I’m Not Irish, But

Actually, there’s no but.

I’m not Irish, I’m not wearing anything green today (truthfully, I don’t own anything green).  I won’t drink myself blind on green beer at any point today (though I hope to enjoy one or two more elegant Irish concoctions tonight!).

But I’ll submit this for your consideration, as a non-Irish sort of topic.  It’s a good reminder in an age of televised, podcast, on-demand, Youtube theology and theologians – this blog not excepted.  If you are a Christian you should have a pastor.  I won’t argue here about whether they should be male or female, young or old, famous or non-famous (not infamous).  But you should have a pastor.  Substituting any of the above sources and the people behind them for your pastor is not only silly it’s wrong.  These other resources and persons can be sources for stimulating questions, theological conversations and philosophical musings, but they should not replace your pastor.  At most, they might prompt you to find a new pastor, but that should be done carefully and only for the most serious of reasons.

Your pastor should know you.  They should have some awareness of your life and situation, struggles you’ve gone through and celebrations you’ve enjoyed.  There should be a relationship, which means that you need to get to know them, and allow them to get to know you.  I recognize that this is most likely in smaller congregations.  I’ve never pastored a large congregation and can’t even imagine doing so, in part because I would have a hard time shepherding people I don’t know.

That pastoral relationship is important for spiritual leadership and guidance, as well as for your support of the pastor.  They need to know that you trust their guidance.  You need to know that they are caring for you – within their human limitations – as Christ cares for his sheep.  So when you are called to accountability – or when you call them to accountability – it is done in a relationship of love and concern.  This is good and healthy and right.  No matter how much you admire or respect your favorite Christian author or Internet theologian, they don’t have that pastoral relationship with you, and they would not want to usurp (or replace) the pastoral authority of your local pastor.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

 

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