Monday, July 21, 2008

Entering Ministry

Pastors sometime make it hard to understand why anyone would want to enter ministry. For instance, there's the habitual b...complaining that many of my colleagues engage in (and even I do from time to time). Which, let's be honest, is not surprising--there's many frustrating, even maddening things about church people. I understand God in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New much better now that I'm a pastor myself, what with all the frustrations and dealing with complaining and people missing the point and all.

But the real joy of pastoral work is something that pastors ought to know about and communicate better. And resources designed, written, produced for people thinking about the possibility of going into ministry ought to bear that in mind. United Methodism's The Christian As Minister is a great example of the way in which we suck all the life, joy, grace, and gratitude right out of the pastoral vocation in exchange for limp descriptions of different career paths and the next steps in a highly bureaucratized discernment process.

So let's do something different. There are a lot of great writers who describe the glorious calling to be a pastor. What's your favorite passage or paragraph on the pastoral vocation? What is it like to be a priest, a prophet, a preacher, a pastor, a parson? Who excites your imagination, fires your passion, immerses your intellect in God's incredible calling? Email me, or post a comment here on the blog.

Here's mine--the one I can't stop thinking about. Something to chew on while you're thinking what to post here or send me:

They will think of themselves as priests or pastors...because the word and sacrament in the community where they preside is God's "shepherding," which is not pushing the sheep around but giving away holiness.
Gordon Lathrop, Holy Things

No comments: