Tuesday, December 07, 2010

improv and container-creating nut brokers who refuse to shamanistically count, steal, and sexualize sheep

Knowing that the "three temptations" of the pastor (at least here and now  in the US)  may well be to

Remembering  with a shudder that day a few pastorates and moons ago when I realized the woman I was counseling in my pastor's study would do anything I said, as she saw me as the God-man.....

I am glad the times and wineskins....especially cultural expectations........... are changing.

As you can see on the "topical diving" list at right, my most frequent topic around here (other than U2-klessia, of course) is "the role of the pastor."  I am on a roll  here:

role of the pastor (194 posts)

I have so many problems  with all the ways we have read into the Bible what a pastor is and should be, I don't know where to start.

How about with the truth every pastor should know: officially, the word "pastor" shows up a total of zero times in the Bible!

That was not just a trick question..but a way of reminding me that it only shows up in the plural..and in passing.  That will preach..Time to let all the saints (another word that shows up not once in the Bible in the singular) come marching into the discernment and dialogue...

I won't even mention what every pastor knows: the Bible knows absolutely nothing of Christians showing up for a weekly worship service where a pastor preaches a sermon..

But I will mention how proud I am of my students  (I mean my fellow learners, thanks to Len Sweet..I love how  Sweet, when introducing former students of his, says something like, "This is Ted, we studied together in the nineties."...Not, "I was Ted's professor in seminary.") who are required to plant churches  (on a posterboard, see some here and here)) based only on the key passages in Scripture about church..the results are amazing, subversive, refreshing  ("Can we have a church in the park?")....and I think only once has a church poster even mentioned a pastor.

Having said that, there is a role for us pastor-types.
Since  in the only  Scripture that "pastors" shows up is Ephesians 4:11, it is coupled with (sometimes hyphenated with) "teacher,"...

 ..besides the obvious primary role of "shepherding" (which is what the word literally means), there is obviously something so primary  (maybe secondary) and primal  to the role of teaching.

Which brings me to "The Bible as Improv,"  (excerpt here, large sample from Google books here)  one of the many vital books by a guy formerly known as a pastor and now known as a "transformational architect": Ron Martoia. In a paragraph which begins with those five word phrase that consume my blog posts:

"the role of the pastor can be to broker the historical communities' reading of the drama.  They can provide the resources of what current drama script-ure reading experts are saying these days  (read, theologians)  and what histotrically our tradition has understood.  Pastors  provide context  and create containers for community but move out of the mythic role of walking answer manuals. " p. 161

This is great, not only does it connect me to the "broker" image  (see "i broker and sell nuts...who may contain a small amount of alcohol")that St. Tony Bagato got me midrashing on, it reminds me that Rabbi Adam and his congregation do so well: midrash (assuming  the rabbihood of all believers).  Their current wikiseries is actually/delightfully  called "'Drashing Through  Matthew."

Of course, this is simply  a "binding 
and loosing" as the Jews understood it, anyway.
A binding that looses the pastor to be looser.

Or a "wiki-synthesis"  that keeps the pastor in charge.....of the fact that he's not always in charge.

More from Martoia:

a wiki-synthesis  exercise ought to be a primary practice in church today.  We have given people the atomized, dissected, broken-apart version of the bibical narrative but haven't done well in helping them capture the big pcture.  This requires pastors to practice a different sort of skill.  Intsead of being the shamans and dispensers of gnostic truth--"the stuff only I can learn because I have the tools and you don't"--we become reading facilitators.  (p.,160)

It made my day when one of my sharp students responded to a final exam question asking the class to list several of the suggested  (read, the "correct") answers to the narrative flow/structural outline of the Gospel of Matthew with "Is it okay if we include some of our own that are not on the list?"

My only answer could have been "I would be thrilled if you did that!"
Every teacher needs more students like that!

Someone will ask "Doesn't that open the door to heresy?"

The only answer is"of course it does...do it, anyway!"

 It also opens up the door to God teaching the pastor-teacher a thing or three.

Act 5 is on..

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Dave your the best teacher, love your class Iam gonna miss it . God Bless You


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