A lot of people have described Pastor Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel as a kind of religious rock star. Using charisma and personality, he built the Fort Lauderdale branch of Calvary into a megachurch, a sprawling regional and multimedia power that did a lot of good with its outreach programs.
But there's a big difference between rock stars and clergy. Nobody bats an eye when a rock star strays with a groupie.
Coy's abrupt resignation from the pulpit last week shocked and saddened a lot of his churchgoers. The church released a statement saying that Coy had "a moral failing in his life" that disqualified him from his leadership role.
WPLG Ch. 10 has reported that Coy "confessed to key leaders that he cheated on his wife."
But Coy himself hasn't spoken nor given an explanation.
That leaves things open to wild speculation and rumor-mongering. Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does social media in the Internet information overload age.
Coy's departure leaves me pondering a question: Does a religious leader who has built faith and trust and supposedly prides himself on an honest relationship with the Lord and his flock owe them more than just a cryptic, mysterious farewell?
I also have to say I'm more than a little baffled by the whole thing. I mean, if the cornerstone of Coy's brand of religion is that all humans sin and that God forgives, then why couldn't this particular transgression be forgiven in his workplace? If it involved infidelity, isn't that something mostly between he and his wife? What is it about this supposed sin that's so severe it disqualifies him from continuing in his job?
Especially considering Coy's own self-proclaimed sinful past, which included cocaine use and strippers when he worked in Las Vegas before his spiritual rebirth and church work.
Then again, what do I know? I'm just a secularist/agnostic who believes in the Golden Rule and is generally skeptical of organized religion.
I have a friend who recently left Calvary to return to the Catholic church, the religion of his youth. He said he was tired of Coy's raucous sermons, that he found more appeal in the subdued quiet rites of Mass. He said he was particularly inspired by Pope Francis, who seems to be hitting all the right notes with his humility, symbolic gestures and broader actions.
I wonder if it's a harbinger.