prophetic and pastoral

The Episcopal priest and social justice advocate Susan Russell posted the following on Facebook Saturday evening:

quoteMy other random thought du jour as we head to #GC78:1 Can we get OVER the competitive/scarcity paradigm that if we’re prophetic we can’t be pastoral and if we’re pastoral we’re selling out our prophetic voice and recognize if we can’t figure out how to be a both/and church nobody is going to be left to care about either?

She nailed it here. I responded with the following comment:

Speaking as a lay person, I have to say “exactly right!” I need my priest to be prophetic in her Sunday sermon, and we all need to know that she is there to address our pastoral needs as they arise throughout the week.

Interestingly, that comment got four Likes. It seems that many of us in the laity believe that Susan has it right.

Fr. Phil at St. John the Divine in Morgan Hill had no problem being prophetic in his sermons. At the same time his pastoral radar was always up and running. When Terry’s stepfather died and she headed south to help her sister take care of things, Fr. Phil’s response was prompt and pastoral.

Here in Hemet at Good Shepherd Episcopal I have heard Pastor Kathleen be prophetic from the pulpit (virtually speaking: she doesn’t use one) more than once. Her response yesterday to the Charleston shootings was marvelously prophetic. I won’t try to paraphrase what she said because I won’t do it justice, but believe me, she nailed it. At the same time I see regularly how important the pastoral aspect is to her ministry.

We need both. I admire and respect those priests who give us both.

1 The Episcopal Church’s 78th triennial General Convention convening in Salt Lake City this week


One Comment on “prophetic and pastoral”

  1. Tahoe Mom says:

    Exactly – and as human beings, we need both. The pastors I have had have been pretty good at that balance.


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