A Sidekick's Blog

A Brother In Extreme Danger

April 10, 2013
1 Comment

ll his life, my brother has dreamed of being a professional musician. He has the talent for it, but none of the discipline to achieve it. Chronically unemployed and homeless, a life without responsibility is familiar and comfortable to him. A real job and a real place of his own come with the responsibility to pay bills, show up for work when he should, obey his boss, and otherwise fulfill the obligations that inevitably come with independence. Countless times he has been offered a home and job to pay for it, and each time he has sabotaged his own success when the commensurate responsibility required his attention. So, back on the street again, angry and bitter and resentful of the boss who fired him, or the landlord that insisted on being paid rent, or the countless parade of people who finally stopped “helping” him with cash and rides and housing and food when their own money began to run out.

The cycle repeats, over and over again, for nearly 40 years now. But this time the danger to my brother is far greater than just physical or financial. His dream of being “a professional musician” has finally come true. A tiny pseudo-church (arguably illegitimate as a true church) has hired him to be their minister of music.

His heart and mind continue to be consumed by bitterness and resentment of all those who have tried to help him in the past with jobs, financial gifts, housing, job training, transportation, and all the rest. He continues to blame them – especially his own family and churches – for his lifelong chronic homelessness and joblessness and poverty. But now he is in a position of ministry, with his heart still full of venom and resentment towards fellow believers. But this “job” is much more than just a position as a compensated musician. It carries far greater responsibility than just playing the guitar skillfully and delivering a good musical performance. This is not a job as an entertainer, but as a minister!

Even though in my opinion the little “church” that hired him is not a true church, the danger is no less real there because the people who attend services there believe it’s a church and follow their leaders. Being in ministry without the spiritual purity that ministry demands is a frightening prospect. In fact it has been fear of becoming a false minister that drove me to drop out of seminary!

His “professional musician” gig will most certainly be as short-lived as any of his previous jobs. But the responsibility of ministry weighs heavier than any other vocation, demanding much more than just “playing a good song.” And the danger to his soul in the day of judgment is far greater in ministry than it would be if he just played in a local bar. God help him.