Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What is a Pastor?

I'm wondering here. I think that some people think a pastor is someone you can walk all over and will just take it with a smile. The reason I think this is that when folks do that to me long enough I bite back - and when I do I feel like a complete failure. I know that this is really my issue, but I'm wondering if there isn't a better theory of pastor that might encourage me. Help me frame my responses better. Really I should learn to stand up earlier when folks are abusive towards me. Shoulda coulda woulda - yeah.

Looking forward to what you have to share.


colin benner said...

So I have been thinking for a while about the connection between being a pastor and being passive aggressive. Either passive aggressive people are more likely to be pastors or the job tends to bring in out in us but it is a real thing.
Being a pastor puts on the pressure to be nice, kind, long suffering - all that good God stuff. There are not many models or much training about learning how to do that with integrity and balanced strong responses.
So we smile benignly until there is too much puss in the pimple and then we pop.
Not so healthy. Of course not all pastors are like this. Some just have heart attacks.
I don't have the answers Frank - at least not ones that work all the time. Bearing with people is good and I think Jesus does it rather well. However he is also good act at timely acting and not reacting.
I find myself regularly just seeing the deep need to go deeper into His character. I think the answer lies more in that than in a skill set.
I need to keep thinking about this I think

One of Freedom said...

I appreciate the words Colin. I've been chatting a lot about this with my counselor. One of the things I have discovered is that I do not know how to confront in love very well. My natural inclinations are to passively drop out of the potential conflict (lose/lose) or to make concessions for the sake of the peace (me lose/other win). But when I am pushed beyond my limits I do tend to move quickly to an aggressive and often painful solution (me win/you lose). Sharon and I have had to walk through that in our relationship, but we've had the benefit of years together. Plus Sharon needs someone who can stand up to her (that is what she tells me). Actually, my relationship with her has never been passive-aggressive, but I do see it is that way with a few other people. Hmmm. I'll have to think about that.

I think you are right, I've felt very tender this last month and the presence of God has been welcome and comforting. I've seen God work through worse screw ups on my part, and suspect God's faithfulness will meet me here too. If nothing else this has been a good time of working on myself.

steven hamilton said...

thanks for bringing this up's one of the things i wrestle with, because i'm a fairly good boundary-keeper with people and i thik this surprises people in our faith community, because their expectation is that they can impose themselves and their stuff on me and walk all over me, and i just don't go in for that...of course, that said, i try to be loving but firm but like you sometimes i sort of bite back...or at least it feels like that...

One of Freedom said...

Yeah, I have been good at keeping boundaries that work with most of my congregation. I do suffer from being too nice at times. Thing is I have only had to bite back twice if you don't count the time I lost it when a guy I was helping write his separation agreement was more concerned with his game system than his kids (the only time I've ever sworn at a congregant actually). But he wasn't pushing my boundaries - he was just letting his hurt over the failed marriage cloud his thinking and we still remain friends to this day.

The first instance where I bit back ended one relationship and will probably end a current relationship. I don't handle that well either.

It was my wife who had the insight about the relationship expectations matching that of a pastor-congregant. What I'm thinking is that a better theory of pastor might help me, and might help the congregation that can get ahold of it. Plus I just wanted to vent a bit for my sanity.

I would also think that there is a fine line between a congregant being abusive and simply not respecting your boundaries. For me in both instances where I bit back that line was clearly, in my mind, crossed. However, I think in both cases that line was not crossed deliberately. I'm sure both of those people see it quite differently. Also both of those people are fairly immature and highly dependent on others, I can be immature but I'm very independent.

Lots to think through.