|"Pulpit", from the eyes of my 9-yr old son|
According to Wikipedia.org, a bully pulpit is: "An older term within the U.S. Government, a bully pulpit is a public office or other position of authority of sufficiently high rank that provides the holder with an opportunity to speak out and be listened to on any matter. The bully pulpit can bring issues to the forefront that were not initially in debate, due to the office's stature and publicity."
The correct definition of bully pulpit does not refer to a pastor abusing authority from the pulpit; however, using the literal meanings of "bully" and "pulpit" seemed appropriate to me when we were there. Interestingly, I have been in contact with others who also used the bully pulpit expression in the same sense.
This environment is hurtful for both the sinner and the congregants who see this played out before them. There is confusion. Sometimes this creates an environment where congregants begin to be on the lookout for the sins of others. These informants feed the pastor news about members in sin. These informants unknowingly create an unhealthy alliance with the pastor. They perpetuate this destructive cycle of "sin sniffing": sinner is confronted, pastor meetings occur, The Bully Pulpit lesson is taught regarding the sin. Informants are given pseudo grace by the pastor and their own sins may be overlooked. The emphasis of the church seems to be heavily on sin and repentance, not grace.
This....is.....not....right. This is a travesty to the meaning of grace, the meaning of church, the meaning of a shepherd.