(Marty Fleck is a self-help guru, the author of the international bestseller Where Can I Stow My Baggage? and the syndicated column "Baggage Handling." He is also the pseudonymous protagonist of Bill Scheft's new novel Everything Hurts. He has generously agreed to answer questions from readers of the Huffington Post.)
Dear Marty Fleck,
My former pastor has been accused of stealing $84,000 from our church for plastic surgery, Botox and prescription drugs. The other congregants think he should be punished to the full extent of the law. I believe, as a true Christian, he should be forgiven. Who's right?
Bo Gethsemane, Staten island
Dear "Bo Gethsemane,"
Oh, we're a "true Christian," are we? So, it's okay to lie about our identity all of a sudden? Did I miss that memo? Was it in Vatican II-a, or the New and Improved Testament? Hmm? Hmm, Bo Gethsemane? Or should I say Reverend William Blasingame? Or is it Blasphemgame?
So what if you embezzled funds earmarked for improving the church grounds? You are the church grounds, girl. And the church grounds needed work. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, ask for whom the chemical skin peels.
Seriously, I know things look tough. And I know they look tough. I saw a photo of you. Nice when they winch your eyelids around your ears. What did you tell the surgeon? "The sanctuary has a red carpet. Give me the Melissa Rivers?" One of the first spiritual tenets is attraction, not promotion. How is it attractive when you've been linked to more injections than Alex Rodriguez' cousin?
Hey, don't think me unpious. I'm all for bettering oneself. But it can go too far. I feel about Michael Jackson nose jobs the same way I feel about Godfather films. They should have stopped at two.
What are we talking about here? $84,000? Bernie Madoff copped that going through his dry cleaner's pockets. And a church scandal? Nice try. What about my pal Father Rawlings, who in 2002 took 15 children to a Mets game and came back with 23?
So, relax. Blink if you can. In the meantime, you might want to turn to the good book. And of course, I mean my international best seller Where Can I Stow My Baggage? I suggest Chapter 14: "Are My Bags Properly Tagged?"
You're clearly in the middle of an identity crisis and a crisis of faith. Say, you know what's good for that? A faith lift!