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The Pastor as Minor Poet: Texts and Subtexts in the Ministerial Life (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Liturgical Studies) Paperback – December 30, 2008
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"Barnes knows all about being a pastor, how to use authority, how to lead, how to listen, and how to provoke. He knows, moreover, that it finally all comes down to faithful words that can conjure alternative scenarios of the future. In a society cold with technical reason, this summons to poetic truth is of huge importance."
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Top Customer Reviews
There are several of these insights worth pointing out. The phrase "it's just church" stood out to me. Barnes is right, it seems to me, in reminding us not to expect too much from the church, as if the church is Christ. He helped me in this connection to see the value of the distinction between the "visible" and "invisible" church, a distinction that in my opinion ecclesiology needs to recover.
I was especially impressed by his observation about the contemporary obsession over identity. I determine who I am by what I do; I cannot have a secure identity unless I find a profession that fulfills me. Whenever ones see the language of "calling" or "vocation" in the NT, it is always in reference to belonging to Christ. Our calling is to enjoy communion with Christ. This recognition could relieve the pressure under which many people labor in their pursuit of that spouse or that profession they believe constitutes their "calling."
The idea of pastor as minor poet is very helpful. When Barnes describes the task of the pastor as discerning the grace of God in the ordinary routines of people's lives, I found myself concurring with him. He's right in stressing that a pastor connects with people when he is able to participate in their mundane conversations about concerns which strike the idealistic recent seminary graduate as petty. The grace of God is found in the "petty." Christ is at work in the ordinary routines of people's lives, sanctifying them precisely in and through their routines. The examples he gives from his own pastoral experience were moving.Read more ›
The goal, it seems, is to clarify a confusion pastors live with right now - what it means to be a pastor. It seems to be a great problem if men and women are entering professions they can't properly or deeply define, but I think he is right. We have simply let the role of pastor be defined for us in recent decades and we need to work to recover its true meaning.
The image Barnes uses to control the book is that of pastor as a "minor poet." Major poets are the larger-than-life biblical and historical figures who change almost everything, but the vast majority of us fit into the "minor poet" role as we work on translating the truths of God into a fuzzy and broken world. All in all, I think the metaphor is a helpful one. From time to time it seems a bit stretched, but it really comes home in some of the final chapters as Barnes uses T.S. Elliot's "The Three Voices of Poetry" to help define the pastoral vocation. I was surprised at how helpful that rubric was.
The book is short but important. If you are a pastor, I challenge you to pick up this book and others like it to re-ground your vocation and break away from the definitions placed on you from the outside. If you know someone wanting to be a pastor, give them this book and see how it strikes them. I found it encouraging, helpful and needful at the same time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great reminder of the power of the pastor to be a minor poet to his/her congregation. It isn't poetry as one would think, that the pastor has to know rhythm, rhyme and meter. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Beautifully and poetically written by a man who has years of experience serving and loving people. Our pastoral staff is doing a discussion group on this book. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Robert O. K
A must read for anyone in ministry! This amazing little book is loaded with insightful reflections taken from the everyday life of one called to serve.Published 15 months ago by DEBORAH LEWIS-VIRGES
This is not a practical handbook as much as it is about the art of being an effective pastor. In addition to pastoral counseling and visitation, the author points out that sermon... Read morePublished on August 22, 2014 by Anonymous
Book touched my soul; Dr. Craig really understands pastors and how we need to be with God's people. The book is authentic and even appropriately transparent.Published on June 12, 2014 by Rodney L. Graves
M. Craig Barnes in The Pastor as Minor Poet (TPMP) calls pastors back to what it means to be a minister of the Gospel. In the vein of work done by Eugene H. Read morePublished on May 6, 2014 by Jon Wymer
For those who may not have grown up with a love for poetry and great literature, this book is hard work to read. But only initially. Read morePublished on December 24, 2013 by D. Hart