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  •  Assumptions. (4+ / 0-)

    Probably 35-40% of my congregation are some stripe of Atheist.

    The education was required. But most clergy will tell you that their required education is/was out of date. Not the theology and ethics, but the parts that don't begin to provide the training for what actual parish life is like.

    60 hours+, yes. And most of that is spent in doing pastoral care and administration work. Pastoral care meaning going and being with people who are suffering and dying. Or have family suffering and dying. Helping them through making decisions about suffering and dying. Being with them while they do those things, so that they're not alone.

    And the data says that the role is more wearing than doctors. Doctors mostly step in, perform their work, and step out. The human-human interaction they do is limited, and often only just sufficient to socially lubricate the interaction they need to have for medical purposes. Being with people who are dying or losing some serious life capacity, for hours, day after day, week after week, just for the human-human interaction and presence. Yeah, that's the fun and games that makes up a big slice of ministry work. Holding a space for people to wrestle with questions, to have someone to ask questions of, as they try to figure out how they make peace with living incapacitated, or dying. Or having done something that will burden them for their whole lives.

    And then pivoting around to get paid a couple hundred dollars for pre-marital counseling, and developing a marriage ceremony, and helping them negotiate issues and family crises, and attending a rehearsal and then the wedding itself.  And pivoting back to provide a memorial service. Maybe for an elderly person whose life just ran out. Or a veteran who struggled and offended almost everyone around him and succeeded in dying alone, a suicide -- and the family is feeling guilty and ashamed, and angry and lost, as well as grieving.


    "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

    by ogre on Sat Nov 23, 2013 at 08:43:48 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

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