Monday, January 23, 2012

Another Analogy

Imagine you were passionately in love with someone - that you wanted this person to be a part of your life forever and ever. And so... you never talk to them, but rather wish fervently that one of your friends would go and tell them how important they are.


How would that work?

One of the things that is somewhat unhealthy in our congregations is the idea that the Pastor (and maybe the elders) are the designated "visit people people" - that if someone is upset, absent, sick, whatever -- it's the pastor's job (and maybe the elders) to go visit them and... well... fix things.

Now, this isn't to say that as a Pastor I do have a duty to visit folks. Some visits I do with joy... some... well, going to a person's house uninvited still terrifies me. But here is the thing - if *I* visit, I am giving direct, spiritual care. I am preaching Law or Gospel. I am giving counsel or advice or admonition.

A pastor, an elder making a visit doesn't let the a person know that they are "loved". It doesn't.


Does a visit from the principal or teacher let a student know that her classmates love her?

Does an appointment with the doctor let a person know that his family loves him?

This boils down to position. The folks of my Church don't know me as "Eric Brown" - they know me as Pastor Brown. That's not a bad thing -- people need a pastor. But I'm never going to be just someone who cares for them... even if I do, there's that "it's his job" tinge that creeps in the back of peoples' minds.

You cannot tell other people (in normal circumstances) that you love them and miss them via proxy. It just doesn't work well, it doesn't seem real.

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