Would House be a good pastor?

OK, this is an unfair juxtaposition but while I have your attention let me say one thing: future pastors, while you are training, as much as you may think taking more homiletics classes will benefit you and your parishioners, if possible, opt to take more courses on ethics.

Yesterday, Dr. Jerome Wernow, a local bioethicist, guest lectured in the philosophy class where I am a student. It was like participating in a real life version of Season one, Episode #121 “Three Stories” from the TV show House, M.D. on Fox. Wernow mixed real stories and scenarios with philosophical dialogue and pastoral sensitivity. As I sat there I thought to myself that if I ever find myself pastoring (something I pray to avoid) it would be classes like this that I would be grateful to have taken, not most of the classes that are shiny and interesting to modern seminarians.

I have heard a few good sermons in my life. I can probably count on one hand all the sermons that I have remembered over the years. But I can remember dozens of occasions when pastors intervened in situations in my life where they either did serious damage or brought life and healing. Often pastors think their sermons matter more than they do. Let me tell you as a pew-sitter each weekend I usually forget what you said by Wednesday, but I will remember for a long time how you handled fragile situations.

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