Rethinking Religion, Part 1: What is a Pastor?

To say people are becoming disillusioned with institutional religion is an understatement. People are becoming disillusioned and are leaving it in droves. From all the statistics I’ve read the reasons vary, but a large number who’ve left are leaving, not because they’ve left Jesus, but because they feel organized religion has. As a result, many are walking away from that system and finding more authentic community outside of its walls, myself included. They are done. Josh Packard is correct in saying,

“The Dones are people who are disillusioned with church. Though they were committed to the church for years—often as lay leaders—they no longer attend. Whether because they’re dissatisfied with the structure, social message, or politics of the institutional church, they’ve decided they are better off without organized religion.” Source: Meet the Dones

One thing almost every religious institution has in common with other religious institutions is a person in charge called a pastor. The pastor is typically the power person in charge, directing people, events, and things related to the ongoing success of the institution. In this first post of an ongoing series I’m calling Rethinking Religion, we’re simply going to sort out what a pastor is. This will be the foundation for the posts that follow in this series. I’ll be writing this series from the point of view of a former pastor with 20+ years experience pastoring various institutional churches. We’ll start by looking more closely at what scripture says about pastors because I feel one way modern religious institutions have complicated things is by making the pastor the authoritative focal point in the church, not unlike the CEO of a corporation. This top-down authority approach to doing church is man-made and has been handed to us by 2,000 years of church tradition, not by any anything mandated in scripture.

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What 43 Years Looks Like

Today Mike and I celebrate forty-three years of marriage. Forty-three years. I’m trying to wrap my brain around that. What does that feel like? What does that look like? I admit, it’s not one of the biggies, like the 25th, or the 50th, but it’s still significant. I sit here with all of these thoughts about what it looks like.

I think it looks like living. I think it looks like dying. I think it looks like joy and happiness, sorrow and peace. It looks like two young kids standing in a meadow pledging to love each other till death do us part and not having a clue what that means. It looks like moving how many times? It looks like two young kids losing their first baby in a strange hospital with no family around, the pain and sorrow threatening to drown us. It looks like losing three more babies and holding each other through it all. It looks like the joy of having three healthy babies, Mike by my side, coaching me through each contraction because back then you didn’t use drugs during labor, you had to breathe through it all. He was a Continue reading