Readers of this blog know that I deal from time to time with the changing role of the pastor. I recall reading that in the beginnings of this country the pastor was often the most educated person in the community. His advice was sought on all sorts of knowledge. Not so now.
The congregation of today’s pastor looks to other sources, such as lawyers, medical doctors, farm agents, and many other specialists and counselors for advice. Even the children in the parish soon know more about certain topics than their pastor.
However pastors are also expected to be specialists. They speak for God from behind a pulpit with God’s book, the Bible, in hand. They lead the congregation in reading, interpreting, believing, and living the Bible.
My “Fantasy Sermon” is an attempt to imagine what I would say today to introduce myself to a new congregation. It appears from the “traffic report” that more people are reading it because for several times it has been listed among the more popular posts. That encourages me, yet the question remains for me, “Is there a real congregation that would accept me and my message?
This evening I began to read Pastor and Professor – A Public Faith – by Donald Blosser. Blosser is an ordained minister of the Mennonite Church and a professor with Ph.D. from St. Andrews University, Scotland. He is a member of College Mennonite Church and I’ve heard him give his spiritual pilgrimage to the Men’s Fellowship. His book is the inter-weaving of his life experience with sermons he has preached.
In the introduction to his book Blosser asks this question as a pastor, “Should the Sunday Morning sermon dare to challenge the established beliefs of the congregation by introducing new theological concepts?” As a professor he asks, “Likewise do we really expect the Bible professor to ignore the latest discoveries in serious Bible study simply because these ideas might force students to rethink some of their own beliefs?”
As I paged through the beginning pages I noticed references to Blosser’s relationships to parents, siblings, wife, and children. I look forward to delving further into Blosser’s book to be challenged in many ways. He is afterall a pastor and a professor.