Friday, August 24, 2007

Which needs give our lives meaning?

Will Willimon gives us challenging (and also helpful!!) words as we minister in the context of the 21st century when we carry Blackberries, are on email, voicemail, and all the other tools that may move a minister into becoming a "quivering mass of availability" ... the final sentence of this quote is most telling and most challenging ...

From William Willimon’s “Pastor: The Theology and Practice of Ordained Ministry”:

“My colleague Stanley Hauerwas has accused the contemporary pastor of being little more than ‘a quivering mass of availability.’ Practicing what I have called ‘promiscuous ministry’–ministry with no internal, critical judgment about what care is worth giving–we become the victims of a culture of insatiable need. We live in a capitalist, consumptive culture where there is no purpose to our society other than ‘meeting needs.’ The culture gives us the maximum amount of room and encouragement to ‘meet our needs’ without appearing to pass judgment on which needs are worth meeting. The capitalist, big-is-better mentality infects our pastoral work as we labor to increase the size of our congregation through our care, to move up the ladder of pastoral appointments, to be a ’success’ as this culture defines it. In this vast supermarket of desire, we pastors must do more than simply ‘meet people’s needs.’ The church also is about giving people the critical means of assessing which needs give our lives meaning, about giving us needs we would not have had if we had not met Jesus.


1 comment:

Eliz F said...

Wow...I think I have that book in one of my unpacked boxes. "Quivering mass of availability"...yikes. I am off to try to dig it up! Thanks for the thought-provoking post!