This whole thing about the clergies’ place in the world has really gotten to me. I think the whole thing about the separation of lay and clergy leaves something to be desired. And yet, I am not sure I want to totally do away with the separation.
Maybe part of the problem is that we just don’t seem to understand moderation. We assume that if a person makes one off color joke, then that person is a pervert or something. I don’t know.
Maybe I find the “trappings” of being a clergy confining. I find that people will talk to me about things in their lives and things in their faith that they would never think of talking to a priest about. I find it sad that they would not talk to their priest about it, but the truth is as it stands. I find that I seem to fill a void in peoples’ lives.
A few years back when I was between calls, I also had some temp jobs. I was amazed at the number of people who said, “I wish I had a pastor like you.” But I wondered, would they really want a pastor like me? I think they like the concept but I think that they would try to push me into the old box, make me into a “Holy Joe.” I think a pastor outside of the box is possibly too challenging to most people. It is nice to think that what Jesus asks of us is just too much for most of us and can only be done by a few “special” people.
I think we see this in the Roman Catholic view of Mary as “Ever Virgin.” She is special, that is why she could endure so much. We are lowly, we could never do that.
Somewhere I have a small clipping from a "underground" clergy journal that I used to receive many years ago.
The clipping said: "Not every church that wants a courageous pastor would put up with one."
I think it fits your comment about the people who wish they "had a pastor like you."
On the other hand there are many among us out there (of the clergy) who not only like the "status of separation" but who strive their entire lives to foster and encourage it.
it's tough being a pastor; at some level, people want a holy man, not a real man at all.
My old pastor once joked he could never say 'he's only human' as the congregation would immediately think A) he had committed adulerty and B) with whom and for how long."
Your commnets remind me of an episode from the old show Northern Exposure. The character Shelly (the sort of bimboish one) is going to have her baby baptized by an itinerant priest who has traveled to the town of Cicely for the event. The night before the baptism, she sees the priest playing poker with the town's menfolk, and fears that he isn't really priestly enough for the baptism. I loved the show, and this episode was a typically warm and gentle exloration of the issue you are discussing.
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