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PERILS OF THE PROFESSIONALLY HOLY

Her face was convulsed with emotion as tears ran down her cheeks, her hands twisting a forgotten handkerchief into a tight knot. She finally choked out the reason she wouldn't go near church: "I was baptized almost seven years ago. The preacher called and convinced me that's what I needed to do. We went right to the church, just the two of us, and he baptized me. Then he came into my dressing room and made a pass at me!"

As she told me her story, I was shocked. An extreme event? Yes. Appalling? Atypical? Yes, but sadly not a unique or isolated occurrence. Even some of the churches I've been associated with have had to ask for a preacher's resignation because of sexual misconduct.

So why the sexual failings, especially among ministers? A lack of Christian devotion or sincerity is rarely to blame. I suspect something more insidious is behind the problem. I've noticed three subtle but powerful dangers that cause extra temptation for the "professionally religious":

Overfamiliarity with God. ...

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