True Confession: The Replacements bring me joy!

Yeah! He’s going to connect The Replacements to Pastoral Ministry. GenX for everyone. I’m handing it out.

Song number 3 on Side one of Pleased To Meet Me is called “I Don’t Know.” I’ve sung that song in my head a million times. Well, on the million and first time two things happend.

1. I thought of Galatians 5, which I’ll get to below.

2. It reminded me of what it is to be a Pastor/Shepherd.

Check out this lyric:

One foot in the door, the other foot in the gutter.

Is that the posture of a pastor or what? Two feet in different worlds at the same time. The pastor has the unique calling and ability to exist where no one else can: between the door and gutter, between porch and alter, between flesh and spirit.

The Pastor is not a judge, a referee, a counselor or a scape goat. Lived to their full potential, the Pastor is the coolest, most relatable person on the planet (like Whoopi Goldberg on Star Trek).

Pastor is a Rock Star of a gifting.

BUT! And that’s a Big But. Hey, I like Big Buts and I cannot lie. But, the way we weight pastor in the western church today is sick, sad and wrong, but that’s another post. However, in short, When you take a person called to compassion and wholeness, saddle them with “CEO”, “Janitor”, “Shock Absorber,” “Content Producer”, “Dart Board”, “Bake Sale Manager”, “Protector Of All That Is Right And Good”, “Faultless Listener”, “The Best Preacher Ever” oh, and don’t forget “Good Parent and Spouse”, the last thing you get is a Pastor.

Can I have an Amen? 

Pastors need the space and freedom to take up residence in the slight real estate between Galatians 5:21 and Galatians 5:22; The Alsace-Lorraine of the Life of the Spirit and the Life of the Flesh. And it’s completely possible if the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist and Teacher are allowed, invited and equipped to share the burdens of the Church, the toil of the ministry and the joy of the Mission of God.

the drinking birdIf you’ll recall, Gal 5:16-21 is all about the sins of the flesh. You don’t want to do the things on this list. Well, you may want to do them, actually, but it’s not God’s best for your life. In contrast, Gal 5:22-24 lists the fruit of the Spirit. You definitely want to do the things on this list. The problem is…life is complex. It’s not binary. It doesn’t move in a straight line. It circles, staggers, backslides and sprints. Sometimes we drink from the chalice of victory and other times we sip from the cup of life like the Drinking Bird. Real people are flesh brained and spirit brained (Ro 8:6). At the same time.

At times we make spiritual progress and explode toward Jesus like Usain Bolt off the starting line, only to go to a party in the same breath, drink too much and practice…um…jealousy?

In order to be where real people actually are, the Pastor lives in the land between Paul’s lists of vices and virtues. They don’t revel and remind the flesh brained person how evil their ways are. That’s called abuse and we’ve all experienced too much of that. Instead, they are called to the consistent work of pointing to the far country where the Spirit thrives and walk a long obedience in that direction.

Pastors are pasture people, Shepherds, shepherding the people around them toward green meadows and still water. Pastors are OK with “I Don’t Know.” They are genuine when they ask, “What do you think?” because they care more about you than a right, churchy or seminary answer. Pastors ask, “How are you?” ready to find one foot in the door and the other one in the gutter.

The Shepherd/Pastor has nothing else on their calendar but a journey together further up and further in a life in Christ. They are as at home with your struggles as they are with successes, your hurts as your healing, your camp high and club crash.

They are professionally in between, reaching back and looking forward; beginning, not experting; one foot in the door the other one in the gutter; turning down guilt and turning up the Replacements.

That’s just…cool.

For a Deeper Look @ the position of Pastor in in-between places, check out the 5FB post “The Book of Jonah