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The Pastor and his Humanity

In the long run, ministers would be more effective if they would discard the professional image of God's little brother, and just be their brother's brother.

One of the delights of my ministerial life has been reading, as a part of my devotional experience, A Minister's Prayer Book, edited by John W. Doberstein. Many times when my spirits have been low and the "blahs" have taken my will captive, I have picked up this little red book almost disinterestedly, only to grab hold of pure ecclesiastical energy! The image portrayed of the pastor as God's faithful hero and undershepherd, going about his unheralded tasks in humble service, raised my spirits, rescued my will, and lovingly patted my depressed ego. I would then leave my early morning study, bound to the hospital, the committee meeting, or the funeral home, more determined than ever to be St. Francis, John Wesley, and Billy Graham-all in one!

Then it hit me.

These stained-glass ministerial images didn't have much humanity. Where was their human side? Why was I so prone to the "downs"? Was I the only pastor who sometimes resented my work and often felt as though I were suffocating in the straitjacket ...

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