|Dr. Wunibald Muller|
1) He speaks "a growing chasm between personal convictions and what is expected by church employers, between personal dialogue and a 'clericalist manner'. . . . Many pastoral workers suffer from being overburdened, oftentimes along with health problems such as burn-out."
2) He describes church ministers who “went into ministry under completely different conditions, with completely different expectations.” Church workers report with ever greater frequency that they strive to be loyal to the church, but this makes them feel “disloyal to their own soul.”
3) Muller reports that many of the church workers he works with (including members of the clergy) expend much of their energy “maintaining the external facade and hiding what they really think and live.”
4) Dr. Muller concludes that the Church's ministers today need an ability to cope with conflict and resilience. “If we as church coworkers do not wish to become resigned, we must be ready to take up the balancing act of dealing with the concrete situation in the church on the one hand, without selling our heart and soul on the other hand.”
I think many of us in ministry can find much value and resonance in what Dr. Muller has found in his work with other pastoral ministers. He refers to a need for ministers to find "crisis energy" in dealing with this "chasm." I also think all of us can benefit from a serious reflection on where we find ourselves in this issue. The results of dealing with such a crisis on a personal level can lead to ministerial burnout and worse. In keeping with my last posting, regarding the balance between contemplation and action, much of our prayerful contemplation must include an honest assessment of where we find ourselves in terms of personal conviction and public responsibilities.
What do you think?