Conversations

Called to health

Larry Smith's ethic in "Balance or Sloth?" (Spring 1999) troubles me as much as Gary Preston's "Get a (Balanced) Life!" (Fall 1998) troubled Mr. Smith.

Like doctors and business owners, pastors are on call 24-7-365. Ministry never goes on break. We're only one phone call away from being robbed of rest, recreation, and relationship time. We don't have the option to go away for the occasional weekend on the spur of the moment or sleep in on Sunday like nearly every lay person does.

But unlike most doctors, few pastors make six-figure incomes from 24-7-365 call time. Unlike business owners, we don't get to choose our work force. Like waitresses, pastors have multiple bosses. We juggle conflicting and sometimes unfair expectations from "customers."

It's unfair to expect clergy to take on the pains of clergy work life and not receive the chief perk: the flexibility to pursue balance in life.

Furthermore, I owe it to lay people to model a healthy lifestyle. If I am sick in my soul, ...

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