Monday, November 21, 2005

Pastoral Leadership Mafia Style

I must ashamedly admit that I have probably seen "The Godfather" at least a half a dozen times. Much to the dismay of some of my readers, I will probably watch it a dozen more before it is all over with. It isn't the gratuitous violence that appeals to me; it is the characters of the movie and how they behave.

Of all the scenes of the movie, a few of them really stand out in my mind. One of the scenes that I love is when the "Frank Sinatra-ish" character comes in to request a boon from the Godfather. He begins whining and crying to the Godfather about this Hollywood producer who is treating him poorly. He asks the Godfather what it is that he should do, and I remember being surprised by this, the Godfather jumps up, grabs the crooner, and starts slapping him and calling him a big sissy.

I sometimes wish that pastors had to go and see the Godfather. I wish that they would have to talk to him about how their deacons are being mean, or how the church won't listen, or blah, blah, blah. Oh the plight of the poor, poor pastor! And then, right in the middle of their self-pity party, the Godfather would jump up and start slapping them around and saying, "Act like a man!" Have you not read that the Overseer must not "be given to W(h)ine!" (1 Tim. 3:3...sort of.) Occassionally, I hear or have a pastoral pity party, and I need a good reminder not to be such a weenie.

The second scene that stands out in my mind is the speech that the Godfather gives to Michael, his heir apparent. He tells him that when he passes away, someone will come and try to get him to meet with the enemy to make peace. He tells Michael that this man is a traitor. He is a traitor because he has been meeting with the enemy.

Now, in a weird way, I have seen this in church life about a hundred times. That is, someone walks in the office and says, "You know a lot of people are saying..." or they say, "I've heard a lot of folks who aren't happy with..." Every time I hear that sort of talk, I think of the Godfather. Who are these "lots of folks"? Why aren't they talking with me themselves? Why was the person sitting in front of me engaged in this conversation? Further, why is it that they are using the unknown "they" as leverage to get what "they" want? Why is the person sitting in front of me so sympathetic to the agenda of the "they"?

Is this leadership a la "Mafia" flawless? Certainly not. I am also not advocating "taking out" any of the malcontents in church. However, I can say that I get a good laugh when I remember the whipping that the whiney singer got when I realize that I am doing that very thing, and I also remember that little nugget of wisdom that the Godfather gave to Michael before he croaked. Both of which are very a much milder form.


Daniel said...

I especially liked the latter bit of wisdom about the one who comes on behalf of others. Not the peace-maker, but one coming in the guise of the peace maker - let's call him the "agenda-pimp."

This one comes for the purpose of softly rebuking the pastor - just as Peter softly rebuked Christ. Like peter this one is not mindful of the things of God, but is looking after the spiritual cares and concerns of men - but their carnal concerns.

One must be on guard - thanks Brand for that great word of encouragement.

Daniel said...

That should say, by the way - NOT looking after the spiritual cares and concerns...

brother terry said...

I'll eat a bowl of oranges for you!