“Pastors enter congregations vocationally in order to embrace the totality of human life in Jesus’ name. We are convinced there is no detail, however unpromising, in people’s lives in which Christ may not work his will. Pastors agree to stay with the people in their communities week in and week out, year in and year out, to proclaim and guide, encourage and instruct as God works his purposes (gloriously, it will eventually turn out) in the meandering and disturbingly inconstant lives of our congregations.
“This necessarily means taking seriously, and in faith, the dull routines, the empty boredom, and the unattractive responsibilities that make up much of most people’s lives. It means witnessing to the transcendent in the fog and rain. It means living hopefully among people who from time to time get flickering glimpses of the Glory but then live through stretches, sometimes long ones, of unaccountable grayness. Most pastoral work takes place in obscurity: deciphering grace in the shadows, searching out meaning in a difficult texts, blowing on the embers of a hard-used life. This is hard word and not conspicuously glamorous.
“We are there to focus the overflowing, cascading energies of joy, sorrow, delight, or appreciation, if only for a moment but for as long as we are able on God. We are there to say “God” personally, to say his name clearly, distinctly, unapologetically, in proclamations and prayers. We are there to say it without hemming and hawing, without throat clearing and without shuffling, without propagandizing, proselytizing, or manipulating. We have no other task. We are not needed to add to what is there. We are required only to say the name: Father, Son, Holy Ghost.” (Under the Predictable Plant, pp86-87)