Friday, April 20, 2012

The Minister’s Temptation to Fraud

I did not think that I would enjoy and benefit from this book as much as I have.  But, David Rohrer’s book The Sacred Wilderness of Pastoral Ministry is gritty, honest, and helpful.  Consider this selection:

It would not be overstating the matter to say that after a sermon I sometimes feel a bit like a fraud.  Feeling like I have been neither fully true to myself nor fully faithful to the gospel, I shake my head in confusion over the question, Why do I masochistically spend so much energy on the production of this weekly implement of torture?  In the face of this tension, the temptation is strong to put on the pastoral persona and hide.  If I feel like a fraud, why not just go with that and become one?  Put on the costume, play the role, entertain the troops, and dispense those weekly spiritual analgesics that serve only to dull people’s pain and encourage them to go back to sleep.  Go for the laugh or the tear, but carefully clothe it with an allusion to a biblical text, and people will feel the faintly numinous stirrings of something that approximates the presence of God.  Then in the wake of the delivery, listen for that off-screen voice that says, “That’s a wrap,” descend from the pulpit, call it a day and begin the work of learning the lines for next week’s show.  (Rohrer, 101-102)

Perhaps I am simply revealing the desperateness of my own heart but I can relate to what Rohrer is saying.  I think every minister—no matter their theological underpinnings—can be tempted to feel and act out in such a way. 

If you are a pastor or want to get inside the brain of a pastor (not sure why anyone would desire that), then I would suggest picking up a copy of The Sacred Wilderness of Pastoral Ministry.

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