One of the blogs I read is Throw Yourself like Seed, the blog of Andy Pakula, a skeptical Unitarian minister from London. Who says a lot of things that make a lot of sense to me. In a post this week, he reveals that he’d received an email this week from someone enquiring about his church.
I am going to be in London over the summer with my girl friend Amy and we are interested in your fellowship. The issue is we are both people in the arts and grew up in conservative churches .. me Roman Catholic, she Protestant fundamentalist and we really got hurt. We found a Unitarian fellowship in America and this was healing for us both. Would we fit with you? We are “out there” in terms of style. I (Chad) wear short skirts and tall boots and Amy goes bra-less and wears very very short dresses. We have been rejected in our home churches and wonder if we would be welcomed dressed as we are in your church.
If that sounds odd, it is because it is. It was actually written by Canon Mark Pearson (who’s contact details are publically online as firstname.lastname@example.org). He is the pastor of the Trinity Charismatic Episcopal Church in Kingston, NH, USA. Read Andy’s post for a full blow-by-blow of the events surrounding this email.
In particular Mark Pearson’s weasely attempts to keep up the pretence and make out like the two characters he’d invented were actually staying with him. Needless to say, both Chad and Amy would be very welcome at Andy’s church, and both he and I would eat our words if they ever visited.
I wanted to post about this, not because it is unusual to find a Christian minister who’s sex-obsessed, self-righteous, and willing to lie for it. But because I wanted to help make sure that anyone who searches for Canon Pearson in the future will at least be able to understand that he is one of that proportion.
But it did get me thinking. There seems to be a lot of it out there. Now I know a lot of ministers, and I know most of them aren’t like that. But there’s a sizeable proportion who are, even (as Mark Pearson seems to be) the quiet ones. I wonder if there is something specific in the process of ministering a oppressive and frankly irrational religious creed throughout your career that correlates with that. Is it that it attracts sociopaths initially? Or is it that a lifetime of preaching intolerance tends to make you an obnoxious person?