Pastor(s): Cri de Coeur

   Quickly, let me answer a couple of questions.

   If the rules have changed, why do we not anticipate the next set of rules and move on with it? Genius is ability to see up around the next bend without ever leaving the road.  Few actually have this genius, fewer still possess the courage to use it.

   I do know we (the Church) have a responsibility to minister with each age group. Churches that make things work will be multi-generational, multi-ethnic and, in all probability, concerned to do missions, theological education and pastoral care under the aegis of the local church rather than cede resources (and so authority) to a central body. The Traditionalists believe in a Headquarters because they came through the military structure. Moderns believe in the Corporate office because they came up through a business controls system. Millenials, who will one day soon have to carry the load, believe in Starbucks and wireless. 

   Do not ridicule Starbucks or wireless. I would be sitting in a Starbucks right now if the nearest one were not 55 miles from me. My new definition of "roughing it:"  living more than six blocks away from a  barista. I am writing this blog on a Dell Inspiron 700m in which I personally seated the wireless card.

   Dell has always taken care of me and I can navigate PC software. You Apple guys with the secret handshake are a cult. 

   If you did not understand anything I just wrote, you are truly part of the real Left Behind generation. You did not sin, you just did not accelerate and the world sped by you. 

   In the next generation of churches, the central authority will continue its slide. We simply cannot afford them any longer and the millenials, who will have to get by on less, anyway, will not sacrifice for the nameless/faceless central powers.

   We simply cannot afford them any longer (I already said that, but now I will explain the statement.).

   The cost of central authorities is not just financial. It is mostly intellectual and, so, finally, spiritual. Let me explain, by using the example of the Southern Baptist Convention and the BGCT.

   There are geniuses in the SBC. There are absolute geniuses in the BGCT. Randel Everett may be one of them. No matter. The call of a genius to other entities is useless if immoral, equally useless if amoral. The good thinker, or the thinker who is just good, will find he/she cannot forever afford the moral energy required to have a spot where he/she simply cannot fit.

   This is the great cost of the central, governing body. Financial scandal is bad enough but you can always fire, arrest, retire or, as in the BGCT, promote, the cads and knaves. The loss of intellectual capital isthe greater loss. Geniuses are isolated, while mediocrities and outright thieves are lionized.

   Understand, no one can keep genius from being genius. One can only penalize the genius in order to exalt the orthodox.

    The genius must make his/her own way through life without support from the institutionalized central authority unless he/she is in ideological harness, fastened to the slow moving mule next to him/her, moving at a speed he/she cannot tolerate happily while heading in a direction he/she knows to be set but simplistic.

   A pastor has it worse. He/she must harness himself/herself to the three generational metaphors previously mentioned in the space. He/she must match his gait to the speed of his tandem mates, drag the wagon and hold the road. All of this, while someone on the wagon hits him with a whip and throws rocks at him.

   Naturally, the genius finds something else to do.

   So, what is a nice pastor to do?

  

  • Take a deep breath. In fact, take six deep breaths in the next minute. I am told we ought to breathe six times each minute, if we fill our lungs to capacity and so give our body what it needs. Practice your breathing. You will feel better and think more straightly.
  • Answer this question, Pastor. Why do you do this? Don't answer yet. Get yourself a journal and a nice, heavy pen. Now, sit down with that journal and answer the question, "Why do you do this?" Be brutally honest with yourself. Write at length. Take up the same task tomorrow.
  • Learn to answer this question: "How do you know?" Fill up a few pages of your journal with the answer to how you learn (you personally), how you remember (you personally) and how you know (you personally). I am a tactile learner; books. I remember what grabs me and don't worry much about what I miss. I know by questioning everything and dismissing, outright, the party line; so I am more an intuitive than an empiricist; Heraclitus over Hume. 
  • Go take a hike. That is, a walk. If you don't come back to the same spot, well,  bully for you. You can get smarter, wiser and better. The only thing you really can't get is younger.
  • Tomorrow, if we have time, we will talk about what to do with your experience, since it is killing you. Until then, get outside. It is a nice day and you really need the Vitamin D.

  

4 thoughts on “Pastor(s): Cri de Coeur”

  1. Dear Austin,
    A little fish came up to another little fish. “Where is the ocean?” the one asked. “It is all around us,” the other said. “You mean this wet stuff?” replied the one, “No way”. He then swam away to try and find the ocean.

  2. Rick,
    Just read your post. (Please accept this in the good natured spirit in which it is intended.) I actually find your comments about Dell users and Apple guys very descriptive of what is happening in the Church. Dell PC traditionalists like what they have come to know and love. It is familiar and comfortable. It HAS served them well. (But that is also the problem.) It gets the job done, thus they really see no need to radically change…just do a few upgrades, add a few new programs, expand the memory and perhaps even be so radical as to get a flat screen monitor and wireless card. Enhance what is already there, but at its essence, remember that it is still the old reliable Dell that has served multitudes so well for years. Then a new manager is hired for the Dell Factory and has the temerity to announce that it is time to reach out to the “Apple Guys.” But if you are a Dell Traditionalist and are resisting the “Apple Guy” millenialists you might just resort to a little name calling to put them in their place. How dare they think that they have discovered a better way! Acknowledge that the “Apple Guys” might really have something to say that a Dell traditionalist might need to hear…Listen to this fringe element? NEVER! The Dell traditionalist digs in and groans, “Just who do they think they are? Dell does it best. Look at our numbers. So what if our market share is slipping. Show some respect. You “Apple Guys” with your iPhones and iPods think you know better? Just because you “Apple Guys” are so enthusiastic about your product does not make you right. However, we want you “Apple Guys” to join us. You can use an Apple in the privacy of your own home, but when you join us, come prepared to speak Dell. To which the “Apple Guys” reply, “Whatever, man! And by the way, we are not “Apple Guys,” we are Mac Users, but then if you really wanted to reach us you would know that.”
    Rick, you work in a Dell factory. But it appears that your Mac heart is showing.

  3. David,
    You will have to forgive me as I was playing the part of the ‘little fish’ only because the real ones were not brave enough to ask the question themselves.
    I know my ocean pretty well. Despite my age I have lived more and seen more than most people ever do. I have been in ‘foreign waters’ before, and frankly feel more comfortable there- the light is easier to find in those waters. In the ocean I find myself at the moment I see a lot of light but it’s been tainted by so many different ‘fish’, it’s hard to tell which one was the original.

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