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Clergy burnout: theological anemia

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This post continues a series in The Shape of Practical Theology by Ray S. Anderson. For other posts in the series, click a number: 123456789101112, 13, 15.

Anderson's review of pastoral ministry now focuses on the very real danger of clergy burnout, which he identifies as "a symptom of theological anemia" (p284). By that he means that when pastors burn out it's often because their approach to ministry lacks grounding in a robust incarnational and Trinitarian theology. In short, they see themselves working "for" God, rather than "with" the Father, in the Son, by the Spirit. Because of this, they tend to take too much upon themselves and that places them at risk of burnout. It's ironic that the very people who have devoted their lives to sharing the message, My Redeemer Lives, operate as though Jesus is not truly present and alive, and as though he is not active in accomplishing, through the Spirit, his continuing ministry …

Pastoral care as moral advocacy

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This post continues a series in The Shape of Practical Theology by Ray S. Anderson. For other posts in the series, click a number: 1234567891011, 12, 1415.

As noted last time, Anderson calls upon pastors to serve as moral advocates rather than moral police. He defines moral advocacy this way:
The extension of divine grace to persons who are guilty of breaking the moral law or who are suffering a loss of personhood through the existence of a structure mandated by moral law. The practice of moral advocacy places on the side of the marginal person the moral right for personal dignity, freedom from abusive relationships, and full parity in social and communal life....  [This advocacy in the form of pastoral care is] provided at times of crisis, when life has become difficult, if not impossible, when relationships have been distorted, if not destructive, and when the tragic contravenes common sense, and even faith fails (p218).  Crises come in many forms, of course, i…

Moral police or moral advocates?

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This post continues a series in The Shape of Practical Theology by Ray S. Anderson. For other posts in the series, click a number: 12345678, 91011131415.

Ray Anderson advocates what he refers to as Christopraxis---an approach toward ministry that flows from what he calls a theological ethic. In this post we'll see what that looks like when pastors address the moral crises in our culture. Anderson calls pastors to respond not as moral police but as moral advocates who participate with Jesus in what he is now doing by the Spirit to heal a hurting world.

When it comes to morals, values trump beliefs It's common for people today to decry the moral decline in our culture. Even those who express belief in a divine being are doing what seems right in their own eyes, rather than what would conform their behavior to a universally accepted moral code. What we see in this is that behavior springs more from personal values than from universal beliefs. Said another …