I think that clergy are pretty much like folks in any other profession. Some are fabulous, amazing people. Some are folks just trying to get by. Some are delusional. Some are charlatans.
Probably the clergy attracts more of the folks at the extreme ends of the spectrum. I've known and worked with some amazing clergy. One former colleague left the clergy to work with torture survivors. After a decade or so, he went on to work with DNA evidence that exonerated incarcerated folks. He's a superhero in my book. Another friend is a minister who really just exudes that "inner peace" and "strength" stuff. When there were a few acts of violence against transgendered folks in my neighborhood, he was up front at the press conference, arm and arm with drag queens and prostitutes, professing that everyone needs to enjoy freedom and safety in our community. He lit my daughter's candle at a candlelight vigil against military action in Syria a while back. He oversees food drives for needy families, and hits me up periodically for fundraisers to get low income kids scholarships to a local preschool that my daughter attended. I admire and trust him.
Then sometimes I turn on Sunday morning preachers, while my daughter is still in bed. God's timer is ticking away, and He has promised to give a 10-fold return to anyone who pledges $100 or more within the next 15 minutes. My heart breaks for the folks who dig deep into their pockets to try and win god's grace at the hands of these charlatans.
Then there are the Jim Haggards of the world, who are wounded, damaged human beings. They lust for power, they lust for male escorts and cocaine, and the promise eternal hellfire to anyone who lusts for the diversions they regularly engage in. Until they are caught. Then, well, we know the routine. We are all sinners.
Joel Osteen? Handsome. Charismatic. He oozes joy and optimism. Sometimes I find myself actually liking the guy. Until I listen carefully. He worships a god who has hidden the opportunity for material wealth along the life-path of every human being. The faithful are successful on the Easter egg hunt for material wealth. And the impoverished? All they have to do is be just a little bit more faithful, and they will find their fortunes too. The underlying message, of course, is that they poor are only poor because of their lack of faith. So, in a way, it is just their own fault. Which really pisses me off. But I think he really believes what he preaches. I mean, it sure worked out for him. Why wouldn't it work for everybody else?