Friday, January 13, 2012


Who Does The "Granting"

DAvis Swanson wonders in pastoral authority is "earned, taken, or granted":
Pastor. In the eight years since this label first applied to me, it has been fascinating to notice who uses it and who doesn’t. The church that first entrusted the title to me was suburban, predominately white, and largely middle-aged. As a twenty-something associate pastor, I was mostly referred to by my first name. The lack of a title before my name suited me fine. At the time I was coming to grips with being a pastor and, frankly, the idea of regularly being identified as such by people ten to twenty years my senior was frightening.
I am a little dumbstruck. This guy is writing about how he feels personally about a title when he has stuck on one of the great questions that has divided the church since its inception.

Priest - Minister - Pastor - have we lost sight of the differences in these titles, where they arose from, why they are important, how they affect polity and spirituality? Are we now so self-centric that the meaning of the title matter less than how I feel about it?

Rarely have I encountered something that seemed to so well encapsulate where the church has gone wrong these days. Such a personal look at such an extraordinarily important question seems to defy the fact that God lies at the center of what we do, not us.

Academic rigor, if nothing else, forces objectivity upon us - at least it used to. How can we hope to rise above the self focus that is sin if we do not attempt such objectivity? How can the church change fro self-help dispensary to the House of God when even those that minister in God's name are mired in such navel gazing?

Am I wrong to despair?

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