My Letterman blog has generated a bit of heat, which is great! Please remember that I do not publish anonymous comments. I have the courage to sign my stuff, please have the courage to do the same.
Some people felt that my role as Bishop in the Church made my comments inappropriate, and I would like to explore that today as well as explore the Christian response to this situation.
First let me say that, unlike clergy you have most likely encountered in the past, I do not play games or hide behind my office. What you see is what you get with me, I am a real person and I refuse to take on the “holier-than-thou” stereotype. It is that sort of nonsense that has opened up the door to clergy abuse of every kind. I see my role as being a teacher of what the earliest Christians called “The Way”. I am also a spiritual guide and mentor. I am not the morality police, largely because the Jesus who I encounter in the Bible told us not to do that!
Letterman had sex, and that sex may or may not have happened in the context of Letterman being either in an ongoing relationship or being married. He may be guilty of adultery – or is he? If he is guilty of adultery, let me call your attention to John chapter 8 beginning at verse 3:
“The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and placing her in their midst they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?’ This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’ ” (RSV)
Apparently, there are a whole lot of you out there who have never sinned. Good for you! It is so hard to be perfect, you must be exhausted from the effort!
Let’s look a bit further. How about Matthew 6, verse 14 and 15:
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses.” (RSV)
Pretty clear there that we aren’t supposed to be holding people’s misdeeds against them but are to forgive them. In fact, we aren’t even supposed to be looking for them! Let’s look at Matthew again, chapter 7:
“Judge not, that you not be judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye,and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (RSV)
The bad new is that if you are sinning (and we all sin) the log is in your eye. Now for the really bad news: If you are criticizing David Letterman on the basis of your Christian faith, you are directly contradicting Jesus instruction and are setting up a situation where you may be beyond forgiveness. That God that God is merciful!
Here’s the real issue: If you are mad at David Letterman or upset by his activities, one of two things has most likely happened. Either you made the mistake of setting him up as some sort of moral guide for you and your family (not very likely, but possible), or you need to do some healing around some incident in your past that had to do with someone either cheating on you or some one close to you or some other kind of sexual misconduct. I am very sympathetic of all those situations, and what I want to say to you is that your reaction to Letterman is an indication that you have some healing to do around those issues. That’s not a criticism on my part, it’s an attempt to help. Talk with your pastor, talk with a mental health professional, talk with anyone – but please, don’t continue to be miserable.
The truth is that David Letterman’s sex life is no more your business than your neighbor’s sex life, your mailman’s sex life, or the sex life of the guy three blocks over. The fact that he’s a celebrity doesn’t make any aspect of his private life any one’s business. Unless you are willing to have a complete stranger knock on your door and ask you when the last time you got laid was and was it any good, you really should stay away from other people’s sex lives!
Please, do yourself a favor, and take some time to look into why you are reacting this way. Address this issues that are at the root of your reaction, and move forward. If, on the other hand, you are reacting this way because you think it is your Christian duty then I would encourage you to get in a Church that is healthy. Like mine!