Monday, September 17, 2007

Link Lank Lunk

Here's some prime linkage to get your week started off right.

Mark Lauterbach highlights the countercultural pastor's ethos of Eugene Peterson (more widely known as the dude who wrote The Message Bible). A great read. (I think many pastors would benefit greatly mainly from reading two guys: John Piper and Eugene Peterson. You may not agree with all threads of their theology, but these two pastors, more than most others, speak to pastoring with an experiential wisdom, a theological richness, and a radical call to self-sacrifice beyond nearly anybody else writing about ministry.) Here's an excerpt from Mark's post:
Peterson helped me navigate pastoral confusion and managerial pastoral models that are so present in our day. He is a counter cultural model in an age which reduces ministry to the pulpit or distorts it to church growth . . .

Peterson believes that pastoral work is modest work -- it is dealing with the details of life and the mess of sanctification in a local church. He cuts through the images of what he calls "air-brushed" congregations we meet in books about how someone built a great ministry! He calls it all nonsense. Churches are churches and there is grace at work and sin at work in them all. Pastors are called to embrace their church and not long for some idealized congregation nor are we to climb a career ladder.

He believes that the temptations as pastors are profound and we are not to negotiate those alone. The care of our souls is to be pursued with the help of others -- or we may become proud and angry with the slowness of our people to respond to us, or we may reduce ministry to the manageable categories of programs and plans.

He cuts through romanticism and sentimentality and wrong models again and again -- often with humor. What I come away with is that I take myself too seriously and am not so often aware of the profound workings of God the Spirit in grace and redemption in the people I serve.

Go read the whole thing.

This article is brand new and already making the blog rounds. It is also a must read.
Ed Stetzer's You Can't Love Jesus and Hate His Wife from Catalyst Monthly.

Last one's a doozy too:
Been There, Preached That by William Willimon (pdf doc)
(HT: Transforming Sermons -- sorry I forgot to credit you originally, Milton!)

Check out the blogroll too; lots of great bloggers writing great stuff.

Happy surfing!


Scott said...

Eugene Peterson's view on this topic, in my opinion, needs to be adopted by many pastors worldwide. There seems to be a huge emphasis on growing churches and becoming overly seeker friendly, that the churches lose sight of their primary mission. This is a great read, and thanks for putting it out there.

Jared said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jared said...

I agree, Scott. And there appears to be a mentality, and ten years ago I bought into it and propagated it, that "mature Christians" should not need the Church to feed them any longer. The insinuation is that Christians should get to a point where they self-feed.

I think there is a truth to that (in that, the Church does not exist to babysit the desires of consumer Christians, in which case these folks aren't really spiritually mature anyway, and in that mature Christians know how to study and pray and pursue growth personally), but I can't get beyond the fact that Jesus told Peter that if he loved him, he would feed the sheep.

I don't think the entirety of this feeding is about preaching and teaching, but I don't see Scripture teaching a need for the Church to mature Christians to a point of independence from Herself.

Scott said...

I couldn't agree with you more. One thing that I have noticed as I have visited churches all across this country, is that some pastors seem to fear that if they disciple too much, then some of their members might become more informed than they are. This attitude bothers me so much, and I hope whenever God sees fit to allow me to be a pastor, that I would embrace those who are more mature and learned than I am.

The one phrase that I despise more than anything, is to hear someone walking away from a church saying "they just didn't meet my needs, or I wasn't getting fed enough". It is my belief that we should be getting fed by the Spirit during the week, and the church service is just the icing on the cake.

Bob said...

Peterson is one of our most profound voices. I can't recommend his work highly enough. His book on The Revelation, called "Reversed Thunder," cuts through all the nonsense that has ever been written on the subject. His newer book, "Christ Plays in 10,000 Places," also has much to offer. Yes, of course, use discernment, you may well not always agree with him, but he is no raving liberal. He loves the church deeply and is worried by the same trends in the church that worry many of the rest of us. He is Christocentric to the core. I consider him one of the wisest men I have ever encountered in print.