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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pride as a Pastoral Occupational Hazard

Local Church Newsletter

This Newsletter is (not) the Greatest, and I Am (not) Great
I've been thinking a lot about pride lately. What causes it, what results from it, and the insidious way it can go unnoticed until it's like "Whoa, ok this has gotten out of hand."
I suspect I'm not alone in thinking about this subject. It's been in the air, for sure. From Trump's trademark hubris, to a seemingly steady drumbeat of pastors stepping down or being removed, to a culture that has kind of given up on hiding the fact that we're all about ourselves these days.
This is not going to be a condemnatory rant, because man, I am so not in the place to write that. A condemnatory rant on pride, now wouldn't that be an ironic turn of events?!
Nah, I can't do that because I went home on Monday and confessed to my wife that I think probably I have been Struggling With Pride, because I am a Righteous Man and would like to remain so.
Have you ever done something like this? You expect there to be a record scratch or a DUN DUN DUNNNNN and instead your wife is like "Hello, welcome to the club of people who know you are prideful." And you want to be upset about it, but you realize that she has put up with you for all this time even though she knew YOU WERE PRIDEFUL THE WHOLE TIME.
Anyway, pride is like a tricky web of lies you rest in that you have to untangle one thread at a time, and sometimes it's hard to know whether you're untangling it or making it worse. And the stakes are raised for church leaders, the temptations infinitely more substantial.
Platforms, man. They're humility killers.
Pride as a Pastoral Occupational Hazard
Anyway, I could spend this particular newsletter platform exploring all the ins and outs of pride and its causes, signs, and fallout, but I'd rather just tell you to listen to Katelyn Beatey, Morgan Lee, and Barnabas Piper have a super-insightful conversation about pastoral pride and platforms (Platforms, man).
That One Time I Had a Conversation with Russell Moore and Recorded it For You
While we're on the subject of podcasts, we just launched ours at The Local Church! Our first episode features a frank conversation with Russell Moore about his early-ministry regrets, the time he preached at twelve years old, and something about some guy named Trump. If you're reading this email on Tuesday, the next episode comes out tomorrow, and it's very different and you also need to hear that one. Also, hey if you like this podcast, could you do us a huge favor and let iTunes know by giving us a rating and review on there?
Four Dudes Talk about Money Stuff
It would have been nice if there were like, women included in this or whatever, but hey, that's Esquire for you. It's not the kind of piece that proves anything, but it seems like a really efficient way to have a decent grasp on how at least some of your fellow church members see themselves and what they worry about.
I think one of the best ways to fight personal pride is to focus on someone else, so I'm going to spend this last part spotlighting one of our writers. Derek Rishmawy used to be a youth pastor, and he was really good at that, but he's always had the mind of a theologian (at least as far back as I can remember of him, which is maybe 4 years?). More importantly, he's one of those guys who will talk to you about theological stuff in a way that sounds comprehensible and interesting. I highly suggest reading the two pieces he's written for us at The Local Church so far.
If you read Derek, he will keep your head straight, which is so important, I think. In his first piece, he reminded us that the future of the church isn't some crazy innovation or cultural shift. It's God's people in God's presence. There are implications to this.
Most recently, he explored the repercussions of an angry Jesus, and found "something of a surprise warning here for the local church." Gird yourself, and click through.
I'm grateful for Derek, whose focus on theological matters remind me that most of the time the answers to practical problems like "I am struggling with pride," have an answer that begins with the phrase "God is…"
Here is a link to Derek's preferred platforms: Twitter, Blog. You're welcome, Derek. Have fun with that inevitable pride struggle, buddy.

Richard Clark
Richard Clark
Richard Clark
Managing Editor Christianity Today, Online

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