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Mar 12, 2007


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No Joke: And these stats should suprise ANYONE how?

Michael W. Kruse

No suprise to me. Just lots of folks living in denial.


You forgot to mention that most members wonder what the pastor does all week!

Michael W. Kruse

Back in Nov. I posted this from one of he Mitford books:

"The perfect pastor preaches exactly ten minutes. He condemns sin, but never hurts anybody's feelings. He works from eight in the morning until midnight and is also the church janitor. He is twenty-nine years old and has forty years experience. He makes fifteen house calls a day and is always in the office."

Does that sound familiar?


Eugene Cho

What would be a very interesting conversation is how much of this is systemic and how much of it is the actual pastor contributing to an unhealthy systemic structure. Scary stuff.

Paul Deveaux

This is not news. What would be news if someone had some idea about what we can do about it. This is obviously not an individual problem, but something systemic in the way we do church.

Michael W. Kruse

Eugene, there is a Woody Allen movie (“Annie Hall” I think) that concludes with Allen saying something like:

I went to my psychiatrist the other day and I told him, “Doc you gotta help me. I have this friend who thinks he is a chicken.” He asked, “Have you told him that he isn’t a chicken?” I told him I hadn’t. He asked me, “Why not?” I told him, “Because I need the eggs.”

That is how I think many of our situations work. Each of us at times thinking we are chickens and at other times wanting eggs.

Michael W. Kruse

Paul, the book I am reviewing, "The Other Six Days," goes more to the heart of this matter than anything else I have read. We have created a lot of baggage that has nothing to do with being the church and distorted the mission of church. When we recapture the mission (restoration of communion, community and co-creativity), suddenly titles like clergy and laity transform into something more like player-coaches and players. One of reasons for linking Eugene's post is that I think it ties in perfectly with the book discussion.


I wonder how many parishioners will see these figures and act on them. As a pastor's spouse (have to be pc) I heartily agree and would love to read some back-up comments. Thanks for the post.

Michael W. Kruse

"I wonder how many parishioners will see these figures and act on them."

Unfortunately, I don't think many will. We rather like the eggs we are getting. :) I think we are talking about a major paradigm shift and the forces that reinforce the old paradigm are very powerful.

Eugene Cho

i had an 'emerging pastors' get together last monday. and we spoke on the idea of that post. and of course, it was like speaking to the choir. everyone agreed. two thoughts i had:

1) if we know, why don't we act. why am i so stupid sometimes?

2) i thought the group was being too simplistic. work = bad. rest = good. sabbath = good. six days = bad. and i think that's an 'unhealthy' way to approach it. the process of creating, working, and producing are incredibly important and life giving. it is for me, at least.

so, i'm left with thinking how do i make sure that nothing is compartmentalized and everything is interconnected, spiritual (hate to sound like rob bell esp. since i haven't read any of his stuff yet), and important to submit to His Lordship.

alright, enough of my soap box. peace everyone.

Michael W. Kruse

(Mike handing Eugene a megaphone) Please stay on your soapbox.


I am ever more convinced that our biggest struggle is not with the role of the pastor. It is with not having a holistic understanding of ministry. The mission of the Church is the restoration of communion, community and co-creativity (to borrow from Paul Stevens.) Secular/sacred dualism you mention, Eugene, keeps would-be disciples in a state of infancy with pastors playing the role of nannies. The force of this undercurrent is exceedingly strong in most congregations and denominations, and it tends to undermine any attempts to lay new foundations. That is part of what I value about emerging church efforts but new ventures are fraught with their own perils. Bottom line, I don’t think we can reform without revisiting the very core of being the Church and working outward from there toward structures and roles.

Eugene Cho

and i would raise some questions about the emerging church and its alleged paradigm. quest is often categorized as an emerging church and i've more than fine subscribing to the emerging values. while there are definitely healthy new paradigms in the emerging conversation, several things that concern me:

1 we're mostly young if not younger. i'm not trying to play ageism but simply saying we're young and as such, lacking in some life experience.
2 who are the mentors?
3 strength and weakness = the idealism of emerging pastors. what happens when idealism is confronted by realism? chaos? cynicism?
4 i don't care what we say. we're still bound by the same model of 'success' and if not, we have another hieracy of 'success.' we are products of a larger worldview of production.
5 lastly without really thinking this through, we base such high value on entrepreneurialship, we are always creating and doing. creating is easy. sustainability is where i think holistic ministry takes place.

it's karaoke time so i'm handing the mic to someone else. peace.

Michael W. Kruse

Thanks for these observations about challenges within the emerging conversation context. As a fan of the conversation I am in a very similar place. Now I could list for you as the challenges working inside traditional structures but frankly I don't have the month or so it would take to compile the list and post it. :) May God rescue us all from ourselves so God can truly shine through.

Eugene Cho

michael: when it's all said and done, we're all in the same boat. i went to princeton and was with pcusa for about 9 years. have fun at g a.

Michael W. Kruse

Thanks Eugene. I didn't grow up PCUSA and none of my family relatives are. I have interest beyond denominaitonalism. Sounds like God has you in an exciting place.

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