Why Pastors are Less Than Human

[RANT MODE: ON]

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I am increasingly amazed at how pastors are depicted or considered less than human. It seems to me like every week I hear of some story about how pastors don’t have this problem or that problem because they have such a better understanding of the Gospel.

I’m sorry. I don’t buy it. If that offends your piety, too bad. IF you think that is a sign of weak faith, I’ll leave that judgment to Christ and not to you. The fact is that pastors get tired, stressed, burned out, depressed, and everything else that flows from nearly every other vocation. It is a part of our fallenness as human beings. We are not robots. I don’t have some secret gnosis or special insight into the Gospel that insulates me from the world. Far from me. In many respects as a pastor, I believe we are more susceptible to the trials and problems of the world. There is an expectation that everyone gets tired, stressed, burned out, bored, or whatever with work. We all go through it from time to time. But not pastors. Pastors don’t go through these things, because they have Jesus (and the rest of the baptized don’t?).

Fortunately, Christ uses our weakness even more than he uses our strengths. I can get tired, stressed, depressed. It’s okay. Christ is with me, forgives me, and draws me into himself.

[RANT MODE: OFF]

-DMR

10 thoughts on “Why Pastors are Less Than Human”

  1. I loved the Rant: ON and Rant: OFF – what a hoot! It reminded me of the Karate Kid mantra – such a fun laugh! 🙂

    May a layman have a turn?

    1.) I noticed the link was to someone who earns his living as an arborist and also works as a pastor. That means he must have regular time away with nature and freedom from the full-time demands of pastoring? Perhaps reduced people stress + exercise and nature endorphins = the magic answer to becoming PePe the Super Pastor?

    2.) I noticed the Ann Landers comment on Logomaniac’s blog. Eeeew.

    3.) The Ann Landers comment made me think of a long-time friend who became a Joel Osteen fan last year. Osteen TV is now her church and she sends her tithe to him. Her positivism has now become a full time job and she cannot allow anything that hints of negative talk in her life. Anything negative is sharply rebuked and she sounds like Ann Landers (see #2). Funny thing though, she wants compassion instead of a rebuke when she suffers from a case of being a human creature in need. Go figure.

    4.) We seem to live in a bass-ackwards world. Truly, Christians seem to shoot their wounded and bury them alive. Sometimes, I wonder if Christians think the commands are to rebuke the shepherd/sheep and be compassionate & tolerant towards the wolves?

    5.) Is someone publishing a Thomas Jefferson bible with selective chunks cut out of it? The ones that relate to learning to make sure your doctrine is thickly wrapped in compassion for the weary, the afflicted, and the discouraged? The commands to be patient, long-suffering, and bearing of one another’s burdens?

    6.) Lastly, sometimes these critics of the blue note in life (who seem to have a theology of glory sans any suffering theology of the cross) make me wonder:

    a.) If these blessed people have seriously suffered yet (keyword = yet)
    b.) If Osteenism is an American epidemic
    c.) If they’ve ever worked in the social service industry full-time and seen the seamy side
    d.) If they have a short memory (kind of like forgetting childbirth)
    e.) If they’ve ever had bosses or clients who demand/expect the impossible 24/7
    f.) If they forgot to get in line when empathy was handed out
    g.) If _____ (fill in the blank)

    I shouldn’t be so hard on these dear people who still think it’s possible to be super humans 100% of the time. Their answer is so facile… just have enough faith, know how to apply the perfect doctrine, and do X, Y, & Z. Amazing isn’t it?

    Que Sera. I have my own dog days and swine moments! If only we could all be perfect and always remember the golden rule. Sometimes, we forget how far kindness, compassion, understanding, and well chosen words go towards bringing comfort and strength among the brethren.

    Fini 🙂

  2. I loved the Rant: ON and Rant: OFF – what a hoot! It reminded me of the Karate Kid mantra – such a fun laugh! 🙂

    May a layman have a turn?

    1.) I noticed the link was to someone who earns his living as an arborist and also works as a pastor. That means he must have regular time away with nature and freedom from the full-time demands of pastoring? Perhaps reduced people stress + exercise and nature endorphins = the magic answer to becoming PePe the Super Pastor?

    2.) I noticed the Ann Landers comment on Logomaniac’s blog. Eeeew.

    3.) The Ann Landers comment made me think of a long-time friend who became a Joel Osteen fan last year. Osteen TV is now her church and she sends her tithe to him. Her positivism has now become a full time job and she cannot allow anything that hints of negative talk in her life. Anything negative is sharply rebuked and she sounds like Ann Landers (see #2). Funny thing though, she wants compassion instead of a rebuke when she suffers from a case of being a human creature in need. Go figure.

    4.) We seem to live in a bass-ackwards world. Truly, Christians seem to shoot their wounded and bury them alive. Sometimes, I wonder if Christians think the commands are to rebuke the shepherd/sheep and be compassionate & tolerant towards the wolves?

    5.) Is someone publishing a Thomas Jefferson bible with selective chunks cut out of it? The ones that relate to learning to make sure your doctrine is thickly wrapped in compassion for the weary, the afflicted, and the discouraged? The commands to be patient, long-suffering, and bearing of one another’s burdens?

    6.) Lastly, sometimes these critics of the blue note in life (who seem to have a theology of glory sans any suffering theology of the cross) make me wonder:

    a.) If these blessed people have seriously suffered yet (keyword = yet)
    b.) If Osteenism is an American epidemic
    c.) If they’ve ever worked in the social service industry full-time and seen the seamy side
    d.) If they have a short memory (kind of like forgetting childbirth)
    e.) If they’ve ever had bosses or clients who demand/expect the impossible 24/7
    f.) If they forgot to get in line when empathy was handed out
    g.) If _____ (fill in the blank)

    I shouldn’t be so hard on these dear people who still think it’s possible to be super humans 100% of the time. Their answer is so facile… just have enough faith, know how to apply the perfect doctrine, and do X, Y, & Z. Amazing isn’t it?

    Que Sera. I have my own dog days and swine moments! If only we could all be perfect and always remember the golden rule. Sometimes, we forget how far kindness, compassion, understanding, and well chosen words go towards bringing comfort and strength among the brethren.

    Fini 🙂

  3. “In many respects as a pastor, I believe we are more susceptible to the trials and problems of the world.”
    I would add….
    Anyone who thinks that Satan doesn’t step it up when he deals with a Pastor who preaches the Word and administers the Sacraments, giving aid and comfort to his enemies, snatching them from his hand at Baptism, is just foolilng themselves. Satan takes me down, he scores one. Satan takes a Pastor down, that’s a strategic victory.

  4. “In many respects as a pastor, I believe we are more susceptible to the trials and problems of the world.”
    I would add….
    Anyone who thinks that Satan doesn’t step it up when he deals with a Pastor who preaches the Word and administers the Sacraments, giving aid and comfort to his enemies, snatching them from his hand at Baptism, is just foolilng themselves. Satan takes me down, he scores one. Satan takes a Pastor down, that’s a strategic victory.

  5. I remember years ago a parishioner who could not understand how it was that someone was making obscene phone calls to the parsonage. It is not like our phone numbers , our homes, our families, even our very lives, glow in the dark. If there is any glow coming from them it is often from the laser scope getting us sighted in the cross hairs.

  6. I remember years ago a parishioner who could not understand how it was that someone was making obscene phone calls to the parsonage. It is not like our phone numbers , our homes, our families, even our very lives, glow in the dark. If there is any glow coming from them it is often from the laser scope getting us sighted in the cross hairs.

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