"I thought I could train him as well as Yoda. I was wrong." - Obi Wan Kenobi.
what is the Pastor's temptation? No, it's not being deluded into
thinking that we are Jedi (although I did take to asking folks at the
Seminary when we would be getting our lightsabers whenever I saw someone
in a cassock - respectful as always) - it's a tendency to believe that
we could do a better job than ___________ whenever we hear about
something another Pastor does.
It doesn't matter whether we are
right or not - the simple fact that so often this is the idea we have is
what is disturbing and wrong. And partially this comes up because if
you are a theologian you are trained to do analysis - to observe and
pick apart people's actions on the basis of the Word of God. That's
what preaching direct Law is - according to the Word of God, this is
bad. Period. Or then there is even the giving of advice - putting the
Law into practice. You might want to consider doing _________. That
can be good and fine too. Hopefully, if you are a pastor you have given
good advice, and if you are of the laity you have received good advice
from your Pastor.
That is fine. . . the danger comes in when the
analysis is done and Ego kicks in. When instead of simply saying, "This
should not be done, rather one should do that" - we think, "We'll, I'd
never have done it that way. . . ." Even if the thought it completely
true. . . why should I be involved in an attempt to elevate myself over
Pastors need to learn humility, to break down their
ego, to not elevate themselves. That way, when they are bold, it is
bluntly clear and obvious that they aren't being bold because they are
offended, because they are arrogant, because they are "Lording it over
people" (which all too often is just an excuse given when a pastor says
that you are wrong - but if you show ego other times, it becomes more
believable) - rather, the boldness is when the Word of God is drawn into
I'm not adamant about Closed Communion because I'm a control freak. It's in God's Word.
I'm not adamant about the Liturgy because I am awesome. It's about the Word.
I'm not adamant on issues X because you've been rude to me in the past. It's about the Word.
will try to circumvent the Word we say. If we act with arrogance, they
will be able to slough off the Word. If we don't control everything,
when we step in and say, "No, this cannot be done that way, it must be
done this way instead" - the Word shines forth instead of us.
grant that I learn to be humble - to be silent where the Word is silent
and a clarion call where the Word is clear - to ignore those flippant
attacks on me and to be instead quick to defend my neighbor! Lord have