Monday, March 23, 2009

Vocational holiness.

I am busy reading Eugene Peterson's "Under the unpredictable plant", and what a breath of fresh air!

Ministers struggle. We struggle with our congregations, with keeping our diaries in check, but most of all we struggle with a sense of wanting to be godlike. This is different from being righteous or striving to be a Christ-follower.

For some time now I have wondered about studying the psychological profiles of ministers, believing that there is a common need for power and affirmation among clergy. Peterson endorses this hypothesis with this book and affords ministers an opportunity to travel alongside Jonah, to connect with a divine sense of "Call" and identifying the places and temptations of attempting to replace God.

Here are two quotes that struck me deeply:

Why do pastors have such a difficult time being pastors? Because we are awash in idolatry. Where two or three are gathered together and the Name of God comes up, a committee is formed for making an idol. We want gods that are not gods so we can 'be as gods' - p.4

...pastors are provided a substantial constituency in which to act godlike. Unlike many other temptations that are associated with elements of morality and so have visible social and physical penalties, this temptation is almost purely spiritual and commonly receives social reinforcement. If we speak the word of God long enough and often enough, it doesn't take a great leap of imagination to take up the pose of the God who is speaking the word. If the pose is reinforced by the admiring credulity of the people around me, and benefits of power and adulation begin to accrue, I will most certainly continue to flee the presence of the Lord, for that is the one place where I am sure to be exposed as a pretender. - p.13


1 comment:

Thomas Scarborough said...

This is close to the heart of postgraduate studies in Christian leadership I am doing/concluding. It is essentially part and marcel of certain models of Christian leadership. I propose that it is a major cause of ministry dropout in the Global North. It is a false view of ministry.