The following link is a response
to the article
I linked to recently on the declining health of clergy. In this case, the writer, himself a minister in the United Church of Christ, sees the declining moral authority of clergy and the desire of congregants to be entertained as a driving force behind clerical health problems. I don't have any commentary of my own. Perhaps, readers will contribute their insights in the comments section.
The continuance of professional priests, pastors, and ministers is not a bad thing in itself. The grand, grand majority of these people are sincere lovers of God who desire to work full-time in creating environments where people can know God's will and grace, live in harmony with it, and grow in it. Unfortunately, it has perpetuated an approach where many people look to get religion (however they define it) from another person and do not take enough responsibility for their own spiritual development. A few end up ministering to the masses. Many churches, esp. mega-churches, become similar to a movie you pay ten dollars for, you get your religious entertainment (if it's not satisfying, you might not go back or just go to a different theater/church next time) through the praise-and-worship group and then a charismatic and humorous sermon from the pastor, and then you head to your car to beat the traffic to the mall. Clergy, entertainment, the mall, and getting help from others to get in touch religiously – none of these things are bad in themselves; they have just created an imbalance that has ensued in not taking responsibility for oneself, work together and contribute to making of religious communities, and growing in one’s own abilities to serve others spiritually in diverse ways.ReplyDelete
This is probably one of the more alarming examples I've seen about how insidious the consumer attitude has become. Perhaps school teacher burnout can be explained in similar terms as that of clergy.ReplyDelete
The funny thing about the movie theater approach to church--or to life--is that it is so unsatisfying, even when the audience gets what it wants. There's this peculiar undercurrent of RESENTMENT that seems to be a side effect of staying passive for too long, or not taking responsibility for oneself. (Sometimes I'll get a surge of this feeling in gnarly traffic or in the middle of bargain shopping...and then I know it's crept up on me.) We are largely ungrateful to our entertainers, to those who do not fulfill their promise to gratify, even when it means gratifying our own misplaced, and thus unreasonable expectations. Most customers can't stand to wait in line, yet they develop the habit of "waiting on the world to change." The bad feeling is a signal to check ourselves. Perhaps the side effect arises because the soul resents not using its capacity?