Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Warming pews and waiting on food stamps

In many ways the professional clergy serves the same way the welfare system does.  That is the point Arthur Sido makes in his post entitled Clericalism and the welfare state.   Here is one of my fave parts:

 Why is the welfare system dehumanizing and an utter failure? Because it provides for people while asking very little from them in return and actually discourages them from seeking to support themselves. The very people who are supposed to be helped by the welfare system are actually hurt by it and the dependence it causes becomes generational. Passivity begets passivity.
The clergy-laity distinction does the same thing. How else can you explain the vast numbers of people who have been in church all of their lives, people in their later years with decades in the pew, who are sincere, prayerful Christians and yet are spiritually immature and doctrinally deficient? The solution for this problem among my Reformed brethren is more and longer preaching. The problem is that more and more preaching adds to the already heavy burden of ministry because one guy has to do it all and I am increasingly unconvinced that passively listening to a sermon week after week, no matter how good the sermon, is really the key to bringing people to spiritual maturity.

As I see it, most pastors are not power hungry control freaks who need to be put out on their can.  They are faithful brethren who do more than their fair share of the ministry out of their love for Jesus and often retain their joy in the Lord even though that burden is not meant for them to bear.  Likewise the problem doesn't entirely rest on the people in the pew because they are doing exactly what it is they think they should do and what people have been doing for nearly 2000 years.

The problem is the system that keeps the pastors at pulpits and everyone else in pews.  People are waiting for the first of the week in the same way welfare recipients wait for the first of the month.  What the Body of Christ needs is a gathering outside of the current systems in which people stop depending on their food stamps and their welfare check.  We gotta get off our Lay-Z-Boy and do the work of the ministry.


  1. Good call. And you should know that your brethren outside the Reformed camps have the same solution! At least this has been true in my Retorationist tribe.

    We have so much in common. Makes me wonder what would happen if I went back and tried to do something about it.

  2. Shane,

    it seems the veil is spread far and wide. Like those on state assistance, people have to want to go to work and they have to have a job to go to. There just isn't enough room for everyone to minister to one another in the present system. Something big has to change.


As in a biblical church gathering, my word is not complete or final. Participation is allowed, encouraged and expected. Please, don't leave without adding something.