Youth Ministry Booster Podcast

182: Andy Root 2 What Does It Mean To Youth Pastor In A Secular Age?

June 06, 2019 Episode 182
Youth Ministry Booster Podcast
182: Andy Root 2 What Does It Mean To Youth Pastor In A Secular Age?
Chapters
Youth Ministry Booster Podcast
182: Andy Root 2 What Does It Mean To Youth Pastor In A Secular Age?
Jun 06, 2019 Episode 182
Youth Ministry Booster
Andy Roots talks about the role and identity of a pastor in this secular age for youth ministry leaders
Show Notes Transcript

Dr. Andy Root is back y'all! With a new book and summer session on the history, hope, and reimagination of what it means to be a pastoral figure in this new age we are living!

Episode 182 is only the warm-up for the live session. Don't miss it! 

Learn more with and from Dr. Andrew Root @ our FREE LIVE Webinar June 12th 2:00pm CDT

Show Notes & Quotes:
For both the yellow book and blue book the key writings in the background are, A Secular Age by Charles Taylor. 

Andy declares that A Secular Age is, "the first book of the 21st Century that will be read in the 22nd Century

Youthfulness and the importance of authenticity in this age. 

The hurt of pastoral identity in this secular age. “I know how to write a sermon and run a meeting, But when it comes to seeing God’s living presence in their lives I feel at a loss. “

“Where is the place of the pastor in the world?”

A Sketch Of History
What does it mean that in 1500 AD you can’t help but find Christians and evidence of Christianity? And now 500 years later it is harder and harder to find anyone that believes in God. 

That to do ministry is to have an encounter with the presence of the living God. 
This means working towards a deep connection with how God works in the world. 

The stakes are wrong. We misdiagnose what’s actually going on. It’s possible that Youth Ministers have been playing checkers in a chess world.

The game or environment is more complicated than we had originally thought. 

There is a whole cultural imagination that makes it difficult to live in the presence of a living God. 

Key Historical Figures Sketched Out In The New Book
St. Augustine
Thomas Beckett
Jonathan Edwards 
Henry Ward Beecher
Harry Emerson Fosdick
Rick Warren

In this new age, pastors are hurting and either they make the turn to self-blame or congregational blame. 

If Jesus is better than our church will be larger is the trap we have been lured into, so how do we talk about Growth as transcendence  

Forming imaginations and proclaiming where God is active in the world. 

When non-traditional people became pastors? 

Ministry itself, the sharing of a life with another, is the call to pastor. 

A refreshed theological lens. God as a minister. God as pastor. 

“The only God we can known is the God who is made known in

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Speaker 1:
0:01
This episode of Youth Ministry or booster is brought to you by grow curriculum. Strategy grow provides everything you need to teach and disciple your students. Train and celebrate your leaders and partner effectively with parents. Buy from youth ministry, booster.com/grow and get a year of youth ministry booster so that you can partner, support and grow as a youth minister. As you grow your youth ministry. Get all of grow and all of youth ministry booster for a year for the price of grow@youthministryboostsour.com slash grow
Speaker 2:
0:29
[inaudible]
Speaker 3:
0:41
wanted to their pockets. We have a repeat guest. The one the only doctor Andrew, he's back. He's got a new book. He has the completion of the book. You talked about the last time he was on the show and a brand new entry into a series that is going to make some good things happen in your life. He is opening up some new doors and metaphors for what it needs to pastor in the secular age. So if you haven't got the yellow book, uh, faith formation in the secular age, super good links below. But we're going to have a little dive in here, a preview session of the new book coming out later in June. And then the invitation for you and your senior pastor or executive leader to have a live chat with Andy June 12th at two o'clock central time. That's right. Ain't going to hang out with his live.
Speaker 3:
1:29
Talk about the book. Talk about what it means to pastor in 2019 and beyond and whatever this mode or model of a secular age, it looks like it's super exciting. We love hanging out with our good buddy Andy and we do not want you to miss it. It's a free of it for anybody that would love to learn more about what it means to pastor in the now in the beyond and how the imagery of who the pastor is and the role of the pastor serves has changed. So you're going to check that out. There's links in the show notes below. It is free, free, free to anybody that wants to check it out. But bring your senior leader with you. Bring your senior pastor, bring your executive leaders. You've seen your team is June 12th to Wednesday afternoon, two o'clock. So take your lunch late, sit around the computer huddle, talk to doctor route, ask your questions and get ready for his brand new book and true. By checking out this a little bit of a quick dive into a summary of what it's gonna look like. Address some of the big questions of what it means to pastor or youth pastor in the secular ace. Check it out for now. I'll catch y'all a flip at the end.
Speaker 1:
2:31
Everybody. Uh, welcome to interview episode Mr Booster podcast. We're really excited about today. One of our favorite people is back. It's summer and 2019 and it's the return to your, for the one the only doctor Andrew route all the way up from Luther seminary in Minnesota. Andy, we are so glad to have you back on the podcast today because you shock of all shocks have a new book for us today. And then we're super excited to talk about, uh, yeah, it's starting to seem like I have like OCD or something that, you know what I mean? Like I just, uh, I just feel like I'm all my academic friends. Uh, the mileage varies on their output or their throughput of books. And so you either have unlocked or recipe in yourself and practice it. Just churn the pages are, you are just, you're just wired to write man.
Speaker 1:
3:18
Like I just feel like every four months that we've got something new from Andy route and I love it. I can't get enough of it. Not quite four months, man. Let's just say it's a couple of books a year. If you work it out like it's, uh, it's good. It's good. You know, some folks are hope to write a book and live. You're hoping to finish a book by the end of next month. I love to be back, man. Thanks for having me back. Well, so, so we're picking up, this isn't a little nice. We're doing a little a, you know, Lord of the Rings, a fellowship and a two towers. So the last time we talked to you, you were finishing up, uh, the first of what may be more or less of a series and kind of doing some theological exploration of Charles Taylor. Uh, so for Feo nerd friends or a philosophy nerd friends at home, Charles Taylor, uh, as Andy is Andy route so aptly put at Charles Taylor wrote a book, the secular age that people say is the book that people read in the 22nd century.
Speaker 1:
4:11
First Book from the 21st century. The people read the 22nd century. Is that how I say? I think he owes me some money for [inaudible] a nice little, that's a pretty early pick, right? Cause he was a 2007, seven. Yeah, that's it. And this one, a secular age came out, which is eight, he's 87 years old, so still alive philosopher and two huge book. And so for a lot of folks may be aware of its existence, maybe a dabbled with it, but you are full into exploring it. I'm letting it be kind of a, a backbone for some of the works that you're doing. And she wrote a book, the yellow book as we were joking earlier. It's kind of aimed at the youth pastor or at least those that work with young people. Uh, but now what we're dubbing the blue book, it's coming out end of June.
Speaker 1:
4:59
Uh, 2019 is more for the pastor. What is a, what is loaded up for us a little bit. Yeah, I think that's fair to say. I mean, I think the first book, the Yellow Book definitely has kind of a youth worker, youth pastor feel though I think it's as people read it, they'll discover pretty quickly. It's not really a youth ministry book though. I think it's, I mean I think part of my mission in the world is to take some pretty deep theological ideas and put them in the universe of youth ministry and continue to, um, kind of given no bility to what, what people do in youth ministry as a, as a deep theological task. So thank you for that. And now you can send me some money. Charles Taylor first and second. So that's what this is all about. It's really issue of faith formation. So I think that does land in the lap. The first book is, and that really does lie in the lap of, of youth worker people in the second I think does too
Speaker 4:
5:58
though. Like you're saying, it feels more directly connected, probably the senior pastor lead faster, solo, faster, uh, because it's really about pastoral identity. Uh, and not just like clerical you when you are ordained pastoral identity, but pastoral identity really broadly. I mean, but it does really try to sketch a history. Uh, the first book I think which you really right, does connect more with youth workers. Cause the first book was kind of sketchy. History of authenticity, authenticity and how youthfulness played a piece in that, which, uh, again just drops right in a lab and youth workers in this, the second one tries to sketch a history of just what makes being a pastor so darn hard. Why is it still hard? Um, so I kind of start, I start with multiple stories, but one of the stories I start with is being at a speaking engagement at a denominational training period and having a pastor come up to me and basically say, I mean you just look me in the eyes.
Speaker 4:
6:55
And he had this moment of real honesty and vulnerability and said, listen, I have no idea what I'm doing that I've been at this for 15 years. Um, I have no clue what I'm doing. And it was this really weird look I read about it in a book like this that he kind of had this look of someone who was like lost in the house. They grew up in these. Then you would like kind of, you would snap back into confidence. He goes, oh, actually I know exactly what I'm doing and I'm pretty good at it. Like I run a good meeting, I write a good sermon, I have a tech study I go to, you know, I'm a good, I'm a good pastor. But then he would kind of snap back into not knowing what he's doing in the sense of like when it comes to really passing on faith my people when it comes really to helping my people encounter the living presence of God and how to see God's living presence in their life.
Speaker 4:
7:39
I'm not so sure I know when I'm doing so the through one of these books really are, is this kind of sense of trying to help people imagine or I guess what Taylor challenges us to do. His philosophy and his interpretive kind of cultural philosophy is this, the difficulty for people imagine a living God in their lives and when that becomes difficult. So imagine a living God in the lives of 15 year olds, but now let's go to 35 year olds or their parents, 45 year olds. That's a real challenge of what we're doing kind of an in pastoral ministry so that that, so there you can see there's a connection, but there's, there's a distinction to in these two books.
Speaker 1:
8:16
Well, let's set that up a little more cause I think that's one of the things for our listeners, your name, you're nailing a lot of the emotions they felt. And then maybe let's kind of talk through the ways in which the Taylor might be helpful because I think what you're talking about as like where is my place in the world, uh, is, is incredibly sensitive for anybody that's serving on church staff. And I think, I think the reports that have come out recently have pointed towards a more and more by vocational future for the pastor. Uh, and so the, the idea that this would be my, my soul enterprise and soul, a vocation for, for the ways in which it, you know, supplies income for my family is shifting, uh, but also at the rate in which are serving, uh, and a very a vocational way, maybe responds to a call of God in their life, but maybe not quite inside the church because they don't always feel like they fit inside of some of the traditional roles in the church.
Speaker 1:
9:09
Uh, so I think you're naming a lot of those things people are feeling maybe set up for a little bit like why you think, cause there's a lot of different folks at tap into maybe tailor it feels like, like the most unexplored because it is fresh. But like why for you are you kind of settling in? Like what about some of the Charles Taylor's writings appeals to you in a way that helps kind of like open up some of these questions is the way in which he kind of like, my name's the questions are kind of appropriate or process to get to an answer.
Speaker 4:
9:36
Yeah, I mean I think it's crazy as it sounds, it's the, it's the narrative sense of it. You can really, right when you said like, this is a huge book. It's an intimidating book. Like, you know, it's, it's a 740 page, you know, Tome, uh, that will, if you drop it on your, you know, your four year olds photo break it so really quickly. Any, it's a, he, it's a huge, intimidating, intimidating book. But you, as I talked about the yellow book on podcasts and stuff, I'd always say, you know, what's, what's really intimidating about the big book? Cause he's only trying to answer one question. And the one question is, um, looking at just kind of the Western world, the world we kind of inherit, why was it in 1500? If you go back, you know, a relatively short time, five of them years, was it really impossible to find anyone who can believe in God.
Speaker 4:
10:24
And then in the short 500 years later what's happened in the last that it's pretty much the reverse, especially if you live on the coast, maybe not in the middle of the country like us, but um, for sure on the coast where you can find it in Minneapolis, you can find in Oklahoma City that it's easier for people not to believe in God and to believe in God. So that's what's really, I think quite fascinating about the work. And so, you know, really what's been central to all of my work, whether it's been youth ministry focused or just more broadly ministry focused, is to really try and make this claim for people that at the heart of what ministry is his encounter with the living presence of God. And so your practices, the way you think about even yourself and your own person in ministry has to have some kind of deep connection.
Speaker 4:
11:06
I would want to say deep connection if, if we just at least it just a surface connection with how you think God acts and moves in the world. How you, you think the people you do ministry with and for, um, encountering the presence of God. And I think what's so helpful about Taylor is he doesn't, it doesn't solve any of our problems, but he helps us really perceive what the issue is. Okay. And, um, and I guess my take has been, especially in the first book, my take was really that the way we're trying to do faith formation doesn't actually take into consideration what is at stake here. Okay. Okay. Yeah. We misdiagnose what's going on. And we ended up spinning our wheels.
Speaker 1:
11:47
I think that's low stakes ball in a high stakes arena kind of thing. Is it just, is that, is that well, yeah. Kind of be misappropriated. How big the is. If we're doing the we're doing the
Speaker 4:
11:55
your terms. Yeah, we misappropriate how, how big the pot is. I think we've actually, it's possible that we've misappropriate what game we're playing. We're not playing poker at all. We're playing, we're playing now. I Dunno. You know, you see the limit of my, my gambling
Speaker 1:
12:12
mine were flying. I think for a lot of people, like it's the old chess and checkers, right? Like you know, he's playing chess
Speaker 4:
12:18
checkers as a oneupsmanship but maybe,
Speaker 1:
12:22
maybe even more specially in youth ministry. We've all been playing,
Speaker 4:
12:25
you know, checkers and chess world. Is that, is that too simplistic to say or that's, I think that's exactly it. I mean that's the case. I want to, I want to pick up in the first book is that yes, that we've been playing checkers and this is really a chess world and that's not the, again, no one should be little. Those who are playing checkers, like you know, uh, it's, it's not a bad thing to play checkers and checkers aren't fundamentally bad, but, uh, the game is more complicated I guess, or our environment is more complicated and it's not just the young people. I guess what I was pushing in that first book is it's not just that people aren't going to church or people are just interested that there's a whole kind of cultural imagination that makes it really hard for people to perceive and it just kind of even defacto live out of a sense of the living God in their lives. So I guess where I pick up in the second book as if that is true. Okay. Then what does that do to the identity of, of the pastor of the Minister
Speaker 1:
13:23
Rob, the person that's still left at the Church House with the keys,
Speaker 4:
13:26
it's getting me exactly and is still getting a continually decreasing paycheck or something like, you know what I mean? Or, or, or has or has your 401k and a denomination that's, that's, that's hemorrhaging people in resources, things like that, you know. So what does it actually mean? Because I think that becomes part of the problem is that in the midst of our decline and loss, we've misinterpreted what the decline and loss is about and then even our views of what it would mean to be a good pastor, he gets overtaken by trying to up end the gravitational pull of loss and we just start doing something wacky to our identity. Um, so really in the first half of the book, and I just, I tried to tell this, this is a problem with making Charles Taylor your dialogue partners. He writes these big histories then, you know what I mean? Like 500 years of history and he never thinks anything is what he calls like a home run or a direct line like, you know what I mean? Like you hear this in politics all the time. Like, well, once we lost in school,
Speaker 1:
14:27
everything went or the or whatever. Yeah,
Speaker 4:
14:30
yes, clear a to the beat. And his point is it never works like that. There's always multiple zigzags like, okay, you get this and then something like this, it could have meant this. But then this happened. So that means he's got to write this like really complicated 700 page history
Speaker 1:
14:45
now, which is why you, and it won't look this the size of like a fantasy tome, right? Like this is why it's like a Robert Jordan are no
Speaker 4:
14:52
dragons, but there's no attractive secular age with no dragons. That's it. The dance with the secular, right, right, right. Yeah. Yeah. So she's pretty close though. That's what's confusing. Right, exactly. Um, so yeah, you get this long book and you get a hard book, but once you can decipher the way he's telling the story, it's incredibly fascinating. But, but once you get the code, this is, you know, my confession, tell your listeners, once you get the code, then you have this deep, deep temptation as a writer and as a thinker to tell a story like Taylor. So, uh, you know, so this book ends up being a little bit too long. It's almost 300 pages, which I apologize for. But then on the first half of the book, I feel like I have to tell this story. And so I picking up from this pastor who told me like, I have no idea what I'm doing.
Speaker 4:
15:39
Um, try to put that assertion in the mouth of Kinda historically pastors. Like there's just no way in the world that someone like Thomas Beckett or a custodian or Jonathan Edwards would have ever, ever even had the thought that I have no idea what I'm doing. Or in other words like I am, I am in a vacuum of meaning. Like there's no meaning to my vocation. What does this actually mean? These people would have never thought that they would have all sorts of other problems. I mean they had 99 problems, you know, then in their problems, see what I can do this, they have men have problems, but the loss of transcendence was not one [inaudible] I mean thinking about historically like the thing, the way in which like, you know, things are esteemed of like artisans, politicians, bankers, docker doctors, merchant clergy. Like, like they're all almost, is this like, even though there's like a caste system of like historical employment, like clergy always made it like above middle class, right?
Speaker 4:
16:41
There was always like a certain way of thinking of like, well you know they have a role even in you know, some of the most like dark age time. Like this seems like, you know, throughout history, like ever since the, you know, constant Tinian establishment of whatever, there was always a place for the clergy to serve in the establishment. But I guess the pressing thing from, from what you're sharing about Taylor is that like the rot has kind of felt from the inside out. Is that, is that the thing that I'm kind of like, I mean you're talking about for the, but this isn't like this isn't like a cultural attack of like the things outside have caused us to drift, but like what you're narrating is that like passengers inside their own churches are feeling adrift. Yeah, I mean I think it's both a little bit of an outside current, but definitely an inside current.
Speaker 4:
17:28
I mean that's one of the interesting things that Taylor wants to say is that the secular age never exists outside of you because he's not really even trying to like object. He is trying to objectively name it, but he also is one of the things he's trying to say is I want to tell you a story of what it feels like to live in a secular age. Not just to kind of rationalize it, but what it actually feels like. And so no one gets to escape the of secular age she's describing. I mean, even if you were someone who went to church every day or when to mass, you know, like once or twice a day, you still would inherit these institutions is a political system. These other things that we would impose upon you, a certain frame of living, what you would call the immanent frame, where you like with, if you were to, if we were to bounce back, say it's a Paris in the 13th century, the whole framing order of our life would be a supernatural one. And, um, the way we would walk, the way we talk, the way we dress would all point to this supernatural order of a God who encounters us. We've got our demands, we pray of a God who demands we'd go to mass. Um, all the best example I have for this, so they use all over the place. Um, and I can use that. Your church too, if you invite me to your church, that was ugly blood links in the show notes below.
Speaker 4:
18:49
But the example of this is of course this is coming right back and next week, right? Like middle of next week. The Handmaid's tale. The Handmaid's tale is a kind of ancient regime kind of sense where the way you talk, the way you dress, um, all points to this larger order of a divine reality that's directing us. And we don't have that anymore. We've lost that. We inherit and what Taylor calls, not a supernatural kind of framework, but we inherit an imminent framework. So we live inside of an imminent frame. So that becomes new challenges for the pastor. And I think we'll, the story I'm trying to tell is that the pastor both had this movement towards imminence thrust upon him or her, but also he or she also participated in bringing in about two. So it's always a kind of both and the kind of, um, so, so that's kind of where I'm going with the whole thing.
Speaker 4:
19:44
But it, so I try to tell the story that moves from, well, I actually start with Thomas Beckett and then go backwards those a little bit. Historically, I don't worry about it. Go back at Augusta and to Jonathan Edwards each with a chapter, but then to go to this guy that, uh, probably fewer people know, um, name Henry Ward Beecher, who was kind of around the time of Abraham Lincoln. And then, and then beach. He goes, this guy, classic liberal, uh, uh, pastor man, Harry Fosdick and these people all play their part. And then finally to Rick Warren goes all the way to Rick Warren to show how the secular age kind of played in there. So it's, it's a book trying to do a lot of heavy lifting here. But what I promise you is there's just a ton of stories in it, like stories of historical figures, but also stories of more contemporary people trying to figure out, you know, how, what does it mean to be a pastor and do ministry in an age where, well, the subtitle of the book is how do you ministry, uh, what does it, I'm doing ministry to people who no longer need God or something like that.
Speaker 4:
20:42
So then, then that's a lot of history to chase down. Uh, and some really interesting
Speaker 1:
20:49
kind of examples to pick. I mean, I think the, the, you know, anytime you can draw a zigzag line from Augusta to Rick Warren, you have me intrigued. Uh, so, yeah, no, that's good. Like, what, what are some of the things that you're tracing through that get us into a very modern figure? Uh, like Warren, uh, that, you know, and if it's, if it's here to there, to here, to there, it's not a direct line. Uh, what, what are some of the ripples in the zigs and Zags, but you're kind of tracing and teasing through, um, to help kind of frame, um, this, this new age that we live in.
Speaker 4:
21:27
Yeah. So to be as brief as I can and, uh, yeah, you can, you can stop me when, when this becomes too much and I were here for the break it off or you can push me to say it cause I may go too fast here, but I mean, I really tried to tell the story through, through, um, Thomas Beckett, who of people don't know who Thomas Beckett is. You should definitely, um, Google or Wikipedia. He's a fascinating figure worth knowing. Um, was, became the Bishop, the Bishop of Canterbury, and is known for a refusing Henry the second. Um, we will, he was like Henry the second man and then Henry the second put them ads, the archbishop, and he had kind of a transformation and he decided that it was his job. Uh, Henry the second, put him on, put him as the Archbishop's. So he would get all these priests off his back and they, you know, he'd be able to do what he wanted and then back at like has this moment basically as he's ordained as the archbishop where he is transformed and it becomes a defender of these pastors.
Speaker 4:
22:26
And of course it leads to this gruesome, gruesome moment in church history where, and read the second one is in as a frustration says, you know, who's going to take care of this ambitious for me. You kind of could game of Thrones here. Yeah. And about, you know, a half dozen nights or whatever, go find a Beckett read before vespers at a theater hall. And uh, well they basically sliced his head open and kill him on the, and that floor. But what a story I'm trying to tell is not the gruesome, kind of a, um, Quintin Tarantino pieces of that. But the, uh, where I've tried to go with it is f four, a couple of hundred years after this Beckett was venerated and people would carry around what people would go on, pilgrimage, go to where he was killed and go to assume, but people would even carry around a little necklaces with, uh, files of his blood in it is, it really is blood.
Speaker 4:
23:18
But there's this whole sense of a, of a deeply enchanted world where Becca kind of represented the pastor as almost Buffy the vampire slayer. I mean, they, you, you held the keys into eternity really. I mean, you, the fact of Aternity spilling in to time, um, the sacredness of time and you being as the, as the pastor, the manager of sacred time gave an incredible amount of identity. You, you know, even if you were a little, uh, a village priest and you couldn't read, you still had things themselves were charged with holiness, you know, so if you, your cloak in your, the cross you wear around your neck could chase demons away, you know, and we forget all these things, like the church bells were not just to signal to people, hey, it's new, or hey, it's time to come to math. Church bells rang because they chased demons literally away.
Speaker 4:
24:13
Um, and so, um, you know, this is a time before fire brigades at the time before medicine and the pastor, if you want to call it the pastor or the priest had all this divine wait to do these things. So there's just no way any priest in Thomas Beckons age could have a kind of malaise of imminence. Like this pastor I had at this conference was like, what am I doing? Like you are Buffy the vampire slayer man. Like you were, you were fighting demons. You help divine things. So I tell that story, but then we go to Augusta. And the big thing about Augusta is just the sense that, uh, there's this inwardness that's really important, um, that, you know, Dustin, there's just no modern modern worlds out. Augustan is, Augusta thinks the stage where the divine human actually encounter each other's internal. It's in your heart.
Speaker 4:
24:59
It's in, it's in this kind of internal place. So I tell that story, but show how that's changed in maternity. And we get what Taylor calls a buffered self, where we would like these, these evil forces, these evil spirits can't get inside of us anymore. That we have like cycle psychologically constituted senses of ourselves. Um, and so even if you've had too much to drink the night before, or you wake up super crabby at a retreat, you, you never think of yourself. Even if you're on a like a church or treat you, very rarely you're, you're, you're in a weird spot. If you wake up and think, oh, I'm so mad, there must be a demon here, or there must be some evil that's gotten to my spirit. Tend not to think that you tend to think I need some coffee. Right? Yeah, I'm tired. I need some coffee, hot shower, we'll fix it, shower, we'll fix it.
Speaker 4:
25:47
Which, you know, and I think about this with my son who's 14 who has some bad days where he gets frustrated with us, are stressed out with school. And I almost never think like, oh no, there's a demon here. I almost always think he's hungry. He's tired, he's, he's hangry. You know, all that stuff plays in, which shows that there's, that we've kind of put as modern people of buffer between the self in the kind of essence of the, of the self's being. So it's not you who say is depressed, it's um, it's the, it's the psychological constitution of, of your mind or it's a chemical imbalance in your mind. And so those are all real huge gains, I think for us. But they also come with a buffer where, so for instance, with that buffer, you used to preach a sermon, say in 1500, and there was a direct route from what you said to the very soul of the person who heard it, that would just be a direct into their soul.
Speaker 4:
26:47
Now, everyone who hears your sermon, there's a buffer and they buffer that and they made us decide that it does impact them and they take it in and, and they do something with it and form its identity. But the sense that that word immediately hits the very essence of their soul and could even determine it. A terminally where it's going. People just don't necessarily function out of that. So those are the first two moves. But there's a lot, a lot, a long way to go. But you can see how these two people, yeah. Like, oh, but then you get, you know, then reformation happens of course. And then you end up in the, in the colonies here with, um, Jonathan Edwards. And, uh, what's fascinating about Edwards is exactly what you just said earlier, is that during colonial America mean, this was before the revolution when Edwards is preaching and bringing forth revivals and things.
Speaker 4:
27:35
And the most educated people in all the colonies were pastors. There was really, you know, Yale, Harvard, um, the University of New Jersey or a, that becomes a Princeton University. Those places are all created for the education of clergy, pretty much, right? I mean, that's the way it is. The, the lofty position of education, right? Because, uh, it wasn't too long before that, that, you know, the, you know, the church was the repository and we talked about this before a couple of years ago. The church was the repository of all learning, right? If theology was queen of the sciences, like literally queen of the sciences as we understood science and turn to determining, you know, stars, Sun, moon and Jesus. And so, um, yeah, and I mean, and that's starting to change in Edwards time, like Newton, his writing, and he's into that kind of stuff. But still, for the most part, especially in the colonies, you know, like it's, there's no other reason to learn, to really read and write if you're not going to be preaching, Preaching and writing the scriptures, you know, and then that's an overstatement, but not by that much.
Speaker 4:
28:32
And so Edwards is really important and he's really important civically. But what happens after the Protestant reformation is that, uh, there's a whole transition that it's not really what you do that matters. It's how you do it. So this is kind of home improvement, um, of, um, it, for instance, we, we, you know, at least in the Lutheran world, we'll still talk a lot about the priesthood of all believers. You know, that a big tenant of Protestantism that you don't necessarily need a priest to be your gateway anymore. You don't need a Thomas Becket necessarily. And now there's this kind of affirmation of ordinary life where you live your faith out in the world. So one of the things that Taylor says, it's really fascinating, I think in one of the things that makes Taylor so fascinating is he says, to get this kind of, to get to this kind of secular age that we have where God is an option, you can only get to that.
Speaker 4:
29:23
Now you have to listen to this as it's, it's so counterintuitive. You can only get to a world where God is an option. If you are coming out of a world where God was absolutely a must. So it's only a world, the world of unbelief that we inherit. Now you can only get there because you once had a world where people were super, super, super, super, super concerned that you believed in, live that out in every part of your life. Mm. So he's trying to say what Protestantism does is it raises the bar for everyone and it says, now you did. It's not just you go to mass and the priest does this stuff for you and you take the Eucharist and then you're fine. Now every part of your life, every day, you, yourself as an individual need to live out that you need to live your life as a priest.
Speaker 4:
30:08
So this is what becomes the job of the pastor in colonial America. Jonathan Edwards. It's his job to preach this congregation into prod them and to lead them into, motivate them to live every second of their lives for the Gospel. Mm. And so he's the most educated person. John Edwards reads and praise 13 hours a day. So he's got this lofty vocation is one of the most, you know, the any new England pastor or at this time is one of the most important civic people. But the whole Puritan society is dependent on the pastor preaching the word. So the people continue to reenact their lives as committed essentially as committed priests with, with a lowercase p.
Speaker 1:
30:51
Yeah. Um, so we're very different than anything we can understand our live in now. Right. Like, like I mean like everything about the role of the pastor now is the option trying to move in front of, you know, the multitude of options at the word of the preacher wasn't like assumed and then re-enacted but it was like maybe it would be activated because somebody heard it while they were on the elliptical at the gym on a podcast or you know, they happen to, you know, catch the live stream on a, on a weekend service or whatever. Like, like so like keep, keep walking us a little bit more down that street. Cause I'm really, I want to hear where you go when like, cause there's nothing, there's nothing more lofty than like that
Speaker 1:
31:39
I think, again, it's the zigs and the zag of Taylor, like, uh, you know, pastors, like there's a real concern that pastors barely pray 30 minutes a day and then, you know, there's gotta be some kind of relationship that, you know, Edwards only prayed and studied for 13 hours a day and they'd probably have much less concerned for, you know, the infrastructure and organizational management of his church as it relates to what she's just distributing sermons and preaching and deploying. And like, and yet at the same time, like as mortgage put on the pastor, there's less time for the thing that was the most central thing, not so long removed. And so what does that move to get us from that, like modernity and postmodernity?
Speaker 4:
32:19
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, it becomes the next step in many ways. Um, so I mean, uh, Edwards and the other backstory to Edwards, just to, just to say kind of parents statically is just that he still gets fired. So if you're in your,
Speaker 1:
32:34
we talked about this over breakfast. That's right.
Speaker 4:
32:36
Yeah, you can, you can at least take great, great, uh, very faith and that you are in company with Jonathan Edwards. So it's 13 hours a day and still fired. It's still still gets, gets fired. And you'll have to read the book to hear why, but let me just give you a little teaser. Oh, that's the guy who ends up up nd him is a guy who I share a name with to my shock reading stuff. Um, it's like basically like a young 22 year old Whitehead who was named Timothy Roots, uh, same swelling in the last game. So I don't know if he's a relative, but when you read what he does and the stupid things he does, and it sounds like it could fit. So the, what you have next that happens that starts to change this is you move to this guy, um, named Henry Ward Beecher, and we were beat your is, uh, a couple of generations after Edwards.
Speaker 4:
33:25
Um, so, you know, colonies are in place. We're, we're moving closer to the 19th century here. Uh, Abraham, we're in in the 19th century, I guess Abraham Lincoln is going to be, become a president towards the end of his life. But, uh, he is a child of the same kind of puritanism. And remember Jonathan Edwards, most famous sermon ever preached is, um, sinners in the hands of an angry God, right? So you can see what the preacher is doing is like, you need to act for God. You need to raise your children in this way or the devil that's in the woods. We'll get you coming in. And it's bigger than just even your soul. The whole project of our society, uh, of this new Israel in America. If you don't act faithfully, then we cannot enact this. So there is a more public part of this.
Speaker 4:
34:13
Well, Beecher is the son of Layman Beecher who was like Jonathan Edwards, you know, 2.0 in some sense when he gets completely, he basically gets completely depressed by this very harsh Calvinist theology and he has kind of an awakening. He's really funny actually. And he has this awakening in his young adulthood where he realizes that God is really love. And so he starts preaching this gospel of love, but he starts to completely change the pastoral identity because unlike Edwards, who would spend 13 hours a day studying, reading, Reading Newton, thinking about physics, um, thinking about inoculations, Mike, how early inoculations happening, which again, spoiler alert, he basically kills himself, giving himself a measles inoculation, Edwards that as and then dies and still go to his, his, uh, his grave at PR in Princeton. It's right there, but um, but at, but the, the identity completely changed. His, first of all be realizes that he can get people more engaged in church by making a sermons funny.
Speaker 4:
35:16
And he really is in many sense the first standup comedian that ever existed. So there is a kind of connection, like the pastor is the creator of standup comedy and it was Henry where Beecher. Okay. So people would die laughing and it would, and it's even hard to read his sermons because the time it was on the timing. So you don't read them and think, this is funny. But I guess that you just, we have all these, because this is a new put, newspapers are becoming huge at this time and, and Henry were, Beecher was like the first celebrity in America. So first day of comic, first celebrity and reward Beecher cause such an extent that before, before Abraham Lincoln even becomes really in the realm of thinking about being, the president goes to New York City feature as a church in Brooklyn. The first thing he does go listen to Henry Water pitcher.
Speaker 4:
36:02
He was celebrity preacher in the Broadway show or I like your in town. Exactly. What's about to be there? Yeah, it was top of the Broadway show but so he makes this turn towards this, this loving open Jesus. The other thing that does that change his pastoral identity that he starts when he's in a church in Indianapolis is he decides he's not studying. Like he'll write his fun funny sermons, but he hangs out with the general store in ways he lays at the, at the river with people and talks to them. It becomes this much more anywhere. He wears a straw floppy hat instead of, you know, like a top hat or whatever. He becomes kind of one of the people and in many ways Rick Warren's Hawaiian shirt goes all the way back to the straw hat really is that, so that starts to change things and it starts to kind of release this from it.
Speaker 4:
36:50
It starts to lower the bar in some way. Um, but it's done for kind of feel logical reasons. And then one of the other things that makes Henry where beat you're so famous is that he's, he does after Abraham Lincoln becomes president, uh, he, he preaches many sermons and writes many articles for newspapers against slavery. So he's one of the main ones during the, right before the civil war of an end to the civil war, really fighting for abolition and things like that. So there's, there is to becomes this kind of sense that the pastor has a role to play in larger society as well. The next step then is about a hundred years later to Harry Fosdick, who's also in New York City. And Harry's Fosdick is like, and end of the 19th century, early 20th century, the 1920s he's preaching. And the same way with Beecher's that when people came to New York City, before they would go to Broadway or even go see the Yankees play in the Bronx, they would go listen to, um, uh, Fosdick preach in this Presbyterian church and then in heights, Morningside Heights, uh, congregation.
Speaker 4:
37:51
But one of the things that Fosdick really did is have this kind of sense. And I try, it's, it's, it's a little bit more complicated story, but essentially what starts to occur here is that people realize industrialization happens more full force and people don't need to be protected from demons anymore, but people do need to be protected, um, from their, their, um, their worst angels or their worst God. So the pastor now is encouraging. People don't get caught up in every, there's urbanizations happening faster saying like, don't get caught up in gambling. Don't get caught up in drinking. And of course, uh, phostic is really close to the titans of industry. Like he's close friends with the Rockefellers, like arm and arm. Rockefeller builds his church. And so he's also like pushing to these titans of industry very unlike, we don't have in our day basically saying to these people, it's your job to make sure human beings flourish.
Speaker 4:
38:43
So the way I frame this as in this time the pastor still important, but the pastor now as the chaplain of the secular age, before you go back to you go back to um, uh, to uh, Beckett in the pastor's everything. You go back to Edwards and Pastor Zealand educated one, now you enter in the early 20th century in the pastor is the conscious, like the conscience of America trying to remind people to do what's right. And so, and Fosdick Fosdick I think it's the 1940s is on the cover of Time magazine. And then of course we get world war two in. Then even more so we get a counterculture movement. We get to Vietnam and basically the frogs don't.
Speaker 4:
39:30
Exactly. Yeah. So the pastor is the conscience of this America in of this American project and all of a sudden at the end of the 1960s, you realize the American project is a lie. And the politicians are lying to you and the main line pastor particularly gets caught up in that same critique. And so in many ways as a kind of identity form a Harry Fosdick is the last main line pastor. Okay, enter the scene. We go from New York City industry centers in the East to California and Rick Warren and evangelicalism come on the scene as this new form and what happens is this age of authenticity occurs and basically organized religion as the form of spirituality is over and now it becomes an all what Taylor calls a surplus of options that he calls a Nova effect. That the critique of organized religion and just the institutional structures organised religion becomes so heavy, they become like a star that explodes and how their becomes all sorts of third options to be spiritual.
Speaker 4:
40:34
You don't need to go to so and so Presbyterian church or Blake and Blake United Methodist Church. You can go hiking in the woods, you can follow a band, you could just try and get your kid into Yale. You could join a yoga group. And Rick Warren becomes an absolute genius of recognizing that the church now needs to essentially enter into that Nova effect and make a case that Jesus is the best third option of all other third options. Now, the geniuses, he does that, and he obviously has some success side of it, is he has to put Jesus on par with Yoga, with little league baseball, crossfit, all of it, all of that stuff with eating Kale. It has to be on that level. Now, to his credit, he thought, let's, I mean he's not quite rationally thinking this, but intuitively thinking, let's make Jesus on the same par as yoga, but Jesus will win every time. So the objective is you're looking for purpose, let me, you're looking for and all sorts of third things. Let me show you the truth or thing that will fulfill. And in many ways it worked in other ways. It turned out
Speaker 1:
41:41
that's some of the secret of evangelism of the Warren Age, right? Like, that's the, you know, like man, there's a lot of great bands, but these Jesus songs are better.
Speaker 4:
41:50
Exactly. And what, and I think what that does to kind of round out our story, and he's, I'm sure your listeners are getting sick of listening to some summer lecture, Summers in session. Yeah. So what, uh, so then what of course occurs is that then the Rick Warren type past or building a huge mega church becomes the model of the pastor. And we really haven't broken out of that. So you go back to the guy I talked to at this, uh, at this conference who said he didn't know what he's doing. What he meant is he didn't know inside this doubt of the loss of transcendence in the secular age. How we can talk about God and particularly what it means for him to be a pastor. Because he, he, it appears the only way to keep your people's attention enough is to create a one stop shop for everything they need, the big mega church.
Speaker 4:
42:37
And he hadn't done that. So he found himself either always criticizing himself. Like if only I was more talented, only if only I wrote a book or had a podcast or only I can become like a celebrity pastor, then I would have a good ministry. If only my church wasn't 1500, which by the way is a huge church. If only makes your chores in 1500 but it was 15,000 then I would be doing. So then they become self blame or then it turns out he blames his people. Well if only they'd be more committed if only they'd realize that, you know, having their kid playing on eight soccer leagues and being gone every weekend wasn't, wasn't a good thing to do and if they really, really committed, then things would be going better for me. Um, so there became this kind of blame and self blame thing that happened and I, I just think it does become a real challenge for, for the faster then for all of this ministry as you can see. But, um, the pastor particularly
Speaker 1:
43:31
well, especially when that again and you're, you're, you're, again, you're naming a lot of the things I think a lot of folks have had out there in the conversation, which is like, there seems to be this like self-fulfilled justification of like if the church is large than Jesus is good, right? Like, like again, it's not, it's not a direct line. I mean nobody I think would like rationally argue that like, you know, the larger the church, no one's mission statement or no one say the larger the church, the better the Jesus. But if Jesus is better than the church will be larger. I think that's one of the things that like, it's almost impossible to separate the growth conversation in churches of like hair, churches growing. Oh, so you're adding more people weekly. Like I, that's one of the things that like becomes this, it's almost like instead of the pastor being influencer, the church that, that thrashed are pastors becomes the influencer of like, you know, if you have, if you have 1.2 million followers and you're clearly a true advocate for Jesus, but what do you do when the average church in America is 140 people is a 110 people?
Speaker 1:
44:31
Like, so what
Speaker 4:
44:32
is it? Give us the teaser before we get to the, before the webinar stuff handed to get us prepped. Like what is the theological hope or turn for, uh, someone who, you know, maybe feels like the, the vocation of their life has left them with, you know, kind of an empty soul or an empty church either. I am rob who I am trying to serve a master that is not the one that called me. Uh, or you know, I try to live faithfully to the my calling and yet, you know, my church has shrunk and I, and I wonder if this is even viable. This is what, this is what I worry about. With the book and hopefully, uh, you know, this might, this, this is a real talk here about that. Let's do this. Yeah. Right. As, as it releases here in a couple of weeks or by the time you guys are listening to, is it probably be out, um, is that the temptation?
Speaker 4:
45:21
And I, if I've done my job well, which, um, I hope I have telling this story, what the reader really wants is what comes after Rick War. Like what's the next one? Yeah. Yeah. And I had a temptation to do that, but I didn't, first of all, because I didn't know if I could. And secondly, because I realized that falls into the same trap that puts, it puts us back in checkers instead of playing chess. And the reason we're at this crisis is because we're having a hard time witnessing, forming imaginations and proclaiming where God is active in the world. So I felt like I needed with the second half of the book to try to give a vision of how we can still talk about the living presence of God, even in our secular age. So what comes after Rick Warren needs to be put on the, on the back burner.
Speaker 4:
46:11
I start the book then with two other stories and they're stories of people who are not pastors who basically have awakenings to being pastors. And the one I'll just share here, um, just for time sake, is this, I don't know if people saw the number one New York Times bestselling memoir when, when air, when breath turns down air. Yeah, yeah, yeah. One breath turns the air. So it's about this neuroscience guy, um, who basically ends up tragically with a brain brain tumor and uh, east telling the story and then he dies before the book has done in. His wife writes the last chapter and it's incredibly moving. But he has this awakening because he, and he says this in the book, like once he gets his diagnosis that he has cancer, the way he interacts with his patients who have cancer is completely transformed and even says in the book that he realizes that he is going to become a pastorial physician.
Speaker 4:
47:05
That he's going to do ministry, that he is going to pastor people bare their narratives. Be woof them in this moment, share in their humanity as they go through this and in a very kind of theology the cross way. He had to find himself on the cross, the fine the vision and the empowerment to actually go and do ministry. So what I'm trying to sketch here in there, we just, you know, people will have to read it or we can talk about it more on the Webinar is I'm trying to sketch that the pastor, as a pastor, you feel like your identity is being thinned out. It's becoming meaningless. But what's I think what's been a pretty core central piece of my, my work that's been hidden that I'm more explicit here is that ministry itself, this Ministry of actually sharing in the life of another is the place where God is present.
Speaker 4:
47:53
And so what I'm trying to sketch out in the second half is that God, if we want to think about God and even talk about God's own identity, we have to talk about God as a minister, that God, if you will, as a pastor, that God isn't minister. And in this really is central to the Old Testament, that God, that God is a shepherd, that God for you know, a shepherding people, that God, that's, this is who god is. So I actually take these old testament texts from Abraham to Moses. I'm all the way to Ezekiel and try to show that that this God is fundamentally administering God's. So Robert Jensen, who is very famous Lutheran theologian, great theologians of the end of the 20 20th century made this strong assertion that whoever God is the only God that we from within the biblical texts can nail within Judeo Christianity.
Speaker 4:
48:41
The only God we can know is the God who's made known in the exodus and the resurrection. I mean there's, there's other events of course, but those become the two big defining the defining ones are God is who ever freeze Israel from Egypt in raising Jesus from the dead yet. So we can, we can learn a lot from the Greek philosophers. We can go to Athens and learn a lot. We can, you know, we can go to the philosophy departments in Berlin and learn a lot or whatever. That's great. But ultimately what it means to be a Christian, even really what it means to be a Jew is to say the only real data we have of who this God is the one who comes to us with a word in a Bush that burns but is not consumed and frees us from Egypt when were in slavery and the God who comes to the dead Jesus and raises him to life.
Speaker 4:
49:27
That's who god is. That's, that's what we know about who God is, how God acts. So what are those acts of exodus and resurrection? They're fundamentally acts of ministry that God comes and ministers to Israel that God loves Israel and chooses out of God's freedom to be Israel's minister. Who is Jesus Christ for us? Jesus Christ is in a zeal, the dry bones that live again and live for the sake of ministry to bring us into true participation in love with God. So my big push here is that God is fundamentally administered. So how do you get, how do you create a church where that's encountering the living presence of Jesus Christ is to minister to your people and encourage your people in narrate for your people and have your people tell stories of ministry, of being a physician in deciding that you're no longer seeing your patients as problems to solve as, um, as machines to, to heal, to rewire, to work, but as persons who have stories, who need someone to be beside them. Um, in that, in those dynamic moments of sharing each other's lives, that we encounter the living presence of God. So that's where I'd go with this is to try to sketch it out as I'm just, when we lose our pastoral identity, we have to turn and look that God's own identity is fundamentally one as pastor, as minister.
Speaker 1:
50:51
Yeah. But isn't that want to take a little theological breath, but isn't that, isn't that a thing that we feel that we've lost God in it? Like, that's, that's one of the things that, that, that Andy, that is so helpful because I think for so many of these pastors that feel like we've been rewired to be executive level entrepreneurs of startup businesses that are about to 10 x, the thing missing from all of that is God, like all of that makes sense organizationally and for better leadership and for better structure organization. But the thing that is so tender and so thin in that is that it, it seems very devoid of theology. It feels very devoid. Uh, what we have to say about who god is and the notion that what you're calling us to is not a restoration of our vocation, but our restoration of the one who gave us vocation, it seems deeper and truer than any kind of like pastoral retreat that we could go on to just, you know, take a breath or a sabbath from all the demands of serving in the church. And so that's right. It's a powerful word.
Speaker 4:
52:00
Yeah. I mean I'd probably just to close it, close it out. And that thought is, is that you're exactly right. I mean, if you, if you want a form, if you want to find yourself a strong pastoral identity, you will find it. If you can build an organization and continue to Prime Yourself, you know, in the sense of 10 x in yourself all the time. So if you're at 2000 this year, you gotta be a 300 next year and if you can do that, you will have a strong pastoral identity. I would look at it sideways, but you will have a strong pastoral identity. The truth of the matter is there are probably one out of 1,002 thousand pastors without will happen and it's somewhat talent. It's somewhat just demographics. It's somewhat just luck and it is no way forward. Nor do I think is faithful to the gospel to make that, that our identity.
Speaker 4:
52:49
But it will give you meaning. I think it's much more profound to think of what is the meaning. The deep identity of being a pastor is to have that taken into wrapped around the very identity of who god is a minister. That to be called into ministry is to do the most profound thing in the world. It is to participate in, uh, in, uh, in ways that seemed backwards, that seem foolish to the coal Corinthians, but that actually are the strongest things in the universe because they participate in death and God brings life out of death. And Ministry may just be the pall powerful in the world, but it comes by taking on humility and seeking for God. MMM. And in small places, in, in, in meaningful places, um, in broken places. And so I just think that that's a better way to think of our pastor identities that are like, that our identity is so significant that it's the way God identifies God's own self as a minister. That's good. Alright. If you want more, check the show out links below. Uh, Andy route's going to hang out with his live in a Webinar or ask, and I answer all of your questions that you guys can ask. So Andy, thank you so much for jumping by for round two, talking about the newest book, a pastor in a secular age, uh, which drops later in June, 2019. Check the links below to order a preorder it and until we talk again, Fran, thank you so much.
Speaker 3:
54:10
Boom, there you go. That is our interview with Andy, route about his new book pastoring in the secular age. Again, free of it. Anybody that's checking out this podcast, youth pastor, bring your senior pastor. The link is in the show notes below. It's free to sign up. Register, get us your email so that we can get you all the information and the recordings of June 12th at two o'clock of what it means to pastor in the secular age. You will not want to miss this live webcast, this live video chat with Dr Root. Ask Your questions, engage in some dialogue, and find out what the new models and metaphors of youth ministry could mean.
Speaker 5:
54:51
Now I'm going to show [inaudible].
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