Eugene Peterson is probably best known for translating a paraphrase of the Bible called “The Message.” What is perhaps not as well known is that he pastored a church for 29 years, and that he has now written a memoir titled The Pastor. Here’s a passage that occurs early on that I found rather provocative:
Men and women who are pastors in America today find that they have entered into a way of life that is in ruins. The vocation of pastor has been replaced by the strategies of religious entrepreneurs with business plans. Any kind of continuity with pastors in times past is virtually nonexistent.
The Pastor and Me
From Eugene Peterson via Darryl at Dying Church
American pastors are abandoning their posts, left and right, and at an alarming rate. They are not leaving their churches and getting other jobs. Congregations still pay their salaries. Their names remain on the church stationary and they continue to appear in pulpits on Sundays. But they are abandoning their posts, their calling. They have gone whoring after other gods. What they do with their time under the guise of pastoral ministry hasn’t the remotest connection with what the church’s pastors have done for most of twenty centuries.