I know about the pressures placed on ministers. Every parishioner has his or her own definition of what a minister should be, and no one can live up to them all. Most preachers are nice people who are, according to William Willimon, "quivering masses of availability."
But the gospel demands more--the proclamation of the Kingdom of God that runs counter to the world presented to us by the rich and powerful.
The church in the United States seems more concerned with success than faithfulness. Following Jesus can be harmful to business. It can split a church or separate families. So pastors often cower when faced with the possibility of costly discipleship.
Many pastors felt helpless when faced with the force of patriotism before the Iraq war. They knew that Jesus taught nonviolence, but fear and excitement caused by 9/11 made it very difficult to speak up for peace. Considering their own jobs and comfort zones rather than the call of the gospel or the consequences to others, many preachers remained silent, while others used our Lord's name in calling people to arms.
October 6, 2007
With apologies to our favorite and respected resident blog pastor, this critique of how many pastors approached the last 7 years: