I’ve been thinking – and maybe struggling a bit – about pastoral vocation and authority in community lately. It seems more difficult and more confusing to me than it has been in the past. I ran across this short article by Mark Scandrette that’s worth reading (it really is short, won’t take too much of your time). It was a timely read and hit home for me.
Here’s a snippet where he talks about the difference in being a “pastor” in Minnesota and San Francisco:
In Minnesota, when people at the gym or grocery store found out I was a pastor, they were kind and deferential. They might ask a theological question, tell me about a personal problem, or sheepishly apologize for cussing in front of me.
In San Francisco, when I told people I was a pastor, the reaction was starkly different. The vocation seemed to provoke outbursts of profanity followed by diatribes about inquisitions, crusades, slavery, and religiously-motivated hate crimes. For many people I met, religion had been a source of hurt rather than healing. They were suspicious of my motives and what my office represented.