A Raunchy Critique of the Christian Church
Talk about prostitution!   So many modern pastors are pathetic  -- regardless of their denomination and all across the fundamentalist to liberal spectrum.    Just ask them about their 'call' and, please, don't settle for the first three sentences out of their mouths.   They've got a well rehearsed spiel about their 'call' that is guaranteed to pacify their denominational requirements and their local church.  They can rattle those sentences off with a great deal of sincerity (NOT) and even divinely talk about being 'born again'.   Don't be fooled by the suckers.   If you dig a little deeper by asking a few questions about how their call has manifested itself, you'll quickly become embarrassed that you ever took this pastor seriously.   If you do dig, you'll often see the true worldliness of your pastor.

What do you hear when you dig past the first few sentences?   Some of the whoopers I've heard include "I wanted to get back to my family in this area" or "This church provides me with the opportunity for educational growth."   Or "I can make this church grow!"   (As if numbers matter most -- this sentence is nearly invariably a sign of the pride of the pastor and NOT their call.)  I've also heard that "this church is the next step in my career goals."   That last one hit me in the head like a brick.   As if God rearranges the entire structure of the universe so that a pastor's personal and professional life can be fulfilled.   How absolutely pathetic!   Sure God may indeed call you back to your family if one of your parents have dementia but, if that is the case, maybe you need to set aside your pastoral work for a time.   Funny isn't it, that so many pastors seemed to be 'called' up the careerist ladder of ever larger churches even if they lack the call to handle the church they are at.

I really hesitate to mention John Piper's book Brothers, We Are Not Professionals (B & H Books, 2013) as he really digs into this problem within the pastorate.   (There is really no excuse for such a blatantly sexist title as that; not too mention the rampant sexism in some of the chapters  see -- especially "Brothers, Love Your Wives".  Ugghhh....this is a throwback to the days of 'submissive' wives!)  (Don't worry I will be doing a blog about the sexism in the church and among pastors in the near future.)  I'm not a fan of this guy at all but he manages to make some strong, clear arguments in this book about the professionalism of modern pastors and its corruption of their service to their church and God.  His main point is that if you are trying to be a professional pastor, you are not serving God but serving yourself.   Duuuhhhhhh!

Yeah, yeah, yeah -- I know there are some pastors that are exceptions to this (there really are) and I am sure your pastor is one of them.     But have you asked your pastor about their long term goals?  Have you dug into what they say about their call?    You might be surprised and really, really ashamed at the language you hear from them.    Of course, your own ear may not be tuned to hear what is really being said.   The relentless pursuit of professionalism (not a bad thing at all in a true profession like mine -- the oldest) clouds many congregants' minds to what a 'professional' pastor says about her or his call.   If they start talking about how the pastorate is working to their advantage in their career, or to the advantage of their family, to the advantage of the church itself, or similar nonsense, you are probably talking to one of the many professional or prideful pastors out there.   

And one of the biggest enablers of this kind of behavior is the church search committees and congregants themselves.   They want a fancy educated, smooth talking, growth inducing pastor that will make them look good and raise that budget.  Between the pastor and the churches themselves,  finding  a church and a pastor with a true calling, is frighteningly rare.  There are lots of out there that pretend -- and pretend really well --  they have a calling yet few are doing the in depth soul-searching needed to get at a vital, real call.

Now, you are probably thinking up all kinds of exceptions to what I'm saying so Part II of this topic will talk about some of the indicators of a true call.



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