QUOTABLES: Subversive Pastor

“Most of the individuals in this amalgam [i.e., congregation] suppose that the goals they have for themselves and the goals God has for them are the same. It is the oldest religious mistake: refusing to countenance any real difference between God and us, imagining God to be a vague extrapolation of our own desires, and then hiring a priest to manage the affairs between self and the extrapolation. And I, one of the priests they hired, am having none of it. 

But if I’m not willing to help them become what they want to be, what am I doing taking their pay? I am being subversive. I am undermining the kingdom of self and establishing the kingdom of God. I am helping them to become what God wants them to be, using the methods of subversion. . . . For I’m not misrepresenting myself. I’m simply taking my words and acts at a level of seriousness that would throw them into a state of catatonic disbelief if they ever knew.”

-EUGENE PETERSON

“Ministry becomes not the clarification of the congregation’s own values but the transforming of its values through the Christian message.”

-JAMES THOMPSON

“They [the pastors] were the stewards of ultimate things.”

-MARILYNNE ROBINSON

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