It seems I was actually being ‘topical’ or ‘current’ with my latest posts on Breaking Pastors. By way of wrap up – not really a conclusion, there’s a whole lot more to say – I thought I would gather some links that have been posted in comments or sent to me on this one.
Now, here’s my guess. An article went out over the AP and that got picked up and mutated into all these articles. Or there’s something in the water.
As I posted a while ago, quite a few friends and pastors of some “fame” or “success” have been calling it quits or “time out!” this year. Some, like John Piper, could call it “time to retire” but most are years away from that age and stage. And we all know people who have been beat up by the system, both shepherds and the flocks. It would be oversimplifying to say that many were not called, it would be ignoring reality to say that all were called.
There’s an interesting point in the book of Acts where Paul stops. For about a year and a half all he does is make tents. In Acts it takes up the space between a couple paragraphs. He describes this period to the Corinthians – this year occurs in Corinth – as having come to them in weakness. None of us, even Scripture writing apostles, are immune from getting broken. In his case, a couple met him and ministered to him and with him in some way that’s never really explained – I think it doesn’t need to be. Two are better than one, someone once said, and three are even better.
A few leftover thoughts for another time on this topic:
1) Pastors get broken by the weight of the reputation that grows in the world about clergy types.
2) Pastors get broken by the “success” they see in others who they know are theologically and morally bankrupt.
3) Pastors get broken by the crushing expectations of a consumer driven culture.
4) Pastors get broken by the people who they’ve poured their lives out for and into who desert the fellowship. Believers who were once friends and who now won’t talk to them.
5) Pastors get broken by the cognitive dissonance of the things they believe to be true and the system they are a part of that demands they not preach, teach or act on those beliefs but rather, they tow the party line.
6) Pastors get broken by the unrealistic expectations they place on themselves and the comparisons they make between themselves and others.
7) Pastors get broken by all the normal things that break people in everyday life – marriage trouble, problems with their children, health (physical & mental) problems, financial difficulties, addictions, etc.
What we need is a new church culture. We need a church culture that encourages us to speak the truth in love and does not encourage or reward dysfunctional or hurtful behaviour. We need a culture where stoicism is not a virtue and silence (which implies approval) isn’t confused with peacemaking. We need a culture that does not elevate the pastor types and neither does it denigrate them. We need a culture where pastors who are breaking or are broken can share that with those closest to them, and those in their community of faith, without fear of reprisal.
In short, we need to start living like we all live in the Kingdom of God.
What brings healing to your broken places?
Go, thou, and do likewise.