A professional peer and I were talking yesterday about (Middle Age Alert) “the way things used to be” and she said, “Remember when it was okay to drink and drive? There might be a terrible accident, but people just wrote it off as a terrible accident and everybody moved on.”
Actually, I do remember that. But things have changed, thank goodness.
It used to be okay . . .
- For single pastors to date their parishioners. Exhibit A: A whole generation of retired clergymen are celebrating their 50th anniversary with the organist from their first parish.
- For married pastors to flirt with their parishioners. I’m not talking about pastors who side-hug their parishioners. I’m not talking about the pastor who tells a lonely elderly widow that she looks beautiful. I’m talking about those colorful pastors who make comments about a female parishioner’s legs.
- For congregations to give their pastors (inappropriate) financial gifts. I know a pastor who was gifted the deed for a beach cottage from a parishioner. I know another pastor who was granted $20k annually after his retirement “just to make ends meet.” I know yet another pastor who was given a trust fund to cover his future travel expenses.
It’s interesting to consider what we might do today which will be considered Not Okay a few years from now. For one thing, I’m thinking we’ll all be mortified about what Washington’s NFL team used to call themselves.
What do you think we’ll find shocking – and not okay – twenty years from now that is considered acceptable today?