The priest faces inward, toward liturgy and the sacraments. The layperson faces outward, toward everything else—everything.
A friend from seminary visited a couple of weeks ago. Her father-in-law was a pastor in the South, and she had been on a church staff for years before she became a pastor. She talked about how the male pastors of former generations would say that they were going to make visits, and they would spend the afternoon at the golf course.
"Sam!" she says. She's greeting me as if I changed her life. Unfortunately, I haven't a clue who she is.
I support my church's requirement that retired clergy stay away. But nobody warned me how much I would miss all this—or if they did, I wasn't listening.
Lloyd Rediger's "clergy killer" premise is, in some senses, indisputable. Yet put so baldly, the kvetch seems odd.
The Guardian calls our attention to an "ideal church show" taking place yesterday and today in Manchester. Not New Hampshire, the other one, in the North of England. Now, ordinarily a church supplies expo wouldn't capture much of our attention, besotted as it is with term papers and reality television. But the Guardian notes that this particular gathering will include a clerical fashion show, apparently featuring bespoke garments for the ecclesiastical set.
In our corner of the economy, excellent pastors got fired and many took wage and benefit cuts. In some cases, the congregations didn’t realize that their decrease in membership was a national trend that had a lot to do with shifting demographics.