Thoughts on a Sabbatical....
Technically, the sabbatical mentioned here is the one that my parish priest is on right now (thanks be to God! He knows the good father needs a break!) but I have been thinking about some things recently.
First off, this article. I think my dad had me read it when a beloved pastor was attacked when I was in high school (still working on completely forgiving those in our church who did that to him). I highly recommend it; I'm not sure I would have believed that there were such people in the church until I saw them in action myself.
After seeing what happened in that church, I determined that I wanted to fight the CKs whereever they tried to do that sort of thing again. I wanted to do whatever I could to encourage pastors and clergy members; while one compliment or encouragement may not count for much, it is at least something.
I don't know if it works. I do what I can to encourage the priests in my church, but I have no idea if it's effective. I don't know that that matters; every little drop in the bucket helps. I don't know if my parish has any active "clergy killers"-- it's likely, but I certainly don't want to know who they are. But I do know that modern society is not friendly to pastors these days. To cite the previous article, :
"There is a general distrust of authority figures of any kind. There is biblical and theological illiteracy in the pews. This means parishioners do not understand God's purposes, and the dynamics of spiritual leadership. There is a general sense of entitlement growing in the church, in which church members feel entitled to comfort and privilege. And if a pastor does not please them, they are free to criticize and punish. There is a growing business mentality in the church, which says that if the CEO (pastor) does not produce, he should be fired. There is mobility among parishioners. This means they feel little loyalty to the "peace and unity of the church." For they will soon move on, without having to deal with the consequences of their irresponsible behavior. And, as has been mentioned, we are not training pastors to handle conflict, nor support themselves in survival situations."
God have mercy on us.