27 June 2006

Christians?

I started to comment on Brother Maynard's blogpost pointing to Sally Morgenthaler's article in Leadership Journal. Both are very good. But I realized that my comment was a post of its own and I shouldn't be hogging the good Brother's space.

You'll need to read Sally Morgenthaler's article, or give it a good skim, before this makes sense. But I've been thinking about this whole idea of professional pastorate for some time now. I'm not sure that having professional pastors is necessarily wrong, but I am sure that how churches treat those pastors in some cases is. I am certain that for too long we have used a few key Scripture references to force pastors, and folks who are in paid ministry positions, and their families to live up to impossible levels of sin free behavior. (I also think we do this to Presidents and politicians, but that's another story.)

I have good friends for whom Sally's story would resonate. With a key difference being that their marriage has managed to stay whole. I have other friends who have left ministry positions simply because the pressure to perform outweighed their calling. We have, in many perverse manners, managed to take the simple heart of a shepherd and twist it, mangle it, stretch it, and turn it until the position is no longer recognizable. Those who are in ministry, more than any other, need friends in their local faith community with whom they can be vulnerable without fear of retribution. Without fear of losing face, or God, or love, or community. Without fear ... period. But we humans have removed that safety net from them.

What's that verse in John 15? We'll be known by our love? Or something like that.

6 Comments:

Blogger Mike Croghan said...

I haven't read Sally's article yet (I've printed it out to read when I'm not supposed to be working!) but I worry about this sort of issue all the time. God, I hope and pray that it doesn't have to be this way. (I know it doesn't from God's side, but humans - and our culture - are what we are.)

Thanks for the article pointer and reflections!

6/27/2006 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger revabi said...

I just read the article. Thanks for the link. I think a lot of Sally Morgenthaler's work, and now think even more of it, having read this article.

And welcome to Revgals. Look forward to reading more of your posting. Glad you decided to write it on your blog and not the good brother's blog.

6/27/2006 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger jledmiston said...

Welcome to revgals. You've inspired me.

6/28/2006 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

That was a most enlightening article. It helps my own personal healing process having been hurt by several pastors. Hurting people hurt people. It's too bad the system has been operating this way for so long. It takes good people and chews them up to the point that they are harmful to themselves and others. I agree with you, they need this safety net. They need grace, love, and permission to be real and vulnerable.

6/28/2006 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Purechristianithink said...

I especially appreciated the part of the article that talked about what most pastors are good at versus the kind of personality/skills necessary to lead a "succesful" church as our culture defines that. I see so many good pastors torn up by this dichotomy.

6/28/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Songbird said...

I'm not sure having friends in the local faith community is the answer, but having caring church members who support time spent in supportive supervision or collegial groups is. Having church members feel they need to be the direct care providers for the pastor leads to other kinds of troubles.

6/28/2006 03:07:00 PM  

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