• Flickr/Scallop Holden

    Autopsy of a Burned-Out Pastor: 13 Lessons

    Another short gem from Thom Rainer, this one based on his "autopsies" of pastors whose ministries - and persons - were rendered "mission incapable" by their inability to cope with the cumulative pressures of parish life.  Please note that only two of the factors: serving dysfunctional parishes and Read more…

  • A lame duck president finds it hard to lead - mores the pastor!  Image from http://accentoninterpreting.blogspot.com

    The One-Term Curse (and how to avoid it)

    In this essay, Thom Rainer describes a parish phenomenon that is all too common among pastors: the three year tenure.  I grew up in a tradition - Methodism - that had institutionalized a four year rotational schedule for its ministers.  While short tenures have some benefits, they do not allow for Read more…

  • Slide1

    Priests, you don’t have to like your parish either

    In my post, “You Don’t Have to Like Your Priest”, I built on Brother Patrick’s essay to describe some of the reasons that people don’t like their Orthodox priests, making the general point that all of his foibles pale in comparison to the One Thing Needful which He serves and shares. Another dynamic Read more…

  • Chapter Seven of Fr. David's book has a chapter on how to relate to your priest: he uses the models of Lawyer, Doctor, Teacher, Artist, and Manager to help.

    You Don’t Have to Like Your Priest

    A reader recommended Brother Patrick Mary Briscoe's article "You Don't have to Like Your priest" (published on March 7, 2014 at Dominicana)   It is an excellent article and I recommend it, too.  Imitation is the highest form of flattery.  The following is patterned on Brother Patrick's essay.  Why Read more…

  • Burns

    Signs in a Congregation That a Leader Has Covert Narcissistic Personality Disorder

    Having experienced leaders like this in parishes like this, and grown them anyway, I believe this describes too many Orthodox parishes in North America today. Read and learn. Let the pastor beware. Taking steps to solve these pernicious and destructive issues has gotten me bounced from more than one Read more…

  • Bishop at Pentecost

    On The Mystery Of Ordination

    by St. Nikolai Velimirovich "And when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them" - Acts of the Apostles 6:6 By laying their hands on the chosen faithful, the apostles consecrated bishops, priests and deacons. It is apparent from this that the Christian Faith is not only a teaching, but Read more…

  • Concelebration

    The Priesthood That Never Was

    by Fr. Stephen Freeman A recent question concerning the “priesthood of all believers” has been an occasion for personal reflection. What is it about the priesthood of all believers that seems so important for Protestant thought? The idea is rooted in Scripture: You also, as living stones, are Read more…

Feb
11

Prayer as an Antidote and Cure for Burn-out

Icon scanned from a church bulletin. Bulletin is copyright(C) 1973 by God With Us Publications.  Found at http://maryimmaculate.tripod.com/sorrow1.html

One of the topics that has drawn the most comments to this and other pastoral blogs is that of clergy burn-out.  I have met well-meaning and venerable pastors who claim that burn-out can only happen to those who have not completely given their lives over to Christ.  They believe that kenosis and the Holy Spirit can sustain pastors through even the darkest of valleys.  Certainly kenosis is part of the answer... but it's not enough.  The Read more…

Feb
06

On the Priesthood, Book 3 – On the Power and Temptations of the Priesthood (St. John Chrysostom)

Mosaic of St. John Chrysostom in Hagia Sophia

Treatise on the Priesthood. Saint John Chrysostom (source: www.ccel.org/fathers) Book III.  The Power and Temptations of the Priesthood 1. Chrysostom: As regards the insult to those who have done me honor, what I have already said might be sufficient to prove that in avoiding this office I had no desire to put them to shame; but I will now endeavor to make it evident, to the best of my ability, that I was not puffed up by arrogance Read more…

Feb
01

On the Priesthood, Book 2 – On the Qualities of a Good Pastor (St. John Chrysostom)

St. John Chrysostom (Archangel Icons)

Treatise on the Priesthood, by St. John Chrysostom(source: www.ccel.org/fathers) Book II.  On the Qualities of a Good Pastor. 1. Chrysostom:  That it is possible then to make use of deceit for a good purpose, or rather that in such a case it ought not to be called deceit, but a kind of good management worthy of all admiration, might be proved at greater length; but since what has already been said suffices for demonstration, it would Read more…

Feb
01

On the Priesthood, Book 1 – The Deception (St. John Chrysostom)

St. John Chrysostom, (Archangel Icons)

Treatise on the Priesthood, by St. John Chrysostom (source: www.ccel.org/fathers) Book I.  The Deception. 1. I had many genuine and true friends, men who understood the laws of friendship, and faithfully observed them; but out of this large number there was one who excelled all the rest in his attachment to me, striving to outstrip them as much as they themselves outstripped ordinary acquaintance. He was one of those who were Read more…

Jan
29

12 Reasons Why It Is Good To Be A Church Bully

Are sandbox bullies destroying the peace of your parish?

Being a priest is a blessing, but it's not always easy.  Rev. Erik Parker addresses one of the challenges of ministry: dealing with people who assert their fallen wills in unhealthy ways.  I have no doubt there are such people in our parishes; the question is how to deal with it.  They cannot be allowed to poison the parish, but how, exactly should we follow Rev. Parker's example and "stand up" to them?   As always, there Read more…

Jan
22

Don’t let the “modern project” motivate your calling to the priesthood (or anything else)

Fr. Stephen Freeman

This article is part of Fr. Stephen Freeman's series on "The Modern Project."  While I recommend all of the articles in the series, this one has special relevance for those who feel called to the priesthood.  Why?  Because I have met men who want to become priests so badly that they cannot imagine their lives being complete without it.  Some believe this nonsense so much that they are willing to "shop for a bishop" (even outside Read more…

Jan
06

Something to understand about the priesthood…

Abbot Tryphon, All-Savior Monastery

Abbot Tryphon says at the end of his essay;"I'm sharing all of this with you because I know your priest will not."  He's right; I'm reluctant to post it myself.  I've never countenanced whining, especially when it seems to cheapen the "One thing Needful."  But it's a good essay and worth sharing for at least three reasons; 1) those considering a vocation need to adjust their expectations to match the realities of life in clerical Read more…