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I stayed up later than I wanted to last night writing a pretty good post for the blog today. I finished and actually thought it might be something to send on to one of the magazines I sometimes write for. I was eager to get it posted here and get the discussion started. But I knew that my late night writing is even more full of misspellings than my day time writing, so I hit "save as draft.

Doh! No, that was "delete this post."

Yea, so this is what you get for today's post. A left over thought from a week or more ago, one I hope isn't so out of phase with current events that it bores you to unsubscription. Here goes.

So when all the Ted Haggard stuff was going down, I read a few different blog posts and articles poking fun at the sex appeal of ministers. One in particular, which I won't link to because it was just so crass, sarcastically jabbed at the notion that pastors are sometimes sex symbols of sorts. "...becoming a pastor is a great way to meet women. (And men, I guess.) Apparently, the ladies think pastors are hot," it said.

Well, they are.

Stop laughing.

They are. To some.

As much as I'd love to think my wife was first attracted to my microphone stand physique, my six foot two inch one hundred and thirty pound physique, she wasn't. She swears she thinks I'm cute now, but back then she first liked me because she thought I was confident, smart and funny.

Those aren't words I'd use to describe myself now or at nineteen when we met, but she was left with that impression when I got up to teach group of people or jumped into a conversation with a crowd she was in.

Apparently there are a lot of women like her who don't care so much about what I look like, but come on to me after shows because of what I do on a stage or in a crowd after a show. They think I'm confident, smart and funny, Becky says, and for them that's a huge turn on. Apparently.

A store buyer handed me her room key at a Christian Bookseller's Convention in Orlando years ago, inviting me to come up and have dinner with her. I was flashed by a college student at an in-store event in Tampa. I was propositioned by a female radio personality in the MidWest. And I've had to move more than a few south-wandering hands from my backside while posing for a picture in a church lobby somewhere.

It's OK, you can laugh. It is strange that women would find me attractive - until we realize that some folks are drawn to the kind of confidence and personality that they associate with people able to command attention from a stage. Whether those people are pastors or soft rock stars.

Which is why my father-in-law (a pastor) always keeps his office door open when counseling a female, and makes sure his secretary stays put at her desk right outside. It's why Billy Graham has someone search his hotel room for females before he'll enter and doesn't even go to the bathroom alone. It's why I travel with Brian, never meet with a female alone, always wear my ring and talk about my wife and kids with perhaps annoying frequency.

It only takes one woman to say we did when we didn't and we're done.

All of this of course really has nothing to do with the Haggard situation, but I'm glad it came up in the wake of it anyway. Laugh all you want. Your pastor's hot, to someone. Pastors, be careful. Women, back off. Church, pray.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Well said - I'm not hot by any means, but if one is in full time ministry as I (and I hate the fact I have to stay anon on this post) it's wise not to give a hint of improper behavior. I think women see a godly man as attractive; everything they desire in their husband or mate...

I never ride with a female in the same car and am required to wear polo shirts with our ministry logo on it always.

I was burned and it still chafes me to this day when a "friend" told my wife that he had seen me downtown with another female. Of course I was one of 20 in a seminar that was visible from the street in a public setting. He should have come to me first, rather than stir up dissention.

Turns out he had some issues of his own and it was easier to tear down than build up to cover his own sinfulness.


Anonymous J. Snow Carpenter said...

I have had some similar experiences in my time as well. I am now in ministry and have to go out of my way to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, but I learned that from teaching at the university level. Same deal there... the female students (especially the freshmen) begin to view their professors (not all, but some) as some sort of ideal mate. So, I learned to always keep the door open, which can be difficult if you are teaching music lessons. Great post because very few people would have touched it!

Blogger Mark said...

I don't find this funny. I find it sad. Sad that people who claim to be Christians behave this way. Shouldn't surprise me because we're all sinners. But we shouldn't be so ready to give in to sin.

Anonymous hollybird said...

my husband is a full time youth minister. He has set rules for himself to keep from any appearance of wrong doing. But still.. there's always the chance that some teen who adores him will make a comment that gets blownout of proportion, and on and on and on it goes. It is scary to think of how one comment can ruin a ministry. My prayer for him daily, among other things, is that he will be protected from this. I think it is time the church stood up and prayed this for all of its staff.
A few years ago, an unmarried woman in our church yelled across the church parking lot one Sunday morning that my husband was "hot". I didn't think it was funny then, and I don't now! It was inappropriate and sinful (not to mention rude and crass). But it was an eye-opener that we have to be on alert at all times. I pray constantly against this for my husband (and the other staff at my church too).
My husband IS hot... not just because he is gorgeous physically, but because he is a man of integrity and truthfulness. He treats me with the utmost respect and love, the way Christ treated the church. I recognize that those qualities are not found in every home and it's no wonder why so many ladies find him so appealing. I know I am blessed to have him in my life. And for the record, ladies... he is MINE and I will fight for him to the death! (grin)

Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Chick fight! Chick fight!

Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Chick fight! Chick fight!

Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

Yikes, there are a lot of aggressive women! (Why do you think that is?) Men need to back off too, though.

I'm pretty far from looking like a Barbie doll, but I've been squeezed like a roll of Charmin in the line of ministry more times that I want to tell you. Message board guys in the past (not any current members) have hit on me (I referred them to eharmony. LOL) Male friends have not understood when I've refused to go out for coffee or a meal alone. I won't entertain a man alone in my house either. Nor will I share any intimate communication or information with a guy friend. Every email I write male friends can be shared with their spouses and accountability partners. And I have a handful of girlfriends who know the names of my male friends and who have permission to ask me ugly, probing questions about them and my feelings toward them at any time. Boundaries are great! They keep the minds of us frail humans from carrying our hearts and bodies where they don't need to go.

My church lost a pastor when he ran off with his secretary. The pastor who came after him showed us a list he kept of all the people who'd be hurt if he fell morally and spiritually. A number of us in the church adopted that listmaking practice and boy has that list grown over the years. The thought of hurting any person named on that list in exchange for some illicit fun or companionship makes my stomach turn. No man or passing pleasure is worth that.

And Shaun, I'd encourage your dad-in-law to consider not even counseling women unless they're part of a couple and all interactions are with them as a couple. An open office door and secretary's monitoring will keep him and the counselee from being tempted to touch, but that's no safeguard against the woman's heart being drawn toward her kind, compassionate helper. The same is true when a woman is counseling a man. There's the natural tendency of the person being helped to be lovingly attached to the helper.


Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I'm waiting for it...waiting for it....

Blogger kslus said...

Wow. This post makes me sad and angry. Sad, because there are so many needy women out there who are wrecking lives to fill the void in their own. I think this probably comes from an absent father. I hate to make it sound so simple, because it's not. But, that's pretty much the foundation we're dealing with here. So, take note of this dads.

I feel angry because I'm a woman trying to make her way in a man's world and this is just another thing I'm up against. I just want to be seen as a fellow human when it comes to my career and ministry.

We're all "needy" to a certain extent. Emotional neediness was programmed inside each of us by our Creator. It's not really a male or female thing. I think it's true that boundaries are a good thing. I don't think, however that every woman should be seen as a "risk" to your marriage. Furthermore, needy people, male or female, are pretty obvious to spot.

I'm through ranting now.

Blogger supersimbo said...

shaun sorry i tried to grab your ass in Belfast!!
I remember once experiencing a kind of lame version of this when i played in aband with my bro at a youth event and these 2 or 3 girls just stared at us all through the set, then afterwards i saw them bickering about which of them would come over to us to speak as we packed up.........what a band we were that night!!! freaky.........only happened once and we were a few mates jamming onstage and calling it a gig!!
i find Joyce Meyer stangely attractive.............im kidding!!

Anonymous emma said...

Shaun, thanks for your courage in addressing this topic... its widely ignored. Boundaries are something I'm working on personally now, from a single womans perspective how do I create boundaries that protect and honour my future husband even now when I dont know him? Thanks for your honesty.

Anonymous hollybird said...

I think you can create boundaries to protect and honour your future husband by protecting and honouring yourself now. As a Christian, we have a responsibility to not make anyone stumble in their walk with God. that means we have to watch how we dress, how we carry ourselves, how we talk, what we listen to, what we put in front of our eyes. By protecting ourselves, we are protecting our future mate (or our present one for that matter). Blessings on you for your desire to make it right for him. He will be blessed by your efforts, and God is blessed as well.
This is a great discussion! I think we all need to be more careful about how we handle ourselves with the opposite gender, whether or not we are married. As Christians, we are called to be in this world, but not of it. Men and women alike need to strive for excellence in this area. It is true that we are all needy for others. God made us that way. We need people. And not every lady who thinks my husband is "hot" is trying to get her hands on him. Some of them simply like to congratulate me on getting such a catch! but there is a time and place for such comments, and we should be careful not to offend others with our words and careful not to make others feel uncomfortable too (my husband gets really embarassed by these comments). just my two cents....

Blogger FzxGkJssFrk said...

My dad's a pastor and he runs a Christian school. He has always maintained similar open-door policies. You really can't be too careful with this stuff.


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