Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Things I've learned: real & ideal

I wish I spent more time thinking Deep Thoughts -- and less time thinking about plumbing.

As a pastor, after all, I've been trained to nurture the souls of my parishioners with insights drawn from history, philosophy, Biblical Studies, and Systematic Theology.

Unfortunately, all of those souls are firmly embodied -- and all of those bodies need to be kept warm, dry, and clean. That's why I spend so much of my ministry fiddling with thermostats, raising money for a new roof, and trying to find a good plumber who makes emergency calls.

To be sure, none of this seems very "spiritual."

But pastoral ministry has always been a mixture of the sacred and profane.
  • Augustine of Hippo continually needed to rule on lawsuits between church members about real estate.
  • Anselm of Canterbury spent years fighting with the King of England about lay investiture and church finances.
  • And Martin Luther complained bitterly about the amount of time he needed to spend in counseling marriages.
In short, the best theology has always been done by busy people -- people who had no time to think Deep Thoughts about God, but did so anyway.

So no, there's nothing wrong with seeing to it that my church building's plumbing holds water.

I just need to make sure my theology does the same.

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