Sunday, September 25, 2011

Plagiarizing Pastors

Reading this article the other day. Basically the idea is that students who are willing to pay are hiring people to write term papers for them. It's not a new article, nor, I'm sure, a new phenomenon. The part that stood out to me was this:

I do a lot of work for seminary students. I like seminary students. They seem so blissfully unaware of the inherent contradiction in paying somebody to help them cheat in courses that are largely about walking in the light of God and providing an ethical model for others to follow. I have been commissioned to write many a passionate condemnation of America's moral decay as exemplified by abortion, gay marriage, or the teaching of evolution. All in all, we may presume that clerical authorities see these as a greater threat than the plagiarism committed by the future frocked.
So, the inevitable reactions was something like this: "Idiots. You guys are idiots." But then I realized that was a bit knee jerk and superficial of me. I let it soak in a bit and this is where I landed.

I'm not really surprised.

The obvious part is that, yes, future pastors cheating on their seminary courses is a bad thing. But it's not like the sin is a different kind of sin. It's the same thing that creeps into lives everywhere, where the thing we stand most against is the thing we undermine with the way we live our lives. It's a blindness to the most obvious and the most egregious. And it's the sin that rules lives and drags souls to the grave.

If that's depressing it's because it is. So maybe the closing note is this:

"Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

It comes back to that. We live in a world full of despair. We're hypocrites of the deepest kind. But thanks be to God for a church that will persevere despite our faithlessness.  For the hope of a world that won't always be like this. For the faithful shepherd coming back for his own.

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