"...and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever!"

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pretense from the Pulpit?

We all know the stereotypical list of deceiving professions: Lawyers, Used Car Salesman, Insurance Salesman, and Preachers. Preachers? Yes, that's right. Preachers. It's hard to believe, but many "distinguished" members of the clergy have been caught in elaborate and eloquent lies.

When United States Navy SEALS took out Osama bin Laden, a Pennsylvania Preacher succumbed to the heroic hype. He wrote the local newspaper and gave impressive details about his years as a Navy SEAL. With picturesque words, he described the rigor of SEAL training and the stress of fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. He even mentioned his dishwashing duty, giving this statement about his "rebellious" years, "I had almost no discipline. I was as wild as they came. That was my nemesis." Now, there are just a couple of "minor" (cough, cough) problems with these details. He was NEVER a Navy SEAL, and he NEVER went to Vietnam. The only Vietnam combat he's experienced is the stomach pains from the Vietnamese restaurant down the street. Don Shipley, retired NAVY seal offered these remarks, "We deal with these guys all the time, especially the clergy. It's amazing how many of the clergy are involved in lies to build up the flock."

It's mind boggling that people bring this type of criticism and embarrassment on themselves, particularly a Preacher who is charged with the duty of proclaiming the truth! But it doesn't matter if we're a Preacher or a Parishioner, we must be people of integrity. The Proverbs writer wrote, "A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful." (Proverbs 14:25)

When you're called to the "stand", what type of "witness" will you be?