Friday, June 18, 2004

how's this for a quote

Though it may not seem like it at face value, pastors are persecuted in North America, and I don't believe I am exaggerating when I say that it is far worse than in seemingly more hostile countries. Our culture doesn't lock us up; it simply and nicely castrates us, neuters us, and replaces our vital parts with a nice and smiling face. And then we are imprisoned in a mesh of "necessities" that keep us from being pastors.

This is from eugene peterson's (the Message Bible guy) book The Unnecessary Pastor.

i can testify to what he's saying. what he doesn't say that i would go ahead and add is that in a lot (most?) situations, the people doing the persecuting are the happy (?) smiling faces in the pews. i think by and large the general culture doesn't give much thought to pastors unless they run off with the church lock box (or secretary) or when they go goofy and start screaming from the steps of a courthouse in alabama. the church culture, however, has created a lovely little purpose-driven box for its leaders and woe be unto them if they try to step out of it (trust me on this one).
i have spent a lot of time thinking about what my role is as pastor of Jacob's Well and i'm still not sure i have it right. i do know that i am to be a part of the community, not hovering over it, and that i am also to take on a role of responsibility for the direction and growth of our community. but i'm not supposed to do it alone and i'm not supposed to be afraid of or intimidated by or pushed around by the people who make up my community. we are developing a mutual consent that i don't get a box - they don't give me one and i don't create my own. sometimes that provides frustration but most of the time it allows for a degree of fluidity for me and also makes it possible for others in the community to take on some of the roles of "pastor" as well. face it -- some people do things better than i do and they should be the ones doing them. could they "mess it up"? yep. is God big enough to sustain us messing some things up? boy i hope so.

anyway. i thought the quote was pretty much right on.


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