Hirsch & Frost write, "The Christendom-mode church has these three flaws in its DNA - it is attractional, dualistic, and hierarchical. . . . By attractional, we mean that the traditional church plants itself within a particular community, neighborhood, or locale and expects that people will come to it to meet God and find fellowship with others. . . . [By dualistic, we mean] it separates the sacred from the profane, the holy from the unholy, the in from the out. . . . [By hierarchical, we mean] bureaucratic, top-down model of leadership." (p.18-21)
I see all of these cultural assumptions come into play everytime I tell people I'm a "pastor". Immediate apologies for language are muttered & comments to third parties about being in the presence of a religious man are not uncommon. Lately, I've begun altering my job description & title when people ask what Aleta & I do for a living. I say that my wife is a graphic designer & I'm a social worker with a group of elderly people in Chicago's west-suburbs. It's true enough to avoid a guilty conscience & allows me to skirt the normal obstacles of having ministry as a professional vocation & look for more genuine, natural, & relational ways to converse on issues of substance that point to Christ.
I would love to have the ministry of Christ be in me instead of me being in the ministry. Then I could just be me (all of me, including my Jesus) with the people I meet - a man of normal circumstances who lives Christ out as a personal passion instead of a profession. (Did you know that's the perception in many people's minds? ...that pastors get paid to be religious?) I think that would make meaningful connections with the sea seekers around me easier. Perhaps it would also empower the use of such tools as proximity space, shared projects, commercial enterprise, & emerging indigenous faith communities... some strategic elements for transforming host-communities described by Frost & Hirsch on p.24ff.
Great... 2 degrees, 3 internships, & $40k of student loans for nothing. (...kidding. ...sort of.)