Wednesday, July 23, 2014


There are two ways in which a person can own a horse.  The first (the model imagined by seven year olds everywhere) is where you pay to have your horse boarded.  You come by, when you have the time, to ride, give a carrot, and pat it on the nose.  The other way to own a horse is to 1) own a farm and 2) you go out twice a day to feed the horse, give a bale of hay (which you loaded into the barn last fall) and muck the stall, give it its daily exercise, groom, clean its hoofs, give it its shot and pills, find caretakers when you want to be a way, call the vet, etc. etc. etc. . .
This is also a model for two types of churches.  The first, you pay your money like you would at a gym, things are taken care of for you (babysitting, youth group, senior club, Bible studies, and so forth) and you can make certain demands (I pay good money to come here and I expect . . .) with the threat of going next door next Sunday.  The other is to belong to a church where you are part of the mission.  If there isn’t a Bible Study, you go talk to the pastor and if he can’t do it, you start one yourself.  If there are no greeters at the door, ask if you can start greeting people.  Outreach is not the pastor’s and staff’s responsibility, but everyone’s. 

Catholic parishes are closer to the second model in both, but often we try to be the first model and that frequently fails.  That is not to say that a pastor cannot use great ideas from the first model, but they are employed closer to the second model.  It is the difference in mentality of running a service in the hospitality industry and running a good family home.  The first has many perks and a few responsibilities, the second has many responsibilities and a few privileges and perks.
“I came to serve, not be served,” is the call we follow.  It is funny how easy it is to fall into the wrong mindset (from both sides!) 


stephen said...

Dear Father, Stephen here.

I learned my lesson the hard way many years ago. I complained to my pastor why our parish did not
provide a certain service. He said, "That is a good idea Stephen. I like it. You are in charge, Now do it."
I meant for someone else to provide the service. Not me. My pastor heard no more complaints or bright ideas out me.

Anonymous said...

I want to achieve salvation . . in other words I think that my death is not the end of all things. Oblivion is not something to which I would look forward. Right now membership in the catholic church is a good way to achieve eternal happiness.