standard and when they fall from grace, so to speak, it is very difficult for them to regain the public’s trust.  

The reason I wrote that article is because it is a very personal one for me. I wanted to shine some light on why that topic is so important to me. I am sure I am not the only person dealing with an issue similar to this.

The reason I decided to write the previous article is because I personally have this internal skepticism for some religious leaders. Yes, I know that is a bad thing to say, but it’s how I feel. But before you judge me, let me explain why.

As I have previously stated, I grew up primarily in a Baptist church as a youngster and I attended church every Sunday with my family, along with Bible study, choir practice and so forth. As I grew older, I began to see and hear non-flattering stories about religious leaders doing some shameful things.

Those stories began to mount as I reached adulthood. They never shook my belief in the Lord, but did make me look at religious leaders through a different lens. You ask why is this so personal for me?  Unfortunately, I was a member of a church that had a senior pastor involve himself in some shady dealings.

It just so happened that pastor was the man who baptized me, but he was also the leader of a prominent religious organization at the time. It was discovered that he not only committed adultery, but also was embezzling funds from the organization.  

That was the beginning of me questioning men of the cloth, but it did not stop there. As I saw stories of sexual assault on kids, stealing money from the church, or a host of other issues, I suddenly found myself being skeptical about pastors, even when there was no reason to be.

It seemed like every time I saw a pastor on television, or saw a pastor with a nice car or house, I found myself thinking, I wonder where he got the money for that. I hated myself for thinking that way, but I couldn’t help it. Thank God I don’t think so cynically now, but I still have those feelings from time to time.

Recently there was a prominent church that went into foreclosure. For several years, I read many things on social media and in the news about the financial status of the church that led to its unfortunate closing at that location. That situation weighed on my mind for several days, because I just sat and wondered how it was going to affect all those members and the reputation the church will now have going forward.

I personally don’t have a home church that I am a member of, and I will have to say that one of the reasons is the lack of trust that I have. I want to know that the time and money that I give to a church is going toward the work of the Lord and not into the pocket of a shady pastor. I know the vast majority of religious leaders are doing the right thing, but there are enough shady ones out there to make me leery.

I want to believe that all our ministers and pastors are doing the Lord’s work, but we all know there are dishonest people who will try to take advantage of the faith of others. I am glad that most of them are revealed over time and I pray God frees me from this skepticism.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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