In  HOPE

  In HOPE 8.12 

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David Timms  

Something for
the Soul

Do you read biographies to hear how God has worked in the lives of men and women throughout the ages? You might find inspiration and insight reading the story of Dorothy Day (The Long Loneliness , Harper, 1952). She became a legendary catholic social activist in the U.S. in the early 20th century and her legacy of love and service continues to be felt.

 

Hope Happenings

Hope International University presents the 2nd Annual 100 Hole Golf Marathon Fundraiser on May 12, 2008, at Heartwell Golf Course in Long Beach, CA. Funds raised will go toward student scholarships and departmental programs.

Featuring a "$1,000,000 for Charity Hole-In-One Shootout", the event is an 18-hole Par 3 course with a total of 100 holes played. For more information go to www.hiu.edu .

 

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831

 

For Pastors

Most pastors face extraordinary pressures these days.

 

A crumbling culture and overwhelmingly deep and complex needs among people place enormous demands on pastors to be spiritual guides, community resource liaisons, and pastoral counselors. People in the pews constantly compare the preaching performance with their favorite TV preachers or their iPod downloads and web-based resources.

 

Local church pastors must wear multiple hats-budget specialists, event organizers, staff managers, and recruiters. They work mostly with volunteers, which can be like herding cats. And ideally, in the minds of the congregation, they should be able to write beautifully, speak eloquently, present themselves authentically (but never weary or irritable) and work smoothly with the Board. They should be on-call 24/7, have "just the right word" for every conceivable situation, and model the perfectly ripe fruit of the Spirit.

 

If you're a pastor, you know this is just the tip of the iceberg. Only the called would accept this vocation and could possibly survive it. In our day, many don't.

 

But Barbara Brown Taylor highlights another facet of ministry that adds to pastoral pressure. She brings the unspoken into the light.

 

"While I knew plenty of clergy willing to complain about high expectations and long hours, few of us spoke openly about the toxic effects of being identified as the holiest person in a congregation. Whether this honor was conferred by those who recognized our gifts for ministry or was simply extended by them as a professional courtesy, it was equally hard on the honorees. Those of us who believed our own press developed larger-then-life swaggers and embarrassing patterns of speech, while those who did not suffered lower-back pain and frequent bouts of sleeplessness. Either way, we were deformed.

 

"We were not God, but we spent so much time tending the God-place in people's lives that it was easy to understand why someone might get us confused. As Christians, we were especially vulnerable, since our faith turned on the story of a divine human being. Those who became ordained were not presented with Moses or Miriam as our models, so that we could imagine ourselves as flawed human beings still willing to lead people through the wilderness. We were not presented with Peter or Mary Magdalene as our models, so that we could imagine ourselves as imperfect disciples still able to serve at our Lord's right hand. Instead, we were called to fill in for Jesus at the communion table, standing where he once stood and saying what he once said. We were called to preach his gospel and feed his sheep. We were, in other words, presented with Jesus himself as our model, so that most of us could only imagine ourselves disappointing everyone in our lives from God on down.

 

The common pastoral ministry has uncommon demands. While we cannot modify the expectations of all the people all the time, we might be wise to modify the perspective we have of ourselves.

 

Jesus calls us to be His servants not His surrogates. Perhaps even Thomas would be a worthy exemplar for us.

 

May the Lord grant you sufficient grace and strength for every demand this week.

 

In HOPE -

 

David

 

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You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2008) at http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/.

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.