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I want to do well as a pastor," said the seminarian, "but I never want to lose sight of the fact that I'm a person. My personal needs are more important than my pastoral duties."

At first hearing, this young man's attitude sounds charmingly modest, appropriately suspicious of his new clerical role. He wants not to be the pompous preacher. He wants to be just a person.

Yet this is a strange view of a "person." Can any person be detached from his or her commitments?

A pastor is not merely a person. A pastor is a person who has had hands laid upon his or her head, made public promises before God and the church, willingly yoked his or her life to the demands of the gospel.

This marvelously empathetic seminarian has unwittingly subordinated church tradition, theology, and ordination to his own needs. How can he be sure that his desire to be "just a person" is not simply another means of self-centeredness (what we once called sin)?

THE ROMANTIC REBEL

In our attempts to be empathetic and ordinary people ...

May/June
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