Will Willimon / Gospel Oddity: The Purpose of Pastors and the Problem with Self-Care

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על ידי Yale Center for Faith & Culture, Miroslav Volf, Matthew Croasmun, Ryan McAnnally-Linz, Drew Collins, and Evan Rosa התגלה על ידי Player FM והקהילה שלנו - זכויות היוצרים שמורות למפרסם, לא ל-Player FM, והשמע מוזרם ישירות מהשרתים שלכם. הירשמו כדי לעקוב אחר עדכונים ב-Player FM, או הדביקו את כתובת העדכונים באפליקציות פודקאסט אחרות.

As the political world casts a leery eye on Christians—especially as the meaning of "Evangelical" changes—the focus on the meaning and purpose of the pastor is especially relevant. Amidst our consumeristic, narcissistic culture, what does it mean to pursue self-care? How does caring for oneself square with caring about what Jesus cares about? (Even and especially when Jesus cares about you?) Upholding the call of the pastor to take on the cares of Christ, Will Willimon (Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke Divinity School) suggests we've developed a disordered approach to self-care, proving the triumph of the therapeutic and mimicking our consumeristic world rather than embodying the oddity of the Christian Gospel. Interview by Evan Rosa.

This episode was made possible in part by the generous support of the Tyndale House Foundation. For more information, visit tyndale.foundation.

Introduction (Evan Rosa)

What is the purpose of a pastor? To teach you how to think (or vote)? To reassure you that you're safe? To heal your wounds? The goal of pastoral ministry is surely in question right now. Everything from the toxic masculinity of the bully pulpit, to the pastor as political pollster, to the staggering need to be cool of hipster celebrity pastor—there's lots of ways to go wrong in pastoral ministry, and a razors edge of getting it right. It's a demanding job. Perhaps its so demanding because the primary call of the pastor is to take up the cares of Christ, speaking the truth when the truth hurts, listening from both sides of the conversation between God and the Church, comforting the grieving when there's plenty in your own life to grieve, standing with the marginalized and oppressed when its the unpopular, difficult thing.

That is to say: it's a dangerous world, the world of pastoral ministry. But as my guest on the show today suggests, this danger ought to be faced with courage and eyes wide to the cares of Christ.

Will Willimon is Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke Divinity School and author of over 100 books, including Worship as Pastoral Care, Accidental Preacher, Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony (with Stanley Hauerwas), and his most recent, God Turned Toward Us: The ABCs of the Christian Faith. He's been a pastor in the United Methodist Church for a long time, including an 8 year stint as a Bishop.

Will Willimon is concerned about the direction the church is headed and is asking uncomfortable but necessary questions. Amidst our culture of consumerism, narcissism, where the vision of flourishing reaches no higher than getting whatever it is you want most, how does caring for oneself square with caring about what Jesus cares about? (Even and especially when Jesus cares about you?) Upholding the call of the pastor to take on the cares of Christ, Will Willimon suggests we've developed a disordered approach to self-care, proving the triumph of the therapeutic and mimicking our consumeristic world rather than embodying the oddity of the Christian Gospel.

About Will Willimon

The Reverend Dr. William H. Willimon is Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at the Divinity School, Duke University. He served eight years as Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church, where he led the 157,000 Methodists and 792 pastors in North Alabama. For twenty years prior to the episcopacy, he was Dean of the Chapel and Professor of Christian Ministry at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. He is author of over 100 books, including Worship as Pastoral Care, Accidental Preacher, Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony, and his most recent, God Turned Toward Us: The ABCs of the Christian Faith. His articles have appeared in many publications including The Christian Ministry, Quarterly Review, Plough, Liturgy, Worship and Christianity Today. For many years he was Editor-at-Large for The Christian Century. For more information and resources, visit his website.

Show Notes

  • How Will Willimon became a pastor and educator in pastoral ministry
  • What is the purpose of pastoral ministry?
  • Equipping
  • Mutuality of care in Christian community
  • The sermon as conversation between the preacher, the congregation, and God
  • Preaching as "double listening"
  • Helping and caring, overemphasizing the role of help and care in pastoral ministry
  • Will Willimon and Stanley Hauerwas recent article: "The dangers of providing pastoral care"
  • The triumph of the therapeutic in pastoral ministry
  • "... how tough it is in a kind of therapeutic culture to do pastoral care, because our care keeps getting captured by certain secular, therapeutic mindsets."
  • "Jesus healed, but had an odd, ambiguous relationship to his healing."
  • "Our care is offered in tension."
  • Wading into people's pain is dangerous territory.
  • Christ as "wounded healer"
  • Flourishing as opposed to curing or healing
  • "Jesus loves to take sick, hurting people in pain and give them a job to do—that is be a Christian disciple."
  • Is ministry a therapy for me?
  • Triumph of the therapeutic
  • Consumerism, possession, and life without limits
  • Willie Jennings's After Whiteness
  • T.S. Eliot: "Why should people love the church?"
  • Christian humility
  • The oddness of the Christian Gospel
  • Jesus on marriage
  • "Jesus has a different idea of what it means to be a human being."
  • The modern myth of the role-less self
  • The role of the community in supporting the individual
  • "I wonder what God is doing with your pain right now."
  • "Is the corporate practice of Christianity optional?"
  • Hauerwas: "How do you minister to people in a pandemic who think that death is optional or think that death is an injustice God has worked on them?"
  • Muddling through
  • Embedded in community
  • To whom are we responsible?
  • How to become a community worthy of the name of "community in Christ"?
  • "Maybe in God's hands, the present moment is not a call for lament and despair, but a call for: 'Wow. Let roll with Christ.'"

Production Notes

  • This podcast featured pastor and educator Will Willimon
  • Edited and Produced by Evan Rosa
  • Hosted by Evan Rosa
  • Production Assistance by Martin Chan, Nathan Jowers, Natalie Lam, and Logan Ledman
  • A Production of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture at Yale Divinity School https://faith.yale.edu/about
  • Support For the Life of the World podcast by giving to the Yale Center for Faith & Culture: https://faith.yale.edu/give

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