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The Fallen Pastor

Several months ago, I was caught. I had a marriage of over ten years with two children, a church in which I served nine years. However, I found myself looking outside my marriage for satisfaction for several reasons. I found myself dissatisfied with my church and ministry. I offer to you no excuses...

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Is Your Ministry In Danger?

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in adultery, boundaries, ministry, pastors, temptation | Posted on 22-01-2014

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Right now, there are ministers in danger. They are emotionally vulnerable, their marriages are dangeron the brink of failure, they are probably looking at pornography online – what are they doing? They’re looking to fill an emotional need that is in their life.

They are in a place they never imagined they’d be in. They are either in the beginning stages of an affair, are in the middle of an emotional affair, or have already crossed the line into adultery.

You might be reading this and identify with that last statement. You might have been in the ministry for a long time. Your marriage may have been in tumult for a long time and now you’ve found an emotional connection with someone other than your spouse. You feel great when you’re texting, emailing, or talking to this person. They listen to you like no one ever has before.

I am a fallen pastor. I’ve talked to fallen pastors. I’ve been there and can tell you that it’s never too late to get help. If you’re in the middle of an affair and think, “This is great, no one will find out. I wouldn’t be like this if my wife had paid attention to me.” Or if you’re telling yourself any number of things to justify your sin, know that you’re not the first.

But also know that there are a lot of us who have gone down that road and care about you.

It makes me think of a quote by C. S. Lewis: “God allows disappointment to occur on the threshold of every human endeavor. It occurs when the boy who has been enchanted in the nursery by stories from the Odyssey buckles down to really learning Greek. It occurs when lovers have got married and begin the real task of learning to live together.”

manthinkingIf you’re fantasizing about another woman, guess what? The fantasy can be amazing, but it is just that – fantasy. And eventually, it will turn into reality. If you cross the line, it will eventually turn into reality.

If you’re in the middle of it, let me know. I won’t judge you, I won’t hate you for it, I’ll just listen and love. Will I have advice? You bet – when you’re ready to listen. But I’ll be right there with you.

Pastors – those of you facing temptation right now who are playing with fire? Get help. Find a mentor or an accountability partner. What do I mean by accountability partner? Someone who can take your phone from you at any moment and scroll through it. Someone who has the passwords to all of your email accounts. Someone you will not lie to. Someone you can tell that you’ve already messed up and that you need a fresh start.

Don’t let the wrong passions get stoked within you. Don’t let temptation burn out of control. Know that there is a way out and that there are people out there willing to help – you just have to be ready to reach out and ask for help.

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Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

 

Gay Marriage, the Church, and the Jesus Response

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in belief, bitterness, boundaries, brokenness, Christ, church, church members, community, compassion, current events, divisiveness, encouragement, gay marriage, grace, hate, hatred, homosexuality, judgment, love, religion, repentance, salvation, scripture, self-righteousness | Posted on 27-03-2013

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I was so thankful yesterday to get a Facebook inbox message from a friend who was concerned about the current argument in America over gay marriage. Like many Christians, she was concerned about the moral failure of the country. She had been watching Facebook and so have I. I too, have seen many comments like, “Why don’t people see what Scripture says?”

I’ll be honest. I don’t watch television news. For a good reason. It’s only purpose seems to be to rile people up over things that are insignificant. You get stressed out. I mentioned in an online magazine recently how watching TV news in a constant flow caused my mother anxiety.

She said she read my blog occasionally and never saw me write anything about the issue. I don’t. My blog is about fallen

Pic courtesy of PBS

Pic courtesy of PBS

pastors, mostly. Then, I write about issues secondary to that. Then, after that, I write about what tickles my fancy. I don’t avoid the big issues. I’ve written about big issues before, but they’re just not on the radar of what I do.

My response to her was probably not what she expected, but I hope it was biblical. (She did thank me for the sermon :)) I want to post it here then add some comments after. Here it is, verbatim:

Here is what I would say. And I pray it’s the biblical thing, because any response of my own would be wrong.

I’d take it back to the apostle Paul who wrote to a church that was probably going through more moral decay than we are, if you can imagine. In his time, it wasn’t just the culture, it was members of the church who were declining in morality. Members of the church were going up to the pagan temple and sleeping with temple prostitutes.

Paul was surrounded by a pagan Roman culture that was filled with violence, sex, child molestation, and hedonism – and all of it was legal. But Paul didn’t write against the evil around him in the world. He wrote about the sin within the church. He says something interesting in 1 Corinthians 5:

Please take time to read more important stuff after the jump:

A Parable For My 13-Year-Old Daughter

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in boundaries, children, kids, parable, teenagers | Posted on 26-11-2012

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My oldest daughter, Abigail, has been asking a lot of questions. One of her most persistent questions has been, “So when can I text boys?

I really want to say, “Never, dear.

However, she is very, very persistent about the topic. She’s a sweetie and is obedient, but does know how to push a topic. When we say, “It’s going to be a while, there are certain boundaries in place to protect you for now,” she responds with, “Well, when can I ask again?

This sort of conversation is commonplace and it gets wearisome, so she and I had a long conversation the other night. Parents always want to say, “I know how you feel because I used to be there.” Kids always want to say, “But you don’t understand!” And we always end up with a “Freaky Friday” situation where both desire the other understand them better.

So, out of nowhere came a little parable/analogy I made up for her. I think it helped. It’s about boundaries. The main characters started out being cows, but when she realized that she was the cow, we had to change it to unicorns. Duh.

Anyway, imagine there are three unicorn farmers (I know, I know). The first has his grazing around in a few acres, but doesn’t put up any sort of fence around them. He just lets the little unicorns roam freely.

The next unicorn farmer puts up a forty foot high galvanized steel, electric wall around his unicorns. Nothing can ever get in and they will never get out. In fact, they can’t even see the light of day.

The final farmer surrounds his unicorns with a simple fence. It’s barbed wire to keep out bad animals and to mark the boundary of the land. The unicorns know where the limits are and roam freely on the land that the farmer has for them.

That’s my analogy – the unicorns are our kids, parents are the farmers and the fences or structures (or lack thereof) are the boundaries and rules we set up for them. In this case, I’ve set up two extremes and a middle ground. Of course, there can be any number of boundaries imaginable and I’m sure most parents want to think they’re in the middle. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make here.

So first I asked Abigail, “What are the positives and negatives of each boundary?” We talked about how no boundaries will let in wild animals, the unicorns don’t know where to go, etc. Too many boundaries mean the unicorns can’t see any freedom at all.

I asked her, “Do you ever feel like the adults in your life are being too strict?” She said, “Yes.” I said, “How do you think a unicorn living in a barbed wire fence feels about a unicorn with no boundaries when things are going good?” She said, “They’re probably jealous.

Exactly. But all of us need boundaries. We all need rules of some sort, whether from without or within. We talked about that for a bit.

Then I asked, “Why do you think any of those farmers put up any sort of boundary to begin with?” She said, “To protect the unicorns?” I said, “It’s more than that.” She said, “Because they love them.” I said, “Yeah, and here’s where the analogy breaks down, even though I know people love their animals. Parents put up boundaries because they love and want the best for their kids. Not because they’re trying to fence them in.

Then she asked a really great question. “So my friends who don’t seem like they have any rules – their parents don’t love them?

I said, “No, their parents love them. They are doing what they think is right for them. And each parent will probably be doing something different. That’s why it’s hard to look around and compare your life to your friend’s. It’s going to look different. But more important, it’s better to talk to me about the boundaries than get mad about them.

I think it went well. I hope she understood. Yeah, silly unicorns. I know. But I would rather have a daughter who understood I love her and that she can come talk to me about the rules instead of attempting to break them.