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The Unbusy Pastor

How can I persuade a person to live by faith and not by works if I have to juggle my schedule constantly to make everything fit into place?

The one piece of mail certain to go unread into my wastebasket is the letter addressed to the busy pastor. Not that the phrase doesn't describe me at times, but I refuse to give my attention to someone who encourages what is worst in me.

I'm not arguing the accuracy of the adjective; I am, though, contesting the way it's used to flatter and express sympathy.

The poor man, we say. He's so devoted to his flock; the work is endless, and he sacrifices himself so unstintingly. But the word busy is the symptom not of commitment but of betrayal. It is not devotion but defection. The adjective busy set as a modifier to pastor should sound to our ears like adulterous to characterize a wife or embezzling to describe a banker. It is an outrageous scandal, a blasphemous affront.

Hilary of Tours diagnosed our pastoral busyness as irreligiosa soicitudo pro Deo, a blasphemous ...

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March
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