Because they were announced within days of each other, comparisons will be made. When posting both stories on the link list here, I was careful not to mention names. Simply
- I’d love to live in a world where announcements like this did not exist. (posted Jan 11)
- Sadly, another high-profile Christian family processes divorce… (posted Feb 1)
Despite my concerns, each of those was the most-clicked thing on the lists they appeared on in terms of the first day the list was published. I don’t know what that says about our appetite for such stories and sometimes I really do wrestle with linking to them at all.
Pete Wilson is a four-time Thomas Nelson author and was the founding pastor of Cross Point in Nashville where he served for 14 years. I was following his blog long before I started this one and his wife and three children seemed like family. He chose not to make any comments beyond the one linked above.
Barnabas Piper is employed by LifeWay, is an author and is one of the threesome on the Happy Rant Podcast. He chose to be much more vocal about his marriage. In addition to the article linked above which appeared at The Blazing Center blog, he was interviewed for about a half hour on Episode #248 of The Bad Christian Podcast and was probably much more focused and forthright than with anything I’ve heard on Happy Rant.
But Piper is also the son of a prominent Christian pastor and writer, one who is almost worshiped* among those of a certain tribe. So his announcement was subject to much more scrutiny, as demonstrated at this lengthy article at The Wartburg Watch, which as I’m typing this on Friday night is closing in on 550 comments. (Including one from myself, seizing on another comment about another Piper, Abraham, asking about him and unfortunately learning he is apparently living another life. This in term brought the response, “…what I’d expect from someone who grew up in a Christian bubble. freedom gone a bit berserk now.”)
There was also a more theological consideration of the podcast interview at DivorceMinister.com (his second on this actually, the first one containing the sentence, “Divorce has come to evangelical ‘royalty’“) and it was there I learned that there was a second post at Wartburg, this one in direct response to the podcast interview and attracting another 420 comments. It is here that I was a reminded of this aspect to the podcast:
He believes that Pete Wilson, as a church leader, should have told his church that he was resigning and that he had serious marriage problems since he is accountable to his church. Piper claims that the same rule does not apply to him because he is not a pastor and does not intend to work in a church…
…When one writes books, blogs, speaks at conferences, or does a podcast, one is teaching others in some fashion. I know people love to put things into the context of the local church with roles defined within the church. I take a far broader view of that verse. [reference to James 3:1]
I’ve heard it said that much of the work of The (Capital C) Church is undermined through the temptations and distractions which undermine the marriages of Christian leaders. I certainly believe that to be true. I thought of continuing this exposition into successive paragraphs but decided that others are covering this sufficiently and biblically, and the links are provided if you want to pursue this further.
Sidebar: Why we removed the Happy Rant Podcast from our blogroll.
This decision was made prior to more recent developments though it took several days to get around to it. My wife and I both felt that there was something about the whole tenor of the program which simply tended to skew negative, mean-spirited and condescending. The hosts seem to have a great sense of self-importance about things which are, for lack of a better comparison, wood, hay and stubble. I’ll continue to monitor it personally and if I see them working a particular topic I might click through and fast forward to that discussion, but I could no longer endorse the podcast by having it listed here.
*The use of the word “almost” was rather charitable on my part. In my early days of