Can a pastor (or other person) be TOO “spiritual”?
Robert Moore, Jr posted an article on his blog recently in which he spoke about leaders who are insulated from the realities of the people that they should be leading. (Read his article here.) This concept is similar to the quote that is commonly attributed to Marie Antoinette, “If the peasants do not have bread, let them eat cake.” Note, the Wikipedia suggests that she was not the originator of the phrase. However, the phrase demonstrates the same isolation that the “Emperor’s New Clothes“ describes.
I responded on Rob’s site but this issue ties into the “Authority Under God” series of articles on this site so I am adding it here also. Here, I can include a bit more detail and offer you, my users, the opportunity to read and respond.
During my two interruptions in pastoral ministry, I learned a lot about the “insulated leadership” that sometimes happens in churches today. I found that the same things that I had said previously from the pulpit sounded quite different when sitting on the pew.
I believe that when a pastor is able to give all of his time to the church (a very desirable situation that I endorse), he or she has a tendency to get isolated into what I call the “glory world.” It is a place where he has the time to study God’s Word and pray and get in touch with God – every day. And, although that level of devotion is possible (and desirable) for EVERY Christian, in my experience, it is not the norm.
The people who sit on the pews on Sunday have spent the entire week fighting the devil – in the person of their supervisor and/or co-worker or someone that they have to deal with every day. When Sunday comes around, he/she is spiritually exhausted and the most spirituality that they feel they can muster is to just get up, get dressed and go to church. And maybe, the pastor will say something, or do something, that will help them get through another week — a week that will start in less than 24 hours!
When the pastor sees these folks, he (having been in his “glory world”) expects them to be just as spiritual as he is. (Let me interject here that pastors are often not as “spiritual” as they feel they ought to be. But feel that they must display spirituality or else the congregation will never be spiritual.) So the pastor expects Mr Pew Sitter to jump right into worship with “both feet.” And in many cases, it just ain’t gonna happen! (Can I get a witness here?)
What do you think?
Have you ever known a pastor or other Christian that you felt was just TOO “spiritual”? Do you think that pastors are always as “spiritual” as they appear? Is it an unforgivable sin to go through a church service with LESS than a “super spiritual,” “glory world” feeling? Tell us about it in the comments section.