A Pastoral Primer: Opinion (Continued, see other posts by this title)

   What are you reading? If you read books (disregarding the works of Danielle Steele, End Time Prophecy or Robert Ludlum) you do not suit the general populace. Light fiction is not bad. I have read a library full of it in my lifetime (Definition: Library-Ancient word meaning collection of books kept in mass and organized by general subject. Thought to have disappeared in the late twentieth century). A book is not a book just because it contains 30,000 words on pages in a bound volume.

   So, thou art cursed, oh, pastor/preacher, if thou appearest with an actual bound volume of meaningful thought in thy hand. The fact you read books puts you outside the bounds of the common folk in our day,  the masses who do not read but are wired to, well, something. A generalist thou art in an age of specialization, wherein the logical conclusion of opinion about you is as certain as it is malformed. Some, seeing your general skills, will conclude you can do anything and so expect you to do it. Some, seeing your lack of specialization will decide you can do nothing and will expect you to disappear, or, at least, keep silent when the adults speak. You are superman and lesserman, all at once, but one thing is certain; you do not fit.

   What to do? Oh, so many things to say and so little attention span. Mine, not yours. I am Adult ADD, I think for sure and certain. 

   My wife is always asking me, "Why did you fold half the clothes and quit?"

   To which I reply, "I folded half the clothes? When did I do that?"

   After awhile she quits asking.

   You laughed and your system filled with that little chemical that makes you better able to pay attention. I can't remember what it is because I quit listening about that time in class.

   So much to say.

   Perhaps we can learn roles.

   For instance, you cannot be good for people. That is not your role. You can be good, you can be godly but you can neither be good nor godly in place of goodness and godliness for others. You cannot take their sin on you, transform it by your goodness, or forgive it by your godliness. In the first place, this prevents the individual/congregation from taking personal responsibility for their own spiritual need, which could make Judgement Day a very uncomfortable experience for them. Second, it is too much responsibility for you, preacher, and you have enough to do that you actually can do.

   Or, for instance (second for instance, stay with me here), you cannot play the truncated role people imagine for the preacher/pastor/leader/superman/lesserman. One fairly well thought of religious electronic commentator spent three days not long ago debating on whether or not a preacher should have a blog. He is the spiritual descendant of the fellow who wondered if a preacher should have a phone, the grandson of the fellow who wanted to know why a preacher needed a car, the latest in a line of persons who wanted to know why a preacher needed, in order: an education, a living, a house.

   One hard thing about the preacher/pastor as lesserman; everyone knows what you should do even if they do not know what you do.

   Or, for instance (that's right, third for instance, third role in conjecture) is the mystic role. I am a mystic Christian. Prayer and the spiritual disciplines matter to me. I fast but don't make a big deal about it. I give alms but do not let the left hand know about the right hand's activity (this is one place ADD helps) and so on and so on.

   If there is a part of our role as religious vocares, it is this; few get our mystical function.

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