I feel a need to confess my lust. It’s a sin I know. But I have definitely lusted with my heart and my eyes and my ears. It’s hard not to. I appreciate beautiful form as much as the next guy. I know that the images the media feeds us accentuate the positive, “photoshopping” the blemishes from the photos and “whitewashing” all of the unseemly characteristics from the writing. But that hasn’t stopped me from being “tempted by the fruit of another” — to quote from a classic song by the band “Squeeze.”
While I could be talking about sexual lust here, I’m really not. Really. I’m talking about lust for other churches and ministries and being jealous of the hot-shot pastors whose blogs I read and coveting the ministries and worship experiences that they have going on.
Politicians can have a “lust for power.”
Librarians can have “book lust.”
Those who desire violence can be said to have “blood lust.”
We can have a lust for money — which we often cover up by calling it “capitalism.”
Really, if lust is a passionate desire or craving for something…which is why it is so very appropriate when considering the emotion of sexual desire…I think it’s fair to say–and confess–that I have a lust for churches…other churches.
I need to be perfectly frank here. This is not something that’s an issue all of the time. While I don’t want to say that this is a debilitating condition, this is not something that is new to me. I have a history with church lust, desiring that which I do not have, coveting the ministries of others, feeling inadequate in the face of others’ successes and like I just don’t measure up. And I’m not sure it’s all that unfamiliar to other clergy as well. But I can’t speak for them. I can speak for me.
Before I started out in ministry, way back in seminary, I remember being somewhat jealous of new clergy friends who were headed off to be associate pastors in big churches in Virginia or North Carolina or wherever it is they came from. They were well-connected United Methodists and seemed groomed for greatness. And, in my own little way, I had wished I was like them. I wished I was going off to “First Church, Big City,” ready to work my way up the ministry ladder. Perhaps I could be a Superintendent or Bishop one day. A guy can dream, can’t he.
But wait, there’s more!