Monday, May 30, 2011

Counsel to the Pastors of America

Sterling State Park
I'm paraphrasing Eugene Peterson, from his The Pastor: A Memoir (K, 89%). Peterson says that, if he were asked to give a brief word of counsel to the pastors of America, this is what he would say.

Be an unbusy pastor. Be a patient pastor.

Have eyes to see and ear to hear what God is doing in peoples' lives.

Don't judge them in terms of what you think they should be doing. Instead, be a witness to what God is doing in their lives, not a schoolmistress handing out grades for how well they are doing something for God.

Be the one person in your community who is free to take men and women seriously just as they are, appreciating them just as they are, and giving them the dignity that derives from being the 'image of God,' a God-created being who has eternal worth without having to prove uselfulness or be good for anything.

Don't be so impatient with the mess that you are not around to see the miracle being formed.

Do not conceive of your life as a pastor so functionally that the mystery gets squeezed out of both you and your congregation.