Morality and the Clergy....continued
A clergyman must be particularly careful in his
relationships with the opposite sex or indeed the same sex if he finds himself
that way inclined. Friendships can begin quite innocently, and no one should
arouse suspicions without good reason. The minister will most likely have a
secretary, deaconesses and other Church workers around him. There will also be
those whom he visits in their homes, those he counsels privately, and even
those for whom he prays in a laying-on-of-hands ceremony.
People seek the help of a minister because he is respected,
and therefore show him deference, so with them he must not abuse his authority
nor overstep the bounds of propriety. From case histories, a particularly
dangerous situation has arisen in large Churches where the minister has a
personal assistant. It is natural when two people are working together for long
periods of time that an inevitable closeness develops, and in visitation also
the clergyman should know when it is not discreet to call on some people when
they are alone.
Moral failure can sometimes be the
result of inadequacies in the marriage and when it does break up there may be
reasons on both sides; for instance there was a lady who cheated on her
husband. He was a professional man whose work took him around the world, and
consequently he lost interest in his home. His wife felt neglected and
unwanted, consequently her loneliness became her temptation.
Much of a clergyman's work is away from his home, and this
may cause some irritability on the domestic scene. His wife may frustratingly
wonder at times whether her husband married her or the Church! Much patience
and understanding is therefore required in these situations, because there are
pressures on such marriages that the ordinary Church members know little about.
THE TREND 'TO TOUCH'.
In recent years some congregations
have been encouraged to show more friendliness to each other than has been
usual in Church services, and this has resulted in what could be described as
'touchy-feely' behaviour. It goes beyond the traditional handshake greeting to
hugging, embracing and kissing. The intention is to promote Christian
fellowship in a more tangible way for the Family of God, and doubtless for the
majority of participants it is very meaningful for them; but there are some
dangers. First, it is embarrassing when it involves those who are not used to
it, or those who do not appreciate it. Neither should it be overlooked that for
those who have a low sexual threshold, the practice may shift from the
spiritual (agape4) to the
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