May 20, 2010

'Pastoral' - not where men are men and the sheep are nervous.

There's a state where men are men and the sheep are nervous.  But we'll leave that to show that anyone with a staff can be a shepherd.  To lead people, one needs to be a good shepherd like Jesus who would search for the lost sheep then carry it on his shoulders when it's too tired to walk back.

Tax collectors and whores were like lost sheep and Jesus went after them. He drank with Matthew and allowed Mary to touch him by letting her wipe his feet with her hair. But after that, he asked them to change, “Follow me.  Sin no more.”  He didn't stop at the drinking and touching.  This is his way of shepherding  – his pastoral method. And while the first part is easy, popular and politically savvy, the follow through is the one that saves.

Some church leaders today get stuck in the first step – seeing, hearing and doing no evil.  But they conveniently justify their inaction as being pastoral to the detriment of the sinner and those affected by his actions. Consider the 60 million children in the US who were brutally slaughtered in their mothers' wombs because, the supporters and legislators of abortion laws are permitted by their pastors to receive Holy Communion.
If these pols are ignorant about their responsibilities to defend life, how pastoral is it to tacitly look the other way?  If these pols knew the errors of their ways, how pastoral is it to simply let them be?  Either way is to grease the slippery slope to eternal perdition. And with the condemned will be their pastors who were too distracted to notice, too preoccupied to understand,  too lazy to correct, too timid to confront or too scared to discipline.

The pastoral way of the Incarnate God is loving because it is real; and to be real is to be truthful. It does not call evil - good and good - evil.  To be loving without upholding the truth is to be like a dotting parent who spoils the child into a brat. Yet, it proclaims the truth in love.  To uphold the truth without love is to forget that the law was for man and not man for the law.

1 comment:

Cliff Harrison said...

Excellent post.

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