Monday, June 14, 2010
Niether Fish Nor Fowl
Frankly I have run into too many ordained clergy who think: 1) it is their job to do most all the ministry (though they complain bitterly they are over-taxed and under-appreciated); and 2) instead of "equipping the saints for ministry" they have in fact disabled, discontinued, even destroyed the ministry of those who are not, like them, ordained clergy. What is all too often put in the place of every member a minister is the pastor-American idol syndrome, the pastor super-star model, which feeds on America's love of the cult of personality. ...It's not always about ordained clergy anymore, it may just be about paid staff, but the idea is the same.
Before I get too deep into this - there is a chicken-and-egg thing going on here. Often the "laity" does not step up to the plate which generates a frustration and a panic in the clergy that results in this sort of stuff, but I think it all relates to the same problem.
We focus on running organizations when we should be focusing on ministering to people. The consumer age has reduced us, and we have willingly gone along, to cattle to be moved through some process. We are marked demographically, sorted accordingly and manipulated appropriately - very successfully for the companies and organizations involved. Any wonder the church has adopted the model? And that calls for pros.
But here's the thing - it is vaguely dehumanizing - perhaps not so vaguely. We are more than the sum total of our statistics. Isn't that what Christ affirmed when He fulfilled the Law?
I have little doubt that if we adopt the model Witherington discusses here church will be small and oh so chaotic. But I wonder if from the chaos there will not emerge a harmony of the Spirit?