Honest Christianity – Pastor not Fixer

memoirI, Paul, am really enjoying reading Eugene Peterson’s memoir, The Pastor. It is a really easy read, as the chapters are stories around key times of formation as a pastor.  The book is a wonderful example of Honest Christianity and ministry. Eugene explains himself as initially a reluctant pastor and goes on a fast learning curve. One of his early reflections and lessons is that he saw people as problems to be solved. After 2 years being a part of group being mentored by a psychiatrist, he grew in skills and knowledge of helping individuals. As he continued to reflect on the role of a pastor, he has an epiphany to bring him up short,

 “I was gradually becoming interested in my congregation as a problem to be fixed rather than as persons made in the image of God, capable of living,  just as they were, to the glory of God”.

 This is an extremely honest reflection from someone many of us have been inspired by. This is insightful from both sides, it is a temptation across many professions, ministry, social work, education, counselling, healthcare etc. we may have treated people, children, young people, families, like this.  We may also have been on the receiving end of being treated like this by people we have trusted to support and advise us. 

 This is one of those blogs, that join up and synergise between our themes of Honest Christianity and Going the Distance.   What I am glad about is that God does not see or treat me or you like this. I do need some fixing but don’t treat me first and foremost like this. I will try and do the same to you.

Reference:  Eugene Peterson  The Pastor  A Memoir  New York  Harper One 2012.


2 thoughts on “Honest Christianity – Pastor not Fixer

  1. Thanks for these thoughts Paul, always good to be reminded of this. I still often remember spending some time with you as a student and you using the story of Bartimeus – highlighting Jesus’ question ‘what can I do for you?’ to help me to think about what resolution I wanted to my problem… It really helped me to look at things differently and empowered me in my situation and my relationship with God. A great example of responding to an individual and not ‘the problem’. Thanks! And be encouraged!

  2. Hi Zoe, thank you for your connection, it is a useful contribution to develop the flow of the blog. Yes, I remember us chatting, it sounds like we were using the Ignation spiritual exercise of reading ourselves in to the story. I hope you continue to know what you and God can do for each other, Peace

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