Three Taverns Church

Pastoral Perfectionism


I hope people never see the following behavior at Three Taverns Church:

If pastors intend for their behavior to be modeled, it is understandable that only their best behaviors and accomplishments are openly displayed. The outcome is that pastoral perfection is modeled to imperfect parishioners…The potent message sent is “you need to be a perfect Christian.” The attending assumption is the need to be completely successful or competent especially in overcoming all personal struggles and limitations.

I’m sick and tired of pastors only showing their best sides to the public.

I asked some folks at a local bar why they don’t go to church and I was given the following answer: “I wish (pastors) would just be themselves and stop trying to pretend they’re something they’re not.” How many of the pastors you know have carefully managed blogs, web pages, and Facebook accounts? Or to ask it another way, how often do you hear pastors confessing real sins, being “real” people, and acting like everyone else?

“Perfect” pastors make the rest of us feel like garbage. They don’t appear to sin, so when we sin we feel like somehow we’re not measuring up, which just makes the shame of our sin that much worse. To be fair, if pastors confessed to the same sins we commit, how long would we let them be our pastors? The church is stuck in a catch-22: Pastors are damned if they don’t and damned if they do.

That’s one reason why I’m starting Three Taverns Church. Right from the get-go anyone who comes to our church will know I’m a sinner; I won’t be put on a pedestal. At Three Taverns you’ll never have to worry about whether or not you’re a “good enough” Christian…and you’ll never get to bitch about the pastor.

11 thoughts on “Pastoral Perfectionism

  1. Perfectly imperfect? 🙂 , or, imperfectly imperfect? :), or imperfectly perfect? Take your pick :).

    • sorry, i don’t understand. sounds like you are making excuses and rationalizing.

      • Yes, you’re right, you are not understanding, but that’s okay. There’s no “excuses” or “rationalizing” in any part of my comment. Maybe we’ll revisit this topic a year from now. Merry Christmas, RM.

      • what infuriates me most is your smug assurance of your unquestionable correctness in everything. that is a part of my own shadow i wish didn’t exist. i see some of the worst parts of myself in you, and in my denial of my own shadow i project my anger onto you.

        nearly every comment you leave makes me wonder why you bother to read anything i write; it’s obviously not to support me our to help me learn in a constructive way.

        i used to read your comments with the assumption that, like a member of my family, you had my best interests at heart. i want you to know that in order to protect myself i no longer read your comments through that lens. your caustic comments hurt and sound as if they were coming from the worst kind of critic…i will treat your future comments accordingly.

        it would probably be best for both of us if you did take a year off from reading this blog. thank God for His mercy toward both of us.

  2. RM, I didn’t say I was taking a year off from reading your blog. Just thought it might be better for me not to make any further comments about the topic of this particular post until you might bring it up again after pastoring for a year. You are reading way too much into my brief original comment.

    • from Mary’s first comment, i can see RM’s frustration and possible misinterpretation of that comment and it leading to an argument. RM, I think you are the imperfectly, imperfect type. what do you think? I like your honesty, it is refreshing.:-)

      • Yes, I think we’re all imperfectly imperfect. The best of us, those who make sainthood in this life, might achieve perfect imperfection, but as far as I can see that’s as good as it gets in this lifetime.

    • Mary, on the one hand I see my overreaction and my oversensitivity to your comments. But given our history and the poor quality of communication these comments allow, I hope you can understand my position. I think I understand your position: It sounds like you think my perspective will change after a year. No doubt it will, but that kind of attitude isn’t helpful to me. It would be better to have someone like you by my side over the next year helping me to learn, rather than lobbing these kind of comments my way. Having said that, I’m sorry if my response hurt your feelings.

  3. Again, no “lobbing” on my part. I can see that sometimes written communication can be sorely misunderstood. I am not offended by your remarks. Again, Merry Christmas, RM.

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