Since we are all talking about Ted Haggard [without cementing the accusations] and pastors with a little common sense are examining pot-holes and booby-traps in their own lives, I want to throw a little thought out into the blogosphere that might be of some help to traveling preachers, missionaries and executives. Not because i am perfect, but because i am aware of the constant struggle for purity and the increased pressure that travel adds to it. And I have been traveling for a few decades and have stayed at countless hotels so this thought has been brewing for a while.
Mark Driscoll's advice for traveling ministers is good and I recommend reading it - although his comment on wives letting themselves go is as Emerging Mosaic points out, a little UNTIMELY [dang Mark, couldn't you wait a week before bringing Mrs Haggard into the equation??] and his advise on ALWAYS traveling with a partner or child is helpful in an idealist world but not really practical for those without a hefty budget or those who are road warriors for the Kingdom. I travel a third of my time. I work in lots of countries and cities and if i had to bring someone with me on every trip, my kids would never get educated and i would have to ask my supporters for a much bigger travel allowance. MUCH bigger. And raising funds from churches and individuals for my own ministry at its current lowly level is tough enough.
And like Mark Driscoll, God has been gracious - neither myself nor my wife (who is traveling from Orgeon to Houston today) have ever slept with anyone else - ever. And you can just imagine the offers i get with my stunning good looks.
OK - point taken . . .
Most of the time I travel alone but i am careful where i stay. If i have a choice, I crash on a friends couch. In summer I bring my tent. I even crash on airport floors to save a few bucks and travel time. If i don't know anyone in a city, I usually stay at a youth hostel. Its really cheap and i stay in a room with 5 or more people. I have to sleep with my wallet and passport in my pocket or under my pillow but it keeps me away from hotels where i am all alone and where weird things happen.
Heres the deal. Hotels can be treacherous places for people of God to stay at because of the spiritual residue from weird and dark things that have happened in that room. OK - some of you will think me loony here. And some of you don't believe in demons. But let me play it out.
Hotels, like a particular house in New Orleans, have been the ruin of many a poor boy. Some hotels are famous for the part they had to play in the destruction of careers and downfall of movie stars. Fatty Arbuckle at St Francis Hotel, San Francsico (pictured above) comes to mind every time i walk by that hotel. And there are others.
Hotels are often places where anonymously weird, perverted, dangerous, evil things of a dark nature happen - all attracting the attention and the attachment of evil spirits. Permission is granted to those spirits in those places and I don't think that permission is withdrawn once the people are gone. That means if you end up in a hotel room where weird things have just happened, you really need to do some kung fu in that room and cleanse it out before you put your bags down and settle in for the night. Really. And someone close to you should know where you are. And, I argue, why do church ministers all have to stay in nice hotels anyway?
In the emerging church scene that i frequent, very few people have the bucks to stay in hotels so we couch-surf our way around the world and that not only helps deal with the hotel scandal thing, but it also opens up lots of space to be together in our own homes and learn to be the church together.
Anyway, thats my two cents.