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The headline reads:  Woman Stabs Classmate in Anger-Management Class.  It happened not long ago near Seattle.  A seemingly peaceful anger management class goes horribly wrong when two of the women students begin to argue.  One grabs a knife and stabs the other person in the arm… Of course, the newspaper HAD to report that story.  The irony was just too great. In fact, the media loves a great story like this.  Irony and hypocrisy make for a great personal interest story. A woman getting stabbed in the arm outside a mall doesn’t make the evening news.  But a woman getting stabbed in the arm at an anger management class makes headlines nationwide. A drug deal going down rarely makes the news anymore.  But a police officer involved in a drug deal is a major story. A woman having sex with a teenager may still raise some eyebrows in most communities, but probably wouldn’t make the news; unless, of course, the woman is a teacher.  Then, it’s a national story. The media love this kind of thing. Enter you. You, every week, work at a place that upholds family values, is supposed to love people, and do good for the community.  Your church is supposed to be representing the Word of God, ten commandments, and the best in everything.  What happens when things don’t match up? Let’s say you, as a pastor do something wrong.  Let’s say you steal something; you have an affair; you get caught in some kind of financial inconsistency.  There is probably a reporter in your city right now that would love a call with that lead. You, as a church worker, are held to a much higher standard only because any mis-step you make will be considered hypocracy.  It will make for a good story. The ramifications of a screw-up are much higher for you as well. Chances are, you’ll lose your job over it. Chances are, your church will suffer unnecessarily. And there’s a good chance you’ll lose your family.  (In the case of an affair, those are hard enough for most couples to work through… add in the public disclosure and embarrassment, and many marriages just can’t take it.) I admit.  I’m fascinated with scandals (both church, political, etc.) for a couple reasons.  First, they make me examine my own life to be sure that I’m not near a crash.  And secondly, they cause me to investigate how these things happen.  Maybe I’m just a curious person.  Maybe it’s hit too close to home for me, as I’ve had a good friend hit by scandal.  Maybe it’s because I’ve seen too many people fall to silly stuff they never thought they’d do. As you go about your day… be constantly reminded:  people are watching you.  Some would love to take you down.  Some would love to tarnish the reputation of your church and ministry.  Don’t give them the fuel to do it. If you’re about ready to crash and burn; or if you’ve already fallen and people don’t know about it; take today and take the steps you need to take to get help and save yourself and your ministry and town the embarrassment of another scandal. If you need someone to confide in, drop me a line.  I’d be glad to help however I can. Todd

Current Events
According to CNN, Crystal Cathedral Ministries will enter bankruptcy as it faces lawsuit-filing creditors and a rapid decline in donations because of the recession, church officials announced Monday.  An unspecified small number of creditors have sued the church and obtained writs of attachment, said church spokesman John Charles. The church had sought a voluntary moratorium with vendors to allow “an equitable repayment plan” under the oversight of the Credit Managers Association of California, but negotiations didn’t move fast enough to satisfy creditors, Charles said. The ministry in Garden Grove, California, is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. You can read more here… Is this the first megachurch that has filed for bankruptcy?  Others have faced hard times over the years, but I can’t recall a church or ministry every filing for bankruptcy protection.  Am I missing something? What ramifications do you think this will have for the church at large, if any? I’d love to hear your thoughts… Todd