‘ … there is no blueprint on file for becoming a pastor. In becoming one, I have found that it is a most context-specific way of life: the pastor’s emotional life, family life, experience in the faith, and aptitudes worked out in the actual congregation in the neighborhood in which she or he lives — these people just as they are, in this place. No copying. No trying to be successful. The ways in which the vocation of pastor is conceived, develops, and comes to birth is unique to each one.’

‘I am a pastor. My work has to do with God and souls — immense mysteries that no one has ever seen at any time. But I carry out this work in conditions — place and time — that I see and measure wherever I find myself, whatever time it is. There is no avoiding the conditions. I want to be mindful of the conditions. I want to be as mindful of the conditions as I am of the holy mysteries.’

UnknownEugene Peterson, The Pastor: A Memoir, New York: Harper Collins, 2011, 5-7.

 

‘How do we preach the good news to those who, because they pass the time indoors, have rarely wondered at the stars or been terrified before storms; to those who, because of human congregating and its attendant psychological effects, are inclined to think of themselves of little worth; to those who, because of technological advances, are predisposed to associate salvation with self-help and science? Those who preach while unaware of these questions can only wonder why many in their audience grow ever more suspicious. Christians may claim that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. But the rest of us are not.’

31Rs4U2EXJL._SL500_BO1,204,203,200_.gifDale C. Allison, Jr. The Silence of Angels, Trinity Press, 1995, 14-15.

Gentleness: where the gravy soaks in

‘Gentleness is everywhere in daily life, a sign that faith rules through ordinary things: through cooking and small talk, through storytelling, making love, fishing, tending animals and sweet corn and flowers, through sports, music and books, raising kids — all the places where the gravy soaks in and grace shines through.’

UnknownGarrison Keillor, We are Still Married: Stories and Letters, Viking Books, 1989.

 

‘God is always calling’

‘In faith we believe that every event, from the birth of a child to the death of a parent, is meaningful. Every encounter, from a passing meeting with a friend to an exhange of marriage vows, gives form to our existence. Every experience, from dressing for work in the morning to writing a position paper, blends together harmoniously in the story of our life. … This divine formation of each life is an enigma. We can only rest in the faith that God is always calling. He never ceases to whisper his direction through the filter of seemingly unrelated incidents, choices and events — the claptrap of daily life that constitutes the harassed existence of lay Christians in the world.’

Susan Muto and Adrian van Kaam, Commitment: Key to Christian Maturity, New York: Paulist Press, 1989, 9.