Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bully Pulpit or Bullying The Pulpit

Church leadership is given a
Bully Pulpit
by God 
to advance the weak and further mature the strong.

But many people take offense at the exercise of this God given responsibility.

Bully Pulpit:
A public office or position of authority that provides its occupant with an outstanding opportunity to speak out on any issue.
This term was coined by President Theodore Roosevelt, who referred to the White House as a "bully pulpit," by which he meant a terrific platform from which to advocate an agenda. Roosevelt famously used the word bully as an adjective meaning "superb" or "wonderful" (a more common expression in his time but still used as such in Britain today).

Its meaning in this sense is only distantly related to the modern form of bully which means "harasser of the weak". Due to the archaic nature of the adjective "bully" and the religious symbolism of the word pulpit, this phrase is often misunderstood as a pejorative. This misinterpretation implies intimidation and, possibly, an abuse of authority. [Wikipedia]

Church leaders can and some do abuse the authority of their bully pulpit.  But far more abdicate their bully pulpit responsibility - even though it was given to them by God.

However, there is an even greater problem today:

Bullying the pulpit ...

From the seemingly innocent, "If the preacher has anything worth saying, he can say it in 10 minutes," to overt bullying, such as verbal and social put downs, gossip, and mean spirited criticism, even dismissal from the pulpit as an act of bullying, bullying the pulpit results in the same stress and distress as the bullying that occurs in our schools.

In the churches most bullying is a power issue. Bullies often lack self-confidence or self-esteem. Outwardly bullying is an offensive tactic. Inwardly it represents a defensive position, a self-protecting stance.  Other people bully to carve a niche in the pack or to maintain one.

Whether Abuse of the Bully Pulpit or Bullying the Pulpit
The Result is:

Billy Graham Preaching @ The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
Theodore Roosevelt @ Picture History
Sunset over the old church, Barrow by martinmillar6

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