It is a delight to be the spouse of a hard working, joy-filled, dedicated man.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Being a Shepherd

Since there is no such thing in scripture as pastor with a big P like, "oh, isn't Pastor Jim the greatest teacher," yet, I know some really nice folks out there that are convinced that God has called them, or someone they know and trust, to be a Pastor, not just called to exercise the gift it takes to pastor brethren not unlike exercising the gift of prophesy in the Body, but supposedly calling them to a position that was done away with and use to be called Priest in OT times (that would be Old Testament times for you, Kind Late Night Listener), is it then something like God not wanting Israel to have a king but they, the Israelites begged and begged and whined and cried and so he relented and then "called" some to be king?

Betcha had a hard time following that sentence didn't you, Gentle Interpreter and Long Sentence Reader?

Look here's the deal, I'm not a scholar much less a Bible scholar and on top of that I am just a chick, female, woman, weaker vessel, so I could really be all wet here, however, when pastor is mentioned in the Bible it is definitely, (yes, in my understanding) not talking about a position of hierarchical authority as much as it is talking about a gift to love people, not unlike the gift of faith or the gift of prophesy, a gift to be exercised daily in amongst the portion of the Body that God places you in.

Com'on unless your super new at this or have been asleep during the "What is Your Holy Spirit Gifting?" sermon series, subtitled, "Do your aspirations match up with our needs and where can we abuse you at?", you know that pastor means shepherd. Oddly enough, sheep keeping is something this family knows a little sumpin' about.

And mostly all I really have to say about that is this: If the sheep herds of this world were shepherded in the same manner as pastors with a big P shepherd their flocks, there would be a lot of rotting wool and flesh in the world, the world's woolen mills would shut down, knitting needles would come to a permanent rest and there would be no lamb for the Costco ladies to hand out as samples, the mint jelly industry would collapse.

Oh com'on really, think about it. Do you run around your mega church or your wanna-be-mega church or your sour-grapes-we-like-being-small church and say, "Good morning Prophet Fred." "How nice to see you Evangelist Carl, how are the kids?" "Oh Apostle Rick, I've been meaning to tell you all about..."

Com'on, you so do not! If you greet anybody on Sunday morning with a title other than old Mrs. Migillicuddy, it is simply, "Hey Brother so and so." And trust me Brother is about as titled a position as Mr. and Mrs. anymore, 'cause I'm betting you call fellas "brother" that you can't be too sure really are!

Pastor is mentioned once (and with a little p no less), no body in the Tales of the New Testament calls anybody Pastor. The line from scripture does not read, "they met together daily and once a week with Pastor but the elders and those important congregants with marriage issues met with him twice a week."

I love how much weight the Church puts on stuff that is mentioned once, like the commonly used out for divorce, and then runs with it in a direction that would appear to be, quite frankly, opposite to the myriads of other bits of information we are privy to.

So, still squirmin' and wantin' to call shinola on me aren't you? Fine, how is it that you Pastor-followers can extrapolate from: "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ," (Ephesians 4:11-12) that the first and in the sentence indicates that certain fellas have both these gifts and those with this particular gifting are the only guys permanently mentioned on the reader board, sit in the big office, have the secretary, do eighty to a hundred percent of the talking, perform weddings and other ceremonies, get paid, get lackeys that follow them around, fetch their coffee, shine their shoes, steam their suits, answer their phones...

But yet you cannot even think to extrapolate from Matthew 23:8-10, "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ" that maybe, just maybe it ain't a good thing to hang on people, ordinary men subject to the strangle hold of pride, the title Pastor. Heck, Jesus didn't mention Pastor, just Rabbi, Teacher and Father. Pastor is way different.

Trust me from this girl growing up in that tradition that some, well lots really, like to discount as actually Christian because their fellas are addressed as "Father so and so", the practice of drooling on the guy with the title Pastor... yeah it ain't a whole lot different, trust me.

You might have your Bibles open during his sermons, that come straight from your denomination's Vatican, but you are just reading it the way you are told to, to uphold the human philosophy of life he is espousing. Read it for yourself. Think for yourself. Listen to the Holy Spirit yourself. Come at it without preconceived notions about Church and God and sin. Read it again. Then come together with others as on an equal footing, no one person more important in God's eyes than another, and discuss it, let it grow you, listen to what the words say to make you holy because your Father in heaven is Holy.

No really, like Luther told you you could, he risked his life to pound out those 95 Thesis and slap 'em up on the door, try a few out.


Ralph said...

Let me be the first to say Amen. I don't know why but I really enjoyed this post. Well said.

Mrs. Mike said...

Eh Hem. May I have your attention please!

Look out 'cause Lannie has just removed the shackles!