The Progressive Evangelical Pastor: What I Mean When I Say I’m a Pastor of Sorts…
So, I’m not, not a pastor…
There’s no “official” institution I’m with; there’s no institution that I’m pastoring for or at; and, there’s no regular service I attend to, organize or facilitate.
What exactly defines or makes a person “pastoral,” officially?
I’ve gone through the hoops, done the seminary thing; I’ve been “officially” licensed/given the go to marry, bury, and whatever else goes with these licensing responsibilities. All of these things underneath the supposed credibility of certain larger Christian institutions.
I just found these things to be more in the way than helpful.
Church in the Wild…
But in order for me to progress and excel, as the pastor I feel called to be, I felt it necessary to venture out on my own.
This is what my hip evangelical friends would call “Church in the Wild.”
(Meanwhile, I’m just a progressive trying to be just as hip)
Thing is, while I’m really not trying too hard to be cool, neither am I really trying to be progressive; I’m just being myself, doing what I think is right and best, and all of this just so happens to be… not exactly where church culture currently is.
Morality. Ethics. Rules and laws. The inanity of my having to abide by these cultural expectations mislabeled as biblical mandates… this was exhausting.
If I wanted to primarily teach morality then I’d still be pastoring within various conservative institutions.
The idea that a four letter word, if said too many times in front of the wrong people would get you anathematized (i.e. kicked to the curb) was a deal breaker for me.
i’m getting back into ministry… I feel the pull. #fuck
— andy gill (@itsandygill) August 31, 2017
(And, to clarify, it’s not about the cursing; it’s about the thoughtless irrational lack of acceptance; the idea that following or not following these rules is directly correlated with your level of maturity is ridiculous)
I think Pete Enns says it best, “The Bible is not an instruction manual but instead a model for our spiritual journey.” If this book was as black and white as many religious leaders make it out to be then, as hard as it is to imagine, our world would be far more lost than it is today.
“Accept yourself as you are. And that is the most difficult thing in the world because it goes against your training, education, your culture. From the very beginning, you have been told how you should be. Nobody has ever told you that you are good as you are.”
“Here is a glutton and a drunkard…”
Personally, I drink; some of my best friends are self-professed “heathens,” atheists, and agnostics; I have zero issues with same-sex marriages, serial monogamists, and/or pre-marital types of dating that would cause conservative white evangelical version of Jesus to roll over in his grave (err, I mean, if He had not already risen **cough cough**).
Too easily we forget that Christ was called a drunkard and a glutton; shamed for hanging out with “sinners” such as prostitutes and tax collectors.
“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”
“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
It’s almost as if our modern day Pharisaical leaders have placed these types of ethics on such a high pedestal that abiding or unabiding to them somehow defines you as a person.
So, am I a heretic, drunkard, and a glutton who also hangs out with too many sinners? If I wasn’t, on occasions, called these things then I’d be worried that I was doing something wrong.
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”