Ok, dear readers. I get the message.
Service Interrupted: A Political Memoir, Volume Two
Prologue: Some Notable Personalities
Ministers are as often misunderstood as castigated. Some understand the minister as soft-hearted, others as soft-headed. In the same way politicans are alternately worshipped and cast aside a minister of a local parish can be simultaneously praised and attacked. He or she lives in the public arena, without authority to command but with responsibility to lead. He or she must provide for the common weal without the ability to tax funds. He or she is an object of deep devotion subject to extreme ridicule.
His or hers is an impossible situation made more difficult by the sudden shift in worship roles and styles. Youth will be served, it is said, and in our culture, youth will be worshipped, until it founders badly and requires experience to serve as souter. Just as often, when experience is finally summoned, the die is thoroughly cast. Two groups will perish, divided, rather than one group flourish, representative of all.
One day, when days are no more, all generations will have to account to the Savior for why we could not attend worship together. The decline and fall of the ancient Evangelical Empire may come from that which dooms most mighty powers; the death of great leaders, the dearth of new leadership.
God is a people-calling God. God will have a people.
The groups that have represented God do not have to be in the forefront for God to have a people. They may not be reconstituted. Their wisdom (and wisdom they have) ought not to have to be reinvented. The difference of styles from generation to generation is gustatory. The unwillingness to extend grace from age to age is grievous.
The minister today watches the tabernacles grow musty, the great halls grow dusty. He or she appeals to a niche in the nave or a mass in the arena with fear and trembling. Is he too wide and not nearly so deep? Is she too demanding of doctrinal authority? Where do love and mercy meet?
If I had it all to do over, I would like for someone to tell me, “Even in a congregational system, young fellow, attach yourself to one from whom you might draw, and see him (or her) as as accessible for sponsorship as he is for a mentor.”
Today, I do not know who might mentor, or sponsor, this coming folk. Clearly, what is will not much longer be, but what will take its place? In this brief memoir, second volume, I will try to draw from history (mine and others) some of the voices that might counsel wisely, if there were ears to hear.