Thursday, January 15, 2009

Just Tired of Being a Nazi

I really wonder how many clergy take into consideration the day to day weariness that sets upon the lives of working people? I say that because, when I was a full time clergyman, versus a bi-vocational clergyman, I used to be like a Nazi when it came to guilting people into doing church stuff and getting involved.

Now don't get me wrong... I love the Church and I love Jesus, but since I started working in the trade business (carpentry, painting, remodeling) I come home each night... WAY MORE EXHAUSTED than I ever did when I did pastoral work full time.

I know being a full time pastor is hard work. I was a biology major during most of my undergraduate days, so I understand the physiology of a working brain and know that it has the highest metabolic rate of any organ in the body. Working the brain, which is the seat of our soul, does indeed tire a person out, but MAN... by the end of the day, these days I'm shot. Sometimes after dinner, I'm too tired to take a shower. I just crash.

I really wish I could go back 20 years, knowing what I know and having the ease and confidence in Christ and myself, and do the ministry differently. I'd be way less of a Nazi in my demands of the lay people of my perish. As it is, I expect no more from my congregation than I am able to give. So I think I'm a healthier more well rounded clergyman than I ever was 20 years ago.

To my anonymous comment friend: If I were you and had your convictions and beliefs, I sure wouldn't worry about who knew or my identity. I would just say "to hell with all of you... I can think and feel what I want". But then, I can't do that because I'm a clergyman. I can only say "hell" in the context of a sermon on eternal damnation.

I'd love to have a stiff cup of Kenyan AA Mission Dark Roast coffee with you sometime. If you're ever in the neighborhood, email me at


  1. I had a professor in college who really made us think about the working man. He said that while he was pastoring full time he noticed that his congregation was full of factory workers who were on their feet all day. Commendably, this pastor got rid of his desk and set up long tables in his office and stood eight to ten hours a day studying and preparing his sermons. THen when he had church, he was more sympathetic to the congregation when he had tehm stand for the benediction or the worship service or for prayer. He literally could empathize with them.. Great post Russ!!

  2. There are some modern thinkers who work within the Christian tradition. Check out Jon Shelby Spong. He has called for a new reformation and a fundamental rethinking of traditional Christian doctrine asserting that:

    1. Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found.

    2. Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt.

    3. The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which human beings fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense.

    4. The virgin birth, understood as literal biology, makes Christ's divinity, as traditionally understood, impossible.

    5. The miracle stories of the New Testament can no longer be interpreted in a post-Newtonian world as supernatural events performed by an incarnate deity.

    6. The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed.

    7. Resurrection is an action of God. Jesus was raised into the meaning of God. It therefore cannot be a physical resuscitation occurring inside human history.

    8. The story of the Ascension assumed a three-tiered universe and is therefore not capable of being translated into the concepts of a post-Copernican space age.

    9. There is no external, objective, revealed standard writ in scripture or on tablets of stone that will govern our ethical behavior for all time.

    10. Prayer cannot be a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history in a particular way.

    11. The hope for life after death must be separated forever from the behavior control mentality of reward and punishment. The Church must abandon, therefore, its reliance on guilt as a motivator of behavior.

    12. All human beings bear God's image and must be respected for what each person is. Therefore, no external description of one's being, whether based on race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, can properly be used as the basis for either rejection or discrimination.