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How People Commonly Relate to Pastors

I noticed this paragraph in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead which accurately describes a very common element of life as a pastor.

“That’s the strangest thing about this life, about being in the ministry. People change the subject when they see you coming. And then sometimes those very same people come into your study and tell you the most remarkable things. There’s a lot under the surface of life, everyone knows that. A lot of malice and dread and guilt, and so much loneliness, where you wouldn’t really expect to find it, either.” (p. 6)

In my current setting the “subject changing” is less true as a significant depth of community has been achieved. Nonetheless, this is very typical and I have experienced it often. Anyone aspiring to the pastorate ought to be aware of it so as not to be surprised or bothered by it.

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