cartoon: take my advice & keep it

I have worked for other ministries, pastors and religious leaders. I’ll give you a warning: when they say, “This is my advice“, they usually mean, “These are my orders!

It is inappropriate to give orders in the church, ministries, and most religious movements or organizations anymore. So the way it is circumvented is by saying it is advice. Now, advice you can take or leave. Orders you can’t. What I learned though is that you can’t take or leave advice either. You will get the boot if you don’t take it.

Many pastors, ministers, priests, Imams and other leaders simply can’t bear it if you don’t take their advice. Because in their minds this advice is not just a good suggestion, but the right thing to do. And if you don’t do the right thing, well… you’re doing something wrong. You’re going against the direction, recommendation, counsel, wishes and instructions of the authorities.

If your boss, pastor or leader gives you advice, it’s probably an order. Remember that.

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40 Responses

  1. Alise says:

    My previous church was this. I was the music director and had a meeting with the pastor about 6 months in, after I had made some changes that I had spoken with him about before taking on the role. He told me a couple of things that he wanted me to do and then made some “suggestions.” I chose not to take his suggestions. Was called in a month later and told how unsubmissive and wrong I was because I didn’t listen to him. When I said that I had followed all the directives, but felt like his suggestions were wrong, I was told that suggestions weren’t REALLY suggestions.

    Needless to say, that is why it is my FORMER church.

    Ugh.

  2. phil_style says:

    the line an old church I used to go to used was “this is a leader led church”…. that was their no so subtle way of saying “do what your told”.

    It’d be nice if these “leaders” knew what that meant (christologically speaking), and we could reverse your toon to say “as your pastor I want to ask your advice”…

  3. Tamara says:

    Ouch, really?
    I don’t think all pastors think or act that way. It’s a cruel manipulation of power. Yeah, we’re all sinful. But generalisations are hurtful.

  4. Doug Sloan says:

    THE WAY is to:

    * proclaim “Jesus is Lord” and mean that I have no other Lord, that no person of any social or political or clerical position has dominion over my life and understand “Jesus is Lord” as a position and act of radical counter-cultural non-violent defiance that opposes the oppression and systemic injustice committed by empire and civic religion and by individuals who are more interested in power over others than in service to others. My faith is personal. It is not a matter of proxy or authoritarianism.

    * know that the Good News message is not a loss of freedom or independence, indeed, it is a much fuller realization of our freedom and independence; is not a forsaking of intelligence or wisdom or knowledge or the search for new knowledge or learning or finding new ways to see reality, or new insights into the workings and purposes of reality, or new visions of what reality could be; is not a forsaking of seeking or questioning or doubting or examination or reexamination or analysis or reanalysis. The Good News is dynamic, not static; is life, not death; is growth, not stunted development; is moving forward and moving beyond our current existence and is moving forward and moving beyond our current understanding of our current existence and of God.

    excerpt from REFORMATION II by Doug Sloan
    appearing Sunday, October 31, 2010

  5. Rob says:

    I agree with Tamara.
    I don’t hear enough about the loving, selfless, perservering, and compassionate pastor anymore.
    All I hear are judgements and generalizations, for people who have gave up their lives to serve Christ, and serve people who constantly judge, demand perfection, and expect flawlessness from their pastors.
    Yes, there are awful leaders and people who abuse their authority, but what of those who don’t?

  6. Brianmpei says:

    Love the cartoon and classic 3rd panel pause!

    I think this is true for leaders who feel insecure and get their sense of self from their role and from how others respond to them in their role. And unfortunately that’s a LOT of us.

    But not all.

    Good advice nonetheless NP. 🙂

  7. nakedpastor says:

    Tamara: I agree it is not all. That’s why I said, “Many…” This is a snapshot from my own experience. I’ve known and do know good pastors and leaders. If you read through my blog you will see evidence of this.

  8. fishon says:

    Rob
    September 29, 2010 | 9:09 am

    I agree with Tamara.
    I don’t hear enough about the loving, selfless, perservering, and compassionate pastor anymore.
    —–You had better believe you are at the wrong site for hearing that, Rob. I have taken on the NP on numberous occassion about that, but he still majors on the negative.

  9. nakedpastor says:

    fishon: it’s negative to you maybe but not everybody. for many people who don’t comment on this blog it is encouraging that someone knows and understands and sympathizes with what sometimes happens.

  10. Kirsten Mebust says:

    Seems like this, as in so many aspects of life in society, is two-sided and an almost intolerable tension. I’ve had a pastor who could not believe that people in the congregation could be Christian if they wouldn’t do what she told them to do– in her case, go out into the neighborhood and evangelize every week after church. I’ve also had a pastor– same church– who was persecuted out because he was not willing to run things according to the preferences of a powerful group of lay people. We carefully vetted both of these people, and the other pastors we have had, and invited them to lead us. Do we really want leaders? What role does our relationship with one another as lay people play in how a leader leads us? Can you lead faithfully without an occasional order? What motivates people to listen to a leader when that person is asking them to do something distasteful? Can a congregation thrive for long if everyone does only what they wish to do without coordination and sharing burdens? Most of the pastors I know feel routinely ignored on anything difficult by members of their congregation. What does that mean about the church?

  11. Steve Martin says:

    Pastors are God’s shepherds. They take care of His flock and do what they can to keep people in faith.

    There are bad pastors. Are there are many good and faithful pastors.

    If we mostly spoke of our family’s foibles and faults…that wouldn’t be a good thing.

  12. fishon says:

    nakedpastor
    September 29, 2010 | 3:26 pm

    fishon: it’s negative to you maybe but not everybody. for many people who don’t comment on this blog it is encouraging that someone knows and understands and sympathizes with what sometimes happens.
    —–No doubt. None of us want to be in the leaky boat all alone. But to go on and on is to just enable. I have half a church of people with issues just like the folks on this blog. And I acknowledge that to them. But there is a time to move forward–but you seem to want to stay in the boat.

    Your first two sentences after the cartoon were:I have worked for other ministries, pastors and religious leaders. I’ll give you a warning: when they say, “This is my advice“, they usually mean, “These are my orders!”
    —-Why not some helps on how to deal with the issue? Or is it your purpose just to have them do as your last sentence expressed, “Remember that.”

  13. To the whiners:
    It’s The NP’s blog, so if he chooses to give solutions to real or perceived problems then he will. If not, he won’t. Also, there are enough blogs out there extolling the virtues of this or that church or preacher, etc. This blog is what it is…if you don’t like it, go to another blog. Stop trying to assert your will on others by dictating what should or should not be.
    My own personal experience with Christianity has been that some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met were Christians and some of the most evil people I’ve ever had the displeasure of knowing were also Christians.
    People are people and we are all flawed to one degree or another. That being said, certain types of individuals are drawn to certain types of careers. Domineering, narcissistic, control freaks tend to gravitate towards law enforcement, politics and the pulpit.
    Does this mean that all cops, politicians and preachers are megalomaniacal, arrogant, controlling jerks? Of course not, but the odds are higher that they are…

  14. Steve Martin says:

    Why am I not shocked that a person with the blog handle of ‘TheGodlessMonster’ does not seem to care if the church, or pastors are portrayed in a bad light(again)?

  15. @ Steve Martin:
    You wrote,
    “Why am I not shocked that a person with the blog handle of ‘TheGodlessMonster’ does not seem to care if the church, or pastors are portrayed in a bad light(again)?”

    My response,
    Perhaps because you are stereotyping me without knowing me. I’m more than happy to tear apart 90% of the atheist blogosphere if given half a chance.
    BTW buckaroo, I try to stay away from the ad hominem attacks, but am happy to engage a willing target if they insist on being unpleasant. Just know that I come intellectually loaded for bear, not bunny rabbit.
    As far as “caring” if churches or preachers or anyone or anything is portrayed in a “bad light”…why should I?
    Are you implying that freedom of speech is limited to those who only have nice things to say about your (insert anything here) of choice?
    Why does this bother you so? Is it that David isn’t toeing your particular dogmatic line? What exactly SHOULD he be writing about and HOW should he write it? Perhaps all of his posts should be run past you first for approval?

  16. The type of intolerance to criticism I see being displayed here is incompatible with free speech…free speech which is vital to the success of our civilization.

  17. Steve Martin says:

    David doesn’t mind my criticisms. He is a man, not a mouse. I, and some others, have been through this before with some very sensitive types who didn’t like the fact that we were being critical.

    As Christians, we have the right to criticize our brethren. We don’t judge, but we certainly can criticize and we are open to the same.

    I am sorry if I upset you, TheGodlessMonster.

  18. @Steve Martin,
    “As Christians, we have the right to criticize our brethren.”
    And non-Christians do not? All people have a right to criticize, which is what David was doing. Deftly sidestepping the issue I brought up- intolerance of criticism -is not an argument in favor of your position.
    It is interesting that it is necessary to point out to a Bible believing Christian that many of your Biblical prophets (Christ included, of course) were known for their unending and harsh criticisms of the religious establishment of the day.
    As an atheist visitor to a blog with a distinctly religious flavor to it, I operate out of respect to others by not proselytizing my lack of faith to others. I may be blunt, but you can note in my earlier comments that I did not bring up your faith into the discussion. On the other hand, from the very start, you brought up my lack of faith as an issue. Yes, by choosing such a moniker as TheGodlessMonster, I open myself to such comments by those who choose to take the path of personal attack. I accept it because it serves to flush certain types of thinking out into the open.
    No offense taken. Peace.

  19. Kathy says:

    My sister in law loves to say to people (me included) “I would encourage you to…” which is just another way to say “these are my orders” IMO. It’s not just those in positions of “authority” (i.e. boss, pastor) that beat this drum.

  20. Zack says:

    I have seen these pastors. They are often the ones who show up at stressful moments in the congregations life and are “The empty cup trying desperately to overflow.”

  21. fishon says:

    TheGodlessMonster
    September 30, 2010 | 12:03 am

    To the whiners:
    It’s The NP’s blog, so if he chooses to give solutions to real or perceived problems then he will. If not, he won’t. Also, there are enough blogs out there extolling the virtues of this or that church or preacher, etc. This blog is what it is…if you don’t like it, go to another blog. Stop trying to assert your will on others by dictating what should or should not be.

    ———Nay, I don’t think I’ll take your advice.

  22. fishon says:

    TheGodlessMonster
    September 30, 2010 | 12:37 am

    BTW buckaroo, I try to stay away from the ad hominem attacks, but am happy to engage a willing target if they insist on being unpleasant.
    ——Yahoo, the “buckaroo” police have arrived.

  23. fishon says:

    TheGodlessMonster
    September 30, 2010 | 12:37 am

    Are you implying that freedom of speech is limited to those who only have nice things to say about your (insert anything here) of choice?
    ——and to think you are worried about freedom of speech——-TheGodlessMonster September 30, 2010 | 12:03 am Also, there are enough blogs out there extolling the virtues of this or that church or preacher, etc. This blog is what it is…if you don’t like it, go to another blog. Stop trying to assert your will on others by dictating what should or should not be.
    —–That doesn’t sound sooo freedom of speechy to me.

  24. fishon says:

    TheGodlessMonster
    September 30, 2010 | 12:53 am

    The type of intolerance to criticism I see being displayed here is incompatible with free speech…free speech which is vital to the success of our civilization.
    —–Hey tiny tim, I thinketh you are part of that crowd. You are one of us.

  25. nakedpastor says:

    fishon: why would you feel compelled to call someone “tiny tim”?

    there is a fine point being argued here: it is okay to express your opinion. but it is another matter when the impression GIVEN is that some is bullying others.

  26. fishon says:

    TheGodlessMonster
    September 30, 2010 | 8:01 am

    As an atheist visitor to a blog with a distinctly religious flavor to it, I operate out of respect to others by not proselytizing my lack of faith to others.
    —-Hehehe. Then you are going to hate it here. We are are closet proselytizers here, including the NP.

  27. fishon says:

    nakedpastor
    September 30, 2010 | 7:33 pm

    fishon: why would you feel compelled to call someone “tiny tim”?

    there is a fine point being argued here: it is okay to express your opinion. but it is another matter when the impression GIVEN is that some is bullying others.
    ——Oh, I guess it would be his “buckaroo” thing. Ah, but then you might have missed that one too.

  28. @fishon,
    “—-Hehehe. Then you are going to hate it here. We are are closet proselytizers here, including the NP.”
    As this is a religious blog of sorts, it is to be expected. As a nonbeliever and a guest, it is to be expected that I would be respectful and not try to “deconvert” anyone or espouse atheism here. Again, I am a guest and it is not my place, nor is itmy desire.
    I am a combat veteran and a patriot. I’ve been “preached” to and judged by leftist atheists and right-wing religious nutjobs. Do as you will, but remember that we all have to protect the rights of those who are disenfranchised, unpopular and perhaps even evil, even if they speak what we don’t wish to hear. I despise your faith, but I would die gladly to protect your right to worship. I don’t look forward to a world without faith, but to a world in which people can get along despite differences.

  29. @fishon:
    “Oh, I guess it would be his “buckaroo” thing.”
    Nice. I made you cry over my use of the word “buckaroo”. I’ll send you a box of tissues, sweetheart.
    For the record, I figured “buckaroo” would be more polite than “dickhead”.

  30. @fishon,
    “—–That doesn’t sound sooo freedom of speechy to me.”
    That’s not an argument. It’s an assertion and an unfounded and indefensible one at that. Dissect my comment word by word and explain to me exactly how my comment runs counter to the concept of defense of free speech. I’d love to see your assertion backed by a factual, valid and rational argument.

  31. fishon says:

    TheGodlessMonster
    September 30, 2010 | 10:28 pm

    @fishon:
    “Oh, I guess it would be his “buckaroo” thing.”
    Nice. I made you cry over my use of the word “buckaroo”. I’ll send you a box of tissues, sweetheart.
    For the record, I figured “buckaroo” would be more polite than “dickhead”.
    ——-Well, not a cry old boy. Just a reminder to David about fairness. He took me on once before for being, what would be called in his book, direspectful. Had to point out where it start. Just the same thing this time. I am a tough old saved drunk. Makes absolutely no difference to me what you call me. There is nothing you can think of that I haven’t been called or called others. Just pointing out to the NP I was tit for tat. You’ll know when I am talking to you. I’ll address you. You won’t have to guess.

  32. fishon says:

    TheGodlessMonster
    September 30, 2010 | 10:46 pm

    @fishon,
    “—–That doesn’t sound sooo freedom of speechy to me.”
    That’s not an argument. It’s an assertion and an unfounded and indefensible one at that. Dissect my comment word by word and explain to me exactly how my comment runs counter to the concept of defense of free speech. I’d love to see your assertion backed by a factual, valid and rational argument.

    YOU:TheGodlessMonster September 30, 2010 | 12:03 am Stop trying to assert your will on others by dictating what should or should not be.
    —-If you believe in free speech, why would you TELL ME to ‘Stop trying to…”? In the world of free speech, verbally dictating what ones opinion should or shouldn’t be if perfectly acceptable. Politians do it every day. And I would be interesting as to how you have decided that I have that much power, as you say, “…to assert [my] will” on people on the internet. Just not possible. Can’t be done. No way I can assert my will on anyone here. But thank for giving me that much credit.

  33. nakedpastor says:

    my enduring question is “can we challenge the ideas of the person without disrespecting the person?” can we live in community, the world-wide community, while embracing differing and even opposing ideas? i think this question is an urgent one.

  34. @NP,
    “can we live in community, the world-wide community, while embracing differing and even opposing ideas? ”
    If it’s going to happen anywhere, it’s going to be in the West, where we’ve all benefited- to one degree or another- from the fruits of The Enlightenment.

  35. @fishon,
    “—-If you believe in free speech, why would you TELL ME to ‘Stop trying to…”? ”
    That’s it?! Ugh…
    You’ve brought a pocket knife to a gun fight. I’m going to walk away from this one and let you claim a great victory over The Godless Monster.
    Enjoy your day.

  36. Societyvs says:

    “my enduring question is “can we challenge the ideas of the person without disrespecting the person?” can we live in community, the world-wide community, while embracing differing and even opposing ideas? i think this question is an urgent one.” (NP)

    Yes we can, I live that way everyday of my life – and I am not anyone special that I am giving freedom to others – even in disagreement. So I know it’s absolutely possible.

    The real problem is ‘ego’. Some people cannot accept they might be ‘wrong’ because it upsets there already shakeable world/foundation…all paths lead back to the person and their pride. Most fights, literal fist fights, happen because someone takes something too serious or cannot drop their pride…which is really only a momentary thing.

  37. fishon says:

    nakedpastor
    October 1, 2010 | 6:47 am

    my enduring question is “can we challenge the ideas of the person without disrespecting the person?”
    ———–depends on the idea. Never, never can I respect a member of NAMBLA. Ah, many more like that. Do you?

    can we live in community, the world-wide community, while embracing differing and even opposing ideas?
    ——–Again, depends on the idea. No way will I embrace the Talaban’s idea of how to treat women. Are you? And there many more ideas that are not worth embracing for any reason.

  38. nakedpastor says:

    fishon: Maybe I wasn’t clear. What I mean to say is can we respect the person while we embrace differing or opposing ideas from them and them from us. I’m not talking about us embracing their ideas or them ours.

  39. fishon says:

    nakedpastor
    October 1, 2010 | 5:01 pm

    fishon: Maybe I wasn’t clear. What I mean to say is can we respect the person while we embrace differing or opposing ideas from them and them from us. I’m not talking about us embracing their ideas or them ours.
    —David, I understand what you are saying. I just disagree with your philosophy. And I do not think the Bible teaches as you believe in respect to ‘respect the person.’ Unless I am wrong, and you can correct me on that, I believe you are saying that we need to respect the personhood because people are God’s creation.

    There is no way I can respect in any form or fashion the personhood of Mao, Stalin, etc. I do not even respect the personhood of Phelps. And again, there is no way I can respect the personhood of a person of that persuasion or part of the NAMBLA.

    And I have to tell you, there is no way I respect the personhood of the pedephile priest, and in particular, I despise those who where/are their supperiors who knownly let them continue to ruin lives. And I think Jesus makes it clear there no respect for them in any way shape or form: Matthew 18:6
    But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
    –That is no small warning.

  40. nakedpastor says:

    okay fishon. i thought we misunderstood each other. we’re clear. but i somehow feel that we are invited to see, as you say, the created original “good” of others, no matter their manifested lifestyles and philosophies, etc. i don’t claim it is easy or self-evident. i don’t like what they do either. and what they do is motivated by their ideas, etc. but i do feel that challenge to love and respect the person nonetheless.