I’ve been thinking about my work lately…

…and Eugene Peterson is the best guide that I can think of. He has been helping pastors think theologically and prayerfully about their work, their vocations, for some time. This kind of reflection on the pastoral vocation cannot be overdone for those of us who are both called and paid to perform the work of ministry.

What Peterson does best is cut through the trappings of the professionalized ministry and get to the heart of the matter. Here is how he describes the work of the pastor in is book Under the Unpredictable Plant:

What pastors do, or are at least called to do, is really quite simple. We say the word God accurately, so that congregations of Christians can stay in touch with the basic realities of their existence, so they know what is going on. And we say the Name personally, alongside our parishioners in the actual circumstances of their lives, so they will recognize and respond to the God who is both on our side and at our side when it doesn’t seem like it and we don’t feel like it.

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2 comments

  1. 2reasons

    Peterson is right on, as usual. We really do need someone to “say the word ‘God’ accurately” for us, because everywhere we go people are trying to change our view of reality. How are we to make wise and enduring decisions in our workaday worlds if we base our thinking on misunderstandings, half-truths, and outright lies? We need someone to help us examine and question the assumptions that are coming at us from the universities, from the media, from our co-workers, from our neighbors. It’s not about passing some kind of theology test after we die. Good decisions build a good world: a peaceful, loving, and just world. Pastors can’t make the decisions for the rest of us, but they can help us to think rightly.

  2. paulhill

    You know, I think we are on the lookout for the dangerous, ant-Christian initiatives around us. Contemporary Christianity is good at this. However, I think the greater danger is the way we allow our image of God to be domesticated with our consent or without our knowledge.

    Always going back and remembering rightly is important.

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