When I was welcomed into the ministry as a young, male pastor, I was warned that it was not safe. To minimize the danger and to avoid all appearance of evil, I was counseled never to meet alone with a woman. This counsel was well-intended. Landmines are scattered all over the pastoral landscape. Just this week I was told of a pastor who had carried on a long-term affair with his church’s choir director. Another pastor recently told me of a member of his church who was convinced he was in love with her. And under radar but still real are the dark struggles with sin in pastors’ hearts.
Someone older and wiser reminded me this week of what Superchicken always said to his friend Fred (who had a backwards F on his chest): You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred! (My senior pastor and I have been quoting it back and forth to each other every day since.)
Nailed it! Love this line “ To give pastoral care equally to all members of my congregation may mean at times that I quit caring about how that might look to others.” It is for FREEDOM that Christ set us FREE! FREE INDEED! I would add to your amazing outline of knowing/being known and wise (I have always told my kids we aren’t afraid, we’re SMART), that the world has not necessarily figured this out any better overall as we have all witnessed the misogyny of women for aeons. The Barbie movie made quite a statement that resonated w the women like my mom who worked in corporate America in the 70-80’s (and may have swung to far in other attempted statements, which is what what humans do, we go from one end past reason in the middle to some other side of irrationality). I think your pint was not this as much as the ability to figure it out free from the shame of women being dangerous. I agree.
Thank you for this. Spiritual leaders must always rely on God's wisdom and discernment lest the sheep becomes negatively affected.
God give you grace, Greenwald.