Monday, May 14, 2007

Got Wisdom?

What is a pastor? What does a pastor do? Am I that? Can I be that? Do I want to be that? These are all questions running through my head like those recordings at the airport on endless loop.

To aid in my reflection, I am reading Eugene Peterson's Five Smooth Stones of Pastoral Work. In the introduction alone he raises questions (that he will hopefully address in the rest of the book!) such as how does one gain wisdom - the knowing of how to live life - in an age such as ours where the smartest people in the world can send rockets into space and take brilliant pictures of the universe, yet they can't manage healthy relationships with their families?

Another insight Peterson points out is that we, as pastors, have access to the works of faithful men and women who provide wonderful biblical scholarship and theology to aid us in the proclamation of the scriptures. Yet when it comes to the time between Sundays we (pastors) rely on the latest pop-psychology or sociology books to help us. We spend time reading the latest methods or books, but at the neglect of the wisdom of the ancients mothers and fathers who have gone before us.

My own experience bears this out. (On my desk right now I have five books that fall into the pop-psyhc or soc. category.) So where does one find pastoral wisdom? I have to believe some kind of middle ground exists where we glean from the wisdom of those who have gone before while being aware of our culture through current voices.

So as I journey with the questions on endless loop, for this portion of the road I have chosen Peterson as a companion to help wrestle with the questions and possible raise some new ones.

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