Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Small Miracles and Thoughts on Nexus

While sitting on an outside patio in lovely Perrysburg, Ohio last night, I couldn’t help but focus on a vine that was growing up, along, through, and around the wrought iron fence that served as a 6 or 8 foot tall barrier between the outdoor patio area and the public sidewalk. I immediately wondered how a vine can spin itself around something. It has no mind. No capacity to think or reason. The position of the sun can’t be a factor. The sun goes back and forth across the sky, and this vine was able to twist in circles or spirals or any other direction that achieved the means.

It struck me as another small miracle. It struck me as another reason I believe in God. Because my personal opinion, developed over many years of education and experience, is that there are no other explanations that quite do justice to explaining a miracle.

As I sat there, sipping a drink slowly and watching my husband polish off a pre-embargo Cuban cigar that he’d saved to enjoy after we got married, a whole chain of thoughts unfolded.

At work today, I saw pictures of a tiny newborn baby born to a coworker’s wife recently. The same stroke of thought on small miracles in this world happened, which reminded me of the little green vine, and subsequently the same whole chain of thoughts once again.

Now, for the chain of thoughts.

I came to ponder about the different views on the existence of God. (All views are welcome here on this blog, but that debate is not even the focus here.) From there I crunched on thoughts from a recent and yet ongoing debate of interest between several fellow bloggers on the issue of homosexuality. If I haven’t mentioned it, it’s only because I am still behind in posting my blogs in general, and I’ll get to it….

From thence I turned my thoughtbeams to a guy who runs the church that a fellow blogger attends. His name is Bob Enyart. And now, I shall reach my whole point.

I was raised to think and reason much as the aforementioned vine cannot. I question authority. Not because I wish to argue it, but because I want to believe things that appear truthful and right with a sense of personal conviction and passion, not passive acceptance. I don’t want to just believe something, I want to BELIEVE it. With my whole heart and soul, unwavering, steadfast in the decision that whatever it is I agree is real and true. Or, the precise opposite.

Now I don’t know Bob Enyart personally, and I shall not judge him personally. I will however, speak to his activities on a professional basis. He considers himself a pastor. He’s been a “pastor” for a few different churches.
Here are my concerns with Enyart as a pastor.
• He’s been convicted of child molestation.
• He’s been divorced and remarried a few times.
• He openly speaks out about entire groups of people in a very strong and hateful way. In fact, his name is synonomous with several hate groups all over the Internet.
• Clearly, after reading his own work, he does not encourage his “followers” to seek truth, but rather to fight the battle he’s waged against modern day society and speak out against common beliefs he considers wrong.
• He’s done ridiculous crap such as purchasing $25,000 in O.J. Simpson crap to burn and “prove a point.”

Again… These concerns are not personal. Bob is likely a really nice person. I don’t judge him as a person for having past transgressions, particularly since he claims to have repented for his past and started a new life.

But there is a clear nexus here, people. A person working as a janitor, mail carrier, garbage collector, accountant, or teacher would certainly lose his/her job with the sort of legal convictions bestowed upon Bob Enyart. Yet he’s a pastor?

Let’s talk for a clear moment on what a pastor is and does. I found this description at www.christianitytoday.com.
“ambassador, advocate, administrator, baptizer, building usage consultant, confidante, confronter, community builder, discussion leader, encourager, emotional baggage handler, funeral companion, grace giver, grounds inspector, historian, interpreter, justice seeker, knowledge dispenser, latent gift discoverer, mediator, missionary, nurturer, organizer, opportunity spotter, public speaker, problem solver, questioner, quarterback, reviewer, Robert's Ruler, spokesperson, spiritual director, teacher, trainer, unifier, utility player, volunteer coordinator, vision caster, wedding ceremony presider, X-traordinary ingenuity with limited resources (like figuring out a way to use the letter X), youth advocate, yule celebrator, zeal stoker, zoo keeper (okay, so it just seems that way).”

Folks, we’re all worried about having a convicted child molester pick up our garbage or wash our cars, justifiably, yet some are okay with this guy being a pastor? Offering guidance? Being around children? Serving as (ideally) a key participant in many families?

He may be a great friend to invite over for Sunday night poker for mixed nuts at the kitchen table with friends, or a great business partner, but pastor? I don’t care how much he’s “changed” or “repented.”

And, what kind of pastor is proud of landing himself on hate sites? No pastor worth his salt would be proud of that. As if it’s an accomplishment to offend an entire group of the human population. Pastors are leaders to assist people in keeping their faith strong. I don’t think that publicly crucifying an entire piece of the population to gain respect and admiration from followers should be okay for a pastor. And if he does it to “strengthen” those followers’ faiths, well, there are much more appropriate ways to do that, if it can even work at all. Teaching, fellowship, singing, and shared activities with like minded people are a few to start with. Just the thought of it reminds me of people who work in offices who put people down and point out shortcomings of peers in front of their respective supervisors as a way of gaining brownnose points and favor with the management team.

The divorce/remarriage thing is always okay for general people, but to be a pastor with distinct views on it seems a little contradictory. Contradictory is never a good fitting adjective for a pastor of a church.

Back to the idea of a nexus. We all need to think things through with our own mind. We wouldn’t be supportive of a convicted thief gaining employment in our community as a firefighter. If the person needs access to strangers homes, clearly he needs to be worthy of implicit trust. It doesn’t even have to be a criminal issue. We don’t want someone dyslexic working 9 to 5 as a bank teller.

Of all the traits that a pastor could possibly have that would leave me in outward refusal to be part of the church he lead, a past conviction for child molestation? A public acknowledgement to a past of serious hardcore pornography?

And regarding this guy’s position on homosexuality, the church I attend holds the same views. It is the single most difficult part of my church for me to look past. I don’t agree with it. But far more importantly, the pastor of my church doesn’t scream condemnation over the radiowaves or publicly attempt to belittle and demean people for what I believe is a piece of their genetic makeup. If he did, he wouldn’t be my pastor. I would see that as a lack of tolerance and love. That doesn’t mean he should run out and partake in homosexual activity. It just means that even he, a man of the cloth, has no right to publicly demean people over his own personal beliefs, morals, faith, ethics, and interpretation of the Bible’s messages.

It is one thing to forgive a fellow human being for past transgressions. It is quite another to turn a cheek to past criminal tendencies of someone who wishes a position of authority, power, and influence. I say he should go make music somewhere, or bag groceries. Maybe, just maybe, he would be okay to make lattes at Starbucks. But he’s not okay as a pastor.

I would be honored to know Bob Enyart. He’s a fellow human being, and I’m sure life has afforded him experiences enough to have many interesting things to talk about and reflect on. But I wouldn’t allow him alone with my children, and I wouldn’t be interested in attending his services.

Just today I read that the mayor of Brideport, Connecticut was charged with using cocaine. People, he runs the dang city. How can you have someone with addictive tendencies, using mind altering substances, and then making decisions that affect every resident of a given chunk of geographical space? And the same story rings true. I have friends who have done cocaine. They are just as important to me and accepted by me with this past “habit” known. But clearly, it disqualifies them from holding a position as mayor of a city. Or doctor. Or nurse. Or child care provider. Or financial advisor.

*****Edit - 7/24/06. As the anonymous commenter pointed out, the actual charge was misdemeanor child abuse. I did find two sites that cited child molestation for this case, but now that I look at where it came from, it's not as reputable as those which list the charge as misdemeanor child abuse. It's possible, that in the state he was accused in, spanking is considered molestation, particularly when it's involving minors. But I'm happy to go with misdemeanor child abuse. Thanks, Anonymous. EB *********


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Enyart was arrested and convicted for spanking his stepson, not child "molestation". Just thought this should be made clear.

Thu Jul 20, 07:18:00 PM GMT-5  

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