I read an interesting blog post on the NYTimes today by Haider Javed Warraich titled When Doctors ‘Google’ Their Patients. As I was reading it I started to wonder what would happen if we replaced doctors with pastors and patients with parishioners. I can imagine that this is happening already in the world already, although I have a feeling that pastors might not be as willing to discuss it as this doctor was. For some reason it seems like an even larger violation of trust in my eyes.
In his book "To know as we are known : a spirituality of education"Parker Palmer talks about truth which comes from relationships and a deeper knowing that we can attain when we really enter into an understanding with a subject. This deep relationship leads to "troth" between the two subjects, which is a covenant that binds the two together. This relationship is possible because God knows us first.
When pastors enter a relationship with members of their congregation there should be intent to build those relationships to the point of gaining this kind of troth. Part of this relationship should include an honesty and openness on both sides which I think should mean we don't have to Google in order to know. Dr. Warraich is saying the same thing about the doctor patient relationship, I think. Doctors should be speaking with their patients and asking the right kinds of questions and patients should be answering truthfully and not holding anything back. This is the only way that trust can be gained between both parties and truth can be learned which leads to troth.