December 01, 2003

Put This Man Out of a Job

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A Baptist minister whose fall from grace began with a fire his wife set at a home he had secretly bought with his mistress will walk out of prison on Sunday and head directly to the pulpit.
No. No no no no no.

Would you take spiritual guidance from THIS man? (I haven't even gotten to the rest of his wrongdoings. It gets worse.)

The answer, most seriously, is no way. I don't remember ever writing about Christianity, my beliefs. Perhaps now is the time.

I have exactly 10 minutes, so I'll not be able to do an insightful Michael Williams-style post complete with scripture passages, but I think I'll amble along just fine with the points I intend to make.

Ministers - members of the clergy - undergo rigorous instruction in the faith. I can't speak for the Baptist denomination, but Lutheran ministers who study in the seminary learn to read Hebrew to more fully understand the Bible in its original language/context. Those of us who are familiar with Christianity and its teachings know and can recite the ten commandmants. Armed with that alone, this man knew better.

He knew - or should have known - that there are consequences for actions. For him, indeed, the consequences were great regardless of whether or not he was ever "caught."

The bible speaks that we are lost souls without God. I've always interpreted that to mean that God, through Jesus, has saved us. That we still have the responsibility to ourselves and to God to try to lead the best possible life, and through parables and teachings, the actions of Jesus, we are given the path. The man who "stands around" and "waits" for spiritual guidance is nothing more than a sheep who will never find his shepherd, not truly believing that he has been given the tools he needs to live an as-virtuous-as-possible life.

Back to this man. Sexual sins by the clergy are reprehensible. I never commented on the Catholic debacle, and this will suffice to say I'll not do so again, but the theme ties here. The actions of leaders, who are given power and authority IN THE NAME OF GOD, must be beyond reproach. Especially in this world where so many dismiss Christianity due to the scandals and corruption. How can we expect those who don't believe - especially rational adults - to look past the messes made by people and find God when their own husbands, wives, and children may be nothing more than eventual prey?

Now, am I qualified to judge? No, not really. I am also not a spiritual leader, and though God may see a sin as a sin, societally, we know different.

And, societally, we judge and decide what we believe. I tell you this man is an obvious disservice to Christianity.

Now, that being said, I'll give you some more meat from the article
    Lyons will have completed his prison sentence on grand theft and racketeering charges, but will remain on probation for the next three years on federal charges of including bank fraud and tax evasion. He also owes $2.5 million in restitution.

    Wildly popular and charismatic, Lyons was at the height of his power as pastor of Bethel Metropolitan Baptist Church and president of the National Baptist Convention 1997, when Deborah Lyons set fire to the house.

    The resulting investigation unmasked Lyons' use of his leadership role at the convention to access millions of dollars to finance his lavish lifestyle. Officials estimate that Lyons took about $4 million to buy luxury residences, jewelry and support his mistresses.
I believe I am finished.


Posted by hln at December 1, 2003 07:35 AM | RANT | TrackBack

Ah, good old Henry Lyons. Back home in Tampa Bay, he's like Marion Barry and Jesse Jackson all rolled into one. Too bad he's getting back into business.

Posted by: Matthew Stinson at December 1, 2003 09:13 AM

Well spoken (written?).

Posted by: Jared at December 1, 2003 04:08 PM

Well said. All Christians should strive to maintain the highest possible standards, particularly those in the public eye. Of course, it doesn't sound like this guy was in the ministry to glorify God, but rather himself. His end is really no surprise.

Posted by: Michael Williams at December 2, 2003 04:21 PM

well he is a Pastor after all and he did do a 30% Robin hood, steal from the Rich and give to his Cronys, This was why the NBC could nto vote him out, he made loyalty.

Posted by: Sulla_the_god at January 29, 2004 04:50 PM