When Pastoring Means Re-Parenting

Not long ago I sat in a worship service heavily populated by young men and women. The music was sensational. The energy of the crowd was beyond anything I'd ever experienced. Joy and exuberance! Intensity and focus! This, I thought, is what the church is supposed to be.

But I couldn't avoid thinking about a different level of reality below the surface of what was visible in that hour. For I had spent time with the pastors. And I knew what they would face when the lights, video screens, and amplifiers were turned off.

In groups and one-on-one, conversations would turn to issues of sexual identity, desperate loneliness, the inability to make commitments stick (or last), debt, addictions, deep anger and insularity from past patterns and perceptions of abuse, scars of bad religious experiences.

These pastors would feel the interior "winds" raging and find themselves probing away at themes like trust, the power of vengeance, resistance to and confusion about authority, fear expressed in a score ...

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