But, hey, you can call me Frank. . .
There are some who delight in creating an image of casual ease about things definitely not casual. This Pope is certainly one. He answers questions off the cuff on the airplane, whispers into the ears of children, calls up reporters and columnists in the dead of night to gab, and eschews much of the ordinary ceremony, vesture, and pomp once used to emphasize the titles and give visual form and shape to them.
There are pastors who do the same. They like to wear ordinary clothes all the time so that nobody thinks of them as being pastors. They prefer to be seen as regular folk and just ordinary people with ordinary jobs, except they work for the church. They ask to be called by their first names or by some cute moniker (PJ or Pastor Dude or whatever) in the hopes that this will light up the seemingly dark side of actually being a pastor. They do not preach but inspire, they do not act on behalf of God but for the people, and they do not get all bent out of shape over heaven or hell but simply try to help their people find happiness. They are like the parents who try to be their kids best friends or who think that discipline can be ignored if you either let your kids do what they want or think you can talk them into doing what they should without any threat or consequences.
The problem with this is that the children do not need more friends, they need parents and the people of God and the people not yet of the Kingdom do not need a mentor or leader or life coach but a pastor. I am not sure which came first -- people who wanted their pastors to be just like them or pastors who wanted to be just like their people. In either case, it is a falsehood and a sham.
Frank is not your beer drinking bowling buddy who happens to work in Rome, he is, according to Roman dogma, the Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Province of Rome, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, Servant of the Servants of God. If he does not want to be that, then why did he accept election? We must deal with him not as one voice but as the voice of Roman Catholicism, for good or for ill. It is just plain goofy to think that the best pope is someone who does not think or act or look like the pope. It is a media savvy move, perhaps, but really kind of a lie. Once in a while even a casual guy like Frank will have to do something or say something people will not like because he is the one who has to do or say it. And then the people who thought he was this easy going, live and let live sort of guy, will feel betrayed... and rightly so. So Lutherans should not be taken in by the appearance of friendship by the solemn leader of a church which has anathematized our confession and called our leaders heretics. It would be better to have a pope who looks and acts the part and is willing to sort through the thorny issues that once and still divide us. Honest conversation from honest positions are always better than photo ops.
If this truth is claimed by pope, it is no less true of a pastor. I am a Lutheran pastor. The Lord has not placed me into the office and called me to this people in order to be their friend or companion upon life's way. He is given me His Word to preach, the authority to forgive and retain sins, the office to set apart bread to be His body and wine His blood, to welcome those who can receive this gift worthily and to warn those who cannot, to instruct in the Scriptures young and old, to admonish the erring in their ways, to bring the Church to the sick in their hospital beds and to the housebound in their homes so that they too may hear the Word and receive the blessed Sacrament, to bring the comfort of Christ and His resurrection to the faithful in their last hours, to bury them in witness to their faith and for the comfort of those who mourn them. This is the vocation I sought and the Church conveyed. What kind of goofiness will shy away from this calling?
No, I am not saying that we need a rule to make every pastor wear a clerical and suit (although I hardly think this would be the worst thing). But we need to make sure that those who are called, ordained, and installed as pastors are not trying to do everything to run away from or mask or hide this identity in favor of the illusion that a pastor is just another buddy, friend, or guy. And so Timothy heard from St. Paul that such a calling was a noble thing that had some responsibilities and obligations attached to it. If you want to say, Hey, that is not really me, then do us all a favor and resign because God's people did not call you to be their friend or mentor or leader or life coach but their pastor. Be that man of God, if not for your sake, at least for theirs.