A poetic commentary on scandal…



These words by James Watkins summarize many of my feelings about the various Christian leadership scandals, but many others in our church universal where individuals are set up for temptation and failure by a system which isolates and flatters them. The church is supposed to be a body–a family–a place of intimacy and accountability. The way that we often do church makes it more like a free market corporation or something like that …. pedestals





and clap

as one of their own

is proudly carried toward the

lofty pedestal.

The audience


urges him

up the stairway,

step by step,

higher and higher,

far above the masses

on the prominent platform.

The media is there


with lights,


and prime-time coverage.

Publishers huddle


around the base,

for they know


sell well.

The crowds


on satellite hook-ups

hang on

every last word,

for he seems

so close to eternity.

Yet he feels





and very alone . . .

But at that height


no one notices,

no one questions,

no one confronts.

And so,


in a split second,

the trap door swings,

the noose tightens,

the crowd gasps.

Undeterred, the mob moves on


to build more pedestals;

to encourage another

of their own

up the starlit steps.

But mostly


to wonder

why those

at the pinnacle

keep falling

from the heights.

© 1988 James N. Watkins



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