When I hear that a preacher has gotten into trouble, I usually ask, "Money or sex?" You know, the twin temptations, just as they are for any other professional.
Somewhere in the last century I picked up the factoid that of all the professions the clergy were the most likely to be murdered by their spouses. I have wondered if that statistic has been revised now that women nearly equal men in the number of ordained clergy in Protestant churches.
During my years in the pulpit I made a calculated effort to disabuse anyone from bestowing a halo on me. Considering the violence with which I played basketball congregants never had any difficulty distinguishing between me and Jesus. But I suspect that such pulpit confessions as I have offered of my own sinfulness sometimes served only to polish the halo, especially since propriety prevented me from giving a detailed description of the trash strewn about my inner life.
Barbara, however, gets more than an occasional glimpse of who I really am... my petulance, my infelicitous language, my unwillingness to let go of old hurts, my arrogance... well, you get a glimpse of her glimpse.
Fortunately, I am in retirement worth more to my bride alive than dead. She has not said to me, as I overheard another clergy spouse say of her husband, that she would shoot him if he ever had an affair with another woman.
The other morning in the exercise room I conversed with a fellow I occasionally meet there, a Baptist minister. I commiserated with him about the endless meetings to which our profession is subject. This week he had none, nada, not a single committee meeting. He felt free as a bird. We laughed and confided, as only those in the same profession with the same experience can; and shook our heads at the inability of most laity to understand, really understand, just how fallible, mortal, stupid, silly, wrong-headed and, well, human clergy often are.
Maybe, just maybe, a pastor's wife noting the gross incongruence between his reputation and his reality decided to forcibly adjust that imbalance.