After seeing headlines all weekend saying “Bishop Apologizes for touching Ariana Grande,” I watched the video.
I am angry.
I am frustrated.
There are a number of things this brought up for me…
1) The bishop’s behaviour was completely inappropriate. To watch a person treated that way by a someone claiming* to represent God…how does that not make you angry? How does that not make you grieve? (I am not calling into questions this person’s faith. I don’t know them. But in this incident, they did not act Christ-like…they did not demonstrate love for their neighbor.)
2) What struck me most in the video though was something I have seen and encountered in far too many…the attitude too many religious leaders project that says, “I am the most important person in the room.” I can do and say whatever I want because of who I am. People are constantly telling me how wonderful I am. I’ve even started to believe it! And, because the people around me do not hold me to account. They excuse my bad behavior and again tell me how wonderful I am! It is why you make fun of someone’s name in public. It is why when you issue a lame apology (see number 4) you continue to make assumptions about their ethnicity. It is the same type of thing that allowed Paige Patterson to behave the way he did for so long before finally being called to account. Humility is sadly lacking in a lot of what passes for Christian leadership.
3) One of my daughters said, “this is why people my age drop out of church.” It isn’t that we need better worship or messages, or some other type of new program to reach millennials. They see stuff like this and think “why would I ever go to church?”
4) If you use words like: If… or Maybe…or But, it is not an apology. “If I did something to hurt you, I apologize.” That s not an apology. I once had someone tell me, “I’m sorry for whatever you think it is I did to you.” That wasn’t an apology either. I guess I could write a how to apologize post, but in meantime, if you don’t know how to apologize without using words like if, maybe or but, perhaps you could just google, “how to make a real apology.”
There are some other things I’m working through as I think about this. But those are my top of mind thoughts. And after getting them out…I’m still frustrated.
(the image above is one of the Celtic High Crosses at Monasterboice)
Also published on Medium.