Over the brief years of my life I have been too often horrified by the way that preachers can live in a way that is deeply inconsistent with their calling and ministry. Like the bent copper, the abusive teacher, or the politician whose real interest is to line his own pocket, there's something specially abhorrent about it.
My blogging about this is sparked by another scandal AND by the furore in the USA about Mike Pence's espousal of the Billy Graham rule - never to eat dinner alone with a woman who is not your wife.
I got into a little conflict a couple of years ago with a colleague, a woman, who was fitting out a small office at the back fo the church building where we then were based. She looked forward to us sharing the office and working there together day by day. She was very disappointed when I told her that it wasn't going to happen. "You are very strict, too strict", she said. "My mission would never allow it", was my reply. When I spoke to the mission about it later they confirmed that they would not allow it, at least if I was concerned.
Look, the people who have ended up having an affair - or multiple affairs, or looking online for women to date, or leaving their wife and family to set up home with a man, or lying about attending conferences and really meeting up with people in hotels - these people have been amongst the most intelligent, the most gifted, the most praised, the most promising people. If that tells me anything it tells me that anyone can fall. It might tell me a whole lot more, but I don't want to explore it too much. Not here. Not now.
I don't follow any Billy Graham rule, not to eat dinner alone with a woman who is not my wife. Rules may help some people. I don't think they'd help me. You set up a rule and you can always find a way around it. "No, I can't make dinner, but let's meet for lunch..." But it's more than that and less. I want a horror of it all. I want to see it as unspeakably grotesque, sordid, dirty, low, mean, dishonourable.