So, a little mini addition to the blog tonight.  My clergy writer’s group met this morning.  And one assignment was to write for 10 minutes on the parallels between figure skating and being a pastor:

I have to say, figure skating and ice dancing may be my least favorite olympic events.  Unlike my wife and daughters, I’m not convinced they should even be in the olympics.  Yes.  They demand strength and stamina.  But there is no objective and no objective standard in the activity.

Or so it seems to me.

That, actually, might make it a good image for being a pastor.

Because there are no objective standards for being a pastor.  Everyone has different expectations.  And if you cannot meet enough of these varied expectations to satisfy most of the congregational judges, then you aren’t going to get anywhere.  Even assuming there’s someplace to get to, rather than simply a call to faithfulness (within your limits).

It helps to be crowd pleasing — to look good and speak well.  It helps to be accomplished in the tricks that help move the life of the congregations forward.  But much of your best work is on a level that will never be publically seen and acknowledged.

You train.  You pray.  You read.  You take continuing education.  You pay attention to context.  You connect with your communities.  And you hope the judges see enough.  And you hope they are kind.