Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Pastor

Finishing few of the school books, digests, articles in the past few weeks, there has been a book that I have been waiting patiently to read, not for school, not because of debates around it but simply to enjoy it, soak in the wisdom of a man that I really appreciate and think highly of, and a man that my co-pastor nudged me to read back in the day when I was a pastor. Today I began reading Eugene Peterson's memoir called The Pastor, it automatically struck a chord with me. After serving as a Youth Pastor for 7 years, I appreciate so much of Peterson' wisdom and insight of the journey that brings people to be a pastor, or maybe to acknowledge that they are a pastor. To have a voice in a community and to be trusted to have a voice.

Here are some quotes thus far that resonate with me:

“I had never planned to be a pastor, never was aware of any inclination to be a pastor. And then—at the time it seemed to arrive abruptly—there it was: Pastor. I was a pastor long before I knew I was a pastor; I just never had a name for it”

"[pastors assignment, job is] to pay more attention to what God does than what I do and then to guide others to this awareness.”

"I wonder if at the root of the defection is a cultural assumption that all leaders are people who “get things done,” and “make things happen.” That is certainly true of the primary leadership models that seep into our awareness from the culture–politicians, businessmen, advertisers, publicists, celebrities, and athletes. But while being a pastor certainly has some of these components, the pervasive element in our two-thousand-year pastoral tradition is not someone who “get things done” but rather the person placed in the community to pay attention and call attention to “what is going on right now” between men and women, with one another and with God–this kingdom of God that is primarily local, relentlessly personal, and prayerful “without ceasing.”

I love these thoughts... I will update more as I read, or feel like sharing.

Sunday, April 03, 2011


1 Corinthians 13 is one of the best-known passages in all of Paul - partly, I suspect, because many couples still choose to have it read in public at their wedding, though if they reflected on it line by line they might find it quite a daunting challenge:

Love is great-hearted; love is kind, knows no jealousy, makes no fuss, is not puffed up, has no shameless ways, doesn’t force its rightful claim; doesn’t rage, or bear a grudge, doesn’t cheer at others' harm, rejoices, rather, in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things; love hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails...

The love of which Paul speaks is clearly a virtue.

It is not a "rule" of the sort that is so out of fashion nowadays, imposed in an arbitrary fashion and to be obeyed out of a sense of duty. (We shall discuss the more serious question of proper rules and their relation to virtue later on.)

It is not a "principle", a generalised rule which a person either obeys or disobeys.

It is not a "prudential maxim based on calculated effects"; though it has to be said that if even a few more people lived in the way Paul describes, a lot more people would be a lot more happy.

Nor, especially, is it the result of people "doing what comes naturally". At every single point in Paul's catalogue of what love does, and what love doesn't do, we want to say, "Yes, I see what you mean. However, left to my own inclinations, I would be small-minded, unkind, jealous, fussy, puffed up, shameless, and so on. In particular, left to myself, there are some things I wouldn't bear, many things I wouldn't believe, several things I wouldn't be able to hope for, and a whole multitude that I wouldn't endure. Left to myself, doing what comes naturally, I would fail." But the point of love is that it doesn't [fail].

That is why love is a virtue. It is a language to be learned, a musical instrument to be practiced, a mountain to be climbed via some steep and tricky cliff paths but with the most amazing view from the top. It is one of the things that will last; one of the traits of character which provides a genuine anticipation of that complete humanness we are promised at the end. And it is one of the things, therefore, which can be anticipated in the present on the basis of the future goal, the telos, which is already given in Jesus Christ. It is part of the future which can be drawn down into the present. - N.T. Wright After You Believe