Criticizing the ministry-industrial complex does not mean professional resources have no place in ministry. It is not so much their use as their guiding role in congregational life that prevents churches from prioritizing deeper formation. Information and inspiration are good, but congregations must recognize their insufficiency to foster deep and sustained transformation—and must not confuse tools meant to inform and inspire with formation itself.
At the time of this writing, W. and D., with W. staying at D.’s side, remain faithful attenders of our church’s worship services and Bible studies. How long will this hold? The answer is unknown, but I am watching.
To hear that message of tough love for which he seems to be yearning, those who represent the church to Bono will have to have the courage to break through the aura of celebrity and invite a searcher into the true home he is looking for.
It is a trouble that visits us all: our fate is to die and be forgotten. Tying ourselves to one another and to life can diminish that trouble’s force, but kingdoms and cultures and homes rise and fall. Being willingly bound in devotion to the Creator redeems that trouble forever.
Berry, with an insistence that defies despair, is still carrying out his calling. He notes the discouraging odds his kind has faced not just now but in the past. Imperial presence in whatever its forms has long imperiled the agrarian ideal.
There is something new in Doestoevsky's insights into the psychology of “the Human Being,” beyond the Church Fathers, or at least that's the case made. If this is true, especially in the light of the complete mental breakdown happening all around us, shouldn't we be redirecting our time and energy toward incorporating this and making it central to our thought and lives?
I hope pastors read this book. But more than that, I hope it finds its way into the hands of examining chaplains and board elders, of district superintendents and seminary principals. They can do much to shape a culture where pastor-readers become more common.
A number of Werntz’s suggested practices—e.g., regular use of corporate and pre-written prayers, and identifying with a classic confession of faith rather than a mission statement—are already common in many, more traditional Protestant churches and in Roman Catholic churches. Indeed, one gets the impression that Werntz’s argument is aimed primarily at nondenominational evangelicals and Baptists.
There is much wisdom contained in English Pastoral for suffering churches. If the last fifty years have shown that innovation and modernization aren’t the solution to our ill-health, they have also made a nostalgic return to yesteryear an impossibility.
Let us not, however, in our haste to condemn Reno for his imprudent practical advice, ignore the truth of the underlying point. Religious believers hold that there is more to existence than this material life.