My wife’s parents came up to visit to help us with our first week with our newborn baby. They are awesome! Anyway, they went out and bought a season of a sci-fi series that I’ve always wanted to see – called Firefly. We all watched the first 4 episodes in one sitting – they were really good. One of the many reasons I loved the show was because of how they incorporate religion – with one of the main characters on their ship who is referred to as a shepherd.
My thinking on the subject is best summed up by what the captain says about shepherds: “They’re no fun to be around because all they do is make men feel guilty.” This has been my impression of pastors though my life – they are one-dimensional, self-righteous, overly legalistic people that if you are a Christian, are a bore to be around and if you are not, make you feel guilty and uncomfortable in a bad way. Either this is a pattern, or I’ve had terrible luck with pastors.
How sad. The people who are supposed to represent God are so completely his anthesis. Give me a person who is full of life, full of grace, screws up a lot and is approachable, and is a total joy to be in the presence of – that is more of the person I want to be around. I think the ship’s mechanic would be a much better candidate for God’s rep. She’s absolutely charming.
However, it seems like the shepherd adapts. When the problems that this band of people encounter begin to come head-on, he has to re-evaluate his idealism and simple perspectives of life.
I think Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones seems more appropriate to Christian pastors than the Jewish people (who scholars think the prophecy was towards) in my experience – God animates them (pastors), but they are still just bones without vitality and life. To the few pastors I’ve met that don’t fit my negative stereotype – thank you for making a difference in a world that needs it.