Friday, October 9, 2009

The Distancing of Pastoral Care

So, sitting in my office this morning, I opened my e-mail. It was vastly fulled of junk mail advertising all sorts of books and programs that I could send to my members (or send my members to) - things answering all sorts of questions.

And I thought about it for a bit. What does this say about the expectations of pastoral care? Do people think that they can come and spend time with their pastor on issues that are near and dear to them, or do they think of him as too busy - maybe at best he can sling a book my way? Or even as Pastors - how quick can we be to substitute a book or pamphlet for direct conversation and care?

Is there a distancing going on as regards pastoral care? Are we looking for more and more things that we can just pass off on our members? Rather than teaching about pray via example and blunt teaching -- here's a prayer journal, go do it yourself. Rather than teaching about stewardship -- here, listen to this speaker. Instead of speaking the couple in pre-marriage like they are specific people -- here, let's listen to this tape.

It all seems dreadfully impersonal.

Of course, I hate using pre-written bible studies because I think they seem dreadfully impersonal. (Okay, this is a nice question here in this study, but what does it have to do with these people here -- I mean, yes, it can be hard balancing a family and career, but the youngest gal here is 73, why am I asking them this question?)

John says in his first Epistle that "Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is." There is that face to face aspect of the Christian relationship with God that we look forward towards. We who hold Christ's Office and act in His stead likewise ought remember that our actions should have some of that face to face character.


Which I write on a blog, to be read even by people who have never seen me face to face.

Wretch that I am, who will save me from not only this body, but this age and world, of death?

No comments: