What Feeds You?

So, I am thinking about church and church growth and church community and about the discussions I am seeing here and there about what people want and whether or not that has anything to do with what people are being offered by/in/vis-a-vis church.

What I see in tension is a combination of self-directed ownership of one's spirituality and a wondering about what is a shepherd/pastor/priest's role in directing those in his/her care.

Any thoughts about this?


Anonymous said…
In thinking about these questions I continue to go back to the early Church Fathers. The priest is to lead others to deification and make of them what St. Basil calls “complete Christians." Along this line St. Gregory Nazianzen says that the aim of the priestly art "is to provide the soul with wings to rescue it from the world, and to present it to God. It consists in preserving the image of God in man, if it exists; in strengthening it, if it is danger; in restoring it, if it has been lost. Its end is to make Christ dwell in the heart through the Spirit, and, in short, to make a god sharing heavenly bliss out of him who belongs to the heavenly host."

While I do not advocate clericalism or authoritarian leadership I think the priest needs to take a greater role in diagnosing and prescribing with regard to the spiritual life of the parish and individuals rather than simply providing what is asked for or wanted.

Peace, Mike+
Thanks for your thoughts, Mike!
Mike - I assume you also suggest a priest be in spiritual direction him/herself for the same guidance?
Anonymous said…
Absolutely. The priest must be in spiritual direction and sometimes therapy. If we are not doing our own inner work we have nothing to offer the people and we cannot with any integrity or credibility ask them to do their interior work. "The care of souls is the art of arts," said Gregory the Great. This really is a matter of life and death ours and the people God has entrusted to us.

Peace, Mike+
Spoken like a true contemplative.