Ministry in Context

Your Own Reality Show

There is usually nothing overtly thrilling about the day to day life of the average pastor or intern, unless your threshold of thrilling is low enough to include committee meetings.  But every now and then...

I got an e-mail the other day urging me to buy a particular book.  I haven’t done it yet, but I might.

The book is a thriller about a Lutheran pastor.  The blurb in the e-mail describes the central character as “a Lutheran minister with a past quite different from that of a typical cleric:   special forces, CIA, a man who packs heat as well as packaging the gospel.   Oh, and he's also married to the ex-wife of a sleazy U.S. Senator.”  Well, that could describe any number of Lutheran pastors I know, so I could certainly identify with him.

The next night I was watching a post-season baseball game, and during one of the innumerable pitching changes I pushed the “guide” button on my TV remote just to see what else was on, and noticed that one of the other stations was about to begin a new series, a reality show about the lives of six pastors in Southern California.  Of course, they were from Southern California.  They must be from churches big on conflict.  Very loud conflict.  Also sex.  I will leave it at that.

Where did I go wrong?  The only heat I ever packed during my years as a parish pastor was a tube of Ben-gay when I had an aching back.  My wife is terrific, but there is no sleazy U.S. senator in her past.  And the stuff of a reality show?  A reality show about my life would be about as exciting as “Survivor: International Falls.”

I’m sure a creative mind can dream some stuff up, but to the naked (good word for reality shows) eye, there is usually nothing overtly thrilling about the day to day life of the average pastor or intern, unless your threshold of thrilling is low enough to include committee meetings.  But every now and then you see the Gospel grab hold of somebody.  You see somebody you had given up for dead remarkably healed; not instantly but over a long period of time.  You see a couple seriously at odds with each other and about ready to throw in the marital towel, all of a sudden fall in love with each other again.  You see a congregation moved to some act of generosity they didn’t even know they had in them.  You see wine turned into water in a life that rebounds from a long slide in the wrong direction to capture a little hope on a day to day basis.

It’s not the stuff of thrillers or reality shows, but as far as ordinary life goes, it’s pretty terrific.  I hope our interns are learning that.

I’ll let you know about the book.

Comments (0)

previous main next