Diary of a Plain Pastor: Carried

You can’t go offering the truth to human beings as though it were a sort of insurance policy, or a dose of salts. It’s the Way and the Life. God’s truth is the Life. We only look as though we were bringing it to mankind; really it brings us, my lad.

{Diary of a Country Priest}

If I believe anything, it’s this: a pastor is not a huckster.

Hucksters harangue, they prod. They flash a grin and slap your back and tell a story or two to work their charm. But they don’t show a broken heart. They don’t sit with you in your questions, adding their questions to the mix. They don’t want any complications. They’ve got a product to unload, a point to make. They’re working the vision.

Somewhere along the way, Christianity became a brand. And we pastors became the chief peddlers. It’s a shame. Hucksterism may work to build a corporate identity, a crowd, some momentum. But it’s still a shame, a sham.

I don’t trust a pastor who’s selling something. I don’t trust a pastor who doesn’t know his own story and her own wounds. But show me a pastor who wrestles with the truth and who’s full aware that some answers are hard won, over a life of faith and sweat and laughter and tears – show me that pastor, and I’ll listen, I’ll follow. I long for a pastor who’s living the good life, honest and good.

My hope is that I might be the kind of pastor I’m looking for, the kind of pastor I’d trust. And as I see it, this begins with me owning the fact that my wisdom and leadership acumen is mildly helpful, at best. I don’t have any grace to hand out that hasn’t first been handed to me. I didn’t die on a cross or rise from the dead. I’ve got nothing to sell, nothing worth buying at least. My vocation has nothing to do with hawking Jesus-ware.

My work is to be brought along, to be carried by the Story. I’m to listen and then to retell the Story as best I know – and to never pretend that I’ve got the golden keys to either mercy or mystery. Whatever I know, whatever I’ve been given, it’s been done to me. Grace carries me here and there, and washes me up on the bank wherever, whenever, she has the urge.

3 responses to Diary of a Plain Pastor: Carried

  1. Ahhh, true words, Winn. Thanks so much for your willingness to sit with me in my questions last week. You are the real deal, my friend.

  2. My joy, Debbie, my joy.

  3. Attraction, not promotion. Hucksters promote an agenda, whereas with the tools of love and vulnerability, attraction is the only way.

    We don't have to sell Jesus like a vacuum cleaner… if He's not oozing from our lives, we've noting to offer anyway.

words have a way of making friends. drop a few here.