‪When Being An American Pastor Conflicts With Following Jesus


Most pastors professing Jesus are actually hard-working but very insecure people-pleasers preaching in accordance with learned politics; as opposed to scriptures; I know this because I was on my way to becoming this. 

Usually, when people respond to this question, “What do you look for in a pastor?” they don’t answer it in regard to what they’re looking for in a pastor, so much as what they expect from a pastor.

The other night I grabbed a beer with an old friend, who also happens to be a pastor. He pastors up in New York but was speaking down here in Philadelphia[1]. We’ve known each other for over a decade, but we hadn’t seen each other in a few years; yet, it looked like we’d both aged 10 years since.

It wasn’t our wrinkles (neither of us has any… yet); it was in our eyes; not just the bags underneath them but, this tired glazed over look; it was this sort of perpetual emptiness; like, when you’re smiling, but dead in the eyes. Yeah.


You see pastoring is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had. Nobody should become a pastor for the money. While it’s lucrative (if you’re after that), most pastors are not after that.

Most of us are in it because of a calling; because we have this unswerving desire to come alongside of hurting people.

Sometimes the weight of caring crushes the best of us pastors; this is why the ones that survive long term are many times (but not all the time) the ones who also shouldn’t be pastoring.

The medical term commonly used to describe this “dead look” is dissociation.

It sometimes can be described as an unconscious coping mechanism that’s triggered when your brain is overwhelmed; it separates you from your conscious reality. There are of course various levels of this from becoming amnesic, splitting personalities, and/or completely forgetting who they are. What I’m speaking about here is what most of us will experience in life (at one point or another): seasons of life, where you just zone out.

This is partially why I left the institutionalized form of “pastoring.”

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