Eugene Peterson says a pastor is, essentially, a spiritual director. A pastor is one who guides his flock into the life of God's kingdom.
A pastor is not essentially a CEO, religious shop-keeper, Bible expositor, apostolic entrepreneur, religious entertainer, or counselor. The duty of a pastor is not making sure everyone is staying happy.
Adjectives that would describe a pastor include: "unbusy," "subversive," and "apocalyptic." We don't see much of that in the ministry.
Pastors engage in subverting the corruptions and false worldviews of our decadent society, not co-opting them to lure people. Peterson has said:
“If you listen to a Solzhenitsyn or Bishop Tutu, or university students from Africa or South America, they don’t see a Christian land. They see something almost the reverse of a Christian land. … They see a lot of greed and arrogance. And they see a Christian community that has almost none of the virtues of the biblical Christian community, which have to do with a sacrificial life and conspicuous love. Rather, they see indulgence in feelings and emotions, and an avaricious quest for gratification.” (Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction, 10)
Ongoing spiritual formation into Christlikeness is almost nonexistent in the American church. (This is what George Barna discovered.) It's too much slow-cooking for most people. It requires mono-tasking, which most are neurally incapable of doing. (Sherry Turkle calls this "uni-tasking.") Hence, we have the staging of Christianity as some "event" rather than, as Peterson has called it, "a long obedience in the same direction."
Pastors - many in our flock are wandering in the deserts of our instant consumer society. They need a shepherd, a spiritual director.
That's you. Get Peterson's Contemplative Pastor and simmer in it.
This is "Caesar Flickerman" before the mindless, gratification-hungry people of Panem in "The Hunger Games."
Adam Barkman writes:
"Suzanne Collins packs the Hunger Games trilogy with allusions and images that call to mind the glory and gore of Rome. Characters with Latin names like Claudius, Caesar, Octavia, Romulus, Brutus, Aurelius, and Castor populate Panem, which is itself a reference to the expression panem et circenses, Latin for “bread and circuses,” the Roman formula for keeping the people docile and content." (In The Hunger Games and Philosophy: A Critique of Pure Treason, p. 265)
Why, when I saw this in the theater, did I think of the American Church?