Pastor(s) Again: Blessing the Unblessable

   To live your life in the public eye is hard enough. To live your life in the public eye burdened down with responsibility and totally bereft of power, so that you have all of the onus and none of the aegis, is frequently unbearable.

   Consider the local pastor. He must be kind and good. He is required to be good, in fact, for those who have no intention to practice goodness of their own. He must lead by example, though frequently it is an example imposed on him by the felt needs (hence the frailties) of others. He must do this while offering dynamic leadership, which is usually not much more than pandering to local prejudices he may not share.

   Perhaps the most difficult of her assignments, this local pastor, comes when she must find someway to apply practical intelligence to a manifestly impractical situation. A mentally unstable person, say, young or old, may rise to present conflict of an unblessable nature. No one can solve the presented dilemma with rationality or salve the expressed need of the dear buffoon but his constant poisoning of the environment is equipoise to coherent forward movement by the body as a whole. He is the ballast that must be blown if the ship is to rise to the surface.

   Sadly, no one will take the steps necessary to pull this thorn from the lion's paw. Serious persons listen for a time and then depart for some other house of worship where numerical growth makes the social contacts better and the mental instability of one or two persons impacts the congregation less. The rich get richer and the poor congregation goes on down to death.

   For the congregation to thrive and the pastor to survive the leadership of the congregation must find ways to identify the routinely unstable and isolate their frequent tantrums. These few are not hard to see: find the fellow who instantly gravitates to anyone who has the slightest complaint, the smiling fellow who gets a new best friend whenever there is a disturbance in the body, most particularly when he has no prior contact with the newly non-complaisant. Look for the irrational stance, the intractable spirit, the organizing evil and there mark your church killer.

   Placation is impossible for any appeasement is weakness, postponing, but not canceling the next outburst. Majestic sweetness may indeed be enthroned but insidious evil, arms crossed and eyes slightly ducked behind bushy brows to avoid a straight-forward gaze, slithers through the pews, there to demand blessing for the morally repugnant act.

   Pray, oh, pastor, you do find yourself in that place where the good are not strong and the strong are not good.


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