Saturday, May 28, 2011

A 12 Step for Clergy

Hi.  My name is Larry and I'm a Pastor.  Hi, Larry.  So goes the standard opening line of the twelve step I am starting for Pastors who are either embarrassed or ashamed that they are Pastors OR for those who wish they were not Pastors.  I am sure I will not have much trouble drumming up members of my little group.

First we have those who refuse clerical collars and insist up dressing "just like everyone else" (translation, khakis and polo or tee).  They insist that being a Pastor does not make them different and so they eschew anything that might distinguish them as Pastors -- especially vestments or a uniform.

Second we have those who refuse to be called Pastor (often in concert with those above).  They bristle at being called Reverend, Pastor, Father, or Brother and rather enjoy being called Larry.  They see the moniker of Pastor (or other similar title) to be distancing from people and they would rather just be one of the guys.

Third we have those who will dress up like a Pastor on Sunday but look like Bubba every other day of the week.  They dress up like Pastor out of guilt or duty but they don't like it and they certainly would ditch the Pastor clothes or vestments if they could get away with it.  Often, these like to be called Pastor but they want people to know that they can be holy on Sunday and just one of the guys the rest of the time.

Fourth we have those who entered the ministry for whatever reason and actually wish to leave but their education prepared them for little else and they need a paycheck after all.  They also do not want to face the guilt of turning their back upon God (remember Jonah) and so they are Pastors but it is pretty clear to the folks they serve that they are not comfortable in the Pastoral role.

Fifth we have those who believe that it is a false piety to be called Pastor or to look like a Pastor and so they show their genuine piety in that no one could ever mistake them for clergy.  These people might actually believe that being a Pastor and looking like one is a lower rung of the righteousness ladder than just about any other legit vocation.

Sixth we have those who love being Pastors and don't know what it is like to take a day off or time away or wear ordinary clothing.  These are the real addicts.  Family, friends, home, and life all come way down on the totem pole of priorities.  We have them come just to sit and make the rest of those at the meeting feel even worse.  Actually, these are our role models.  Lord knows we all really want to be like them!!

Let me know if you want to join me.... we meed Sundays at 1 pm (after the charade is over) and our meetings last only about an hour... (or as long as it takes to commiserate about our dilemma)...


Anonymous said...

What does a pastor wear? A clean
suit with shirt and tie? A clerical
collar with black shirt and sport
coat? It does not really matter
to our Good Shepherd what the
shepherds of HIS flocks wear?
Christ looks at the heart to see
if our motives are to serve Him or
to serve self. 1 Timothy chapter 3
is concerned about the character of
the pastor not his clothing.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Larry. I am a
poor, miserable sinner. Despite that
condition I have been called into
the Holy Ministry. As a redeemed child of God I am saint and sinner
at the same time. My calling is to
preach and teach the Word and
administer the Sacraments. The means
of grace changed my life and it can
change yours. You are invited to
join our parish this Sunday to learn
about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Rev. Allen Bergstrazer said...

I'll bring the beer. Hey Larry, did I ever tell you about the brother who wore his clericals to judge a cow-chip throwing contest? I was really offended by that until I went to my first Synod convention. One thing about being a pastor, you never have to worry about taking yourself too seriously, there's always someone around who is more than willing to do it for you.

Janis Williams said...

Anonymus, who was it who said, "The only thing in my heart is cholesterol and sin?" Nobody's motives (no matter how sincere we think we are) are pure. Maybe the clericals are a good way for a pastor to be reminded of just who he is, and Whom he represents.

It's the sheep that all look alike, and are dumb. The undershepherd certainly doesn't look like his flock.

Terry Maher said...

Step One. We admitted we were powerless over the Office of the Holy Ministry, that our lives had become unmanageable.

I must be missing the part in the NT where Jesus either tells his Apostles to be sure to adopt a dress where they were recognisable as such, or to be sure to blend in with everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Ah, anonymous... again you have missed the point... it is not WHAT you wear but the REFUSAL to be identified as a Pastor...

Funny how folks think that God looks at outward things for other reasons but surely only looks at the heart...

Reconcile that with the restrictions and directions God placed upon worship and the vestments of the priests in the Old Testament!!!

Anonymous said...

To Anon #3(aka Pastor Peters)

The Old Testament Ceremonial Laws
for worship/vestments do not apply
to New Testament Christians.

In the Book of Acts the early church
met in homes and the worship leaders
were not vested. But then you know

Dixie said...

If I recall correctly the first Christians actually tried to worship in their synagogues until they got kicked out and had to worship in their homes. They had vestments in the synagogues...what evidence it there that suggests the early Christians did away with the vestments when they started worshiping in their homes?

Pastor Peters said...

Anonymous #3 is not me but I would certainly agree with what he posted. Christians do not flaunt their freedom against the OT but use that as a starting point -- we wear vestments not because we want to or are free to choose what feels good to us but because the Gospel's righteousness is surely NOT less than the requirement of the OT. Though this was not about vestments but about that which outwardly and clearly identifies the Pastor as the Pastor, it makes me wonder if vestments are a bigger deal for those who shun them than they are for those who wear them. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Did the Apostles wear clerical garb?

Lurker said...

Did the Jews were the distinctive attire of their faith? Were the apostles Jewish? Were their clothes that were symbolically significant from Jesus? What about the seamless robe of Christ (aka chasubel)?

Anonymous said...

the phrase that stabbed me in the heart was the one about Sunday afternoon, "after the charade is over." (*wince*.) it would appear that Brother Peters has our number...none of us are exempted from what he said. By design.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Quite the stir. So why not add more fuel to the fire?
The apostles - at least the "apostle to the Gentiles" did wear clerical garb. He was a Pharisee of high order, a leader. Yet not everyone knew his face. How did everyone always know to listen to him and invite him to speak - even places he'd never been before - if not for some way to recognize him according to dress? Maybe his friends that accompanied him ran around saying, "This is Paul, he's going to be great: you gotta listen to him!" Or maybe he sent out "meet and greet" Sunday bulletins a few weeks prior so the local pagan and Jewish leaders knew that they were going to be visited by THE apostle Paul. Or maybe there was something else that everyone could immediately recognize as official - even if they were unsure of the actual meanings - maybe a cloak, a hat, a fringe... you know, a uniform, like the one Jesus wore as a Rabbi; or was the "fringe" of his garment - the one soldiers gambled over, his woven, seemless garment - that the bleeding woman held onto just a tag line meaning "the end of his clothes"?

Rev. Allen Bergstrazer said...

In the first century, most people wore a 'himation' over their tunics. The himation was a rectangular garment that was wrapped around the upper body. The designs on the himation, as well as its color and quality, varied depending on the wearer’s sex, occupation, and social status (hence the fringe of Jesus' himation helped identifiy him as a Rabbi). Because of the relatively precarious way it was worn and the way it hindered movement, people had to remove it when they were engaged in certain physical activities. For example, when blind Bartimaeus ran to Jesus in Mark 10:46-52, he threw off his himation. Matthew 9:20-22 tells about a woman who was healed when she touched the hem of Jesus’ himation. In Revelation 3:5, 3:18, and 4:4 people are given white himatia.
Jesus’ tunic would have been sleeveless and ankle length—it was similar to the tunic that the high priest wore when he entered into the Holy of Holies to atone for the sins of the people.

cassa said...

>>the phrase that stabbed me in the heart was the one about Sunday afternoon, "after the charade is over."<<

I'm not a pastor, but I know and work with a few pastors who think of Sundays as the charade.

Unfortunately (and perhaps this is why some pastors don't want to be known as one), there are still far too many in congregations who wish to put pastors on a pedestal, who believe that the pastor is better, holier and more Godly than they are.

I used to believe it and now that I've figured out that they aren't, I notice when others still do believe it.

Some lay people also see Sunday as a day of charades; I know I do. I've spent months away from church at a time because it felt wrong to be there if I couldn't at least fake being happy, nevermind actually feeling happy. When I do go, it can be almost painful to keep the happy face on long enough to get through the service and the visiting on the way out after.