“Pastors are abandoning their posts, left and right, and at an alarming rate. They are not leaving their churches and getting other jobs. Congregations still pay their salaries. Their names still appear on the church stationary and they continue to appear in pulpits on Sundays. But they are abandoning their posts, their calling. They have gone whoring after other Gods. What they do with their time under the guise of pastoral ministry hasn’t the remotest connection with what the church’s pastors have done for most of twenty centuries.” (Eugene Peterson, Working the Angles, 1987, p.1)
As a pastor it is very easy to become obsessed with ideas, programs, and vision which seeks answers to how the church might, as Peterson laments, “keep customers happy, how to lure them away from the competitors down the street, how to package the goods so the customers will lay out more money” (1987, p.2). A culture of consumer driven, success orientated religion is very appealing for any minister, especially myself! All pastors want a successful church that they can point to and say, “Look what I have built”. However, argues Peterson, “The Pastor’s responsibility is to keep the community attentive to God. It is this responsibility that is being abandoned in spades”.
Why do we as pastors so rarely ask: What does ministry look like in the light of Jesus Christ risen and ascended and empowered by the Holy Spirit? Are we pastors being faithful to the holiness of the vocation into which we are ordained? Why? Because it is easier to fashion a god of our own than worship the one we have. It is easier to ask God to move aside so we can get on with gospel work in his name than live with mystery. It is easier to keep the customers happy than remain faithful in the mundane. At the end of the day I guess it is easier to whore after other gods than remain faithful to the one who loves us!
Just my 2 cents.
Great thoughts Mark.
Mark’s favorite Eugene Peterson quote… lol!
Have i mentioned this quote before?
I’ve mentioned it on this blog: https://nearemmaus.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/reclaim-the-pastorate-strong-word-of-rebuke-from-eugene-h-peterson-and-timothy-g-gombis/
But it doesn’t appear you have though I thought you did.
Well on your old blog, now the parson’ patch.
I think you may have used it also on the blog before going ore to wordpress too. I just see to remember you using the quote a few times.
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